Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

KANZAS AND NEBRASKA.

CHAPTER I.

Discovery of these regions — Marquette — La Salle — La Hontan

Crozat The Mississippi scheme — Dutisne the discoverer of Kanzas.

66 Six or

THE discovery to the civilized world of the valley of the Missouri was made by Father Marquette. In writing to the Superior of Missions, in 1670, he spoke of this river, from the report he had of it from the Indians. seven days below the Ilois” (Illinois river), he says,

" is another great river, on which are prodigious nations, who use wooden canoes; we cannot write more till next year,

if God does us the grace to lead us there." Among these "prodigious nations ” was the Kanzas.

His expedition down the Mississippi did not take place so soon as he had hoped. But, in 1673, accompanied by Joliet, he crossed to the Fox river portage, and, on the 10th of June, embarked on the waters of the Mississippi. In the

1 66

course of the voyage which followed, they passed the mouth of the Missouri. In the Algonquin language, this river was called the Pekitanoui, or Muddy river, and it retained that name for some time in the French books and maps.*

"We descend,” says Father Dablon, in his narrative of this expedition, “ following the course of the river toward another called Pekitanoui, which empties into the Mississippi, coming from the north-west, of which I have something considerable to say, after what I have remarked of this river.” This “ something considerable” is an intimation which our own time has proved correct, that by this river's valley would be found an overland route to California. “We judged,” he says, "by the direction the Mississippi takes, that, if it keeps on the same course, it has its mouth in the gulf of Mexico. It would be very advantageous to find that which leads to the South Sea toward California, and this, as I said, I hope to find by Pekitanoui, following the account which the Indians have given me ; for from them I learn that, advancing up this river for five or six days, you come to a beautiful prairie, twenty or thirty leagues long, which you must cross to the north-west. It terminates at another little river, on which you can embark, it not being difficult to transport canoes over so beautiful a country as that prairie. The second river runs south-west for-ten or fifteen leagues, after which it enters a small lake,

* A branch of Rock river is still called Pekatonica.

MARQUETTE AND LA SALLE.

11

which is the source of a deep river, running to the west,
where it empties into the sea. I have hardly any doubt that
this is the Red Sea (Gulf of California), and I do not des-
pair of one day making the discovery, if God does me this
favor and grants me health, in order to be able to publish
the Gospel to all the nations of this new world, who have
so long been plunged in heathen darkness."
This narrative was published in 1678.

It has lately been translated and edited by Mr. Shea, who publishes with it a fac simile of Marquette's manuscript map, still preserved at St. Mary's College, Montreal. The Pekitanoui or Missouri is here laid down, at its entrance into the Mississippi, and for one hundred miles back. On the map, to the westward, are the names of several tribes. Of these the Pana and Paniassa are probably our Pawnees; the Ouemessourit are the Missouri; the Ouchage, the Osages; the Tontanta, our Tetons; the Moingouena are Moingonans, and the Pewarea, the Peorias; while the names of the Kansa and Maha tribes are put down as upon our maps.

The expectation of discovering the gulf of California by following up the Missouri, and so crossing to the waters of the Pacific, is alluded to a second time in the same narrative.

The celebrated La Salle repeated Marquette's expedition, in 1681 and 1682. He was detained by ice and winter, at the mouth of the Illinois, till Jan. 13, 1682. “Then,” writes Father Membre, in his narrative, “We set out, and,

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »