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among whom they moved. In spite of the almost uncontrollable impulse on the part of most of them to better their fortunes as quickly as possible, they retained the respect of the Indians by frankness, courtesy and by generous treatment.

Men lost no favor among these people by shrewdness of trading, if they did not forfeit their esteem in some other way. The way was opened readily for them wherever they chose to go, and it is very well known that the chief expeditions for exploring purposes were suggested by the reports of the advances of these wandering pioneers, of whom Du Luth was an illustrious example who had neither seen nor heard of the remote regions and waters.

It is worthy of remark that none of the great leaders of the wood rangers was ever seduced into pursuing the fabulous and unsubstantial glory of the Indies in preference to remaining in territory that they knew. The fortunes of this country would have been very different if the opposite policy had prevailed—had the substance been given up for the shadow.

It seems incredible that for a hundred and fifty years the statesmen of both France and England had not only refused to favor the occupation of the country which now forms the strength of the United States, but did all in their power to hinder it and to keep the wilderness unbroken.


The condition of affairs rendered it impossible to make settlements without government sanction. We are therefore entirely in the dark concerning any fixed plans of rendezvous or resort of the wood rangers. It is probable that they had such establishments here and there as temporary trading posts, and there are reasons for supposing that they had such resorts at a very early day on the island of Mackinac and along the Detroit river; but whatever these may have been, they never took any permanent form and were possibly mere temporary encampments. The chief significance of these earlier attempts is found in the evident fact that the posts afterwards established were generally located, with a knowledge of localities and surroundings that could not have been obtained from any other source. The places were chosen because their merits and advantages were already understood.


The first French traveler of note supposed to have visited Michigan was Samuel de Champlain, though this cannot be absolutely determined from translations of his journals. Like some other old writers he has been annotated by editors who have undertaken to fix the location of points which he mentions, according to their own geographical theories, when a different route and conclusion would seem to be reconcilable with the same descriptions. It is well known that the same Indian names of tribal settlements and haunts are not infrequently found in different places. It has been definitely stated on more than one occasion by the French government that he passed the Detroit, and his maps show that he knew the connection of Lake Huron with Lake Erie. One of the missions which were the results of his explorations was near the head of St. Clair river, on the east side of Lake Huron.

Various reasons chiefly connected with the first English conquest and the subsequent colonial troubles with the Five Nations seem to have entirely diverted attention for many years from the lake country. Here and there a chance reference is made, but there was no interest manifested in it. Mississippians as well as traders from time to time visited the upper country; but after the Iroquois drove the Hurons from their homes in Canada there was very little known intercourse with any part of what is now Michigan until the missions were joined at Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac in 1668. These missions which were founded by men of celebrity, and which were maintained with some variations of locality longer than almost any others in the country, indicate very well the spirit of the time in regard to colonization.

The Mississippians, who represented the views of a powerful party or interest, appear in the double capacity of explorers of distant regions and of pastors of the Indians whom they desired to keep separate from the Frenchmen who traversed the country. Their opposition to French settlements was no doubt due to their fears that the Indians would become demoralized by them; but they became valuable pioneers in exploring, and whether first in the field or not, which is open to doubt beyond question, they furnished much of the earliest reliable geographical knowledge preserved in the maps and records of the period.


Father Marquette, who was among the most eminent of those connected with our early history, took a prominent part in founding these missions. His death at the mouth of the river named after him, and his burial in the chapel at St. Ignace, were events which will always keep his name in our annals prominently, as one of the few distinguished men of those days who lived and died in our territory. His career amply deserves the space which we allot to it elsewhere.

As these were the first, so they were the only missions which preceded the important military and civil settlements during the French period. There were minor stations subsequently founded at L'Anse, L'Arbre Croche, but none that had any historical importance.

The post at Mackinac became almost immediately important for military purposes; as the villages of the principal Indian tribes of the north were gathered about the straits, which was the high-road for canoes coming and going in all quarters, no point was at first so central for the traders. Mackinac became at once, and continued until Detroit was founded by De la Mothe Cadillac, the great center of Indian traffic. This made it necessary to have the government represented by skilful and brave officers, who might prevent tribal jealousies and disturbances and cultivate relations with the tribes, to secure their friendship and alliance.

As early as 1671 a great mass meeting and carnival was held at Sault Ste. Marie with the upper lake Indians by St. Lusson (he that was sent to the northwest to hunt for the South sea at the same time that La Salle and others were started towards the Ohio). About this time two of the intended companions of La Salle, Dollier and Galinee, visited the neighborhood of Detroit, but made no prolonged stay, returning eastward through Canada.

The next settlement, in point of time, was made by La Salle in 1679 at the mouth of the St. Joseph river. This was during the course of the expedition which set out from Niagara river in the Griffin, famous as the first sailing vessel that ever came westward. Tradition has it that La Salle was urged by some of his companions to establish himself on the Detroit river, but he replied that his instructions would not permit it. As he at once thereafter set up posts at the St. Joseph and on the Illinois river, which were regarded as valuable, it is probable that at the time of his passage the Indian settlements in the vicinity of Detroit were not as eligible for trading purposes as those near Lake Michigan and the country was somewhat exposed to the incursions of the Iroquois. As he had sent some of his men ahead to winter near Detroit there must have been Indians and possibly Frenchmen in the country, but the strange habit of the early 'writers who described their own voyages, of omitting all mention of important places on their route, leaves us without knowledge whether their silence in this matter has any significance concerning the occupation.


The fort on the St. Joseph, afterwards moved about twenty leagues up the river, was there in Charlevoix's time, 1721. The next Michigan post erected by authority was a second Fort St. Joseph, established by Du Luth near the now abandoned site of Fort Gratiot, at the foot of Lake Huron, in 1686. The object of this fort was to intercept the emissaries of the English, who were anxious to open traffic with the Mackinac and Lake Superior nations. The Dutch, while in possession of New York, had secured a considerable clandestine trade, but do not appear to have left home to seek it. The English began to covet it as soon as they became settled in that province.

The ravaging of the Huron country in upper Canada by the Iroquois did not have the expected effect of giving the latter the control of the beaver traffic, which was the chief article of trade with New York. The northern Ottawas and Chippewas had control of the largest fur country which was accessible in that direction and the posts near the southern end of Lake Michigan commanded the remainder of the western business. The French posts in Michigan and to the westward left very little to be gathered by the New York traders, and they determined, as there was peace between France and England, to push forward their agencies and endeavor to deal with the western and northern Indians in their own country.

The French government not only plainly asserted the title of France, but as plainly threatened to use all requisite force to expel intruders, anticipating correctly that the English would attempt to make Lake Huron from the east without passing up Detroit river, Du Luth placed his fort at the outlet of the lake into Ste. Claire river. About the same time an expedition was planned against the Senecas, and the chivalric Tonti, commanding the forts of La Salle on the shore of Lake Michigan, and La Durantage, the veteran commander of Mackinac, were employed to bring down the French and Indian auxiliaries to take part in the war.

It so happened that the important expeditions sent out by Governor Doryan under Roseboom and Major McGregory to open trade with the northern Indians were intercepted and captured, the first on Lake Huron by La Durantage, and the second on Lake Erie by the combined forces of Tonti, DuLhut and Durantage, which had made a junction at a post then existing for some purpose at or near the present city of Detroit, and continued down Lake Erie in company. As France and England were then at peace, and James II was on remarkably good terms with the French king, the captured prisoners were after a time compelled by the crown to be unwillingly given up by the Canadian governor; but the steps he had taken were such as to deter any further attempts of the English for several years. All the subsequent efforts made by the latter were indirect and intriguing. Various claims were set up under pretense of cessions from the Iroquois, but they were unfounded and futile.


It was chiefly to prevent any further mischief and to secure more effectually the French supremacy that De La Mothe Cadillac, who had great influence over the savages, succeeded after various plans urged by him had been pigeon-holed by hostile colonial intrigues in getting permission from Count Pontchartrain to begin a settlement in Detroit; his purpose was from the beginning to make not only a military post, but also a civil establishment for trade and agriculture. In this he was more or less thwarted and opposed by the monopolists, and by the Mackinac missionaries, and was subjected to severe persecutions. He finally triumphed, however, and obtained valuable privileges together with the rights of a seigneury. Craftsmen of all kinds were induced to settle in the town, and trade flourished. He succeeded in getting the Hurons and many of the Ottawas to leave Mackinac and settle about Fort Pontchartrain. In spite of all the opposition he encountered from his greedy enemies in the colony, as well as the dangerous intrigues of the New York interests, his post was advancing rapidly in value and importance, when he was selected to become governor of the new province of Louisiana, which had been granted to Crozat and his associates under a charter resembling that of the East India Company.

Immediately after his removal Detroit was exposed to an Indian siege instigated by the English emissaries, and conducted by the Mascoutins and Outagamies, the same people who made the last war on the whites in Michigan under Black Hawk a century and a quarter later. The tribes allied to the French came in with alacrity and defeated and almost annihilated the assailants of whom over one thousand were put to death. Unfortunately for the country the commanders who succeeded Cadillac for many years were narrow-minded and selfish and not disposed to advance any interests beyond the lucrative traffic with the Indians for furs and peltries.


It was not until 1734 that any new grants were made to farmers, although twelve years earlier the French government had urged this policy. The colonial magnates and their subservient and interested subordinates had contrived to evade their duty until more liberal and wiser officers were installed. The abuses practiced with impunity in these distant regions were very great and never would have occurred, or been submitted to, if the population had not been kept down to insignificant numbers. The Norman people were very apt to make things uncomfortable when they became numerous enough to have any power in their hands; and the extortions of some of the earlier officials were fully as annoying as, less than a century before, had turned Normandy upside down under the riots of the Nu-pieds against the hard enactments of Cardinal Richelieu ; only the lack of local self-government had rendered this brave people partially helpless against public abuses.

In 1734 the Governor General Beauharnais, who had sincerely desired to build up the country, made a series of land grants upon easy conditions, requiring very moderate annual dues, and reserving the usual fines or commissions on sales. There were a few purely nominal burdens, never insisted upon, never important, including certain reserves of mines, minerals and ship timber, and mill service if there should be a public mill. These annual dues were so trifling in amount as never to have been onerous, being paid mostly in grain, and the exclusively money dues being commutable. The town lots paid larger dues ; even these were very light. The immediate effect of this policy which appears to have been somewhat

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anticipated by settlements before made by leave of some of the commanders in the faith that it would be approved and adopted by the Governor General was to give quite an impetus to agriculture. Within the town of Detroit were many skilled artizans of various kinds, prominent among whom were workers in metal, including blacksmiths, cutters, lockmakers, coppersmiths, etc. The Indian market was good for all sorts of trinkets and implements; there were also excellent carpenters and masons.


It has been overlooked by most persons that the buildings of the early period were not only strongly but often handsomely built of the best materials. In the eastern provinces of Canada especially in Quebec and Montreal the early houses of the better classes were solidly constructed of stone whose massive walls were from two to three feet in thickness, having enormous chimneys, often built in the center of the houses in order to utilize the heat from the huge fire places, in the rooms on each side of the great chimneys. These fire places were sufficient in size to take in logs of wood five or six feet long, and the fire was never


ONE OF THE EARLIER FRENCH HOUSES OF THE OLD REGIME. suffered to go entirely out except in summer. Stone was near at hand, and therefore it was the cheapest and most convenient material for building.

In and around Detroit the building stone was not so abundant, but the forests were there, and the timber easily obtained, hence few stone houses were built. In describing houses conveyed by deeds in Detroit they are sometimes described as built "piece per piece” which may have been the ordinary style of log houses, but which in the better class, were timber or block houses of smooth finish ; these were usually either of oak or cedar, the latter being brought from quite a distance. The Huron church at Sandwich was constructed of very large timbers of white cedar, which never decayed. The very ancient French houses near Detroit of the better class were very generally of cedar.


There was a sawmill in the pine region near the St. Clair river and Lake Huron at a very early day; dates are not preserved, but the

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