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Louisiana Anthology

George Washington Cable.
“Posson Jone.”

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Of the Colony of the Illinois. Voyage to Akansas. Description of the Country 218




Voyage from the Akansas to the Natchez. Description of the Country. Of the River of the Yasous. Of the Customs Manners, and Religion of the Natchez 232




Voyage from the Natchez to New Orleans. Description of the Country and of several Indian Villages, with that of the Capital of Louisiana 257




Voyage from New Orleans to the Mouth of the Mississippi. Description of that River to the Sea. Reflections on the Grants 271



Of the Colony of the Illinois. Voyage to Arkansas. Description of the Country.

Kaskasquias, November 8, 1721.


MY last letter is now gone for Canada, whence I amassured it will soon be forwarded for France, by the way of Cape Breton. Besides, should it miscarry by the way, the loss would not be very great: I begin this letter likewise at Kaskasquias, but, in all probability, shall not finish it here, having been above a month in this place, and now hastening my departure as fast as possible. As I have seen nothing of Louisiana as yet, except this post, being the first of them all with respect to antiquity; I cannot form any judgement of it, by comparing it with the rest. What seems certain to me is, that this has a double advantage, one of which can never be disputed, and the other, at least at present renders it necessary to the whole province. The first is its situation, which is very near Canada, with which it will at all times preserve a communication, equally useful to both colonies.

The second is, that it is capable of becoming the granary of Louisiana, which it is able to furnish with corn in abundance, even should it be peopled quite to the sea.

The soil is not only extremely proper for wheat, but, besides, refuses nothing necessary or useful for human life. The climate is extremely temperate, lying in thirty-eight degrees, thirty-nine minutes north latitude; cattle and sheep would multiply here wonderfully, even the wild Buffaloes might be tamed, and great advantages drawn from a trade of their wool and hides, and from their supplying the inhabitants with food. The air is very wholesome, and if some distempers are seen in it, they ought to be imputed to the poverty or libertinism of the inhabitants, and perhaps, in some measure, to the lands being newly cleared; but this last inconvenience cannot always last, and the change of climate will be nothing to those who may happen to be born here afterwards. In the last place, we are more assured of the friendship of the Illinois, than of any other Indian nation in Canada, the Abenaquis excepted. They are almost all Christians, of a mild disposition, and extremely well affected towards the French.

Here I am, Madam, at the distance of a hundred and fifty leagues from the place where I began this letter: I shall finish it here, and give it to a traveller, who reckons to be much sooner at New Orleans than I, as he intends to stop no where, whereas I shall be obliged to make some stay among the Natchez. Besides, I had counted upon two things at my departure from the Illinois; first, that having a very rapid river to descend, where there

was no danger of being stopped by those falls and rapides, so frequent in the rivers of Canada, I should not be long on my voyage, though I had the space of four hundred leagues to traverse, by means of the circuits the river makes; next, that as my course lay always to the southward, I should have no occasion to take any precautions against the cold; but I have been deceived in both these particulars. I have been obliged to make a much slower passage than I had formerly on the lakes, and have felt a cold full as piercing as I ever knew at Quebec.

It is true, it was quite otherwise at Kaskasquias somedays ago, when I left it; but I have since learned on my way hither, that the river was at first frozen over in such a manner that people crossed it in carriages, not withstanding it is at that place half a league broad, and more rapid than the Rhone. This is the more surprising, as for the most part, excepting a few slight frosts occasioned by the north and northwest winds, the winter is in this country hardly sensible. The river has not been frozen wherever I have been, but as I was obliged to remain all the day in an open boat, and consequently, was exposed to all the injuries of the weather, and had taken no precautions against a cold I did not foresee, I have suffered very great hardships.

Could I have made more haste, I should have found a sensible diminution of this inconvenience every day; but it is necessary to use great caution in sailing on the Missisippi. People do not choose to venture themselves in canoes of bark, by reason that the river constantly carries down with the current a number of trees, or else receives them from other rivers which fall into it; and many of these trees stopping on some point of land or on some shoal, there is danger every moment of running foul


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of a branch or a root under water, which would be sufficient to break these frail vehicles to pieces, especially when in order to avoid an enemy or for some other reason you are obliged to travel by night, or to set out before day.

They must therefore substitute pirogues in room of canoes of bark, that is to say, trunks of trees hollowed, which are not subject to these inconveniencies, but are bad going vessels, and not so easily managed. I have one made of a walnut tree, but so narrow that it cannot carry sail; and my guides being accustomed to those little paddles made use of in canoes, are far from being expert at the management of the oar. Besides, if the wind rises ever so little, the water comes into the pirogue; and this often happens at this season of the year.

On the tenth of November at sunset, I embarked in the little river of Kaskasquias, and though it was not two leagues to the Missisippi, yet I was obliged to encamp at half way, and the next day I could not get further than six leagues down the river. The leaves fall sooner in this place than in France, and do not begin to bud till about the end of May, not withstanding that it snows very seldom here, and although, as I have already observed, the winters are exceeding temperate. What then can be the reason of this backwardness of the spring: for my part I can see no other than the thickness of the forests, which prevents the earth from being warmed by the sun soon enough to cause the sap to ascend.

On the 12th, after having advanced two leagues, I passed Cape St. Anthony on the left hand. Here the first canes are


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seen; these bear a great resemblance to those growing in Europe, but are taller and stronger. It is pretended they never appear but in good lands; but these lands must be very moist and wet, and consequently fitter to bear rice than wheat. When the cane lands are to be cleared, the canes are not to be plucked up by the roots; this would be a very difficult task, their knotty roots lying very deep,and being twined or linked together by a great number of fibers, which extend very far. These roots have naturally a beautiful varnish, not a little resembling those of the bamboos of Japan, of which those fine canes are made, which are sold by the Dutch under the name oi rattans.

When a field overgrown with these canes is to be cultivated, it is sufficient to cut them close to the ground: they are afterwards left to dry, and are then set on fire, the ashes serving for manure, and the fire for opening the pores of the earth, which is afterwards tilled, and sown with rice, maize, watermelons, and in a word, with all sorts of grain and pulse, excepting wheat, which in these fat lands exhausts itself by running up into straw, and produces no grain. This defect might be easily remedied, by strewing the ground with sand, and sowing it for some years with maize or Indian corn.


lands and other kinds of soil, not liable to be over flowed by the river, are even already very well adapted for producing corn, and if the trials made in some places have not succeeded, because the corn has been blasted or mildewed, it is owing to this circumstance, that the country not being cleared, the wind has not free access to disperse those noxious vapours which generate mildews. An evident proof of which may be drawn from this, that amongst the Illinois, where there is more meadow than woodland, wheat thrives and ripens as well as in France.


On the thirteenth, after a very warm night, we advanced about three leagues, in spite of a southerly wind, which still increased, and at last became so violent that we were obliged to halt. A heavy rain fell towards the evening, and about midnight the wind sprung up at northwest, which brought on that excessive cold I have already spoken of. To complete our misfortune, an accident detained us all the following day, though we were not safe to remain where we then were. Not long ago the Cherokees massacred thirty Frenchmen near this place; they were commanded by a son of M. de Ramezay, governor of Montreal, and a son of the Baron de Longueuil, King's-lieutenant of that city. Besides these Indians who are not as yet reconciled with us, we were kept in continual alarms for fear of the Outagamies, Sioux and Chicachas; and I had not above three men in my company.

On the fifteenth, the wind changed to the north, and the cold continued to increase. We advanced four leagues to the southward, and then found that the river ran four leagues more towards the north. Immediately after this uncommon winding we passed on the left the fine river Ouabache by means of which there is a passage as far as the country of the Iroquois, when the waters arehigh. This river, at its entrance into the Mississippi, is not less than a quarter of a league in breadth. There is not, in my opinion, a place in all Louisiana more proper for a settlement than this, nor where it is of greater importance to us to have one. The whole country watered by the Ouabache and Ohio, which runs into it, is extremely fertile consisting of vast meadows, which feed thousands of buffaloes. Besides its communication with Canada is as easy as that by the river of the Illinois, and the passage much shorter. A fort with a good garrison would keep the Indians in awe, especially the Cherokee who are the most numerous nation on this continent.

Six leagues below the mouth of the Ouabache, and on the same side, we found the coast extremely high, and the earth of a yellow colour, from whence some have imagined that there are mines of iron in this place. We made a good progress this day which was the sixteenth, but suffered extremely by the cold: it continued to increase the following days, though the wind had changed to southwest: we were even obliged as we advanced to break the ice, which was formed on the surface of the water. On the nineteenth we got four leagues farther on our way, after which we were stopped by a south wind. I never found a north wind colder than this. It is probable, this was still the northwest wind which continued to blow, but that the land reflected it sometimes on one side, sometimes on another, according as our course lay upon the river.



There is a species of wild cats called Pijoux. very numerous in these parts. These bear a great resemblance to ours, but are larger. I observed that some of them had very short tails, and others again much longer and thicker: they have likewise a very fierce look, and I have been informed they are very ravenous and good hunters.The forests are full of walnut trees, resembling those of Canada, and their roots have several properties not observed in the others. They are very soft, and their bark affords a black dye; but their principal use consists in medicine. They stop a looseness, and furnish an excellent emetick.

On the twentieth, there fell a great deal of snow, so that we did not stir from the place where we were, all that day; next day it grew milder, but the following night a wind at southwest cleared the sky, and the cold began afresh. Next day in the morning, the brandy left in the pirogue was found as thick as frozen oil, and the Spanish wine I used for mass was quite frozen. The further we descended the more windings we found in the river, the wind followed all its meanders, and from whatever side it came,the cold still continued excessive. In the memory of man nothing like it had been seen in this country.

This day, we perceived a post erected, on the right side of the river, on taking a near view of it, we found it was a monument set up by the Illinois, on account of an expedition they had made sometime ago against the Chicahas "There were two figures of men without heads, and


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some others entire. The first represented the dead, and the second the captives. One of my guides informed me upon this occasion, that when any French were amongst either, they were represented with their arms upon their haunches, in order to distinguish them from the Indians, whose arms were left in a hanging posture. This distinction is not merely arbitrary, but proceeds from their having observed the French to make use of this attitude frequently, which is never done amongst them.

Garcia Lasso de la Vega mentions the Chicachas, in his history of the conquest of Florida, and places them nearly in the same part of the country where they are at present. He reckons them amongst those nations of Florida who submitted to the Spaniards; but this pretended submission lasted no longer than the Spaniards were in their neighbourhood, and it is certain they sold the victory they gained over them very dear. They are still accounted the bravest soldiers in Louisiana, and were much more numerous in the time of Ferdinand de Soto, than at present : but as to the riches which this historian attributes to them, I neither understand whence they had them, nor how the source of them comes to be dried up, for at present they are neither more opulent nor better civilized than the rest of the Indians.

Our alliance with the Illinois has set us at variance with the and the English of Carolina blow up


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the dissentlon. Our settlement in Louisiana is a great eye sore to them: as it is a barrier which we have placed between their powerful colonies in North America and Mexico; and we must expect they will employ every method in their power to destroy it. The Spaniards who see us with so much jealousy strengthening ourselves in this country, are not as yet sensible of the important services we thereby render them. A few days after we passed by this monument of the Illinois, the Chicachas had their revenge of two Frenchmen, who followed me in a pirogue. These Indians lying in ambush among the canes on the banks of the river, as soon as they saw the French opposite to them, made a rustling among the canes without showing themselves; the two men believing it was a bear or some other wild beast drew near in order to take it; but just as they were going to land, they discharged their muskets at them, which laid them dead on the spot. I was very lucky not to be perceived by them; for my people would lose no opportunity of hunting.

On the twenty-third, after a very cold night, we had a very fine day, and though the ground was still covered with snow, the cold was supportable. On the morrow wepassed by the river of the Chicachas, which is but narrow though it has a long course.'^ Its mouth lies north and south. From hence to Kaskasquias are reckoned eighty-six leagues; but the way by land would be shorter by one


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half. Nothing could have been more agreeable than this navigation had the season been milder: the country is delightful, and in the forests there are a number of evergreen trees; the few meadows there likewise preserve their verdure, and a considerable number of well wooded islands, some of which are pretty large, form very beautiful canals through which the largest ships may safe-ly pass: it being affirmed that there is sixty fathom water in this river above a hundred and fifty leagues from the sea.

As to the forests which almost entirely cover this immense country, there is nothing, perhaps, in nature comparable to them, whether we consider the size and height of the trees, or their variety, and the advantages which may be drawn from them: for, excepting dye woods, which require a warmer soil, and are only to be met with between the tropics, there is hardly any sort of trees, which can be mentioned, that are not to be found here. There are forests of cypress, eight or ten leagues in extent, all the trees of which are of a thickness proportionable to their height, surpassing every thing we have of that kind in France. That sort of evergreen laurel, which we have called the tulip tree on account of the shape of its flower, is now beginning to be known in Europe. This grows to a greater height than the chestnut tree of India, and its leaf is much more beautiful. The palm is still larger and thicker, and yields a balm not much inferior to that of Peru. All the known species of nut trees are likewise to be found here in great quantities, and all the woods proper for building or carpenter's work; but care must be had to avoid those which grow on the banks of the river, or in that space which is liable to be over flowedby the rising of the stream, for their roots being continually

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ally soaked in water, they would be too heavy and apt to rot very soon.

At length I arrived at the first village of the Akansas on the second of December about ten o'clock in the morning. This village stands in a small meadow on the western bank of the Mississippi. There are three others within the space of eight leagues, every one of which contains a nation or particular tribe, and in one of the four there are even two tribes, but all of them are comprehended under the general name of the Arkansas. The Indians inhabiting the where I am now revisiting, are called Ouyapes. The Company of the West have here a magazine or warehouse at which goods are soon expected, and they have likewise a factor here who is very uneasy at being obliged to wait for them so long.

The river of Arkansas, which is said to have its rise at a great distance, discharges its waters into the Mississippi at two mouths, about four leagues from each other. The first is about eight leagues from here. This river, it is said, has its rise in the country of a nation of Indians called Black Panis, who, I believe, are better known under the name of Panis Ricaras. I have with me a slave


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of that nation. It is very difficult to get up the river of the Akansas, on account of the great number o{ rapides; andthe water being in many places so shallow that travellersare obliged to drag their pirogues.

The river divides at the distance of seven leagues above the second and last of its mouths, and at the distance oftwo leagues only, above the first. A fine river, called the White River which comes from the country of the Osages,falls into it. Two leagues higher up are the Tongigua and Topinga who inhabit one village." Two leagues farther are the Southouis The Kappas are situated a little higherup." This nation was very numerous in the time of Ferdi-nand de Soto , nor had they much decreased when M. dela Sale discovered the Mississippi. Opposite to their village may be seen the melancholy ruins of Mr. Law's grant, of which the company now remain the proprietors.

It was to this place, that the nine thousand German palatines were to have been sent; and it has been agreat loss that that design proved abortive. There is not,perhaps, a country in all Louisiana, excepting that of theIllinois, where there is a better soil, for producing all sortsof grain and feeding of cattle. Mr. Law has been very illused, as well as the greatest part of those to whom grantswere given. In all probability, it will be some time before


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such levies are made again, there is occasion for them inthe mother country; and besides, we commonly regulateour conduct upon the first success of such enterprizes,without considering what has occasioned their failure, inorder to correct it for the future.

I found the village of the Ouyapes in the greatest deso-lation. Some time ago, a Frenchman passing this way wastaken ill of the small-pox: the infection was at first com-municated to a few of the Indians, and soon after to thewhole canton. The burial-place appeared like a wood of stakes and posts newly erected, on which was suspended almost every thing in use amongst these barbarians.

I pitched my tent pretty near the village, and all thenight I heard nothing but weeping, in which the menjoined as well as the women, incessantly repeating the word nihahani , as I have heard it among the Illinois, andpretty much in the same tone. The evening before, Isaw a woman weeping over her son's grave, and pouring agreat quantity of sagamity upon it. Another had light beside a neighbouring tomb, probably inorder to warm the deceased person. The Akansas arereckoned the largest and handsomest men of all the Indi-ans of this continent, and are called by way of distinction les beaux hommes or the handsome men. It is believed,and perhaps for this reason, that they have the same origin with the Cansez of the Missouri , and the Poutewatamiesof Canada. But my pirogue is now loaded and I haveonly time to close my letter, assuring you, that

Akansas, December 2, 1721.


Voyage from the Akansas to the Natchez. Description of theCountry. Of the River of the Yasous. Of the Customs, Manners, and Religion of the Natchez.

At the Natchez, December 25, 1721.Madam ,

I set out from the village of the Ouyapes on the third of December, somewhat late in the evening; I how-ever pitched my tent that night a little below thefirst mouth of the river of the Akansas, which seems to be about five hundred paces in breadth. Next day I passed the second , which is very narrow,' and, on the fifth, pushed as far as the Pointe Coupee, or Cut Point. This was a pretty high point, which run out into the river on the West side, and which the river has cut so that it is be-come an island; but the new channel is not, as yet, navi-gable, unless when the waters are high. From this place tothe principal branch of the river of the Akansas, are reck-oned two and twenty leagues, but there cannot be aboveten in a streight line; for the river is very serpentine, dur-


Not Pointe Coupee of Louisiana, but one higher up, possibly Point Chicot in thecounty of that name.



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ing the space of seventy leagues, which must be traversed1 going from the village of the Ouyapes to the riverof the Yasous, or Yachous, which I entered on the ninthin the afternoon. There has not fallen any snow in thisplace, as amongst the Illinois, but there has been a hoarfrost, which has shattered the young trees, with which the low points and wet lands are covered, in such man-ner, that it looks as if all their branches had been pur-posely broken off by a stick.

The entrance into the river of the Yasous lies North-West and South-East, and is about an Arpent in breadth. Its waters are of a reddish colour, and are said to affect those who drink them with the bloody flux. The air is, besides, extremely unwholesome. I had three leagues to travel before I reached the fort, which I found all inmourning, on account of the death of Mons. Bizart, its governor. Wherever I had been in Louisiana, I had heard the highest character of this officer from all my country-men. He was a native of Canada, and son of a Swiss ma-jor of Montreal.s At the Yasous I was told most extra-ordinary things of his religion, piety, and zeal, to which,at last, he fell a victim. They all regretted him as their father, and agreed that the colony had suffered an irreparable loss.

He had built the fort in a bad situation, and, before hedied, had thought of removing it a league farther off, to afine meadow, where the air was more wholesome, andwhere there was a village of the Yasous, mixed with the


The Yazoo River rises in northern Mississippi, and flows south and southwest intothe Mississippi River in Warren County.


The Yazoo fort, called by the French Fort St. Pierre, was built in 1718 about tenmiles above the river's mouth. It was destroyed in the Natchez rebellion of 1729.


Little else is known of this official except what Charlevoix reports. His father, Ma-jor Bizard, was an officer in the colonial troops of Canada.



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Couroas and Ofogoulas, who altogether may send abouttwo hundred fighting men into the field. We live in pret-ty good correspondence with them, but, at the same timerepose no great confidence in them, on account ofthe connections which the Yasous particularly maintainwith the English.

There are a great many alligators in this river, and I have seen two of them from twelve to fifteen feet in length.They are never heard but in the night-time, and their cryso much resembles the bellowing of bulls, that people arefrequently deceived by it. Our people, notwithstanding, bathe in this river as freely as in the Seine. On my testify-ing my surprize at this, I was told. That they had nothingto fear; that indeed, when in the water, they were con-stantly surrounded by these animals, but that none ofthem came near them, and seemed only to watch them, inorder to fall upon them, the moment they were going toleave the river: that then, in order to drive them away,they made a splashing in the water with a stick, which they took care to be provided with, and which made theseanimals fly to such a distance, that they had sufficienttime to secure themselves.

The company has a ware-house at this port, as theyhave at the Akansas; but the fort and territory belong toa private company, consisting of M. Le Blanc, secretaryof state; M. le Comte de Belle-Isle, M. le Marquis d'Ars-feld, and M. le Blond, brigadier Engineer. This last re-sides in the colony in quality of director-general of the


The Koroa Indians were a tribe allied to the Tunica and the Natchez, with cus-toms much like the latter. In 1702 the Koroa murdered a French Seminary missionary,Father Foucault, coming from the Arkansas post. They then retreated to the Yazoo,their kindred. There they were joined by a band of Choctaw known as the Dog Peopleor Ofogoula, whose village was twelve miles above the mouth of the Yazoo River. In 1729 this latter tribe refused to rebel and joined the Tunica. The Yazoo and Koroa fledeastward and were given refuge among the Choctaw.



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company I cannot well comprehend what has made them pitch upon the river of the Yasous for the place of their grant. They had assuredly much better lands, and more advantageous situations in their choice. Tis true, it is a matter of importance to secure this river, the source of which is not far from Carolina; but a fort with a good garrison would have been sufficient for this purpose, as well as to keep the Yasous in awe, who are allies to the Chicachas. The being obliged to be always on theirguard against the Indians, who border upon the English,is not the way to settle a grant upon a solid foundation.

I left the Yasous on the tenth, and, on the thirteenth,had it not been for a Natche Indian, who asked his passage from me in order to return to his own country, I should have been lost in a whirlpool, with which none of my guides were acquainted, and which cannot be perceived till one is so far engaged with it, that it is impossible to get clear of it. It lies on the left, at the foot of a large cape, where it is said, there is a very good stone quarry: this is what people are most afraid of wanting in this colony, but, to make amends, they may easily make as many bricks as they will.

On the fifteenth we arrived at the Natchez. This can-ton, the finest, most fertile, and best peopled of all Louisi-ana, lies at the distance of forty leagues from the Yasous, upon the same side of the river. The landing place is oppo-site a high and rugged bank, at the foot of which runs asmall rivulet, which is capable of receiving only shallops


None of these concessionaires ever saw the Yazoo country except Le Blond de laTour, who was chief of the commissioners sent out by the king in 1721 to regulate theaffairs of the company and also chief engineer of the colony.


Probably this whirlpool was Grand Gulf (le Grand Goufre) at the mouth of BigBlack River, where the Mississippi turns sharply to the right and rushes against somelarge rocks which beat off the current.


The Natchez Indian village of Charlevoix's day was somewhat farther downstream than the historic and present city of Natchez.



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and pirogues. From this first bank we go up a second, orrather a hill, whose ascent is tollerably easy, on the summitof which stands a redoubt, enclosed by a simple palisade. The name of a fort has been given to this entrenchment."

Several little hills appear above this last, and, whenthese are once past, we see, on all sides, very large mead-ows separated from one another by small copses of wood,which produce a very fine eflfect. The trees most commonin these woods are the oak and nut-trees; and the soil is every where excellent. The late M. d'Iberville, who firstentered the Mississippi by its mouth, having penetratedas far up as the Natchez, found the country so delightful,and so advantageously situated, that he concluded themetropolis of the new colony could no where be betterplaced; and accordingly traced out the plan of it, and in-tended to call it by the name o Rosalie, which is that of the lady of the chancellor Pontchartrain. But it shouldseem this project was not to be put in execution so soon, tho our geographers have always thought fit to lay downin their maps the town of Rosalie at the Natchez.

Tis certain it was necessary to begin by a settlementnearer the sea; but if ever Louisiana becomes a flourish-ing colony, as it may very well happen, it is my opinionthere cannot be a better situation for a capital than this. It is not liable to be overflowed by the river, has a verypure air, and a great extent of country; the soil is well


St. Catharine's Creek, Adams County, Mississippi, upon which were locatedmostof the nine villages that composed the Natchez confederacy.


This fort named Rosalie in honor of the Countess de Pontchartrain, was built in1716 by Bienville. It was utterly destroyed in the revolt of 1729. The commandant atthe time of Charlevoix's visit was M. de Barnaval.


For Pierre le Moyne Sieur d'lberville see ante, letter II, vol. 1,97, note 32.


The question of the site for the capital of the colony was a burning one at thistime. Bienville, the governor, favored the newly founded town of New Orleans; Hu-bert, the commissary, favored Natchez.



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watered, and proper for producing every thing. Nor is itat too great a distance from the sea, and there is nothingto prevent shipping from going up to it. Lastly, it is at aconvenient distance from all those places where there canbe any design of making settlements. The company havea magazine, and keep a principal factor here, who, as yet,has very little to do.

Amongst a great number of private grants, which already in a condition to produce something valuable,there are two of the largest extent that is allowed, beingeach four leagues square; one belonging to a company ofMaloins, the inhabitants of it, and which they bought ofM. Hubert, commissary in chief, and president ofthe council in Louisiana; and the other to the company,who have sent work-men thither from Clerac, in order tomake tobacco.These two grants are situated in such amanner, as to form a perfect triangle with the fort, the dis-tance of one angle from the other being one league. Halfway between the two grants lies the great village of theNatchez. I have carefully visited all these places, and herefollows what I have observed most remarkable in them.

The grant of the Maloins is well situated, and nothingis wanting to make it turn out to advantage but Ne-groes, or hired servants. I should rather chuse to employthe latter, because, the time of their service being expired,


Louisiana was governed by a governor-general and a commissary-general, the lat-ter of whom took the place of the intendant in Canada, and like him presided at thecouncil. Hubert, a merchant of St. Malo, was appointed in 1717 commissaire ordin-nateur and served until 1721, when he was superseded. He then formed a company ofSt. Malo friends to develop his concession at the Natchez. Early in 1722 he ascendedthe Mississippi with sixty workmen and opened a large plantation on St. Catherine'sCreek, building a mill and a forge, and making arrangements for permanent occupation.In 1723, however, he sold his concession and returned to France.


The Cleracs were the workers in tobacco at the town of Clerac in the present Cha-rente Inferieure, France. Their agent Montplaisir accompanied Hubert to the Natchezand was accorded by him a large grant, as here in described.



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they become inhabitants, and increase the number of theking's natural subjects; whereas the former always con-tinue aliens: and who can be certain but that, by being multiplied in our colonies, they may not one day become our most formidable enemies! Can we depend upon slaveswho are only attached to us by fear, and who never canhave the pleasure of calling the place in which they areborn by the endearing name of their native country?

The first night I lay in this settlement, there happeneda great alarm about nine o'clock in the evening; uponasking the reason of it, I was told there was, in the neigh-bourhood, a beast of an unknown species, of an extraordi-nary bulk, and whose cry did not in the least resemblethat of any known animal. Nobody however could say hehad seen it, and they formed a judgment of its size entire-ly from its strength: it had already carried off some sheepand calves, and worried some cows. I ^'^^^ told those whogave me this account, that an enraged wolf might verywell have done all this, and that, as to its cry, people weredeceived in these matters every day. I could persuade no-body, they still would have it that it was some monstrousbeast. It was heard again, and every one ran out armedwith what he could find, but it was to no purpose.

The company's grant is still more advantageously sit-uated than that of the Maloins. The same river watersboth, and falls into the Mississippi, two leagues from thisplace; a magnificent forest of cypress trees forms a barrierto it, and covers all the back settlements.

I have seen in the garden of the Sieur le Noir, the prin-cipal factor, a very fine cotton tree, and, a little lower, webegin to find wild Indigo."^ A trial of it has not yet been


Indigo was successfully cultivated in Louisiana by 1724, and thereafter becameone of its staple exports.



[ 239 ]

made, but there is reason to believe that it will succeed aswell as that which w^as found on the island of St. Domin-go, where it is as much esteemed as the Indigo transport-ed from foreign parts. Besides, experience informs us thata soil which produces this plant naturally is very welladapted to receive foreign seed.

The great village of the Natchez'^ is at present reducedto a small number of cabbins; the reason of which, I amtold, is, that the Indians, whose great chief has a right totake every thing from them, remove to as great a distancefrom him as they possibly can, by which means severalvillages of these people have been formed at some dis-tance from this. The T'ious^ their allies and ours, have onelikewise in their neighbourhood.'^

The cabbins of the great village of the Natchez,the only one I have seen, are in the form of square pavil-ions, very low, and without windows. Their roofs arerounded pretty much in the same manner as an oven.Most of them are covered with the leaves and straw ofmaize. Some of them are built of a sort of mud, whichseemed tolerably good, and is covered outside and insidewith very thin mats. That of the great chief is rough-castvery handsomely in the inside:''' it is likeways larger andhigher than the rest, being placed in a more elevated situ-


The problem of the origin of the Natchez tribe has not been fully solved, although it is now held that their language was probably a dialect of the Muskhogean stock. Around the great village of the Natchez proper were clustered eight others in alliance with or subordinate to this tribe, some of them of alien stock. The Natchez in 1682were estimated by La Salle at six thousand souls with twelve hundred warriors. After their three wars with the French in 1716, 1723, and 1729-30 they were scattered and became, as a tribe, extinct. There are still some remnants of this tribe among the Choc-taw in Oklahoma.


The Tioux Indians were a tribe allied to the Natchez who occupied the villages ofTougoulas and Thoucoue.


''One peculiarity of the Natchez was the position of the head chief, who unlikethose of most Indian tribes had despotic powers. Compare, however, the position of thechieftainship among the Miami, noted ante, letter XXII, 95, note 17.



atlon, and has no cabbins adjoining to it. It fronts a largesquare, which is none of the most regular, and looks tothe north. All the moveables I found in it were a bed ofplanks very narrow, and raised about two or three feetfrom the ground; probably when the chief lies down hespreads over it a matt, or the skin of some animal.

There was not a soul in the village, all of them havinggone to a neighbouring village, where there was a festival.All their doors were open, but there was not any thing tobe feared from thieves, as nothing remained but the fourwalls. These cabbins have no vent for the smoke, not-withstanding those into which I entered were tolerablywhite. The temple stands at the side of the chiefs cabbin,facing the east, and at the extremity of the square. It isbuilt of the same materials with the cabbins, but of a dif-ferent shape, being an oblong square, forty feet in length,and twenty in breadth, with a very simple roof, in thesame form as ours.^^ At each extremity there is somethinglike a weather-cock of wood, which has a very coarse re-semblance of an eagle.

[2S7] The gate is in the middle of the length of thebuilding, which has no other opening: on each side thereare seats of stone. What is within is quite correspondentto this rustic outside. Three pieces of wood, joined at theextremity, and placed in a triangle, or rather at an equaldistance from one another, take up almost the whole mid-dle space of the temple, and burn slowly away. An In-dian, whom they call keeper of the temple, is obliged totend them, and to prevent their going out. If the weatheris cold he may have a fire for himself, for he is not allowedto warm himself at this, which burns in honour of the sun.


The Natchez and their kin the Tunica appear to have been the only tribe north ofMexico to have appropriated a special building for worship.



This keeper was also at the festival; at least I did not seehim, but his brands occasioned a smoke which almostblinded us.

Ornaments I saw none, nor any thing indeed whichcould inform me that this was a temple. I saw only threeor four boxes lying in disorder, with a few dry bones inthem, and some wooden heads on the ground, of somewhatbetter workmanship than the eagles on the roof. In short,if it had not been for the fire, I should have believed thistemple had been deserted for some time, or that it hadbeen lately plundered. Those cones, wrapt up in skins, thedead bodies of the chiefs ranged in a circle within a tem-ple intirely round, and terminated in the manner of adome, those altars, ^c. of which some accounts makemention, of all these I have seen nothing; and, if eversuch things were to be seen, they have been greatlychanged since that time.""

But, as no one ought absolutely to be condemned whilethere is a shadow of an excuse for him, it is possible that the neighbourhood of the French made the Natchezapprehensive of losing the dead bodies of their chiefs, and whatever was most precious in their temple, for whichcause they have carried them elsewhere; and that the lit-tle regard they pay to their temple at present is owing toits having been stript of whatever was held most sacredamongst them. It is however true, that, close by the wall,and opposite to the gate, there is a table, the dimensions ofwhich I was not at the trouble to take, as I had then no sus-


"The customs of the Natchez had awakened much interest among the French and had been described at great length. Among the authorities with which Charlevoix was probably familiar was the spurious journal of Tonti published in 1697; the relation ofPenicaut (1703), see Margry, V, 444-456; and the letters of Father Gravier, Jesuit Re-lations, Ixv, 135-145. A letter of Father le Petit in ibid., Ixviii, 123, confirms the ac-count of the bodies of chiefs wrapped in cone like form.



[ 242 ]

picion of its being an altar. I have been since informed, that it is three feet in height, five in length, and four in breadth.

I have further heard, that they make a small fire on itwith the bark of the oak, which never goes out, but this isfalse, for I saw no fire, nor any thing from which it couldbe imagined there ever was a fire there. They say like-ways that four old men lie in the temple by turns, in orderto keep up this fire; that he who is upon guard must notgo out during the eight days he is upon duty; that theytake the lighted charcoal of the logs that are burning inthe middle of the temple, to put upon the altar; thattwelve men are employed in providing oak-bark; thatthere are monkeys of wood, and the figure of a rattle-snake, likewise of wood, placed upon the altar, to whichthey pay great honours: that when their chief dies he isburied, and, when they imagine his flesh is consumed, thekeeper of the temple takes up his bones, washes them,wraps them up in their most precious robes, places themin large baskets made of canes, which he covers with deerskins, and disposes them before the altar, where they re-main till the death of the reigning chief; and that then heshuts them up within '^^'^ the altar itself, in order tomake room for the bones of him who died last.

With respect to the last article, I can easily say, that Isaw a few bones in one or two of the trunks; that theywould not have made one half of those belonging to thehuman body; that they seemed very old, and lay not onthe table which is called the altar. As to the other articles,first, as I never was in the temple but in the day time, Iam entirely ignorant of what passes there during the night;and, in the next place, there was no watch in the templewhen I was there. I observed, as I have already said, somewooden monkeys, but saw no figure of a serpent.


[ 243 ]

What I have seen in some relation, of this temple beinghung with tapestry, of its pavement being covered withmatts of canes, of its being kept in the greatest neatness,and of their carrying to it every year the first fruits of theirharvest, must certainly be read with great allowances. Onthe contrary, I have never seen any thing more slovenly,or in greater disorder. The billets of wood were burningupon the bare ground, on which there was no matts, nomore than on the walls. M. le Noir, who was with me,only told me, that every day he put a fresh billet to the fire,and, at every new moon they provided wood for the wholemonth. He had this however only from hear-say, for thiswas the first time he had seen the temple as well as myself.

Here follows what I have been able to learn of the na-tion of the Natchez in general." In their external appear-ance they differ in nothing from the other Indians of Can-ada and Louisiana. They ^^^"^ seldom make war, and donot place their glory in destroying their fellow creatures.What distinguishes them more particularly is the form oftheir government, which is entirely despotic; the great de-pendance in the subject, which reaches even to a sort ofslavery; a greater degree of haughtiness and grandeur intheir chiefs, and a pacific spirit, from which however, forsome years past, they have deviated a little.

The Hurons believe, as well as they, their chiefs de-scended from the sun, but there are none of them who willbe his slave, and follow him to the other world to have thehonour of serving him there, as frequently happens amongthe Natchez. Garcilasso de la Vega speaks of this nationas a very powerful people, and it is not quite six years


Charlevoix obtained much of the general description which follows from Father lePetit, superior of his order at New Orleans. See how closely he follows and condensesle Petit's description in Jesuit Relations, Ixviii, 12 i-i 65.



[ 244 ]

since that they reckoned four thousand warriours amongst them. It appears that they were still more numerous inthe time of M. de la Sale, and even when M. d'Iberville discovered the mouth of the Mississippi, whereas at pres-ent they cannot send two thousand fighting men into thefield. This decrease of their numbers is attributed to con-tagious distempers, which for some years past have madegreat havock amongst them.

The grand chief of the Natchez bears the name of Sun, and, as among the Hurons, the son of his nearest female relations always succeeds him. This person has the qual-ity of woman-chief, and great honours are paid her, tho'she seldom meddles in affairs of government. She has, as well as the chief himself, the power of life and death, andit is an usual thing for them to order their guards, whomthey call Allouez to dispatch any one who has the mis-fortune to be obnoxious to either. Go rid me of thisdog, say they, and they are instantly obeyed. Their sub-jects, and even the chiefs of their villages, never come in-to their presence without saluting them thrice, and rais-ing a cry, or rather a sort of howling. They do the same thing when they withdraw, and always retire going back-wards. When they meet them they are obliged to stop,range themselves in order on the road, and howl in the manner above mentioned till they are past. They are like-ways obliged to carry them the best of their harvest, andof the product of their hunting and fishing. In fine, no one, not even their nearest relations, and those who com-pose their nobility, when they have the honour to eatwith them, have a right to drink out of the same cup, orput their hands in the same dish.


'J See 239, note 17, ante, for another estimate. The one here cited includes apparentlyall the allies and confederates of the Natchez.



[ 245 ]

Every morning, as soon as the sun appears, the grandchief stands at the door of his cabbin, turns his face to-wards the east, and howls thrice, prostrating himself tothe ground at the same time. A calumet is afterwards brought him, which is never used but upon this occasion; he smoaks, and blows the tobacco first towards the sun, and then towards the other three quarters of the world.He acknowledges no master but the sun, from whom he pretends he derives his origin. He exercises an absolute power over his subjects, whose lives and goods are entire-ly at his disposal, and they can demand no payment forany labour he requires of them.

When the grand chief, or the woman-chief, die, all the Allouez are obliged to follow them to the other world, norare they the only persons who have this honour: for it iscertainly reckoned one, and as such, greatly soughtafter. The death of a chief has been sometimes known tocost the lives of above a hundred persons, and I have been told there are few Natchez of any considerable note whodie without being attended to the country of souls, bysome of their relations, friends, or servants. It appears from the different relations I have seen of these horribleceremonies that there is much variation in them. Here follows an account of the obsequies of a woman-chief,which I had from a traveller who was an eye-witness of it,and on whose sincerity I have good reason to depend.

The husband of this woman not being noble, that is tosay, of the family of the sun, his eldest son, according tocustom, strangled him.^^ Afterwards every thing was tak-en out of the cabbin, and a sort of triumphant car was


This description is taken from Penicaut's relation. See 241, note 21, ante.''The nobles and commons of the Natchez practiced exogamy between their twodivisions, so that even the sister of the Sun, or great chief, married a commoner.



[ 246 ]

erected of it, on which were placed the body of the de-ceased and that of her husband. Immediately after, twelve little children whom their parents had strangled, by orderof the eldest son of the woman-chief, who succeeded to herdignity, were laid around the carcasses. This done, theyerected in the public square fourteen scaffolds adorned with branches of trees and stuffs, on which were paintedvarious figures. These scaffolds were designed lor an equal number of persons, who were to attend the woman-chiefto the other world. Their relations stood round them,looking upon the permission given them, to sacrifice them-selves in this manner, as the greatest honour that couldbe done to their families. They are sometimes ten years insoliciting this favour before-hand, and those who obtainit, are obliged to spin the cord themselves with which theyare to be strangled.

[263] They appeared on the scaffolds dressed in theirrichest habits, each having a large shell in his right hand.Their nearest relation stood on the same hand, having abattle-ax in his left, and the cord which is to do the execu-tion under his left arm. From time to time he sings thedeath-cry, at which the fourteen victims come down fromthe scaffolds, and dance all together in the square beforethe temple, and the cabbin of the woman-chief. This andthe following days great respect is paid them, each hasfive domestics to attend him, and their faces are paintedred. Some add, that during the eight days precedingtheir death, they wear a red ribband on their leg, and thatall that time every one is soUicitous to regale them. Bethis as it will, at the time I am now speaking of, the fa-thers and mothers of the strangled children took them intheir arms, and disposed themselves on each side of thecabbin, the fourteen destined to die, placed themselves in


[ 247 ]

the same manner, and were followed by the friends andrelations of the deceased, who had all their hair cut oflF,which Is their way of mourning: all this time they madethe air resound with such frightful cries, that one wouldhave thought all the devils In hell had broke loose, In or-der to come to howl in this place; this was followed withdances and songs; those who were to die danced, and therelations of the woman-chief sung.

At last the procession began. The fathers and motherscarrying their dead children appeared first, walking twoand two, and went Immediately before the Htter, In whichwas the corpse of the woman-chief, carried on the shoul-ders of four men. The rest followed in the same order. Atevery ten ^^^^^ paces the children were thrown upon theground, those who carried the litter trampling upon themso that when the procession arrived at the temple, theirlittle bodies were quite torn to pieces.

While they were interring the corpse of the woman-chief In the temple, the fourteen persons destined to diewere undressed and seated on the ground before the gate,having each two Indians about him, one seated on hisknees, and the other holding his hands behind him. Thecords were passed round their necks, their heads were cov-ered with the skin of a roe-buck, and after being made toswallow three pieces of tobacco, and to drink a glass ofwater, the relations of the woman-chief, who sung all thetime, drew the cords at each end till they were strangled.After which all the carcasses were thrown together into aditch and covered with earth.

When the grand chief dies, his nurse, if still aUve, mustdie likewise. But it has often happened, that the Frenchnot being able to prevent this barbarity, have obtainedleave to baptize the children who were to be strangled, and


[ 248 ]

thus have prevented their accompanying those in whosehonour they were strangled, to their pretended paradise.

I know no nation on the continent, where the sex ismore disorderly than in this. They are even forced by thegrand chief and his subalterns to prostitute themselves toall comers, and a woman is not the less esteemed for beingpublic. Though polygamy is permitted and the number ofwives which a man may have is unlimited, yet every one,[26s] for the most part contents himself with one, whomhe may divorce at pleasure; but this, however, is a libertynever used by any but the chiefs. The women are tolera-bly well-looked for savages, and neat enough in their dress,and every thing belonging to them. The daughters of anoble family are allowed to marry none but private men;but they have a right to turn away their husband whenthey think proper, and marry another, provided there isno alliance between them.

If their husbands are unfaithful to them, they maycause them to be put to death, but are not subject to thesame law themselves: on the contrary, they may enter-tain as many gallants as they please, without the hus-band's daring to take it amiss, this being a privilege at-tached to the blood of the sun. He stands in a respectfulposture, in the presence of his wife, never eats with her,salutes her in the same manner as the rest of her domes-ticks, and all the privilege which this burthensome alli-ance procures him, is an exemption from travel and someauthority over his wife's servants.

The Natchez have two chiefs of war, two masters ofceremonies for the temple, two officers to regulate the pro-ceedings in treaties of peace and war, one who has the in-spection of the works, and four more who are chargedwith the management of the publick feasts. The grand


[ 2 49 ]-chief disposes of these employments, and those on whomhe confers them are respected and obeyed as himself.Their harvest is in common, the chief appoints the day,and assembles the village. About the end of July he ap-points another day, for the commencement of t*"^ a fes-tival, to continue for three days which are spent in gamesand feasting.

Every private person contributes to this, from the prod-uce of his hunting and fishing, and from his other pro-visions, consisting of maize, beans and melons. The grandchief commonly called the sun, and the woman-chief pre-side at this festival in an elevated lodge, which is coveredwith foliage: they are carried thither in a Utter, and theformer holds in his hand a sort of scepter adorned withfeathers of various colours. All the nobility sit round themin a posture of respect. On the last day the chief har-rangues the assembly, and exhorts them all to be exact infulfilling their duty, especially to preserve a great venera-tion for the spirits who reside in the temple, and to givegood instructions to their children. If any one has signal-ized himself by a pubhck-spirited action, he makes hiseulogium. Twenty years ago the temple was reduced toashes by lightning, seven or eight women threw theirchildren into the flames, in order to appease the genii; thechief immediately had these heroines before him, gavethem publickly the highest praises, and concluded his dis-course, by exhorting the rest of the women to imitate,when occasion offered, so great an example.^^

The heads of families never fail to carry to the templethe first fruits of all they gather, and the presents made tothe nation, are disposed of in the same manner. They are


This description is taken from Gravier, Jesuit Relations, Ixv, 137, who was an eye-witness of this event.



[ 250 ]

laid before the door of the temple, and the keeper after having offered them to the spirits, carries them to the chief who disposes them as he sees proper. The seed whichis to be thrown into the ground is, in hke manner, offered before the temple with great ceremony; but the of-ferings made of bread and flour at every new-moon, arefor the benefit of the keepers of the temple.

The marriages of the Natchez differ but little fromthose of the Indians of Canada: the principal differenceconsists in the bridegroom's making presents to the par-ents of the young woman he is to espouse, and in the nuptials being followed by a great feast. None but thechiefs have above one wife, the reason of which is, that they having their lands cultivated by the people at no ex-pence, do not find the number of their wives burthensome to them. The chiefs marry with still less ceremony thanthe people. It is sufficient for them to give notice to therelations of the girl upon whom they have cast their eyes,that they enrol her into the number of their wives; but they keep only one or two in their own cabbins, the restremaining with their relations, whom they visit when they think fit. There is no such thing as jealousy in these marriages; on the contrary, the Natchez, without any ceremony, lend one another their wives, and this is prob-ably the reason of the facility with which they part with them, in order to take other wives.

When a war-chief wants to levy a party, he plants in a place appointed for that purpose two trees adorned with feathers, arrows, and battle-axes; all painted red as wellas the trees, which are likewise marked on that side onwhich the expedition is to set out. Those who incline to


The custom of gift-giving to the parents of the young woman, on the part of thebridegroom, was not exceptional, but usual among all Indian tribes.



[ 251 ]

enlist, present themselves before the chief dressed in thebest manner, with their faces dawbed all over with differ-ent colours, and make known their desire of ^^^^^ learn-ing the trade of arms under his conduct, and declare them-selves disposed to endure all the fatigues of war, and readyto die, if necessary, for the good of their native country.

When the chief has got the number of soldiers requiredfor the intended expedition, he has prepared a beveragewhich is called t/ie medicine of war. This is a vomit madewith a root boiled in water: two pots of this drink are giv-en to every one, which he must swallow one after anotherand is sure to throw up again with the most violentretches. They are next busied in making preparations,and untill the day fixed for their departure the warriorsmeet every morning and evening in the square, where,dancing and recounting their greatest exploits in arms,every one sings his death-song. This people are no lesssuperstitious with respect to dreams than the Indians ofCanada: there only wants a bad omen to make them re-turn back, even after they have set out on an expedition.^^

The warriors march in great order, and use great pre-caution in encamping, and to enable them to rally again.Scouts are frequently sent out on discoveries, but no cen-tinels are set during the night: they put out all the fires,recommend themselves to the genii, and then go to sleepin security, the chief having first warned every one not tosnore too loud, and to keep his arms always ready by himand in good condition. The idols are exposed on a branchwhich hangs towards the enemy, and all the warriors be-fore they lie down pass one after another, with their tom-ahawk in their hand, before these pretended divinities.Then they '^^^^ turn themselves towards the enemy's


See this description enlarged in Jesuit Relations, Ixviii, 143-147.



country pouring forth great menaces, which the windsfrequently carry to the other side.

It does not appear that the Natchez during their march,exercise those cruelties on their prisoners which are usualin Canada. When these unhappy wretches arrive at thegreat village, they are made to sing and dance severaldays running before the temple, after which they are de-livered up to the relations of those who have been killedin the campaign; who upon receiving them burst out intolamentations, and then drying up their tears with thescalps which the warriors have brought home, they taxthemselves, in order to recompence those who have giventhem the slaves, whose lot is always to be burnt.

The warriors change their names as they perform newexploits; they receive them from the old war-chiefs, and these names always bear some relation to the action bywhich they have merited this distinction; those who forthe first time have taken a prisoner or cut off a scalp, must, for the space of a month, refrain from seeing their wives or eating meat. They imagine, that should theyfail in this, the souls of those they have killed or burnt would occasion their death, or that the first wound theyshould receive from an enemy would prove mortal, or atleast, that they would gain no farther advantages over their enemies. If the grand chief commands his subjectsin person, great care is taken that he do not expose him-self too much, less, perhaps, out of zeal for his preserva-tion, than out of fear that the other chiefs of war and principal men of the party, may run the risk of being putto death, for not having taken better care of him.

[270] the jugglers of the Natchez bear a great resem-blance to those of Canada, and treat the sick much in thesame manner. They are well rewarded, if the sick person


[ 25 3 ]

recovers, but if he dies, it often costs them their Hves.There is another species of jugglers among this people,who run no less risks than the physicians. These are someworthless old fellows, who, in order to procure subsistencefor their families, without being obliged to work, under-take to procure rain or fine weather, according as either iswanted. In spring the people tax themselves, in order tobuy from these pretended magicians a favourable seasonfor the fruits of the earth. If rain is required, they fill theirmouths with water, and then with a pipe, the extremity of which is pierced into several holes like a funnel, theyblow into the air on that side where they perceive a cloud,and all the time playing on a chichikoue in one hand, and lifting up their manitou into the air with the other, they invoke the clouds with frightful cries, to water the fields of those who have set them at work.

If good weather is demanded, they mount upon theroof of their cabbin, making signs to the clouds to pass by,and if they pass and dissipate they dance and sing round their calumets towards heaven. All the time these opera-tions last, they observe a rigorous fast, and do nothing but dance and sing; if they obtain what they have promised they are well rewarded, but if not they are put to death without mercy. But the same persons do not undertaketo procure rain and fine weather; their genii, say they,have it not in their power to give both.

[271] Mourning amongst those Indians consists in cut-ting off their hair, in forbearing to paint their faces, and inabsenting themselves from the assemblies; but I am ignor-ant how long it lasts. Nor have I been able to learn whetherthey celebrate the festival of the dead, of which ceremony Ihave already given you a description ;it seems, that in this nation where all are in some manner slaves to those who


-^[ 254 K

command, funeral honours are set apart for these alone, and especially for the grand chief and the woman-chief.

Treaties of peace and alliance are concluded with agreat deal of form and ceremony, in which the grand chief constantly maintains his dignity like a real sovereign. Sosoon as he is informed of the day of the arrival of Ambas-sadors, he gives orders to the masters of the ceremonies to make preparations for their reception, and appoints thosewho are to take their turns of maintaining the envoys. For it is at the expence of his subjects that he defrays the charge of an embassy. On the day of the entry of the Am-bassadors, every one has his place appointed according tohis rank, and when these ministers are at the distance offive hundred paces from the grand chief, they make a haltand sing the peace-song.

An embassy, for the most part, consists of thirty menand six women. Six of the best voices put themselves at thehead of the train and sing, the rest following them, whilsta chichikoue regulates the measure. When the grand chiefmakes a sign to the ambassadors to draw near, they againbegin their march; those who carry the calumet danceand sing, turning themselves on all sides, and making athousand antick motions, grimaces, and contortions.They play the same farce over again round the grandchief, as soon as they have come into his presence; then they stroak him with the calumet from head to foot, and afterwards return to their company.

And now they fill the calumet with tobacco, and hold-ing the fire in one hand, advance all together towards thegrand chief, and present him the calumet lighted. Theysmoke along with him, blowing the first vapour of theirtobacco towards the sky, the second towards the earth,and the third all round the horizon. This done they pre-sent

[ 255 ]

sent their calumet to the relations of the grand chief andto the inferior chief. Afterwards they stroak the stomach of the grand chief with their hands, and then rub them-selves over the body; lastly, they lay their calumets onforks over against the grand chief, when the orator of theembassy begins his harangue, which continues for an hour.

This being over, a sign is made to the ambassadors,who had hither to continued standing, to sit down, on seats placed for them, near the grand chief, who makes answer to their discourse, and likewise holds forth for awhole hour. This done, the master of the ceremonies lightsa great calumet of peace, and gives it to the ambassadors who smoke with it, and swallow the first draught. Thenthe grand chief enquires after their health, all those who assist at the audience pay the same compliment, and then they are conducted to the cabbin appointed for their resi-dence, where a grand repast is prepared for them. On theevening of the same day the grand chief pays them a vis-it; but when they are informed he is about to leave hisapartment, in order to do them this honour, they go in quest of him, carry him on their shoulders to theircabbin, and seat him on a large skin. One of them placeshimself behind him, leaning with both his hands on his shoulders, and gently shaking him for some time, whilstthe rest seated on the ground in a circular form, sing theirgreat exploits in war.

These visits are renewed every morning and evening, but at last the ceremonial is changed. The ambassador serect a post in the middle of their cabbin, round which they all seat themselves: the warriors who accompanythe grand chief, being dressed in their richest habits,dance and strike upon the post by turns, recounting at the same time their gallant feats in war; after which they


[ 256 ]

make presents to the ambassadors. On the next day,these, for the first time, have hberty to walk about in thevillage, and every evening festivals are prepared for them,consisting only of dances. When they are about to depart,the masters of the ceremonies furnish them with the pro-visions requisite for their journey, which is always doneat the expence of private persons.^^

The greatest part of the nations of Louisiana, had for-merly their temples as well as the Natchez, and in allthese temples a perpetual fire is kept up. It should evenseem, that the Maui?iiians^ enjoyed a sort of primacy inreligion, over all the other nations in this part of Florida;for when any of their fires happened to be extinguished through chance, or negligence, it was necessary to kindlethem again at theirs. But the temple of the Natchez is theonly one subsisting at present, and is held in great venera-tion by all the savages inhabiting this vast continent, thedecrease of whose numbers is as considerable, and hasbeen still more sudden, than that of the people of Canada, without its being possible to assign the true rea-son of this event. Whole nations have entirely disappearedwithin the space of forty years at most; and those whostill remain, are no more than the shadow of what theywere, when M. de Sale discovered this country. I must now take my leave of your Grace, for reasons which I shall soon have the honor to explain to you.

/ amy &c.


Compare this account of the envoys with that in Jesuit Relations, Ixviii, 157-165.


The Mobile were a Muskhogean tribe with whom in 1540 De Soto had a battle on Alabama River. When the French came in 1700 they found them on the bay called by their name. They moved down close to the French fort, were Christianized, and were finally extinct by 1761.


In 1682 when La Salle made his first voyage from Illinois to the mouth of the Mis-sissippi. See brief account in Kellogg, Early Narratives, 296-304.





Voyage from the Natchez to New Orleans, description ofthe Country and of several Indian Villages with that ofthe Capital of Louisiana.


New Orleans, January lo, 1722.Madam,

I AM now at last arrived at this famous city of Nouvel New Orleans J New Orleans. Those who have given it thisname, must have imagined Orleans was of the femi-nine gender.^ But of what consequence is this? Custom,which is superior to all the laws of grammar, has fixed it so.This is the first city, which one of the greatest rivers inthe world has seen erected on its banks. If the eight hun-dred fine houses and the five parishes, which our Mer-cury^ bestowed upon it two years ago, are at present re-duced to a hundred barracks, placed in no very good or-


The site of New Orleans was pointed out to Iberville on his first voyage in 1699 upthe Mississippi River. In 1718 Bienville, who had just been reappointed governor, senta few Canadian emigrants to clear and occupy the site. In the summer of 1721 theplat of the city was laid out, but little building was done until 1722, when Bienville re-ceived the desired permission to transfer the capital to this site.


The city, named for the regent of France, Due d'Orleans, was given the feminine form from the custom of so calling towns.


Le Mercurede France, one of the oldest French newspapers, was founded in 1672 as Le Merciire Galant. The name was changed in 1714. The publication continued for overa century. This puff concerning New Orleans appeared during Law's speculative craze.



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der; to a large ware-house built of timber; to two or three houses which would be no ornament to a village in France;[276] a sorry ware-house, formerly set apartfor divine service, and was scarce appropriated for thatpurpose, when it was removed to a tent: what pleasure, on the other hand, must it give to see this future capital of an immense and beautiful country increasing insensi-bly, and to be able, not with a sigh hke Virgil's hero, when speaking of his native country consumed by the flames, et campus ubi Trojce juit but full of the best groundedhopes to say, that this wild and desart place, at presentalmost entirely covered over with canes and trees, shallone day, and perhaps that day is not very far off, becomethe capital of a large and rich colony.

Your Grace will, perhaps, ask me upon what these hopesare founded? They are founded on the situation of thiscity on the banks of a navigable river, at the distance ofthirty-three leagues from the sea, from which a vessel maycome up in twenty-four hours; on the fertility of its soil; on the mildness and wholesomeness of the climate, inthirty degrees north latitude; on the industry of the in-habitants; on its neighbourhood to Mexico, the Havan-na, the finest islands of America, and lastly, to the Eng-lish colonies. Can there be any thing more requisite torender a city flourishing? Rome and Paris had not suchconsiderable beginnings, were not built under such happyauspices, and their founders met not with those advan-tages on the Seine and the Tiber, which we have found onthe Mississippi, in comparison of which, these two riversare no more than brooks. But before I engage in the de-scription of what is curious in this place, I shall, to pre-serve due order, resume my journal where I left oflF.


<"The field where Troy has been."


I stayed

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I Stayed among the Natchez much longer than Iexpected, which was owing to the destitute condition inwhich I found the French with respect to spiritual assist-ance. The dew of heaven has not as yet fallen upon thisfine country, which is more than any other enriched withthe fat of the earth. The late M. d'Iberville had designeda Jesuit for this place, who accompanied him in his secondvoyage to Louisiana, in order to establish Christianity ina nation, the conversion of which he doubted not woulddraw after it, that of all the rest; but this missionary onpassing through the village of the Bayagoulas, imagined hefound more favourable dispositions towards religion there,and while he was thinking on fixing his residence amongstthem, was recalled to France, by order of his superiors. ^

An ecclesiastic of Canada was in the sequel sent to theNatchez, where he resided a sufficient time, but made noproselites, though he so far gained the good graces of thewoman-chief, that out of respect to him, she called one ofher sons by his name. This missionary being obliged tomake a voyage to the Mobile, was killed on his waythither by some Indians, who probably had no other mo-tive for this cruel action, but to plunder his baggage,^ ashad before happened to another priest, on the side of theAkansas.'^ From this time forth all Louisiana, below the


This was Father Paul Du Rue (Rhu), born in 1666, who came to Louisiana withIberville in the autumn of 1699. The founder of Louisiana was partial to the Jesuit or-der, and desired that priests of that order should be assigned to his new colony. Du Ruewas chosen to begin this mission. He acted as chaplain at Biloxi and Mobile, and withhis colleague Father Joseph de Limoges labored among the tribes on the lower Missis-sippi, especially the Huma. In 1702, however, Du Rue was recalled to France, where hedied in 1741.


This was Father Jean FranCois St. Cosme, a Seminary priest, Canadian born, whoin 1698 came to the West. See his letter in Kellogg, Early Narratives, 337-361. His first mission was among the Illinois; then he went to the Natchez, and met death in 1707 at the hands of the Chitimacha Indians.


This was Father Nicolas Foucault. See ante, letter XXX, 234, note 6.



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Illinois, has been without any ecclesiastic, excepting the Monicas, who for several years have had a missionary whom they love and esteem, and would even have chosenfor their chief, but who has not been able, notwithstand-ing all this, to persuade one single person to embraceChristianity.^

[278] But how can we imagine measures are to be takento convert the infidels, when the children of the faith themselves are, almost all of them, without pastors? I have already had the honour to inform your Grace, that the canton of the Natchez is the most populous of this colony; yet it is five years since the French there have heard mass, or even seen a priest. I was indeed, sensible,that if the greatest number of the inhabitants had an in-difference towards the exercises of religion, which is the common effect of the want of the sacraments; several ofthem, however, expressed much eagerness to lay hold ofthe opportunity my voyage afforded them, to put the af-fairs of their conscience in order, and I did not believe it my duty, to suffer myself to be much entreated on this occasion.

The first proposal made to me was to marry, in the faceof the Church, those inhabitants, who by virtue of a civilcontract, executed in presence of the commandant andprincipal clerk of the place, had cohabited together with-out any scruple, alledging, for excuse, along with thosewho had authorized this concubinage, the necessity therewas of peopling the country, and the impossibility of pro-curing a priest. I represented to them, that there werepriests at the Yasous and New Orleans, and that the af-fair was well worth the trouble of a voyage thither; it was


Father Antoine Davion, who came out with Montigny and St. Cosme in 1698. See account of Davion's mission, 262, post.



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answered, that the contracting parties were not in a con-dition to undertake so long a journey, nor of being at theexpence of procuring a priest. In short, the evil beingdone, the question was only how to remedy it, which Idid. After this, I confessed all those who offered them-selves; but their number was not so great as I expected.

[279] Nothing detaining me longer at the Natchez, Iset out from thence on the 26th of December pretty late,in company with M. de Pauger, King's engineer, who was employed in visiting the colony, in order to examine the proper places for building forts.' We advanced four leagues, and encamped on the banks of a small river onthe left; next day we reimbarked two hours before it was light, with a pretty strong wind against us. The river inthis place makes a circuit or winding of fourteen leagues, and according as we turned, the wind being reflected bythe land, and the islands which are here in great numberturned with us, so that we had it the whole day in ourteeth. Notwithstanding we got ten leagues farther, and entered another small river on the same side. The wholenight we heard a very great noise, which I imagined wasthe effect of the winds growing stronger; but I was told that the river had been very calm, and that the noise which kept us awake had been occasioned by the fishes beating the water with their tails.

On the 28th, after advancing two leagues farther, wearrived at the river of the Tonicas^^" which at first ap-pears to be no more than a brook; but at the distance of amusket-shot from its mouth, forms a very pretty lake. If


Pauger was assistant engineer of the colony. Bienville sent him in the summer of1721 to trace the plat ofNew Orleans, and afterwards to visit the upper river.


"The Homochitta River. The Tunica formerly lived on the Yazoo. In 1706 theywere expelled from that locality by the Chickasaw, and fled southward to the habitatof the Huma, whom they displaced.



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the river continues to carry its stream or course towardsthe other side, as it has done for some time past, all thisplace will become inaccessable. The river of the Tonicasrises in the country of the Tchactas,^^ and its navigation isvery much interrupted with falls or rapid currents. Thevillage stands beyond the lake on a pretty eminence; yetits air is said to be unwholesome, which is attributed to thebad quahty of the water of the river; but I am rather ofopinion, it is owing to the stagnation of the waters ^=*^^in the lake. This village is built round a very large square,and is indifferently populous.

The chief's cabbin is finely decorated for an Indian's,on the outside; on which there are figures in relief, not sobadly executed as one would expect. It is very obscurewithin doors, and I could see nothing in it but chests, full,as I was told, of goods and money. The chief received usvery politely, he was dressed after the French fashion,and seemed in no-ways incommoded with his cloaths.Our commandants repose greater confidence in this man,than in any other of the Indians of Louisiana: he lovesour nation, and has no reason to repent the services he hasdone us. He carries on a trade with the French, supplyingthem with horses and poultry, and is very expert at busi-ness. He has learned from us the art of laying up money,and is accounted very rich. He has long left off wearingthe Indian habit, and takes great pride in appearing al-ways well-dressed.

The rest of the cabbins in this village are partly square, like that of the chief, and partly round, as at the Natchez;the square upon which they all stand is about a hundred


"The country of the Choctaw was southern and central Mississippi, extending asfar east as Georgia. This Muskhogean tribe was one of the largest in the South, beingcomposed in 1700 of fifteen to twenty thousand Indians. In 1904 the Choctaw num-bered about the same. As a rule the members of this tribe were friendly to the French.



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paces In diameter, where though it was that day extreme-ly hot, the young people were diverting themselves at asort of truck, not unlike ours in Europe. There are twoother villages belonging to this nation at no great dis-tance from this, which are all that remains of a peopleheretofore very numerous/"" I have already observed, thatthey had a missionary whom they greatly esteemed, buthave since learned they once expelled him, on account ofhis setting their temple on fire, which, however, they havenot rebuilt or rekindled its fire, a certain proof of their in-differences with respect to religion: soon after theyeven recalled the missionary, but he in his turn has nowleft them, on finding they listened to all he was able tosay with an indolence which he was unable to get the bet-ter of.

From the bottom of the lake or bay of the Tonicas,were we to use canoes of bark, by a carrying place of twoleagues, ten might be saved in the navigation of the river.Two leagues lower than the Tonicas, on the right-hand,is Red-river, or Rio Colorado at the entrance of which the famous Ferdinand de Soto, the conqueror of Florida, end-ed his exploits and life together.'" This river runs east andwest for some time, and then turns to the south. For thespace of forty leagues it is navigable for pirogues, beyondwhich are nothing but Impassable morasses. Its mouth


"The Tunica Indians were a tribe with a distinct language, very musical in sound.They were always loyal to the French; a few still live in Louisiana.


This was Father Antoine Davion, who joined the Tunica in 1699; retired for atime to Mobile and rejoined his mission in 1704. About the time of Charlevoix's visit hehad gone to New Orleans, where he remained until 1727, returning to France for hislast years.


'^Father Martin, the historian of Louisiana, agreed with Charlevoix on the site ofDe Soto's death. Recent examination of the sources leads to the conclusion that the vil-lage where he died was near the mouth of the Arkansas River. See Frederick Hodge,Spanish Explorers in the Southern United States, Original Narratives Series (New York,1907), 227.



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seems to be about two hundred toises In breadth; tenleagues above, it receives on the right-hand Black-river,otherwise called the river of the Ouatchitas,'^ which runsfrom the north, and for seven months in the year, haslittle or no water in it.

Notwithstanding, some grants have been obtainedhere, which, in all probability, never will be good for any-thing; the motive for these settlements is the neighbour-hood of the Spaniards, which has ever been a fatal temp-tation to this colony, and through the hopes of tradingwith them, the best lands in the world have been leftuncultivated. The Natchitoches are settled on the banksof the Red-river, and we have thought proper to builda fort amongst them, in order to prevent the Spaniardsfrom fixing themselves nearer us.'^ We encamped on the29th, a little below the mouth of the Red-river, in a veryfine creek.

[282] 30th, after advancing five leagues, wepassed a second pointe coupeCj or cut point; the rivermakes a very great turning in this place, and the Canadi-ans, by means of digging the channel of a small brook,have carried the waters of the river into it, where such isthe impetuosity of the stream, that the point has beenentirely cut through, and thereby travellers save four-teen leagues of their voyage. The old bed is now actuallydry, having never any water in it, but in the time of aninundation; an evident proof that the river inclines itschannel towards the east, and a circumstance which can-'s


So named for the Ouachita, a small Caddoan tribe living on this stream, who early disappeared.


The Natchitoch Indians were a Caddoan tribe whose habitat was near the presentcity of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Tonti visited their village in 1690 and Bienville in1700. In 1712 St. Denis built a fort at this place, which was garrisoned two years later,and was maintained as a useful outpost for about a century. Ruins of this early postmay yet be seen.



not be too much attended to, by those who settle oneither side. This new channel has been, since that time, sounded with a line of thirty fathoms, without findingany bottom.

Immediately below and on the same side, we saw thefeeble beginnings of a grant, called Sainte Reine, belong-ing to Messrs. Coetlogon and Kolli. It is situated on avery fertile spot, and has nothing to fear from the over-flowing of the river; but from nothing, nothing can pro-ceed, especially when people are not industrious, and insuch a situation this settlement appeared to be.'^ Ad-vancing a league farther this day, we arrived at the grantof Madame de Mezieres, where the rain detained us allthe following day.^' A few huts covered with the leavesof trees, and a large tent made of canvas, are what thewhole of this settlement at present consists of. Plantersand goods are expected from the Black-river, where thewarehouses are, which they seem resolved not to aban-don. But I am very much affraid, that by endeavouringto make two settlements at once, both will probably mis-carry.

[283] "XYiQ soil where this last is begun is very good, butit must be built a quarter of a league from the river, be-hind a cypress wood, where the bottom is marshy, whichmay be employed in raising rice or garden-stuff. Twoleagues farther within the woods is a lake two leagues in


Pointe Coupee in the parish of that name, Louisiana.


In the reign ot Law's company concessions of vast extent were made to prominentcapitalists and noblemen of France. It was estimated that for a concession or grant offour square leagues 200,000 livres were needed to develop it and about two hundredworkmen. From 1718 to 1721 workmen continued to come, and to be placed on theseconcessions. Charlevoix's description of their condition is one of the best sources forearly Louisiana history.


"The Marquis de Mezieres was one of the directors of the Mississippi Company;his grant was held in the name of his wife.



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circuit, the banks of which are covered with game, andwhich perhaps would also furnish abundance of fish, werethe alligators with which it swarms at present destroyed.At this place I learned some secrets which I shall com-municate to your Grace at the price they cost me; for Ihave not had time to make trial of them.

The male cypress in this country bears a sort of husk,which, as they say, must be gathered green, and yields abalm which is sovereign to the cure of cuts or wounds.The tree from which the copalm distills, has, among othervirtues, that of curing the dropsy.'" The roots of thoselarge cotton trees, which I have already spoken of, andwhich are found all along the road from lake Ontario, area certain remedy for all kinds of burns; the interior pel-licle must be boiled in water, the wound fomented withthis water, and afterwards the ashes of the pellicle itselflaid upon it.

On the first day of the new year we said mass aboutthree leagues from the habitation of Madam de Mezieres,in a grant belonging to M. Diron d'Artaguette inspector-general of the troops of Louisiana." We had here a mon-strous large tortoise brought us; and we were told thatthese animals had just broke through a large bar of iron;if the fact is true, and to believe it I should have seen it,the spittle of these animals must be a strong dissolvent:I should not, indeed, chuse to trust f'^'*^ my leg in theirthroat. What is certain is, that the creature I saw waslarge enough to satisfy ten men of the strongest appetites.We staid the whole day in this grant, which is no farther


'"Copalm is the yellowish, fragrant balsam yielded by the sweet gum tree.


" Diron d'Artaguette was the first commissary of the colony who held office from1708 to 1711. The officer Charlevoix mentions was probably his son. The younger Arta-guette came to his concession in 1718; he lived in Louisiana several years, finally dying while governor of Cap Francois in San Domingo.



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advanced than the rest, and is called k Baton rouge, orthe Red-staff Plantation."

The next day, we advanced eleven leagues, and en-camped a little below the Bayagoulas, which we left uponour right, after having visited the ruins of an ancient vil-lage, which I have already mentioned. This was very wellpeopled about twenty years ago; but the smallpox de-stroyed part of the inhabitants, and the rest have dis-persed in such a manner, that no accounts have beenheard of them for several years, and it is doubted if somuch as one single family of them is now remaining. Itssituation was very magnificent, and the Messrs. Parishave now a grant here, which they planted with whitemulberries, and have already raised very fine silk.'^ Theyhave likewise begun to cultivate tobacco and indigo withsuccess. If the proprietors of the grants were everywhereas industrious, they would soon be reimbursed their ex-pences.

On the third of January, at ten in the morning, we ar-rived at the little village of the Oumas, which stands onthe left, and has some French houses in it. A quarter of aleague farther within the country stands the great village.This nation is very well affected towards us.'^ Two leaguesabove this, the Mississippi divides into branches: on theright, to which side it has a constant propensity, it hashollowed out for itself a channel called the/or/^ of the Che-timachas or Sitimachas, which, before it carries its waters


"Baton Rouge is the French translation of the Choctaw term "itu-uma," appliedto a large pole painted red, placed to mark the boundaries between the Huma and theBayogoula tribes.


This concession granted to the brothers Paris Duvernay was settled in 1718. Theywere so far successful that in 1726 silk was listed among the Louisiana exports.


The Huma (Red People) were of Choctaw origin, driven from the HomochittaRiver in 1706. They continued to dwell near the French, removing later to Bayou laFourche. The tribe is now extinct.



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to the sea, forms a pretty large lake.^^ fhe nation of theChetimachas is almost ^^^^i entirely destroyed, the fewthat remain being slaves in the colony.^^

This day we advanced six leagues beyond the Oumas,and passed the night upon a very fine spot, where theMarquis d'Ancenis has a settlement,^^ which the burningof the publick ware-house and several other accidentshappening one after another, have reduced to ruin. TheColapissas had built a small village here, which subsistedno long time. On the fourth before noon, we arrived at thegreat village of the Colapissas.^^ This is the finest in allLouisiana, though there are not above two hundred war-riors in it, who, however, have the reputation of beingvery brave. Their cabbins are in the form of a pavilion,like those of the Sioux; and like them they light fires intliem very seldom.They have a double covering, that with-in being a tissue of the leaves of Lataniers trees, and thatwithout consists of matts.

The chief's cabbin is thirty-six feet in diameter: I havenot hitherto seen any of a larger size, that of the chief ofthe Natchez being no more than thirty. As soon as wecame in sight of the village, they saluted us with beat ofdrum, and we had no sooner landed than I was compli-mented on the part of the chief. I was surprized, on ad-vancing towards the village, to see the drummer dressed


'5 Bayou Manchac leading to Lake Pontchartrain.


The Chitamacha Indians were a tribe dwelling on the Mississippi in the presentAscension Parish. This was the tribe which murdered St. Cosme. The death of thepriest was avenged by Bienville. A few of this ancient people still lingered in Louisianaas late as 1881.


The Marquis d'Ancenis, later the Due de Bethune, sent from France one hundredpersons to his concession, not long before Charlevoix's visit.


The Acolapissa Indians were an offshoot of the Choctaw, first met on the northbank of Lake Pontchartrain. Their name meant "those who listen and see." Ibervilleenumerated seven villages of this people, who after an epidemic in 1718 removed fromLake Pontchartrain to the site here mentioned thirteen Ic.igues above New Orleans.



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in a long fantastical parti-coloured robe. I enquired intothe origin of this custom, and was informed that it wasnot very ancient; that a governor of Louisiana had madea present of this drum to these Indians, who have always been our faithful aUies; and that this sort of beadle's coat, was of their own invention. The women here are handsomer than those of Canada, and are, besides, ex-tremely neat in their dress.

After dinner we made a progress of five leagues farther,and stopt at a place called Cannes brulees^ or Burnt-canes belonging to M. le Comte d'Artagnan, who has a settle-ment here, which is to serve him as an entrepot^ or staple,provided it do not share the same fate with most of therest. This plantation stands on the left, and the first ob-ject that attracted my notice, was a large cross erected onthe banks of the river, round which I found them singingvespers. This is the first place of the colony, after leav-ing the country of the lUinois, where I saw this ceremonyof our religion. Two Musquetaires, Messrs. d'Artiguereand de Benac, are the managers of this grant, and it isM. de Benac who has the direction of the plantation ofCannes brulees, together with M. Chevalier, nephew tothe mathematical master to the King's pages. They haveno priest which is not their fault, there having been onesent them, whom they were obliged to send away for hisdrunkenness, wisely concluding, that more harm thangood was to be expected from a bad priest, in a new settle-ment, where there was no superior to watch over his con-duct. Between the Colapissas and the Cannes brulees, youleave on your right, a place where an Indian nation calledthe Taensas were formerly settled, and who, in the time


The Count d'Artagnan sent eighty men in 1721 to occupy his grant at the CannesBrulees.



of M. de la Sale, made a great figure in this colony, buthave for some years past entirely disappeared. This hasone of the most beautiful situations as well as one of thebest soils in all Louisiana. M. de Meuse to whom it has been granted has as yet done nothing in it, notwithstand-ing he maintains a director who has neither goods norwork-men.3'

[287] stopped to dine, on the fifth, at a place called the Chapitoulas, which is distant only three leagues from New Orleans, at which place we arrived about five o'clockin the evening. The Chapitoulas and some of the neigh-bouring plantations are in a very good condition, the soilis very fertile and has fallen into the hands of expert andlaborious people. They are M. de Breuil and three Cana-dian brothers, of the name of Chawoin who having brought nothing with them to this country but their industry,have attained to a perfection in that through the neces-sity of working for their subsistence. They have lost notime, and have spared themselves in nothing, and their conduct affords an useful lesson to those lazy fellows, whose misery unjustly discredits a country, which is ca-pable of producing an hundred fold, of whatever is sownin it.

/ am^ &c.


The Taensa tribe, in manners and customs similar to the Natchez, was living in1682, when visited by La Salle, on Lake St. Joseph in Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Therealso Tonti visited these Indians in 1686 and 1690, and there Father Montigny in 1698began a mission. In 1706 they took refuge among the Bayogoula, who almost destroyedthem. From this location south of Bayou Manchac the Taensa removed in 1764 to theRed River.


i' De Meuse was later granted a concession in Pointe Coupee Parish.


J'The Choupetoulas was a small group, probably of Choctaw affinity, who by 1718had abandoned its village. A street in New Orleans is named for this tribe.


De Breuil and the three Chauvin brothers came to Louisiana in 1721, and importeda number of negro slaves to develop their plantation.





Voyage from New Orleans to the Mouth oj the Mississippi.Description of that River to the Sea. Reflections on theGrants.


Island of Thoulouse or Balise, January 26, 1722.Madam,

THE country, in the neighbourhood of New Or-leans, has nothing very remarkable; nor have Ifound the situation of this city so very advanta-geous, as it has been said to be: there are some who thinkotherwise, and support their opinion by the following rea-sons; and I shall afterwards lay before you those whichinduce me to differ from them. The first is, that a leaguebeyond it, towards the north-east, there is a small rivercalled le Bayouc de Saint Jean,"^ or the Creek of St. John,Bayouc in the Indian language signifying a rivulet, which,at the end of two leagues, discharges itself into the lakePontchartrain which has a communication with the sea,by means of which it would be easy, say they, to keep upa f*'' trade between the capital Mobile and Biloxi, andwith all the other posts we possess near the sea. The sec-


The aboriginal name for this bayou was Tchoupic, meaning muddy. The name waschanged to St. Jean in honor of Bienville's patron saint.



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ond is, that below the city the river makes a very greatturning called le detour aux Anglois or the English reach,which is imagined would be of great advantage to preventa surprize. These reasons are specious, but do not appearto me to be solid; for, in the first place, those who reasonin this manner suppose, that the river at its entrance canonly receive small vessels: now in this case, what is to befeared from a surprize, provided the city be fortified, as Isuppose it will soon be? Will an enemy come to attack itwith shallops, or with vessels which carry no guns? Be-sides, in whatever place the town be situated, ought notthe mouth of the river to be defended by good batteries,and a fort which would at least give them notice to holdthemselves in readiness to receive an enemy ? In the sec-ond place, what necessity is there for a communication,which can only be carried on by means of shallops, withposts which cannot be assisted in case they were attacked,and from which, on the other hand, but a feeble assist-ance could be drawn, and which, for the most part, wouldbe good for nothing? To this it may be added, that whena vessel goes up the English reach, the wind must changeevery moment, so that whole weeks may be spent in ad-vancing seven or eight leagues.^

A little below New Orleans the soil begins to be very shallow on both sides the Mississippi, and its depth con-tinues to diminish all the way to the sea. This is a point of land which does not appear to be very ancient; for if it beever so little dug up, water is sure to be found, and the great number of shoals and small islands, which within these twenty years have been formed at all the


' For this place see 227, note i j, letter XXIX, ante.


3 It is interesting to compare this theoretical discussion of the defense of New Or-leans with the actual events of the British invasion of 1814.



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mouths of the river, leave no room to doubt that this neckof land has been formed in the same manner. It appearscertain, that when M. de Sale went down the Mississippito the sea, the mouth of this river was quite different from what it is at present.'*

The nearer we approach the sea, the more sensible this becomes: the bar has little or no water on the greatestpart of the out-lets which the river has opened for itself,and which have been so greatly multiplied by means of trees, which have been carried along with the current;and one of them being stopt, by means of its roots orbranches, in a place where there is little depth of water, isthe occasion of stopping a thousand more. I have seen,two hundred leagues from hence, heaps of them, one ofwhich alone would fill all the timber-yards in Paris. Noth-ing can then separate the mud from them which the rivercarries along with it; it serves them as a cement, and cov-ers them by little and little; every fresh inundation leavesa new bed, and after ten years at most the canes and shrubs begin to grow. It is in this manner, that the great-est part of these points of land and islands have been formed, which have so often caused a change in the course of the river.

I have nothing to add to what I have said in the begin-ning of the foregoing letter, about the present state of New Orleans. The justest notion you can form of it is, to imagine to yourself two hundred persons, who have been sent out to build a city, and who have settled on the banksof a great river, thinking upon nothing but upon putting themselves under cover from the injuries of the


In La Salle's day there were three channels or passes from the Mississippi to thesea Nthe Northeast, South or Middle, and Southwest. La Salle chose the central one,filled up by 1850; while Charlevoix went out by the Northeast Pass. This middle passhas since been reopened by the jetties.



[ 274 ]

weather, and In the mean time waiting till a plan is laidout for them, and till they have built houses according toit. M. de Pauger, whom I have still the honour to accom-pany, has just shown me a plan of his own invention; butit will not be so easy to put it into execution, as it hasbeen to draw it out upon paper. We set out on the 28th,for Biloxi, where the general quarters are.^ There are nogrants between New Orleans and the sea, the soil being oftoo Httle depth; but only some small private settlementsand entrepots, or staples, for the large grants.

Behind one of these plantations, and immediately be-low the English reach, stood, not long since, a village ofthe Chaouachas, the ruins of which I have visited. Noth-ing remains entire but the cabbin of the chief, which bearsa great resemblance to one of our peasants' houses inFrance, with this difference only, that it has no windows.It is built of the branches of trees, the voids of which arefilled up with the leaves of the trees called lataniers, andits roof is of the same materials. The chief, like all the restin Florida, is very absolute; he hunts only for his pleasure,for his subjects are obliged to give him part ot their game.His village is at present on the other side of the river, halfa league lower, and the Indians have transported thithereven the bones of their dead.^


A little below their new habitation, the coast is muchhigher than any where else; and it seems to me, this would have been the best situation for a city. It is not abovetwenty leagues from the sea, and with a moderate south


Biloxi was the site of the first settlement of the French in Louisiana. At that placeFort de Maurepas was built in 1699. In 1702 the capital was removed to Mobile, but eighteen years later head quarters were again carried to Biloxi, where a post was built on a new site. This remained the capital until the transfer in 1722 to New Orleans.


This small tribe of Chaoucha Indians was apparently friendly to the French. Dur-ing the Natchez war they fell under suspicion and most of them were massacred by thenegroes at the order of the French.



[ 275 ]

Kor south-east wind, ships might get up to it in fifteenhours. On '^'^^ the evening of the 23d, we quitted theshallop which had carried us to this place, and embarkedon board a brigantine, in which we lay by during thewhole night. On the morrow at break of day we found wehad passed a new turn in the river, called le detour auxPiakimines^ or the reach of the Piakimines.

We found ourselves soon after among the passes of theMississippi; here one must sail with abundance of precau-tion, for fear of being drawn into one from whence it wouldbe next to impossible to extricate one's self. Most of themare only small streams, and some are separated only byshallows almost level with the water. The bar of the Mis-sissippi is what has multiplied these passes to such a de-gree, it being easy to conceive, by the way in which I saidnew lands are formed, how the river endeavouring aftera passage where there is the least resistance, opens one,sometimes on one side, sometimes on another; fromwhence it might happen, without great care to prevent it,that all the passes might become impassable to ships. Inthe evening of the 24th, we cast anchor without the bar,opposite the Island Balise.*

The contrary wind still detaining us, we resolved tomake some use of this delay. Yesterday being the 25th, Ibegan by singing grand mass in the island called de laBalise, or the Buoy Island, on account of a buoy erectedupon it for the convenience of shipping. Afterwards Iblessed it, gave it the name of the island Thoulouse^ and

7 Called by the Creoles Plaquemine, hence the present Plaquemines Parish throughwhich the Mississippi makes its exit to the Gulf. The word was the Illinois Indian namefor the persimmon {Diospyros virginiana).

?Charlevoix took the Northeast Pass and landed on the small island of Balize, longused as a pilot station. Pauger endeavored to develop a post at this point. This island isnow some distance inland.



then sung Te Deum. This island together with another,which is separated from it by a creek where there is al-ways water, is not more than half a league in ^^''^ cir-cumference. It is besides very low, excepting one placeonly which is never overflowed, and where there is roomenough to build a fort and ware-houses. Vessels mightlikewise unload here, which would have difficulty to getover the bar with their cargoes in.

M. de Pauger sounded this place with the lead, andfound the bottom pretty hard and clayey, though five orsix small springs rise from it, which do not throw up muchwater, but leave a very fine salt behind them. When theriver is at its lowest, that is to say during the three hottestmonths of the year, the water is salt all round this island;but in the time of the floods it is entirely fresh, and theriver preserves its freshness a league out at sea. Duringthe remainder of the year it is a little brackish beyond thebar; consequently it is a mere fable, what has been assert-ed, that for the space of twenty leagues, the waters of theMississippi do not mix with those of the ocean.

M. Pauger and I spent the rest of the day with M. Ker-lasio, master of the Brigantine, in sounding and surveyingthe only mouth of the river which was then navigable; andhere follow our observations on the condition in which wethen found it, for I cannot answer for the changes whichmay have since happened. It runs north-east and south-west, for the space of three hundred fathoms from the sea tothe island of Thoulouse, opposite to which are three smallislands, which have as yet no grass upon them, althoughthey are of a tolerable height. For the whole of this space,its breadth is about two hundred and fifty fathoms, and itsdepth about eighteen feet in the middle; but those ^^"^ whoare not well acquainted must keep the lead always going.



From thence, going up the river, the course Hes stillnorth-west, for the space of four hundred fathoms, hav-ing all along fifteen foot depth of water and the same bot-tom; the anchoring ground is every where good, and un-der cover from all but the south and south-west winds,which might, if violent, cause the vessels to drag theiranchors, but without any danger; for they would runupon the bar, which is likewise a soft mud: the course isafter this north-west, and one quarter north-east, for thespace of five hundred fathoms. This is properly the bar,having twelve foot water middle-depth, but much incum-bered with banks and shoals, on which account, greatcare must be taken in working a vessel; this bar is twohundred and fifty fathoms broad betwixt the low-landson each side, which are covered with reeds.

In the east channel, which is immediately above thebar, the course is due west, for the space of a league: thisis two hundred and fifty fathoms in breadth, and fromfour to fifteen in depth. Then all of a sudden no bottom isto be found. On taking the large channel after going overthe bar, the course is north-west, for the space of threehundred fathoms, where there is always forty-five feetdepth of water. You leave the channel of Sauvole, on theright-hand, through which there is a passage for shallopsto Biloxi, the course of which is northerly: this channelhad its name from an officer whom M. d'Iberville, on hisreturn to France, left commandant of the colony.'

[296] fi^e course lies afterwards west, one quarternorth-west, for the space of fifty fathoms in a sort of baylying on the left, at the end of which there are three chan-nels more, one running south-south-east, another south,

"Sieur de Sauvole came out with Iberville in 1699, and commanded at Biloxi untilhis death, August 22,1701.


and the third west-south-west. This bay is but ten fath-oms in depth and twenty over, and the channels have butlittle water. Continuing to steer on the same point of thecompass, and after running fifty fathoms more, you meetwith a second bay on the same side, which is twenty fath-oms over, and fifty in depth. This has two little channels,through which canoes of bark would have difficulty to pass,so that, for the most part, no account is made of them.

From hence the course is westerly for the space of fivehundred fathoms, when you are opposite to the passe a laloutre, or the Otter channel, which lies on the right hand,and runs south-south-east, being a hundred fathom inbreadth, but only navigable for pirogues.'" Afterwardsyou steer south-west for the space of twenty fathoms,then due west for three hundred: after this west, onequarter north-west, for the space of a hundred, as muchwest-north-west, and eight-hundred north-west; then youfind on your left-hand the south passage, which is two hun-dred and fifty fathoms in breadth, having nine fathomsdepth of water at its entrance on the river side, and onlytwo feet at its opening into the sea.

Two hundred and fifty fathoms farther, lies the south-west passage, nearly of the same breadth but with neverless than seven or eight feet water." The country in thisplace is not so marshy as lower down, but is overflowedduring four months ^'^^^ of the year. It is bounded onthe left by a series of small lakes, lying at the end of thelake Chetimachas, and on the right by the isles de laChandeleur, or the Candlemas islands;'' it is believed that

"Still called Pass a la Loutre, a subdivision of the Northeast Pass.

"Until the completion of the jetties the Southwest Pass was used by all ships ofheavy draft.

"Chandeleur Islands lie in a long chain on the eastern boundary of ChandeleurSound. The bays at its western edge are called lakes.


-h[ 279 K

there is a channel for vessels of the greatest burthen, andthat it would be very easy to make a very fine harbouramong these islands. Large barks can get from the sea tolake Chetimachas, and the finest oaks in the world mightbe cut there, the whole coast being covered with them.

I am likewise of opinion, that all the channels in theriver ought to be stopt up, excepting the principal one,which would be extremely easy, nothing more being re-quired, than to introduce into them those floating treeswith which the river is always covered. The consequenceof which would be, in the first place, that the river wouldbe no longer accessible to barks and canoes, but upon oneside, which would put the colony out of all danger of be-ing surprized; and, in the second place, the whole force ofthe current being united, the only opening, which the riv-er would then have, would grow deeper as well as the bar.I ground this conjecture upon what has already hap-pened at the two cut points, of which I have already spok-en. In this case there would be no more to do than to keepup one channel, and to prevent the floating trees fromstopping in it, which, as appears to me, would be no diffi-cult affair.

The breadth of the river between the channels, that isto say, for the space of four leagues from the Island ofThoulouse to the south-west channel, is never more thanfifty fathoms. But immediately above this channel, theMississippi insensibly ^'^^^ resumes its wonted breadth,which is never less than one mile, and seldom more thantwo. Its depth continually encreases beyond the bar, whichis contrary to what happens in all other rivers, which arecommonly deeper as they approach nearer the sea.

Here, Madam, would be an opportunity to give you anaccount of what has occasioned the failure of those nu-merous

--[ 2 8o ]--

merous grants, which have made so much noise in France,and upon which so many had founded the greatest hopes;but I rather chuse to refer this to our first meeting, andcontent myself, at present, with imparting to you somereflections I have made on the manner of settling in thiscountry, if our countrymen are not entirely disgusted atthe bad success so many repeated eflForts, and useless ex-pences, have been attended with.

It appears to me, that the best place for settlements isnot on the banks of the river, but at least a quarter if nothalf a league back in the country. I am not ignorant, thatit is possible to guard against the ordinary inundations ofthe river by good ditches; but there is a great inconveni-ence in dwelHng upon a soil, which affords water ever solittle below the surface, and where, of course, there can beno cellars. I am even of opinion, that it would be very ad-vantageous to leave free room to the annual overflowingof the river, especially for the soil, which is not very dryand would not be useless.

The slime, which remains upon it, after the waters arewithdrawn, renews and fattens it; and ^^''^ one partmight be employed in pasturage, and the other sown withrice, pulse, and, in a word, with every thing which thriveson fat and moist lands. So, that in time, nothing might beseen on both the banks of the Mississippi, but gardens,orchards, and meadows, which would supply the inhabitants with food, and even furnish commodities for carry-ing on a trade with our islands and the neighbouring col-onies. In a word, I believe, I may afiirm that, havinglanded twice or thrice every day, when I was going downthe river, there are almost every where, at a very smalldistance from the banks, high grounds, where housesmight be built on a solid foundation; and corn would


-h[ 281 K

grow extremely well, after the air had got free access toit, by means of clearing away the woods.

The navigation of the river upwards will always be ex-tremely difficult, on account of the strength of the cur-rent which even obliges those who are going down to takegreat care, for it frequently drives them upon points ofland and upon shoals; so that, in order to proceed withsafety, vessels must be made use of which can both sailand row. Besides, as it is not possible to advance in thenight-time, these voyages will always be very tedious andexpensive; at least till the banks of the river shall be wellpeopled, through the whole extent of country, from theIllinois to the sea.

Such, Madam, is the country which has been so muchtalked of for some years past, and of which so few enter-tain a just idea. We are not the first Europeans who havebeen sensible of its ^^^ goodness, and have at the sametime neglected it. Ferdinand de Soto went all over it, inthe space of three years, and Garcilasso de Vega his his-torian has not been able to forgive him, for not havingmade a sohd establishment upon it. ''Where could he have"gone," says he, "to find a better."

In a word, I have met with none, who have been on thespot, who have spoken disadvantageously of Louisiana,but three sorts of persons whose testimony can be of nogreat weight. The first are the sailors, who, from the roadat the island of Dauphine, have been able to see nothingbut that island covered with a barren sand, and the coastof Biloxi still more sandy, and have suffered themselvesto be persuaded, that the entrance of the Mississippi isimpracticable to vessels above a certain bulk; and thatthe country is uninhabitable for fifty leagues up the river.They would have been of a very different opinion, had


-^[ 282 K

they had penetration enough to distrust those personswho spoke in this manner, and to discover the motiveswhich made them do so.

The second are wretches, who being banished fromFrance for their crimes or ill-behaviour, true or supposed,or who, in order to shun the pursuits of their creditors,listed themselves among the troops, or hired themselvesto the plantations.'3 Both of them, looking upon thiscountry as a place of banishment only, were consequent-ly shocked with every thing: they have no tye to bindthem, nor any concern for the progress of a colony ofwhich they are involuntary members, f^"'^ and givethemselves very little trouble about the advantages it iscapable of procuring to the state.

The third are such, who having seen nothing but mis-ery, in a country for which excessive sums have been dis-bursed, attribute to it, without reflection, what oughtsolely to be laid to the incapacity or negligence of thosewho were charged with the settling it. You are, besides, notunacquainted with the reasons for publishing, that Louis-iana contained in its bosom immense treasures; and thatits value to us was very near equal to the famous minesof St. Barbe,'^ and others still richer, from which we flat-tered ourselves we should be able to drive the possessorswith ease: and because these ridiculous tales found creditwith fools, instead of imputing the mistake to themselves,into which their foolish creduhty had engaged them, theydischarged their ill humour upon this country, in whichthey found no one article that had been promised them.

/ arn^ &c.

"Many of the concessionaires sent out convict labor to develop their plantations.

'^The silver mines of Santa Barbara in Mexico, discovered in 1563, were among therichest in the New World. Between 1704 and 18J3 nearly three hundred and fifty mil-lion dollars were taken from these mines.


  1. Colonies. The communication between Canada and Illinois was destroyed in 1706 by the revolt of the Peoria Indians, who seriously wounded the missionary Gravier. All traders were prohibited from passing that way for some time. Alvord, Illinois 136-137. — Author's note.
  2. With food. In 1702-1704 an attempt to develop the buffalo industry and to tan the hides was made by a Canadian, Charles Juchereau de St. Denis. He built a post near Cairo, Illinois, opened tanning pits, and employed numbers of Indian hunters. Juchereau died in 1704, probably from malaria, and the enterprise was abandoned. — Author's note.
  3. Sail. The first sailboat on the Mississippi was the felucca of Pierre le Sueur, who in 1700 voyaged to Minnesota River. Wis. Hist. Colls., xvi, 179. — Author's note.
  4. Cape St. Anthony. Apparently this was the bluff on the east bank of the stream, known as Fountain Bluff. The present Cape Antoine is on the west bank in Perry County, Missouri. SeeHouck, Missouri, 1,241-242. — Author's note.
  5. Iroquois. Lieutenant de Maunoir, eldest son of Claude de Ramesay, and Ensign d'Adoucourt, one of the sons of Charles Le Moyne Baron de Longueuil, were sent west in 1715 to take part in an expedition against the Foxes. They were not successful in rallying the allied tribesmen, and retreated to Kaskaskia, where both were taken ill. The next spring orders were sent them to plunder the English who were trading on the Missis-ippi ; they set forth, and falling in with a hostile band of Cherokee were both murdered. Wis. Hist. Colls., xvi, 313,317,32,3 337,338,341; Mich.Pion.and Hist. Colls., xxxiii,587. — Author's note.
  6. Ouabache. Now called the Ohio, but during the French regime it was considered that the Ohio emptied into the Wabash and that into the Mississippi. From the upper waters of the Allegheny River are several portages leading to the Iroquois country in western New York. — Author's note.
  7. Cherokee. For the Cherokeesee ante , letter XIII, vol. I, 299, note 9. They were divided into the Lower, Middle, and Mountain Cherokee, because of the location of their towns and some differences of dialect. The French began to penetrate to their villages in the early eighteenth century, and in 1759 the Cherokee made an attack upon the Carolinas. They were friendly to the British during the American Revolution. In 1820 the Cherokee adopted a form of government, and invented an alphabet. In 1835 they ceded their lands east of the Mississippi and removed to Oklahoma. — Author's note.
  8. Iron. This is the place known to early travelers as the Iron Banks, on the Kentucky shore about twenty miles below the Ohio. The bluffs, from eighty to one hundred and twenty feet high, are of reddish brown earth. No appreciable amount of iron has been found in them. — Author's note.
  9. Pijoux. the term "pichou" was applied by the Canadians to the wildcat or lynx, in imitation of its cry. — Author's note.
  10. Chicahas The enmity between the Chickasaw and the Illinois was of long standing. The English traders from the Carolinas had secured a firm hold among this tribe by 1690, and thereafter until the close of the French regime the Chickasaw were the worst enemies of the French in the south. See their attack on the Illinois mentioned by St. Cosmein 1698. — Author's note.
  11. Garcia Lasso de la Vega. Garcia Lasso de la Vega was the son of a Spanish soldier and a sister of the last Peruvian Inca. He was born in 1537 at Cuzco, went to Spain in 1560, and there wrote a history of De Soto's expedition entitled: Florida del Inca. Historia del Adelantado, Hernando de Soto etc. (Lisbon, 1605). He described De Soto's visit to the tribe he called Chica. The Chickasaw then dwelt, as two hundred years later, in what is now northern Mississippi. They were a Muskhogean tribe related to the Choctaw. In 1736 they inflicted a severe defeat upon the French, capturing and burning the commandant of Illinois, a Jesuit priest and many others. In 1832-1834 the Chickasaw removed from their Mississippi residence to Oklahoma. — Author's note.
  12. alliance. "On the relation of the Carolina traders with these interior tribes see Verner W.Crane, "The Tennessee River as the Road to Carolina: the Beginnings of Exploration and Trade," in Mississippi Valley Historical Review, III, 3-18; also "The Southern Frontier in Queen Anne's War," in American Historical Review, XXIV, 379. — Author's note.
  13. settlement. "The French anticipated the English occupation of the Mississippi by a very small margin of time. In 1699 Bienville met an English vessel in the Mississippi, and compelled its departure. Hence the name "English Turn." — Author's note.
  14. river. Wolf River of Tennessee, at whose mouth now stands Memphis. It heads in Chickasaw territory. The French called it Riviere a Margot. — Author's note.
  15. Akansas. The Akansas, Arkansas, or properly the Quapaw Indians were a large division of Siouan people, whose name is supposed to mean "down stream people." They were encountered in 1541 by De Soto; while in 1673 Jolliet finished his voyage of discovery at their village. La Salle, Tonti, and St. Cosme all describe their villages.They ultimately moved up the Arkansas River, where Nuttall found them in 1819. See his remarks on Charlevoix's account in Thwaites, Early Western Travels (Cleveland, 1905), xiii, 117-122. — Author's note.
  16. village. Nuttall says this village was at McLane's Landing, the only spot free from inundation. — Author's note.
  17. Ouyapes. The Quapaw tribe called themselves Oguahpa, of which this is probably a contracted form — Author's note.
  18. Panis Ricaras. Charlevoix here refers to the Wichita, who dwelt on the upper Arkansas; they were of the Caddoan family, and had lived with the Skidi or Wolf Pawnee, who also were mixed with the Arikara. It is not known that the Ankara or Ree of the upper Missouri ever dwelt upon the Arkansas. La Harpe in 1719 visited the Wichita village on the Canadian fork of the Arkansas in Pontotoc or McLean County, Oklahoma. — Author's note.
  19. White River The White River of Arkansas rises in Missouri near the sources of the Osage River. — Author's note.
  20. Tongigua and Topinga Tourima, called Toriman by Tonti, was a Quapaw village two leagues above the Tongigua or Topinga (Tonti says Tongengan) in 1685. The latter name means little village — Author's note.
  21. Southouis Tonti called this the Osotouy village; the native name was Uzutiuli; some ot thisband were living in 1891 — Author's note.
  22. Kappas This form, Kappa, is a variant of Quapaw. — Author's note.
  23. Ferdi-nand de Soto In 1905 about three hundred of this tribe were living among the Osage. — Author's note.
  24. German palatines Only about 250 German Palatines reached Law's grant on the Arkansas beforethe collapse in 1720 of the "Mississippi Bubble." These Germans, under their leaderthe Swedish officer Chevalier d'Arensbourg, in 1723 received grants on what is nowknown as the German Coast in St. Charles and St. John parishes, Louisiana. — Author's note.
  25. nihahani , See this chant and the music for it in Jesuit Relations, lix, 311. — Author's note.
  26. les beaux hommes , Nuttall thinks this designation undeserved, and that the Quapaw were not as fineappearing Indians as their relatives the Osage. — Author's note.
  27. Cansez of the Missouri , The Kansa and the Missouri are of the same stock as the Quapaw. The Potawatomiare Aigonquian. Early travelers often spoke, however, of the good looks of this latter tribe. — Author's note.
  28. second , Both mouths of the Arkansas River are in Desha County, Arkansas. — Author's note.
  29. (STOPPED HERE. worked only on foot notes)

Text prepared by:

Winter 2018-2019 Group


Cable, George Washington. "Posson Jone'" and Pre Raphal: With a New Word Setting Forth How and Why the Two Tales Are One. Illus. Stanley M. Arthurs. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1909. Google Books. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. <http://books. google.com/books?id=bzhLAAAAIAAJ>.

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