Written in French by Monsieur [Henri] Joutel
A Commander in that Expedition;
And translated from the Edition just published at Paris.
Printed for A. Bell, B. Lintott, and F. Baker
The Second [of August 1687], we made ready to be going. The Indian given by the first Village for our Guide, would not go any farther. A Man, Said to be an Hermaphrodite, offer'd to supply his Place, saying, he was willing to go to the Illinois. We took Leave of the Sieur Couture, to whom Monsr. Cavelier made an Exhortation encouraging him to persevere and have Patience in Hopes of the, Relief we wou'd send him, and so we imbark'd on the Missisipi in a Canoe, being Nine in Number, that is, five of us, and the four Indians that were our Guides. We were oblig'd to cross that River very often, and no less frequently to carry our Canoe and Goods, as well on Account of the Rapidity of the River, and to find it slacker on the one or the other Side of it, which was very, troublesome to our Guides, as because of the little Islands we met with, which are form'd by the impetuous beating of the Water upon the Banks, that oppose its Course, where the Channels happen not to lie strait; there it washes away the Earth and bears down great Trees, which in Process of Time form little Islands, that divide the Channel. At Night we incamp'd in one of those small Islands, for our greater Safety, for we were then come into an Enemy's Nation, call'd Machigamea, which put our Indians into great Frights.
It is certain our Toil was very great, for we were oblig'd to row in the Canoe, to help our Indians to, stem the Current of the River, because we were going up, and it was very strong and rapid; we were often necessitated
to land, and sometimes to travel over miry Lands, where we sunk up half way the Leg; other Times over burning Sands, which scorch'd our Feet having no Shoes or else over Splinters of Wood, which ran into the Soles of our Feet; and when we were come to the resting Place, we were to provide Fuel to dress our Meat and provide all Things for our Indians who would not have done so much as go fetch a Cup of Water, tho' we were on the Bank of the River, and yet we were happy enough in having them.
We proceeded on, continually undergoing the same Toil, till the Seventh, when, we saw the first Bullock, we had met on our Way, since our coming among the Accancea's. The Indians, who had a great Mind to eat Flesh, made a Sign to me, to go kill it. I pursu'd and Shot, but it did not fall, the Indians ran after, kill'd, and came to tell us it must be parch'd, or dry'd, which was accordingly done. I must here take Notice of a Ceremony our Indians perform'd, when they came near the Bullock, before they slead him.
In the first Place, they adorn'd his with some Swans and Bustards down, dy'd red and put some Tabacco Into his Nostrils, and between the Clefts of the Hoofs. When they had slead him, they cut out the Tongue, and put a Bit of Tabacco into its Place; then they stuck two Wooden Forks into the Ground, laid a Stick across them, on which they placid several Slices of the Flesh, in the Nature of an Offering. The Ceremony being ended, we parch'd or dry'd the best Parts of the Beast and proceeded on our journey.
The 9th, we found the Banks of the River very high, and the Earth of them Yellow, Red and White, and thither the Natives came to furnish themselves with it, to adorn their bodies on Festival Days. We held on our Way till the 14th, when we met a Herd of Bullocks whereof we kill'd five, dry'd Part of them, and, proceeded till the 18th.
The 19th, we came to the Mouth of the River, call'd Houabache [Ohio], said to come from the Country of the Iroquois, towards New England. That is a very fine River, its water extraordinary clear, and the Current of it, gentle. Our Indians offer'd up to it, by Way of Sacrifice, some Tabacco and Beef Steaks, which they fix'd on Forks, and left them on the Bank, to be dispos'd of as the River thought fit, We observ'd some other Superstitions among those poor People one whereof was as follows.
There were some certain Days, on which Indians they Fasted, and we knew them, when as soon as they awak'd, they besmear'd their Faces and Arms, or other Parts of their Bodies, with a slimy Sort of Earth, or pounded Charcoal; for that Day they did not eat till Ten or Eleven of the Clock at Night, and before they did eat they were to wipe off that Smearing, and had Water brought them for that Purpose. The Occasion of their Fasting was, as they gave us to understand, that they might have good Success in Hunting, and kill Abundance of bullocks.
We held on our Way till the 25th, when the Indians shew'd us a salt water spring within a Musket Shot of us, and made us go ashore to view it. We observ'd the Ground about
it was much beaten by Bullocks Feet, and it is likely they love that Salt Water. The Country about, was full of Hillocks, cover'd with Oaks and Wallnut Trees, Abundance of Plum Trees, almost all the Plums red and pretty good, besides great Store of other Sorts of Fruits, whose Names we know not, and among them one shap'd like a midling Pear, with Stones in it as big as large Beans. When ripe it peels like a Peach; the Taste is indifferent good, but rather of the Sweetest.
The 27th, having discover'd a Herd of Beeves, we went ashore to kill some; I shot a Heifer, which was very good Meat, we put a Board the best of it, and held on our Way till the Evening, when we encamp'd on an Island, where we observ'd an Alteration in the Humour and Behaviour of our Indians. This put us under some Apprehension, and the more, for that he who was reckon'd an Hermaphrodite told us, they intended to leave us, which oblig'd us to secure our Arms and double our Watch during the Night, for Fear they should forsake us.
With that Jealousy we proceeded on our Journey the 28th and 29th, coasting along the Foot of an upright Rock, about sixty, or eighty Foot high, round which the River glides. Held on the 30th and 31st, and the first of September pass'd by the Mouth of a River call'd Missourisa whose Water is always thick, and to which our Indians did not forget to offer Sacrifice.
The 2nd, we arriv'd at the Place, where the Figure is of the pretended Monster spoken of by Father Marquet. That Monster consists of two scurvy
Figures drawn in red, on the flat Side of a Rock, about ten or twelve Foot high, which Wants very much of the extraordinary Height that Relation mentions. However our Indians paid Homage, by offering Sacrifice to that Stone; tho' we endeavour'd to give them to understand, that the said Rock had no Manner of Virtue, and that we worship'd something above it, pointing up to Heaven; but it was to no Purpose, and they made Signs to us, that they should die if they did not perform that Duty. We proceeded, coasting along a Chain of Mountains, and at length, on the 3rd, left the Missisipi, to enter the River of the Illinois.
We found a great Alteration in that River, as well with Respect to its Course, which is very gentle, as to the Country about it, which is much more agreeable and beautiful than that about the great River, by Reason of the many fine Woods and Variety of Fruit its Banks are adorn'd with. It was a very great Comfort to us, to find to much ease in going up that River, by Reason of its gentle Stream, to that we all stay'd in the Canoe and made much more Way.
Thus we went on till the 8th without stopping any longer than to kill a Bullock, and one of our Indians who had a craving Stomach, having eaten some of its Suet hot and raw, was taken very ill, and died of it, as I shall mention in its Place.
The 9th, we came into a Lake, about half a League over, which we cross'd, and return'd into, the Channel of the River, on the Banks whereof we found several Marks of the Natives
having been incamp'd there, when they came to fish and dry what they caught. The 10th, we cross'd another Lake, call'd Primitehouy [Lake Peoria], return'd to the River, and the 11th, saw Indians before us, incamp'd on the Bank of a River, whereupon we stop'd and made ready our Arms. In the mean Time, one of them came towards us by Land, and we put on our Canoe towards him.
When that Indian was near, he stood gazing at us, without speaking a Word, and then drawing still nearer, we gave him to understand, that we were sent by Monsieur de la Sale, and came from him; Then he made Signs to us, to advance towards his People, whom, he went before to acquaint with what we had said to him, of that when we were come near them they fired several Shot to salute us, and we answer'd them with our Firelocks.
After that mutual Salutation, they came into our Canoes to signify, they were glad to hear News of Monsieur de la Sale. We ask'd them, What Nation they were of; they answer'd, They were Illinois, of a Canton call'd Cascasquia. We enquir'd whether Monsieur Tonty was at Fort Lewis; they gave us to understand, that he was not, but that he was gone to the War against the Iroquois. They invited us Ashore, to go with them to eat of such as they had, we thank'd them, and they brought us some Gourds and Water Melons, in exchange for which, we gave them some parch'd flesh.
We had not by the Way taken Notice of a Canoe, in which was a Man with two Women who, being afraid of us, bad hid them
selves among the Reeds, but that Man seeing us stop among his Countrymen, took Heart, came to use and having told us, that he belong'd to a Village near Fort Lewis, we set out together, and one of our Indians went into that Canoe to help them to shove, so they call the Way of pushing on, the Canoe with Poles instead of rowing.
On Sunday the 14th of September, about two in the Afternoon, we came into the Neighbourhood of Fort Lewis. Drawing near, we were, met by some Indians that were on' the Bank, who having view'd us well, and understanding we came from Monsr. de la Sale, and that we belong'd to him, ran to the Fort to carry the, News and immediately we saw a French Man come out, with a Company of Indians who fir'd' Volley Of several Pieces, to salute us. Then the French Man drew near, and desir'd us to come Ashore, which we did, leaving only one in the Canoe, to take Care of our Baggage; for the Illinois are very sharp at carrying off any thing they can lay their Hands on, and consequently, nothing near so honest as the Nations we had pass'd thro'.
We all walk'd together towards the Fort, and found three French Men coming to meet us and among them a Clerk, who had belong'd to the late Monsr. de la Sale. They immediately ask'd us, where Monsr. de la Sale was, we told them, he had brought us Part of the Way, and left us at a Place about forty Leagues beyond the Cenis, and that he was then in good Health. All that was true enough; for Monsr. Cavelier and I, who were the Persons, that then spoke, were not present at Monsr. de la Sales Death;
he was in good Health when he left us, and I have told the Reasons we had for concealing his Death, till we came into France.
It is no less true, that Father Anastasius and he they called Teisier, could have given a better Account, the one as an Eye Witness, and the other, as one of the Murderers, and they were both with us; but to avoid lying, they said Nothing. We farther told them, we had Orders to go over into France, to give an Account of the Discoveries made by Monsieur de la Sale, and to procure the sending of Succours.
At length, we enter'd the Fort, where we found and surpriz'd several Persons who did not expect us. All the French were under Arms and made several Discharges to welcome as Monsieur de Belle Fontaine Lieutenant to Monsr. Tonty, was at the Head of them and complimented us; Then we were conducted to the Chappel, where we return'd Thanks to God, from the Bottom of our Hearts, for having preserv'd and conducted us in Safety; after which we had our Lodgings assgn'd us, Monsr. Cavelier and Father Anastasius had one Chamber and we were put into the Magazine, or Ware-house. All this While, the Natives came by intervals to fire their Pieces, to express their Joy for our Return, and for the News we brought of Monsieur de la Sale which refresh'd our Sorrow for his Misfortune perceiving that his Presence would have settled all Things advantageously.
The Day after our Arrival, one of the Indians who had conducted us, having been sick ever since he eat the raw Beef Suet I mention'd before, died, and his Companions took away
and bury'd him privately. We gave them the promised Reward, and the, Part belonging to the Dead Man, to be deliver'd to his Relations. They stay'd some Time in the Fort, during the which, we took extraordinary Care of them, and at last they return'd to their own Homes.
As far as we could gather by half Words dropp'd there by one or other at the Fort, Something had been done there prejudicial to the Service of Monsr. de la Sale, and against his Authority, and therefore some dreaded his Return, but more especially a Jesuit was in great Consternation. He was sick, Monsieur Cavelier, Father Anastasius and I went to visit him. He enquired very particularly of all Points and could not conceal his Trouble, which we would not seem to take Notice of.
Our Design being to make the best of our Way to Canada, in Order to set out Aboard the first French Ships that should Sail for France, we enquired how we were to proceed, and met with several Difficulties. The Navigation on that River was very dangerous, by Reason of the Falls there are in it, which must be carefully avoided, unless a Man will ran an inevitable Hazard of perishing. There were few Persons capable of managing that Affair, and the War with the Iroquois made all Men afraid.
However the Sieur Boisrondet, Clerk to the late Monsr. de la Sale, having told us he had a Canoe, in which he design'd to go down to Canada, we prepared to make use of that opportunity. Care was taken to gather
Provisions for our Voyage, to get Furs to barter as we pass'd by Micilimaquinay [Michlimackinac]. The Visits of two Chiefs of Nations, call'd Cascasquia Peroueria and Cacahouanous discover'd by the late Monsieur de la Sale, did not interrupt our Affairs and all things being got ready, we took Leave of those we left in the Fort. Monsieur Cavelier writ a Letter for Monsieur Tonty, which he left there to be delivered to him, and we repair'd to the Lake to imbark.
It would be needless to relate all the Troubles and Hardships we met with, in that journey, it was painful and fruitless, for having gone to the Bank of the Lake, in very foul Weather after waiting there five Days, for that foul Weather to cease, and after we had imbark'd, notwithstanding the Storm, we were oblig'd to put Ashore again, to return to the Place where we had imbark'd and there to dig a Hole in the Earth, to bury our, Baggage and Provisions, to save the Trouble of carrying them back to Fort Lewis, whither we return'd and arrived there the 7th of October where they were surpriz'd to see us come back.
Thus were we oblig'd to continue in that Fort all the rest of Autumn and Part of the Winter, to our great Sorrow, and not so much for our own Disappointment, as for being, by that Means, obstructed from sending of Succours, as soon as we had expected, as well to the said Fort, as to those French of our own Company, whom we had left on the Coast of the Bay of Mexico.
It was then, the good Season [Oct. 1687] for shooting. Those Gentlemen at the Fort had secur'd two good Indian Sportsmen, who never let us want for Wild Fowl of all Sorts; besides we had good Bread, and as good Fruit, and had there been any Thing to drink besides Water, we had far'd well. The Leisure we had during our Stay there, gave me an Opportunity of making the following Remarks, as well of my own Observation, as what I learn'd of the French residing there.
Fort Lewis is in the Country of the Illinois and seated on a steep Rock, about two hundred Foot high, the River running at the Bottom of it. It is only fortified with Stakes and Palisades, and some Houses advancing to the Edge of the Rock. It has a very spacious Esplanade, or Place of Arms. The Place is naturally strong, and might be made so by Art, with little Expence. Several of the Natives live in it, in their Huts. I cannot give an Account of the Latitude it stands in, for Want of proper Instruments to take an Observation, but Nothing can be pleasanter and it may be truly affirm'd, that the Country of the Illinois enjoys all that can make it accomplish'd, not only as to Ornament, but also for its plentiful Production of all Things requisite for the Support of human Life.
The Plain, which is water'd by the River is beautified by two small Hills, about half a League distant from the Fort, and those Hills are cover'd with Groves of Oaks, walnut Trees and other Sorts I have named elsewhere. The Fields are full of Grass, growing up very high. On the Sides of the Hills is found a
gravelly Sort of Stone, very fit to make Lime for Building. There are also many Clay Pits, fit for making of Earthen Ware, Bricks and Tiles, and along the River there are Coal Pits, the Coal whereof has been try'd and found very good.
There is no Reason to question, but that there are in this Country, Mines of all Sorts of Metals, and of the richest, the Climate being the same as that of New Mexico. We saw several Spots, where it appeared there were Iron Mines, and found some Pieces of it on the Bank of the River, which Nature had cleansed. Travellers who have been at the upper Part of the Missisipi, affirm they have found Mines there, of very good Lead.
That Country is one of the most temperate in the World, and consequently whatsoever is sow'd there, whether Herbs, Roots, Indian and even European Corn [wheat] thrives very well, as has been try'd by the Sieur Boisrondet, who sow'd of all Sorts, and had a plentiful Crop, and we eat of the Bread, which was very good. And whereas we were assured that there were Vines which run up, whose Grapes are very good and delicious, growing along the River, it is reasonable to believe, that if those Vines were transplanted and prun'd, there might be very good Wine made of them. There is also Plenty of wild Apple and Pear Trees, and of several other Sorts, which would afford excellent Fruit, were they grafted and transplanted.
All other Sorts of Fruit, as Plumbs, Peaches and others, wherewith the Country abounds, would become exquisite, if the same Industry
were us'd, and other Sorts of Fruit we have in France would thrive well, if they were carry'd over. The Earth produces a Sort of Hemp, whereof Cloth might be made and Cordage.
As for the Manners and Customs of the Illinois in many Particulars they are the same as those of the other Nations we have seen. They are naturally fierce and revengeful, and among them the Toil of Sowing, Planting, carrying of Burdens, and doing all other Things that belong to the Support of Life, appertains peculiarly to the Women. The Men have no other Business but going to the War and hunting and the Women must fetch the Game when they have kill'd it, which sometimes they are to carry very far to their Dwellings, and there to parch, or dress it any other Way.
When the Corn or other Grain is sowd, the Women secure it from the Birds till it comes up. Those Birds are a Sort of Starlings, like ours in France, but larger and fly in great Swarms.
The Illinois have but few Children, and are extreamly fond of them; it is the Custom among them, as well as others I have mentioned, never to chide, or beat them, but only to throw Water at them, by Way of Chastisement.
The Nations we have spoken of before, are Thieving not at all, or very little, addicted to Thieving; but it is not so with the Illinois, and it behoves every Man to watch their Feet as well as their Hands for they know how to turn any Thing out of the Way most dexterously. They are subject to the general Vice of all the other Indians which is to boast very much of their
Warlike Exploits, and that is the main Subject of their Discourse, and they are very great Lyars.
They pay a Respect to their Dead, as appears by their special Care of burying them, and even of putting into lofty Coffins the Bodies of such as are considerable among them, as their Chiefs and others, which is also practised among the Accancea's, but they differ in this Particular, that the Accancea's weep and make their Complaints for some Days, whereas the Chahouanous and other People of the Illinois Nation do just the Contrary; for when any of them die, they wrap them up in Skins, and then put them into Coffins made of the Barks of Trees, then sing and dance about them for twenty four Hours. Those Dancers take Care to tie calabashes or Gourds about their Bodies, with some Indian Wheat [corn] in them to rattle and make a Noise, and some of them have a Drum, made of a great Earthen Pot, on which they extend a wild Goat's [white tailed deer] Skin, and beat thereon with one Stick, like our Tabors.
During that Rejoicing, they throw their Presents on the Coffin, as Bracelets, Pendants, or Pieces of Earthen Ware, and Strings of Beads, encouraging the Singers to perform their Duty well If any Friend happens to come thither at that Time, he immediately throws down his Present and falls a singing and dancing like the rest. When that Ceremony is over, they bury the body, with Part of the Presents, making choice of, such as may be most proper for it. They also bury with it, some Store of Indian Wheat [corn] with a Pot to boil it in, for fear the dead Person should be hungry on his long Journey;
and they repeat the same Ceremony, at the Year's End.
A good Number of Presents still remaining, they divide them into several Lots, and play a Game, call'd of the Stick, to give them to the Winner. That Game is play'd, taking a short Stick, very smooth and greas'd, that it may be the Harder to hold it fast. One of the Elders throws that Stick as far as he can, the young Men run after it, snatch it from each other and at last, he who remains possess'd of it, has the first Lot. The Stick is then thrown again, he who keeps it then has the second Lot, and So on to the End. The Women, whose Husbands have been slain in War, often perform the same Ceremony, and treat the Singers and Dancers whom they have before invited.
The Marriages of the Illinois last no longer, than the Parties agree together; for they freely part after a Hunting Bout, each going which Way they please, without any Ceremony. However, the Men are jealous enough of their Wives, and when they catch them in a Fault, they generally cut of [off] their Noses, and I saw one who had been so serv'd.
Nevertheless Adultery is not reckon'd any great Crime among them, and there are Women who make no Secret of having had to do with French Men. Yet, are they not sufficiently addicted to that Vice to offer themselves, and they never fall, unless they are sued to, when, they are none of the most diffieult [difficult] in the World to be prevail'd on. The rest I leave to those who have liv'd longer there than I.
We continu'd in Fort Lewis, without receiving any News. Our Business was, after having heard Mass; which we had the good Fortune to do every Day, to divert our selves the best we could. The Indian Women daily brought in something fresh, we wanted not for Water Melons, Bread made of Indian Corn, bak'd in the Embers, and other such Things, and we rewarded them with little Presents in Return.
On the 27th of October, of the same Year, Monsieur Tonty return'd from the War with the Iroquois. Our Embraces and the Relation of our Adventures were again repeated; but still concealing from him, the Death of Monsieur de la Sale. He told us all the Particulars of that War, and said, That the Iroquois, having got intelligence of the March of the French Forces and their Allies, had all come out of their Villages and laid themselves in Ambush by the Way; but that having made a sudden and general Discharge upon our Men, with their usual Cries, yet without much Harm done, they had been repuls'd with Loss, took their Flight, and by the Way burnt all their own Villages. That Monsieur d'Hennonville, chief Governor of New France, had caus'd the Army to march, to burn the rest of their Villages, set Fire to their Country and Corn, but would not proceed any farther. That afterwards he had made himself Master of several Canoes belonging to the English, most of them laden with Brandy, which had been plunder'd ; that the English had been sent Prisoners to Montreal, they being come to make some Attempt upon the Illinois,