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La Salle had asked for sole command of the expedition, with a subaltern officer, and one or two pilots to sail the vessels as he should direct. Instead of complying, Seignelay gave the command of the vessels to Beaujeu, a captain of the royal navy,whose authority was restricted to their management at sea, while La Salle was to prescribe the route they were to take, and have entire control of the troops and colonists on land. This arrangement displeased both parties. Beaujeu, an old and experienced officer, was galled that a civilian should be set over him,and he, too, a burgher lately ennobled; nor was La Salle the man to soothe his ruffled spirit. Detesting a divided command, cold, reserved, and [Pg 354] impenetrable, he would have tried the patience of a less excitable colleague. Beaujeu, on his part, though set to a task which he disliked, seems to have meant to do his duty, and to have been willing at the outset to make the relations between himself and his unwelcome associate as agreeable as possible. Unluckily, La Salle discovered that the wife of Beaujeu was devoted to the Jesuits. We have seen the extreme distrust with which he regarded these guides of his youth, and he seems now to have fancied that Beaujeu was their secret ally. Possibly, he suspected that information of his movements would be given to the Spaniards; more probably, he had undefined fears of adverse machinations. Granting that such existed, it was not his interest to stimulate them by needlessly exasperating the naval commander. His deportment, however, was not conciliating; and Beaujeu, prepared to dislike him, presently lost temper. While the vessels still lay at Rochelle; while all was bustle and preparation; while stores, arms, and munitions were embarking; while boys and vagabonds were enlisting as soldiers for the expedition,Beaujeu was venting his disgust in long letters to the minister.
LA SALLE'S DISCOVERIES. "Il ne restoit que quelques bouts de perches brules qui montroient quelle avoit t l'tendue du village, et sur la plupart desquelles il y avoit des ttes de morts plantes et manges des corbeaux."Relation des Dcouvertes du Sr. de la Salle.
Mzy, had, as before mentioned, orders to inquire with greatTo the institutions, traditions, rites, usages, and festivals of the league the Iroquois was inseparably wedded. He clung to them with Indian tenacity; and he clings to them still. His political fabric was one of ancient ideas and practices, crystallized into regular and enduring forms. In its component parts it has nothing peculiar to itself. All its elements are found in other tribes: most of them belong to the whole Indian race. Undoubtedly there was a distinct and definite effort of legislation; but Iroquois legislation invented nothing. Like all sound legislation, it built of materials already prepared. It organized the chaotic past, and gave concrete forms to Indian nature itself. The people have dwindled and decayed; but, banded by its ties of clan and kin, the league, in feeble miniature, still subsists, and the degenerate Iroquois looks back with a mournful pride to the glory of the past.
CHAPTER III. cared for no qualification except the capacity of maternity.
(extract in Faillon).At Montreal, Le Moyne took a canoe, a young Frenchman, and two or three Indians, and began the tumultuous journey of the Upper St. Lawrence. Nature, or habit, had taught him to love the wilderness life. He and his companions had struggled all day against the surges of La Chine, and were bivouacked at evening by the Lake of St. Louis, when a cloud of mosquitoes fell upon them, followed by a shower of warm rain. The father, stretched under a tree, seems clearly to have enjoyed himself. It is a pleasure, he writes, the sweetest and most innocent imaginable, to have no other shelter than trees planted by Nature since the creation of the world. Sometimes, during their journey, this primitive tent proved insufficient, and they would build a bark hut or find a partial shelter under their inverted canoe. Now they glided smoothly over the sunny bosom of the calm and smiling river, and now strained every nerve to fight their slow way against the rapids, dragging their canoe upward in the shallow water by the shore, as one leads an unwilling horse by the bridle, or shouldering it and bearing it through the forest to the smoother current above. Game abounded; and they saw great herds of elk quietly defiling between the water and the woods, with little heed of men, who in that perilous region found employment enough in hunting one another.
The orator followed the good advice and, trembling from head to foot, slunk back to his place, where he cowered making himself as small as possible.