Louis Hennepin

The Expedition of Father Hennepin.

Two days before La Salle set out from Crèvecœur, on his adventurous journey, through the wilderness, to Fort Frontenac, he despatched Father Louis Hennepin to explore the Mississippi River from the mouth of the Illinois to its source. So little was then known of this continent that La Salle had strong hopes that near the source of the Mississippi, another stream might be found, flowing toward the west, which, by a short voyage, would conduct one to the Pacific Ocean. In this way he hoped that the long-sought-for northwest passage to the Pacific might be discovered.

On the morning of the 29th of February, 1680, Father Hennepin, with but two companions, entered his birch canoe, to prosecute his grand and perilous enterprise. They were to explore unknown realms, crowded with savage tribes. They had their guns, not for attack or defence, but for taking game, with a good supply of ammunition, and with several hundred dollars worth of goods, to conciliate the savages by presents, and to exchange with them for provisions.

With the early dawn they commenced their voyage. The day was fine, the river placid in its gentle flow, and the scenery, on both sides of the stream, of undulating hills, majestic forests, and wide-spread prairies, upon which herds of wild cattle were grazing, was picturesque and alluring in the extreme. As they rapidly descended the river, they met several parties of Illinois Indians, returning to their village at the head of the lake. Their canoes were laden with the game they had taken. The Frenchmen and the Indians exchanged friendly greetings.

The kind-hearted savages endeavored to dissuade them from their perilous voyage, assuring them, with all the wildest exaggerations of Indian superstition, that they would encounter birds as large as buffaloes, who would carry them in their talons as an eagle seizes a rabbit; that there were enormous beasts in the river, doubtless referring to the alligators, who would dash their canoe to pieces, and devour a man at a mouthful; then there were rapids and whirlpools from which they could not escape, and in which they would be surely engulfed; and that if by any possibility they escaped, all these perils, they would fall into the hands of ferocious tribes, who would enslave them, torture them, cook them, and eat them. They entreated the Frenchmen to go back with them to their village, where they could live in safety and in abundance.

The two boatmen, Anthony Auguelle and Michael Ako, were alarmed by these representations, and were strongly inclined to return. But Father Hennepin constrained them to press onward. As they descended the Illinois, they found the river deep and broad, much resembling the Seine at Paris. It would, at times, expand to nearly a mile in breadth. Large trees crowned many of the gentle eminences which lined the stream. Upon ascending the hills, as they landed for their night's encampment, they gazed, with delight in the gorgeous sunset, upon the magnificent prairies spread out before them as far as the eye could reach.

There is nothing which earth has ever presented more beautiful than those Eden-like landscape resembling the ocean in expanse, which were thus for the first time, unveiled to the view of civilized men. Here and there groups of trees appeared, in small groves, as if planted by the exquisite taste of a landscape gardener. Herds of buffaloes, antelopes, and deer, grazed the herbage in countless numbers. Birds of every variety of song and plumage found here their paradise. And in these fair realms the children of Adam might have experienced joys hardly surpassed by those of their first parents in Eden, were it not for that inhumanity of man to man which has caused countless millions to mourn. To redeem this world from the curse of sin, Jesus the Son of God has suffered and died. And there can be no possible true happiness for the human family until the result of his mission shall be accomplished.

Our voyagers, on the seventh day of their journey, having passed down the windings of the river, about two hundred miles, as they judged, came to a pleasant Indian village of about two hundred wigwams. These Indians had an eye for beauty. Their little cluster of homes was picturesquely situated upon a green plain, gently ascending from the banks of the river, which commanded a view of the water for some distance above and below. The prairie, in its grandeur, spread far and wide around. The village was about six miles above the entrance of the Illinois into the Mississippi River. The tribe was called the Maraos. The hospitable savages, who without any difficulty could have killed the Frenchmen and have taken possession of all their goods, treated the strangers as brothers, and urged them to visit their houses. In these hospitable rites we see beautiful vestiges of the character of man before the fall. But alas! we can never meet the children of Adam anywhere, or under any circumstances, without soon seeing the evidence of that fall when sin entered Eden,

"Earth felt the wound; and nature from her seat,

Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe

That all was lost."

They heard fearful accounts of attacks by ferocious tribes rushing down upon them, plundering, burning, killing, scalping, with mercilessness which demons could not exceed. They were expecting soon another attack, and were then upon the point of abandoning their homes and emigrating to the other side of the Mississippi, to join, for their protection, another large and friendly tribe.

Soon after Father Hennepin resumed his voyage, the Indians, according to his narrative, had their suspicions excited that he was conveying hatchets and guns to their enemies, either intentionally, or which might fall into their hands. They therefore sent a band of their swift-footed warriors down the river, to a narrow pass, to intercept the canoe. This could hardly be considered contrary to the laws of warfare among civilized nations. The Indians had witnessed the lightnings and thunders of the white man's guns, and the terrible energies of their death dealing-bolts. They might surely consider the canoe as freighted with goods which were contraband of war.

We know not what reason Father Hennepin had for suspecting this movement of the Indians. He gives no proof of any such hostile design. It is not improbable that his suspicions were groundless. As he approached the narrow pass where he imagined the warriors to lie in ambush, he saw the smoke of the camp fires ascending from a grove which crowned one of the eminences. This certainly did not indicate any secret movement. He paddled close to the other side of the river, not only without being attacked, but without obtaining even a glimpse of his imagined foes.

On the 8th of March they reached the Mississippi River. The broad flood, a mile in width, swept majestically along, from unknown regions of the north, quite covered with floating ice. The vast masses, two or three feet in thickness, and which could not be eluded, would speedily tear their frail birch canoe into fragments. At the mouth of the Illinois there was a gentle elevation, covered with the stately forest, which commanded a fine view of both of the rivers and of the adjacent region.

Here the Frenchmen drew their canoe upon the shore, erected a camp, with open front, as a shelter from the cold north wind, built their fire, cooked their game, of which they found abundance all around, and waited patiently, four days, for the ice to run by.

In the middle of the Mississippi River, nearly opposite the mouth of the Illinois, there were three small islands, covered with large trees and a dense, tangled growth of brush and vines. The heads of these islands were clogged, for a long distance up the river, with the deformity of immense rafts of drift logs, stumps, and trees. They presented an exceedingly dreary aspect, swept by the freezing winds, with truly arctic masses of ice grinding by, and often ploughed up into great hillocks upon the sand-bars.

At a short distance back from the river a range of hills or bluffs was seen. Between the bluffs and the river the meadow or bottom lands were often treeless, and evidently fertile in the highest degree. On the morning of the 12th of March the Mississippi was sufficiently clear of ice for these intrepid voyagers to venture to launch their canoe upon its surface. Slowly and cautiously they paddled up the stream, keeping near the shore and taking advantage of every eddy which could be found. Through vistas opening between the hills and woods occasional glimpses were caught of prairie regions beyond, whose solitude and silence were only relieved by the spectacle of grazing herds, and thousands of birds upon the wing. There were no signs of human life. Apparently eternal silence reigned over those Eden-like solitudes, disturbed only by the lowing of the herds and the varied notes of bird songs.

As they continued their voyage they came upon many islands, whose thick growth of forest trees was so interlaced with vines and undergrowth as to render them almost impenetrable. Vigorously they plied their paddles, day after day, breasting the strong current of the river, encountering no incident of importance. Every night they landed, drew their canoe upon the grass, turned it over, so as to cover its contents from the rain and the dew, built their frail shelter for the night, kindled their camp fire, whose flame is ever as companionable as it is cheerful, cooked their supper, which they ate with the appetite and zest which labor gives, and then, having offered their vesper prayers and chanted their evening hymn, enjoyed that sweet sleep which is one of the greatest of all earthly blessings. At noon they always had a short religious exercise in their canoe.

They often had mild and beautiful mornings, when the whole wide-spread scene of crystal waters, forest, and prairie seemed illumined with almost celestial radiance. Bird songs filled the air. The prairies seemed crowded with all the varieties of animal life in peaceful enjoyment. No sights of violence or suffering met the eye. No discordant sound fell upon the ear. All was beauty, harmony, and joy. The landscape resembled our imaginings of the world before the fall, when it came fresh from its Maker's hands, and all the morning stars hailed its birth.

But again clouds, like marshalling armies, hurried through and darkened the sky. The tempest rose with its dirge-like wailing. The surface of the river was lashed into surges which threatened to devour them. The rain drenched them. The sleet cut their faces. Hastily they sought the shores. Frequently they had to paddle a great distance along the precipitous banks before they could find any place where they could land. Reaching at length the shore, they first covered their goods with the upturned canoe.

Black night would already envelop them. Groping through the darkness, drenched with rain, and numbed with sleet, they would, with great difficulty, raise some frail protection against the storm. No fire could be kindled. No change of clothing was possible. Throwing themselves upon the wet sod, hungry, shivering, and sleepless, they would anxiously await the dawn. The cry of the lone night-bird, and the howling of wolves, would be added to the discord of the angry elements. In such hours this globe did indeed seem to be a sin-blighted world, upon which had fallen the frown of its Maker.

Amid such changes and toils as these, Father Hennepin and his companions, in their frail birch canoe, paddled along against the strong current of the Mississippi. They breakfasted with the earliest dawn, and continued their voyage through ever-varying scenes of sublimity and beauty, until late in the afternoon. Then they began to look eagerly for some sheltered nook suitable for their night's encampment. The silence and solitude through which they passed, at times seemed pleasing, and again almost awful.

For weary leagues, not a village, not a wigwam, not a solitary Indian, appeared. They seemed to be exploring an uninhabited world. The mouths of many rivers were passed, whose names were unknown to them. With feelings akin to awe, they looked up the long reaches of streams, now known by the names of the Des Moines, the Iowa, the Rock River, and the Wisconsin. They wondered what scenes were transpiring far away upon the banks of these apparently solitary waters.

They had ascended the Mississippi several hundred miles, when, about two o'clock in the afternoon of the 11th of April, they were startled by seeing suddenly coming round a near headland, thirty large bark canoes, crowded with Indians, plumed, painted, and armed for battle. It was a gorgeous as well as an appalling spectacle. The blades of their paddles sparkled in the sunlight. The savages were dressed in the highest style of barbaric splendor. Their brilliantly colored feathers, fringed garments, and highly decorated bows, war-clubs and javelins, surpassed, in picturesque beauty, any of the ordinary military trapping of civilized life.

The moment the savages caught sight of the Frenchmen's boat, they simultaneously raised a shout or yell, which reverberated along the banks of the river and struck the hearts of the voyagers with dread. Escape was impossible. Resistance was not to be thought of. The little fleet of canoes, descending the river by the aid both of the current and their paddles, approached with great rapidity. Father Hennepin stood up in his boat and in his hands extended toward the savages, the calumet of peace. Speedily he was surrounded, the calumet was snatched from him, and his canoe was taken to the shore, while all the others followed. During all the time the savages were raising frightful cries and yells, the signification of which, whether welcoming or threatening, could not be understood. It was probably near the mouth of the Wisconsin River that this capture took place.

Father Hennepin had been so long among the Indians, visiting various tribes, and had so long been accustomed to contemplate his violent death as an event which might any day take place, that he was far more tranquil in mind than most persons could have been under these circumstances. Speedily his well-trained eye recognized the chief of the savages. He presented him some tobacco, and then endeavored by signs to enter into conversation with him.

The two head chiefs conferred together. They declined smoking the peace calumet, and were by no means cordial in their reception of the strangers. There was evidently a diversity of opinion among them, as to the disposition they should make of their captives. Three blows of the tomahawk would silence them all in death. Their bodies could be thrown into the stream, and their canoe, with all its freight, of such priceless value to the savages, would be in their possession. Probably some of them had visited the French forts, and knew how to use the musket, and appreciated its death-dealing power. Already they had examined every article in the canoe. They had inspected the rifles, and counted the store of bullets and powder. Such an acquisition would aid them inestimably in the war-path upon which they had entered.

The young men clamored for this decision of the question. In the mind of an untutored savage, who has never enjoyed the light of revealed religion, the dividing line between right and wrong must necessarily be faint. With these men, the pride of life consisted in the numbers of enemies they had slain. Inspired by this desire, they were now on the way to attack a neighboring tribe, to burn their homes, destroy their property, kill and scalp men, women, and children, and to take back some of the leading warriors, that they, their wives, and their children might enjoy the delight of seeing them put to death by diabolical torture. Why should they hesitate to tomahawk three white men who had crossed their path? Why not rob and murder them, when by doing so they could acquire possessions of the greatest value?

But God seems to have implanted in every human heart some sense of right and wrong, some conviction of responsibility to a Superior Being. So far as Father Hennepin could understand their sign language, the chiefs informed him that they were going down the Mississippi to attack a village of the Miamis on the Illinois River. The war party consisted of but one hundred and twenty braves. They intended to attack the village by surprise at night. In an hour they would accomplish their fiend-like deed of murder, scalping, and conflagration. Then, with their gory trophies and their prisoners, they would take to their boats and be far away up the river before there could be any rallying of the tribes in pursuit.

Father Hennepin told them that the Miamis had been informed of their intended attack; that they had abandoned their village, had fled across the Mississippi, and having joined another powerful tribe were watching for their approach. The savages on the shore surrounded their captives, and for some unknown reason frequently gave simultaneous utterance to the most unearthly yells.

Father Hennepin affected great composure, assuming that he was among friends. He presented to the chiefs two large fat turkeys which he had shot coming up the river. Then, with his two companions, he built a fire, hung his iron kettle, and commenced boiling some venison. The Indians looked quietly on for a few minutes, and then all gathered in a group to hold a council. Father Hennepin secretly watched their proceedings with the utmost anxiety. Their speeches were accompanied with very much action. The debate was prolonged and vehement. He sufficiently understood the language of signs to perceive that they were divided in opinion, that while a part were in favor of putting them to death, others were urging that their lives should be spared.

With one of his men he went to the canoe, took six axes, fifteen knives, and a quantity of tobacco, and advancing into the midst of the council presented them to the chiefs. He then took an axe, and bowing his head, made signs that the Indians might kill him if they wished to do so. This chivalric deed touched whatever there was of chivalry in the savage bosom. There was a general murmur of applause. Some of them had been roasting, at a fire near by, some beaver's flesh. One of the savages ran, cut a piece of the smoking meat, and bringing it, on a plate of birch bark, with a sharpened stick for a fork, put three morsels into the mouth of Father Hennepin and his companions. As the food was very hot, the savage blew upon it to cool it. He then set the plate before them, to eat at their pleasure.

Still there was a degree of restraint on the part of the Indians, which indicated that there was by no means perfect reconciliation. There was much talking apart, and it was evident that the fate of the prisoners was not yet decided. The representations, however, which Father Hennepin had made, induced them to relinquish their contemplated enterprise, and to turn back from the war-path upon which they had entered. Just before night, one of the chiefs silently returned to Father Hennepin his peace calumet. This greatly increased their anxiety, as it was inferred that it was an act renouncing friendship.

Savages and Frenchmen all slept alike on the ground and in the open air, by the side of their camp fires. There was no watch kept, and the captives had no indication that they were abridged of their freedom. Still they had many fears that they were to be assassinated before the morning. The two boatmen, Auguelle and Ako, slept with their guns and swords by their sides. They declared that if attacked they would sell their lives as dearly as possible. But Father Hennepin said to them, "I shall allow myself to be killed without any resistance. I came to announce to the savages a God, who for the world's redemption allowed Himself to be falsely accused, unjustly condemned, and cruelly crucified, without showing the least enmity to those who put Him to death. I shall imitate the example thus set me."

The night passed peacefully away, and the morning of the 12th of April dawned upon this scene so wild and picturesque.

As all were gathered around their camp fires, cooking their breakfasts, one of the chiefs, Narketoba by name—presenting a hideous aspect in his barbarian military trappings, his face and bare chest smeared with war paint—approached Father Hennepin and asked for the peace calumet. Receiving it, he filled the cup with tobacco, and having taken a few whiffs himself, presented it to one after another of the whole band. Each one smoked the pipe, though some with evident reluctance. The Frenchmen understood this to indicate that, for the present at least, their lives were to be spared. They were then informed that they must accompany the Indians up the river to their own country.

"I was not sorry," Father Hennepin writes, "in this conjuncture, to continue our discovery with this people."

Life with the Savages.

Father Hennepin and his two companions reëmbarked in their canoe, and, oppressed with varied feelings of anxiety and curiosity, recommenced their journey up the river. The thirty large canoes, filled with their captors, surrounded them. The current was rapid; the savages were seldom in a hurry, and their progress was slow. At night they always landed and slept in the open air, unless it was stormy, when they would sometimes construct for themselves a frail shelter.

The devout ecclesiastic felt in duty bound daily to say his office, as it was called, in accordance with the rules of the Catholic Church. He had his breviary, composed of matins, lauds, vespers, and compline, or last prayer at night. These exercises he scrupulously performed. The superstitious Indians, seeing him open his book, and move his lips, imagined that he was practising some sort of incantation against them. Angrily they cried out against it, exclaiming, in their own language, "witchcraft."

Michael Ako, who had no ambition to receive a martyr's crown, entreated him, if he must say his prayers, to say them in secret. "If you persist in this course," said he, "you will so provoke the Indians, that we shall all be inevitably killed." Auguelle, who was more religiously inclined, joined in these entreaties, begging him to retire apart, morning and evening, into the forest for his devotions.

But the suspicions of the Indians were aroused. They had a great dread of diabolical influences. Whenever he entered the woods a party followed him. He could get no chance to pray out of their sight. At length he said to his companions:

"I cannot dispense with my prayers, whatever may be the consequences. If we are all massacred, I shall be the innocent cause of your death, as well as of my own."

To accustom the Indians to his mode of worship, he commenced chanting the litany of the Virgin. He had a well-trained, melodious voice. The Indians were pleased with the novel strains floating over the still waters. Paddle in hand they paused to listen. Adroitly, he led them to believe that the Good Spirit had taught him to sing, and had sent him to them for their diversion. It would seem, on the whole, that the Indians treated their captives with remarkable kindness. The canoe of the Frenchmen was heavily laden with articles for trade, and there were but three to paddle. They therefore found it very difficult to keep up with the well-manned war canoes of the savages. The chief placed one or two warriors on board the Frenchmen's boat, to help them stem the current. It was with difficulty that the little fleet accomplished more than twenty or twenty-five miles a day.

The savages were collected from various villages, and it was quite evident that they were still divided in opinion respecting the disposition to be made of their prisoners. One of the chiefs took the Frenchmen under his special protection. He caused them, at each encampment, to occupy the same cabin with him, or to sleep by his side. But there was another chief who clamored for their death. He had lost a son, killed by the Miamis. Every night his dismal howlings were heard, as he wailed piteously, endeavoring to stimulate his own passions, and to rouse his comrades to kill the Frenchmen, so as to seize their arms and avenge themselves upon the Miamis.

But others, who were far more considerate, said, If we kill or rob these Frenchmen, we shall soon use up the few goods they have in their canoe, and no other Frenchmen will dare to visit us to bring us more. But, if we treat them kindly, and purchase their goods fairly, others will come, bringing a great abundance. Thus we can all sell our skins and furs, and supply the whole tribe with the things we so greatly need.

As they were paddling along one day, a large flock of turkeys was seen feeding near the river. Cautiously Father Hennepin paddled near them, and one of his boatmen, taking careful aim, struck down three with a single shot. The savages, who had watched the proceeding with intense interest, were amazed. Many of them, perhaps all, had never seen a gun discharged before, though the knowledge of the arrival of the French, and the wonderful power of their guns, had been widely spread through the tribes. The canoes were all paddled to the shore. With the deepest interest they examined the dead turkeys, and reëxamined the musket. The unseen bolt had struck them down at twice the distance their arrows would reach. An arrow could have killed but one. The bullet had killed three. "Manza ouacangege," exclaimed one of the chiefs, in astonishment, which signified, The iron has understanding.

The situation of the Frenchmen was very peculiar, as they hardly knew whether the savages regarded them as prisoners or not. Father Hennepin was still pursuing his original design of exploring the sources of the Mississippi. If the Indians were truly friendly, their companionship was an element of safety, and was to be desired. In order to test the question whether he was his own master, and could follow his own will, he suggested to the chief his design of turning back and following down the Mississippi to its mouth. He might thus find a short passage to the Indies, though he admits that he thought it more probable that it emptied into the Gulf of Mexico, than into the Red Sea. The chiefs however, promptly signified that they could not consent to be thus deprived of the pleasure of his company.

Though the Indians paddled all day long, with great vigor, against the current, not stopping even to eat until their night's encampment, they never seemed at all fatigued. There was an ample supply of game for food. Having reared their frail shelters, if it rained, kindled their fires and cooked their suppers, they invariably had a war dance, each smoking in turn the war calumet. This was distinguished from the peace calumet by different colored feathers. Their whoops and yells were hideous. And there was something indescribably mournful in the wailings of those who had lost relatives during the war.

Fortunately for the French, all their expeditions had thus far been conducted under the control of religious men. Not an Indian had been killed or wronged by them. They had proved only great benefactors to the Indians. Had a solitary Indian been killed by any Frenchmen, these captives, in revenge, would have been put to death with tortures of the most diabolical cruelty. Had any Miami warriors fallen into the hands of these savages, awful would have been their doom. Father Hennepin and his companions could not but shudder as they listened to the wailing yells of those who mourned their dead, and witnessed the fiend-like expression of their countenances and gestures.

With the earliest dawn, after the night's encampment, some one gave a whoop, which instantly brought every man to his feet. No time was lost in washing or dressing. They generally, as a measure of protection against their enemies, endeavored to encamp upon the point of an island. While some went out to hunt for game, others replenished the fires, and cooked the breakfast, while still others sought the neighboring eminences to discover whether there were any smoke or other indications of a lurking foe. They then entered their birch canoes, which they did not leave until the close of the afternoon, when they landed for another night's encampment.

Thus for nineteen days they continued ascending the river. Father Hennepin estimated that they had made between three and four hundred miles.

One afternoon, as the thirty canoes were being paddled up the stream in a long line, a large bear was seen swimming across the river, a little above them. The canoes in advance promptly surrounded him, and he was speedily killed. Upon dragging him ashore he proved to be a monster in size, and very fat. It so happened that they were opposite a very beautiful prairie. The head chief, whose name was Aguipaguetin, ordered all the canoes ashore for a grand feast. The warriors decorated themselves with paint and feathers, and after partaking of what they considered a sumptuous feast, commenced the wild orgies of the war dance, with hideous yellings and contortions. They all leaped about on the greensward of the prairie, with their arms akimbo, and violently beating the ground with their feet, in measured tread.

The wailing for the dead was blended with their discordant cries. One of the chiefs who was very loud in his demonstrations of grief for his lost son, and who had previously urged putting the Frenchmen to death, frequently in the course of the frantic dance approached the Frenchmen, and placing his hands on each one of their heads, uttered the most piercing dirge-like cries. Father Hennepin could not understand the significance of this strange ceremony, but he had many fears that it indicated violence to come.

Hoping to conciliate the chief, he made him a very valuable present of knives, axes, beads, and tobacco in honor of the son whose loss he so deeply deplored. By these frequent presents, the small store of goods which the canoe could hold was rapidly disappearing. They were then on the borders of a wide expansion of the Mississippi resembling a lake. Father Hennepin gave it the name of Pepin, or the Lake of Tears, from the lugubrious cries of the chieftain in the funereal dance. The next day, or day after, quite a large herd of buffaloes was seen swimming across the river. The enormous creatures, thus taken at disadvantage, were easily killed. Thirty or forty, pierced by arrows and javelins, were soon dragged ashore. The savages had another feast, from the tongues and other most delicate morsels of the animal. All the remainder was left to putrefy, or be devoured by wild beasts. The frail canoes were so crowded that there was no room to store away any game. Neither was there need to do so, for every day brought almost invariably a full supply. It required hunger, and an acquired appetite for such food, to make it palatable; for it was eaten without bread or salt, or any other seasoning.

Some days the Indians seemed very good natured. Again, with no known cause, they were morose and threatening. Even the chief who had protected them was as capricious in his conduct as a child. He would at times feed them abundantly, minister to all their wants, and caress them. Again he would allow them, in a stormy night, to be driven from his cabin, to find such shelter as they could. Usually some Indians would be placed in their canoe to help them paddle. Again they would be left to struggle unaided against the rushing flood. The Frenchmen could not speak a word of the language of their captors, or understand a word spoken to them. It is probable that they often misunderstood the significance of signs. But there was no difficulty in perceiving the difference between smiles and frowns, between blessings and curses.

On the nineteenth day of their navigation, the Indians reached one of their villages on the river banks. It was afterwards found that this spot was about twenty-five miles below a remarkable fall in the river, to which Father Hennepin gave, in honor of his patron saint, the name of the Falls of St. Anthony. This hamlet, far away in the north, was a cold and cheerless assemblage of savage homes. The families, in the culture and comforts of life, were but slightly elevated above the brutes around them. There were several chiefs who had lost sons during the war. The captives were given one to each of three of them. Nominally, they were to be adopted in the place of the lost ones. In reality, they were slaves, to be driven farthest from the fire, to have the most scanty supply of food, in case of want, and in all things to endure the hardest fare.

Having thus distributed their captives, the savages seized their property and divided it among themselves. They probably did not consider this an act of robbery, but since the Frenchmen had been graciously received as sons of the tribe, their goods should be appropriated to the public welfare. The village near the Falls of St. Anthony was but a temporary encampment. The tribe into whose hands the captives had fallen, was called Issatis. Their principal village was still farther up the river, nearly a hundred and fifty miles in a northwesterly direction. Probably in consequence of the innumerable windings of the stream, they abandoned their canoes at the Falls, and commenced the journey on foot, traversing an Indian trail which led through forest and moor, over prairie and mountain. It was indeed a wearisome and almost fatal journey to those newly adopted into such hardships of barbarian life. In those early days of spring, and in those high latitudes, it was often bitterly cold. There were remaining snow drifts, and deeper clammy mud and pools of water to be waded, skimmed over with ice, and freezing storms of rain and sleet. They encountered many rivers and swollen brooks, which they were compelled either to swim or ford.

These streams, flowing down from unknown regions in the north, were often encumbered with large blocks of ice. There was but little game in those dismal forests, and on those sear and bleak prairies. The savages were pitiless, and would often give but a meagre portion to their adopted brethren. Father Hennepin often divested himself of his clothes, bound them upon his head, and swam across these streams. Upon reaching the shore, his limbs would be so chilled and benumbed that he could scarcely stand. The blood would trickle down his body and limbs, from wounds inflicted by the sharp edges of the ice. The trail invariably led to spots where the crossings of the swollen streams were not very wide. Several of the Indians were men of gigantic stature. Father Hennepin was a tall man, but his companions were very short, and neither of them could swim. When they came to a ford where the water was over the heads of the short men these tall Indians would carry them across on their shoulders. When all were compelled to swim they would help the unfortunate men across on pieces of drift wood.

The Indians seemed to have sinews of steel. They were alike insensible to hunger, to drenched garments, and to freezing blasts. The celerity with which they pressed on their way, astonished the Europeans. On several occasions Father Hennepin, while traversing the broad bleak prairie, was quite in despair. His trembling, tottering limbs would scarcely support his body. Once, feeling unable to take another step, he threw himself upon the ground, declaring that there he must die. The rank and withered grass of the prairie was five or six feet high. Very deliberately one of the savages set fire to the grass. It burst forth in a consuming flame. "Now," said he, "you may follow us or be burned to death."

On one occasion, when Father Hennepin had thrown himself upon the ground, in utter exhaustion, one of the chiefs of the party came to him, and pulling up a quantity of dried grass, made a soft bed for him to lie down upon. Then seating himself by his side, he took from his pocket two pieces of wood, very dry. One was a small block of cedar, with an indentation in the centre, about two thirds of an inch in diameter. The other was a round peg, five or six inches long, which fitted into the hole in the block. This block he placed upon his knee, and fitting the peg into the socket, spun it round with wonderful rapidity between his two palms. Soon smoke began to appear, then a few sparks were elicited, and then a gentle flame rose from the dust of the charred wood. He lighted his pipe, and after smoking for a moment, gave it Father Hennepin to smoke. He then put his hands affectionately on the Frenchman's head, and moaned and wept.

What did this all mean? Were the sympathies of the savage excited, in view of the sufferings of the white man? Were his tears caused to flow in anticipation of torture at the burning stake, to which he might suppose the victim to be doomed? Or was this an act of barbarian mourning over some loved one lost in battle? Father Hennepin could not interpret the deed. But he greatly feared that it indicated dreadful woes to come—sufferings, the thought of which was sufficient to agitate even a savage breast.

After a weary journey of five days, this party of forty or fifty warriors, with their captives, approached their destined village. It was far away in the northern wilderness, east of the Mississippi, which majestic stream had there dwindled into a rivulet. They were near the head waters of a river, since called the St. Francis. It was indeed a dreary and savage wild which they had penetrated, and from whose glooms the captives could not expect ever to emerge. In some way the inhabitants of the village had heard of the approach of the warriors, and quite a number of the women and children came out to meet them.

In a sort of triumphal entrance, like that of the ancient Romans, they took Auguelle, dressed him as gorgeously as they could, in Indian costume, painted his face, daubed his hair with grease, and fastened upon his head a plume of eagle's feathers, brilliantly colored. They placed a gourd in his hand, containing a number of round pebbles, which he was directed to shake for music, with the accompaniment of his voice, shouting a French song. The Frenchmen, in dreadful incertitude respecting their fate, were agreed in the conviction that it was good policy to do every thing in their power to conciliate their captors.

The warriors were much chagrined in returning from their expedition without a single scalp, without a single captive from their enemies, without having even struck a blow. It was necessary for them therefore to make as much parade as they could of their French prisoners. Yet the most ignorant Indian of them all could not but perceive that there was not much to be boasted of in a hundred and twenty warriors having picked up three peaceful canoe men, who had made no resistance, who had never done them any harm; who had come into their country as friends, making them rich presents, and who undeniably desired only to do them good.

They could not utter the scalp halloo, nor the yell announcing that they were bringing victims for the stake. But they made the forest resound with their war-whoops, and with their shouts of triumph. During the absence of the war party, the women and the old men had planted several stakes, and had gathered around their large quantities of dried grass, with which they intended to scorch and blister and consume the prisoners, whom they doubted not the victors would bring back. They were anticipating a grand gala day in dance and yell, as they witnessed the writhings of their victims and listened with delight to the shrieks which agony extorted.

Father Hennepin and his companions were appalled as they looked at these stakes and these preparations for torture, and feared that they were to occupy the places prepared for the Miamis. They, however, concealed their fears, carefully abstained from the slightest indication of anxiety, and assumed that they were contented and beloved members of the tribe which had adopted them.

It was about the 21st of April, 1680, when these unfortunate men, who had been cradled in France, were led into the miserable hovels of this village of savages. They were all conducted into the wigwam of the principal chief. Here, much to their encouragement, the chief presented them his own peace calumet, to smoke. He then gave them, in a birch bark dish, some boiled wild rice, seasoned with dry whortleberries. Half-famished as the Frenchmen were, this was by no means unpalatable food.

After this feast each one was conducted to the wigwam of the Indian by whom he had been adopted. These Indians lived in different villages several miles apart. The captives now found, much to their sorrow, that they were to be separated. Father Hennepin was adopted by the chief Aquipaguetin, and was conducted nearly three miles, often through marshes knee-deep with mud and water, till they came to a considerable stream, probably one of the upper tributaries of the St. Francis River. Here five wives of the chief, with their canoes, were obsequiously waiting the approach of their lord and master. A young son of the chief was also with them. The chief informed them all that he had adopted the white man in the place of the child he had lost; and that his wives were to call him their son, and that his son was to call him brother.

The women paddled the canoes down the dark stream fringed with gloomy evergreens and tangled underbrush, until they came to an island upon which there was a small cluster of cabins. Here was the residence of the chief. His wigwam was large, though but a single room, and was crowded with his wives and children. Father Hennepin was immediately presented with some boiled fish on a birch bark plate. But he was so very weak, from exposure, toil, and emaciation, that he could not rise from the ground without assistance.

The medical practice of the chief was peculiar; but either in consequence of it, or in spite of it, the sick man got well. A small hut, called a sweating cabin, was built, very tight. This was made more impervious to the air by covering it with buffalo skins. A large number of stones heated red hot were placed inside, which raised the temperature almost to that of an oven. The sick man crept in, followed by four medical practitioners. The entrance was closed. The Indians then began to wail and howl, probably to frighten off the evil spirits, who they supposed had invaded the sick man's body. At the same time they commenced rubbing their patient violently from head to foot. The perspiration oozed from every pore, and fell from him like rain drops. The heat was intolerable. He nearly fainted, and was for the time greatly debilitated. This regimen was followed three times a week for two or three weeks, when, Father Hennepin writes:

"I felt as strong as ever."

Escape from the Savages.

There was a singular combination of intelligence and childish simplicity developed by the Indians. Father Hennepin had a small pocket compass, of which they stood in great need. When they saw him turn the needle with a key, they were awe-stricken, and whispered to one another that it was a spirit which had become obedient to the white man's will. He had an iron pot, with three feet resembling a lion's paws. This they never dared to touch, unless their hands were covered with some robe. What could have been the cause of this senseless fear, it is impossible to imagine. The same men on other subjects would reason with great logical acumen.

The good ecclesiastic was still very anxious for the conversion of the Indians. He manifested more solicitude for their salvation, than for his own restoration to liberty or the preservation of his own life. He immediately entered upon the vigorous study of the language. Having learned that the phrase, "Taket chia biheu," meant, "How do you call that," he commenced compiling a dictionary. He had a natural facility for the acquisition of languages, and made rapid progress. Fortunately he had paper and ink, and eagle's quills were easily obtained.

Hour after hour he spent inquiring the meaning of words and the names of things. The chiefs were quite pleased in teaching him and in seeing how fast he was acquiring the power of talking with them on all familiar subjects. His writing the words was an inexplicable mystery to them. They would often question him respecting the names of things. He would refer to his memorandum and then tell them correctly. This not only surprised but seemed to overawe them.

Father Louis Hennepin was called, by his two French boatmen, Père Louis. The chief who had adopted him was one day exhibiting to some chiefs who were visiting his wigwam, this wonderful power of the white man in recalling a difficult name, by looking at the characters he had written. Very solemnly he said:

"There must be an invisible spirit who tells Père Louis everything we say."

Neither of the other Frenchmen could write. The dress of the ecclesiastic was much more imposing than that of the boatmen. He was a tall, fine-looking man, ever moving with that dignity which seems instinctive in one accustomed to command. The keen-sighted Indians were not slow in recognizing his superiority of rank, and all considered him invested with supernatural powers. Often, when it rained as they were wishing to go hunting, they would entreat him to sweep away the clouds. His invariable reply was, pointing to the skies, "The Great Spirit there controls all things. I have no such ability." They stood in awe of his spiritual power, and their good feelings were won by his invariable serenity and kindness. They contributed beaver skins, to the value of about one hundred dollars, which they presented to him to induce him to remain and take some wives and have a richly furnished wigwam. But he declined the present, saying:

"I did not come among you to collect beaver skins, but to teach you to love and obey the Great Spirit. I wish to live as you do, sharing your hard fare."

Very wisely he assumed that he came voluntarily among them, and that when the time came for his departure, no one would think of throwing any obstacle in his way. It was a time almost of famine with the Indians. The summer birds had not returned. Game was very scarce. There was great suffering for want of food. And these strangely inconsistent creatures, while affecting the greatest kindness, would conceal the little food they had, get up in the night and eat it secretly, leaving Père Hennepin to the gnawings of hunger.

"Although women," he writes, "are for the most part more kind and compassionate than men, they gave what little fish they had to their children, regarding me as a slave made by their warriors in their enemy's country, and they reasonably preferred their children's lives to mine."

One day a deliberative council of Issati chiefs was held, to consult respecting various matters. Père Louis, having been adopted into the tribe as the son of the head chief, attended. He could understand nearly all that was said. There was a very able chief, by the name of Ou-si-cou-dè, who had manifested great esteem for the father. He rose and said:

"We all ought to feel indignant in view of the insulting manner in which our young men treated Père Louis on the way. They were young warriors without sense, and perhaps knew no better. They robbed him and wanted to kill him. They acted like hungry dogs, who snatch a bit of meat from the bark dish, and run. They abused men who brought us iron and merchandise, which we never had before."

Père Louis had considerable medical skill, and had brought with him several simple remedies. He was ever ready to attend the sick, and his success in medical practice gave him great renown. A little child was dying. According to the belief of Father Hennepin, if it should die unbaptized, it was lost. But how could he baptize the heathen child of heathen parents. Great was his anxiety, and fervent were his prayers for enlightenment. At length his kind heart obtained the victory over his theological creed. The solemn rite was performed with deepest emotion. Giving the child, a little girl, the Christian name of Antoinette, in honor of St. Anthony, he said:

"Creature of God, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

To his great grief he could not say mass, for want of wine and the appropriate vestments, which had been taken from him. He however spread an altar cloth, which he had retained about his person, upon the body of the child. When the spirit had taken its flight, he gave the remains Christian burial.

The news of the arrival of the Frenchmen in the villages of Issati, spread far and wide through the adjacent tribes. An embassy of Indians came to visit Father Hennepin from the distance of several hundred miles in the far west. They approached him with reverence, and had many questions to ask him. They were men of high rank and dignity, and their questions indicated much thought.

"We live," they said, "in a much milder clime, where there are immense plains and boundless prairies; where herds of thousands of buffaloes roam, and where deer and turkeys and innumerable other kinds of game are found in abundance. There is no hunger there, for food can always be obtained."

They expressed the earnest wish to take Father Hennepin back with them. But his own tribe were just about to set out on a grand hunting excursion, to the sunny realms of the southwest. A hundred and thirty families, and also two hundred and fifty warriors, embarked in a fleet of eighty birch canoes, about the middle of July. The embarcation was a wondrous spectacle, such as civilized eyes have rarely beheld, and can never witness again. A canoe had been provided for the three Frenchmen. But the two Frenchmen were jealous of the extraordinary respect with which Father Hennepin was treated and refused to take him on board.

As this strange fleet in a long and straggling line descended the St. Francis River, Father Hennepin stood upon the banks extending his hands in a benediction. Two Indians, passing by in a small canoe, seeing him thus deserted, paddled ashore and took him with them. This overloaded the canoe, and it began to leak. It required constant exertion on the part of Father Hennepin to bail out the water with a small birch cup, as fast as it ran in. The canoe did not weigh fifty pounds. Great care was necessary to preserve its equilibrium, for almost the slightest irregular motion of the body would upset it.

At night all landed. Sleeping in the canoes, or navigating them in the dark, was impossible. Here again one of the strangest of earthly spectacles was witnessed. Beneath the gloomy pines which fringed the stream, countless camp fires were gleaming. Men, women and children were running about in all directions. Some were cooking the supper; some, rearing frail shelters for the night. There was chattering and bandied jokes and laughter. The proud warriors, despising any menial employment, strutted about with lordly air.

Michael Ako was a most graceless fellow, and it was his influence which had excluded Father Hennepin from the canoe. But Anthony Auguelle was much more devoutly inclined. He was ashamed of their conduct. In the evening he sought out Father Hennepin, and offered a poor excuse for not receiving him into their canoe, saying it was so small and frail that had three been in it, it would inevitably have been swamped. The father was not deceived, though he accepted the apology.

After four days' paddling down the St. Francis River, the little fleet reached its mouth, where it empties into the Mississippi. They crossed to the west shore of the great river, and encamped upon an eminence there. It was impossible for Father Hennepin to be very accurate in his estimate of distances. He judged that they were then about twenty-four miles above the Falls of St. Anthony.

At this spot there was a forest of birch trees, and suitable wood for canoe frames. They had commenced the voyage with old canoes, which were frail and decayed, and in which they could not safely launch forth upon the turbulent flood of the Mississippi. The whole band consequently encamped for several days upon this eminence, to construct new canoes. The veteran hunters wandered through the forests and over the prairies, to hunt stags, deer, and beaver. The larger boys and girls brought to the encampment their arms full of birch bark, with carefully selected twigs for frames. The experienced women, with nimble fingers, joined the seams and fashioned the buoyant and graceful boat. All were busy.

But the hunters were unsuccessful. They brought in but little game. The whole community was fed upon thin broth, and there was but little of that. Father Hennepin, accompanied by Anthony Auguelle, in their great hunger, wandered about searching for wild berries. They found but few, and those which they ate often made them sick. The surly Michael Ako refused to go with them.

The tribe of Indians encamped in July, 1680, upon the Upper Mississippi, opposite the mouth of St. Francis River, numbered between four and five hundred souls. There was a great want of food in the camp. According to Father Hennepin's estimate, they were about two hundred miles above the mouth of the Wisconsin River. He told the Indians that when La Salle left Crèvecœur for Fort Frontenac to obtain supplies, he promised to send to the mouth of the Wisconsin River, a reinforcement of men, with powder and guns, and very many other articles for traffic with the Indians.

They therefore consented that he should descend the river to this point, to obtain the supplies. These strange men were too polite to intimate that they distrusted his word and considered this merely a plan devised for his escape, as it probably was. They however, furnished him with a canoe only sufficiently large to bear him and Anthony Auguelle, with their needful luggage. By this contrivance, Michael Ako was left behind as a hostage for their return.

The two Frenchmen set out, in a birch bark canoe, for this river voyage, going and returning, of four hundred miles. The only articles they could obtain to take with them, to meet the casualties of the way, were a gun, fifteen charges of powder, a knife, an earthen pot, and two robes of beaver skins, as blankets for the night's encampments. They safely reached the falls. Taking the canoe and freight upon their shoulders, they carried them along the well-trodden trail which constituted the portage. Here they found five or six of their Indian hunters. One of them had climbed a gnarled oak tree opposite the foaming cataract, and was offering the following prayer, which Father Hennepin took down on the spot. Peculiar moans and wails, as of penitence, were blended with the prayer.

"O Thou who art a Great Spirit, grant that our nation may pass these Falls quietly without harm. Help us to kill buffaloes in abundance. May we take prisoners who shall serve us as slaves. Some of them we will put to death in thine honor. Aid us to avenge our kindred whom they have killed."

At the same time this devout savage hung upon the tree, as an offering to the spirit of the falls, a rich robe of fur, gorgeously fringed and embroidered with porcupines' quills, variously colored. A few miles below the falls, they met another party of four or five hunters. They were encamped upon a small island, and were feasting upon an abundance of buffalo meat. The Frenchmen paddled ashore and joined eagerly in the repast. Scarcely two hours had elapsed ere four or five more canoes were seen descending the river. Sixteen warrior hunters of their own party leaped ashore. They seemed to be very angry. Tomahawk in hand, they knocked their cabin to pieces, and seized all the meat. Father Hennepin was astonished, and inquired what this meant. One of the warriors, who professed to be his uncle, replied:

"These men, contrary to our laws, have gone on a buffalo hunt before the rest. Thus, while they have furnished themselves with an abundance of meat, they have frightened away the buffaloes, and left us destitute. In punishment, we have a right to strip them."

The two solitary voyagers paddled down the stream, as they judged, one hundred and sixty miles. During this time they killed but one deer, which they shot as it was swimming across the river. The July heat was such that the flesh could be kept but for a few hours. They saw many turtles. But for a long time in vain they endeavored to take one. The timid animals would plunge into the water the moment they heard the least noise. At last they succeeded in taking one of them. But as Father Hennepin endeavored to cut off the turtle's head, he came very near losing one of his own fingers in its sharp jaws. The Frenchmen were very hungry, and had paddled their canoe to the shore. While the father was endeavoring to dress the turtle to be cooked. Anthony, with his gun, went back into the prairie, hoping to shoot some game. Father Hennepin chanced to look up from his work, and behold, a gust of wind had swept the canoe from the shore out into the stream, and it was floating rapidly down on the strong current.

Unless the canoe could be recovered, this would prove a terrible calamity. Not a moment was to be lost. Divesting himself of most of his clothing, he plunged into the stream, and being a strong swimmer, soon overtook the boat. It floated buoyant as an eggshell. He could not get into it. By pushing it before him he succeeded in effecting a landing, about half a mile down stream, and quite cut of sight of the spot he had left. In the meantime Anthony returned. Seeing the half-dressed turtle, and the father and the canoe both gone, he was thrown into a dreadful panic. He could not doubt that some hostile Indians had appeared and carried them both away, and that he was abandoned to perish of starvation. He went back into the prairie, to ascend an eminence which commanded a view of the country for some distance around.

Father Hennepin paddled up the stream with all possible diligence, drew the canoe well upon the shore, and had just reclothed himself, when he saw, near by, a herd of sixty buffaloes, swimming across the river. Anthony had the only gun. The father ran back into the prairie, shouting for him with all his might. It was indeed a joyful cry which reached the ears of Anthony. Eagerly he responded to it. They sprang into the canoe, pursued the buffaloes, and succeeded in shooting one. They towed him to the bank of the river. The father paddled, Anthony holding the huge carcass by the horns. But they could not drag the creature ashore. They could only cut off the tender morsels and leave the remainder to float down the stream. In consequence of their great hunger they ate so voraciously, that they were both made sick, and for two days could not leave their camp. Father Hennepin writes:

"Never have we more admired God's providence than during this voyage. We could not always find game. And when we did, could take but little meat with us, as our canoe was so small, and besides, the excessive heat spoiled it. When we embarked in the morning, we seldom knew what we should have to eat during the day. But the eagles, which were very common in those vast countries, frequently dropped from their claws large fishes, which they were taking to their nests!"

On the 11th of July, as they were paddling down the river in search of the mouth of the Wisconsin, they were startled by the sudden appearance of a large canoe descending rapidly upon them, containing eleven warriors. They proved to be the chief Aquipaguetin, and ten of his braves. This savage chieftain had been very unwilling that his adopted son should leave the tribe for this voyage, though the other Indians had given their consent. There was a frown on his brow, and severity in his tones, as he asked whether they had yet found the Frenchmen, who were to bring the goods. They all landed and ate together. Then the chief and his party started off, leaving Father Hennepin behind, and with vigorous paddling drove their canoe rapidly down the stream. Rather menacingly the chief said that he would go to the Wisconsin River, and that if the Frenchmen were there, he would take charge of their goods.

After three days' absence, he again appeared, with his canoe of warriors, on his return. He had been to the mouth of the river. There were no signs of the Frenchmen there. He came back in a very unamiable mood. Father Hennepin had landed, and was alone in a frail cabin which he had reared as a shelter from the hot sun. Anthony had gone into the prairie for food. Father Hennepin writes:

"Aquipaguetin, seeing me alone, came up tomahawk in hand. I seized two pocket pistols, which we had regained from the Indians, and a knife. I had no intention of killing my pretended father, but only wished to frighten him, and to prevent his killing me, in case he had that intention."

Probably the savage had no such murderous designs. He informed his adopted son that there were no Frenchmen at the Wisconsin, and none had been there, and therefore urged his return up the river. There was no alternative. But Father Hennepin and Anthony could not keep pace with the eleven-oared, or rather paddled, canoe of the savages. They crept along slowly after them. They thus paddled up the swift current of the Mississippi two hundred miles, running the risk, Hennepin says, of perishing of hunger.

They had but ten charges of powder left. These they divided into twenty, and succeeded in killing some wild pigeons. At one time, for two days, they had no food whatever, though they landed and searched for game. They found a fish whose flesh was almost putrid, dropped by an eagle. With bits of this they baited two hooks, which they floated from the stern of the canoe. Father Hennepin then fell upon his knees and prayed to St. Anthony that he would come to his relief. While praying, they perceived a strain upon the lines, and running to the canoe, drew in two fishes, so large that they could with difficulty take them from the water. They broiled pieces upon the coals, and the starving men made an abundant repast.

The next morning they met the remainder of the Indians whom they had left above the Falls of St. Anthony. They were descending the river, in search of more southern hunting grounds. Michael Ako was with them. He had developed want of courage and energy which excited the contempt of the savages. There was a large number of canoes, composing this fleet, crowded with a motley group of men, women, and children. They had encountered herds of buffaloes, and were well supplied with food.

Father Hennepin and Anthony again joined them, and accompanied them back down the river, as he says, about eighty leagues. But as we have before remarked, we cannot place much reliance upon his estimate of distances. The discomforts of this voyage must have been innumerable. The crowded canoes, the loathsome personal habits of the savages, elevated but little above the beasts, the blistering midday sun, the drenching storms and showers, the cheerless encampments, often upon the open prairie with no protection whatever from wind and rain, and the food often scanty, consisting of nothing but flesh, without any seasoning, boiled in earthen pots, or broiled upon the coals, must have rendered the excursion irksome in the extreme to civilized men accustomed to the comforts of European life.

In our last chapter we left the Indians, several hundred in number, in a fleet of canoes descending the upper waters of the Mississippi, in search of game. The three Frenchmen were with them. They were somewhere near the mouth of the Wisconsin River. Conscious that they were trespassing upon hunting grounds which other tribes claimed, they practised the utmost caution to elude their enemies. There were two hundred and fifty warriors, thoroughly armed with all the weapons of savage warfare, who composed the guard of the tribe.

Whenever they landed, they selected a spot where they could hide their canoes in the tangled brush which often fringed the banks of the river. Some warriors were sent to the tops of the adjacent eminences to see if there were any indications of hostile parties in the vicinity. They then pushed back twenty or thirty miles into the prairie land, where they almost invariably found herds of buffaloes grazing. Without horses to aid in the pursuit, and with only arrows and javelins as weapons, the killing of a buffalo was indeed an arduous task. Still, in the course of a few weeks, a hundred and twenty were slaughtered. They jerked the meat; that is, they cut it into very thin strips and hung them in the sun over a smouldering fire, so that it was both smoked and dried at the same time.

One day an Indian ran a splinter far into his foot, inflicting a very serious wound. Father Hennepin made a deep incision in the sole, to draw out the wood. He was performing the painful operation when an alarm was given, that foes were approaching the camp. The wounded Indian immediately sprang upon his feet, seized his arms and rushed to meet the enemy, regardless of his swollen, throbbing foot. The alarm proved a false one. A herd of eighty stags in the distance had been imagined to be hostile warriors. The excitement being over, it was with very great difficulty the crippled savage could hobble his way back to the camp.

When Father Hennepin and Anthony Auguelle rejoined the Indians, they were again separated, and each was taken into the family by which he had been adopted. In their voyaging, as they passed from point to point in the river, there was assigned to the father the duty of conveying in his small canoe, a shrivelled Indian woman, eighty years of age, and three little children. These long years had not sweetened the woman's disposition. She was a terrible scold, and often threatened to beat the children with her paddle.

Thus they wandered about in this successful buffalo hunt, until the close of July, when they were returning to their village far up the St. Francis River. They were here not very far west of the western end of Lake Superior. As they were returning, two wandering members of the tribe came in, and stated that they had been to Lake Superior, that they found there five Frenchmen, and that when they told them that there were three of their countrymen with the Issati tribe, the Frenchmen were very anxious to come to them, as they could not imagine by what roundabout way they had reached those distant regions.

Soon after, they met on the Mississippi River M. de Luth, with five French soldiers, descending the stream in a canoe. There is some confusion in Father Hennepin's narrative here, so that it is impossible to ascertain at what point of the river the two parties of Frenchmen met. On the 14th of August they all reached the villages of the Issati. As they were ascending the river they passed the grave of an Indian warrior. Many of the savages cast upon it some valuable article, in token of regard for the departed. Father Hennepin, who understood the Indians thoroughly, spread upon it a blanket. M. Luth contributed nothing. The generous act of Hennepin was exceedingly gratifying to the Indians.

Soon after their return, they had a great feast, Father Hennepin and M. Luth were both present. In the midst of the entertainment one of the chiefs, who was a relative of the deceased warrior, brought in a large buffalo robe, very softly dressed, one side being brilliantly embroidered with variously colored porcupines' quills, while the curly wool remained upon the other. This robe was neatly folded, and upon it was placed a birch-bark dish filled with food. On this, as a tea-tray, he presented the dish to the father. After he had eaten the meat, the chief spread the robe over his shoulders, saying:

"He whose body thou didst cover, now covers thine. He has carried tidings of thee to the land of spirits. Brave was thy act in his regard. All the nation praises thee for it."

He then reproached M. Luth for not having paid any tribute of respect to the remains of the dead. M. Luth replied that he covered the bodies only of those who were chiefs, of the same rank with himself. The chief replied:

"Père Louis is a greater captain than thou art; for his robe is more beautiful than thine. We have sent his robe to our allies who are distant more than three moons' journey from our country."

By his robe the chief meant the rich dress, embroidered with silver lace, which the ecclesiastic wore at mass, and which he called his "brocade chasuble." This garment had so dazzled the eyes of the Indians, that they had appropriated it to themselves as of supernatural splendor.

Toward the end of September, Father Hennepin informed the Indians that it was his wish and that of his two companions, to return with the five other Frenchmen to their own country; and that then they would fit out expeditions laden with goods to trade with these distant tribes. The Indians gave their consent. The length of the journey to Montreal by the route they must take, they estimated at twenty-four hundred miles.

The eight Frenchmen set out in two canoes. They paddled down the St. Francis, and the Mississippi to the mouth of the Wisconsin. On their way they met a fleet of one hundred and forty canoes, filled with about two hundred and fifty warriors. The chiefs visited the Frenchmen, and treated them with greatest kindness.

Entering the Wisconsin, they paddled up its lone and silent banks one hundred and twenty miles, as they supposed. They followed the same route which Father Marquette had previously pursued going in an opposite direction. They carried their canoes and their effects on their shoulders, across a portage of a mile and a half to Fox River. Here they reëmbarked, following a river of wonderful windings, and through a series of magnificent and beautiful lakes, and through a country which they described as charming in the extreme, until they entered the magnificent expanse of Green Bay, at its southern extremity. They had accomplished, as they judged, about twelve hundred miles of their journey. Father Hennepin writes:

"I had not celebrated mass for over nine months, for want of wine. I had still some hosts. We remained two days to rest, sing the Te Deum, high mass, and preach. All our Frenchmen went to confession and communion, to thank God for having preserved us amid so many wanderings and perils."

They purchased for a gun, a canoe, large enough to contain them all. With this they paddled a hundred leagues, until they reached Mackinac. The blasts of approaching winter were beginning to sweep these cold regions. Here they spent the winter.

At this point they found, as they expected, an important military and trading post. Many Indians, even from remote tribes, were continually coming and going. Father Hennepin engaged very earnestly in preaching to the French, and in trying to teach the Indians the Gospel of Christ. They were deeply impressed with the heroism he had exhibited in his long and perilous journey. They said that the father must have been protected by the Great Spirit, for had any of the Indians attempted to go so far they would certainly have been put to death by these distant tribes.

Early in April, 1681, the father, with a few boatmen, set out on his long voyage to Fort Frontenac, at the extreme end of Lake Ontario. A broad belt of thick ice still fringed the shores of these northern lakes. For thirty miles they dragged their canoes over the ice of Lake Huron; and then, as they came to thin ice, launched them upon this fresh water sea. They sailed along the lake a "hundred leagues," closely following the shore, landing every night, and living mainly upon white-fish, which were caught in abundance, in twenty fathoms water. They passed "The Strait" and Lake St. Clair for "thirty leagues." In the still waters of Lake St. Clair they killed with an axe, thirty sturgeons which had come to the shallow waters of the banks to spawn. Near this place they came upon an Ottowa Indian chief, wan and woe-stricken, who told him that he had been unsuccessful in hunting, and his wife and five children had all starved to death.

Emerging from "The Strait," they entered Lake Erie, and paddled along its shores a hundred and twenty leagues. Carrying their canoes and effects upon their backs, they passed the great Falls of Niagara, and again took to the water, coasting along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. After a voyage of about ninety miles, they reached a large village of Seneca Indians, on the southern shore of the lake. It was the middle of May. These Indians had constant intercourse with the French in Canada, and were in cordial alliance with them. Father Hennepin attended a council of the chiefs, accusing them of having enslaved, as he had learned by the way, several Indians of the Ottawa tribe, who were also allies of the French. The chiefs made many apologies; said that the deed had been perpetrated by some mad young warriors, and that the captives should be restored to their tribe.

One of the chiefs, named Teganeot, speaking in the name of all assembled in the council, presented Father Hennepin with several rich furs, which were valued at about twenty-five dollars. The father accepted the gift, but immediately passed it over to the son of the chief, saying:

"I give it to you, that you may purchase such things as you need of the French traders. I cannot accept any presents. But I will report your kind feelings to the French Governor."

Reëmbarking, they continued their voyage forty leagues, when they reached Fort Frontenac. Father Hennepin was received with great rejoicing, as one risen from the dead. After a short tarry, they again entered their canoes, and descending the rapids of the St. Lawrence, in two days reached Montreal, sixty miles distant from the fort. Here Count Frontenac resided. He was Governor of all the French possessions in the New World.

"This governor," Father Hennepin writes, "received me as well as a man of his probity can receive a missionary. As he believed me killed by the Indians, he was for a time thunderstruck. He beheld me wasted, without a cloak, with a garment patched with pieces of buffalo skin. He took me with him, twelve days, to recover, and himself gave me the meat I was to eat, for fear I should eat too much, after so long a diet. I rendered to him an exact account of my voyage, and represented to him the advantages of our discovery."