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men bearing immense feather fans as white as snow. A third carried plates of copper highly polished. His interview with La Salle was grave and dignified, and he used many gracious words, so they parted with mutual assurances of friendship. The people over whom the king ruled were a part of those barbarians of the gulf region who worshipped the sun and were called the Taenses.
La Salle proceeded southward, planted a cross and the arms of France on the borders of the Gulf of Mexico and proclaimed that the whole Mississippi valley was a part of the dominions of King Louis. He named the magnificent dominion Louisiana, in honor of his monarch, who was then in the height of his honor. So was planted in the very heart of the North American continent, the germ of the French empire which grew up there early in the eighteenth century.
Having accomplished this much, La Salle went back to Quebec, and thence to France, where he laid a report of his discoveries before the delighted monarch. Colbert was dead; but his son was in power and inherited his father's genius and enterprise. He procured for La Salle the king's commission to colonize Louisiana.
In the year 1684, when La Salle was at the French court, on the subject of his discoveries, he not only won the esteem of de Seignelay, the minister, but brought him to agree that he should prosecute his discoveries and attempt to enter the mouth of the Mississippi by sea, in order to form a settlement. All winter was spent in making preparations for his expedition. By his commission, he was to command all the French and savages that lay between Fort Lewis, which he had already built upon the River Illinois, and that part of Florida called New Biscay; and the French commodore, who was to carry him to America, was enjoined to give him all the assistance in his power.
Four vessels were built at Rochefort, on board of which were embarked one hundred soldiers, a Canadian family, thirty volunteers, some of whom were gentlemen, and a few ladies and workmen. Three ecclesiastics, with four others, among whom was Father Zenobe, composed the rest of the company, together with a citizen of Rouen, one Joutel, who was a man of some capacity, and was intended as a kind of an assistant to La Salle. The ships destined fortius discovery were the Joli, of forty guns, commanded by M. de Beaujeu; another vessel of six guns, which the French king made a present of to La Salle; the Amiable. a merchant ship of about three hundred tons burden, which carried La Salle's baggage and implements, and a ketch, of thirty guns, freighted with ammunition and merchandise.
This little squadron had scarcely cleared the land, when the main-mast of the Joli broke, and all the four ships returned to Rochelle, from whence they again set sail on the first of August, and on the sixteenth day were in sight of the Madeiras. By this time, La Salle and Beaujeu had quarrelled. The latter proposed to put into Madeira, to take in water and provisions; but as the success of the expedition depended on its being kept a secret from the Spaniards, La Salle resolutely opposed their stopping; and this circumstance increased their animosity. When they arrived in Hispaniola, Beaujeu came to anchor at Petit Guaves. Business of great importance had been entrusted to La Salle by the minister, with M. de Cussi, the French governor, who lived on the north side; so that Cussi, with two other French officers, was obliged to repair to Petit Guaves, where he found La Salle greatly indisposed, chiefly through vexation, two Spanish peraguas having taken his ketch off the island.
The growing discontents between La Salle and Beaujeu made all the adventurers despair of success. Having dispatched his business at Petit Guaves, La Salle set sail from thence the 25th of November, more embroiled than ever with Beaujeu. About the 12th of December, they entered the gulf of Mexico; but were obliged, by contrary winds, to lie by till the 18th. On the 28th, La Salle discovered Florida and, having been informed that the currents in the gulf set strongly in for the east, he did not doubt that the mouth of the Mississippi lay a great way to the west; consequently he bore westward. On the 10th of January, 1685, he was near the object of his search, without knowing it, and passed it, without sending any of his people ashore. Some days after, beginning to be sensible of his mistake, he wanted to return; but Beaujeu refused to obey him, and La Salle acquiesced, though he had been extremely obstinate in all their differences of minor consequence. Still holding to the west, they at last arrived, without knowing where they were, at the bay of St. Bernard, one hundred leagues to the west of the mouth of the Mississippi. Here La Salle discovered a river, which he mistook for the Mississippi; and here he resolved to land his people. On the 20th of February he sent orders to the commander of the Amiable, the merchant ship, to lighten her, that she might sail up the river, and ordered one Le Belle to command her; but the captain of the vessel refused to receive him. Meanwhile, some of La Salle's company, who had landed, were carried off by the savages, and as he himself was hastening to their rescue, the Amiable was run ashore, designedly as it was thought, by the commander. The crew was saved, and some part of the cargo. The whole of it might have been saved had not the vessel's long boat been destroyed on purpose. Next morning, the Amiable bulged; so that no more was got on shore than thirty casks of wine and brandy and some barrels of flour and salted meat. A bundle of blankets and several other things, being driven from the wreck to the shore, were seized by the savages. They were demanded by La Salle and his people with so much roughness, that the Indians resolved to be revenged and refused to give up their booty. La Salle seized their canoes, which they had left ashore, an outrage which greatly exasperated them. Advancing in the night to his camp, they killed some of his men, and wounded others. Among the latter was Moranger, his own nephew.
It appears, from all accounts, that La Salle was obstinate, proud and passionate, to the last degree, qualities ill suited to such an undertaking. Beaujeu, who considered his station as commander of a royal ship, superior to that of La Salle, to whose orders he was subjected, could not bear with his peevish, tyrannical humor and took all opportunities to thwart him in his projects. All the sensible and independent part of the adventurers, some of whom had risked large sums in the undertaking, were disgusted for the same reason. They complained