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Title: Cadillac. Knight Errant of the Wilderness, Founder of Detroit, Governor of Louisiana from the Great Lakes to the Gulf.
Author: Laut, Agnes Christina (1871-1936)
Date of first publication: 1931
Edition used as base for this ebook: Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1931 [first edition]
Date first posted: 26 November 2013
Date last updated: October 17, 2014
Faded Page ebook#20141097

This ebook was produced by Al Haines


End papers - front
End papers - front

Cadillac receiving concession of Detroit from Louis XIV.
Cadillac receiving concession of Detroit from Louis XIV.
Courtesy, Common Council, Detroit]


Knight Errant of the Wilderness
Founder of Detroit
Governor of Louisiana from the
Great Lakes to the Gulf







Printed in the United States of America





Whose aid on the early life
of Cadillac in southern
France and La Mothe's last
days there revealed so much
hitherto unknown.






I   1658-1689 25

The Fight in Lower Town, Quebec, with "the Little Lieutenant"—Cadillac Knocks a Young Gascon Officer Senseless with a Big Candlestick—Card-Sharpers of Lower Town and Gay Life in Castle St. Louis Drawing-Rooms—Preparing to Conquer All North America from the Great Lakes to New Spain for Louis XIV.

II   1661-1689 44

Who Was Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac?—A Gascon from Toulouse and Garonne—A Trusted Colonel of His Regiment by His Twenty-Fourth Year—His Youth in Orphanage, Poverty and Loneliness—Develops a Peculiarly Independent, Strong Character—Laughed at but Liked in Louis' Gay Court—Educated but Fearless as All Gascons—Bred in Poverty, Careless of Luxury, Independent in Character—Just the Man for the King's Work in the Intriguing Colonies.

III   1690-1699 59

Sunlight amid the Shadows—Frontenac Back a Master in the Saddle—Infirm but the Same Youthful Ardor—In Spite of His Nose, Cadillac is No Don Quixote Tilting at Windmills—Life in the Château Gay and Happy—The Morning Audience Conferences—The Gay Parades—the Seigniors at Home, the Old Majordomo—The Happy Friars and Monks Untroubled by Ambition—The Habitant Peasant the Happiest of All.

IV   1690-1699 83

Frontenac and Cadillac Discuss the Policy of the King for New France—Frontenac Meets Indian Delegates in Powwow and Despite Years Whirls in Tom-Tom Dances—Terrible News on His Pause at Montreal Hurries Him through the Autumn Rains to Quebec—Threatened with Invasion by Land and Sea—All New England Has United with New York to Attack the Lion in His Den—All New France Unites to Repel the Common Foe—Bishops Forget Their Quarrels to Pray and Shoulder Muskets—Phips Attacks with Thirty-Two Vessels and Suffers a Crushing Defeat—New France Wild with Joy but the Old Warrior Is Summoned by Death.

V   1699-1701 108

Cadillac Takes Another Trip to Mackinac, Then Sails for France—His Plunge from Wilderness Wilds Back to Versailles—Pontchartrain and Maurepas and Louis XIV Receive Him Well—Did La Mothe's Own Ambitions Wane or Waver from Old World to Honors in New?—Tremendous Courage for the Venture—Bad Masters Now in Ascendency Both in Versailles and Quebec—His Predictions as to Failure of Missions at Mackinac Verified and Fortify His Arguments with French Court.



VI   1700-1701 125

Back to New France—Westward by the Ottawa to Detroit—Pause at Mackinac—The Final Rounding Up of Human and Trade Dregs There—The Locating and Building of the New Fort—Named after His Patron Pontchartrain—Rhapsodies of Enthusiasm—The Happiest Days in Cadillac's Life.

VII   1701-1704 140

Building the New Fort at Detroit—Named Pontchartrain—Chapel to St. Anne—Area of Enclosure and Farms—Madame Tonty and Madame Cadillac—More People Come—Mills Go up for Grinding Corn—Indians Rally to New Trade Center.

VIII   1701-1710 158

Happy Days in Cadillac's Life—Free of Dominance from Quebec—Reports More Enthusiastic Than Ever—How He Held the Indians in Check—Picked Soldiers Loyal to Him—Why He Punished One Soldier with Such a Terrible Sentence and Yet Seemed to Excuse a Guilty Huron-Ottawa Chief Implicated in Murder of the Old Recollet Priest—Cadillac Furious to Find His Old Enemy of Mackinac at the Same Underground Tricks—Vaillant, the Jesuit, His Friend but Subject to Orders from Quebec.

IX   1710-1712 170

Cadillac Gets the Much Desired Decoration of St. Louis, but a Marquisate Is Still Dangled before Him as a Rainbow to His Life's End—He Prospers So Exceedingly His Income Mounts to What Would be Twenty-five Thousand Dollars a Year in Our Money and Excites Furious Envy of Weaker Rulers in Quebec Making Only Five Thousand Dollars a Year—The Thunderbolt from the Blue Falls on Cadillac—He is Ordered to Assume the Governorship of Louisiana, the King's Vastest Domain.

X   1710-1718 183

Cadillac's Frantic Haste to Obtain Delay in Transfer to Louisiana Proves Futile—The Quebec Clique Have Defeated Him Beforehand—Louis XIV Dies in 1715 and Cadillac Has Proceeded to the Gulf of Mexico—What Happened in Detroit within Three Years Left the Fort a Ruined Outpost.



XI   1712-1713 199

Cadillac Sails to the New Sphere of Activity—On the Frigate Bearing Him and His Family, He Learns Much of the Troubles Brewing in Louisiana and the Inheritance of Confusion to Which He Has Been Assigned—De Soto, La Salle, Iberville, Bienville, All Have Failed and Three out of Four Perished on or near the Gulf.

XII   1713-1714 214

What Cadillac Actually Found in Louisiana—Bienville Resentful and Marking Time—The Indians Muttering Contempt for White Man Prowess—The Colonists Wandering Off or Idle in Hot Season and Almost Starving—Anthony Crozart, the Trader, Holds Monopoly and Has His Own Plans for a Baronetcy—Bienville Prefers "the Mortification of Celibacy" to Proffers of All Brides—The Clash Comes with Cadillac—Bienville, Ordered Forthwith to an Impossible Task with the Natchez, Accepts the Challenge—Charlevoix's Report Five Years Later.

XIII   1714-1716 229

Bienville's Campaign of Strategy and Cunning—He Builds a Fort near Natchez Stronghold and Invites Three Head Chiefs to His Quarters as Guests—He Traps Them and Demands the Murderers—After Many Parleys, He Captures Them and Shoots the Guilty Chief, Who Curses Him as He Dies—The Curse a Legacy of Hate to All White Men for a Century.

XIV   1714-1717 242

Love-Affairs Continue to Come Unwanted and Unwarranted to Bienville's Feet—Cadillac and Crozart Both Openly Weary of an Impossible Task—Young St. Denis the Only Successful Lover and Trader—He Opens the Road to Mexico to be Followed by a Century of Caravan Traffic—Bienville, Left as Governor of Louisiana, Lays Foundations of Modern New Orleans—Immediate Effects of His Victory over Natchez.



XV   1716-1720 261

All France Goes Mad—Stock Gambling—John Law Establishes First Paper Currency and Gives as Security State Land, Taxes, Trading Company Revenues and Louisiana—Shares Rise from 120 to 15,000—People Go Mad to Grow Rich Overnight—Why Work When You Can Make Your Living Gambling?—Crozart and Cadillac Fight the Folly, and Cadillac Is Thrown into the Bastile to Keep His Mouth Shut.



XVI   1717-1730 273

Cadillac Returns to France—How Vast Was the Empire in America at Which Versailles Grasped?—Why It Failed—The Lawsuit Drags on in France—Cadillac Obtains an Old Governorship in South France but Does Not Long Survive to Enjoy It—Madame Cadillac and Her Children.



Cadillac receiving concession of Detroit from Louis XIV . . . . . . Frontispiece

One of the oldest drawings of Quebec

An early view of the city of Quebec

Cadillac's birthplace as it is to-day

The birth record of Cadillac

Hebert's statue of Frontenac in Quebec

Castle St. Louis and Lower Town

Habitant's cabin, from an old painting by Kreighoff

The Golden Dog, Quebec legend

Quebec old wall up which Frontenac was welcomed

The Frontenac coat of arms

Frontenac's home castle in France

Typical château in southern France showing the impossibility of supporting such on meager salaries

Restored salon, Château de Ramezay, Montreal

Restored habitant room, Château de Ramezay, Montreal

Kreighoff painting of Chaudière Falls, Ottawa City

A view of early Mackinac

Kreighoff painting of canoe ascending Ottawa River

How Frontenac and Cadillac planned to save Louisiana

Detroit in 1701

Madame Cadillac arriving at Detroit

Bronze tablet in honor of Madame Cadillac

The best statue of Cadillac in niche of Detroit public building

Le Moyne D'Iberville

Bienville, Jr., of Louisiana

New Orleans in 1719

One of the first French forts at mouth of the Mississippi

Seal of fort to which Cadillac retired as governor

Plaque on Cadillac's birthplace

City hall in Cadillac's birthplace

Celebration in Cadillac's home town—south of France




Cadillac is one of the few great early heroes in North American history whose life has never been written. This resulted from obvious reasons. Contemporary records were so scrappy, so contradictory on dates, places, names that it was almost impossible to follow his life consecutively. Yet he was the founder and father of Detroit and one of the first direct governors of the vast empire known as Louisiana. When writers such as Charlevoix, Margry, the Jesuits, contradicted one another flatly and left long gaps in his life, what could a Parkman do but append frankly in a foot-note that he could not vouch for this, that and the other section in his life because contradicted by a Charlevoix? Abbé Tanguay, who compiled in late years from parish records of Quebec and Louisiana the best genealogical dictionary of any people on earth and whose data on numerous distinguished descendants of the Cadillacs are in the main correct, flounders hopelessly on the first great Cadillac.

Only in very recent years have the blind gaps in Cadillac's life been filled. For this we may thank first {xvi} and foremost, the careful translations of Louis XIV documents by the Burton Collection of Detroit. Then translations of the Marine Department Papers in Paris Archives by the Canadian Archives have come out in floods since the 1890's. Add to these the equally indefatigable work of Quebec Province Archivists, of Monsieur Guyon, a descendant of the Cadillac-Guyon families, and you get a fairly composite portrayal of a man whose name is commemorated in states, counties, streets, motor-cars, artistic portrayals on canvas and in statues. Yet one section still remained a blank blind spot in the moving kaleidoscopic film of a great man's life—his early years in the Garonne-Pyrenees section of France. Monsieur Guyon spent the better part of four years investigating these blind spots in the old sections of southern France. It is rather ludicrous to acknowledge that it was only in 1902-04 that the little old cities of the Spanish section in southern France woke up to the fact that a great man had gone as a Gascon cadet in the late sixteen hundreds to found a new empire in North America. A mayor of one town, on the occasion of placing plaques on the birth home and final resting crypt of the hero's bones, acknowledged proudly that the Cyrano of the famous play must have drawn its inspiration from Cadillac. The playbills of Cyrano de Bergerac name the period as the fourteenth century; but the costumes {xvii} belie this. The Gascon regiments came to their glory in the days of Richelieu and Louis XIII and they became foremost fighters of France in all her wars during the reign of Louis XIV—the Grand Monarch—who came so nearly snatching all North America from Spain and England, that only the decline of Old France through the victories of Marlborough and the corruption of Versailles defeated Louis XIV's aims. There are many points of similarity in Cyrano and Cadillac: the nose, the figure, the Gascon fencing, the fierce fighting, the disregard for enmities created, the loyalty to friends. Mr. Taylor, of the Lenox Library in New York, spent a summer touring this Pyrenees section. The library was fortunate enough to obtain old historical papers of the various town societies covering this area back to the days of the Crusades.

On the Louisiana section of Cadillac's life, one must mainly rely on the contradictory reports sent to the French Court, some by friends, some by enemies, some in secret cipher; and there you have to use your own judgment and try to get a cross-section of the truth. Gayarré, of Louisiana, as early as the eighteen-fifties, was already digging into these records of Old France. In the main, his work was splendidly done, but he was prejudiced against Cadillac in favor of the Le Moyne brothers—Iberville and Bienville. That {xviii} prejudice is in all Louisiana records. Gayarré never missed scoring a point against Cadillac. Such evidence must be corrected by writers near at hand at the time, of whom Le Page du Pratz stands first. He did not live at New Orleans when Cadillac was there. In fact, New Orleans proper was not even founded when Du Pratz came. Though Du Pratz took a claim under Crozart, who held monopoly for all trade, the heat on the Gulf of Mexico drove him within a year up the Mississippi to the higher bluffs of Natchez or Fort Rosalie; so you find not a great deal on Cadillac in Du Pratz. He became the guide and source of information to Charlevoix four years later.

The fight as described in Lower Town, Quebec, is given literally in this volume, but I have left out some of the mighty oaths.

All the episodes in Cadillac's life given in this narrative are true. There is just one record to be taken carefully. It is where Cadillac goes back to France and prepares a memorial of questions and answers which will forefend against all enemy attacks. He did this on the advice of Frontenac, just before the old warrior died. That we know. Whether the questions and answers came just as set forth in his memorial, we do not know; but some historical accounts quote them as telling exactly what took place in the interview between Cadillac and the Court officers. Of this {xix} we can not be sure, but in any event he had his evidence.

No contemporary portrait of Cadillac is known to exist.

There are two artistic statues of him, one at Mackinac, the other at Detroit in a niche in the city hall. The Detroit statue is infinitely superior. The statue at Mackinac might be that of a squatty half-breed bushloper, with hair cut short, quite false to the vogue of the period. The statue in the Detroit city hall presents the figure of a man in middle life, dressed correctly as all commandants dressed; with the determined expression in face and form that an officer of almost twenty years must have acquired.

In the spelling of many names are numerous variations—Pontchartrain, Radisson, the two Tontys, La Mothe's own name (now called La Mott), Duluth, Joliet, the Duke de Lauzon, a dozen others. To prevent confusion the modern spelling is used. This is not to say it is correct. Joliet is spelled to-day one way in Canada, another in the United States. Radisson's name is spelled three different ways in one Public Records state document in London. The variation in the spelling of La Mothe's name is given in the main text.

Each chapter of the life of Cadillac would make a novel, but as he wrote of himself—"my work is {xx} warrior not writer." Or as Frontenac wrote of him, begging Louis XIV to overlook the brevity of Cadillac's secret reports, "this adroit officer is too busy to write long full reports of his worthy services." So he died pretty nearly unknown till 1902-4. More may come to light about his Crusader ancestors which will explain much that is puzzling in his life—why, for instance, educated in the very hotbed of Jesuit activities, he always favored the gray gown friars and monks instead of the Jesuits. Perhaps it was too frequent use of the birch and fasting on a high-spirited lonely boy. The Jesuits molded their pupils as clay in a skilled potter's hand; and molded well. But Cadillac would not mold to any hand. He would neither bend nor break, and kept his inner self hidden as under an iron mask from all except his family, Louis XIV and Frontenac. In one of his last letters to Frontenac, he says, "What I am, Sire, you have molded and made."

To recur to first authorities that must be consulted on Cadillac's life—the Jesuit Relations are contemporaneous but highly colored against Cadillac for reasons apparent as the story goes on. These reasons will be found fully in the secret reports to Louis XIV—the Marine Papers now available in word for word reports in the Canadian Archives of Ottawa, the Quebec Province Archives, the magnificent Burton Collection {xxi} of the Public Library in Detroit. Abbé Tanguay's Genealogy is the best authority on all early Canadian and Louisiana families but not reliable as to dates. The late Benjamin Sulte's contributions, still for the most part found only in obscure French pamphlets, are almost critic-proof as to data, value of money, family relationship, itinerary of voyages. The Hudson's Bay Company Papers in the Hudson's Bay Company vaults and in the Public Records, London, give the amazing underhand game of diplomacy between England and France, and later between Spain and France. Margry, De Lery, the royal engineer, the Spanish records of Lenarez's day in Mexico are all fine side-lights. So is Hennepin, so is La Harpe. Fortier's Louisiana, Andreas' Chicago, Blanchard's Chicago, George B. Catlin's Detroit should all be consulted. Mr. Catlin and Mr. Burton have all but made shot-proof the various locations of old French activities in Detroit, and plaques on public buildings now mark these ancient sites. On not all points do these two authorities on the spot agree and this for good reasons. Each year now scraps or lost sheets in the old records come to light and compel revision of data. One of the most surprising examples of this was the number of old French maps found in Russia. When the French Revolution broke out and the Bastile was stormed, these maps and papers seem to have been {xxii} seized and carried to Russia by Napoleon with perhaps the same dreams of world conquest as Louis XIV had cherished. Some of the maps are reproduced in this volume and their accuracy and range are amazing.

To Mr. Taylor, of the Lenox Library, New York; Mr. Burton, of Detroit, Doctor Quaife, Mr. Strohm, Miss Krum, Miss Hill, Mr. George Catlin; the Chicago Historical Society, especially Miss Hazleton; Mr. Roy, of the Archives of the City of Quebec; the Canadian National Art Gallery; Mr. Guyon, Minister of Labor for Quebec, who is a descendant of the Guyon family, Mr. Gibbons, of the Canadian Pacific Railway, especial indebtedness is acknowledged and deep thanks expressed for assistance both in locating old places and reproducing old maps.








The Fight in Lower Town, Quebec, with "the Little Lieutenant"—Cadillac Knocks a Young Gascon Officer Senseless with a Big Candlestick—Card-Sharpers of Lower Town and Gay Life in Castle St. Louis Drawing-Rooms—Preparing to Conquer All North America from the Great Lakes to New Spain for Louis XIV.

It is Lower Town in the City of Quebec the third of May, 1686. Drifts of dirty snow yet lie in the gashes of the shaded Laurentian Hills. It is evening but daylight lingers. The broad basin of the St. Lawrence lies a lake painted rose-red in the sunset. From the south side of the river, the lights of Point Levis begin to twinkle through the shadows of a filtered blue nightfall. Masts of frigates from Old France, of fishing schooners from Belle Isle Straits, little sailing vessels that are to go on up the river to Montreal, rock lazily to the wash of the tide against the docks of Lower Town. The St. Charles River on the east darkens first, but the fort light of Upper Town flashes high beneath the rocks of Cape Diamond and Castle St. Louis on the very brink of the precipice below the high cape and above Lower Town begins to shoot its many lights in reflection across the river. From the {26} flagpole above Cape Diamond and from the turrets of Castle St. Louis floats the fleur-de-lis. The air is soft and balmy, but the chill of evening is driving loungers indoors from the water-front.

The Governor's officers riding to Upper Town find their horses sinking and floundering in the undrained muddy streets. No need at this hour to keep in the slough of mid-street and escape the housewives tossing slops from windows with the shrill cry "Gardez l'eau," so that riders must crowd their horses rather close to the rough cobble pavement flush with the stone fronts or get a douse on their heads. It is a better Lower Town than back a few years ago, when fire devoured every frame and log building. Stone is now replacing wood. Lanterns of bear oil and pitch pine fagots and tallow swing above the heavy doorways. Shutters are closed across open windows, but sounds of merriment come from the lighted rooms behind the open lattice. There is the mouth organ of some gay care-free voyageur. There is the squeak of the habitant's fiddle. There are the soldier's cornet, flute, fife and trombone. Then there is no mistaking the thud-thud-thud of moccasined feet to the tom-tom-tom of Indian drum made of tight skins filled with pebbles. Other sounds are not quite so innocent—the slap of cards and coin on gamblers' table, the rattle of fencing swords cast aside in scabbard to hang {27} by the hand-hold to the high post of the home-made chairs. Habitant farmers can be seen wending by ferry and pontoon bridge homeward in their two-wheeled carts with little shaggy ponies and themselves almost as shaggy in red blanket coats, coon caps, leather leggings, asquat in their wagonettes. The most of the gentry from Upper Town has already gone up the steep narrow streets in their two-wheeled calashes.

Lower Town resembles all water-fronts. It is a mingling of the respectable and the disreputable. Humble shop-folk dwell next door to noisy taverns, little lodging inns and the gambling dens of card-sharpers. Spring is the season for these scamps to garner their gains. Bushrangers and voyageurs are coming down from the Far Up Country—called Pays d'Haut. If successful from the winter, they now have pelts or coin and with a drink or two all readily gamble away the season's hunt in a single night; and there are a great many of these card-sharpers in Lower Town. The garrison has been increased by eight hundred troopers in ten years. To each company of fifty men is an officer—a lieutenant or sub-lieutenant, usually on half-pay during the winter. Lower Town is crowded with human scum. Brandy flows free almost as the wash of the tides; but the pay for the brandy comes across the gaming table. Thither resort {28} after nightfall the younger officers from Upper Town to make a living by their wits; and those wits are very nimble. Nearly all are younger members of old aristocratic French families sent out to mend their fortunes. They are Gascon cadets, the best fencers and fighters in the world, but roisterers, braggarts, bullies, lady-killers dressed in the pink of fashion. The hat is three-cornered with a drooping plume. Their upper coats are either soft satin or mouse-colored leather, belted tight at the waist to display graceful slim figures. The trousers are either of the same tight texture or again the mouse-colored delicate leather; but the high-boot leggings come to thigh with a flop-over of cinnamon brown, silver spur at heel and hard brown sole for stirrup. Gauntlets come to the elbow and the hand inside is kept white and beringed as any lady's. Few have any title but Sieur, equivalent to our "Sir" or modern minor knighthood. To hold such cadets well in hand, their captains are either older men of stronger fiber in character, or if yet young, then steady of head, usually chevaliers hoping to win a baronetcy in the colonies and return to France with wealth enough from trade to establish themselves in castles and the inner circles of the court clique during an era of the most extravagant and luxury-loving generation Old France has ever known.

On this particular May evening the Chevalier de {29} la Mothe Cadillac, now about thirty years of age, has slackened rein to let his horse climb the steep streets at slower pace. Perhaps, too, he has slackened pace to think. At this period the device of spiral climb for steep ascent is not favored. Steep, very narrow streets are deemed better as defense against enemies. Then these wooden stockades and batteries must be replaced by stone. This stonework calls for better heads than the ordinary stone-mason. It must be perfected by masons who are really royal army engineers and can prevent any grafting on contracts for the King; and this brings perhaps a tenderer mood to La Mothe Cadillac; for the mason engineer in charge of this work is the father of a Mademoiselle Guyon to whom the Chevalier is engaged and with whom he is very deeply in love. He knows well that the grand dames of Upper Town and the frivolous grander ladies of Old Versailles may sneer at her birth; but is she not as good as the best of them? Is she not kin of the Duke de Lauzon? Later, he is to name his own favorite daughter Marie Theresa after his beloved wife.

Well he knows why he has been sent out by Louis XIV. It is to report the real conditions of all the forts in New France. Could Quebec be made a second Paris, a fort to conquer, command and hold all North America to the very borders of New Spain? By natural position, it is in all conscience strong enough to {30} dominate the New World and defy conquest. On the St. Lawrence side, cannon along the precipice-edge of Upper Town could shatter any naval attack; but these stone batteries of Lower Town must be strengthened to protect docks. These three main gates to Upper Town must have storage bastions and upper turrets to render impossible ascent from Lower Town. On three sides, Quebec is impregnable; but the fourth side to the rear is a plain. It is the Plains of Abraham. The wall around that side must be built higher. The Court does complain that the wall has already cost so much it must be built of gold instead of stone. One battery alone has cost the King forty thousand dollars and will cost the Colony fifty-six thousand dollars before it is finished. Two more large platforms must be built at a cost of twenty thousand dollars a year to defend the dock front. No wonder the King groans at costs. Had not Governor De la Barre stolen yearly over twelve thousand crowns from the King's treasury to enrich himself? Hadn't he used royal frigates and brigades of canoes for his own fur trade? But La Barre had been recalled. Denonville, his successor, had proved at least an honest governor; but Denonville was too old to fight the Iroquois from New York. His policy has been on the defensive, instead of tigerishly aggressive to check the Iroquois. Just when hitting the Iroquois hardest, Governor Frontenac had {31} been recalled in 1682; and here De la Barre and Denonville have lost all he had gained; and Frontenac now in his seventies is coming back for a second term to complete the work he had begun. Denonville has been too much under the thumb of the missionary spirit, ruminates Cadillac. The Chevalier was not hostile to the missionaries—far from it; but he thought they subordinated the making of converts to the plans of the King—a strong aggressive policy—fear first, obedience, then love. Had the Iroquois been sincere once in all their dealings with the Black Robes? Never! Show a gentle front and the tigers of the Mohawk Trail would pounce on all New France. But then, "scratch a Gascon cadet," and wasn't he a pouncing tiger? Were they not the best fencers and fighters in all Europe? La Mothe smiled and was proud to be a Gascon from the Pyrenees. Monseignior Vallier, now the head of the Jesuits, had boasted that Denonville read nothing but the Psalms and holy books. Pah! Better have kept his powder dry for the Iroquois.

Just then La Mothe's somewhat caustic mental comments are interrupted by the opening of a door in the stone wall of houses lining the streets. A pretty widow curtsies low. She would be flattered if M'sieur the Chevalier would deign to come in and sup with her. The French Canadians have a curious trick of {32} slurring their enunciation of certain consonants and words. It is very puzzling to a Parisian Frenchman and explains many variations in the spelling of words. They do not say Monsieur but slur it to M'sieur. They do not distinguish "on" and "un" and "an." You will find that distinction to this day—incorrect, yes, but the vernacular of the habitant. La Mothe is glad to accept the pretty widow's invitation. She is related to the Guyons and has been reduced to keeping an inn by the death of her husband in an Indian raid. Her house is a great resort for sub-lieutenants on half pay for the winter. They can board there cheaply and yet play the part of lady-killer amid the demoiselles of Upper Town.

The widow is given the name Perellan or Perrilin. If you look up the Archives of the period, you will find there was a widow of this name of good birth related to the Guyons, reduced to asking a gratuity from the King's treasure box; but the King's treasure box was very empty and there is no report granting the request. For such widows who had lost husbands in Indian raids, there was only one of two alternatives: to remarry at once, or support themselves. Lower Town offered the best chance for an inn. There boarders could always be obtained. There were the half-pay young officers from Upper Town. There were the voyageurs coming back from the Up Country all June, July and August.


Catching a glimpse inside of young officers from his own regiment of Gascon cadets, La Mothe is nothing averse to the kind invitation. Tossing bridle rein over the hitching post, he enters. A quick glance and the hawklike eyes have taken in every detail of the whole scene. With barely a return salute to the cadets filling the room, he seats himself at the candle-lighted supper table. The candlestick is very high and of shining brass. The widow is a fine honest woman, but to-night he does not like the company. There are too many of the roistering young officers from his own regiment. They are too flushed of cheek. Their voices are too loud. They are too pot-valiant and boastful in their cups. They are a deal too boldly familiar toward himself.

Yet several of the young Le Moyne sons are in the room.

"Won't you give us the honor of your good company to Upper Town?" one Jacques de Bleury Sabrevois asks.

"Nay—lad—I'd endanger your chances with the ladies," retorts Cadillac.

This Sabrevois is a mere boy. He is barely twenty.

"A drink? No?" proffers Sieur de Sabrevois, pushing a tankard toward Cadillac.

Had the young cadet not been tipsy, Cadillac's look of contempt would have withered the puppy underling. Cadillac saw the cards in hand and guessed the {34} motive of the urge to drink. Cadillac was ever thrifty and always had ready coin.

"Drink—with you? No, card-sharper! If you were in Upper Town, I'd order you to your quarters for being in your present condition. I have half a mind to give you a good thrashing right now."

"Eh, my little friend," said Sabrevois, rising with his lily hand on his sword hilt and a mocking challenge on his impertinent face. Now the Chevalier was not little and he was a terrific fencer—swift and sure of every parry and every thrust.

"Little friend?" in cutting tones repeated Cadillac, now on his feet.

One of the oldest drawings of Quebec.
One of the oldest drawings of Quebec.
Courtesy, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit.

The other cadets had caught him back by his sword arm.

"Yes, little darling; yes, garçon; and if you were in Upper Town, you would not have the wit to stop me kissing your future wife."

"Hold your tongue, young scoundrel. 'S death! I will not soil my hands on a puppy but——" Cadillac had seized the candlestick as he rose, and the pretty lieutenant lay on the flat of his back knocked senseless.

"I am a dead man," he muttered as he crumpled up. That was the finish of one particular little garçon with the ladies for some time. He had to nurse a cut head and blackened eye.


The Chevalier may or may not have resumed his supper. The report to the King does not say; but he mounted his mud-spattered horse and rode leisurely on to Upper Town. Disciplining unruly young officers had become too usual with him for this episode to disturb him much. It was only the fellow's impudent reference to his idolized lady that had ruffled his furious quick temper.

All the same, he must take this whole matter up with the Governor. Better wait my Lord Frontenac's coming. There were too many of these idle penniless young scamps from the old aristocracy out in New France to make a living by nimble wits as card-sharpers, cheats, illicit barterers in brandy for furs from the Indians. All very well to set up a new feudalism of nobles, merchants, peasants in Quebec; but could it be done unless this scum of disgraceful young blackguards was swept out to give place to better men coming up the ranks to the top?

An early view of the city of Quebec.
An early view of the city of Quebec.
Courtesy, Canadian Pacific Ry. Co.

Cadillac had little sympathy and still less in common with the strict rule of the Jesuit, Saint Vallier. He revered both Bishop Laval and Saint Vallier for their saintly irreproachable lives; but their continuous interference with the King's secular affairs irritated the Chevalier's irascible temper almost as much as it had annoyed Governor Frontenac to fury during his first term. Cadillac himself always confessed to {36} the friars of the Recollets. He would risk none of his secret swift moves for the King being thwarted in the Jesuit confessional stalls, as Governor Frontenac's had been. Saint Vallier, now the Bishop in succession to Laval, might be a saint; but he was too much saint for Cadillac. The Chevalier would keep these boys of his regiment from the dens of Lower Town by giving them good private theatricals in the drawing-rooms of Castle St. Louis; but Saint Vallier had forbidden private theatricals, especially theatricals in which the demoiselles took actress parts. He refused sacraments to the offenders. It was an age when the younger girls wore ribboned ruffles to their ears; but the Quebec ladies donned frontages of open lace—beautiful lace woven by the habitant wives; and to these, too, the Bishop refused sacraments. Soldiers who sang rough secular troubadour songs were not only denied sacraments but excluded from the church. They were denounced from the pulpit by name and sometimes separated from their wives. This drove them to the woods as bushlopers, voyageurs, renegade runaways. Too often they took Indian wives. To this Cadillac had no objection. It cemented friendship with Indian allies, but it scandalized the good Bishop.

Cadillac was impatient at the Bishop's interference. Once when a Jesuit, Etienne Carheil, arrayed {37} in all his canonicals had remonstrated over such a policy, Cadillac told him his mission policy "smelled of sedition a hundred yards off." The infuriated priest bade Cadillac not give himself airs and shook his fist under La Mothe's nose. Now, Cadillac's nose was a sensitive spot to him. Whether from his early poverty and the Scripture story of a prophet fed by ravens, or from the resemblance of his hawklike Spanish nose to a raven, the court clique back in Old France had called him "Raven." "I could have knocked his jaw out of joint," Cadillac secretly reported to the King; but he restrained himself and pushed the offending and furious Jesuit from the room. He knew he was out on purely secular business for the King, and he resented this interference from the very missions that had to be protected from Indian raid by the Gascon cadets.

Could New France conquer all New England? That was the question. Cadillac thought it could. Though New France had only some twelve thousand people all told compared to New York's eighteen thousand, New France had been held in a strong unity under the hand of Frontenac, and Frontenac was coming out for a second term. New York and Boston and all New England could muster at most only eighteen thousand fighting males; but the English colonies were a house divided—Dutch merchants of {38} Manhattan ready enough to arm the Iroquois for raid on the French but keen to save their own hides; Puritans of Massachusetts, who hated the French Catholics and were hated by them; then in what are now known as New Hampshire and Maine and Vermont, Englishmen of divided allegiance, who wanted to trade with the French of Acadia (Nova Scotia) and would seldom for long hold together to fight the French.

The whole situation was such a crisscross of entangled "intrigue"—as Cadillac reported to his royal master—that it was almost impossible to know on whom one could depend. Firmly behind the Frontenac policy of extending French power stood the old officers of La Salle. There was Alphonse Tonty, brother of Henry, now scouting west of the Great Lakes to hold the trade from the New England colonies. There was Duluth, now on the Great Lakes to hold the trade from the English of Hudson Bay. But where did the Le Moyne brothers rank? That was the question bothering Cadillac and it bothered him all his life. They had gone overland and captured every English fort on James Bay and they were now preparing to do the same overland to the New England colonies. They seemed to side with the Jesuits against the Governor. Why? Did they covet the governorship themselves? Cadillac was puzzled. If {39} so, they would never get it. He knew they would be kept at sea as naval commanders for which they had been trained—especially Iberville and Bienville. It looked as if they were keen for a baronetcy. Well, Cadillac was equally keen himself. He would keep that possibility in the back of his head. Perhaps some day they could combine forces.

These Le Moyne brothers were the most picturesque heroes of New France and Louisiana for over eighty years. The Le Moyne father had come out to New France a bourgeois. That is, he did not belong to the nobility; nor did he class himself as a habitant, a peasant farmer; but he cherished consuming ambitions for his nine sons. When New France was groaning from starvation for furs because the English on James and Hudson Bay were drawing away all furs from the Lake tribes, his sons, not yet twenty-five years old, led bands of bushlopers overland to James Bay and captured and ravaged every English fort on the southern shores of the great inland sea. This gave them commissions in army and navy and swift advancement as commanders of first rank by land and sea. They became renowned as the most dauntless, victorious leaders of a heroic age. Every door—Court and social—was wide open to them. They were presently leading the ruthless forays overland to New Hampshire and Massachusetts settlements, and when {40} one son, Bienville, perished in these raids, a later Le Moyne baby was renamed Bienville to carry the name on to glory. We shall meet this younger Bienville farther on in Cadillac's life. By the 1690's the Le Moynes were commanding the royal frigates that captured every English fort on the west side of Hudson Bay. There, they took so many English prisoners that the frigates could not convey the captives back to the St. Lawrence but drove them as bushlopers to the wild Indian tribes trading on Hudson Bay. Now their plans were to ravage every English settlement from Newfoundland to the northern limits of Spanish Florida. For reasons of his own, Louis XIV, the Grand Monarch, was not yet quite ready to break friendly relations with Spain by attacking Florida and Mexico; but from the orders to his officers you can easily discern that he was playing as double a game with Spain as with England, biding his time under a mask of friendship to pounce and seize when the opportunity came. The Le Moyne brothers crisscrossed almost every step of Cadillac's life. Not one cared a sou for wealth; not one, as far as we know, left a fortune to his heirs; but all who survived the wars rose to enter the highest Court circles of Old France, and their descendants became governors and commandants from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico.

Then there was the situation in Europe, more {41} tangled than ever. Louis was friend of the English monarchs, Charles and James, and no move in New France must offend them. Yet not a concession was to be made to that friendship. "Trust me to get you out of this situation," Louis had written in a furious rebuke to De la Barre for setting free English prisoners and ships from Hudson Bay; and he issued as firm instructions though not so furious to Denonville. The truth was that while New France was triumphant in arms, Old France was not. Louis' reign, which had been such a blaze of glory, was closing in a sunset of ominous storms. Well, Cadillac would know what moves were wisest when Governor Frontenac came; but was ever such a mess? Denonville, though good as gold as a man, had let Fort Frontenac (modern Kingston) go to the dogs. It was no longer a bar to Iroquois raid. That meant loss of trade on the Lakes. True, Frontenac had broken Iroquois power and the warriors were now down from five thousand to two thousand five hundred. They no longer attacked Quebec, but they were an ambushed terror to Montreal. They were a hornet's nest disturbed with the angry hornets at large to sting from sudden sortie. What the sachems might pledge in powwow was violated by the young bucks going out in little bands to loot and massacre.

The matter of the brawl in the widow's house was {42} ordered taken up, the very morning after the fight with little Sabrevois and for many mornings after. The paltry evidence filled pages of reports to the King. Its settlement seems to have been delayed till Frontenac came for his second term. Little Sabrevois had presented himself the sorry figure of a hero. He had that swollen head and a blackened eye. He was defended by the Jesuits. Why? To vent spleen against Cadillac. Perhaps, too, to vent spleen against Frontenac. If the good Bishop could only have taken a joke; but he could not. If only he had not taken himself so seriously. Once, years later, when Saint Vallier offered Count Frontenac a hundred coins to prevent certain private theatricals, the Governor took his note on the spot for the amount to the amazement of the Bishop; and what is more, he cashed the note; but he turned the money over to the nuns of the hospital. It was a dry ironical joke, which the Jesuits didn't relish.

The motives of the tavern brawl Frontenac understood promptly on his arrival. It was to discredit Cadillac's secret report to the King. Pah! Let the Bishop fume. The case was lightly dismissed, and no doubt provoked the same laughter in Versailles as it did in Castle St. Louis. But little Sabrevois never forgot nor forgave that humiliation in Lower Town. It cut his vanity to the quick; and a mean little man's {43} vanity cut to the quick was likely to come back in a wasp sting—or worse, in a rattlesnake's treacherous trick. Yet Sabrevois was a brave fighter. Lightheadedness and addiction to gambling—those were his weaknesses. His resentment came tragically into Cadillac's later life.

Of course, Frontenac had been welcomed back in 1689 with wild acclaim. Cannon roared from Castle St. Louis. Torchlight processions escorted him up from the docks. The Jesuits harangued him in a flowery eloquence. Again Cadillac's cynical report scouted the farce of a peace between the Count and the Bishop. It was only in expectation of favors to come. Yes, and it was also their desperate need of protection for their missions from Mackinac on the Great Lakes to the Ohio. Cynical, caustic, ironical Cadillac may have been; but he tried never to deceive himself and he served his royal master both honestly and bravely. He had been out in New France now since he was twenty-three and had served briefly in Acadia, where the King had granted him in 1688 vast concessions of a hundred thousand acres of land near what is now Bar Harbor, Maine; but these concessions were not valuable. They were rocky forest-covered soil and in the shift of war the grant was lost to the Cadillac family. Besides, he had been transferred from Acadia up to Quebec on more important work.




Who Was Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac?—A Gascon from Toulouse and Garonne—A Trusted Colonel of His Regiment by His Twenty-Fourth Year—His Youth in Orphanage, Poverty and Loneliness—Develops a Peculiarly Independent, Strong Character—Laughed at but Liked in Louis' Gay Court—Educated but Fearless as All Gascons—Bred in Poverty, Careless of Luxury, Independent in Character—Just the Man for the King's Work in the Intriguing Colonies.

Who was the Chevalier Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac?

He was a Gascon from Garonne. He was born at St. Nicolas de la Grave on March 5, 1658. Here the old archives of St. Nicolas de la Grave, Montauban and Castel-sarrarin in southern France reveal much about La Mothe unknown till late years. The La Muth Cadillacs were a well-known family in the Pyrenees. Antoine's father's name was Jean Laument. He had been a rich counselor at Toulouse. Antoine was the fourth child. There were some sisters; but an older brother seemed to have brought deep disgrace and poverty to the rich Toulouse counselor; for when he died, he left only five hundred dollars each to his children. This could scarcely educate the boy Antoine except for an army career, and the old family mansion {45} gradually fell to ruins. It is inferred that the disgraced brother forged or misused funds which the rich father made good. This left the family in honorable poverty.

Antoine had so many Spanish characteristics, the laughing irony, the quenchless ardor, the chivalry; he was so much the fierce fighter, the devout Catholic yet independent of priestly control, that we suspect he must have had Spanish blood of the Pyrenees from his mother's side of the house. We know now from the old parish records of the Garonne that his family dated its origin from the Crusades against the Saracens. Yes, Richard the Lion-Hearted had been guest in that early family home and sometimes in ridicule of La Mothe's swarthy complexion, he was jokingly called "the Black Prince." "He gives himself such princely airs," the boys said.

These Pyrenees towns were not farther apart than eight to twenty miles. They were always built as a French bar to Spanish invasion; but the fort walls, the old castle mansions, the architecture showed more of the crenelated roof line of the Spanish than the pointed turrets of northern France. Moats, walls, drawbridges and gates rang with traditions of Saracen days and on back in history as far as the Roman wars. A boy conning his Latin must have pictured the ancient wars and the flag that waved the Crusaders on {46} to the Holy War in Palestine. Such memories must have fired the spirit of any ambitious lad preparing for an army career.

We know that La Mothe never lost his deep love for the land of his ancestors. His coat of arms and signet ring had the same Spanish crenelated castle outline as the forts. Laughing and sunny he always was to his later bitter days in Louisiana. He always loved clear mountain streams and dancing rivers. Barren brown uplands had no terrors for him; but he always chose rich bottom lands and water-fronts for frontier posts. You see much too of Cadillac's Spanish leanings—whether from heredity or environment—in his later career in Louisiana. He was for opening trade at once with New Spain. Other French commanders in Louisiana did not understand such policy. He could be hoaxed into searching for such mines as made New Spain rich; and he was thrifty—a characteristic which any one knows in the true northern Spaniard. Beneath seeming lavish spending and no sparing of gold and silver lace and pomp was the thrift of the strong iron box in which were hoarded family coin and family jewels, which have come down in Spanish American families to our own day.

Cadillac's birthplace as it is to-day.
Cadillac's birthplace as it is to-day.
Courtesy, Lenox Library, New York.

But a curious thing in La Mothe's training was that he seems to have been educated by the gray-gowned friars rather than the Jesuits, and he favored the {47} monks all his life. Then he had a very pronounced policy toward the Indians. Father to them, yes; but equal with them, never. I have never known a Castilian Spaniard of modern days who could forget that the Indians had been slaves. Let the soldiers marry them if they would; but the pure Castilian would never mix his blood with slaves, however much his underling soldiers might give his name to their half-caste offspring. La Mothe could handle Indians with tact but never could pretend even to them that he regarded them as equals. He would never smoke a peace pipe with them and would not listen long to their powwows.

The birth record of Cadillac.
The birth record of Cadillac.
Courtesy, Lenox Library, New York.

He received, as a matter of course, the good education due a boy of his station—noble birth from a feudal seignior. The Jesuits boasted that if they had a boy to his seventh year they could mold his character for life. From the primary Jesuit schools, the boy as he entered his teens passed on to junior cadet school for an army career. These dotted every section of France, and they were as with us to-day both public and private. From these, if he made good, he was passed on to the senior cadet schools. These were the doors to the army and were supported directly by the King. They, too, dotted every section in France. If the boy graduated high from these senior schools, he entered the army as a junior sub-lieutenant and {48} could hope for swift advancement to a captaincy by the time he was twenty-three.

The Roman wars became terribly vivid to a lad living where the iron heel of the legionaries had tramped, marching to master the Gauls. Cadillac must have studied military tactics here like a boy on the spot. Though he paced priestly corridors studying Latin, he was thinking of moats and drawbridges and stone walls such as the Romans built. Of the old family castle not much remained but the tower covered with ivy. Here the boy seems to have made his home in the lonely top tower. It was encircled by flocks of ravens, rooks, hawks, pigeons. Neighbors called it the Rookery. His love of birds stayed with him—at Detroit his military reports burst out almost in rhapsodies of enthusiasm. From the tower, too, he must have acquired his epithet of the Gascon "Hawk" or "Raven." It may have been from his Spanish nose or from the poverty-haunted tower. Such reference always put him in a rage. He must have always loved music, for later on he encouraged his habitant and soldier settlers to contentment by serenades of army songs, old troubadour ditties, army bands, Indian tom-toms. Did he practise music, himself, up in his lonely tower? We don't know. We know he must have had some faithful old servitor; for his careful court garb could be kept in order only by such a trained attendant. {49} Periwig curls, plumed hat, silk hose, spotless linen, satin breeches, satin doublet, silk cloak, spurred high boots—all required the daily service of a valet.

A sad lonely figure in the childhood of an orphan. A sadder lonelier figure through a poverty-hampered boyhood life till he married the wife whom he idolized. Then a man happy in his home life but always a little embittered in a cynical, laughing, care-free way toward the world, which had schooled him in hard knocks.

By 1677, Antoine was a cadet in the French Army. By 1683 he was out in America on a secret message for the King; so he must have distinguished himself to command such confidence. He came to New France just about the time the Le Moyne brothers were winning their first spurs of honor by their overland raids on the English of Hudson Bay. Though only twenty-five, he was already a lieutenant-colonel; so he must have been army-trained from his sixteenth year. And he could not have bought his promotions by influence or money, for he had neither. Enemies averred that Antoine had changed his name, La Muth, to La Mothe, because he was the son who disgraced the family. This, the father's will disproves. He cut the disgraced son off without a sou, in fact with a curse. To the others of the family, including Antoine, he left all he had. The change from La Muth to La Mothe is easily {50} understood by people who know the provincial's twist of consonants and vowels and the spelling to conform with the pronunciation.

Anyway, here Cadillac came to Canada about 1683; and he gave such offhand frank reports to his King that Louis knew he could trust him. They were as different from the cringing oily whining reports of slimy hypocrites out for self-aggrandizement as the clean wolfhound is from a snake; but he retained the faults of a good Gascon to the very end. He had his frightful quick tempests of temper. He had a tongue sharp as his temper. He had a vision clear as his Damascus blade. He did not mind making enemies because he knew he could master them. Yet—true Castilian—in love or war he had an eye for the main chance; and he saved money no matter how meager his pay. At no period in all his life did La Mothe lack ready coin to take advantage of every opportunity passing his way; and he never wasted money in vain display.

He was on good terms with the Court—such good terms that he was personally known to all the ministers and the King; but he lacked the fortune to keep the pace. Over the long hawk nose, the French Court ladies made merry, largely because he was too poor to excite competition as a possible match for daughters. Then he took that step which must have provoked the {51} hilarious patronizing merriment of King Louis' gay and haughty dames. He married a spinster—a penniless girl out in the colonies. In that circle demoiselles over fourteen and unmarried were old maids. Girls who were thrifty and serious and learned were—well—a joke; and such was the bride Cadillac chose for himself. But he made no mistake and his later life proved he did not choose amiss. Thérèse Guyon's kinship with a Duke de Lauzon gave Cadillac entry to the exclusive upper circles of Versailles and hope of some day winning the coveted honor of a baronetcy or earldom and wealth to sustain the honor. The Duke was related to one of the ladies in waiting at the King's Court. Frontenac's wife was related to the Queen, herself. That may have been the bond of first friendship with Frontenac, and it was to be important to Cadillac at a critical moment. Though Frontenac's independent wife did not submit to his masterful temper, she kept him well informed all his life of every secret move against him and of Louis' abiding faith in him.

Cadillac seems to have met his bride first in Port Royal—Annapolis Basin of Nova Scotia where her father was supervising the building of stone-walled forts. Port Royal had shifted its flag to every wind of war from 1654. This is simply explained. The habitant settlers could fish in summer for a living and hunt {52} the woods for pelts in winter. They were contented and did not care one fig what flag flew over them; but one thing they had to have in order to prosper—trade with Boston; and while Boston did not number as many fighting men as New France and New York it did number folks of a stronger, more patriotic fervor. Port Royal was English in 1654. It went back under the fleur-de-lis by the Treaty of Ryswick. It became Annapolis in the Queen Anne's War and did pretty much as it liked as to trade. Cadillac's bride was out at Port Royal in these intervals. There were fewer than ninety-five livable houses in all Port Royal including the garrison. And the town was always a little Huguenotic. The betrothal took place in Quebec City, and the marriage followed in Quebec City, June 25, 1687. They lived in ideal harmony. In his absence, Madame Cadillac was as keen a manager as her husband and had as sharp an eye for the cheats, frauds, intriguing hypocrites.

In 1689 Cadillac was summoned to Paris to consult Louis XIV on the conquest of all New England. He reported on the forts of New France and all the Atlantic colonies from 1689 to 1694. In later years he had to report in secret cipher. Now let his secret reports to his King declare his real character. They are very caustic, terse, clear-sighted; and Louis was guided by them.


He told the Jesuits their conduct "smelled of sedition a hundred years old." He did not purpose pausing "on his way for the noise of puppies snapping and barking at heels." He disliked the vain, idle, useless young aristocrats who cluttered Castle St. Louis drawing-rooms and lived by their wits. He did not like "the sweet-smelling odor of sanctity," but he had a hound's nose for sincerity and action and results. He regards the Hurons and Ottawas as mischievous brutes never loyal even to their missions. They "play the fox but never the lion." He honors the heroism of the Jesuits but can't see that baptizing infants as converts does any good. Better let the missions set themselves to educating the half-breed children. As to brandy, how else hold trade against New York rum and Hudson Bay liquor in barter? But the trade must be controlled and not be free to these scamps of young officers who employed bushrangers for the hard work. He would confiscate every barrel of liquor up at Mackinac and turn it over for the King's trade, where it may be needed "to counteract bad hard diet on fish" and help on cold midwinter trips and in drenching rains. It wasn't his policy the Jesuits fought. It was taking control of liquor. There were seven thousand Indians of mixed blood yearly gathered at Mackinac Straits for the trade and white fish season; but there were fewer than two hundred soldiers to maintain order and {54} only sixty houses for missions or garrison, and much of the ammunition charged to the King went for illegal trade. When priests would "not remove their hats" in the presence of a royal representative, why expect docility from young officers, especially young rascals of dissolute lives beyond reach of the law? Montreal is playing the part of a dog in the manger. It is not letting Indian trade go on down to Quebec and lawless trade is turning Mackinac into the worst frontier post in all New France. Duluth might lead fifty canoes of furs down from Mackinac one season all right. All might dribble off to the English the very next season, and French trade lie dead for the next two years.

Another fort should be erected as a new garrison to cut out the corruption from Montreal and the lawlessness at Mackinac. Duluth is scouting both outposts now but can do little, for the bushrangers have scuttled to the wilds. What is needed is a settlement somewhere on the Lakes, of farmers and a strong garrison for protection. Tonty, brother of La Salle's man, is counteracting the English on the Ohio. He would curtail Jesuit power by Recollet friars, not so given to trade and equally devout. "One may as well knock one's head against a wall as hope to convert the Indians in any way" but by gradually educating their children. Many of the Indian girls do live vicious lives, but that "is because the teachers are too strict {55} with them and try to make them nuns. Much better let them marry our soldiers and then educate their children." There are at least four hundred barrels of brandy concealed round Mackinac for illicit trade. The English are paying twice as much for furs as the French and use just as much brandy. The English threats on Quebec should be answered by cannon mouth and not diplomacy.

It took two weeks to go from Quebec to Montreal and six weeks to go on up to the Lakes. What was the use of talk to protect these posts at such a distance? Better a new strong French fort between Mackinac and the Ohio. Why think you could license and keep in order bushrangers? You had to catch your bushrunner first. Sentence them to hang for unlicensed trade if you like, but try to catch them? As well try to catch a sly fox or wild bird. You would have to hang some governors and half the scamp young lieutenants if you attempted to carry out that sentence. True, Governor Frontenac had crushed the Iroquois danger for Quebec City, but their raids were so outrageous at Montreal that farmers had to winter inside the town and only ventured to their fields with muskets in hand. The massacres had become a wild terror of nightmare dreams. They had strengthened Montreal with eight hundred more troopers, but that didn't protect the settlement.


All of which seems to prove that Louis XIV had done a very wise thing in picking a detached observer as informant. Gain the West and gain it now at all hazards—that was the gist of all Cadillac's reports.

There was just one sentence in all these reports that must have given the King pause in his diplomacy and plans: "The world may revolve on its axis to all eternity, but Canada will no more become a France than a desert a garden." In other words, Cadillac was beginning to doubt that a New World domain could be ruled by dictation from headquarters, three thousand miles away. Perhaps that is why Louis, knowing that the Stuarts were about to crash down in England, decided to change his policy in New France and give this extraordinary young Gascon the responsibility of building up a western New France with headquarters on the Lakes and later transferred him to Louisiana; and Cadillac might have succeeded if Old France had not crumpled up before Marlborough and William of Orange.

At all events, he is revered and honored as father and founder of Detroit. And he is equally famous though not so popular as one of the first governors of Louisiana. Louisiana in his day meant pretty much all territory from the Gulf of Mexico to the ridge of the Rockies. With the exception of New Spain it was the vastest area for European colonizing in the two {57} Americas; and both Old Spain and Old France were grasping for it. England, too, was not blind to its possibilities; but the aims of Spain and France differed from those of England. England was ever, as Napoleon later called her in contempt, "a nation of shopkeepers," whose wealth came from international trade. Spain sought wealth in gold and silver mines. So did France, but she financed expansion of empire by the fur trade. Both thought it possible to do what proved impossible—dictate every move on the checker-board of dishonest diplomacy from headquarters in home lands. England on the other hand more and more left expansion to her Atlantic Colonies; and these colonies were, even in the era from 1660 to 1700, encroaching yearly on the Middle West. The Ohio was the pathway westward from the South Atlantic settlements. The Mohawk Trail through Iroquois territory was the path from the North Atlantic frontier; and it may as well be acknowledged frankly that both English and French traded firearms to the Indians for raids on all movements by whites to the Middle West. The Iroquois were incited by the Dutch of Manhattan to raid and harass the French going west by the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes. Kingston and Niagara were the portage points where the Iroquois barred French progress. The French on their part armed the Lake tribes to {58} raid the settlements of New England and even as far south as the Ohio. Both paid a terrible price in human life for this folly. Such criminal tactics dyed the advance-line settlement in the deep red of the Bloody Ground.

And as we have seen, Cadillac was entrusted before he was twenty-five to scout the advance ground and report privately to his royal master the wisest policy for all moves. Such eminence at twenty-five was almost as amazing as the swift promotions thrust on the Le Moyne sons—Iberville and Bienville—before they were twenty-four.




Sunlight amid the Shadows—Frontenac Back a Master in the Saddle—Infirm but the Same Youthful Ardor—In Spite of His Nose, Cadillac is No Don Quixote Tilting at Windmills—Life in the Château Gay and Happy—The Morning Audience Conferences—The Gay Parades—the Seigniors at Home, the Old Majordomo—The Happy Friars and Monks Untroubled by Ambition—The Habitant Peasant the Happiest of All.

Awaiting Frontenac's return, on his second term as governor, Cadillac, patient as one of his impatient temperament could be, had drilled his half-pay young Gascon cadets for the summer campaign of aggression. It was the only way to keep them out of mischief. He loved their fighting spirit, their quick response for action, their almost perfect fencing prowess. He was probably not unsympathetic toward their numerous love-affairs, when a Gascon like a sailor had an adored one in every port of call; but this quick drawing of swords to slash a civilian off the curb in mud, this picking of fights to display prowess, this gambling in low dens—well, this must be curbed and stopped; so he kept his boys busy.

Cadillac, however, was plainly troubled his first year in Quebec. The King of France had given him oral instructions, but these seemed so directly {60} contradictory to the orders from Louis to the intendants that Cadillac did not know which set of royal instructions should guide his own course; however, Frontenac would arrive on the first frigate out, and from Frontenac he could gather what was to be the real imperial policy in New France. Now came Frontenac.

Hebert's statue of Frontenac in Quebec.
Hebert's statue of Frontenac in Quebec.
Courtesy, Canadian Pacific Ry. Co.

Though infirm and often carried in his armchair to Indian powwows, Governor Frontenac was back—"Master in the Saddle." Instead of his frail health increasing his sharp temper as in lesser minds, it seemed to give him a more urbane, philosophic, poised outlook on life. Where opposition formerly threw him in frenzies of fury, he could now joke. Age did not cloud his mind nor his ardor. He stands the supremely greatest figure in New France. Young Cadillac was his right-hand man. The royal circle might call him Hawk or Raven from the Pyrenees, but they never mistook him for a Don Quixote tilting at windmills. His closest modern type is the Cyrano of the famous Gascon play, and the modern mayor of Cadillac's native St. Nicolas de la Grave refers to him as the Cyrano of the Pyrenees.

Though Indian raid, intrigue, quarrels between Bishop and Governor, jealousy between Jesuits and Recollets, seemed to disturb the surface of colonial life, it was not an unhappy era to the noblesse, nor to the simple peasant farmer. There was the sunny {61} side to the moving kaleidoscope picture of colonial days. The happy temperament shed its laughing light over many a dark tragedy. Tragedy did not leave the tight-lipped suppressed emotions so common to races which can not bubble over in effervescent feelings. Amazing to realize, the habitants exposed to daily peril seemed really the merriest of all the three estates: noblesse, bourgeois, peasant.

Castle St. Louis and Lower Town.
Castle St. Louis and Lower Town.
Courtesy, Canadian Pacific Ry. Co.

The reverberating thunder of a great cannon set the echoes rolling below Cape Diamond. One must keep in mind—as apparent from the pictures of the period—there were three distinct levels, if one can call high rocks levels, to Quebec City. There was Lower Town, the level of the docks. There was Upper Town, where the convents, the monasteries, the Bishop's palace, the fortifications, the Château or Castle St. Louis clustered. Above all was Cape Diamond, where later great fortifications rose. In Cadillac's day, Cape Diamond displayed little of its later greatness, except the high harbor signal and the flag. This signal was not a harbor light. That came from Upper Town. It was rather a semaphore for friendly vessels and a cipher in its blinks warning dangers. Though only oil from grease and tallow, its lights could be seen by all navigators up and down the St. Lawrence. The famous modern terrace was the vanity parade board walk in Frontenac's era.


The Castle St. Louis was the Château Frontenac of to-day. All were awakened to the duties of a new day. The fleur-de-lis banner ran up on the flag-pole of garrison and Castle St. Louis. In Quebec, this was followed by the chimes of cathedral bells calling to prayer or high mass. In outlying settlements, the same tolling of bells reminded the humbler folk a day's duties had begun, and every soul mumbled his prayers and doffed cap, while housewives bowed their heads for a moment and invoked favorite saint for blessing on this, that, the other simple task to be performed. The chimes of Quebec are to-day part of its charm to tourists.

Bugle and fife called the soldiers to drill and the Gascon cadets to rub the sleep from eyes heavy-lidded with the previous night's dissipations. The mounted drill is described as in dress of blue coats with profusion of gold and silver foppery, white trousers, spurred high boots. After drill and breakfast came the vanity parade in the gray leather so dear to every vain young lieutenant and so attractive to the demoiselles returning from cathedral prayers. Such a chance those early prayers gave the girls to pass the cathedral square and go home by the great board walk above the St. Lawrence, where the senior officers and Governor's staff could be seen in the gallery on the outer side of the castle. The old dowagers might {63} clack in a very crows' conference of afternoon gossip and the strictest chaperon trot along her long line of girls from the convent; but who that had not eyes on all sides of her head could watch a line of gay maidens in their early teens taking the air above the river? The Gascon cadets strutted in glory.

Cadillac would never tolerate a man in his company not dressed spick and span as a naval man in spotless white. He, himself, set the example in costume faultless from hat to high boots.

Usually about eleven of the clock, all officers were summoned to the great audience chamber of the Governor, in the Castle. It was not so luxurious as the same great audience room of the King in Versailles, but it was as close an imitation as the colony could afford. A long narrow table ran down the center. High-backed chairs flanked the table. Frontenac's seat was on a raised dais at one end. The carpets were red. The flags were draped overhead. The room was wainscoted half-way up and paneled above the wainscot with carvings in deep oak. Snuff was the vogue at these solemn conferences—snuff from little luxury boxes with paintings of gay pagan deities on the lid. Even back in the Pyrenees home châteaux of the Gascon lieutenants, the drawing-rooms were in an extravagant imitation of all the Versailles grandeur. Portraits on porcelain and canvas of ancestors traced back to the {64} Crusades, hung on walls draped with tapestries worked by ancient nuns, or woven in the Netherlands, or purloined from the Turk. Gilt-framed chairs stood stiffly at ends of onyx and ebony tables. Vases of rarest glass were on tables, in wall alcoves, on carved stands. Oriental rugs decorated the rough stone floors. Portières draped all doors, and the humblest château had its racing stable. Frontenac had at this time in France such an estate to keep up and at no time did it yield him more than five thousand livres a year, and in no year did New France give him income of more than two thousand five hundred crowns. The result was, of course, that income went for display and debts accumulated for necessities.

On each side of the Governor's chair in Quebec stood the priests in rank,—the black-robed Jesuits with tonsured crowns keeping pretty much to one side, the gray-robed friars and monks of St. Francis to the other. If a bishop were present, he was seated at the table; but he was expected to rise as the Governor, representing the King, entered. Over this insistence by Frontenac there were many scowls, but the Count was inexorable. They could neither bend nor break him. Then the notary with his long quill pen was commanded to read the latest dispatches of instructions from the King. These dispatches were filled with details that seem to us ridiculous. They encompassed {65} every possible subject in scope from the brandy at frontier posts to the policy to be followed with tribes differing from one another in needs as a Mediterranean country from a suburb of Paris. Rebuke to this, that and the other officer was not glozed in gentle phrase, but read aloud and provoked many a flush of resentment over its frankness, its unfairness, its betrayal that some one was tittle-tattling lies back to the King's Court. Then the intendant would read his financial report and his authority was independent of the Governor's. There was often a violent though repressed clash at this point. Then the fur-company monopoly holders would report; and as their reports were too frequently a tissue of deceptions to conceal peculation, frowns began to explode in disputes. But the Governor was always addressed as "Excellency." The formality of courtesy was maintained, but that did not prevent many a scowl replacing what had entered as a smile. The audience had not yet blown up in a volcano, but it did often explode in a firecracker of little enmities.

The midday meal called to His Excellency's table the officers whom he felt he could trust; seigniors from outlying settlements; merchants who did not lie and steal; army commandants who could advise on the policies to be adopted at each frontier post. There were more heartburnings over these informal {66} functions than the banquets and charades and carnivals given to the gentry of all society. Woe betide the governor who favored Jesuits and excluded Franciscans, or omitted the Black Robes and invited the Recollets to such frank midday discussions. A perfect deluge of complaints would go back to the King by the next boat to evoke another batch of rebuke, sharp words, more detailed instructions in the next season's boats. The Royal Master spared no one in his dispatches. Frontenac was growing more urbane in his old age, Louis more exasperated; for his plans were going all awry in Europe.

But the old majordomo did his duty in the cook's kitchen. If good wines and good food could lubricate tempers, he did his best. His chicken pies were a foot deep. His venison had been steeped in cider vinegar to leave it tender. His trout and salmon were of the freshest. His wines came from rare old Spanish and French cellars, where they had ripened from sour heady flavor to mild pure distilled taste, less liable to intoxicate and served from huge tankards and carafes but in tiny Venetian glasses; for gentlemen were supposed to practise moderation, while the Gascons drank pottle deep and gloried in wild carousals from tavern to tavern.

Then came the vesper chimes of evening. Every hat was doffed, every head bowed for a moment in prayer. {67} It was a scene of great joy and quietude to the Bishop's heart. Then at sundown, the cannon shot again, signaled flags lowered and high harbor lights up on Cape Diamond, and the day's duties were over. The Governor's regimental band on certain nights in spring and summer and early autumn might play from the Castle gallery overlooking the river. Gascon officers old and young lounged on the board walk. Demoiselles did the same with fair faces framed in fur scarfs. Dowagers emerged from afternoon siesta to join the gay throngs. The moon rose in a golden shield above the broad basin of the St. Lawrence. A ferry might ply last passengers across to the twinkling lights of Point Levis, at that time known as Lauzon seigniory but small profit to its holder, whether owned by Madame Cadillac's kin or some other Lauzon. It was too exposed to raid and too far from Montreal for Upper Lake trade. With darkness fell the active high tide of colonial life. Dowagers withdrew for an evening at cards and harp, charades, astrologic predictions, perhaps a little gaming for money. A light might be seen in some towers where Jesuit scholars were peering their eyes out over some old Latin tome. Nuns in blue garb and gray cloak paced in walled garden for gentle exercise, while sisters in the Ursuline convents prostrated themselves in all-night devotions before the statue of saint. Saints and angels seemed very near to these devotees. {68} Their need for protection was so desperate to the whole colony. A meteor, a comet, an eclipse were portents of warning and fear; for had not all preceded the worst Indian raids, the great fire, the great earthquake? Only the very learned, the skeptic, the scoffer disregarded such signs as direct from Heaven. Venus in the ascendent as evening star was no goddess of love here as at Versailles. She was the Star of Marie, and a little prayer would go up involuntarily for protection. The wild carousals of Lower Town began after dark in visit after visit from tavern to gamblers' den.

Out at the seigniorial mansions, the pace set by the Castle was followed as closely as purse could permit. Chivalry was as elaborate as any poor, old, half-cracked Don Quixote could have practised. The most of the mansions were oblong stone structures with strong deep walls to defy Indian raid and fire. The turrets loopholed did not belong to the type of architecture affected, but were necessary in the colonies for gun-fire from roof level to repel attack. Of course, both in winter and the chill of summer nights, these high-ceilinged rooms with broad stairway acting as a flue for cold hallway airs, were ghastly uncomfortable. Furs were used both summer and winter, by ladies to drape shoulders, by gentlemen to toss a robe over rheumatic gouty old knees. Cards, the harp, the guitar, an affectation of astrology, dancing, {69} charades—were as in Quebec the indoor amusements. When life became too dull from isolation, the ladies and their lords went down to Quebec for a season, where the dowagers picked up enough gossip to keep them going for a year, the demoiselles picked up a lover or a husband, the young sons sought commissions in army or navy. Unswerving devotion to Church, King, Country—was a cult.

Out among the humble people, little frame houses with dormer-windows in slope roofs were replacing the first rough log cabins. The big living-room was the center of family and all social life. Rose culture from France, seedlings from old-home orchards had now grown in many gardens. Orchards now famed for the best fruits in America were beginning to yield. Roses of every color began to climb the trellis of wall and porch. The dinner might not boast the rare wines of the Castle, but it did serve cider and home-brew from berries and grapes quite as appetizing as the seignior's or the Governor's. As for the food, it might not be served elaborately as in the grand houses, but it was as abundant. Musket and fishing-line provided food unless Indian raid had cooped the peasants up in forts.

The habitants lived a much more independent and self-sufficient existence than the so-called classes. They could make their own canoes of birch-bark and {70} cedar. They wove their own linens and wools of such fine strong texture that bolts of this cloth are to-day the prize of every tourist. They made their own moccasins for winter use and cobbled their own shoes from home-cured leather. And the copper toes have given us the modern slang expression, "cop" for officer of the law. The clamp of coppered toes in cobbled streets was the signal for scamps to scamper. Buckskin was the garb for wood-runners, blanket coats for home life; and their blankets of gray and white with stripe round the shirt and sleeve cuff were much the same as to-day, with the peaked chapeau hanging down behind to be drawn up over head in front or used as capacious pocket in mild weather. The red cap could be drawn down over ears in wind, or worn close fit as a hood in ordinary weather, but it kept hunters from mistaking a man's head for a bear's in the bush. A red handkerchief bought at the nearest trading store completed the picturesque costume, which is portrayed in the beautiful early paintings of Kreighoff with moving figures following dog sleds across the snowy surface of iced rivers. They might not boast the two-wheeled calashes that carried the portly dowagers up and down the steep cobbled streets of Quebec, but they were now using the two-wheeled carts with heavy horses from Normandy and Brittany harnessed in ropes or home-cured leather.


Few habitants could read and fewer write; but what was a notary for with his inkhorn in pocket and goose-quill pen behind his ear but to draw wills and write family parish records and stretch his legs under tables groaning with good food while he swelled out under belt and puffed with the self-importance of a strutting fat pigeon? He was the news-gatherer and news-carrier in every neighborhood; but he was not a vicious news-carrier, for he had to depend for a living on his patrons. He knew who were to be married and the dower of each. He recorded the marriage of each for the parish record, and the children born. His records comprise the completest parish genealogies in all America. He might get his dates mixed by a "6" with such a flourish it was recopied for a "9"; and sometimes perhaps that home-brew confused his quill; but on the whole, he did his work well. The free meal or a little porker paid his fee, and the habitant was happy. Of coin, he fingered little and that chiefly from the market sales in Lower Town; and it went chiefly not in the family teapot, but in a box that could be buried in Indian raid or New England invasion.

He and his good wife loved chaffering over a bargain as they do to-day. I have tested this out on many a market day both in Montreal and Quebec. Go early to market. Agree on the price set at first by the housewife squatting behind her display of fresh {72} vegetables, fruit, capons, little fat porkers. Comes a chatter in patois French with her neighbors and she at once raises her price. She isn't going to miss the fun of a day on the market by selling everything in a few hours. She knows as well as you do that fresh food will not be quite so appetizing after exposure for half a day as that bought before eight in the morning and at once carried off to the cook; so next time if you are wise, you, too, will chaffer.

The center hub of this wheel of parish life was the curé. He was more than priest; he was friend. He was more than shepherd to his flock; he was adviser on every subject from marriage to apportionment of shares to heirs. He knew every secret of every family and seldom, indeed, betrayed confidences from political motives as his superiors in Quebec too often did. He might not be learned as were the bishops, but he could hear confessions, teach the church catechism and wherever he espied a boy or girl of uncommon ability send them on for higher education than he could give. He hated drunkenness and fought it; but he never eschewed wines and cider of home-brew. He hated flippant light conduct but was himself jolly of the jolliest, and permitted Sunday afternoon dances because he knew if he did not his flock would stray off where he could not control merriment to innocent vent.


Much has been charged in rancor toward the church's tithes of a tenth and the seignior's exactions of as much and the noblesse's demands of forced free labor for the King. Why moderns ask—why was the church always a magnificent building in the poorest parish, the priest's house of the best and largest, the nun's schools a close second to the boy's monastic schools? This is a misapprehension of the whole ancient régime. The Fathers were paid in produce, not coin—one-tenth. Compare that to our rents and taxes. The seignior's share at that time did not exceed a twenty-sixth. It seems a discrepancy to describe tithes or tenths as a twenty-sixth; but Professor Wrong's account of seigniorial mansions makes clear that such was the actual rental often paid. Compare that to our taxes on net income. The church was a magnificent building because it was the result of a continuous income and beautified for centuries. The parish priest to this day seldom draws a salary exceeding five hundred dollars a year but he lives at no expense, and it is only in the rarest cases that his estate is willed away to relatives. It goes back to his parish community life. Forced labor or the corvée did become a terrible curse just prior to the fall of Quebec under a corrupt ring; but to 1730, the forced labor was the peasants' contribution to state taxes. There were some thirty or forty holy days besides Sundays. This left about {74} three hundred work-days. Of these days, the habitant was expected to give from twenty to twenty-six for public good. Who can say in our days of high-gear and self-lashed labor for material gain, that eighty days of more or less relaxation were a bad thing? Infant mortality ran high, but that was more from the universal ignorance of the age and from large families than from general ill health. Families ran from ten to twenty. Children were exposed to contagious youthful diseases in order to put them past the danger while yet young. Smallpox, chicken-pox, measles left their mark in every family; but those who survived lived to a great age. The frail and weak died early as they did in higher life. I know of a case in my own day when a poor habitant's family had increased to the twenty-sixth. He felt the growing family more than he could support from his sparse farm now divided and subdivided amid descendants. He and the good wife took counsel together. They at once carried the twenty-sixth addition to their family to his reverence, the priest. Whether the priest accepted the gift, I do not know. I know he and the nuns did accept some of the more promising boys and girls for a higher education and reluctantly saw them go as emigrants to the mill towns of the bordering United States. Perhaps we get the best cross-current of Court, seigniorial and {75} habitant life, by relics and legends in modern Quebec.

Habitant's cabin, from an old painting by Kreighoff.
Habitant's cabin, from an old painting by Kreighoff.
Courtesy, National Gallery of Canada

The Jesuits have been accused of painting the picture in too dark color because their severe monastic lives rendered them unfit for the rough and tumble of Indian camp and wilderness fare. They have also been accused of exaggerating the hardships in their reports to the King in order to maintain a yearly contribution of help from the royal treasury. In like manner, the official reports of governors and intendants and colonists are charged with prejudice to excuse their own failures or peculations. Yet the Latin temperament of sunshine breaking through the blackest clouds sheds a laughing gay light over many a stormy year. These legends of olden days can not be set down chronologically, for no one knows their origin. Some have been embodied in poems, some in fiction, some in rude carvings now preserved above the door of public buildings. All are told and retold yarns of French and English barracks round the world.

The Golden Dog, Quebec legend.  Quebec old wall up which Frontenac was welcomed.
The Golden Dog, Quebec legend.
Courtesy, Canadian Pacific Ry. Co.
Quebec old wall up which Frontenac was welcomed.
Courtesy, Canadian Pacific Ry. Co.

One of the first Quebec streets traversed by the visitor runs up Mountain Hill. The ground here is a mine of legends. The post-office now marks the site of a famous old rendezvous. Set in the gray stone of its walls is a rare relic of tradition. It is the Chien d' Or, the Golden Dog, which for a hundred years and more has been gnawing its bone and growling defiance. {76} Beneath the gilded figure of a sulky ill-favored cur is carved the puzzling threat:

"I am a dog that gnaws his bone,
I couch and gnaw it all alone.
A time will come, which is not yet,
When I'll bite him by whom I'm bit."

Explanations without end have been given of this threat. The proprietor of an old place on this street quarreled with an infamous rascal intendant. There was no redress in New France for any one incurring the despot's displeasure. The incensed owner, according to legend, put up this enigmatical tablet of spite. The quarrel did not end with the defiant sign. Stories are told of the assassination of the indignant burgher. Many romances have been woven out of the old legend. When the antiquated buildings gave way to new structures, the gilded tablet with its sculptured dog and snarling inscription was placed in the northern façade of the post-office. There are those who interpreted prophecy and not romance from the old rhyme. The people of New France were groaning under injustice and extortion. The golden dog uttered prophetic warning to the unheeding ears of imperial France.

Nor were all escapades of the younger officers confined to carousals in Lower Town. Before and after the conquest, the people of the old capital led {77} a gay life. When not busy fighting, or getting in and out of love, the young blades of Quebec sought diversion in mad pranks. The habitant as firmly believed in a visible devil of terrifying form as he did in his own existence. This belief was strengthened by the sudden appearance on wintry nights in villages and churchyards of a monster whose eyes shone red as blood, whose mouth emitted smoke, whose hoof was cloven and who bore the infallible sign of the dragon's tail. At times, a strange conveyance would be driven wildly through the stillness of the streets, and some unfortunate wight within reach would be snatched up, whisked off and dropped limp with fright on a snow-drift miles away. Is it not a matter of history that the lurid shadow of the devil, himself, stepping out, prancing and dancing and switching his tail, once appeared on the walls of St. John's Gate and paced up and down with the sentry, stopping when he stopped, running when he ran, and almost frightened that poor soldier out of his five wits? After these terrifying sights, who could disprove the nightly visitations of the evil one? But the rascally young officers of the garrison explained never a word. Woe to the night-watch carrying his lantern when the fun-loving rollicking bands came on him! The good watchman on first sound of a roving gang took to his heels and a wild sprinting match between the guardian of {78} the peace and tormentors resulted from any chance encounter. A grudge against comrade or brother officer was sometimes paid off by an anonymous advertisement which brought cart-loads of cats or little porkers or more offensive guests to the quarters of the officer.

One escapade has not been chronicled by historians, but there is every prospect of it being laughed down to posterity. Drastic reforms were always being announced in the commissariat department. A regiment sometimes opposes too drastic reforms. Sometimes the best bookkeeper's accounts won't balance. Sometimes little petty graft, like tobacco, can't be tucked into itemized columns. The dignity of royal engineers was not to be compromised by a vulgar dickering over small items. When an increase of pay tempted a royal engineer to take charge of auditing such items, the disdain of the others may be imagined. Undaunted, the new man entered on his new duties with a new broom and at once made a most minute examination of all items. All was satisfactory till the new man's eye fell on the item "cats' meat."

"What's that? Cats' meat, raw meat is not good for cats. A penny a day for cats' meat?" Stammered exclamations failed to pacify the new man's zeal.

"Parade that cat immediately." The poor offender didn't know what to do. There was not a cat that could {79} be borrowed within a quarter of a mile from the office. One day's grace would have enabled him to rummage for a stray cat; but without a moment's notice to conjure up either excuses or cats, confusion was the poor fellow's portion. The item was struck off, the underling severely reprimanded and a crestfallen face emerged from the first interview with the new chief. For an engineer to accept a position which comrades regarded as infra dig was bad enough, but to split hairs over a little camouflage graft for tobacco was a crime against the social code. Soldiers and other officers decided it was necessary to curb the new man's zeal. Stealing some official, commissariat order sheets, a young officer sent a list of the commissariat's requirements to the beadles of surrounding parishes to be posted on church and post-office doors. A tempting price was offered for all cats delivered in the commissariat office for the destruction of rats and mice. This innocent sheet was dispatched to a score of parishes. The habitant boys took stock of their own and their neighbors' cats. There were some roving gangs of bad boys amid even habitants. Early Monday morning there was quite a procession of all roads leading to the commissary office. There was also some suspicion of a mewing orchestra from the air, but it wasn't music. Cat instalments began to arrive thick and fast and caterwauling bags were deposited on {80} the commissariat floor. Other bags began to open at the neck; and one, two, three, four, out they hopped, somewhat scarred from the fray, en route. Desks were upset, stools overturned and the whole place overrun in a bedlam of cats that morning. For years, it was as much as a man's life was worth to mention cats to that commissariat officer.

St. Anne was the patron Saint of all voyageurs. The first church to her honor stands to-day very much as it did when Cadillac's boats ascended the St. Lawrence from Montreal. The church is close to the bank of the St. Lawrence. Sailors nearing port or leaving the harbor, on coming in view of the spire above Bonsecours church crossed themselves, breathed a prayer for safe return or besought a prosperous voyage. This was the first church built of stone on the Island of Montreal. The foundations were laid in 1658 contemporaneous with Cadillac's birth. A precious statue of the Virgin, reputed to be very old and to possess powers for aiding sailors, had been presented to St. Anne church. The old gray church is a fine type of the habitant place of worship. Simple people untouched by modern influence, toil-worn old folk, aged tottering women, ruddy apple-cheek youngsters and stalwart sailormen slip in little Bonsecours at all hours of the day, drop on their knees between the narrow benches, say their prayers, and all the time stare at {81} intruding visitors as at some wild animal escaped from a circus tent. You will see old voyageurs whose toothless cheeks and bent forms indicate the century mark. Everywhere on the dark walls are inscribed simple appeals of a simple-hearted people. "Children of the Blessed Virgin Mary, don't leave this Holy Church without making an offering." The face of the great Maisonneuve, father of Montreal, has been painted in bold outline on the darkened walls at the back of the church. The interior is in a dull monochrome which gives to the candles on the front altar almost unnatural brightness. Piles of crutches commemorate the healing of cripples. An inscription states that in a chapel above the roof of the church is the "facsimile of the poor and most august home of the Holy Family at Nazareth." The stairway leading up to the airy chapel has other kinds of inscriptions, the thumb-marks of vandals, visitors' scribbling, the inane names of inane autographs. The "Little Heaven" perched in mid-air far above noisy city and busy river is found to consist of a tiny round chapel bright with colored lights and tinted windows. The calm of the chapel is in striking contrast to the movement and life on the river below. In winter the ice may be black with skaters, in summer the river may be a panorama of harbor life. These Old-World habitants in a New-World turmoil are a unique people. {82} Until very recently, they possessed little and were content with little. They clung tenaciously to the old order of things and desired neither luxury nor wealth.

But even by the seventeen hundreds, there were distant mutterings of the storm to come before 1759. The intendant or finance minister, independent of governor and bishop and too often in league with the corrupt fur ring and card-sharpers, was running counter to His Excellency, Count Frontenac.

However, it needed only the common danger of war to unify all classes as one kin; and that touch-off to an explosion of patriotism came in the blundering, clumsy, ill-advised and more ill-equipped invasion by the Bostonians under poor Phips.




Frontenac and Cadillac Discuss the Policy of the King for New France—Frontenac Meets Indian Delegates in Powwow and Despite Years Whirls in Tom-Tom Dances—Terrible News on His Pause at Montreal Hurries Him through the Autumn Rains to Quebec—Threatened with Invasion by Land and Sea—All New England Has United with New York to Attack the Lion in His Den—All New France Unites to Repel the Common Foe—Bishops Forget Their Quarrels to Pray and Shoulder Muskets—Phips Attacks with Thirty-Two Vessels and Suffers a Crushing Defeat—New France Wild with Joy but the Old Warrior Is Summoned by Death.

Chillier the autumn evenings, shorter the days, fewer the gay throngs in the vanity parades before the Castle St. Louis. The forests cloaking the Laurentian Mountains began to change their deep greens to the gorgeous frost-tinted hues of orange and gold and reds deep as blood. They were not unlike an old warrior wrapping himself for the inevitable end in a magnificent mantle of many colors and must have reminded my Lord Frontenac that he, too, was nearing the place where he must prepare to lay off mortality. True, he had crushed the Iroquois in their own encampments and put the fear of God and French power in their hearts. Carried in an armchair to an Indian conference, his fiery spirit flamed up so he, too, joined {84} their powwow dances to the thump-thump-thump of their tom-toms from a slow circling of moccasined feet to a dizzy dervish whirl, when he had lifted and hurled the war hatchet down as buried for ever between French and Iroquois, Algonquins and Hurons. The Iroquois realized they had met their master. The Algonquins plucked up courage to come down as far as Montreal and Three Rivers in flotillas of five hundred canoes laden with pelts to the water-line. New France was saved from bankruptcy and the King's ships had sailed away with such cargoes as they had not carried for ten years. Fear first—love afterward. The old man's policy had justified itself in results. He had nothing to fear from the King. His peace had been a victory.

But the watchful old eagle eye was no less sharp inside the windows from his castle above the St. Lawrence, than out on the open gallery. From countless secret reports to Louis XIV, one can reconstruct the picture of the fateful years. With a fur robe thrown over the stiffening rheumatic old knees and his cloak lined with silk and edged with ermine tossed over the still erect military figure, he watched the very last frigate unmoor, hoist anchor, rattle out sails and with the receding tide float away down the river behind Isle Orleans. With spy-glass, he could see the last tip of the creaking masts till not a ship lay at the docks of Lower Town.


"Well, bonhomme, thank le bon Dieu the Indians have all dispersed for a year at least. We must have messengers out to watch for the ships coming with His Majesty's gold to pay the troops," he says to Cadillac. "In fact, La Mothe, I am going to send you to France on these fur frigates to report to His Majesty our plans to conquer all New England. The time is ripe. Strike the enemy before he can strike you! You can easily reach France in time to come back on the treasure ships by November. Then if rumors are true, you can direct the treasure ships where to hide coming up the St. Lawrence. I am inclined to think the rumors are true. There may be raids on Montreal."

"We'll send some of these idle scamps up to Montreal to protect from raid by these treacherous Iroquois tigers. They may change their mind——"

"Not in winter, La Mothe!"

"Yes, Your Excellency—I say in winter. Over sixteen hundred troopers on half-pay are too many here. They get in mischief. One officer for every fifty men—too many useless martinets for the good of Quebec every six months. They won't run off to the woods in winter—trust them not to freeze their lily finger-tips. They can't send brandy casks up to Mackinac when frost closes the canoe path."

"How many would you send up to Montreal—La Mothe?"


"I'd pack at least eight hundred of them off up to Montreal. It would lessen intrigue here."

"I wonder," says Frontenac, "if my services to His Majesty will not be considered worth a gratuity of two thousand crowns? I'll suggest that the next time my notary comes for a letter. My days are closing round me, fast, my dear fellow. Two thousand crowns would assure my not dying in debt and poverty in my old age."

To that La Mothe has no answer. He knows King Louis' proverbial ingratitude to the faithful and bribes to the faithless. He realizes my Lord Frontenac is much more likely to die in his fighting boots than in a lingering bed of old age. Also, he has a plan in the back of his head which will not cost Louis XIV one sou and will avert poverty in old age.

So eight hundred troopers were packed off up to Montreal by canoe.

"But how about Montreal—La Mothe?"

"Naked to danger as a new-born child. Farmers still timorous. A good many Algonquins and Hurons hanging round for the winter to add to the poverty of stores and people."

"But we can arm them with muskets and pistols——"

"And see both shoot off good balls in mid-air or waste on one skulking Iroquois to broil him in their {87} pot stews!—Pah!" Cadillac scoffs at such defenders for New France.

"Then, we, ourselves, shall go up to Montreal before the weather breaks in fierce autumn rains and see what we can do to strengthen those weak spines. You will go to France, I to Montreal."

One would give a great deal to know the exact nature of the oral conferences which Cadillac held in France with Louis XIV and Pontchartrain. Louis never compromised himself in any twist and turn of his devious policy toward England and Spain, friendship on the surface but never a move missed on the checker-board diplomacy to betray that he was planning and mapping all North America as a French possession and only waiting his chance to strike both and snatch their strategic forts—Boston and Manhattan on the Atlantic, Pensacola on the Mexican Gulf. The maps of this period from 1672 to 1700 carefully compiled prove that. As events almost immediate on the heels of the oral conferences show, the King would have the Le Moynes—Iberville and Bienville—strike first by sea from Hudson Bay and Newfoundland to Mexico; and raiders under other Le Moyne brothers strike over land. Cadillac was to transmit instructions by word of mouth only to Frontenac. La Mothe, himself, was to act both as secret reporter of the conditions at all ports—English and {88} French—to the King and as a post commander at Mackinac. That he did not act as a permanent all-the-year round commander at Mackinac, we also know; for he was down to Quebec half of each year and dwelling with his wife in Montreal and Quebec. Perhaps the position he really held resembled the modern King's messenger. Such an office is neither a spy nor a scout. He may employ both and they are subject to his orders independent of any local governor. He is usually disliked by the local authorities; for his reports go back orally or in cipher. Anyway we know he went to France in 1689 and came back on the King's treasure frigate in 1690. While Cadillac was in France, Governor Frontenac went up the St. Lawrence to Montreal "to strengthen those weak spines."

All Montreal remembered that powwow dance when the war hatchet had been buried for ever and two oxen and two barrels of wine graced the final feast of an Indian peace; but how would New England regard that peace? It would cut off its trade. Frontenac had Indian scouts to watch every movement overland north and, not trusting them overmuch, had white scouts behind this line of reconnoiter. First came one of those curious telegrams by moccasin or whiff of report from hunter to hunter of a great movement astir in all New England by land to conquer Montreal, by sea to assault Quebec now that the King's {89} frigates had gone with cargoes and more frigates were expected with gold. The two movements were to be simultaneous to take New France by surprise; but Frontenac was ready. Separated, each movement could be repelled by him. Combined, they might invest all New France and conquer by starvation. The movement by land never got through by Lake George and Champlain. It fell to pieces from its own lack of unity, but quite the reverse was the attack by sea.

It was the tenth of October, 1690. Cadillac was on the way back from France. Frontenac had been out all morning studying how Montreal should be fortified and had come in at three, when a messenger arrived in great haste from the major at Quebec. Moccasin reports were only too true. The Indians of the Lower St. Lawrence had seen a great fleet of New Englanders coming up the Gulf. There was not a dependable vessel in all the harbor of Montreal. Frontenac set out by canoe that very night, to be paddled day and night for Quebec. He ordered two hundred troopers to follow him down the river at once. Next day he met a canoe bearing him more news. The New England fleet had already passed the great heights of the Saguenay and was sailing slowly up the St. Lawrence as the tide favored and had passed Mal Bay—modern Murray Bay—without seeing the settlement in behind the stony flats.


Would the New England fleet have paused and gone in behind the dangerous tide rip if it had known the treasure ships lay there and on those treasure ships was Cadillac? Cadillac's ship had a pilot who knew every danger of the St. Lawrence. He must have smiled in his dry ironical fashion as he saw the invading fleet brave such perils without pilot or canoe man, who were as familiar with sand-reefs, tide, flooded currents seaward as with the path to their own cabins.

Meanwhile Frontenac sent word back up the St. Lawrence for Montreal to rush down every trooper to Quebec and as many Indian sharpshooters as could be spared.

Autumn rains do not fall in Quebec as in gentler climes. They plunge down in terrific squalls. They drenched Frontenac to his skin but the warrior grimly smiled. He knew such northeast gusts whipping his face might help the sails of the advancing invaders but with tidal rush and wind up-stream and the floods of the St. Lawrence down-stream, they would also create a smashing tumult of waters eighteen feet high. The New Englanders had no pilot on board who knew where to scud for holes of protection in the rocky walls. The King's frigates coming with gold always had such pilots. Besides La Mothe was on board coming out.

In four days, Frontenac was at Quebec. Lower {91} Town lay solitary. Furniture, supplies, arms, ammunition, coin trunks had been trundled to Upper Town and buried under the pavement or pitched helter-skelter in convent and monastery gardens. Women and children found shelter in hospitals, grand houses, religious retreats. Men and boys were under drill or posted on batteries in order to snipe off all approach.

How the aged Frontenac was welcomed with cheers that made the welkin ring! His cynical old heart must have felt the underlying trusting sincerity of children, who needed a spanking at times, but after all were his children to be defended at all hazards however the church might shepherd their souls heavenward. Hats went in air as he slowly rode up Mountain Street that evening and the thunder of cannon had not summoned to morning duties before the old man was galloping out to inspect all batteries, all bastions, all walls. The bishops might hate him at times, but their hats came off and they blessed him as he passed leading the swiftest riders to follow at terrible pace. "Behold," they said, "God has renewed his youth like the eagle's."

His commands went out with the snap of pistol-shots: Every ferry and pontoon to be taken off the St. Charles River to the east. Indians in hiding under trusty Gascon captains to snipe off any enemy landing to wade the ford. Logs to be piled in barricades across {92} the gates leading from Lower Town. Arms and cannon and ball to be in the bastion stone turrets to each side of the gates. To the two batteries on Lower Town below the Castle, three small cannon with scattering balls for welcome here. To rear in the circular wall, yes, that must be strengthened. Bags of earth behind the palisade to snipe off approach and Indians out in hiding to pick off New Englanders attempting to climb to the plain we now name Abraham.

The Frontenac coat of arms.
The Frontenac coat of arms.
Courtesy, Quebec Province Archives, 1929.

Twenty-seven hundred defenders were in their place in two days with the good housewives cooking food to be rushed out day and night, rain or no rain; and the work was swift. There was not a man in Quebec who did not know they must defeat or be defeated in a month; for there were food provisions in Quebec for only one month. Fortunate for Quebec, Phips, the New England commander of the assaulting fleet, did not know that.

It was on the evening of the fifteenth of October that telescopes descried the lights of slowly moving vessels drifting past Isle Orleans. Did Quebec sleep? It did not. Nuns lay prostrate before their favorite saints praying for victory, or else flew on feet that were wings of a wind from cook-house to trundle-cart waiting to gallop with steaming hot stews to the Gascons on guard. Dowagers forgot dignity, churchmen enmity, cadets vanity; all were one army for defense.


By daybreak, over thirty vessels were gliding into the broad basin of the harbor. Four were armed brigs, the rest, fishing craft, big and little, and all so crowded with men that the decks were black. When shots began to come up from the enemy aimed at the cathedral spires, they fell short of range and one good nun, if pride had not been a sin before God, would have felt proud that one ball shot her apron off as it fell inside the convent garden. Heads went a little higher in a religious ecstasy when twenty-five balls fell harmless inside the sacred gardens. But we are anticipating the story.

Frontenac's home castle in France.
Frontenac's home castle in France.
Courtesy, Quebec Province Archives, 1929.

Frontenac waited silent that morning of the sixteenth. His cannon might have been dead. He wanted Phips to show his hand first; and poor bewildered Phips did so in a bluster that was laughable against this tried fighter from Louis XIV's European campaign.

Under a white flag, a little jolly-boat came toward the foot of Mountain Street with a message for His Excellency, Count Frontenac. French canoes met it and conducted the New Englander ashore. There they blindfolded him and led him up Mountain Street. Now Mountain Street is slippery enough after rains on the cobblestones. It was probably still more slippery from frost. Over the barricades of logs the poor fellow was led till he felt like a clown in blind-man's {94} buff. Then his heavy boots crunched on the board walk, ascended stone steps to the Castle, entered a long hall of thick heavy velvet carpet, and the bandage was removed from his eyes.

It was the Audience Chamber of Governor Frontenac. The Governor rose majestically from the great oak chair. Behind stood in gold lace uniform all the officers of Court and Army backed by the Jesuits in black robes, the Recollets in gray gowns. Was the rough fellow bewildered? If so, he had the presence of mind, as he handed across Phips' demand for surrender, to express regret for the abrupt tenor of the message that called for instant surrender of the fort to the forces of King William and Queen Mary and answer before eleven of the clock, or the bombardment would begin. It was then ten o'clock. The New Englander pulled out his clumsy watch to wait.

Frontenac would not deign to answer in writing. He bade the messenger tell his master that His Majesty, King Louis, did not recognize King William and Queen Mary as anything but usurpers of the Stuart throne. He would not delay his answer one hour. He would answer by the mouth of his cannon; and the fellow was led back the way he had come blindfolded to the jolly-boat, whence he scrabbled up the rope ladder to the astounded Phips.

And Phips was astounded. Not thus had he been {95} misled by the easy surrender of Port Royal to expect reception in Quebec. Both sides lay silent that day. It was portentous. It was horrible. Just at nightfall, a great shout, a roll of drums, a screech of fifes, tore the welkin above Upper Town.

"My faith, gentlemen," exclaimed a prisoner Phips had picked up, "you have lost the game. Pack up and go home! All the troops have arrived from Montreal——"

"Then how have they got past us and in?"

"By the back road—St. Louis Street."

Still both sides lay silent for that night.

Now let us take the New Englander's side of the story.

Phips was far from a fool. He was about ten years older than Cadillac at the time of the invasion. He was one of twenty-six children and had done every form of manual work to his eighteenth year, when he learned to read and write. He was of most powerful physical frame and had hard common sense in abundance. Hard knocks had been his school. He, perhaps, did not hate the Roman Catholics of Quebec with the ferocity of a Cotton Mather, as the bishops of Quebec hated the heretics of New England; but that did not leave him any less a brave good commander. There was much alike in Frontenac and Phips; but Phips lacked two essentials to success which Frontenac {96} possessed. He had not been trained in war, and over the forces under him he had not the autocratic control of the French Governor. His second in command was a good chap but a civilian. The assembling of fishing vessels from all New England delayed action till late mid-summer. The easy victories in Nova Scotia gave him a false assurance of another capitulation at Quebec. His schooner masters fooled away time in conferences that must have maddened his impatience. His forces were so independent in spirit he had to consult each master and get a unanimous vote before he could feel sure they would not scuttle and abandon the project.

Tadoussac gave him the first ugly shock. There and then he must have realized that his guns had too low range to hit a fort on the top of such slopes. Of Quebec he had little real detail to guide him. All he knew was what he gathered from French travelers whom he had picked up ascending the St. Lawrence. Among these was Madame Joliet, wife of the Mississippi hero. He treated them well and they paid him back in kind by telling him the truth about Quebec. Instead of this hastening his subordinate leaders with speed to beat the season and zeal to beat fate, the facts seemed only to result in hesitancy and divided counsel, though Phips knew full well if this policy resulted in disaster he alone would bear the {97} odium. He had no pilot and every harbor light on the St. Lawrence had been extinguished. Mal Bay—how well named!—in low tide, flats on which vessels grounded; in high tide, a smash of colliding currents. Here in hiding on the treasure ships was Cadillac.

The minute Phips saw Quebec, he realized how inadequate was his equipment. Frontenac's scornful answer knocked the very under-pins of confidence from subordinates. However, Massachusetts men had tough fiber and they resolved to make a desperate attempt; but you must get up to a fort before you can capture it; so a party of thirteen hundred landed to try ascent from the St. Charles. They were to circle round to the rear and attack Quebec from its only vulnerable side. Of course, hidden sharpshooters under one of the Le Moynes sniped them off. Rains drenched the ammunition and the men in sodden camps easily contracted both dysentery and smallpox. Now frantic, Phips anchored right before and below Castle St. Louis.

Then Quebec roused from its portentous silence. Cannon-balls rained with fury fast as the gunners could reload and the cannonading reverberated in echo that gave the effect of thrice as many guns as the French commanded. Frontenac's big guns could hit down. Phips could not hit up. A second day's cannonading took the very heart out of Phips. It took {98} off his rigging. It pierced the cabins. It punctured his hulls; and away went his flag-staff, which Quebec canoemen captured to a serenade of shouts and fifes from the Citadel.

Phips cut both his mooring cables and anchor chains and let the receding tide drift him out of range behind Isle Orleans. Right there and then, he knew he had been defeated in awful disaster. Behind Isle Orleans, he had to pause and mend ships to reach New England at all.

Even Laval, who had come out on one of those King's treasure ships on which Cadillac returned, had to acknowledge God had blessed New France through the Governor. The priests unbent enough to acknowledge in their own quaint guarded language "that Indian wars and long voyages were seldom attended with a large crop of divine grace."

Did Frontenac rest on his laurels and let the mad jubilation of the fickle populace in ringing of bells, torchlight processions, adulation from churchmen and civilians turn his wise old head? Not he! He had scouts down the river to warn those treasure ships to hide in the Saguenay or at Murray Bay till the New Englanders had passed out of the St. Lawrence.

Men and women danced round bonfires in honor of Frontenac. Poor New England regarded the defeat as a frown of Almighty God.


Though the war hatchet had been buried by the Iroquois, of course, it came out again. It was in one of these raids a Le Moyne Bienville was shot; so another brother took the name and became the founder of Louisiana's New Orleans.

The years slipped past—seven of them.

La Mothe had completed his surveys of all French outposts and all New England forts and reported to King Louis. He was then close to his fortieth year. No time to lose. The aging Governor was slipping down the still waters of death fast as the years.

Again the two conferred in Castle St. Louis.

"It is not the conquest of New England that matters, Your Excellency. It is the capture of all the West. The Le Moynes have ravaged Hudson Bay from the English. They are now at the mouth of the Mississippi. Is for us to capture the trade between. It is more in area than all Europe.—Yes, it is more than the best of Asia."

"And my days are numbered, bonhomme! And the spirit of dissension is again at work. Should a weakling succeed to my place, all gains will be lost as under De la Barre and Denonville. We humbled the Iroquois again last year, though I, myself, had to play warrior in an armchair." He smiled at his own growing infirmity. "What is your plan, La Mothe?"

No doubt they drew the maps across the lynx-skin {100} counterpane on Frontenac's bed. It was cold. It was November. The last frigate had sailed, and Frontenac knew he would never live to see another ship arrive from France.

"Nothing here," says Cadillac, pointing his finger at Mackinac. "The soldiers all run off to the woods to trade. I'll wager there are two hundred to four hundred kegs of brandy hidden there for unlicensed trade. They buy that brandy at three dollars a pot in Montreal and sell it at twenty-five dollars in Mackinac. Nothing here"—he points to Fort Frontenac (Kingston) and Niagara.—"Traded clean as a bare bone and furs caught at Mackinac. Worse here"—his finger is on the Ohio.—"It is the new fighting-ground of all tribes and New England is supplying firearms—Tonty and Duluth confirm my reports, Your Excellency. And thus here"—the finger points to the site of modern Chicago.—"This is called the Portage of the Skunk—Chicago—the wild onion—it is a point across to the Mississippi and all the Illinois and prairie tribes have had a trading-post there since 1685; but it isn't as short as down the Lake of the Hurons toward the Lake of the Eries. We could catch all tribes of the Lakes and Mississippi at the straits between Hurons and Eries. That post at Chicago is not a fort. It is only a clutter of cabins used when the Indians from the plains assemble and dare {101} not come on to the Lakes for fear of the Lake tribes. I can keep all these hostiles from flying at one another's throats if I have control of arms and ammunitions; and my plan——"

Frontenac has no time to beat round the bush. His strength is ebbing too fast.

"Come, out with it, Chevalier!"

"Here"—his finger comes down on the site of Detroit—"we can command all the trade north, south, west. We can do without Quebec in a year. We can be self-sufficient. There are six thousand Indians here every year. Have I not watched all posts now since 1682 and crossed the Atlantic twice to report to His Majesty? Here at the Straits are tribes from the prairies, Mascoutens of the Sioux, Hurons, Ottawas; and the land has immense fertile meadows."

Frontenac is not so optimistic in his declining days. He has seen too many high hopes blasted in the King's colonies. He thinks carefully. "Aye, aye," he says, "but when a spiteful neighbor wishes to hurt a watchdog, he says the dog is mad.—My dear fellow, you forget the King's treasury could not afford more than fifty soldiers for any new garrison, and how could you prevent them from running off as bushlopers like all the others?"

"By taking common soldiers on half-pay for the winters and giving them farms along the {102} waterfront to raise food and letting them marry Indian wives——"

"And the Black Robes would fight you like tigers over that——"

"Not so bitterly as ten years ago! They know their converts have failed them. They know they have to educate now and hold the children. Besides, we'd take along Recollets and let them fight each other instead of us——"

"But the licensed companies would fight your trade——"

"Nay, Your Excellency, let them have their fourth for themselves, their fourth for the King's treasury, their fourth for the merchants, another fourth for the colony——"

"And where would your profits come in?"

"Excellency, we are now importing flour and pork for food—two hundred tons of flour and twenty-four tons of bacon a year for the troops alone."

"Idle scoundrels," grits Frontenac. "If they'd attend to their farms, we'd have plenty."

"They'll attend to their farms if I get them away from fear of raid and from illicit trade. Give me freedom from Quebec contracts for ten years."

"You want a concession of land at these straits called Detroit?"

"Yes, and a very small concession."


"And how do you purpose living? Who will supply you with goods?"

"As seignior, my mill gets a tenth of the flour. From renters, I get a tenth of pork, poultry, grain. I trade this to any of the licensed companies for arms, ammunition, goods. They cost me nothing. Who then commands the Indians?"

"My thrifty Gascon," smiles Frontenac.

"And it will not cost His Majesty one single sou."

"That will appeal to the King." Perhaps these words were a little bitter; for the most Frontenac had received for his honest faithful services was a gift of two thousand crowns; but what did it matter to a dying warrior? "Dear fellow, here is what I advise you! You realize the moment your request is known, lies, false charges, thieves' devices will pour in on His Majesty to defeat your project. Write a series of questions such as your enemies in Montreal and Mackinac may put in accusations. Write such answers as you could give if the scoundrels would meet you face to face. Commit it to memory! What His Majesty will probably do is first refer your request to Pontchartrain. He will question you. You will be ready. He will ask you to put your memorial in writing. Hand it to him. He will pass it to the King. With it, His Majesty will check all the lies already sent ahead of you. I shall write endorsing all you say."


"Thanks, Your Excellency. I am molded by your hand. What I am, you have made me."

This Cadillac did—and did it at once with Frontenac's help. The memorial so written exists to this day in the Colonial records. It may not contain the actual questions which the Minister of the Marine asked him; but it went to the King and forefended all that his enemies could trump up of lies and false accusations. Frontenac's last letter accompanied it. "It is impossible to be more pleased than I am with the vigilance, good conduct and adroit management of The Chevalier La Mothe Cadillac," he wrote.

The aged Governor in the Castle above the St. Lawrence dictated his will of a sparse estate to the notary on November twenty-second. The Recollets administered last consolation to him on the twenty-eighth, and he slipped peacefully away on the still waters in full consciousness, seventy-eight years of age.

Cadillac's experiences at Mackinac from 1694 to 1698 are so terse as to be almost a blank. As he wrote, "I am warrior, not writer." The few reports he did send were either in cipher or carried by Napoleon to Russia and there lost. The maps compiled on all Louisiana are amazing in accuracy. We can not be sure whether Cadillac prepared them himself or whether the engineer De Lery drew them under Cadillac's {105} direction. They are reproduced in this volume. On the other hand, Carheil's reports to the head of the Jesuits and to the King on Mackinac are an epistle of lamentations. Where Cadillac was open and frank in his enmity, Carheil, the Jesuit at Mackinac, was indirect in his charges against Cadillac. Why did Cadillac not hinder the Indians going north to the English on James and Hudson Bay? Cadillac answered frankly because he could not. The English paid more for the beaver-skins. It was easier for the Indians of what is now modern Manitoba and Minnesota to float down rivers in spring flood to the forts in the two English bays and then paddle up the rivers in the fall hunting as they ascended and meeting en route their families who would cure the skins and meat, than it was to thwart the boisterous waters of Lake Superior amid ice in spring.

It was hard for Carheil to acknowledge that Jesuit plans at Mackinac had failed as on Georgian Bay. And yet when they burned their beloved mission at St. Ignace (Mackinac), it was to prevent the stores from falling into the hands of the very tribes they had come to save. Like Bishop Laval and Saint Vallier at Quebec, Carheil tried to throw the odium of blame on the secular authorities. Carheil was as devout and admirable in his way as Bishop Laval and Saint Vallier. He comes down in missionary annals as one of the {106} heroic figures—a martyr to his own mistakes in dealing with wild savages. He did not perish by fagot at the torture stake as many Jesuits did; but he did retire to Quebec almost blind from snow-glare and the smoke of Indian teepee to die an invalid from health broken by years of exposure. But this is anticipating the story. We shall meet Carheil again at Detroit.

Let us try also to grasp the Jesuit's point of view here. They saw Old France going to the dogs from vice. Had not the Missions founded both Quebec and Montreal? Why not preserve New France as a sort of sacred theocracy free of vice and governed by the Holy Church? That was the real motive behind their fanaticism. Cromwell had attempted the same in England and failed; but the Jesuits ascribed that failure to Cromwell being a heretic—too liberal and tolerant of all schisms. The Recollets had been first on the ground in New France, but they had found the task too big for them and so they had invited the Jesuits to come and help them. Then the Jesuits began to attempt pushing the Recollets out.—Why? First, because they believed themselves infallible. Second, because they believed all schisms deadly sins. We now know they were mistaken and their policy ended in their expulsion from half the kingdoms of Europe; but they had not learned that bitter lesson in Cadillac's day. They had not learned that schism even in {107} church affairs may play the same part as pruning in a great forest—where the threshing of conflicting winds, the war of branches for room to reach up to the sunlight throws dead and diseased branches off, blows the rotten tree trunks down, tests the sound from the false and leaves only the fittest to survive. It was a hard lesson and we have not entirely learned it to this day. What is true, sane, wholesome survives. What is false, unsound, devious, secret and self-deceived goes down in every conflicting crash.

Perhaps here should be taken up the value of money in modern terms. The livre in this volume is given as equal to a dollar. Parkman puts it at nineteen cents. Sulte, the great authority on this, gives its value in weight of silver at nearer one dollar than sixty-nine cents. The pistole is more puzzling. It was a Spanish coin and fluctuated in value from three dollars and ninety cents to four dollars. The crown was an English coin again in silver value nearer one dollar than sixty cents. The purchasing power compared to the modern coin, neither Parkman nor Sulte gives. To use the modern dollar term is not, as it may seem, a mixing of ancient and modern coinage. The dollar was a value known in Scotland two hundred years before Shakespeare wrote Macbeth. It is, indeed, quoted in all the earlier folios of Shakespeare's Macbeth.




Cadillac Takes Another Trip to Mackinac, Then Sails for France—His Plunge from Wilderness Wilds Back to Versailles—Pontchartrain and Maurepas and Louis XIV Receive Him Well—Did La Mothe's Own Ambitions Wane or Waver from Old World to Honors in New?—Tremendous Courage for the Venture—Bad Masters Now in Ascendency Both in Versailles and Quebec—His Predictions as to Failure of Missions at Mackinac Verified and Fortify His Arguments with French Court.

When one penetrates the diplomatic mask of this period, it is to laugh or to weep at the essential base dishonesty of what was a royal game of card-sharpers over the destiny of a New-World empire. No wonder that Radisson, the first discoverer of the Mississippi, who had now gone over for good to the English of the Hudson's Bay Company, describes it as "a greasing of fat chops" for the benefit of scoundrels, while the real workers on the field of action were cheated of reward. What would the saintly Marquette have said if he had lived to find that his own St. Ignace of Mackinac had to be burned and abandoned because his copper-skinned flock of Indians had either been scattered by foes or debauched by the liquor of unlicensed traders? Take just one example of the diplomacy in vogue. France claimed all the English {109} Colonies from Maine to Spanish Florida, not because she had any right to such claim, but because she hoped by this claim to force England to give back Nova Scotia, lost in war and ceded by treaty, and the rest of the continent westward of the Alleghanies. "It is certain," runs the comment, "that the fear of having to do with so powerful a foe will bring the English to our terms. Then France by taking a haughty tone can make good her claims by force of arms." Card-sharpers have plainer, more honest designation for such tactics. It is four-flushing, then back off when the bluff is called for a show-down.

Louis XIV's plans were quite as insincere with his ally at the time—Spain. The Grand Monarch was pretending to be the friend of the English monarchs, Charles and James, yet he was plotting to drive the English from the New World. Likewise he was affecting an international pact with Spain, yet with astonishing precision he was mapping all North America from the Arctic to the Rio Grande for France. Pensacola might be placed a bit nearer Mobile than it is but the location was near enough for attack by sea. That Spain guessed his designs we shall find as the life of Cadillac moves down to Louisiana.

On coming back to Quebec in November, either in obedience to Louis' secret orders or to fortify his arguments for a new fort at Detroit, Cadillac took a flying {110} trip up to Mackinac to gather facts. He would have ample time to do this in the spring and be back in Quebec before the frigates could come out in July and depart in August or September of 1700. On none of his trips to Mackinac did he take his wife. She remained with friends in Montreal and Quebec and seems to have used her sharp eyes to keep watch on the secret moves of her husband's enemies. Did he, as enemies in Montreal afterward averred, go to Mackinac to conceal his own unlicensed trade, or Frontenac's illicit trade? Frontenac's private income from his French estates was only about five thousand dollars yearly in our money. Reward for his services in Quebec never exceeded two thousand crowns—about two thousand five hundred dollars in modern money. What that would do to keep up his royal pomp in New France and the most expensive racing stables in Old France, any schoolchild can figure in modern money. Why, then, did he continually live beyond his means? Because display of power was necessary in Quebec to impress both red and white foes and friends. Because wild lavish spendings were demanded in Versailles to keep a mere toe-hold on the Court cliques.

Anyway, Cadillac took that quick trip up to Mackinac. He found four hundred barrels of "unlicensed brandy" bought at three dollars a pot and sold at {111} twenty to twenty-five dollars to Indians, and when he came back to seize it in 1701, he found left only one hundred and ninety-eight pots; so one may infer it was not his brandy. He found worse signs than brandy of demoralized trade on the Upper Lakes. The Hurons and Crees were now trading with the English on Hudson Bay. They had dispersed largely to the north side of Lake Superior and to the woods. The Assiniboines had scattered north of what is now the boundary. The Algonquins had receded up Green Bay and across Wisconsin. Mackinac was simply a haunt of uncontrolled crime. Ottawas had become mongrels with the tribes of Michigan. It was no longer a good point for trade. Except for the white fish season, the Indians did not gather there. I don't suppose any one in Old France would have believed Cadillac had he told them the truth—that Old France would only be a patch on the face of these Western States. The welkin would have rung with hilarious gales of laughter had he predicted that in two centuries one city in this area would have a million people and another more than two million. Why? Paris and all its suburbs in this era did not much exceed four hundred thousand people, half of whom lived in direst poverty and squalor, a quarter in the most extravagant luxury, the other quarter—the bourgeois—ground to a pulp between the former two. {112} It was really an era of the turning-point in world history, which culminated in the French Revolution. The aristocrats were toppling of their own fat soft dead weight. The bourgeois were seething with dangerous discontent; and the under layer of the social structure was about to heave in an earthquake. We know Cadillac right now seems to have desired rather a free-of-foot new start in a new world, than a foothold in an insecure old land. The triangle of noblesse-bourgeois-peasant seemed to be standing on its head ready for a good tumble. Taxation, misery, ruin, vice were gnawing like rats all the base of the under structure.

Typical château in southern France showing the impossibility of supporting such on meager salaries.
Typical château in southern France showing the impossibility of supporting such on meager salaries.
Courtesy, Lenox Library, New York.

From wilderness wilds to artificial Court life, a more violent transition could scarcely have confronted a man than now faced Cadillac. Radisson had experienced the same twenty years before, and Radisson had lost his head in the whirl and married an English grand dame whom he was accused of "duping" and who led him a devil's dance all her life; but La Mothe was older than Radisson. He was just turning his fortieth year. He had no time to lose. He knew it would require ten years of hard, tireless work to build a seigniory up to a paying basis. King Louis XIV could not live many years longer. Cadillac could not after that hope for friends at Court. He had, indeed, before he sailed a hot debate with the intriguing {113} circles of Quebec and Montreal, jealous as fighting Indians over any diversion of trade. Frontenac was no longer present to quell disputes and the bandying of angry words replaced the old polite ceremonies in the Audience Chamber of Castle St. Louis.

Restored salon, Château de Ramezay, Montreal. Restored habitant room, Château de Ramezay, Montreal.
Restored salon, Château de Ramezay, Montreal.
Restored habitant room, Château de Ramezay, Montreal.
Courtesy, Canadian Pacific Ry. Co.

The opposition was, of course, bitterest at Montreal. From this point, the most of the unlicensed lawless liquor trade spread up to Mackinac. As usual, Cadillac did not conceal his plans and rode over his enemies roughshod. Only two buildings now in Montreal stand very much as they existed in Cadillac's day—the little St. Anne Bonsecours church and the Château de Ramezay. Neither De Ramezay nor Vaudreuil was yet the power they became in a few years in New France; but we can guess the angry confabs, which made the great ceiling beams ring in the Château. It was completed in 1705 but its construction began a few years prior. The Château has been restored to conform in furnishings with those early days. We can picture Cadillac in his high Gascon boots with legs spread to the open fireplace, sitting in one of the big home-made wicker seat chairs, listening to the threats, the arguments, the slightly concealed deep rancor toward himself.

"Why oppose?" he probably asked with that ironical smile so provocative. "You have the licensed right to trade at Mackinac just the same—with a {114} fourth to the King, a fourth to the Colony, a fourth to your outfitters, a fourth profit to yourselves."

"Aye—but a new fort at Detroit would draw the trade from Mackinac."

"You are losing it anyway—it is dribbling off to the English on Hudson Bay and to the bushlopers who have no license."

Knowing Cadillac's tactless disregard for personal safety and his renown as a Gascon fighter, we can further guess from that long nose of his that he may have pressed the question—why such ample liquor cellars below the Château? Who owned the brandy? Where was it going? Why so many big unlicensed canoes lying in the river front ready to ascend the Ottawa with Indians returning to the Upper Lakes? Besides, he told them, with that bluntness which made so many enemies, "the winter climate would ever be against Mackinac as a permanent settlement." It lacked the background of good farm land where colonists would prosper. "Farm land!" What did the Montreal gang of lawless traders in furs and brandy care for farms? What were the humble habitant toilers to these lily-fingered officers who employed bushlopers to do the real work? They no more wanted farmers on land than the Hudson's Bay Company later did. The Montreal grandees must have sped their parting guest with deeper curse than blessing.


Anyway, we know that Cadillac sailed for France in the autumn of 1699. Past Mal Bay of bad repute too close ashore, past Tadoussac with its frowning heights, on past Anticosti and Isle Percée, the rendezvous of the fishing fleets homing like wild birds for the winter. What superstitious terrors enveloped both points to the fishing-folk! I was off both points once in this autumn season, and I confess if I stayed too long, the depression of both scenes would engulf me as it did these fisher-folk. I was on a small government mail boat up on an errand of mercy to people starving in Labrador. We had what can be described only as a white squall. The wind from the northeast came thundering in with a crashing tide. We had not been unwarned. The porpoises had floundered about us all morning and an old mate had pointed to them saying "bad sign." "You old fool," said the purser, "there is nothing to that." Wasn't there? By afternoon, we were scudding for shelter to a hole in the wall and with two anchors out and all steam up were tossed off our anchorage by much more than a mile. By nightfall, the moon came out from the storm clouds. It was white and cold as very death. To keep from freezing, I chose the shadowed side of the deck where for hours the scuppers had gushed with the overwash. There, I danced the old-fashioned rush polka to warm benumbed feet. That night as I slept in my boots on {116} the berth sofa of my stateroom, I found myself on a scoot under the opposite berth feet foremost; and as I laughed at the predicament all the contents of a case of lemons in the upper berth came down on my head; for the next toss of the waves rolled me out. This was becoming interesting; so the stewardess and I who were the only women aboard, climbed up the dizzy stairs on deck to take a midnight look. All the ghost fingers of the North Atlantic's dead seemed to be reaching up from the foaming seas. It was a weird watery waste peopled with wraiths. Few lives were lost because the fisher-folk had sense to scud ashore when they felt the squalls coming. Cadillac must have seen all this on his way across. He may have met old friends here. La Salle and Joliet, all in turn had held fishing concessions or licenses here.

We know Cadillac reached France and at once presented himself at Versailles. Count Pontchartrain was really all-powerful as adviser on the colonies. Yes, "I am the State" and "my trade is a King," Louis might asseverate. All the same, he depended on Pontchartrain for wise advice. Pontchartrain was a deeply religious man, an enigma in such an era. As soon as Court duties permitted, he retired almost a hermit to religious devotions and such mystic beliefs as could be held in an age when Church and Court claimed the right not only to supervise secular life but a {117} spiritual deviation from a hair line. He was, indeed, to Louis XIV what Richelieu had been to Louis XIII—a man wise to the world, but devout to religion. Maurepas, his grandson, could not be described as devout, but he was ironically and cynically versed in the Court's ways, where etiquette played puppet to pomp.

What that is not an oft-told tale, can be described of Versailles? Its glamour is a mirage of glory to this day. It had cost so much that the King had destroyed all accounts to conceal the extravagance from a hungry tax-ridden populace. It was the center of the worst and the best in Europe—beauty that was good and beauty that was bad; wit, science, literature, learning, cheek by jowl with intolerance, superstition, rotten evil living, tyranny that forbade the results of scholarships being diffused among the lower classes to raise them. In the midst of this, the King was a god in a temple of pagans, who professed themselves Christians and passed existence in riotous living surpassing the worst days of Greece and Rome. It required the services of seven squires—not mere valets—to put the King's morning shirt on His Majesty's sacred back. The main palace covered an area a quarter of a mile long. There were garden terraces, whose plan we copy to this day. There were lagoons in the midst of the gardens. There were woods with {118} trees from every clime—Turkey to Spain. There were fountains throwing up iridescent sprays in the sun. There were tapestries, paintings, sculptured figures, from every great artist in the world. There were mosaics of color to create curiously beautiful effects outside and inside; and up and down these embowered walks the ladies of the Court were expected to parade in all the beauty of pagan goddesses. From contemporary accounts, they filled all the expectations very well. Did Solomon in all his glory surpass Versailles? It is doubtful. Nineveh and Babylon may, but no great Western city; and the comparison to these ancient cities is not inept. It was the next Louis who coined the famous phrase—"After me the deluge."

In the midst of all this show, Louis nightly held his famous drawing-rooms. He was arrayed—one scarcely knows how to describe it. A Puritan would probably say like an old fool, a wax figure to conceal age. A Cavalier would likely see in all the pomp and show the symbol of a power that aimed to become a world force. Let us examine this portrait of the King. Then call him what you please. He ruled the longest of any monarch in France, from 1643 to 1715, and if his aim was to be Grand Monarch, he succeeded. His becurled periwig came a foot below his shoulders; and when it took seven noblemen to get his royal shirt on, one does not like to guess the number of {119} barbers to keep those wigs in order. Like the gentlemen of the period, he was clean-shaved and until late in life showed few wrinkles and a skin pink-white as a child's. His brows were obviously trimmed, brushed and penciled. The eyes were terribly sharp and direct in glance, and the lids did not droop till late in life; but he did not live a long life. He worked too hard. He outlived his son and his grandson. In later life, the lines of care and exasperation over details, which he would not relegate to subordinates, scored the mouth. His hands were delicate as a girl's. White ruffs set off face and hands; silken hose above knees, his graceful limbs. Golden garters below knee were another adornment, and his well-heeled shoes according to the function. As furs are the most beautiful adornment as background for any figure, his ermine cloak was a magnificent thing trailing many yards to rear. Now each little ermine has only one black tip to its tail. I have tried again and again to count how many little ermine lives must have been sacrificed to this vanity. It is useless. The consolation to an animal lover is that the ermine himself is a little assassin. However cruel Louis may have been to heretics, he was never an assassin.

Into this Court, then, came Cadillac from the wilds in the spring of 1700. He had been preceded by Frontenac's reports and recommendation by almost ten {120} years. His services were well known. Frontenac refers in letters of 1695 to La Mothe's leadership among the Hurons, later reported by Cadillac in person to Pontchartrain. He is called sage, prudent, penetrating, among other officers, whom Frontenac has had to return to France for outrageously bad conduct. He seems to have been at Mackinac almost half of every year from 1694 to 1698 and to have distinguished himself with "vigilance and good conduct." In his last letter, October 10, 1698, Frontenac bespeaks for him "some recompense."

Fortified with Frontenac's letters, his own memorial, Madame Frontenac's friendship with the Queen, Madame Cadillac's relation with the Duke de Lauzon, he gained immediate entrance to the inner governing clique. It must have cost the thrifty Gascon a pretty penny to outfit himself for such a palace. Louis seems to have turned him over to Pontchartrain so that all reports for and against Cadillac could be examined and weighed. The evidence seemed to leave the Gascon's record pretty clean; for Pontchartrain reported in favor of the new fort at the Straits known as Detroit. Pontchartrain was ever against this embroiling of Indian tribes in raids and counter-raids. The licensed companies must, of course, have their share of trade for the King's treasure box; but Cadillac could have a clear five thousand dollars a year of trade {121} to his own accounts, as salary, especially as he asked for only fifty soldiers and would himself pick out fifty farmers and one hundred artizans and bear the expense of transporting them and settling them on the land. On whom would he depend to hold the Illinois? On Alphonse Tonty, the brother of La Salle's Tonty. On whom for the Upper Lakes? Duluth. On whom for trusted lieutenants? On two—Dugue and Chacornacle. And it was not to cost the King a sou? Not one. Chicago he would use to reach the Mississippi but not build up the enmity of plains tribes to the Lakes.

Good! The King would grant the concession; but he did not lightly grant seigniories. He had granted so many that only came back in a pester of requests for financial help. He would grant favors only with the condescending generosity and pomp of a Grand Monarch; so the Court was duly assembled to witness the presentation of the commission at a morning audience. Cadillac had to kiss His Majesty's hand and back away as from the presence of a god. Many paintings old and modern picture this interview and in detail they are correct.

Did he come away a little appalled by the responsibility he had taken on his shoulders? We know he came away dauntless as ever. The venture required tremendous courage. He would be assailed and {122} maligned by jealous rivals at Montreal. Indians might even be inspired and armed by New England to attack his new fort. He had to attract and hold in friendship countless new tribes of whom the French knew little except that they were ever like wildcats at one another's throats and must be induced to bury the war hatchet and live in peace. Well, he could control the supply of firearms going to them; and this required a wild wood diplomacy of which he had proved himself a past master. Like Louis, Cadillac believed in the pressure of force first, then obedience and love and favor to red-skinned foes only as their behavior warranted. Alphonse Tonty could speak Illinois dialects. The priests could act as interpreters for the northern tribes. As for the fiercer plains tribes toward the Mississippi, he would cross that bridge when he came to it.






Back to New France—Westward by the Ottawa to Detroit—Pause at Mackinac—The Final Rounding Up of Human and Trade Dregs There—The Locating and Building of the New Fort—Named after His Patron Pontchartrain—Rhapsodies of Enthusiasm—The Happiest Days in Cadillac's Life.

Cadillac left France on the first of the King's frigates to sail. These usually departed in June. They carried about as odd an assortment of human and freight cargo as could be gathered. First, were the King's treasure boxes with coin to pay troops, repair forts, help all religious houses and dispense gratuities to subjects who had distinguished themselves the previous year in His Majesty's service. In the treasure boxes also went the bags of royal dispatches to be thrown overboard or destroyed if the ship were captured by the pirate freebooters scouring the seas. Articles for fur-trade barter—old muskets and pistols from European wars, iron scraps to be hammered in knives, hatchets, spear and harpoon points, tin looking-glasses, beads, shot, calicoes, stroud for blankets, brandy, cannon-ball, perhaps some low squat mortars for some new fort, boxes of vanity garments for the colonial Court, that flour and bacon which ought {126} to have been produced in New France, all crowded the cargo space in the French frigates.

The French frigates did not sit so high above their water-line as the Spanish caravels; they did not possess such swift speed as many a fishing schooner; but they were seaworthy and when attacked capable of terrible defense. Cannon poked their long snouts fore and aft above deck, and lesser guns came from the ship sides. You read about few of these guns breaking loose in storm and rolling from side to side in damage as in many a Hudson's Bay Company brig borrowed from the Royal Navy. They carried a great cloud of rattling, groaning sail that kept them laboring ahead in the wind to the creak of oak-timbered hull and keel. Crossing the Atlantic, few suffered from storm or pirate attack; for all were commanded by such navy-trained men as the young Le Moynes, who had become the sea heroes of the age.

The passengers aboard ranged from bishops and changing intendants (financial ministers) to good nuns fetching marriageable girls for colonists' wives, and cadets sent out to shift in a new field of fortune. The shift of cadets back and forward had now become an almost comic shuttle. Every year, Frontenac had bundled home a pack of young scamps who had disgraced themselves; and every year, King Louis sent out a fresh batch to try the soul and patience of the {127} Governor. Some, let us give them the credit, did live to reform their ways. After a pretty wild youth, indeed, and a middle age none too blameless, even Sabrevois, the doubtful hero of the tavern brawl, lived to leave descendants who distinguished themselves in the great final war of 1759.

Did a young Radisson come back with Cadillac to Quebec? Pierre Radisson was the first French discoverer of the Mississippi, but double-dealing between Louis XIV and Charles II had driven him permanently back to the services of the Hudson's Bay Company. Now with the Le Moynes ravaging Hudson Bay by sea and land, Radisson himself was spending most of his time in London; but his elder children must have been somewhere along in their twenties and may have transferred back to New France. We find a Radisson with Cadillac in Detroit, acting as clerk in the licensed traders' stores, yet always loyal to Cadillac. Radisson descendants number among the best families of Quebec to-day and not one is now known in England.

All the Radisson family in New France—Chouart, Pierre Radisson's brother-in-law, Jean, his nephew—were very bitter over the double-dealing of the Kings of France and England toward themselves. They were equally bitter toward the Jesuits, who had never given them credit as discoverers. They and their backers at Three Rivers had been ruined by the plotters and {128} grafters of New France. What more natural than a young Radisson compelled by necessity to take employment under licensed traders yet holding loyal to such a free-lance as Cadillac, who defied all enemies secret and open?

The danger to the King's frigates was neither pirate nor weather. It was on approach to the St. Lawrence waters where such ships encountered the great ice floes coming rocking south each spring. If the Arctic spring had been especially late, the churning icebergs came drifting down breaking as they drifted. Once safely up the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the way was easy. River pilots, who knew the currents like water ducks, came aboard. The frigate had docked at Lower Town by July, unloaded in a clatter of babbling tongues, and reloaded with furs ready to drop down with the tide by August and September.

Kreighoff painting of Chaudière Falls, Ottawa City.
Kreighoff painting of Chaudière Falls, Ottawa City.
Courtesy, National Gallery of Canada.

Cadillac, no doubt, in his usual detached fashion, sat at the ship's table somewhere below the royal admirals, the governors and the bishops. He could easily sense that the churchmen were not so hostile to him as they had been fifteen years before. Court favor explained some of this. The logic of fact explained more. The crushing of Iroquois power by force of arms had done more to extend their mission than the tortures suffered by mission martyrs. Cadillac had been right about so-called converts among grown {129} Indians. Of this Mackinac was a melancholy example. Few converts among the adults understood the new faith. It was the children who began to show results. More could be done by gradual education in missions than ranging the wilds to baptize wandering tribes, who didn't know what baptism meant; and so had died out of the Jesuit policy that opposition to permitting white bushrangers and voyageurs to marry in Indian tribes and leave their children to be educated in the missions; but this did not diminish in the slightest degree the Jesuit determination to dominate all secular power in frontier posts. Their attitude was one of jealous, zealous watchfulness; and if their watch-dogs at any post scented too much independence of their advice, woe betide that officer in charge. You recall the prelate Carheil, the Jesuit whose "jaw" Cadillac had longed "to knock off" up at Mackinac? He was to give Cadillac trouble enough before our story ends. Let us acknowledge, too, that the Jesuits were just as conscientious as Cadillac. Their mistakes and Cadillac's were just the same. They would not acknowledge that the middle of the road is the safest, wisest course on obscure dangerous trails.

A view of early Mackinac.
A view of early Mackinac.

The Jesuits, too, were slipping in their power with Louis XIV's Court. This was partly because of the growth of dissolute living in Versailles. The tumble downward in morals and manners becomes more {130} apparent as the story of Cadillac moves on to the next reign, and one must acknowledge a deeper sympathy with the Jesuits' fierce desire and fanatical efforts to keep New France free from the devil's dance at the royal Court. When prelates there rose to power through intrigue with shameless courtezans, when royal minions excused themselves from attending to state affairs because they had been drunk or gambling all night, when highest affairs were awarded through bribe, or gifts of jewels to some base woman, it was natural that the Jesuits, out always "for the greater glory of God," should be both jealous and zealous to keep New France free from a poison leading on to the Great Revolution.

Now, armed with the King's commission, La Mothe wasted no time in Quebec. He hastened to Montreal and there joined the Algonquin, Huron and Ottawa brigades of canoes going up to Mackinac.

At Quebec, Three Rivers and Montreal he had picked fifty good tried soldiers. He had some difficulty in inducing farmers and mechanics to come. No woman was in the first party; but of men, who could handle anything from a frying-pan to a plow or carpenter's plane, there were fifty. The one hundred white men left Montreal on June 5, 1701, in twenty-five large canoes of birch and cedar. Alphonse Tonty went along as second in command, the two young {131} cadet Lieutenants Dugue and Chacornacle as next, and the two priests, one a Jesuit, Vaillant, one a Recollet, Constantine, to care for the souls of the little flock. The trouble with Vaillant and Constantine was that, however peaceful and friendly they might feel toward each other, each was under a religious order very jealous of the other and was pledged to implicit obedience to his own order.

Somewhere between Lachine and the Mattawa, some of the soldiers and farmers, in regret over having enlisted, evinced a mutinous spirit to rise and slay their commander, seize the goods and run off as bushlopers. This defection had been incited by traders from Lachine seizing and trying to search his canoes for brandy. They sent whisperers among his crews of dangers ahead and failure for the whole venture. Cadillac's hat was knocked off in the dispute. He drew his sword and bade them come on. No one accepted that challenge. He was a past master in fencing.

Amazing as it is to credit, Cadillac in the five years he had been at Mackinac, had often ascended the whole way in midwinter by snow-shoe to be on time for Lake tribes and bring down furs by June. No wonder Governor Frontenac had dictated dispatches to the Grand Monarch apologizing for Cadillac not sending a more detailed report because "this worthy officer {132} had not had time." Once ensconced safely in the deep canoes, boat travel must have seemed to La Mothe child's play. Every foot of the way, every landmark, every dangerous reef amid stream must have been an old story to him.

Here the Lachine Rapids, so named because all discoverers for a century hoped to reach China by ascending the River of the Meadows—the Ottawa. Here on the left, high above the east was the little chapel of St. Anne, patron saint of the voyageur, to whom every paddler made his final prayer. Then the labyrinth of islands and channels abreast the modern great agricultural college buildings. Nought of life there in those days, but water-fowl or Indian brigade. If the wind favored, blanket or canvas would be hoisted on paddle and the light craft go forward as on bird's wings. If the air were dead calm, paddles dipped in rhythmic unison—three flips one side, then three the other, and the cedar and birch canoes shot ahead in a silent glide over calm water, a gallop over wild.

Twenty miles a day was fast pace in bad weather, forty fast up-stream in good water and wind. Good water meant deep channels. It was shallow water created danger amid rocks and had sunk both Radisson's notes of his voyages in the sixteen sixties and Joliet's of the sixteen seventies, when they were almost in sight of home. There was no need in Cadillac's {133} time to camp without fire at night for fear of Iroquois raids. The Iroquois were begging to intermarry with their ancient Algonquin and Huron foes and to act as boatmen in the French brigades. You will find Iroquois as far west as the Pacific Coast acting as canoemen down to the nineteenth century.

The Chaudière Falls of modern Ottawa were one of the great landmarks on the way west. Their approach was an enchanting view as it is to-day. They passed the Rideau River Falls on the west, which were really a wind blown curtain of spray. Beyond came the emptying Gatineau River to the right. To the left there lifted the precipice on which now stands the high Gothic-towered Parliament Buildings. Receding to sky-line rolled the blue Laurentian Mountains. Here was the longest portage on the Ottawa. It is now the street-car line from Hull to Aylmer. Rapids called the Chats—from the howling of lynx in the woods, and again all boats were out on the current of the Ottawa. To the left came the amber waters of the Mattawa to mingle with the purple deep of the Ottawa. Up the Mattawa, the west-bound canoes penetrated. The Mattawa was not a difficult current to ascend. It ran through the great copper and nickel deposits, only in recent years developed to a value far exceeding the dreams of Spanish for gold, and here were the French going right over ground equally {134} rich in gold, silver, copper—and they did not know it. Nor would the knowledge have availed much. Modern explosives and chemical reduction of ores to metal had not been invented to blow the tops off iron-capped rocks and extract precious metals from crude ores.

Then came Nipissing Lake so called by the Indians because they could seldom see across it from island to island for the morning mists; but its islands were wonderfully refreshing rest-spots to hunt and fish before the west-bound brigades descended French River, the River of the Sorcerers, to Georgian Bay. French River was "mean water," what the French called "mal," "mauvais," if not worse, allied with the little devils. Its pot holes in the rocky water bed marked the drop of some hard stone to be whirled in endless boiling till it created its own prison and could not bounce out; but as depths of water shallowed, these pot holes with reefs played the mischief scraping canoe bottoms and in gales wrecked many a canoe till French River became ill-omened as the Sorcerers. If ever you pass along the river by modern rail, you will note one stretch where eleven crosses mark as many deaths of voyageurs in wrecked canoes.

Out from the French River came the speeding brigades of canoes like flocks of gulls on one of the most beautiful sheets of inland water in the world—Georgian {135} Bay and Lake Huron. Lake Huron is the palm of a three-hundred-mile-long hand. Georgian Bay is its thumb, Mackinac its little finger, Detroit its wrist and the pulse to a greater system of arteries. The waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron are as blue as a June sky. The islands across the bay lie gray and pink granite, in size from a mere cupful of waves to Great Manitoulin on the north, more than a hundred miles from end to end, whither so many Hurons had dispersed.

Amid the Georgian Bay Islands, the majority of the Indians paused to rest, to fish, to play, to await their families scudding from island to island to meet them. How on a bay, where the islands are so numerous it has been called "The Lake of the Thirty Thousand Islands," could the families appoint and find a rendezvous? By a device so simple you have only to look to see it yet. Many of these islands are pine-grown. For a few feet from the top of a pine, the main trunk would be stripped of branches. This bare spot was regarded as a lob-stick and below on blazed bark or rock would be left the clan or family or totem mark for the Indian voyageur to find his family. From Georgian Bay to the Rocky Mountains, these lonely lob-sticks mark the watery trail of tribes plying east and west for centuries. Where are the lone wayfarers to-day? We trust where they hoped and prayed to {136} go—up the Milky Way to the Stars by a New Moon canoe.

Kreighoff painting of canoe ascending Ottawa River.
Kreighoff painting of canoe ascending Ottawa River.
Courtesy, National Gallery of Canada.

Cadillac could not afford a pause to let his twenty-five canoes rest on the pink islands of Georgian Bay. He must have his fort stockades up and cabins roofed at Detroit by autumn. Why did he seem to waste time by going across to Mackinac instead of directly south to Detroit? This divergence brought an avalanche of insinuations and malicious charges later. They even spattered Madame Cadillac's good name. A skunk pursued is apt to be indiscriminating. Cadillac had been back and forward to Mackinac for almost six years. Undoubtedly he now crossed over to pick up garrison equipment, small cannon, muskets, ammunition left in the King's stores, as well as to confiscate all articles of unlicensed trade. Among the latter were the one hundred and ninety-eight pots of brandy from four hundred kegs which he knew had been hidden, when he left for France in 1699. Such a rabble garrison, too, he found—only two hundred soldiers in sixty log cabins tumbling about their ears, with the mission of St. Ignace in as bad repair. Indians had not yet gathered for fishing. Many had already gone down the Ottawa with the season's furs and others were out "in the crazy oat" (wild rice) marshes, harvesting the most delicious wild grain nature grows.


There were two ways canoe brigades went south from Mackinac: hugging the west shore, the Indian way; dodging into Saginaw Bay—a great tribal rendezvous—then out round the south Point aux Barques down to the wrist of the Lake's hand. July was a calm weather month; so Cadillac doubtless avoided the great detour up Saginaw Bay and went on direct with his equipment from Mackinac. Why did he not establish his new fort at Gratiot or the Huron-Sarnia Straits, where Duluth had rallied tribes? Because it did not lead across by portage trail to the more distant tribes of the Illinois and the Mississippi and Upper Wisconsin; and that by the same token was what created Detroit as a great freight and manufacturing entrepôt.

How Frontenac and Cadillac planned to save Louisiana.
How Frontenac and Cadillac planned to save Louisiana.

"If you would see a beautiful peninsula, look about you," say Michigan people of this garden area. "If you would see a lovely fruit garden, here it is," say Ontario people on the other side of the river. Cadillac came nearer to rhapsodies than he ever did in his reports to the King. It seems to have been the happiest period in all his life. I doubt if ever again he could have contented himself in the strait-jacket existence of a Versailles or Toulouse. Listen to this from an officer noted for his laconic reports: "The meadows need only the plowshare to grow anything; ... the climate was much more salubrious and milder than at {138} Quebec; there were no cold northeast winds; ... the grape-vine has not strength to support the weight of its fruit and it has not yet wept under the knife of the vine dresser; ... the shy stag, the timid deer, the wild turkey hens, the strutting woodcocks, the quail, the partridge all are in greater numbers than in a private French park and as unafraid of man.... As for trees, there is every tree except the tropical which French parks are importing from all the world. The wild fowl are countless in flocks and kind—geese, ducks, teal, bittern, heron, loon, wood-pigeon and song-birds"—Cadillac's quill pen goes quite wild. You see the love of a boy breaking out in the heart of a man—woodpeckers, cardinals, tanagers, bluebirds, robins, warblers, thrushes, all are noted by this nature-lover, bursting reticence in the exuberance of a child. Here he would set him up a fort to be named after the great Pontchartrain and a seigniory to be named after himself, and turn his back on Court cliques and Court clack for ever.

He had left Lachine on the fifth of June. He reached the site of future Detroit on July twenty-third. Camp was made for the night in Grosse Isle sixteen miles below the site chosen on the twenty-fourth. It was on a high bluff with the little Savoyard River behind and to one side, and the dancing blue water of the river below. The little stream has long since been filled in, {139} though you can trace its slight depression in the city streets. The blue river within a stone-toss from the fort has been filled in with the bluff torn down till modern docks are several squares distant from the ancient water-front. A more beautiful site for a city or fort does not exist in the world. The river was blue as the Mediterranean. The straits were dotted with islands, where grew magnificent maples and oaks and birches, which stand to this day in what is known as a city park. The straits flowed just swift enough to riffle the water in dancing waves; and behind the bluff lay land arable and black—the modern garden orchards that have made Michigan famous. By a curious coincidence it was the same month he was to reach Louisiana ten years or more later. In an age when astrology played a large part, June and July were deemed very auspicious months. June and May were the months of Marie, the Mother with the Child. July and August were supposed to be blessed by Judah—the Lion. Only where astrologic predictions worked out in Detroit for Cadillac, they did not work out for his successor. Much less did they work out for Cadillac, himself, in Louisiana. Had he known Shakespeare, he might have conned the famous poet—not in our stars but in ourselves the fault lies.




Building the New Fort at Detroit—Named Pontchartrain—Chapel to St. Anne—Area of Enclosure and Farms—Madame Tonty and Madame Cadillac—More People Come—Mills Go up for Grinding Corn—Indians Rally to New Trade Center.

The stockades of the new fort at Detroit enclosed sixty square yards. The post lay about forty steps back from the water-front. Such was the germ of a city that in little more than two centuries was to number with its suburbs nearly a million and a half in population.

Where to-day the wheels whir that go in motors to every part of the world, in August of 1701 the chopper's ax rang, the cross-cut saw hummed, the adz and knife sliced slabs from logs, and carpenters dovetailed logs to be chinked later with clay and moss, and roofed with slabs and bark and mud. The wall pickets were twelve feet above ground and are supposed to have run about where Shelby Street and Jefferson do to-day, with Griswold and Wayne Streets as the ends.

The chapel to St. Anne was begun by Father Constantine and some friendly Pottawattomies on July twenty-sixth. It stood at the Griswold Street end of the oblong. Mass was of course celebrated at dawn {141} as ground was broken for fort and church. The name St. Anne was given the church because it was St. Anne's day and because this saint was a patron lady of the voyage.

I shall not try to place the fort's location as to the compass directions; for here the Detroit and Savoyard Rivers run more or less diagonally to directions. Cadillac had picked the narrowest place in the straits so his cannon could shoot across the river. Plaques will be found to-day on great banks marking the church site, the inner fort, the Commandant's house, and in an older section of the city—the Descharme lawn—will be found an ancient pear tree high almost as an elm, which is the last tree known to exist of Cadillac's planting. It is regarded as one of the sights of Detroit. Lest it should die of the vine now cumbering it, seedlings of it are to be planted in the public parks. Mr. George Catlin and Mr. Burton are the great authorities on all these old sites. The timbers cut for stockades driven in the ground—in fact they must have been placed in dug post-holes—were twenty feet in length, with about four feet in the ground. As always at first, logs were set vertically. The logs used were much sturdier than in the most of frontier posts. They were at least three hand-spans in circumference. Several of them have been preserved and are in the museum of the public library.


Where the Michigan Central now comes over its rails were river flats in those days. It is said, "partridge drummed, ducks quacked, herds of buffalo grazed, elks polished the velvet off their horns along the Savoyard River." Savoy, like all the place names of Cadillac's life, was in the Latin-Italian area of Old France. In the old map of the period, Cadillac's first cattle are pictured with heads almost the size of the fort. Probably if we had transported those precious cattle by raft from Quebec, we would regard them as entitled to big heads. They lie back-deep in pasture. Birds, too, are not forgotten on the trees dotting the crude landscape; but we must not forget these first maps must have been sketched with rough carpenter pencil. They are like the first rough sketch maps of Marquette and Joliet, where buffalo tails are long as a small tree and moose horns like a scoop snow-shovel. Cadillac named the new fort after his patron, Pontchartrain. He had wheat planted by October.

At first there were neither horses nor oxen at Detroit, and the raw resinous logs had to be hoisted or dragged to place by human shoulders. Very soon, indeed, from half to three-quarters of an acre was stepped off for each soldier, about three acres for each settler. Cabins were begun for each of the hundred newcomers. Farms, as ever with the French Canadian, ran back in narrow strips from the water-front and {143} were outside the fort limits. The Commandant's house was inside the pickets. It was not long before fifty cabins were up awaiting fifty wives to be welcomed in coming year by year. The windows were parchment, later strengthened by hinged slabs against wind and frost. The roof was again of slabs chinked by clay and moss and this overlaid rain-proof with bark and mud. Moss did what our cement chinking can not do yet with fresh resin-oozing logs. It absorbed winter damp and, swelling, kept out the rains. It shrank in summer heat again, absorbing all oil from the logs till, caked, it became as hard and tight a fit as flint. Cadillac notes in one of his enthusiastic bursts that there was none of the vegetable and tree parasites which cost so much loss in older lands. This was probably true. Birds waged war on all parasites. It was only on destruction of bird life, that parasites gained the upper hand. For the first few years, till horses and oxen came by scows up Lake Ontario and Erie, men had to be harnessed to plows to break the soft meadow soil. Two centuries later, when Russian peasants were seen doing the same thing in Canada and the United States, a great howl went up to High Heaven about the outrage of admitting such classes as settlers. Yet of such stuff were the founders of Detroit composed.

The church was like the cabins, of logs and bark {144} with the bright tin steeple spire topping the belled turret, where the Cross pointed its symbol to Heaven. All were blessed and dedicated by the Jesuit and Recollet. Had their superior officers left them alone, the Black Robes and Gray Gowns could have worked in peaceful harmony. Cadillac's care to details had not neglected even the bells for matins and vespers, silver chalices for the mass, the pyx, vestures to garb the officiating priest; for we find all these in the final valuation of his personal outlay on the Detroit fort.

Warehouses flanked the walls. The flour mill was the type of Old France—a windmill clattering its wooden wings against the sky-line. The bastions stood at diagonal corners to flank two walls simultaneously, loop-holed in the upper story for gun-fire and filled below with ball and old muzzle-loaders. Where—Cadillac's envious enemies of Montreal later asked—had Cadillac got the money to provide such munitions? No doubt in part from the abandoned garrisons of Mackinac; for so had his King's commissioner authorized him to do, though he did not, in his terse reports to Louis, "pause to explain to the puppies barking at heels." To defend Detroit still further from Indian attack, Cadillac had a moat or perhaps it should be called a deep ditch, running outside the palisades parallel with each wall. There were two gates to the water side, the ordinary small wicket for one man's {145} admission at a time, the large gate for cargoes from incoming brigades. Then there were two smaller gates to the rear. These were not drop wooden latches with the leather thong outside; they had strong barndoor iron hinges and iron latch. The nails like our rail spikes had a twist at the end to prevent thieves pulling them out at night. So keen were the Indians for scraps of iron, that they would apply their teeth to a loose nail head to draw it out.

Then Cadillac was prepared for what must have been the happiest period of his life. He had arrived on July twenty-fourth. On September tenth, came Madame Cadillac and five of their children with Madame Tonty.

There is some discrepancy in dates here. It is said in some old records that Madame Cadillac wintered at Frontenac Fort—Kingston—or at the portage of Niagara. Both points were too exposed to Iroquois raids. They had been abandoned as wintering havens. All we definitely know is that she came in a month from Montreal. Vaillant, the Jesuit, departed for Quebec in two months from his arrival with Cadillac—which would be the end of August. This would place his meeting with her in September, which would leave the inference that she reached Detroit the same month. Vaillant expressed sympathy with the brave lady going to such a dangerous port. "Don't waste pity on {146} us," she retorted; "when a woman loves her husband, no place where he is can be dangerous." Madame Cadillac had set out in August and arrived in three weeks.

Detroit in 1701
Detroit in 1701

Where did Vaillant, hurrying to Quebec two months after reaching Detroit, meet Madame Cadillac? That point is the sole ground for the dates on Madame Cadillac's arrival being wrong in all early records by two years. In the first place, she could not go to Detroit up the Ottawa and Mattawa with scows. These could be used only on deep calm water. In the next place, she could not have paused at Fort Frontenac—modern Kingston. That fort had gone to the dogs. Third, the portage at Niagara was made by the south shore—the short overland route for boats of all sorts; but that portage was held by the Iroquois, who—as Vaillant reported—kissed the white ladies rapturously. The Iroquois admired courage above all qualities. From Niagara, the next famous stopping-place to rest and recuperate was at the mouth of Grand River, on the north shore of Lake Erie. This leaves the inference that the meeting of the Jesuit and Madame Cadillac was either at Grand River, or near Niagara. Anyway, the family had come as La Salle had come twenty years ago, by the Lower Lakes. Two young girls had been left at the Ursulines. It was a peculiarly happy augury that the two wives of the head commanders were fast {147} and harmonious friends. They were the two first white women in Detroit and little Theresa Tonty was the first white child born west of the Great Lakes.

Again, modern art has portrayed the joyous meeting of husband and wife; and the picture could scarcely be overdrawn. The soldiers with Madame Cadillac wore blue coats with white lacings. Both Cadillac and Tonty knew that pomp and power impressed the Indians, and we can believe that the Commanders were garbed in all the gold lace of their office, with sword at heel and soldiers drawn up to fire a fusillade of royal welcome. Madame Cadillac also knew the effect of dress on the Indians and it requires no over-drawing of the artist's imagination to see all the happy children garbed in white ruffles to their ears and clad in the mouse-colored soft leather and satins to knee, where bright silk or wool socks well garnitured in colored garters ran down to sturdy little shoes in bright leather. Cadillac was a terribly strict disciplinarian as to salutes, doffing hats to superiors, standing at stiff attention, chivalry to women; so the artist pictures of little sons with heads bared and little girls curtsying with bended knee are probably true to life.

Madame Cadillac arriving at Detroit.
Madame Cadillac arriving at Detroit.
Courtesy, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit.

Not to be outdone in show, the Indians came in fine white and brown buckskin and doeskin decorated in stained porcupine quills, and joined the soldiers in hilarious yells of welcome, accompanied by shots in {148} mid-air. We can visualize Cadillac showing the proud wives all he and his sturdy subjects of a new seigniory had accomplished in two months. We can guess the pride thrilling their spouses as they saw the blue waters of the river afloat below the fleur-de-lis, and the creamy birch canoes lying on the sands or gliding before the docks, little squaws and future warriors paddling over sides with naked hands. Madame Cadillac's party had come by way of Niagara in large deep cedar boats and canoes, with more servants, voyageurs of mixed blood, bushlopers to hunt, and, some accounts say, with live stock of hogs and cattle; but this for 1701 was not true.

Such holidays were always followed by barbecues of whole deer, venison, bear, with huge black iron kettles for Indian savory stew, and presents of glass beads and gewgaws of ribbons and knives and tin mirrors as gifts. With a commander who always described Indian peace-pipes as "a filthy contraption" and would never smoke them to curry favor, we can also guess that the night festivities after vesper bells would have little of easy familiarity in the prancing dances of old Frontenac, but a great deal of the habitants' innocent serenades—tooting of fifes, blowing of horns, roll of garrison drums, tum-tum-tum of the Indians' hollow tom-toms and click of the savage castanets. Any intermingling of whites and reds in {149} the dancing circles would be between the humbler folk, whom even the priests were now encouraging to marry dusky belles. Then a great rumble of cannon, a bugle call. The flag came down. The holy fathers blessed their flocks, and the little copper skins scampered with the prizes given for best performance, to have the bright vermilion paint washed from cheeks and heads. Gates were closed. Sentries paraded behind the wicket opening. Torch flares guttered out. Indian camp-fires were banked in ashes, and Detroit closed its eyes in sleep on its first happy auspicious birthday.

Did the ladies regret their rejection of Court clique and clack for this new rude crude life at the very outpost of French Empire? Hardly! How could they? Life at its best in Quebec or Versailles was a prisoned, caged existence compared to this new freedom in a seigniory that seemed to promise all the advantages of the old and none of the terrible perils on the St. Lawrence.

In the next few years, it is very difficult to follow the definite progress. Cadillac's enemies averred he exaggerated the growth of the new settlement. Official accounts seem to prove that he did not. Perhaps one should set down the figures pretty tentatively. There were thirty families the second year and at least two hundred more settlers, soldiers and craftsmen of bush {150} and carpenter tools. There were eighty houses up by 1704. The settlers were outside the stockades. There were substantial earthworks, banks of mud topped by little bastions commanding all approach. Two infantry companies of seventy Canadians had been trained for defense. There were cows and oxen and hogs. Cadillac had thirty-one cattle of the best blood now multiplying. His cellars were filled with home-brewed wines and barley malts. "Stolen from the King's stores," said his enemies. "Nay," said Cadillac, "home grown." Grain was growing and Cadillac was trading his tenth of rents for pelts; and the pelts brought him more munitions. As he had promised, Fort Pontchartrain had "not cost His Majesty one sou," except for the pay of the soldiers. We shall presently see that Cadillac was succeeding too fast for his own good. It excited envious slanders among enemies and suggested to Louis XIV that here was a commander too good and too big for a small post. Why not send him to a vaster, more difficult area, now pestering the King's patience to the limit, for instance, to Louisiana? That such seed of shift for Cadillac had been sown as one of the devil's tares in a field of good wheat, we now know. The envious are ever ready to harvest the crop of the thrifty.

While he and Tonty kept a hand over the Indians as far west as Chicago, Madame Cadillac attended {151} personally to the trading. "So he could steal under an alibi," charged his rivals in Montreal. These reflections on wife or family always threw Cadillac into such a frenzy of fury as used to disturb poor Frontenac. Madame Cadillac did not seem to lose her poise. Though bringing more of her thirteen children into the world, she, too, did not pause in the upbuilding of Detroit to kick the cur dogs snapping at heel.

Shaggy ponies bought from the Indians' Spanish raids, peach and apple orchards, rose vines on trellises now began to be seen round Detroit's colony. Peasants, we may call the settlers; but they possessed sturdy good morals and were as happy as kings, much happier than the Grand Monarch in all his luxury and wealth and failing health. Cadillac supported from his own purse a "chirurgeon," at three hundred dollars a year, to counteract the ignorant and often vicious Indian medicine-man. He had a hospital for Indians as well as white people. He had applied to Quebec for hospital nuns. In this policy toward the Indians, he was a hundred years ahead of his times. Of education, as we know it, there was very little. Lurid pictures of a fiery hell and tailed devil nailed on cabin walls were print enough for the most of the settlers and eloquent refutation of the medicine-man's claim to fees for offerings to pacify the devils. Holy days were many: Christmas, with its happy songs for the {152} Christ Child, New Year's for the house-to-house serenade, Easter for the joyous rebirth of spring and hope, maple wood sugarings-off, when the sap flowed, then the muster of canoe brigades to carry furs down to Quebec.

How did the Indians regard this perfectly amazing transformation going on under their eyes? Not enviously, nor resentfully. There were for ten years none of the storm clouds that were to burst in such horror in the Pontiac Conspiracy and the Tecumseh War, for both of which the English and French had themselves largely to blame. The Indian tribes built wigwam villages outside beyond the fort moat. It is a fairly good index as to how peaceful they felt toward other tribes, that their circular roofed bark wigwams were also arranged inside rude stockades. They were not all nomadic tribes; but all were eager to barter pelts for munitions to murder other tribes; so they were not at peace in a hunters' earthly paradise before the advent of white men. This is one of the fictions which facts compel us to relinquish. The Pottawattomies and Sacs and Fox River tribes were the most powerful. Intermingled with them, were the Menominees from the crazy-oat marshlands of Upper Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. These did not speak the same dialects. Later when the Atlantic push of settlers down the Ohio forced the Shawnees {153} north-westward, Shawnees and Muskogees or marsh tribes did amalgamate in a loose confederacy of many tongues. Crees from the north came to Detroit as traders' boats became fewer at Mackinac; but yearly, the English of Hudson Bay were drawing away more and more Crees. Down to 1710 it was not unusual for as many as seven thousand Indians to come to Detroit to trade. This provided ample trade for the five thousand dollars yearly permitted Cadillac on his own account and a vast over-plus to the licensed Quebec and Montreal Company; but Cadillac garnered a bigger profit because his supplies cost him nothing. That infuriated his rivals, who had to remit a fourth to the King's treasury, a fourth to the Quebec governor, a fourth to their outfitters and could keep only a fourth for themselves. Amid all these tribes were another people, who can scarcely be called a tribe—the Saulteurs or Indians of the leaping waters at Mackinac. The traders called them a plainer name more descriptive of their mean disposition. It was Pillagers—thieves, a class that aimed to keep East and West separate so they could act as perpetual middlemen. That division has not yet been eliminated from modern conditions.

But the tribes most feared by all these Lake and woodland Indians were the fierce prairie peoples spread from the Missouri and Ohio to the Great Lakes {154} and Saskatchewan. These were horse Indians. Their horses came from thousand-mile raids on Spanish settlements far to the southwest. Though at nominal peace with Spain, Louis XIV did not discourage his little new pet fort at Detroit from supplying such raiders with firearms; but the woodland tribes hated these prairie tribes. They were ruthless as the Iroquois. They had closely knit confederacies: the Sioux as we know them, the Crows, the Omahas, the Pawnees, the Illinois, and they could all talk a common sign language as they can to-day. They knocked old captives on the head. They took scalps as trophies. They adopted only husky children to swell their tribes. Women too old or too defiant for pliant brides, they tortured or killed outright. Then they retreated in a whirlwind, too swift for pursuit, pitched battle, exchange of prisoners. Unlike the Iroquois, they made war by night and they made war by day. They struck like rattlesnakes—with scarcely a warning; but they did not ordinarily devour prisoners as Algonquins and Hurons and Pacific Coast tribes did. They were perhaps the nearest to white-man standard of all North American Indians. Remember that this was the era in Europe and America when poor old doddering half-cracked women were dragged out by Church and State to be tortured and burned as witches; when both sides to wicked wanton wars of aggression prayed to the {155} same Divine Prince of Peace for blessing on their slaughter; when disease was rampant as the will of a God of Healing. White man and red were slow and blind in the climb from lower levels to higher.

How many Indians dwelt in all the bounds of what we now call the United States and Canada? Never at any time many over a million. Why? Because their own wars kept the number down. But this figure must be kept strictly to the area north of Mexico. Below the Rio Grande, there are to this day at least nine million pure-blood Indians of as great diversity in tribes and languages as in the North. The why of this does not concern Cadillac's life. It can be briefly enough explained—utter separation by mountain ranges and zones of temperature from lowlands to cold temperate upper areas, and origins from three main ancestral descents—Atlantic Coast, the Midland, the Pacific.

Yet if one set out to prove a million Indian population in primitive days, one could do it and know the figures lied. There were from fifty-nine to sixty-two different confederacies speaking different languages in North America. Granted that each confederacy had from five thousand to seven thousand warriors. Many had more. Tag on to each warrior two old relations, half a dozen wives, bevies of children—and each confederacy would represent fifty thousand to {156} one hundred thousand, numbers which we know no confederacy ever equaled, not the Iroquois in their palmiest days, much less the wide-spread Sioux tribes; so the figures become mere study-chair fancies. Though Indians suffered hideously from white-man firearms, liquor and disease; though they lost primitive hunting-grounds and were herded to limited reserves, even on those limited reserves with inter-tribal wars stopped, they again multiplied and number to-day almost as many as our estimates from old narrators give them.

The same story could be told of animal and bird life. Nature preserves a cruel balance wheel in natural life. Let one type of animal multiply, let the males wander undisturbed and protected from the hunter, and the destruction of female life and the young rapidly depletes that very species.

Male wolves not only devour their mates but devour the unborn young. So do the ermine and mink species. There are certain caribou and deer species so hostile to their female mates during the birth season that the females migrate far afield to barren islands to bring forth their young and do not rejoin the herd till the calves are on grass and able to fend for themselves. Australia is the best example of this in the world. There, the pest of rabbits is so destructive to crops that every device has been tried to destroy {157} them. At first, it was thought that if the males were destroyed, the rabbit pest would lessen. Quite the opposite resulted. Unmolested by males, the females brought forth their young and the pest multiplied. Then the device of letting the males multiply was tried. What resulted? The females began to decrease—partly from parasite disease, partly from destruction of female life. There is not a naturalist in the world who does not know that. Fortunately, the males destroyed one another in pugnacity. The mothers and young multiplied. It is not a pleasant picture; but it is nature's cruel balance-wheel by tooth and claw to perpetuate each species.

Over such a realm of wilderness wild life, Cadillac now came to reduce and hold his subjects to order by the power of mind helped by the spiritual holy fathers. He was only one cog in the great cosmic wheel rolling life from slime to star; but he was one of the essential cogs in a great era of transition.

High mountains seem greater as we recede from them. It is not because they are higher. It is because we see them unobstructed by lesser foot-hills. So it is with the lives of the truly great.




Happy Days in Cadillac's Life—Free of Dominance from Quebec—Reports More Enthusiastic Than Ever—How He Held the Indians in Check—Picked Soldiers Loyal to Him—Why He Punished One Soldier with Such a Terrible Sentence and Yet Seemed to Excuse a Guilty Huron-Ottawa Chief Implicated in Murder of the Old Recollet Priest—Cadillac Furious to Find His Old Enemy of Mackinac at the Same Underground Tricks—Vaillant, the Jesuit, His Friend but Subject to Orders from Quebec.

While Cadillac's predictions for Detroit had been so enthusiastic in his memorials, his yearly reports to the King now took on the exuberance of a boy, which must have delighted the hearts of Pontchartrain and Maurepas. Surely at last they had found the remedy for the complaints pestering them from Quebec. Cadillac had been granted full governing powers free of Quebec.

"The white wood from Bois Blanc Isle" would yield all building material. "The Hurons, the Ottawas, the Pottawattomies were gathering in strong villages round his fort and he could train them for defense against the English and the prairie tribes," whose trade he desired, but whose treachery kept him ever watchful. Brandy—yes—they all demanded it, but they would get it only a few drinks at a time, never {159} enough to become intoxicated. He could trade only fifteen thousand skins a year for himself and not for the present beaver, because beaver happened to be a glut on the market. Good! He didn't want what was a glut on the market. Let the English have it for firearms traded to the Indians and he would get those firearms from the Indians for beads, trinkets, tin mirrors. He could use tallow, buckskins, flour, grain to better advantage. He had arrived only in July. He had fall wheat sown by October. He was a whirlwind of work for the first years. Was he to use the King's gifts to hold the loyalty of the two thousand Indians? His Majesty did not object provided he kept peace, "avoided quarrels with the Jesuits ... didn't waste energy on enemies ... regarded them in fact as 'gnats.'" Well, he would, of course, if they left him alone; but could he? Here was Vaillant faithful to him but hurrying back to Quebec in September, meeting Madame Cadillac on Lake Ontario and reporting her a brave lady to essay the wilderness perils, but not so loyal to Cadillac on his return to Detroit. Here, too, was Carheil, the Jesuit of Mackinac, pausing at Detroit and bothering Vaillant. Well, he would send one of his lieutenants, Chacornacle, back in October to see what was up with François Vaillant who had gone so hurriedly to Quebec two months after reaching Detroit. Had he tried to induce some of the {160} soldiers to run off with him? He could not. These soldiers were hand-picked by Cadillac and when half-pay time came in winter had their own cabins and in many cases their new Indian brides to keep clothes in order. Besides, Vaillant before going to Quebec had pronounced La Mothe's scheme "wonderful." Though Cadillac had been granted fifteen thousand dollars to construct the fort, it did not come from the King. It came from the traders licensed to trade in the West, and we can realize how they squirmed at that figure in a year when beaver was a glut on European markets. It nearly ruined them; and Radisson saw they paid it; for he was loyal to Cadillac, who seemed to possess that rare quality of a good commander, ability to hold the loyalty of close associates.

It bespoke Cadillac's care for his people that not a death occurred at the fort for a year except Madame Tonty's infant son, when weaned; for there was no milk at the fort. "The portrait of the country is worthy of a better pen than mine," wrote Cadillac that first year. "Seas of sweet water glide gently past our doors. The banks are lovely meadows of deep green fringed with fruit trees. The vines are a roof embowering the trees in an embrace. The shy stag, the timid fawn, the bounding bucks, the turkey hen with bulging crop and numerous broods, the golden pheasant, the quail, the partridge, the woodcock, the {161} turtle dove—all sweeten the melancholy of these solitudes. The merciless scythe has never shorn these juicy grasses amid parks of walnut, oak, ash, pines straight as arrows, free of knots and all the leaves looking up at the sun. The spring grass is so high a man can not be seen in it.... Twenty varieties of plums, cherries, hazel-nuts, walnuts, chestnuts," more than man could gather. "You could shoot thirty turkeys in an afternoon for food. Beside the game birds, were tanagers, cardinals, cranes, blue birds, threshers, black birds, robins.... The fish lave in sparkling waters. The swans are like great lilies. The ducks are so thick they hardly move to let canoes pass amid their flocks." What a tranquil land! Happy Cadillac! One suspects he was a bit of a poet beneath his iron mask. "As long as I have for my protection Justice and Merit, I shall float on the waves like a king of fishes." Did Versailles smile? I suspect it did at "our good Gascon."

What were his enemies saying about his "earthly paradise" in these first years? Their underground reports were so ridiculous that they defeated their aim. The lies were not only self-evident, they were transparent. Vaudreuil, who became Governor at Quebec from 1703 to 1725, had so fallen under the influence of Cadillac's foes, that he was foolish enough to transmit these reports to the King right up to 1708.


"Cadillac was training companies of Indians to serve in royal regiments." Of course he was, and they sang the gay troubadour songs of Old France with his soldiers.

"He is detested by the troops, settlers, savages for a selfish man." Yet he held all loyal.

"He grants licenses to bushlopers. He tries to make as much money as he can. It may be he does not let the savages have enough liquor at a time to get drunk, but the price he charges is ruining them....

"He spoke against the Jesuits....

"He sells goods cheaper than at Montreal....

"He compels his blacksmith to shoe his own horses free." Cadillac had only one horse at the time of this complaint.

"He will give his soldiers only one-twenty-fourth of a pot of liquor at a time....

"The meadows are sheer sand. The prairies are a waste marsh....

"Wheat is bringing Cadillac a large revenue. The soil is so soft he can cultivate it with a mattock. His pigs are killed by savages for food. No fruit will grow here. What does, is too detestable to be eaten. The cider is bitter poison gall. Locusts eat the crops. Detroit will ruin Canada."

And still La Mothe went on happy as a lord, {163} unconscious as a mastiff of "the puppies barking at his heels."

The clash seemed to come in two ugly episodes. Some bushloping soldier on a drunken spree with trader brandy seems to have killed a comrade and, with hostile Indians, broiled the victim and eaten him. Cadillac had the fellow captured and sentenced him to have "his head broken" and his body buried in unconsecrated ground. When the sentence was carried out, it provided fine arguments for the charge that Cadillac was a tyrannical master. Burial in unconsecrated ground meant a terror even to a felon, which we can scarcely realize. All classes were superstitious in that age. Unconsecrated graves were haunted by demons to torture souls, and denial of last sacraments entailed torture to eternity. Felons to be so buried went quaking to their death, with a horror that can not be painted. They usually crumpled in the executioners' hands and perished screaming at phantoms conjured up by their own guilty consciences.

The next clash was much more serious. It ended in the murder or hired assassination of the good Recollet, Constantine. Was it murder or hired assassination? Cadillac was furious but he probed the matter to the bottom and whatever his mental conclusions, kept them to himself under his mocking ironical smile.

Always the prairie tribes—Illinois, Sioux—were {164} at deadly enmity with the Lake Indians. In vain the Jesuit and the Recollet had tried to reconcile these enemies; so Cadillac tried his hand at burying the war hatchet between the two alien peoples. When an Illinois buck tried to set fire to the fort barn, failed and was shot by another so he could not tell if he had been bribed, Cadillac had the killer—an impudent Illinois—seized and given "a good whipping with birch rods," for attacking any Indian under protection of the fort. When Sacs and Menominees of Wisconsin chanced to come to the fort begging gifts to be at peace, Cadillac assembled friends and enemies and addressed them boldly, as Frontenac might have, in their own picturesque figures of speech: "While I was sleeping peacefully and dreaming only of good to all my children, a wicked bear climbed to the top of a tree and let an ax drop on my friends and me. I will tear down this tree and tear up its roots and burn it to ashes," and he hurled the war hatchet down and gave gifts of friendship. The assembled tribes grunted applause and knew the meaning of the symbols. Bear was the clan sign of a Huron chief, Pesant or Pezant.

While the report of the powwow went to France only in 1707, the document undoubtedly referred to the tragedy when Constantine had been shot in the back by Huron bucks. All the Indians were camped {165} round Detroit trading their furs. The Miamis and Illinois of the Ohio were particularly offensive and impudent. This, the Lake tribes resented. Were they not encamped under the French flag? Some young Huron bucks acknowledging Pezant as chief had fired at the hostile bucks from the southwest. They had killed thirty Miamis. Constantine went out to remonstrate. He carried the Cross and implored both sides of the fight to cease firing and meet next day in powwow to reconcile the quarrel. Some of the Hurons, realizing the danger in such a rabble, gave the priest a push back toward the fort gate. Did he trip? If so, the Hurons mistook it for a fatal shot from the prairie enemies, and let blaze their guns. A shot from Pezant and his bucks hit Father Constantine in the back and killed him. Both the Miamis and Hurons with French flags on their bayonet-points scampered in guilty terror. Cadillac sent soldiers in pursuit to travel night and day and get the murderers at any cost. They captured and held Pezant and three hostages as guarantee of good conduct and lodged them in the guard-room. Then when Pezant escaped to take refuge afar on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, Cadillac made no attempt to recapture the rascal and punish him severely.

To say that Constantine's death must have plunged the Cadillac family in grief, is putting it mildly. He {166} had baptized their children and was the loved and honored friend. Why, then, had Cadillac not punished the murderers? Was this the way "to wipe out a blood-stain with a brown skin?" his enemies asked. Had he not intentionally permitted Pezant to escape?

To which Cadillac might have truthfully answered that he was not sure Pezant had not been bribed by Montreal traders at Mackinac to commit the crime. He came from Mackinac. Cadillac had to hold the friendship of the Lake Indians to defend Detroit from the plains tribes. He was glad enough to have the scamp Pezant far enough away not to create more trouble.

Bronze tablet in honor of Madame Cadillac.
Bronze tablet in honor of Madame Cadillac.
Courtesy, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit.

Now go back prior to both the soldier's crime and the death of Father Constantine. Perhaps Cadillac let his suspicions run away with his good judgment. He knew the Jesuits at Mackinac had been compelled to abandon their loved mission of St. Ignace in 1706; but he personally liked and had trusted the Jesuit Vaillant up to that hurried trip of the Black Robe back to Quebec in the fall of 1701. From the next year on to 1704, Vaillant had never been the same frank friend. He seemed constrained by two opposing motives: his own friendly one and then a guarded attitude at all conferences, where he sat silent.

There had been a powwow with the Indians one lovely November day. All the woods were painted in {167} the glory of autumn frost tints—a mosaic lovelier than any tapestry in Versailles; and in anticipation of the good things going on the camp table the soldiers, spick and span as Cadillac always exacted from rank and file, were humming the gay troubadour ditties. They were happy. They were contented. They were loyal. Some soldiers and officers sat in a tent at the midday dinner. The soldiers' loose tongues may have lied, but they had told Cadillac that Vaillant had lost faith in Detroit ever succeeding. He had advised them to escape or get transferred back to Quebec. Vaillant was present at the dinner. He had asked the blessing, and the meal of venison and fish and a sip of good home-brew had begun. Cadillac did not believe Vaillant could lie; and he didn't. With his usual directness, he began to ask Vaillant before the soldiers why the priest thought Detroit would not succeed as a King's colony. With the soldiers present, that was an embarrassing question. Detroit was a King's colony, independent of Quebec and therefore must not be maligned. Vaillant may have conscientiously believed Cadillac's enemies were too strong for La Mothe; but he could not very well say so in public. The priest ran from the table and begged to be excused: the food had caused a sudden acute indigestion.

The best statue of Cadillac in niche of Detroit public building.
The best statue of Cadillac in niche of Detroit public building.
Courtesy, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit.

As the priest retreated with speed for his own house {168} in the fort, the rough soldiers uttered shouts of loud laughter. "What have you put in Father Vaillant's food?" they asked. "He seems to be in a great hurry."

Cadillac let blaze his furious temper. It was just as unwise as the Jesuit's undignified retreat under fire of frank questions. "If I were in France, I'd clap him in the Bastile for this." To the royal ministers in France, he reported: "I had as lief see a clown emperor of the moon" as such men masters of Detroit. To this, the imperial answer was "to keep peace with the Jesuits." The royal masters were learning reluctantly that they could not rule an empire in the New World from the distance of Paris and Versailles.

Over Cadillac's dreams as over the Grand Monarch's were rising ominous clouds. Though both acknowledged in prayer a Divine Master, neither yet acknowledged that he might be a tool in the hands of a Divine Destiny.

Though France came so nearly grasping all North America above the Rio Grande, the collapse of the Stuarts in England, the successes of Marlborough on the Continent, the defeats even of the stubborn William of Orange were losing all in Europe which Louis was gaining in America. This was reflected in the loss of Port Royal by treaty and the restoration of all Hudson Bay forts after the Queen Anne's War. Instead of the troubadour songs we now find Canadian {169} boatmen and soldiers trolling off the endless ditty of Marlborough Going to the Wars and "commanders being carried home dead to my lady weeping in the tower" and then the singer "going to his bed because there was nothing more to be said." That old song is trolled off to this day to the stamp of feet keeping time and the music of fiddle and concertinas and mouthorgan. I have heard it on the Upper Ottawa roared out by habitant lumbermen.

The only thing that threw Cadillac off his poise was any slur cast at Madame Cadillac's reputation. When enemies could not prove she had come to Detroit by Mackinac, the charge was shifted that one of her boatmen engaged to go on up to Mackinac had taken part in unlicensed trade. Again the evidence for and against is flatly contradicted. He probably did; and the Cadillacs could retort: How could that be hindered in a region where even garrison officers turned bushlopers and keepers of brandy shops? On the spot, the Jesuits could not hinder it and if they seized illicit liquor found themselves accused of unlicensed trade.

Cadillac was censured for permitting the Indians to build a wigwam fort so close to his own walls, but he did this to protect himself from attack by plains Indians.




Cadillac Gets the Much Desired Decoration of St. Louis, but a Marquisate Is Still Dangled before Him as a Rainbow to His Life's End—He Prospers So Exceedingly His Income Mounts to What Would be Twenty-five Thousand Dollars a Year in Our Money and Excites Furious Envy of Weaker Rulers in Quebec Making Only Five Thousand Dollars a Year—The Thunderbolt from the Blue Falls on Cadillac—He Is Ordered to Assume the Governorship of Louisiana, the King's Vastest Domain.

The sunlight of prosperity still seemed to shine on Cadillac. His rents mounted to one thousand five hundred dollars a year. On the licensed traders going bankrupt in Detroit, he was given their privileges subject to the usual tax for the King, but with his Gascon thrift and careful weeding out of all unlicensed bushloper trade, these profits began to mount to twenty-five thousand dollars a year, and his army salary had been advanced to two thousand crowns a year. Of this total profit, as later events proved, having completed his fort, Cadillac now began to save for the strong box of real coin, which has ever been the secret of French thrift. He had not yet been granted a baronetcy, but was decorated with a higher knighthood—the Order of St. Louis. The marquisate for which he was keen was dangling before him—a rainbow of {171} yearly hopes. For his eldest son now shooting up to man size, he petitioned the full rank of ensign cadet. This, too, while not denied, was compromised by a junior cadetship carrying a small salary. To the youthful La Mothe Junior, and to his eldest daughter, he granted seigniories across the river in what is now Ontario.

Nor did he live meanly as at first in a log cabin chinked with moss and clay. By labor in payment for rents, boards sawed from the rough timbers were used inside the best houses as walls. Over these Cadillac had tapestries and fur robes. Over the rough hewn planks of the floor, there might not lie the deep red carpets of the Château St. Louis; but furs as soft as velvet made up this deficiency. If you look up what Cadillac's boats, now coming from Quebec each summer by way of Niagara, were fetching, you will see what was beginning to go in the furnishings of the best houses at Detroit: stoves, mattresses, Venetian drinking glasses, rare old family silver, and chandeliers which may have been for the Church of St. Anne or for the Commandant's home. Sheets, dishes for the table, damask dining linens, good table silver knives, the equipment dear to a fine housekeeper's heart—all were in the annual inventory. Full medicine chests, gold lace galore for presents to Indian chiefs, arms of the very best caliber picked by himself {172} in his autumn flying visits to Quebec, tobacco in plenty for Indians and soldiers came in the yearly flotilla of six boat-loads. In one report to the King in 1705, he says: "I will not take a slovenly dressed man among my soldiers." In the report of 1706, he numbers his perfectly equipped soldiers at two hundred, and his Indian auxiliaries at four hundred. His friends called him "wonder-worker." His enemies said "graft." To which Cadillac retorted, "Send a good man here secretly and incog. to investigate and I shall abide by the result," a challenge which his enemies for obvious reasons could not accept. It would have disclosed what was the cause of opposite conditions in other frontier posts.

When trade was in full swing at Detroit, during June and July, there were seven thousand Indians camped about the fort. When the Indians went off to hunt for the winter, the encampment dwindled to two thousand permanent red-skin dwellers. The summer presented a great opportunity to the missionaries, of which they were fully conscious. Cattle and hogs and poultry were increasing fast. Horses came slower. Perhaps La Mothe hoped to get horses by trade with plains tribes from the far Spanish settlements to the south. The man seemed as far visioned as an eagle from his own native Pyrenees, and crafty as a serpent in his silent wisdom to let results speak for {173} themselves; but his prosperity excited furious envy. Why, this income was more than the combined salaries of governor and intendant at Quebec. No wonder they fumed! But by open enmity they could not dislodge Cadillac. He was too deeply entrenched in royal favor—too deeply for his own good. He seemed too big for his place. His foes no longer assailed his record. They seemed rather to suggest he might be of larger service to the King in a wider sphere of action. These suggestions from Montreal and Quebec ran along from 1706 to 1710. They were chiefly voiced by Governor Vaudreuil and endorsed by De Ramezay, acting as a deputy in Montreal.

"We can now do without Canadian favors forever," Cadillac penned; but sometimes when he read the suggestions and charges against him, the old ironical strain broke out in his letters to France. "O Saint Frontenac, pray for me," he wrote in a medley of the Latin prayer and his own amusement at the tactics of enemies. The real cause of anxiety to him was that it took two years for him to send a letter to the King and receive instructions; and he was now sure from the tenor of letters coming back that his dispatches in the royal mail were being opened at Quebec and read and accompanied with counter-charges to get in fresh accusations, which he could not answer for another two years.


By way of placating the missionaries he now agreed to pay each five hundred dollars a year—one hundred dollars from his own pocket, the rest from bushlopers and voyageurs to whom he granted licenses.

Considering that it required Cadillac two months each autumn to go to and from Quebec, Madame Cadillac must have been an exceedingly vigilant "watch-dog" for him; and young Radisson, left as clerk by Quebec traders, must have been an honest fellow to hold loyal to La Mothe against the Quebec clique.

Why Radisson, though employed by Cadillac's enemies, kept faithful to La Mothe, may be easily understood. Radisson's father, his Uncle Chouart, his Cousin Jean, all of Three Rivers, had twenty years earlier been ruined by the same cliques in Montreal and Quebec.

Yet these were happy years to Cadillac. His boys were educated to their twelfth year in the monasteries of Quebec, the girls in the Ursuline convents, when both would return with their father to Detroit. They loved the free happy life, with all the culture and comfort of a St. Lawrence seigniory, but with none of the extravagant spending which kept all the seigniories in New France on the ragged edge of poverty—display and an empty purse to sustain a general farce. There was the trip back over silvered lakes, the {175} great portage past the beauties and grandeurs of Niagara, the advance up Lake Erie usually calm enough before September equinox gales, when the children, versed in the old troubadour songs of the phantom huntsman's horn, must have heard as they nightly camped the deep baying of the moose calling mates, the shrill scream of the wildcats in the heavy forests, and the lonely eagle cry at dawn. One of the most frequented camps on Lake Erie was at the mouth of Grand River, where I, myself, have often tried to recall the scene amid woods a flare of gold and red mosaics beggaring in beauty any painted tapestry. Grand River was not a very grand river in the low water of autumn; but nothing could dim the age-long beauties of the frost-tinted woods. This, too, was a great camp for the Indians with birch and ram's-horns to imitate and lure to death the moose.

Then on westward and up the narrow straits to the happy welcome home. Bells rang. Guns fired. Feasts on barbecued oxen and venison made glad the hearts of soldiers and Indians. Troubadour songs, Indian dances, mouth-organs, concertinas, habitant fiddles, army fifes, trombone wails, the tum-tum-tum of tom-toms, white- and red-man drums—dispelled depression from isolation in solitudes of danger on all sides.

The long lonely winters might have brewed {176} discontent for idle hands; but there was too much to be done for any hands to be idle. The year's returns must be checked up. The supplies for hunters must be arranged. Gifts were distributed to hold loyalty—in some years running up to six thousand dollars, and there was no grafting on those gifts. They went direct to the Indians, from tiniest papoose in a moss-bag cradle to the most aged chief decked with gold lace coat, beplumed hat, sword and the best gun Cadillac could give him. Then came Christmas with its holy chants and New Year's with a whole week of gaiety, and, before the fort realized, the year had swung into the Indian season, when the sap mounted the maple and all families were out for the spring harvest of sugar. Followed swiftly still busier periods: putting in crops by the farm settlers, preparing trade for the returning Indian hunters. Creamy birch canoes came gliding in over the waters of Lake Huron laden with pelts to the dead-line. Indians from the Illinois and Miami and Mississippi came with their dogs as burden-bearers in shafts called "travois" on which were strapped furs, children too big for the moss-bags on squaws' shoulders, old folk too feeble for march on foot, dumped in rope and deer-thong hammocks. Then the tents went up in thousands round Detroit, buckskin for plains tribes, canvas for traders; and campfires twinkled from dark to early dawn, and camp {177} smoke scented the summer air, and fort gates were clapped shut and trading done either through a little wicket gate or out on the fields. Cadillac took care that all chiefs admitted in the fort should see sentinels on parade behind the main gates to the water side and cannon loaded for quick fire both behind the big gates and poking snouts from the upper port-holes of the bastions.

The Commandant seemed to overlook no precaution. He seemed to forefend against any attack from any side; and for that, the Indians respected and obeyed him. He was their master and they knew it. Yet in the midst of this almost fool-proof security came the bolt from the blue—a thunderclap from a clear cloudless sky. It staggered Cadillac. It left him momentarily stunned as by stroke of lightning, which did not kill but left a shock of horror that Old France should have, could have been so blind to the real situation. It came in the dispatches of September 13, 1710, transmitted through Quebec: "Having appointed you to the governorship of Louisiana with Monsieur Dubuisson as La Forest's second command till Monsieur La Forest can arrive, it is the will of His Majesty that you should go at once to Louisiana overland. Do not put any obstacles in the way. Have these officers recognized. It is too great a chance for you not to congratulate you in the choice which His {178} Majesty has just made of you for the governorship of Louisiana. My compliments to Madeline and Madame Cadillac. This is for the welfare of the service." Signed "Vaudreuil."

Cadillac was no fool. He knew he was being promoted to have his head metaphorically "cut off." There were three chances to avert ruin: to get His Majesty's ear before Louis could die; to depend on La Forest, who was his friend and trusted lieutenant on the Ohio; to depend on Dubuisson, who didn't want the office.

Now, La Forest was no longer young. He was in too wretched a condition of health from years of exposure in the wilds to assume any governorship. He was engaged, if he was not already married, to the rich Juchereau widow. There was, it happens, a Juchereau in Madame Cadillac's family. He, too, up in Hudson Bay in the elder Radisson's day had suffered losses from the Le Moyne raids and witnessed the results of the dishonest diplomacy between France and England. He had been a most loyal officer to France. He had refused naturalization papers to England and toiled all his life for the extension of French empire on the Western World only to find himself a poor man dependent on his wife's wealth to rescue him from the poverty that had engulfed all his associates. La Forest would not risk his wife's money. Nor had he {179} personally the money to take over La Mothe's private property. There could be honest delay on that score.

Dubuisson didn't want the job. He was honestly afraid of it as he afterward acknowledged and demonstrated. Dubuisson proved himself a good officer later in European wars but he was unfit for a frontier post commander.

Whom, then, had Cadillac's enemies secretly slated to succeed him under the camouflage of bluff to the King?

We can let out the secret which the reader has probably guessed. None other than little Jacques de Bleury Sabrevois, now over forty years of age, the sorry hero of the fight which Cadillac had no doubt forgotten with the mental attic junk of many a fight before and after the brawl in Lower Town. For twelve years now Sabrevois had proved his mettle as a fighting Gascon for the King. For twelve years by open petition and secret intrigue, he had plagued the Governor of New France and the royal ear in Versailles for promotion to the governorship of some frontier post—Mackinac, Detroit, the Ohio; but he was not yet appointed to Detroit. His Majesty may have had a long memory, or he may have miscalculated on the real "welfare of the service." Louisiana was troubling him sorely. Cadillac had proved his worth at Quebec, in Mackinac, in the upbuilding of Detroit. Why not {180} transfer him with full independent power as governor to Louisiana? Louis, though aware his own vitality was ebbing, had preserved his mental clarity to his seventieth year; Cadillac was now only fifty-two.

"It will be impossible for these new officers to arrive at once, but lodge them conveniently as you can," the King's contradictory dispatch had run on. "Make a full census of all property in Detroit, a proper valuation of royal property and your own, and refer the same to M. de Pontchartrain.... On no account sell the animals you possess. Hand over all as well as powder and shot to the new commandant. Advise the Indians to hunt together in peace." "Humph!" comments Cadillac. "To hunt in peace? As well tell wolf packs to run in peace.... Does Vaudreuil think at the crack of a whip he can order these tribes at Detroit?" "I exhort you to live in peace." "Hypocrite," comments La Mothe.

Cadillac's first move was to play for delay. It would give him at least time to know where he was in this deplorable double crisscross of Quebec intrigue and Versailles perplexity on the part of a King who trusted him and of ministers who confided directly in him. Such delay was not procrastination; it was caution about jumping from the frying-pan into the fire. And such cautious policy did not hinder quick action. No doubt he and his wife sat deep in the night {181} conferring on the course of wisdom. The wise policy seemed to be for Cadillac to leave at once for Quebec. The dates give one the impression that he set out within twenty-four hours, leaving Madame Cadillac at the pilot wheel in Detroit. It needs no proof that she was a very brave woman, indeed, to remain on in a frontier post, where spies might have stirred up such deviltries as led to Constantine's death. That very summer, Cadillac expected a thousand from the prairie tribes to come to Detroit for trade. Cadillac could rely on his garrison. For the present he could rely also on his Indian troops. The uncertain factors—the prairie tribes and bushlopers at large—had dispersed for the winter; so, however many days elapsed, he was off at lightning speed for Quebec, penning as he traveled dispatches to the royal Court for Quebec frigates to convey that year. These dispatches demanded to know exactly the meaning of the contradictory orders. He was to forbid "the miller to pay over charges, the settlers to pay rents, the families to sell cattle till his successor came." He was to depart "at once," but see that his successors "were received courteously, acknowledged and properly lodged," and his successors could not arrive for a year.

"They have overshot the mark," thought Cadillac. That might be, but the order finally to be obeyed might ruin Cadillac. The courts of Canada had no {182} jurisdiction over Detroit. If lawsuits for property were filed and won, there was no way to enforce collections, even if his successors had a sou to meet the overwhelming losses.

"They think they have me tied up in their snarl," commented Cadillac; and as after events proved, they had. "O Saint Frontenac, pray for me," groaned La Mothe.




Cadillac's Frantic Haste to Obtain Delay in Transfer to Louisiana Proves Futile—The Quebec Clique Have Defeated Him Beforehand—Louis XIV Dies in 1715 and Cadillac Has Proceeded to the Gulf of Mexico—What Happened in Detroit within Three Years Left the Fort a Ruined Outpost

Cadillac found at Quebec what he expected. The card-sharpers had stacked the decks against him. Governor Vaudreuil may not have been in the fur-trade cliques; but his wife's relations were, and allied with them were the intendants. Cadillac proved one point that gave him hope of averting ruin. La Forest, his friend, was faithful to him and paralyzed with surprise at the royal order to take over Detroit. On the plea of failing health, which carried him to his grave in two years, he tried to excuse himself from going; but this was in vain. Vaudreuil overruled him and bade him prepare to take over La Mothe's property and the King's fort. This insistent wrong-headedness on the part of Vaudreuil gives the impression that while the Governor may not, himself, have been in the looting rings, he was influenced by them through his wife's relations, who were the center of the ring to enrich themselves by breaking the law. Ring by ring, the {184} corruption that was spreading in Versailles, was now widening in New France. Fortunately for Cadillac, when La Forest tried to obtain credit to buy Detroit holdings, not a bank in Quebec would extend credit, not a fur company help him to finance. La Forest was rapidly nearing the end of his life-span; but Dubuisson was ordered to proceed to Detroit. It was now too late for Cadillac to go overland to Louisiana; so he had gained a year's leeway for plans.

In this year, he made up his careful valuation of all property—an inventory of his own and the King's totaled one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, of which eighteen thousand dollars to twenty-seven thousand dollars belonged to the King. In other words, Cadillac's accounts credited to the King all the fort equipment, and the variation in two sets of amounts filed in the courts was the variation in the value of coinage at the time, of which more anon, very much more when you come to the story of what John Law's Mississippi Bubble did to the value of French coin. The amount, one hundred thousand dollars, owing to himself, allowing for the deflation of currency in France and the adulteration of silver, Cadillac calculated on his own personal property for which he had advanced every sou from his own earnings as seignior. This inventory went forward to Pontchartrain and was later affirmed as correct.


In the year's delay, Cadillac went back to Detroit and brought Madame Cadillac and his family to Quebec to await the dispatches by the next royal frigate in the autumn. Dubuisson went reluctantly to Detroit. We may as well finish with Dubuisson's régime at Detroit and leave Cadillac with his suit filed, preparing for the shift to Louisiana.

Now comes the darkest page in all Detroit's history, blacker far than a hundred years later in the War of 1812. By November, 1711, Dubuisson reports "all the tribes in a flame of conflagration.... By what miracle had Cadillac controlled them? ... War was on among all the hostile tribes.... Detroit was all in a commotion of constant alarm. There was no obedience inside the fort, nor out." The Indians knew Cadillac's successors were beaten and simply defied them.

Dubuisson's first mistake seems to have been from sheer fear. To protect the royal property and keep it intact from Cadillac's possessions, he cut the fort in half. This withdrew the garrison inside, foreshortened areas and turned Cadillac's possessions outside armed protection, as well as the church, the missions, the priests' residences, the hospital, the warehouse supplies. "It is terrible," wrote a Franciscan friar. "It would affright you to see what is going on under the change." Cellars, stores, live stock, {186} church ornaments in silver, furnishings, holy vessels, bells, candles, tools, medicines, harness, wheat, flour, were within a year all exposed to promiscuous theft. The priest's inventory of loss by depredation tallied amazingly with the notary's list of destruction filed in Cadillac's affidavit.

Writes Dubuisson to Vaudreuil in 1712: "the Mascouten Sioux are coming one thousand strong, three hundred warriors, to slaughter us. So are the Miamis and Illinois. They camp contrary to my orders within fifty paces from the fort and we have only thirty French soldiers who remain loyal to us. They kill my stock and I dare not say one word. They tried to steal a settler's daughter. They tried to set fire to our fort houses. [This was the usual device of shooting flaming arrows.] They meant to burn me in my fort. I have sent messengers to the Ottawas and Hurons to rush help to us; but the winds and weather delay them reaching us."

In the meantime Dubuisson had the buildings outside the fort—church, houses, Cadillac's residence—all burned to avoid giving lodgment to enemies. The French were toiling in the desperate fright of men in a panic. As one of the French engineers later wrote, all these tribes were really rallying to Cadillac's call for them to assemble in trade during May of 1712. The hosts gathering had brought their wives and {187} children. To be sure, there were three hundred warriors; but raiders did not permit families to accompany them. That ought to have quieted poor Dubuisson's fears; but the man was in a fright panic, when he literally drew what he dreaded.

Why not? The Indians at once recognized that the French Commandant was a weakling and as ever rushed at one another's throats. Dubuisson had to cut all his corn and wheat before ripened to save it from trampling and theft. "We are thanking the Lord a thousand times that we are not destroyed but for whose help we are irretrievably lost. We have had to scamper to get new stockades up and our bastions strengthened, which I have pigeonholed for guns and where I have placed two swivel cannon. Eight French have come up from the Ohio to help us. I hardly know which way to turn.... I hardly know on which saint to call." These were the frightened whimperings of a weak and terrified man.

Came enough Indians all that spring of 1712. Foxes and Mascoutens and Illinois in league against six hundred Hurons and Pottawattomies friendly enough with the French as long as they could obtain arms to murder enemies. Dubuisson seems to have iron-sheeted his fort gates as a precaution against fire, and he kept all his gates shut and almost sealed; for these plundering tribes of the south—Illinois, {188} Missouris, Osages, armed by the English traders—boded no peace, but the Hurons and Ottawas welcomed their advance and flourished French flags and from their own wigwam forts outside Cadillac's old moat prepared to show Dubuisson how to make war. The Lake tribes' wigwam fort outside Cadillac's moat flaunted French flags and the chiefs, under an old Ottawa named Saginaw, demanded entrance to Dubuisson's stockades and poured in to the number of six hundred, when every warrior could see for himself that the French were at the mercy of any demands each chief cared to make. Not thus would Cadillac have conceded to impudent demands. He would have been out burying the war hatchet and refusing arms till all tribes complied with his orders.

The fight seems to have begun on May thirteenth, over a rumor that Mascoutens had captured three women of the Lake tribes, and one was the wife of Saginaw. Whether these women were to be tortured, broiled and eaten seems doubtful. The plains tribes did not eat enemies; but the rumor was enough to set war-drums beating in "a frightful din ... shots flying in a hail, war-dances going on all night and such shouts the earth trembled." Again the sheer fright of exaggerated terror.

Dubuisson gave his allies, the Lake people, all the powder and shot and lead they asked. "Hah," {189} capered an old Huron chief, "now our enemies are all dead men."

From the respective positions of the enemies from the south, it looked as if they were. Then came panting to the fort a Huron with the welcome word that more Ottawas and Hurons were on the way south to help the French. Cadillac would have been outside his palisades to bury the war hatchet and avert the impending doom. Dubuisson cowered in terror. All the warriors were now stripped naked but for the arrow quivers slung over shoulders and French guns now uncased. Cadillac would have known what these signs boded and stopped instantly such war preparations of two lawless, bloodthirsty mobs. "Yes," the Lake chiefs harangued, "they were ready to perish for their white father," but they want "more food, tobacco, powder, bullets," and they got it free from a commandant who played the fool.

The siege went on for nineteen days. The Mascoutens dug themselves in trenches five feet deep. When Detroit streets were being excavated for sewer pipes, the bones of these dead plains tribesmen were found in heaps. They were gathered up, placed in a large box and reburied where they had perished. In the plains tribes there is a confusion of old Indian names, which may as well be cleared up here. Long before white men came, a branch of the Wisconsin {190} Foxes seems to have broken off from the family tribe and joined the Miamis of the Ohio and the Mascoutens of the prairies. Like all family quarrels, the enmity was very bitter; and the Foxes from the south were ever ready to leap at the throats of the Lake Foxes. The Foxes of the south had English firearms. Those of the north had French muskets. Both types of musket were terribly clumsy old "match-light" guns. When visiting Whitehall, London, which has the best collection of old armor in the world, I asked the curator in charge of the old armor to explain to me very carefully the working of all "match lighters" and "triggers" from the invention of gunpowder. The triggers looked like hammers. They were and came down like mallets. Below was the cap. The cap was composed of resin and punk and inflammable stuff which a blow would ignite. These were "the matches." "Match lighted" was a term of honor to defeated foes. If surrender were honorable or brave, the defeated foe was allowed to march out, gun over shoulder and "match lighter" in the cap—perhaps to be handed over later, but it was acknowledgment that he had been a brave and honorable foeman.

The Hurons and French erected platforms twenty feet high and poured such a rain of flaming arrows and bullets down on the entrenched that the Mascoutens could not reach drinking water. Over five {191} hundred Indians blocked escape that way and prisoners trying to run off were caught and tortured and burned during the night. Cadillac would have let them escape. Still defiant, the Mascoutens hung out red flags with painted symbols that they would dye the land with the blood of whites for this work. It was said that these flags were English blankets to show the French that the southern tribes had English firearms.

At last one evening came an aged Mascouten with a flag of truce to the fort.

"We are, indeed, dead men," he said.

The three women were given up. The exact words with which they were surrendered are a true index to the terrible character of these tribal wars. "The morsels of flesh which you ask for, we give you. We did not devour them." This may have been a delicate sarcasm that while the Lake tribes did eat enemies, the plains people did not.

If Dubuisson had thought that such surrender would give pause to the slaughter, he mistook the character of these old feuds. Though the aged Mascouten offered gifts to appease the Saginaw people for the insult in capturing three squaws, now returned unharmed by as much as a hair, did that glut the blood-lust of the frenzied jubilant Lake warriors? It did not. Dubuisson did not stop the fight now because he could not. He reported that he spoke both to the {192} peacemaker and the Saginaws "sternly." "Go back to your trenches. We are going to fire at you again," said Dubuisson, and all that night the battle raged.

Lake tribes fired again as fast and furious as ever. Fire arrows came from the cooped Mascoutens setting the straw roofs of Huron wigwams and the brush covering of fort houses in a flame. While the French put out the fires by tearing off roofs and rushing for water, the prairie people, deserted by their other allies, now attempted a desperate retreat toward the river. The French desisted from pursuit. Dubuisson was now in utter terror. His fort had been stripped of all food supplies by the rabble mob of Indians. When short of food, the Indian stops fighting. If the Lake tribes now ran off, the prairie people could have turned on the French and massacred them to a man. One could fill pages here with the harangues of the chiefs screamed back and forward from trenches and scaffolding. "Do you think to terrify us with red blankets?" yelled the Lake warriors. "If the earth is dyed red, it will be your blood." Dubuisson tried now to stop the useless fighting; but the brief pause only gave chance for the prairie people to scamper for water and cross-firing broke the powwow. Dubuisson slewed his swivel guns round over the entrenched prairie people, of whom hundreds were women and children. For four days, all had fought on their feet {193} twenty-four hours a day. Song and shout from the Lake people tore the air to tatters. Over eighty women and children of the prairie people had perished. In vain Dubuisson would have bought their lives by presents to the victors. The Lake warriors were deaf to all appeals for mercy. Dubuisson had to abandon the vanquished to their fate. He now attempted to hold the Lake warriors by taunting them with cowardice.

In the dark toward the end of the siege, the Mascoutens fled or tried to flee and succeeded in reaching Hog Island, where for four more days the unequal fight went on. Some one hundred and fifty men escaped by plunging in the river. Of the captives, only a few of the youngest children and women were spared. The others were shot, bludgeoned, tortured each day. It is estimated that the French and Lake people lost sixty to seventy warriors, the enemy over one thousand. From that fatal battle, May thirteenth to June first, the Mascoutens and the Kickapoos were enemies to the French for a hundred years.

Dubuisson retired and at high mass offered thanks to God. One wonders for what? "I am, indeed, deadly tired of Detroit," he wrote Vaudreuil. "You may guess what my finances and hopes are—a poor devil to be thrown on charity." He had failed as commandant in a brief year. At last came La Forest with fifty more French soldiers; but La Forest died within {194} two years of assuming office; and in his place came Jacques Charles M. de Bleury Sabrevois.

From 1716, Sabrevois was to have a monopoly of all trade, a favor Cadillac had never asked nor wanted, and within a year Vaudreuil had to acknowledge that "he is an agreeable man, but not liked by the savages." Yet he had to take a crack at Cadillac's claims: "His possessions ought not to hold good because the savages have compelled all the settlers to flee. Nor should his grants to his children hold good."

By 1717, Sabrevois was recalled. The Indians complained, "He dealt badly with us, ... He treated us harshly. He refuses to give us suck [liquor]." So Tonty, Cadillac's first scout, was sent to Detroit.

Before he was recalled, Sabrevois was imploring to be relieved. Sabrevois may have been an intriguer and hoped to profit by cheating the royal revenues; but he was no timid fool. In a burst of disgust, he had written to Cadillac: "The common opinion is that Detroit will be abandoned. Tonty is driving all trade to the devil. The people with titles to land beg you to protect them. I did not know you had gone to Paris. Detroit is plain hell. Never was there such disorder."

It is one thing for an inferior commander to undermine and dislodge a good commander. It is another thing for the underling to fill the good man's place. Sabrevois, now close on his fiftieth year, was man {195} enough to acknowledge his mistake. He probably wrote this letter to excuse himself for his own failures; for he knew Cadillac was now in France. Though Louis XIV had died, Cadillac was pressing his claims for losses, and Sabrevois' evidence would not only help Cadillac's lawsuit but excuse Sabrevois' own record for failure. Vaudreuil's report against Sabrevois was: "He made no repairs. He left the stockade down. He gave few presents to the Indians. He had no capacity to hold Indians. He was ever a very grasping fellow."

But we have gone far ahead of Cadillac's story to pursue the story of Detroit. Years were to elapse before he found himself in Paris to receive Sabrevois' letter. Meanwhile, how had he fared? He had, you recall, withdrawn Madame Cadillac from Detroit before Dubuisson came. He had dashed to Quebec to press his lawsuit and intentionally or unintentionally delayed departure from Quebec for Louisiana. When he did go, he went not "overland" as ordered, but later on a King's frigate. By the time Sabrevois' letters reached Cadillac in Paris, La Mothe had retired from Louisiana and for full ten years spent his time shuttling back and forward between Paris and Quebec pressing his lawsuit for losses.






Cadillac Sails to the New Sphere of Activity—On the Frigate Bearing Him and His Family, He Learns Much of the Troubles Brewing in Louisiana and the Inheritance of Confusion to Which He Has Been Assigned—De Soto, La Salle, Iberville, Bienville, All Have Failed and Three out of Four Perished on or near the Gulf.

To Louisiana, then, Cadillac had sailed on the royal frigate to hold another guardian gateway to Louis' vast Western Empire.

He could not have sailed the year he arrived in the Gulf of Mexico; for the royal frigate could not have reached Quebec early enough for it to be in the Gulf of Mexico waters by May. It must have paused at West Indian Island possessions of the French and possibly at Pensacola, then Spanish, redolent with traditions of Spanish adventures almost two centuries prior. There is one secret stairway there yet under the moat of the old fort right out to sea. It dates back to Alvarado and had been built to give the garrison, when besieged, secret retreat out to their ships at anchor. There is a comical legend about that underground passage, current to our own day; and few, who know the inside facts, deny it. In the Gulf, the three great dangers of attack were always from such {200} sea-rovers as Drake, from pirates such as Kidd or Morgan, from Indians. The secret subterranean passage of escape was guarded by a great gate at the head of the stairway. Down the stone steps, slippery with moss and sea damp and the tramp of iron-shod warrior heels, the stairs led to the tide. When the tide was out, the sands lay level as a floor. When the tide came in, the waves washed up the stone stairs. Spanish commanders kept their gold in great waterproof iron trunks, which would sink, not float out; but they took good care to chain those boxes from each iron handle to great rings clamped in the wall. Legend has it that, when Pensacola became an American possession, young army officers there got wind of a great treasure box sunk in the sands. Of this they did not tell their commanders. They dug for it and found it; but at daylight, they had to hide it, planning to have a gig or jolly-boat and get away with the treasure under cover of the next night's darkness. Unfortunately, they forgot or neglected to chain it against the inrush of the tides, but in their haste they did not fill in the quicksand hollows from which it had been dragged. The next night as the tide receded, they came by water for their treasure trove. Alas and alas! The tide had been driven in that night by a terrible wind. The roaring billows had splashed right up to the top of the stairs. The sink hole in the great quicksands was then a {201} boiling maelstrom. Gone was the treasure trunk, rolled and trundled out to sea. Had one of the officers played false with his fellows? Had the superior officers known all along what "the boys" were doing and taken the treasure for themselves? The fate of the treasure is not known to this day. This is not one of the old yarns yearly trotted out to tourists. It is seldom told and came to me from the widow of a former officer, who vouched for its truth; but it was not a truth that went in army reports.

Cadillac knew the hopeless mess in which affairs had fallen in Louisiana. Four of the famous Le Moyne sons had tried their hands there and two had perished, Iberville, the eldest, in his forty-fifth year, and Sauvolle. On Iberville's death, the younger Bienville, then in his twenties, had assumed the governorship, but he was too young for the office and Cadillac had come to succeed him. That was itself a delicate situation, requiring tact. Cadillac was evidently to be the King's watch-dog, a trying part for any man.

Cadillac knew the entire record of Louisiana. It had broken physically and financially every man from the Spaniard De Soto to Le Moyne d'Iberville. As always, the intendants had been independent of the governor. The trade had been held in monopoly by companies independent of governor and intendant. The curés had been torn between loyalty to the heads {202} in power and their Indian missions. By virtue of Radisson's discoveries on the Mississippi, 1659-60, Marquette's on the Middle Mississippi, 1673-75, La Salle's on the Gulf, 1683-85, France claimed from one end of the Great Forked River to the other; but there were Spanish claims on the Gulf preceding all French claims by almost two hundred years. Spain must be blocked from grasping the gateway entrance. English colonies must be blocked from any foothold anywhere.

Cadillac looked over the appalling record of the past almost two hundred years.

Le Moyne D'Iberville.
Le Moyne D'Iberville.

Le Moyne d'Iberville had come in March of 1699 to plant a colony named after Louis XIV. He was accompanied by a priest who had been in La Salle's voyage down the river. He came with two frigates and visited in passing Pensacola where the Spanish Commander bade him anchor out to sea; for the Spanish were busy strengthening their walls and moats here. As has been previously remarked, Spain and France were still in friendly alliance; but from the maps carefully compiled under Count Pontchartrain, it can be seen that Louis XIV was only awaiting his chance to grasp from Spain all that she claimed in North America. These maps were carried by Napoleon to Moscow for careful study of the entire Louisiana problem. You can see that Louis was plotting to wrest from Spain all her holdings and had drawn a dead line {203} south only where the Pope's Edict of two centuries previously had assigned to Portugal the area vaguely known as the East South Seas; to Spain, "the closed sea" of the Pacific. Florida and half of Mexico were coveted by Louis. It is a curious commentary on destiny that a nation not yet born should fall heir to all that Louis grasped and fall heir not through grasping but by purchase and voluntary union.

Bienville, Jr., of Louisiana.
Bienville, Jr., of Louisiana.

Iberville had coasted along toward the Mississippi meeting Biloxi Indians, and in March he found a passage through the endless bayous and swamps and heard the mighty roar of a great river coming through the watery wastes of "a chaos without a sail, without a sign of life." The dreary wail of the winds, the roar of the great bull alligators with jaws torn by many a fight, the stench of stagnant waters so different from the dancing silver and white rapids of New France, the snaky coils amid the mournful cypress, the bearded Spanish moss hanging in dreary drapery from canes to rushes, the watery wilderness of screaming sea birds—all seemed to throw Iberville back to the very dawn of time, when the whole earth lay under seas. The flooded currents of the river seemed to thunder warning. It was the nearest to depression that Iberville ever betrayed in any report to his royal master. Anchoring the frigate, he sent Bienville up the river with five men in two canoes. Climbing a solitary tree {204} above the lapping bayous, Iberville could not see a sign of life. Only the lapping of lazy waters washed the swampy shores. On one of his exploratory trips Bienville met an English brig of sixteen guns with Huguenots seeking a suitable area for a colony, and he frightened Captain Bank or Bar out of the river by telling him the French already claimed all this territory and had forts up, "a fib," as one of his friends confessed; but he himself could have been captured by that English brig.

In January of 1701, Iberville was back from France with instructions from the King to build a fort at Biloxi and go up the river at least as far as modern Natchez among the sun-worshiping tribes. Young Bienville—he was only twenty-four and a devout Catholic—went up the river to visit the Natchez and witnessed a scene that left him their ruthless enemy all his life. A thunder-storm had struck the Sun Temple and burned it. He came on the catastrophe just in time to see frenzied mothers flinging new-born infants in the flaming thatch roof to appease the Lightning (Stinging Serpent) devils. He could never rid himself of that awful first impression, though, as a reader of his Bible, he must have known the Jews made the same sacrifice to the great god Moloch.

Bienville found among the swamp Indians a letter left by Henry Tonty years before in the La Salle {205} voyages; so this seemed to confirm French claim to the Mississippi except for Spanish prior rights from 1539 to 1541, when one thousand Spanish infantry clad in mail and fifty cavalrymen had come in the awful heat to swamp marshes, and seven hundred had perished of heat or by Indian attack, and De Soto's body had been sunk in the great floods of the river. La Salle's disastrous last voyage came next to the Gulf. Murdered by his French companions, his body, too, found an unknown grave in or near the great "Father of Waters." This seemed the tragedy of tragedies in French efforts on the Mississippi. La Salle, coming for the second time by sea in 1684 with two hundred and eighty men, had missed the entrance to the Great River and landed at Matagorda Bay. Whether he was abandoned by the commander of the French frigates, whether he reached back eastward as far as Trinity Bay, whether he was tyrannical and high-handed with his men, whether the soldiers were in a panic of terror from lack of food, or exhaustion from summer heat—we do not know. Surviving mutineers do not usually tell the truth. There are disputes in all contemporary records. We do know that La Salle now attempted to reach the Mississippi by a march overland along Texas and then to go back up the Great River, chancing a meeting with voyageurs on its waters, or looking to his muskets for food. Both ammunition and food were {206} daily less. Heat, fury, fear, exhaustion may have maddened his followers. Much nearer the Great River than he guessed, wading in deep swale, he fell face downward with a bullet shot from behind. "There thou liest, Great Bashaw! There thou liest, Great Bashaw," the assassins taunted in crazed derision, and they left his body to be eaten by wolves or tossed out in the swale to river and tides.

Whether they meant Bashaw, a Turkish grandee, or Bashi-bazouk, a light-headed Turkish fool inflated with self-importance, doesn't matter much. They had killed this hated commander, whom they regarded as a tyrant.

One of the bayous Iberville had named Pontchartrain; the other, Maurepas. Bayou was simply an Indian term for a bay-like lake of the sea. The first settlement planned was Biloxi, four acres for the fort with four bastions and twelve great guns. This was to block Spanish advance from Florida westward. In Iberville's absence, Sauvolle was to be governor of all Louisiana, Bienville a very young lieutenant-governor, Boisbrant, a cousin of the Le Moynes, commander at Biloxi. Bienville was to build a second fort on the west side of Mobile River. The delay to all Iberville's plans was that as naval commander he had to go to sea, or report back to France; and in the very month that Cadillac had begun to build Detroit {207} in 1701, Sauvolle died of the heat "fever." Iberville returned from the war with Spain in 1704 with two frigates, a brig, and colonists. Contemporary records describe the majority of these colonists as "rogues, scamps, riffraff," sent out from the scum of Paris. One episode has gone down to history as "the first petticoat insurrection" in America. Determined to make his colony respectable and to anchor the settlers down with families, the King had sent twenty young "females veiled, pious and virtuous" to be housed at Mobile by the young Governor Bienville, till suitable husbands could be chosen. Every girl probably had her eyes on the young Commander as a possible husband. Jeers, laughter, sneers greeted the new policy. The good lady acting as chaperon tried her arts on Bienville for herself, and on the distracted young Commandant remaining cold under these fires and arts and darts of a capricious Cupid from a woman years older than himself, she reported him "utterly deficient in the qualifications for a good commander." Henceforth the King and Iberville sent brides out under five priests in 1705 with two charity nuns as chaperons, but the girls were just as obdurate in 1706 as in 1705. They would "not eat corn mush." This rebellion no doubt resulted as much from the heat, for corn is a very heating food, as from chagrin at the "jeers, sneers and laughter." It didn't simplify {208} matters nor smother fury among the brides to learn that when Boisbrant, the Commander at Biloxi, had fallen in love with one of the girls, Iberville vetoed the match as "beneath the family dignity of the Le Moynes."

Of course, the intendants as usual were sending back the accusations of "every sort of malfeasance" by the Le Moynes, "who pilfer His Majesty's goods;" but all these charges were disproved as a smoke screen to cover illegal acts of the intendants themselves. The Le Moynes, like Cadillac in Detroit, demanded a secret agent sent out incog. to investigate; and the investigation cleared them of every charge.

An index to Bienville's policy toward the Indians is his proposal to seize so many Indians a year, transport them to the West Indies for slaves, and barter three reds for two blacks. This scheme Louis XIV had the wisdom to forbid at once. It would have destroyed the French traders on the Mississippi and exposed them to assassination.

Another tragedy of tragedies fell on Louisiana in 1706, when Iberville, back from raids by land and sea, came to pick up one thousand men from other French vessels at San Domingo and Havana and proceed to Louisiana. He was full of hope for his colony. It had grown to one hundred and eighty men, twenty-seven families, eighty thatch houses, fourteen cows, nine {209} oxen, one hundred hogs. These were spread from Mobile and Biloxi to a clutter of huts just at the mouth of the Mississippi below what is now New Orleans.

Some of the legends of the tragedy may be ascribed to fiction; but in the main, they are true. Gayarré, who is one of the best chroniclers of early Louisiana and who dug deepest in the Archives of Paris, in his lectures gave the legends, but in his formal history corrected the legends and qualified them. This is one of the legends that he did not so qualify.

There had been much feasting among visiting officers of the different frigates at San Domingo. This was a dangerous thing in a hot malarial climate, doubly dangerous when yellow fever was raging a pestilence; but medical science did not know what it knows to-day. Iberville was ever very abstemious. He had to be. He was in his forty-sixth year. He had also to keep his head among tipsy underlings. Leaving the wassailing officers guzzling and drinking on board his ship, he withdrew to the upper deck of the frigate. Versed in astrology, which was the affected vogue of the period, he stood leaning over the railing to study the stars in a pansy blue tropic sky and their silver reflection in the calm, almost glassy, phosphorescent sea. There was a tap on his shoulder and a gentle hand-clasp on his arm. He turned to see a monk, who had slipped up in silent sandals.


"My son, on what dost thou brood? What dost thou see in the stars for thee?"

"Oh, Father, I was just dreaming in an aimless reverie."

"Poor stranger! Poor son! Thou hast not seen a thing? I have and I will tell thee. Fly hence! Wait not a moment! Flee from these false seas deceptive. I have seen and I will tell thee what I see. Death is here! It flies through the very air, an invisible phantom. It knocks on every door, and no door can bar its entrance. None can shut his ears to its lightest rapping. Seest thou the deep, deep blue afar in the heavens, which grow darker as they penetrate the black outer spaces? There, Death holds sway. It is Death's realm. This velvet touch which caresses thy cheek is Death's breath. The stars seem to go out in the black depths of yon darkness. They tremble with fright. Haste thee away with all speed, O my son! This is the Pestilence coming out dark-winged to overshadow us. I see it stalking toward thee! It is now among your revelers. It is marking with crosses each forehead with its bony fingers. Mock not my warning, son! The scourge is yellow fever. Keep out of its deadly path; or—prepare now to face thy God!"

The ghostly monk vanished in the star-twinkling dark. Had Iberville dreamed it all? He scarcely knew. It left him chilled. He may have fallen asleep.


At dawn, the frigate was under way for Havana with creaking sails and bending masts. Iberville and the officers sat in the commanders' room with maps on the table planning what to do in Louisiana. Suddenly, Iberville sprang from his place with a rush of blood to his head and haggard eyes. He had been seized with terrible pains in his spine and cramps in his stomach.

"Poison? Poison?" whispered the terrified officers.

"No, friends, not poison! It is the pestilence—fly from me, comrades. The old monk spoke the truth last night. O God, Thy will be done. To Thee I commit by immortal soul——" And he fell in a delirium. He died within five hours and was buried in Havana harbor.

This was a blow from which Louisiana did not recover in thirty years. The colony lost its father just when his wisdom was needed most. Biloxi, Mobile, and that cluster of huts south of modern New Orleans were as yet the only evidence of possession in Louisiana, and each was as vulnerable as a child's card-board box to the kick of a ruffian if attacked by foe, red man or white. Only Biloxi and Mobile could be called forts. What later became Natchez, was not yet begun. In many of the dispatches from Louisiana it is impossible to tell from which of the shifting headquarters letters were written. Possibly many were dictated on {212} the frigates rocking at anchor. Comfortable quarters, if any, were yet only at Biloxi.

The Indians were muttering ominously, "Why don't you send out real warriors to defend your people?" Nor were the Indians blind to the fact that many of the so-called soldiers were "felons" and the surgeon a drunken sot. Who got the money from the prosperous "brandy shops and slops"? The intendants said the Le Moynes did. The Le Moynes said the intendants, themselves, got it.

"Faugh," scoffed Cadillac, "a nice mess to clean up for His Majesty." The French Court must think him a scavenger broom, like these black ravens darkening the dusky hot summer sky to dive and feast on the dead rotting alligators. Well! He would demand his reward—a baronetcy or an earldom. Meanwhile, he must be careful not to wound the vanity of young Bienville, whom he was displacing. There might be a match there for one of his daughters now blooming into beautiful maidens with their dreams of hero lovers. He must be watchful and courteous. We must not prejudge him as utterly self-seeking in such matrimonial alliances contemplated for his girls. All marriages were at that period prearranged by French parents.

Meanwhile, young Bienville had already run the gauntlet and escaped the design of one match—the {213} chaperon's. Boisbrant, his cousin, had been vetoed in another contemplated match. Cupid had not yet exhausted his bag of tricks on the Mississippi. The little love-god has three more arrows in his mischief-causing quiver. All made trouble for early Louisiana. Le Page du Pratz was in Louisiana during all of Cadillac's régime. Why he gives so little space to Lower Louisiana is plain from his own narrative. He at first joined that cluster of "planters" on the lower river. There, he could not endure the heat; so he moved up to the Natchez Colony and his narrative is splendid, full and most illuminating. He is loyal to Bienville and to Crozart, who held the trade monopoly for all Louisiana during Cadillac's regime, but does not conceal the terrible tragedies and injustices of this period to the Natchez people. Du Pratz lived among them unmolested and got from them their side of the whole tragic story. He was their friend but his health never fully recovered from the first trying year at the mouth of the river.




What Cadillac Actually Found in Louisiana—Bienville Resentful and Marking Time—The Indians Muttering Contempt for White Man Prowess—The Colonists Wandering Off or Idle in Hot Season and Almost Starving—Anthony Crozart, the Trader, Holds Monopoly and Has His Own Plans for a Baronetcy—Bienville Prefers "the Mortification of Celibacy" to Proffers of All Brides—The Clash Comes with Cadillac—Bienville, Ordered Forthwith to an Impossible Task with the Natchez, Accepts the Challenge—Charlevoix's Report Five Years Later.

Consciously or unconsciously, we tinge with our moods our first impressions of all places we go.

Cadillac's first impressions of Louisiana were unutterably dreary and depressing. He had not wanted the transfer to Louisiana for "the welfare of the service"; but his hope had never died. He realized that, if we only have clear enough vision to see, opportunity is in the ever-present Now. His ambitions and hopes were never quenched. Before he sailed he must have known of Dubuisson's utter failure at Detroit and the ruin it entailed on himself; but the thrifty Gascon had saved while in Detroit, and when he left Louisiana he had still enough of those savings to buy himself a good governorship in one of the southern departments of Pyrenees France.


Perhaps the depression resulted from the hot season in which he arrived. The contrasts of dank swamps with Canada's laughing, cool, silver waters overwhelmed him. Then he must have brooded on the wreck of hopes blasted in Detroit. To depression must have been added resentment and anxiety—what the Indians call bad medicine for a man over fifty, when the functions of the body are apt to slow down and depend more and more on the power of mind and spirit to compensate for diminishing physical vim. The beginnings of settlement in a Western Empire that now numbers more than sixty million people seemed miserable weak army posts with rotting stockades and dilapidated huts exposed to the contempt of warlike Indians, who had begun to murder French traders coming south from the Ohio. Cadillac did not condemn Louisiana when he said that "you might as well try to bite a slice out of the moon" as make a prosperous colony there. What he was trying to convey to his royal master without saying it was that the Old Order would never prosper in the New World.

These oaks were gnarled and knotted compared with Detroit's. The delta had rich soil but from it grew only the funereal cypress, where snakes lay coiled on the twisted trunks. Whoever was bartering out "brandy slops from the brandy shops," the reaction was deadly on the colonists in a hot clime. They {216} drank in the hot season, and when the cool weather came round, instead of fishing and working as they should have, they lived idly on acorns or foisted themselves on the Indians. This, the Indians did not resent. The Indian is a socialist and shares what he has as long as it lasts; but it did generate a contempt for the white man. "This terrestrial paradise," penned Cadillac, "boasts of twenty fig trees, three pears, three apples. Its wealth is a tissue of fables and lies. The wretched country is good for nothing." By January of 1714, his pen dipped in the gall of a bitterer ink. "The people are no better than the country. They are scum, refuse, ruffians, who cheat the gibbet. They are vagabonds steeped in vice. The colony is not worth a straw, but I shall make something of it if God grants me health"; but health to a man past fifty suddenly transferred to a hot malarial clime is pretty chancy at its best. "Duels are daily," goes on Cadillac, and then he paints the loose character of many women "in this Garden of Eden." His contempt for the Indians' attitude of superiority was boundless and he determined to reduce their pride by some such smashing defeat as Frontenac had given the Iroquois on the St. Lawrence. When they came to smoke their peace-pipes with him in endless powwow, he bade them "smoke their own filthy contraptions." He would have none of it. They wanted only gifts; beggars, he would {217} teach them their place. Unfortunately, he had only seventy-five soldiers to uphold this show of authority and these were scattered round four weak outposts. When he boasted of his own high lineage, of ancestors who had entertained the Black Prince, it needed only a malicious whisper of that old boyhood name, the Black Prince, to set the jeers, sneers and laughter coming in his direction; and Cadillac could never tolerate the same sharp criticism he dealt out so unsparingly to his enemies. The soldiers began calling the new Governor "the Black Prince."

Yet where Cadillac saw naught but a dark future for Louisiana, Charlevoix, the priest historian coming five years later, predicted "a granary for an empire." Anything could be produced from such soil. Melons, corn, fruit, rice, sugar-cane, nuts, roots, vegetables would grow with slight toil. Timber, rosin, cordage, fish—all promised reward to industry. Yet Charlevoix had to acknowledge that more than thirty Frenchmen had been slain by Indians on the river. It was an empire not yet won. It had to be won.

Where Cadillac had seen only wretched trees of no worth to commerce, Charlevoix saw cypress for shade, green laurels, tulip trees, magnolias, beautiful flowers embowering all scenes. The alligators Charlevoix hiked less than had Cadillac. They were a danger to man and beast. The whirlpools of the mighty waters {218} were terrifying to the boldest and most intrepid voyageur. The spring floods were terrible, almost like an earthquake. The adobe huts he did not despise as Cadillac had. With mats and rough-cast surface walls whitewashed, they could be made warm in winter, cool in summer, much superior to many a thatch-roof wigwam, or rain-sodden tent where missionaries had housed and died for the faith from Mackinac to the Gulf of Mexico.

He did not like the Natchez, he confessed. The horrors of their Sun Temple sacrifices, the despotic tyranny of their chiefs, from whose presence slaves had to creep backward while the tribes prostrated themselves flat on the earth, were bad omen for French prestige, with only seventy-five soldiers amid four thousand warriors. "Go rid me of these dogs," he had heard the chiefs order Natchez raiders about to set out against some other tribe. When a chief died, the calumet smoke might rise as incense to the Sun God, but his servants would be killed to be burned with him, and all relatives, but the one designated as heir, were strangled. Horrible; and yet, as with the Aztecs, the victims were fed and fattened before death as a fit offering to the devil gods. A woman unfaithful or displeasing to her husband was forthwith killed. All harvests were held in common ownership. There was little cruelty to captives. The Natchez liked to add to {219} their warriors. Yet all warriors drank a native beverage—possibly a cactus pulque drugged with a concoction to give immunity from pain—that drove them in a frenzy of fury toward enemies. In the councils, the woman vote seemed to count one to five men. The disparity arose from infants and unmarried girls not being counted as voters. These parishes—Charlevoix predicted—"would become a rich colony." To add to the confusion of authority among the white rulers, all church parishes were under the Bishop of Quebec City. The first curé was a De la Verté. Between Cadillac's arrival and Charlevoix's visit, the parishes had increased in population by army and colonists to seven hundred people.

On all the early days of Louisiana, the best authority is Le Page du Pratz. He came to the Gulf with Crozart the trader, from Rochelle, and remained to the arrival of Charlevoix to whom he gave the results of all his years of observation. There were three frigates in Du Pratz's company. On his way to the Gulf, he had paused at San Domingo and Havana and Pensacola, and his sharp eyes did not miss much evident there. The Spanish were building a strong fort. Pensacola had a harbor "good and safe" from all anchorage. A ship with fifty guns could go in and not grate bottom. France and Spain would not long be at peace. (In fact, the friendship ruptured in 1719, and Pensacola was {220} captured by the French.) He, too, noted the sandy shores, the dank forests of cypress, cedars, oaks, pines, the rich delta lands forty miles up from the Gulf. The area here alone was vaster far than Old France or Spain. He chose for his first plantation the rich delta lands, because where from the black land oaks, walnuts, tulip trees, rice sugar would grow, he thought he could build up a prosperous plantation.

New Orleans in 1719.  One of the first French forts at mouth of the Mississippi.
New Orleans in 1719.
Courtesy, Lenox Library, New York.
One of the first French forts at mouth of the Mississippi.

Le Page lodged in a cabin for himself with another for his slaves right in the delta. But the terrible heat drove Le Page higher up the river to the bluffs of Natchez. It sent him farther inland a physical wreck; but he had lost his fear of the great roaring bull alligators. An old Indian acting as servant had shown him how really harmless the alligator was if one knew how to attack him. A blow on the snout with a strong gaff, and the big lumbering brute scrabbled over the sands to roll floundering in the sea. Mobile was the first settlement by the French west of the Florida Spaniards.

Then came Biloxi; but "the colony was languishing." Bienville was already marking out the fort later to become New Orleans, but Cadillac's advent on the scene delayed this.

By way of putting some self-respect in his soldiers and enforcing some degree of deference from the Indians, Cadillac's first step was to clothe ragged {221} soldiery in decent garb. The soldiers were given red coats with abundance of silver buttons, silk-lined capes, silk hose or wool for winter, strong shoes, trousers of white or gray wool. They were drilled under young Bienville, now acting as lieutenant-governor and commandant. They were put under strict discipline and had the semblance of back-bone where formerly they had a noisy jaw-bone. Both Cadillac and Bienville now began to feel that they had dependable fighters, who would not flinch however great the odds against them; but what were seventy-five soldiers against eight hundred warriors centered at Natchez and four thousand warriors in all at large? And these seventy-five whites were scattered from Biloxi to Mobile and New Orleans. At the fort below what later became New Orleans, there were seldom more than forty-five.

Seal of fort to which Cadillac retired as governor. Note the Moorish type of architecture, different from the Gothic of France.  Plaque on Cadillac's birthplace.
Seal of fort to which Cadillac retired as governor.
Note the Moorish type of architecture, different from the Gothic of France.
Courtesy, Lenox Library, New York.
Plaque on Cadillac's birthplace.
Courtesy, Lenox Library, New York

Anthony Crozart was no shifty, dishonest trader. He sprang from tough peasant stock, from the very class being hag-ridden by taxes to support all the luxuries of Versailles. He broke from the soil, began as a merchant, came to Paris a rich banker. We do not know the steps by which he climbed. Legend has it—and the legend seems to be true—that he fell deeply in love with a lady of the Court. Because of his peasant origin, he was rejected. He did not pine away from rejected love. The rejection only spurred him to {222} greater effort. He took an oath that he would yet win wealth to command a position superior to the lady's family. He grew to be money-lender to the extravagant crew at Versailles and may have forced or bribed his appointment as sole licensed trader for Louisiana. There is a suspicion that the contract "was sold to the highest bidder." In any event, Louis XIV before his death had chosen in Crozart a dependable strong man with the same consuming ambition as Cadillac—to win a baronetcy entitling him to a place at Court.

The very first year he was out, Crozart brought two shiploads of colonists and he continued to do so for at least eight years. The King allowed him as his share of expenses for colonists and soldiers ten thousand dollars a year. If Crozart had bought his monopoly, the purchase price must come back to him in the excess, if any, of the yearly grant above his expenses.

When Crozart and Cadillac came in 1713-14, there was a clean sweep of all former officials except Bienville and his cousin, Boisbrant of Biloxi. Both new men began with a full set of new officers and a free hand. There was no clash between Cadillac, the Governor, and Crozart, the trader, for some time.

Promptly after his rejection by the disdainful lady Crozart had married and when his wife died centered all his baffled affection on a daughter, Marie Anne, whom he brought with him as "the apple of his eye" {223} to Louisiana. She is known in old French records as Marie Anne—the combined name of the Jesuit's saint or the voyageur's. In Spanish annals, she is called Marie Anyana, sometimes Annette.

Were Crozart's and Cadillac's daughters friends? They could scarcely help being very intimate in the circumscribed life of the Gulf of Mexico. They may have drawn apart in their secret love for one man.

Old crones may have spun the romances from Court gossip; but they said Crozart both before coming to America and after leaving Louisiana knew that his daughter had a great passion for the son of a nobleman. It was reciprocated. On the death of the courtier, Crozart generously tore up the dead Count's debts to himself and hoped to see the mother of the boy receive Marie Anne in the proud family, but the family boasted royal blood and they too could not stand for peasant stock. Again his ambitions were thwarted and he carried Marie Anne off with him to Louisiana. Here, we must tread carefully; for there is not a contemporary record of the time in which the official papers do not flatly contradict one another; and they are in volumes. Bienville's reports, Cadillac's, Le Page du Pratz's, Crozart's—all bristle with petty enmities, personal squabbles, the irritations of divided authority and inordinate jealousies over a little fort where each chief regarded with resentment encroachment on his own powers.


Crozart was honest to a sou, so was Cadillac. When liars threatened to send such reports to the home authorities as had troubled and ruined him at Detroit, he retorted he "would hang the signers." Still, he couldn't and didn't hang the elderly chaperon for sending lies back to the King because Bienville wouldn't marry her. Even a watch-dog for the King has sometimes to turn a blind eye toward small enemies. Then came Cupid's third love arrow in the comedy of Louisiana's intrigue. When Cadillac broached to Bienville the subject of marriage to his own daughter and young Bienville still "preferred the mortification of celibacy" to even this rich match, Cadillac's fury knew no bounds.

The more Cadillac brooded, the more furious he became. His affection for his daughter was wounded. His pride in his origin was touched. Couldn't his wealth as dower give as much to the groom as the groom's position in the Navy could give to the bride?

Anger is bad medicine in a hot climate. It is very bad medicine to Spanish blood. Both Cadillac and Bienville lacked tact; Bienville concealed the defect under suave grace.

The refusal of the elderly chaperon, Bienville regarded as a joke, but to reject as bride a young girl almost his own age, whom he must have seen daily in the close contact of official life, must have wounded {225} him. Beneath his great family pride and indifference to wealth, Bienville had a kind heart. He was chivalrous but he was not romantic. He loved Louisiana as Cadillac had loved Detroit. Its failure ultimately broke his heart. Poor young Bienville! He must have longed to go to sea.

The Natchez had been acting badly—very badly. Some French traders and some priests had been murdered on the river. Priests, trader, Governor agree the Natchez must be given a lesson. There could be no division on that decision. They must be taught that French power stretched a strong hand from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. Bienville as commandant of the troops was summoned by Cadillac as to the presence of royalty. The dark angry brooding face must have forewarned him of a storm on the horizon. Cadillac's was a challenging face. The missionaries were determined, but careful not to embroil themselves in a stormy scene. Crozart, the trader, was watchful. He himself had a daughter just blooming into beauty.

Bienville gracefully removed his three-cornered broad-brimmed hat, saluted His Excellency and—waited for the burst of the storm. The calm exterior did not deceive him.

"There have been more French murdered on the river by the Natchez," began Cadillac. "We must {226} teach these fellows a lesson they will never forget. You must go up to their Natchez village and punish them for the crime. You must demand the murderers at any cost. You must build a fort there to check them. Take thirty-four men, fifteen soldiers, the others able-bodied colonists to help you in the building."

"What? Fifteen soldiers to meet eight hundred warriors and protect nineteen stockade workers, Your Excellency?"

"Certainly, why not? You are such a wonderful fellow, nothing is impossible to a Le Moyne," went on Cadillac. "I myself controlled six thousand Indians at Detroit with fewer troops."

Bienville must have presented arguments to prove the perils of such a course.

Cadillac exploded: "A truce to your objections! These are my orders. Go! Go now! Prepare at once! Monsieur Crozart will deal you out all the supplies of arms and ammunition and food needed."

Bienville was staggered. He was thunderstruck. He had evidently not been consulted by Cadillac nor by Crozart in the council usually taken before such momentous decisions. That the Natchez had to be punished, all had agreed; but fifteen soldiers against eight hundred warriors entrenched in their own rude camp! This order was really a challenge. He had to {227} obey the Governor or be accused of insubordination. Bienville was now as furious as Cadillac. Though inflamed with the hot blood of youth and seemingly cornered by the triangle of authority, he had the quick wit to conceal his fury and bide his own revenge.

"Say no more, Your Excellency! I accept the order." He meant "the challenge." He drew on his long military gauntlets, saluted, turned on his heel and marched out head high.

It would be a tough and terrible campaign—worse than the old Le Moyne raids on James Bay and Massachusetts villages; but when had a Le Moyne ever failed? If he had not the force he needed, he must use strategy and cunning. That strategy and cunning cost the French and English a terrible penalty for a century and came down as a curse to American frontiers for another half-century. It really leagued all tribes against whites down to the middle of the nineteenth century.

Not thus had Cadillac met similar situations on the Great Lakes. There, he had forged the tribes in alliance friendly to the whites. There he, like Frontenac, had buried the war hatchet. Bienville knew all these things. He knew also that Cadillac's chief backer, Louis XIV, was verging on death.

Did Cadillac contemplate the murder of Bienville at the hands of the Natchez? The thought is scarcely {228} conceivable. The failure of Bienville to crush the Natchez would have reacted on Cadillac's own record as governor of Louisiana. Besides, even in his resentments Cadillac was to his very death direct, blunt, outspoken, tactless, utterly indifferent to the immediate hornet's nest he might stir up. You will find, as the story of his life proceeds back to France, that his fearlessness in exposing himself to stronger enemies than Natchez or Le Moyne brothers sent him to the Bastile for the greater part of a year, where he might have been secretly poisoned. Yet in the power of such strong enemies in France, he would no more bate his furious outspoken resentment than he did at Mackinac, when he called all foes "dogs barking at his heels," or on the way to Mackinac and Detroit, when only his strong fencing arm hindered mutinous assassination. His mistakes seem to have resulted from two errors. He mistook the character of the Natchez. They were as strong as the Iroquois and had not had their self-confidence broken as Frontenac had crushed the fighting spirit of the Iroquois. Then a Le Moyne could no more dance the wild whirligig of a peace powwow to bury a war hatchet than a majestic king could play the part of a circus clown.




Bienville's Campaign of Strategy and Cunning—He Builds a Fort near Natchez Stronghold and Invites Three Head Chiefs to His Quarters as Guests—He Traps Them and Demands the Murderers—After Many Parleys, He Captures Them and Shoots the Guilty Chief, Who Curses Him as He Dies—The Curse a Legacy of Hate to All White Men for a Century.

How Cadillac would have handled the situation with the Natchez is mere guesswork. As he had answered bruskly to young Bienville, he had at Detroit mastered just as many Indians through diplomacy as the Natchez eight thousand warriors. There was, however, a vital difference. Since 1660, Crees and Assiniboines of the north had known white men and the power of white men's firearms. Lake tribes had known white men for almost a hundred years. All northern tribes wanted firearms. All northern tribes were barterers for firearms and insane for liquor. The Natchez did not want firearms, nor did they care for liquor. They lived a very easy life and could gain their living from the river and a bountiful soil.

It is very doubtful, indeed, whether the Natchez realized in the least the significance of murdering any strangers passing their cantonment on the river. One {230} has but to recall Marquette's reception by all river tribes thirty years previously. Bows were strung, arrows pointed and war-whoops sounded from both shores of the Mississippi south of the Ohio. Even as guest under a head chief's tent roof, feasts of mush and all-night dances were all that restrained the Arkansas warriors from invading the sanctuary of a host's protection and murdering the priest. Nor were the early white invaders of their realm any too careful about murdering first to protect themselves. Recall De Soto's setting hounds on Indians, which tore them to pieces. The Indian's primeval code, like the Oriental's, was to regard all strangers as enemies and slay them. This is not passing judgment on the code of right or wrong. It is simply setting down facts. Fear and greed were as in the most of wars at the bottom of the code.

Cadillac's orders to Bienville must have been given in 1715 or 1716; for Bienville was not on the scene of action before April, 1716. Cadillac was obviously very unfair to him. Not thus, back at Detroit, had Cadillac placated Pezant, the murderous Huron. He had captured the old rascal and given him a good scare.

Anyway, Bienville took his time to make thorough preparations for what he knew would leave him either disgraced in Louisiana or its sole defender; and no Le Moyne had ever yet failed the King of whose death {231} Bienville did not yet know. He forefended against attack on his record by sending a private dispatch on the King's frigate. "I assure Your Excellency that the cause of Cadillac's enmity to me is my having refused to marry his daughter." He had great difficulty getting sufficient provisions and ammunitions from Crozart, the trader, for the expedition and this from two very valid reasons. Crozart had not been out two years before he realized that he could not make any profit out of his Louisiana monopoly. In fact from 1717, he was asking to be relieved of the monopoly and recalled. He was required to fetch out so many colonists a year. It was difficult to hire a good class of thrifty workers for Louisiana. The thriftless fell back a useless and a heavy load in Crozart's lap. In the next place, if Bienville's expedition failed, who would make up the loss to Crozart?

Bienville's fifteen soldiers were hand-picked. Not one flinched in the campaign. His colonist helpers were as good fighters as builders. They must have been young and tough. His ammunition and firearms when at last they were secured, were of the best and in plenty. So were provisions.

To ascend the Mississippi in flood waters of April now means nothing to us. In the seventeen hundreds, it was a terrific task. It meant using dugouts or cedar canoes. Oars had to be of the strongest. Light flip {232} paddling could not be used. Neither could sails. At this time of the year, there was no dead calm water amid the swamps. The Mississippi came south in thundering floods that tore mud-banks from shores, covered sand islands, hurled great snags of uprooted trees in the sticky sand and left scarcely a camp space for night dry enough to hold tent pegs. Tent ropes had to be tied to willows swaying in the wash. Sleep had to be snatched in the canoes. Progress forward called for tireless work on the punt pole pried from the stern and the paddles from each side; and where neither punt nor paddle availed, the men had to strip, jump out and on the tump-line haul ahead off sandbank or snag of trees. There was many a delay for repairs to canoes. However impetuous he was in a quarrel, Bienville knew all this water voyaging from his boyhood in Quebec. To avoid arousing suspicions, he seems to have slipped past the main cantonment of eight hundred Natchez at night and gone on up the river beyond fifty-four miles. This was his first stroke of strategy and wise. If French traders came down the river in the spring as they always did, he could stop them and employ them as auxiliaries.

Late in April and early in May, he had a stockaded fort up on high land to avoid the floods, with good quarters for the men, rain-proof to protect the ammunition from damp, and food in store to avoid being {233} starved out in a siege. This fort he named Rosalie after Count Pontchartrain's wife. Gayarré and Du Pratz say that Fort Rosalie was eighteen leagues from the main Natchez camp. He had three good log houses for his men. He also had a windowless strong prison-room with bullet-proof doors. The Natchez must have learned what he was doing, but they seemed not to care. Bienville, then, sent word to them that he was there to open a trader's factory. This pleased the Natchez. Why not? They would obtain firearms and plunder. With four thousand warriors in all and eight hundred right at Natchez, were they not all-powerful? Were not other river tribes in league with them?

Nevertheless, they came cautiously. Three scouts arrived to spy out what was doing and asked for a powwow inside the fort. Bienville refused to smoke the peace-pipe with them. He affected great displeasure. He probably hated them from that early first impression of babies tossed in flames to devil gods. It is easy to hate those on whom you are about to practise double-dealing or treachery. This was on the twenty-seventh of April. The Natchez saw to their amazement the fort being made stronger and stronger, and it must have roused their resentment and determination to fathom what the French were doing. The Natchez still felt defiant enough to defeat all enemies.


More envoys came to be received in the same cold manner; but they were feasted, received in the fort and well treated. Bienville then sent a scout up the river to bid all traders drifting south to come in to him secretly at night, or by a detour to the rear of the fort. In this he was successful. Without a suspicion on the part of the Indians, his defenders now numbered seventy-five men. The Indian scouts had seen only fifteen armed red coats. They had murdered and plundered more than thirty French in a few years. Bienville had carefully concealed his real strength. He even had some men back in the bush to shoot any spy.

Now, thoroughly free from all fear of only fifteen white men, by ten A.M. on the eighth of May the eight great chiefs of the Natchez came in state with four dugouts of envoys preceding them. Bienville's men assisted the Indians to land, and eight chiefs in all were received in his tent. The chiefs entered the tent singing and dancing a welcome to the white traders. Bienville bade them be seated. They squatted about in a circle under awnings and again presented their peace-pipe to open the powwow with incense to the Sun God and loud harangue of eloquence, which an Illinois slave was to interpret.

Again, Bienville refused to smoke the peace-pipe with them. He cut all eloquence short and came bluntly to the point. In quiet but terrible tones, he {235} demanded the delivery of the Natchez who had murdered five Frenchmen the previous year. One of the Natchez chiefs measured almost seven feet. He was a giant in courage as in size; but when all rose in fury, they found their elbows pinioned behind by a rush of unseen white men. In a trice, wrists were handcuffed, necks in stocks of a trap that could have strangled them, and feet in fetters with ball and chain, which threw them to earth and dragged them powerless of defense to be chained to the prison wall for the night. All that night they chanted their death wail of defiance. The Indian scouts were permitted to return to Natchez with word of the tragedy.

Bienville told the scouts that no harm would befall the hostages. They would be fed and treated well; but he would henceforth parley only with the three great rulers of the Natchez, Great Sun, Little Sun, Singing (or Stinging) Serpent. Now thoroughly alarmed, almost panic-stricken, the Natchez took counsel. It was doubtful if they could hold their allies in allegiance with eight chiefs kept helpless captives. Great Sun, Little Sun and the Serpent had to come; and Bienville knew it.

"Your lives are safe," he assured them, again receiving them in his tent; "but I demand the heads of the murderers. A tooth for a tooth! An eye for an eye! A life for a life! That is your law. It is also {236} ours." He clapped the three great chiefs in prison with the others. When, next morning, Little Sun said that only he could get the murderers, Bienville bade him go free and get them; but on the slightest sign of treachery or attack, the hostages would pay with their lives. Powerless to save the chiefs by any other device, Little Sun set out speedily for the murderers and he came back on the fifteenth of May with three heads. These he cast at Bienville's feet. When the French traders were called in to identify the faces, they found it easy to recognize that the heads were the heads only of three slaves.

"These are not the right heads," said Bienville. "We will accept no substitutes. I must have the very heads. If you refuse, woe to your tribe. If I raise my little finger against you and give one single war-whoop, the Father of Rivers will hear and will carry it up- and down-stream to all his tributaries. The woods will pick up their leafy ears and, from the big salt lake south to the fresh waters of the lake at the north, raise their mighty voice in hurricane, summon the children of the forest who will crush you with their whelming powers. You know I do not boast. Those red men are your enemies. My wrath is kindled. Blood for blood. Measure for measure."

Again Little Sun went back, but he returned crestfallen. This time, he spoke the truth. He could not {237} find the real murderers for the simple reason that Bienville already held the two real murderers in his prison—one that seven-foot giant. Bienville hadn't finished with his lesson to the Natchez. He demanded all the goods of the murdered French traders. No gift would be accepted to pay for the loss and wipe out the blood vengeance.

Little Sun again took counsel back at the Natchez cantonment. He brought back a few of the warriors who had taken part in the attack and as much of the plundered goods as he could find. It speaks volumes for his courage; for he must have known he could no longer trust the French Commandant's word. Still, he would save his royal house if he could. The prison no longer wailed with the death chant. All the captured chiefs were strangely silent. The river now began to flow in thunderous floods. The sun mounted hotter and hotter with that terrible ominous calm preceding such lightning storms as had struck the Sun Temple when Bienville had first seen it. This was a bad omen to the Indians. The Natchez were afraid but not cowed. They would bide both their time and their vengeance; and the priests were invoking the Sun God to hurl down such curses on the French as only he could hurl.

Bienville then met all captives in his tent for final treaty. He refused to smoke any peace-pipe with them, {238} but he would sign a treaty with the Natchez and spare the three great chiefs only if the treaty were forthwith signed and carried out. The terms were by way of paying for the lost goods. The Natchez should cut, haul and deliver two thousand five hundred cords of acacia wood. Then to impress on them for ever the futility of opposing the French, he pointed out the real murderers, whom he had held from the first. He ordered them brought out and bound hand and foot to stakes. Then he demanded if they had any reason to offer why they should not pay with their lives for the crime.

It must have been a terrible scene in the heavy hot day dawn. The French were lined up to fore with their guns over their shoulders. The Indians cowered back to each side. Bienville bade the two guilty chiefs speak.

The giant chief answered in a scream of defiance. "Five Frenchmen have I killed. My regret is my death will prevent me killing more! Slay all these French dogs who come prowling and stealing over the beautiful land of our free country! They are squaws! They are coward hearts! We will be avenged! I am the last of my race and I go to revel with my brave ancestors, who will welcome me.

"Let there be joy in the heart of the Natchez," each defiant verse of the death chant rang. "Fight where {239} and with whom you please. Give way to the whites as you would to death and their black beards with your blood will be red. Wrapped up in their pale skins, these whites wear shrouds of the dead. Avenge injury with the sweet blood of a white foe. Paint their black beards red with blood. This wise chief is going to meet his Natchez forefathers. O burning shame! He was betrayed by his brother chiefs! You should have slain all these French dogs. I am the last of my race. O Natchez! O Natchez! Remember my prophet voice. I go to revel with my ancestors but you——" The screaming defiance was probably hurled to provoke a quick death. It was usual on the part of Indians about to be tortured.

Bienville signaled the captain. The captain uttered the sharp word, "Fire!" The shots rang out. The two chiefs sagged forward; and the other Natchez returned to their cantonment with news of the worst disaster that had ever befallen their tribe.

It was the end of August before the Natchez had finished carrying out their part of the treaty. It was October before Bienville reached Mobile, where the frigates for the season had arrived, and he had first news of the events from previous frigates. The King was dead. A new order had come in power at Versailles. Cadillac's chief backer was gone and he was to be recalled. Bienville was to be appointed {240} governor; but a great deal had happened in Louisiana during his absence.

Cadillac had sent dispatches to France just as Bienville had guessed. "This colony is a monster without head or tail. The government is a shameless absurdity. My conscience forbids me to deceive His majesty. What can I do with a force of forty soldiers of whom five or six are always disabled from illness? A fine army this is to defend myself from foes! All are badly fed, badly paid, badly clothed, without discipline. As to officers, they are not much better. There is not in the universe such another confusion of authority."

To prevent mutiny and duels, Cadillac ordered that no civilians should carry swords. The civilians by way of petty spite called him "the Golden Calf," "the Black Prince," "the Hook Nose," "the Rook," "the Raven." Louisiana forts became little hotbeds of petty spites. Crozart, the trader, was distraught, not knowing which party would be loyal to him for a single day. Cadillac waxed more and more furious and longed to be recalled. Bienville seems to have been the only one who kept his head under a suave grace as cold as his own sword.

Up at the Natchez fort, Du Pratz in all this turmoil had lived securely and safely. He had cleared six acres for tobacco and held four hundred more acres. A Natchez poultice of herbs had cured his sciatica. Great {241} Sun, Little Sun and the Serpent chiefs used to come to him for advice, and he acknowledges he scarcely knew how to excuse the French. Once a drunken soldier at Fort Rosalie had shot an old Natchez. He was not punished.

"We know not what to think of the French," said the Serpent. "They grant a peace, then come and shoot us. Why did the French come to our country? We did not seek them. We told them to take land wherever they pleased. The same good sun would lighten us both. We would walk as friends in the same path." Du Pratz does not give us his answer to that protest.

Bienville's cruelty to the Natchez horrifies us; but if you read Evelyn's Diary of the same period in England and France, you will find worse cruelty. It does not extenuate Bienville's code, but it explains the spirit of the period. Men were roped to the wheel to be crushed to death either as punishment for petty theft or greater felonies. Confessions were exhorted from criminals by slow burning above a fire, or by stretching between two wheels, then turning a cog and waiting for the enforced victim to get relief from agonizing torture.




Love-Affairs Continue to Come Unwanted and Unwarranted to Bienville's Feet—Cadillac and Crozart Both Openly Weary of an Impossible Task—Young St. Denis the Only Successful Lover and Trader—He Opens the Road to Mexico to be Followed by a Century of Caravan Traffic—Bienville, Left as Governor of Louisiana, Lays Foundations of Modern New Orleans—Immediate Effects of His Victory over Natchez.

The immediate effects of Bienville's treacherous victory over the Natchez do not concern Cadillac's life; but in passing, they may be set down in only one horrible example. Chickasaws, Taensas, allies of the Natchez, and Arkansas within a few years captured six French women and four men and burned them alive to their Sun God. As Bienville had gone south to the Gulf, the Natchez at their great camp had danced a slow circle above the departing French boats in the river. It seemed a friendly gesture of good will, but the low chant accompanying the dance was really a pledge of vengeance. This, Bienville, scorning close contact with all Indians, could not know. For a hundred years, the heritage of blood vengeance and hate exposed every river trader to attack, from which neither the French forts on the Ohio nor those at Natchez could protect passing canoes. Firearms for the {243} ambuscaded assaults were obtained in barter from forts both French and English. Exactly where was the new Natchez? As closely as can be located very near what is now the old American cemetery. This was not the natives' old cantonment. Built of thatch straw and grass roofs with light branching for walls, the old Indian cantonment may have shifted its site; but in Bienville's day, it was below modern Natchez.

Bienville reached Biloxi in October, 1716, but the date of Cadillac's recall was 1717. Bienville may have known from Crozart, the trader, that Cadillac was not in favor with the new régime at Versailles. Crozart and Bienville seem to have drawn closer together, in quarrel with Cadillac. Crozart's reports to the King this year were not favorable to Cadillac. The grizzled old merchant trader must have foreseen that La Mothe's policy to the Indians would react badly on trade. Or Cadillac and Crozart may have been jealous over the matches planned by both fathers for their favorite daughters. In manner, Cadillac and Crozart were direct and blunt. They came to their objectives abruptly and unconcealed. Where Bienville was all suavity and grace, the velvet glove over the iron hand, Cadillac was as great a stickler for formality and pomp as Frontenac, and Crozart was sharp, almost rough, and as frank as a child.

There was another reason for Crozart's drawing {244} toward Bienville. He now came out openly on the subject of a match between his fair daughter and the young Le Moyne. Crozart had ample wealth to sustain an ambitious union. Bienville must have prayed the saints, as Cadillac used to invoke the spirit of Frontenac, to be delivered from fair demoiselles. Here was the third proposal in almost as many years; and from Bienville's gracious character, it is easy to infer that such proposals may have come quite as much from love as from design.

"Let us come to the point," we can hear Crozart suggesting to Bienville, the young Commandant. "You have triumphed against overwhelming odds at Natchez. It will rank in the Court records as equal to any exploit of the brave Le Moyne brothers on Hudson Bay or in New England. Why not cement family fortunes in a marriage?" Then would follow the attractive bait of the dower for the bride, her careful education for a higher position in life than the merchant class.

Bienville must have squirmed under his gracious tranquil manner. He disliked giving pain. He was kind at heart and fair in dealings to all but Indian foes and English heretics. He was devout. He was clean. He was upright. Cruel as he had been to Natchez, it must be kept in mind that he was living in a ruthless age; and had he wished, he could have shot {245} on the spot each of the three Sun chiefs. Again he answered that he "preferred the mortification of celibacy to the felicitous happiness of matrimony."

Crozart was now in his late sixties. He was weary of his job. Why not? Though he had brought Louisiana's population up to seven hundred people—some accounts say eleven hundred people, but this included soldiers and traders—and though he held royal monopoly for all trade in Louisiana, he was each year losing money. The monopoly was a grinding burden on the colonists under which they could not prosper. They could not leave the colony. They were arrested and treated as felons if they attempted to run away. Punishment was conviction to be exchanged in the West Indies as slaves for blacks from Africa. All goods had to be bought at Crozart's warehouses, at Crozart's prices, which were very high. All produce had to be sold at Crozart's stores at very low prices. Also under such conditions, the character of many of the colonists was not improving. Sailors carried back news of the hardships in Louisiana. No more came willing brides under self-important fussy chaperons. Drabs, slatterns from the streets of Paris, girls from houses of correction, felons to escape punishment in France for some crime came too often for the welfare of Louisiana. Why, then, did Crozart, sharp as a corkscrew's point on business, pursue such a {246} self-destructive policy? Because he had to bring out so many colonists a year to fill his contract; and that cost devoured his profits.

From the time of Bienville's chilling rejection of all marriage proposals, Cadillac and Crozart again, as at first, drew together. They did not openly accuse Bienville of "malfeasance in office," of being a profiteer from brandy; but they did not contradict such charges, which they knew were false, nor threaten "to hang to the yard-arm" such falsifiers in petitions to His Majesty. Perhaps each was provoking and invoking his own recall. Cadillac's came in a brutal dispatch of 1717 with the wording "he has proved himself unfit for the functions with which His Majesty has entrusted him."

But before we leave Louisiana we have yet to finish with the course of love-affairs there. Crozart's monopoly was for trade in Louisiana. Cadillac had always been more or less favorable to trade with New Spain. Crozart realized the danger of that—the possible losses on the first trade ventures, the very likely displeasure of the royal Court playing the usual cardsharper's game of a double-cross, friendship on the surface, cunning plots below the international table, for a shuffle of all North America to France, for the break now open with England, for war open and defiant to all opposition; and Marlborough was giving {247} France all the trouble she richly earned in Europe.

Cadillac, who had come from the Spanish section of the Pyrenees, knew that the Indians of the Middle West raided Spanish colonies a thousand miles south for horses, for saddlery, for silver ornaments, for the most beautiful leather bridles ever tooled out then or now. Cadillac had had his eye, from the first, on that trade possibility. He also knew that somewhere in the bounds of what are now New Mexico and Arizona, lay rich mines. He would take the risk which Crozart's royal charter did not seem to encourage. Among the younger men brought by Cadillac in 1714 was a Juchereau St. Denis.

Cadillac had dispatched him from Louisiana up Red River through what are now Arkansas and Oklahoma. On this trip, there are many and varied narratives. Du Pratz, who was on the spot, and Gayarré, who dug deepest in the Marine Reports, are our safest guides. Just keep in mind that the break between France and Spain was now leading on to the capture of Pensacola by the French.

This capture is itself worth recording as part of the amazing adventures of Louisiana under the Louis of France. Lenarez, the Spanish Viceroy in Mexico City, had been sent out to block French aggression. The French from San Domingo and the Mississippi were as usual short of soldiers for attack; so Bienville {248} adopted strategy. The Spanish had a few soldiers on guard and when the French landed from their jolly-boats at four in the afternoon, they waited and under cover of darkness found the majority of the Spanish guard on a frolic in the guard outpost of the port. Either by means of wine or some other device, they got inside the Spanish guard-house, disarmed the Spanish of their huge clumsy arquebuses and locked up all the amazed prisoners. Then they scouted the main fort and discovered that except for the outer guard-house no Spaniard was prepared for attack. Hastily returning to the Spanish guard-house, the French exchanged their cloaks for the metal armor—head-piece, breast-plate, thigh greaves, clanging boots—of the Spanish. Thus accoutered, with the great keys to the inner fort, the French captured Pensacola with scarcely a blow. Pensacola shifted back and forward from French to Spanish and Spanish to French possession for ten years. As always the Le Moyne brothers were the victorious leaders on the Gulf of Mexico. As always the diplomatic card-sharpers were the gamesters back in Europe, who trumped their partner's ace out in the colonies and lost all Bienville and his brothers captured for Louisiana.

In France St. Denis had been trained in the same military schools as several of the Spanish commanders then out in Mexico. He could speak the Spanish {249} language. A fitter emissary to open trade with New Spain could not have been chosen. He was a born knight-errant out for glory. He was very tall and handsome, a fearless fencer but so lovable that to the end of his life he drew even the affection and loyalty of all Indians. He was accompanied by twelve soldiers and an eccentric surgeon, who was skilled when sober, which was not often. St. Denis and his soldiers had to depend for food chiefly on their prowess as hunters. Though attacked again and again by the Comanches, the soldiers found the surgeon's skill in healing Indian wounds magical, and it proved a source of wonder to the Indian raiders shooting poisoned arrows. When hunting deer amid the ocean-like prairies, the soldiers threw off the metal shirts. When raided by warriors, they donned the Spanish metal armor, against which arrows fell powerless. His black fleet horse, St. Denis protected with thick bull hide and armor across the soft flank.

Again there is great variation in the records of the exact course followed by St. Denis. He, himself, describes a circuit of one hundred and fifty leagues from Fort Rosalie at Natchez to the Spanish fort of St. John the Baptist on the Rio del Norte, or Rio Grande. There he found an old Spanish don in charge. Gayarré names him Pedro de Villescar. Du Pratz gives the name as Don Diego Raimond. The father may have {250} been Don Pedro, the old uncle, Don Diego. There was a daughter at this frontier of the beyond—"ayon," the Mexican peon would call it with a wave of his hand toward the horizon "away over there." Of course in a desert of loneliness, the handsome young Frenchman was welcomed.

"It is all yours, Seignior." The host would bow with hearty welcome to the newcomer; and the guest became a member of the family. Young St. Denis accepted the welcome very literally—too literally for his own peace of mind. He at once fell violently head over heels in love with the Commandant's beautiful, gentle young daughter; and his love was reciprocated with all the passionate ardor of the Spanish race.

Don Pedro could make no commercial arrangement for trade without permission from his superior next in authority at Taos; but at Taos was an old rascal somewhat infamous for grafting on all traders. Legend has it that this fellow wanted the pretty Señorita for his own bride. Anyway, this older Don Juan was named Gaspardo Anaya, and his messengers came with orders from the Duke Lenarez of Mexico City to seize all French invaders of Spanish territory and convey them with a guard of twenty-five men to Taos. No immediate danger befell the Señorita and St. Denis; but St. Denis was too high-minded to involve the adored lady in a tangled alliance. He returned to {251} Louisiana vowing to visit Mexico the next year. We can imagine how he painted to Cadillac the profits from free trade with New Spain. He was as eloquent as Cadillac had been over Detroit. He went back again the next year with plenty of goods for trade and a convoy armed well to escort a bride home safely over arid desert amid Indian raid; but Lenarez had died and the Spanish Governor in Mexico City until the new man could arrive had wind of the French invasion by traders.

This was really the beginning of the vast caravan trade carried on legally and illegally with New Spain for over a hundred years. Cupid, not the beaver, for once had opened a trade trail.

On his second trip, St. Denis had to run the gauntlet of Indian raid stirred up by Bienville's treachery at Natchez. He lost some men and was plundered of some goods. When he reached his former friend, the Spanish officer had orders to seize him and send him to the dungeons of Mexico City. Did his lady accompany him across the torrid zone to Mexico City? If so, St. Denis could not regret his double captivity by troopers and Cupid. The Señorita was a favorite in the little Court of Mexico City; and the diplomatic viceroys were out to encourage trade but block aggression. From his Franciscan friends, Cadillac no doubt was fully aware of the safety as to trade expansion but the {252} risk of armed expansion. Back over the sage-brush, cactus, mesquite lands of Northern Mexico, the cavalcade must have ridden and seen what every modern traveler now glimpses from train or motor window. The little lady would be given a pannier behind her father's saddle, or a place in a caravan wagon. Do you know the scent of that Mexican zone? It is drugged with the pungent sweetness of mesquite bloom in gold, sage-brush in purple, violet, and cactus from blood-red to palest rose. Its dawn is a glorious light, its sundown a flaming fire, and its nights are a cool curtain of fathomless pansy-blue with stars like lanterns hanging low to conceal yet reveal lovers singing troubadour ditties of Old France and Old Spain; and both St. Denis and the little Señorita were of Latin blood. Then after a month's travel came the dip down to Mexico City amid opal snowy peaks with gardens like glens of a paradise. Canals were lined with flowers. Lagoons were floating gardens. Punts poked in and out with awning to shade from the midday sun. But as far as trade was concerned, St. Denis' venture ended in bad disaster.

Lenarez had died in Mexico City. Before his successor came out from Old Spain, a deputy had charge, and this deputy was in league with all the grafters of New Spain to levy blackmail on all traders. St. Denis was thrown in one of the worst dungeons of all {253} Mexico. Two such terrible dungeons there were in New Spain, one at Mexico City and one on the Island of St. John Ulloa off Vera Cruz. The Mexico City dungeon disappeared years ago, but the one off Vera Cruz I saw myself. It is scarcely possible to believe human beings of white blood could be so cruel even to felons. Prisoners were chained by neck and feet to the wall within touching distance of one another. Bread and a water pot were placed on the damp stone floor within reach. At high tide, the sea would wash over the port-hole window embrasures shut against the water. At low tide, the windows, not much larger than cannon barrels, were opened; and through them cold breezes blew on the naked prisoners shackled to the walls. The window embrasures were from ten to eighteen feet deep in the wall. The dead each morning were pitched out to the sharks. It is said that the cleaning of these holes in the recent Mexican Revolution almost literally took the stomach out of the soldiers put on the work.

There are many tales told of how St. Denis escaped. "He was," says Gayarré, "chained to the wall like a malefactor. His body became emaciated. His long hair became matted. His beard grew shaggy." From outside could be heard "the heavy trampling of horses. The noise approached. The doors of his cell turned slowly on rusty hinges. The jailer ushered in {254} an officer escorted by a file of soldiers. The officer had orders to examine the prisoners and report to the new Viceroy." "Who is this?" demanded the officer. "I, Juchereau de St. Denis, gentleman, prisoner by oppression, and I demand justice from the Court of Spain."

Not thus answered the ordinary poor felons awaiting the firing squad.

"Bring him out so I can see him."

Blinded by the sunlight, St. Denis emerged still every inch the hero and gentleman.

The officer drew aside the tangled hair and uttered a loud invocation to the saints.

"By heavens, jailer, off with those accursed chains! We have made some horrible mistake. Set those noble limbs free. This gentleman is an old comrade of mine in the schools of France."

The two friends of cadet days in Europe fell in each other's arms with the emotional explosion of true Latins. The Spaniard took St. Denis to his own house and clothed him again in the vesture of a gentleman. That very night he dined in the halls of Montezuma and drank to the healths of their Majesties in Spain and France. Amid the ladies at the table of the new Viceroy sat his little Señorita in those shawls of beautiful snowy Chinese silk worked in the colored tints of the Orient. St. Denis was lodged in the royal {255} palace, and it is said that in the brief interval of his two-months sojourn in Mexico City he saved the life of the new Governor from an attempted assassination. Every bribe that could be offered to induce him to change his flag to Spain's was made—yes, even the bribe of the Señorita as a bride, but St. Denis pointed out that a man who could be bribed was not worth the price. And while he loved the Señorita, he loved honor more.

"God bless you then," said the new governor. "I shall hope that the little Señorita may persuade you to change your mind. You will meet her and her worthy father at the fort on the Rio del Norte. Give them my regards and bid them detain you with the gentler chains of love." It may be guessed that the Viceroy smiled as he gave this farewell and surmised that the Señorita and St. Denis had made some arrangements on their own initiative. She had already departed with her father for St. John the Baptist Fort. But St. Denis and his comrades ran the gauntlet of terrible perils from Indian raid on the way back to the Fort.

He found his old friend Don Pedro literally in a belted siege; and the good Don was only too glad to permit an old padre to unite St. Denis and his little lady in the bands of Hymen. Banners floated over the Spanish fort. Muskets fired a volley. Bells rang. {256} Barbecues of buffalo and sheep were served with peppers and hot tomales and the other Spanish condiments that burn a northern tongue till it is ready like a pup dog's to hang out and cool off. St. Denis and his bride reached Mobile; but the trading venture had been a total loss.

St. Denis found that Cadillac had been dismissed as governor. Crozart had resigned. Bienville had succeeded as governor with the decoration of the cross of St. Louis.

Crozart had left with a sigh of relief. He returned to France and did receive a marquisate as title before old age. He is reported to have died with a broken heart over the death of his daughter. Broken-hearted and saddened by life, he must have been aged about eighty-three. He had realized his ambitions for wealth and found them puff-balls of dust, apples of Sodom. His daughter died, as far as we can trace, in her thirtieth year. That she may have been frustrated of youthful hopes and hurried to a premature grave, may also be true.

Neither Crozart nor his disillusioned daughter could possibly have taken any place in the dissipated Court of Louis XIV's weak and reckless successor, where the Pompadour was the ruling spirit.

To the humiliation of that early love-affair in France and the rejection of a match with Bienville {257} had come a third frustration that must have broken any proud woman's spirit. Though her father now had a marquisate, the relatives of her old lover still refused to accept her in their family. She did marry a nobleman but not a man of her own choice; and she died soon after the union.

As for St. Denis, he became commandant at Natchez.

Once more a royal governor came after Cadillac; but he was a figurehead. His name may be ignored. Then Bienville came back in the saddle as governor and true founder of New Orleans. He had three new companies of soldiers and sixty-nine new colonists and set to work at the upbuilding of Louisiana. All charges against him had been disproved as malice, and he was given a free hand. As for trade, there burst over Louisiana the most iridescent bubble ever known to bankers of Europe. It was known as the Mississippi Bubble under that Scotch adventurer, John Law. It still stands in history as the wildest of crazy speculative bubbles.

Briefly, death and taxes have to be paid. Versailles had to pay for all the extravagant gay graceful era of Louis XIV. Under the Pompadour, gambling became the quick easy way to new idle wealth. If seigniories in France yielded such revenues, why not seigniories in Louisiana?






All France Goes Mad—Stock Gambling—John Law Establishes First Paper Currency and Gives as Security State Land, Taxes, Trading Company Revenues and Louisiana—Shares Rise from 120 to 15,000—People Go Mad to Grow Rich Overnight—Why Work When You Can Make Your Living Gambling?—Crozart and Cadillac Fight the Folly, and Cadillac Is Thrown into the Bastile to Keep His Mouth Shut.

Stormy petrel Cadillac had been all his life. Was he weary of the stress and storm as age came on and he gradually learned the hard lesson that none are so blind as those who refuse to see, none so deaf as those who plug their ears to facts, none so stupid as those who will not learn till knocked senseless by the blows of life's hard hammer? As we shall presently realize, he was undoubtedly weary of stress and storm; but like the stormy petrel, though he would have preferred to avoid tornadoes, the wheel of Fate drew him from the outer edge of the circling hurricane to the very vortex of its center where he came out fortunate to escape with his life—yes, to escape strangling or poison. His life had whirled him in every storm of France from his lonely early days in the Pyrenees till he returned from active service to those same peaceful southern uplands.


Now back in France from Louisiana, he found his fate impinged on the crazy schemes of the Mississippi Bubble conceived by the brain of the most astute gambler the world has ever known. John Law was about thirteen years younger than Cadillac. He was the son of a rich goldsmith and capitalist of Scotland. He came of good and noble parentage—the Argyles, the Gordons, the Lornes; but he did not like his family's business. He detested slow mental processes. His own mind worked in lightning jumps. He was handsome, attractive, amiable, educated, polished, and seemed to have a magnetism fatal to his peace for drawing the passion and adoration of women older than himself. Unlike Bienville, he was not cold and passionless. He was always successful in gambling during that gambling age. He had left Scotland and was in London when in some game of cards he heard a remark of an insulting nature by an obscene old man against a lady of the Court. A duel followed in Bloomsbury Square, when Law killed the old roué. He calmly awaited arrest by the police and was sentenced to death for murder. All that saved him from a felon's fate was the scandal that would have reflected on the royal Court, where the lady was a favorite with the King. He was allowed—in fact, helped—to escape from the Tower of London, put on a ship bound for Belgium and became a wanderer from European capital to capital.


At the university of Edinburgh, he had excelled in mathematics and now with his clear head and calculating mind and polished manners became known in every fashion resort. Before he was thirty, he had amassed from the gaming table what would be a million and a quarter of our money. But he had done much more than gamble. Through his friendship with women, he had ingratiated himself in the exclusive money and banking circles; and in these circles, he had tried to study out on what was the money power based? Was it credit, which the bankers controlled—or coinage in silver and gold, which they also controlled? That same question has split every political party down to our own era.

Whether correct or not, John Law had sincerely come to the conclusion that credit—not coin—should be the basis of all money value. Money enough should be created by the State to cover all needs. If there was not enough coin to go round, stamp paper with the guarantee of the State on notes and bonds, pledge everything the State owned behind the paper currency and abolish the use of coin. He did not spring his idea all at once full grown from his brain. It came gradually as events forced his hand. He first issued the paper. Then when he found many banks would not accept it he forced them to do so by law. When he found the bankers were issuing the paper to the public but were themselves taking the public's coin for the {264} paper, he forbade the use of coin. When he discovered the banks were hiding coin or shipping it out of the country secretly, he ordered the possession of coin forbidden and its use a felony as "counterfeiting." Houses could be searched for gold, silver, even gold and silver hammered into jewels.

It was into this strange gambling that Cadillac and Crozart returned from Louisiana.

Law had wandered about Europe trying to induce some country to adopt his fiat money scheme.

"Madness," his own family had warned him. "Double madness, the delirium tremens of a maniac," the bankers had told him. "Why?" Law had asked. "Because the day would come when the people who exchanged coin for stamped paper, might want to exchange the paper back for coin."

This, Law did not believe. He thought if there were no currency but paper, the people would not want coinage. He thought the bankers were afraid of lessening their own power as lenders, which was true.

Casting his eye over all European capitals, he was quick to see that France was ripe for the new scheme. Wars and extravagance had destroyed her credit. Taxes were terrible. Factories were closed. The Court gang now under a regent, the Duke of Orleans during the childhood of Louis XV, was desperate for revenues. The State debts were colossal, and the taxes to {265} pay interest on the State bonds were so great that the public could not pay them. There were not enough assets in all France to cover the capital debt. Law presented himself at the French Court. It took much social climbing to reach the inner circle of the Finance Department; and in that circle he found the regent as ignorant of finance as a drowning child catching at straws.

So John Law had risen in four years to become Director of the State Bank, collector of all State revenues, head of all the great foreign trading companies, the West Indies and Louisiana trading ventures, the China South Seas. England, which had outlawed him as a murderer, now reprieved his sentence. Everybody of learning in France honored him with membership. The success of his new paper currency began to frighten Law. Why was it so successful? At first, for the simple reason that every debtor in France from Versailles gambler to street fishwife could pay debts due in coin with paper money. All eagerly bought shares in the State Bank. It had guaranteed to pay fifty per cent. dividends on every five hundred livres of shares bought. Naturally it could—in paper. The shares rose in value to one thousand, five thousand, twelve thousand, fifteen thousand. Law knew the Bank could never pay fifty per cent., no, not six per cent. on those values.


As Crozart had resigned because the colonizing of Louisiana was beyond the strength of any one individual, Law now took over the Mississippi Company as part of his great bubble of security behind paper money. It was to be a vast, imperial, feudal seigniory of royal revenues to pay the debts of Old France. You could buy either shares in the parent State Bank or any of its subsidiaries. Louisiana from its imperial size caught the public imagination. Press and pamphlets poured out reams on "Louisiana as the Garden of Eden." The climate was spring all the year round. The soil needed only a scratch to produce crops. Poultry and wild game would fill the hungry stomachs of the peasants starving in France, where the flavor of meat was unknown. Indian slaves would do all the work. All the people needed to do was to go to Louisiana, sit down under a shade tree, and the milk and honey and fruit from that tree would drop in their mouths.

Cardinals, bishops, princes, cooks, maids, footmen bought shares in the Mississippi Bubble. Mobs jostled and tore one another's coats off in Paris to get their subscriptions recorded. Law may have believed in it, himself, for he took an enormous grant on the Arkansas. Shares changed hands at a profit of one hundred and twenty per cent. overnight. Law's house in Paris became surrounded by mobs of men and women {267} in Court livery fighting for shares, more shares. The delirious populace camped on his steps, in garrets, in kitchens, under stable roofs. The wary, however, took cognizance of storm signals and began selling while the selling was good and secretly sent the proceeds to England and Belgium in gold for safe-keeping.

Law now became terrified by the pace of the machine which he had set going. He had bought fourteen landed estates to secure himself when the crash came. Tradesmen closed their shops, mechanics dropped their tools, clergymen forgot their sermons to peddle "Mississippi" by bawling out so many shares in the crowded streets. Law's terror became a nightmare. He could not sleep. Instead of industry expanding with currency, it had stopped to gamble. What would happen when shares would no longer go up? Everybody would rush to sell and the market would be swamped. Law ordered the bank-notes "pegged" at five thousand to six thousand value. A howl of madness went up. Every one rushed to sell.

It was just at this interval that Crozart and Cadillac stepped from the whirling circle of the tornado into the vortex. Both furiously opposed the folly. Crozart held a rope of debt round the necks of so many courtiers that he was doubtless anxious to be paid in coin. Crozart, Law could not touch. If Law angered Crozart, {268} the merchant banker could blazon some ugly truths about Louisiana that would turn the whole Court's vengeance on Law. But Cadillac was more exposed. Blunt, tactless, fearless, he began to draw attention to the fact that no royal revenues, no dividends, no profits could come from Louisiana trade for many years. He would accept no paper currency based on Mississippi values. Coin and coin only would he use; and as coin was counterfeit, La Mothe found himself clapped in the Bastile as a counterfeiter. There if the wheel of Fate had not turned in a dizzy whirl, he might have been poisoned or strangled. The gangster of 1720 was as busy wreaking vengeance on those who stopped his game of easy money as he is to-day. Crime and lawlessness ran rampant.

But the wheel of Fate did stop with a terrific crash. Colonists returning confirmed the rumor that ran a flame of fire, Louisiana could yield no dividends for years to come. What—no dividends? Then what was a fifteen thousand share worth? Cold shivers followed by fevered maniacal fury ran through the streets of Paris. A fishwife, who had bought at top price, dashed to the nearest branch bank to exchange her note for dividends or coin. She could obtain neither. With a screech she rushed out, tore the note in her hand, spat on it and stamped it in the gutter.

Law escaped lynching only by flying to the Regent's {269} Palace and riding in the royal chariot across the border to Brussels. Little availed him his fourteen landed estates in France. They were seized. He lost all his fortune and at the age of fifty-eight died in poor lodgings in London, where he had been sparsely supported by his son in the army.

Meanwhile what had happened to Cadillac? He was set free from the Bastile at once. He was forgotten in the frenzy of the collapse and free to pursue his own private life—very weary of a mad world and longing for the peace of his native Pyrenees.

Bienville, too, finally found himself crushed in the wheel of Louisiana's adverse fate. Long after, when both Cadillac and Crozart lay in their graves and Bienville had retired in his eightieth year to a quiet villa in France, the temporary makeshifts of European diplomacy compelled the shift of all then known as Louisiana to Spain. Bienville saw his life-work going in a disgraceful treaty. He came from his retreat and on bended knees, with tears streaming from his eyes, begged the Minister of the Colonies to save the vast inland empire for France. The Minister, too, wept, wept tears of sincere regret, but told the aged Le Moyne hero that France was powerless and must sign the ignominious treaty. This treaty preceded by only a few years "the shot heard round the world," which marked the birth of a new nation, the United {270} States, to inherit all the labors of Cadillac, of Crozart, of Bienville, of poor John Law, the most pathetic of all. De Soto, Radisson, Marquette, La Salle, Iberville, Bienville, Cadillac, Crozart, Law—which had not been crushed on the wheel of Fate down that mighty river that seemed to engulf all hopes? Bienville's death was really the drop-curtain on the great Louisiana Epic; and if you care to pursue the metaphor further, when Lewis and Clark finally explored Louisiana limits for the American Republic, Lewis's tragic death, whether from suicide or insanity, opened a new era with tragedy.






Cadillac Returns to France—How Vast Was the Empire in America at Which Versailles Grasped?—Why It Failed—The Lawsuit Drags on in France—Cadillac Obtains an Old Governorship in South France but Does Not Long Survive to Enjoy It—Madame Cadillac and Her Children.

Cadillac was now over sixty years old. He had toiled for the extension of French empire for thirty-four years. He had little to show for all these years of toil but thrifty savings and clean record. He had seen every plan made by him frustrated by knaves, fools, incompetents. Yet he had also seen French empire in the New World jump far beyond the Great Lakes and the Mississippi toward the Missouri and New Spain. Even in the year of his recall, plans were before the French Court for discovery toward the Western Sea.

A Count Toulouse was now a power in the French Court. Toulouse was the old town where Cadillac's father had held high office. La Mothe was not without friends in France. Missionaries were encouraged to press westward from the Great River. That was why Count Toulouse had sent Charlevoix, the Jesuit, to report on all parts from Mackinac to New Orleans. There, Dubuisson's awful mistakes of antagonizing {274} prairie tribes had reacted in enmities. At least five Jesuits had fallen victims to this heirloom of hate along the Great River. One was found murdered before his holy altar. Others were killed in raids. The very year Cadillac had threshed Sabrevois in Lower Town, was born La Verendrye, who with his sons in twenty years carried the French flag as far as what is now Pierre, South Dakota. Could France have held what she gained, the Le Moyne brothers had flung her flag from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. England held only the narrow strip from Maine to Georgia; and as Frontenac and Cadillac had predicted in many dispatches to Louis XIV, the very independent spirit of those colonies would presently throw off English control—when would come France's supreme chance to grasp and hold all North America.

Why not?

On the surface the reason was self-apparent. Rot—the dry-rot of the old feudal system—was making it crumble. People would not for ever be ridden to support on their backs a few favored classes. But below were deeper causes—the fungus of a wet sodden under-rot as different from dry-rot as mushrooms from poisonous toadstools. Under Louis XIV, the leaders were men of far vision, wisdom, wide-scope policy. Under his successors, the dominant leaders were corrupt weaklings caring for nothing but {275} pleasure, luxury, self-indulgence—the softer vices that may differ from brutal strength but are far more insidious as a disease. But deeper reasons yet lay below the failure of Louis XIV's policies. France had not yet learned the true secret of colonial expansion and colonial loyalty. Individual initiative, individual success, individual profit for the man who set himself to overcome all obstacles, beat down all obstructions, bide his time to garner the harvest from "thrifty husbandry of many years"—these were the secrets France had to learn in the terrible Revolution. Old France quenched all personal freedom. So, unfortunately, at that time did the Church. When demoiselles were denied all sacraments because they wore lace insert neck frontages, when soldiers were consigned to flaming hells or dim purgatory for singing rough secular songs, many young people took chances on the future by grasping transient happiness in the present. When Old France thought to dictate all prices from beaver bought to calico sold, she invited the very same rebellion which confronted the defeated England over a tea tax in Boston. It was France's failure that taught England the true secret of colonial expansion and loyalty. That secret was in a word—freedom, freedom from bureaucracy, freedom from interference in local self-government, freedom from self-appointed fanatical minorities.


One has only to glance back over Cadillac's secret reports to the Court to realize that he had learned all this in his dealing with Indian tribes, bushlopers, voyageurs, traders. He doubted from the very first that an Old France could ever be set up in the New World. If he had been permitted, he would have set up a new order in Detroit and remained there for ever.

As they departed from Louisiana by royal frigate, did Cadillac and Crozart talk over all these things? Cadillac seems to have proceeded to Quebec to register his affidavits on his lawsuit for property confiscated at Detroit. In Quebec, his very insistence that Detroit should be independent of Quebec rule, now gave his enemies chance against him. If Detroit were independent, why should Quebec be held responsible? Especially why should Quebec be held responsible when it was King Louis XIV had ordered him to Louisiana? There, they had him snarled in a tangle. Cadillac might have answered, because both De Ramezay's report from Montreal and Vaudreuil's from Quebec had advised that his independence from Quebec should not hold good. His claims to the site of Detroit had been annulled by failure and his right to grant large tracts outside Detroit to his heirs had not been in his first concession. Both De Ramezay and Vaudreuil were good men. The sinister figure was the {277} intendant, Raudot. He was related to Madame Vaudreuil and was ever the underground wire back to the corrupt clique.

Cadillac now did in Quebec what each reader must interpret for himself. He indentured or boarded for life with the Ursulines a daughter—five thousand dollars for an annuity to her while she lived, a fund to go to the Ursuline funds when she left or died, one thousand dollars for what must have been luxurious quarters to her in the bare convent cells. She was to be as free as she pleased to come and go always. She was never under any circumstances to be expelled. She was to be safely housed and cared for during her lifetime. The motive of this cast-iron contract, one can only guess. It may have been from a blasted love-affair. It may have been that the daughter had passed the age at which the majority of young girls married. She may have, like Bienville, "preferred the mortification of a celibate life"; or she may have had some mental or physical ailment rendering her unfit for active life outside convent walls. Whatever the motive, it is more a subject for fiction than history.

Cadillac then moved with his family to France and found himself, as we have seen, in the vortex of the Mississippi Bubble and presently for exposing the fraud in the Bastile. When the fraud exploded and Cadillac was released, he had as always friends at {278} Court—quite as many as under Louis XIV; but he could buy place and power under Louis XV, which he could not under the Grand Monarch. His heart turned back to the sunny warm scenes of his boyhood, that land of his ancestors in their heyday and glory back to the Crusades against the Saracens. At this time, the governorships of departments in southern France were "farmed out," or sold to the highest bidder. One was for sale. Cadillac bid for it at sixteen thousand five hundred livres. Parkman gives a livre in value as about a quarter of our dollar; but Sulte, the greatest authority on all matters colonial in that era, rightly points out that the old livre in silver weight was much nearer our modern dollar than nineteen or even sixty cents. So was the French crown. The Spanish pistole was worth almost four dollars. You can compute the price of that governorship at any of these values you like. Any value proves that the careful Cadillac and his wife had saved money and banked it in France or Belgium safe from the crash that came in the Mississippi Bubble to all French Banks. It is suggested in one life of John Law that both Crozart and Cadillac on coming back to France bought shares in the Bubble at low value and sold at high and so recouped themselves for their losses in Louisiana; but there is no proof of this; and Cadillac's term in the Bastile for exposing the fraud seems to disprove the suggestion.


The governorship he bought was at what we now call Castel-sarrarin. It was known in his day as Castel-sazzarin. It was then and had been formerly much more important than it is to-day. The deeply moated, thick-walled old tower had ever been regarded as one of the strongholds against Spanish aggression north of the Pyrenees. The cobbled streets still rang to warrior's iron heel, to cavalrymen's shod horses, to cannon trundled from castle to loopholed walls. Drawbridges forefended entrance by the guarded gates. Military pomp displayed all its fripperies below the fleur-de-lis. The governor had to be a commander as well as a civic ruler. The office carried a salary of from twelve hundred to two thousand crowns, which again you can figure at either the French or the Spanish values. The governor was expected to maintain in his living the degree of dignity and good taste of an ancient château. Look at it carefully. You can see that no salary even of two thousand dollars could sustain such a standard. The architecture resembled Old Spain, rather than northern France. There were none of the Gothic turrets, the steep slope roofs, the deep embrasured windows of Frontenac's home. The windows were slits. The roof-line was a crenelated tower behind which defenders could conceal themselves and shoot down all assailants. The royal seal of the tower had the same type of castle stamped on one side.

Castel-sarrarin lay within easy distance from {280} St. Nicolas de la Grave, Cadillac's native place. He must have looked forward to a peaceful sunset for his stormy checkered life. To any modern traveler motoring through this section to-day the region must appeal strongly. Living is still ridiculously cheap. Highways are excellent. The scenery is beautiful. The very atmosphere is fragrant as old roses of a glory past but heroic. Great figures from Crusade leaders to such noble moderns as Archbishop Taché of Manitoba had come from these old towns. You can still see the convents, the monasteries, the schools with their arched corridors where students and young prelates and old scholars, pacing back and forward in the cool shade, dreamed their high dreams as they studied.

City hall in Cadillac's birthplace.
City hall in Cadillac's birthplace.
Courtesy, Lenox Library, New York.

I can not say Cadillac's hopes were again blasted; for I don't know. The system of government was changed within two years from royal governors to majors or mayors. The new office carried a salary of only one hundred and twenty livres. This may have been from the deflation of the currency after Law's experiment with paper bills; or the salary may have been cut down. Cadillac's son, who had been ensign back in Detroit, now assumed the office his father had held. His age is given as twenty-three or twenty-five. This must have been the boy, aged twelve or thirteen, acting as ensign, for whom La Mothe had requested a cadetship.


Where did La Mothe retire for the next six years of his life? We do not know. We know from his will only that he lived as the gentlemen of the period were expected to live—in good estate. His will enumerates beautiful furnishings in his final home, rare Dutch tapestries, carriages, fine horses, solid silver, grand bedsteads and bureaus in five guest chambers. We can infer that he left his family near his son and pressed his futile lawsuit in Paris and Quebec. Then the candle of life flickers suddenly and the light goes out. He died at midnight October 15, 1730. Again we may infer—but it may not be correct—that he died of the plague, now known as "influenza"; for he was buried within twenty-four hours in the Carmelite vaults on October sixteenth at Castel-sarrarin. Burial within twenty-four hours, unless death had resulted from what was called "the plague," was unusual for public characters.

Celebration in Cadillac's home town--south of France.
Celebration in Cadillac's home town—south of France.
Courtesy, Lenox Library, New York.

You can not read into Cadillac's life the hidden psychology of the man—what you or I would have done under similar circumstances. You can not because the real man wore such an impenetrable mask to all but the King, Frontenac, his wife. To those, he was loyal to the core of his being. To all others, he was Cyrano to the end—blunt, fearless, heedless of enemies. He was as honest as the day. Otherwise, by keeping quiet when he came back to France and with {282} the coin cash he possessed, by buying Mississippi Bubble shares low and selling high, he could have made a fortune. Instead, he spoke out and went to the Bastile for holding "counterfeit coin." As Frontenac had long before forewarned him, when plunderers wish to kill a good watch-dog, they call it mad. We do definitely know that he saw every life-hope frustrated by fools, incompetents, scoundrels. Even Dubuisson, who made such a mess at Detroit as a poltroon commander, retrieved his army record by good work in European wars; but when the Mississippi Bubble came on, he joined the worst of the rascal crew and allied himself to the very Court rings that lured the public to ruin. We know La Mothe could have bought and bought cheap the best estates anywhere in Old France after the crash. Instead, he chose the sunny peaceful uplands of his youth as far from the corrupt Court as he could go. Therefore, we may infer that he was tired of storm and stress. He may even have read the ominous sign of his times, that the Old Order would have to give place to the New. He had raised his ruined family from disgrace and poverty to security. Except for his bitterness in Louisiana, there is little to criticize in his record; and that change in a man over fifty is both physical and mental. No one used to a cool climate can go to a torrid zone and not lose in physical vigor, in the sweats which enervate, in the depression from {283} which so many seek relief, in stimulants which have to be doubled, tripled, quadrupled. The descent to deterioration then becomes a dip to the avernus of a ruined character.

Cadillac never evinced the slightest sign of that deeper deterioration of the whole man. He did not even have to arrest a descent to deterioration. He was unfair to Bienville; but at Detroit he had handled worse situations with fewer men than Bienville commanded. It was his furious temper that tripped him there; perhaps, too, his inordinate ambition. This ambition seems to have quenched when he saw the real condition of Old France. What did a marquisate mean when cooks, footmen, courtezans were awarded highest title, while the true patriots were sent to a Bastile? He seems like Bacon to have become a philosopher in the days of his retreat. One would give a great deal to know his final philosophy of life; but we haven't it; and he is too hidden a character for any one to try to imagine it. We have to let his life record and results speak. His life record seemed to go down in defeat. But did it? Isn't the development of modern Detroit, of Chicago, of the Middle West, of all the Greater Louisiana, justification of his judgment? Didn't he live a hundred years before his times? Only Jefferson of modern life grasped what the Greater Louisiana meant, and he had hard work {284} getting two thousand five hundred dollars to set Lewis and Clark to explore.

Anyway, far as we know, there the man's life record stands.

We next find in Court records requests down to 1733 from Madame Cadillac and members of her family to go to Detroit and Quebec. These efforts to press restitution for losses proved quite futile. The Cadillac family lost all but their savings from every sou invested in Detroit. Later when the Revolutionary War for ever broke all rulership of British Colonies from Maine to Florida, we find descendants of Madame Cadillac pressing for some recognition of the vast holdings deeded to La Mothe round what is now Bar Harbor. This restitution was recommended but never, as far as I can find, endorsed in any substantial form. Her descendants may be found in every section of North America and southern France.

Where does Cadillac rank in American and Canadian history?

In all development from savage wilderness, there were three stages. We may dispute over the ethics, but we can not differ as to the facts.

There was first the discoverer, financed by beaver in the case of France, by silver- and gold-mine in the case of Spain.

Then followed the explorer, again financed by fur {285} or precious metal. In every case except Lewis and Clark, this was true; and it is almost pathetic of our parsimony, to have set down that, where royalty good or bad in France and Spain was eager to take a gamble of advancing fifteen thousand crowns for expenses to discover and explore, the United States advanced Lewis and Clark only two thousand five hundred dollars. It is pathetic almost to the point of bathos to have to add that France finally relinquished all Louisiana for fifteen million dollars. There is scarcely a patch of farm lands, oil wells, mines which does not repay that first cost in a single year.

After the discoverer and explorer, but just as essential as both, comes the upbuilder. That by the same token was what made Detroit what it is to-day. There the upbuilder has done far more than the discoverer and explorer. Who does not see this in modern developments? Need one name the great motor industrial leaders there to-day? Had they not to fight the same barrage of opposition, insidious attacks, enmities, financial skulduddery and even financial "thuggery"? And much of their success may be ascribed to the same qualities that made Cadillac great. Cadillac belongs to the upbuilder class. It can not be said that his life was less adventurous, less romantic, less daring. It had more of each quality than we know of all his forerunners. This is {286} consciously or unconsciously recognized in the name commemorated from towns and cities to beautiful art portrayals on canvas and in marble.

Time plays as curious tricks on fame as distance does on mountain peaks. Go too close to a mountain peak! You can't always see it for the foot-hills. You often see muddy water rushing in torrents from the swollen streams of snows thawing on the far unseen opal peaks. Recede from the peaks! You see snowy austere opalescent domes of grandeur and majesty, hard and cold perhaps, but clean and clear, lengthening their shadows as you recede or as the sun sets.

So it is with great characters in history. I do not pursue the comparison with Cadillac. Let his name stand and take its place as time goes on.




Acadia, 38, 43
Africa, 245
Algonquins, 84, 86, 111, 130, 133, 154
Alleghanies, 109
Alvarado, 199
America, 49, 69, 71, 207, 223
Anaya, Gaspardo, 250
Andreas, xxi
Annapolis, 52
Anticosti, 115
Archives of City of Quebec, xxii
Archives of Paris, 209
Arctic, 109, 128
Argyles, the, 262
Arizona, 247
Arkansas, 230, 242, 247
Asia, 99
Assiniboines, 111, 229
Atlantic, 87, 101, 116, 126
Australia, 156
Aylmer, 133
Aztecs, 218

Babylon, 118
Bacon, 283
Bar Harbor, 43, 284
Bastile, xxi, 228, 268, 269, 278, 282, 283
Belgium, 262, 267, 278
Belle Isle Straits, 25
Bienville, xvii, 39, 58, 87, 201, 203, 204, 220, 221, 223, 229, 262, 277, 283
  and the Natchez, 225-28, 233-43
  appointed lieutenant-governor, 206
  death of first Bienville, 40, 99
  establishes Fort Rosalie, 232-33
  founder of New Orleans, 99, 257
  last years and death of, 269-70
  policy toward Indians, 208
  rejects marriage designs, 207, 212-13, 223-25, 231, 243-45
Biloxi, 203, 204, 206, 208, 209, 211, 212, 220, 221, 222, 243
Black Robes, 31, 66, 102, 144, 166
Blanchard, xxi
Bloomsbury Square, 262
Bois Blanc Isle, 158
Boisbrant, 206, 208, 213, 222
Boston, 37, 52, 87, 275
Brittany, 70
Brussels, 269
Burton Collection, xvi, xx
Burton, Mr., xxii, 141

Cadillac, Chevalier Antoine de la Mothe
  and governorship of Louisiana, 178-84
  and Mississippi Bubble, 262, 267-68, 277, 278
  at Versailles, 119-22
  attitude toward missionaries, 31
  birthplace of, 44
  challenges Sabrevois, 34
  characteristics of, 45, 46, 50
  confers with Frontenac, 99-104
  death of, 281
  describes Louisiana, 214-17
  education of, 46-48
  establishes fort at Detroit, 140-57
  founder of Detroit, 56
  gathers facts at Mackinac, 110-14, 136
  governor of Louisiana, 56
  imprisoned as counterfeiter, 268, 282
  marriage of, 52
  offers daughter in marriage, 224-25
  position in history, xv, 284-86
  reports to Louis, 52-58, 88
  returns with family to France, 277
  similarity to Bergerac, xvii, 60
Cadillac, Madame, 136, 145, 146, 150, 151, 159, 169, 174, 178, 181, 185, 195, 284
Canada, 50, 56, 143, 155, 162, 181
Canadian Archives, xx
Canadian National Art Gallery, xxii
Cape Diamond, 25, 26, 61, 67
Carheil, Etienne, 36, 105, 106, 129, 159
Castel-sarrarin, 44, 279, 280, 281
Castle St. Louis, 25, 26, 36, 42, 43, 53, 61, 62, 83, 97, 99, 113
Catlin, George B., xxi, xxii, 141
Chacornacle, 121, 131, 159
Champlain, 89
Charles II, 127
Charlevoix, xv, xviii, 217, 219, 273
Château de Ramezay, 113
Château Frontenac, 62
Château St. Louis, 171
Chats, the, 133
Chaudière Falls, 133
Chicago, 100, 121, 283
Chicago Historical Society, xxii
Chickasaws, 242
Chien d'Or, 75
China, 132
China South Seas, 265
Chouart, 127, 174
Clark, 270, 284, 285
Comanches, 249
Constantine, 131, 140, 162, 164, 165, 166, 181
Crees, 111, 153, 229
Cromwell, 106
Crows, 154
Crozart, Anthony, xviii,, 213, 219, 226, 231, 240, 264, 267, 269, 270, 276
  and Louisiana policy, 245-246
  and Marie Anne, 222-24, 244, 256-57
  characteristics of, 221-22, 243
  resignation of, 256, 266
Crusades, 45, 64, 278
Cyrano de Bergerac, xvi

De la Barre, Governor, 30, 31, 41, 99
De la Verté, 219
De Lery, xxi, 104
Denonville, 30, 31, 41, 99
De Ramezay, 173, 276
De Soto, 201, 205, 230, 270
Detroit, xvi, xix, xxi, xxii,, 48, 101, 102, 106, 109, 114,
    120, 127, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142,
    143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 151, 153, 154, 158, 159,
    162, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 174,
    176, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 185, 189, 193, 194,
    195, 206, 208, 214, 215, 224, 225, 226, 228, 229,
    230, 251, 276, 280, 282, 283, 284, 285
Detroit River, 141
Drake, 200
Dubuisson, 177, 178, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 191, 192, 193, 195, 273, 282
Dugue, 121, 131
Duluth, xix, 38, 54, 100, 121, 137
Du Pratz, Le Page, xviii,, 213, 219, 220, 223, 233, 240, 241, 247

Edinburgh, 263
England, xvii, xxi, 40, 56, 57, 87, 106, 109, 127, 168, 178, 241, 246, 265, 267, 274, 275
Europe, 31, 40, 66, 99, 106, 117, 168, 246, 248, 254, 257, 264
  Diary, 241

Florida, 40, 109, 203, 206, 284
Fort Frontenac, 41, 100, 145, 146
Fortier, xxi
Fort Pontchartrain, 150
Fort Rosalie, xviii,, 233, 241, 249
Foxes, 187, 190
France, xvi, xvii, xviii,, xxi, 45, 47, 56, 59, 64, 85, 87, 89,
    109, 115, 116, 118, 127, 136, 164, 168, 173, 178,
    184, 195, 202, 204, 206, 219, 228, 240, 241, 245,
    246, 247, 248, 254, 256, 257, 261, 264, 265, 266,
    269, 273, 274, 275, 278, 279, 281, 284, 285
  See also Old France and New France
French Revolution, xxi, 112, 275
French River, 134
Frontenac, Count, xx, 30, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, 43, 55, 59,
    60, 61, 63, 64, 66, 82, 83, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 93,
    94, 95, 97, 98, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 110, 113,
    119, 120, 126, 131, 148, 151, 164, 216, 227, 228,
    244, 274, 281, 282
Frontenac, Madame, 120

Garonne, 44
Gascons, 31, 44, 50, 59, 62, 63, 92, 120, 179, 214
Gatineau River, 133
Gayarré, xvii, xviii,, 209, 233, 247, 249
Georgia, 274
Georgian Bay, 105, 134, 135, 136
Georgian Bay Islands, 135
Gibbons, Mr., xxii
Gordons, the, 262
Grand River, 146, 175
Gratiot, 137
Gray Gowns, 144
Great Forked River, 202
Great Lakes, 38, 43, 57, 147, 153, 225, 227, 273
Great Manitoulin, 135
Great Sun, 235
Greece, 117
Green Bay, 111
Griswold Street, 140
Grosse Isle, 138
Gulf of Mexico, xviii,, 40, 56, 199, 218, 223, 225, 248, 274
Gulf of St. Lawrence, 128
Guyon, Mademoiselle, 29
Guyon, Monsieur, xvi, xxii
Guyon, Thérèse, 51

Havana, 208, 211, 219
Hazleton, Miss, xxii
Hennepin, xxi
Hill, Miss, xxii
Hog Island, 193
Holy War, 46
Hudson Bay, 38, 39, 40, 41, 49, 53, 87, 99, 105, 111, 114, 127, 153, 168, 178, 244, 274
Hudson's Bay Company 108, 114, 126, 127
Hudson's Bay Company Papers, xxi
Huguenots, 204
Hull, 133
Huron River, 137
Hurons, 53, 84, 86, 101, 111, 120, 130, 133, 135, 154, 158, 165, 186, 187, 189, 190

Iberville, xvii, 39, 58, 87, 201, 208
  death of, 209-11
  plants colonies along Mississippi, 202-7
Illinois, 121, 122, 154, 163, 164, 165, 186, 187
Illinois River, 137, 176
Iroquois, 30, 31, 38, 41, 57, 83, 84, 85, 86, 99, 128, 133, 146, 154, 156, 216, 228
Isle Orleans, 84, 92, 98
Isle Percée, 115

James Bay, 38, 39, 105, 227
Jefferson, 283
Jefferson Street, 140
Jesuits, xv, xx, 31, 42, 43, 47, 53, 54, 60, 64, 66, 75, 94,
    105, 106, 127, 129, 144, 159, 162, 164, 166, 169, 274
Joliet, xix, 116, 132, 142
Joliet, Madame, 96

Kickapoos, 193
Kidd, 200
  See Fort Frontenac
Kreighoff, 70
Krum, Miss, xxii

Labrador, 115
Lachine, 131, 138
Lachine Rapids, 132
La Forest, 177, 178, 183, 184, 193
La Harpe, xxi
Lake Erie, 100, 143, 146, 175
Lake George, 89
Lake Huron, 100, 135, 165, 176
Lake Ontario, 143, 159
Lake Superior, 105, 111
La Salle, 38, 116, 121, 146, 202, 205, 270
Laument, Jean, 44
Laurentian Mountains, 83, 133
Lauzon, Duke de, 29, 51, 120
Laval, Bishop, 35, 98, 105
La Verendrye, 274
Law, John, 184, 257, 278
  and "Mississippi" stock, 266-67
  and paper currency, 265
  characteristics of, 262-63
Le Moyne
  See Bienville, Iberville and Sauvolle
Lenarez, xxi, 247, 250, 251, 252
Lenox Library, xvii, xxii
Lewis, 284, 285, 270
Little Sun, 235, 236, 237, 238
London, 127, 190, 262, 269
Lornes, the, 262
Louis XIII, xvii, 117
Louis XIV, xvi, xvii, xx, xxii, 29, 40, 41, 52, 56, 66, 84,
    86, 87, 93, 94, 109, 112, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120,
    122, 126, 127, 129, 144, 150, 154, 168, 178, 195,
    199, 202, 203, 208, 222, 227, 256, 257, 274, 276, 278
Louis XV, 264, 278
Louisiana, xv, xvii, xviii,, xxi, 39, 46, 56, 104, 109, 139,
    150, 177, 178, 179, 180, 184, 185, 195, 201, 202,
    206, 208, 209, 211, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 219,
    222, 223, 225, 228, 230, 231, 240, 245, 246, 247,
    248, 251, 257, 264, 265, 266, 268, 276, 282, 285
Lower Town, xviii,, 25, 26, 27, 30, 36, 42, 61, 68, 71, 76, 84, 90, 92, 128, 179, 274

Mackinac, xix, 43, 53, 54, 55, 85, 88, 100, 103, 104, 105,
    108, 110, 111, 113, 114, 120, 129, 130, 131, 135,
    136, 137, 144, 153, 159, 166, 169, 179, 218, 228, 273
Mackinac Straits, 53
Maine, 38, 43, 109, 274, 284
Mal Bay, 89, 97, 98, 115
Manhattan, 38, 57, 87
Manitoba, 105, 280
Manitoulin Island, 165
Margry, xxi, xv
Marine Papers, xvi, xx, 247
Marlborough, xvii, 56, 168, 246
Marquette, 108, 142, 202, 230, 270
Mary, Queen, 94
Mascoutens, 101, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193
Massachusetts, 38, 39, 97, 227
Matagorda Bay, 205
Mather, Cotton, 95
Mattawa, 131, 133, 146
Maurepas, 117, 158
Mediterranean, 139
Menominees, 152, 164
Mexican Revolution, 253
Mexico, xxi, 40, 87, 155, 203, 248, 251, 252, 253
Mexico City, 247, 250, 251, 252, 253, 255
Miami River, 176
Miamis, 165, 186, 190
Michigan, 111, 137, 139, 152
Minnesota, 105, 152
Mississippi Bubble, 184, 257, 262, 266, 277, 278, 282
Mississippi Company, 266
Mississippi River, xviii,, 99, 100, 108, 121, 122, 137, 176,
    202, 203, 205, 208, 209, 213, 230, 231, 232, 247, 273
Missouri River, 153, 273
Missouris, 188
Mobile, 109, 207, 209, 211, 220, 221
Mobile River, 206
Mohawk Trail, 57
Montauban, 44
Montezuma, 254
Montreal, 25, 41, 54, 55, 67, 71, 80, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88,
    89, 90, 95, 100, 103, 106, 110, 113, 114, 122, 130,
    144, 145, 151, 162, 166, 173, 174, 276
Montreal Company, 153
Morgan, 200
Moscow, 202
Mountain Hill, 75
Mountain Street, 93
Murray Bay
  See Mal Bay
Muskogees, 153

Napoleon, xxii, 57, 104, 202
Natchez, xviii,, 204, 211, 218, 220, 221, 225, 228, 229,
    232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 238, 239, 240, 242, 243,
    244, 249, 251, 257
Netherlands, 64
New England, 37, 52, 58, 85, 88, 90, 92, 95, 96, 99, 100, 122, 244
Newfoundland, 40, 87
New France, 29, 31, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 52, 54, 56, 60, 64,
    76, 84, 87, 89, 98, 106, 110, 113, 126, 127, 128,
    130, 174, 179, 184, 203
New Hampshire, 38, 39
New Mexico, 247
New Orleans, xviii,, 99, 209, 211, 220, 221, 257, 273
New Spain, 29, 46, 56, 246, 249, 251, 252, 253, 273
New World, 109, 168, 215, 273, 276
New York, xvii, xxii, 30, 37, 52, 53
Niagara, 100, 145, 146, 171, 175
Nineveh, 118
Nipissing Lake, 134
Normandy, 70
North America, xvi, xvii, 29, 87, 109, 155, 168, 202, 246, 274, 284
Nova Scotia, 51, 96, 109

Ohio River, 43, 54, 55, 57, 58, 100, 152, 153, 165, 178,
    179, 187, 190, 215, 230, 242
Oklahoma, 247
Old France, xvii, 25, 28, 37, 40, 41, 56, 57, 106, 110, 111,
    142, 144, 162, 177, 252, 266, 275, 276, 282, 283
Old Spain, 57, 252, 279
Old Versailles, 29
Omahas, 154
Ontario, 137, 171
Orient, 254
Orleans, Duke of, 264
Osages, 188
Ottawa, xx, 133
Ottawa River, 132, 133, 136, 146, 169
Ottawas, 53, 101, 111, 130, 158, 186, 188, 189

Pacific, 203
Palestine, 46
Paris, 29, 52, 65, 111, 168, 194, 195, 221, 245, 266, 268, 281
Paris Archives, xvi
Parkman, xv, 107, 278
Pawnees, 154
Pensacola, 87, 109, 199, 200, 202, 219
Perellan, 32
Pezant, 164, 165, 166, 230, 247, 248
Phips, 82, 92, 93, 94
  characteristics of, 95-96
  defeated at Quebec, 97-98
Pierre, 274
Plains of Abraham, 30
Point aux Barques, 137
Point Levis, 25, 67
Pontchartrain, Count, xix, 87, 103, 116, 120, 138, 158, 180, 202, 233
Pontiac Conspiracy, 152
Port Royal, 51, 52, 95
Portugal, 203
Pottawattomies, 140, 152, 158, 184, 187
Puritans, 38
Pyrenees, xvi, xvii, 31, 44, 45, 60, 63, 172, 214, 247, 261, 269, 279

Quaife, Doctor, xxii
Quebec, xv, xviii,, 25, 29, 30, 35, 36, 41, 43, 54, 55, 59,
    62, 64, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75, 77, 85, 88, 89, 90, 92,
    95, 96, 97, 101, 102, 105, 106, 109, 110, 113, 127,
    130, 138, 142, 145, 146, 149, 151, 152, 158, 159,
    160, 161, 166, 167, 171, 172, 173, 174, 177, 179,
    180, 181, 183, 184, 185, 195, 199, 232, 276, 277, 281, 284
Quebec City, 55, 61, 219
Quebec Company, 153
Quebec Province Archives, xx
Quebec Province Archivists, xvi
Queen Anne's War, 52, 168

Radisson, Pierre, 108, 112, 127, 132, 160, 174, 202, 270
Raimond, Don Diego, 249
Raudot, 277
Recollets, 36, 54, 60, 66, 94, 102, 104, 106, 144, 163, 164
Red River, 247
Revolutionary War, 284
Richard, the Lion-Hearted, 45
Richelieu, xvii, 117
Rideau River Falls, 133
Rio del Norte
  See Rio Grande
Rio Grande, 109, 155, 249, 255
Rochelle, 219
Rocky Mountains, 135
Rome, 117
Roy, Mr., xxii
Russia, xxi, xxii, 104

Sabrevois, Jacques de Bleury, 33, 34, 42, 43, 127, 194, 195, 274
Sacs, 152, 164
Saginaw Bay, 137
Saginaws, 192
Saguenay, 89, 98
San Domingo, 208, 209, 219, 247
Saracens, 45, 278
Sarnia Straits, 137
Saskatchewan, 154
Saulteurs, 153
Sauvolle, 201, 206, 207
Savoy, 142
Savoyard River, 138, 141, 142
Scotland, 107, 262
Shakespeare, 107, 139
  Macbeth, 107
Shawnees, 152
Shelby Street, 140
Singing Serpent, 235
Sioux, 101, 154, 156, 163, 186
Solomon, 118
South Dakota, 274
Spain, xvii, xxi, 40, 87, 109, 118, 154, 202, 203, 207,
    219, 247, 254, 269, 284, 285
  See also Old Spain and New Spain
St. Anne Bonsecours church, 80, 113, 132, 140, 141
St. Charles River, 25, 91, 97
St. Denis, Juchereau de, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 254, 255, 256, 257
St. Ignace, 105, 108, 136, 166
St. John the Baptist Fort, 249, 255
St. John Ulloa, 253
St. Lawrence River, 25, 30, 40, 57, 61, 62, 67, 80, 84, 85,
    88, 89, 90, 96, 97, 98, 104, 128, 149, 216
St. Louis Street, 95
St. Nicolas de la Grave, 44, 60, 280
Strohm, Mr., xxii
Sulte, Benjamin, xxi, 107

Taché, Archbishop, 280
Tadoussac, 96, 115
Taensas, 242
Tanguay, Abbé, xv, xxi
  Genealogy, xxi
Taos, 250
Taylor, Mr., xvii, xxii
Tecumseh War, 152
Texas, 205
Theresa Tonty, 147
Three Rivers, 84, 127, 130, 174
Tonty, Alphonse, 38, 121, 122, 130, 147, 150
Tonty, Henry, 38, 204
Tonty, Madame, 145, 160
Toulouse, 44, 137, 273
Toulouse, Count, 273
Tower of London, 262
Treaty of Ryswick, 52
Trinity Bay, 205
Turkey, 118

United States, 74, 143, 155, 270, 285
Upper Town, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 61, 91, 95

Vaillant, François, 131, 145, 146, 159, 160, 166
Vallier, Monseignior, 31, 35, 36, 42, 105
Vaudreuil, Governor, 113, 161, 173, 178, 180, 183, 186, 193, 194, 195, 276
Vaudreuil, Madame, 277
Vera Cruz, 253
Vermont, 38
Versailles, xvii, 42, 51, 63, 68, 110, 116, 117, 118, 129,
    137, 149, 161, 167, 168, 179, 180, 184, 221, 222,
    239, 243, 257, 265
Villescar, Pedro de
  See Raimond, Don Diego

War of 1812, 185
Wayne Street, 140
West Indies, 208, 245, 265
Whitehall, 190
William, King, 94
William of Orange, 56, 168
Wisconsin, 111, 137, 152, 164
Wrong, Professor, 73

End papers - back
End papers - back

[End of Cadillac, by Agnes C. Laut]