Transcribed by:

Jay Polakoff
Parkland College
Anthropology 101

© 2005 by the Center For Social Research, Parkland College

The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents



Secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin

Vol. LXVI.

The Imperial Press, Cleveland


Lettre du Père Gabriel Marest, Missionnaire de la Compagnie de Jésus, au Père Germon, de la même Compagnie. Aux Cascaskias, le 9 Novembre, 1712

Thwaites’ Preface to CXXXVII: A letter (dated November 9, 1712) from Gabriel Marest to a brother Jesuit in France,

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Barthélemi Germon, gives a full account of the Illinois country and its people; and of the mission which the Jesuits have long conducted there.

Marest describes the obstacles that he encounters in the nature of the savages — lawless, arrogant, fickle, brutal, and ungrateful; their conversion is “a miracle of the Lord’s mercy.” They are, however, “much less barbarous than other Savages; Christianity and intercourse with the French have by degrees civilized them.” Many Frenchmen have come to Kaskaskia to live, and some of them have married Indian women. Among these savages, as elsewhere, the men are engaged in hunting and war; their wives and daughters perform all other labors. The women thus occupied and humbled by work are thereby more disposed to accept the truths of the Gospel.”

“Their religion consists only in superstitions,” especially the “manitou “or fetich which each one worships. The medicine-men are “a great obstacle to the conversion of the Savages,” not only through their influence over their tribesmen, but on account of their personal hostility to the missionaries, whose lives are often in danger from this cause, Kaskaskia is now quite free from these impostors. A tilt between one of the medicine-men and Father Mermet is recounted. This Father attempts to convert the Mascoutens who have settled near Juchereau’s post at the mouth of the Ohio; and, in an epidemic which assails them, he almost loses his life in caring for the sick.

The savages at Kaskaskia are much changed by the Christian influences that have long surrounded them, and manifest gentleness of disposition, and docility

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and zeal in religion. Marest describes the services and instructions which employ him in his mission. “The are that we take of their sick wins us their entire confidence.” Marest describes the foundation of this mission, for which he gives chief credit to Gravier, whose labors and virtues he warmly praises. A native instructor has died therein this year, whose remarkable conversion and unusual piety are recounted.

When the savages go away for their annual hunts, the missionary has to accompany them — a fatiguing and dangerous enterprise. Mermet is not strong enough to endure these journeys, and remains at Kaskaskia with the few savages who are left to care for the village; while Marest travels with the hunters, over the prairies and through the forests.

Marest goes to Cahokia to take care of Bergier, the Seminary priest there, who is very ill. Returning to his own mission at Kaskaskia, he finds his savages “dispersed along the Mississipi,” and at once departs to join them. Later, Bergier dies, and Marest goes on foot to Cahokia, to bury the dead priest. The medicine-men rejoice over his death, and break into pieces the cross that he had erected. To punish them for this, the French traders refuse to sell them goods, which soon quells their arrogance. The same discipline has been meted to the Peorias, who had so ill-treated Father Gravier a few years before. Hearing that this treatment has brought those savages to their senses, Marest goes (in the summer of 1711) to Mackinac, to confer with the superior there about reestablishing the Peoria mission, and other affairs. After a painful journey on foot, he arrives at Peoria, where the savages greet him

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with the utmost cordiality, and urge him to reside with them; this he promises to do after his return from Mackinac. Going thence to St. Joseph, where the Pottawattomies now live, Marest is happily surprised by encountering there his brother Joseph, whom he was about to visit; and they proceed together to the latter’s headquarters at Mackinac. Gabriel returns to Kaskaskia in September of the same year. It is thought best to send to the Peorias, in his place, Father de Ville, who soon proves his eminent fitness for that mission. The natural advantages of Kaskaskia are attracting French settlers; but Marest is uncertain whether they will be of the sort whose example will “contribute to the welfare of Religion,”

Letter from Father Gabriel Marest,
Missionary of the Society of Jesus,
to Father Germon, of the same Society.
At Cascaskias, an Illinois village, otherwise called
"the Immaculate Conception of the blessed Virgin;"
November 9, 1712.


It seems that a Country as beautiful and as extensive as this ought to be overspread with well-populated Villages; nevertheless, counting our own there. are only three - of which one is more than a hundred leagues from here, where there are eight or nine hundred Savages; and the other is on the Mississipi, 25 leagues from our Village. The men are generally of tall stature, very lithe, and good runners, being accustomed from their tenderest youth to hunt wild beasts in the forests. They wear only a girdle, the rest of the body being wholly bare: as for the women, they, in addition, cover the bosom with a deer-skin. But both are modestly clothed when they come to Church; they envelop the body in a large

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skin, or rather they are dressed in a robe made of several skins sewed together.

The Illinois are much less barbarous than other Savages; Christianity and intercourse with the French have by degrees civilized them. This is to be noticed in our Village, of which nearly all the inhabitants are Christians; it is this also which has brought many Frenchmen to settle here, and very recently we married three of them to Illinois women. These Savages do not lack intelligence; they are naturally inquisitive, and turn a joke in a fairly ingenious manner. Hunting and war form the whole occupation of the men; the rest of the work belongs to the women and the girls, - it is they who prepare the ground which must be sowed, who do the cooking, who pound the corn, who set up the cabins, and who carry them on their shoulders in the journeys. These cabins are composed of mats made of flat rushes, which they have the skill of sewing together in such a way that the rain cannot penetrate them when they are new. In addition to this, they are busied in working up the hair of the oxen and in making it into leggings, girdles, and bags; for the oxen here are very different from those of Europe; besides having a great hump upon the back, near the shoulders, they are also wholly covered with a very fine wool, which takes the place of that which our Savages would obtain from sheep, if there were any in the Country.

The women thus occupied and humbled by work are thereby more disposed to accept the truths of the Gospel. It is not the same toward the lower part of the Mississipi, where the idleness which prevails among the women gives opportunity for the most

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shocking irregularities, and wholly indisposes them to the way of salvation.

It would be difficult to say what the religion of our Savages is; it consists solely of certain superstitions, by which their credulity is gratified. As all their knowledge is limited to the knowledge of animals, and of the needs of life, so it is to these things that all their worship is limited. The charlatans, who have a little more intellect than the others, win their respect by skill in deceiving them. They persuade them that they are honoring a sort of Spirit, to whom they give the name of Manitou; and, to hear them speak, it is this Spirit who governs all things, and who is the master of life and of death. A bird, an ox, a bear, - or, rather, the plumage of birds, and the skins of these beasts, - such is their Manitou; they expose it to view in their cabins, and they offer to it sacrifices of dogs or other animals.

The warriors carry their Manitous in a mat and they invoke them incessantly, that they may obtain victory over their enemies. The charlatans like- wise have recourse to their Manitous when they compose their medicine, or when they treat the sick. They accompany these invocations with chants, dances, and frightful contortions in order to make it believed that they are shaken by their Manitous; and, at the same time, they shake their patients, in such a way that they often cause their death. In these various agitations, the charlatan names sometimes one wild beast, and sometimes another; then he begins to suck the part of the body in which the patient feels pain; after having sucked it for some time he suddenly rises, and drops upon the sick man the tooth of a bear or of some other animal, which

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he had held concealed in his mouth. "Dear friend," he exclaims, "thou wilt live, this is what was killing thee;" after which he says, applauding himself: "Who can resist my Manitou? is it not he who is the master of life?" If the sick man happen to die, he immediately has all ready a trick for laying this death to another cause, which occurred after he had left the patient. But, on the contrary, if the sick man recover his health, then it is that the charlatan is esteemed; that he himself is looked upon as a Manitou; and that, after having been well paid for his trouble, they also bring to him all that is best in the Village, in order to regale him.

The authority that charlatans of this sort assume is a great obstacle to the conversion of the Savages: to embrace Christianity is to be exposed to their insults and their violence. It is only a month since a Christian girl had experience of this: holding her rosary in her hand, she was passing before the cabin of one of these impostors; this person - imagining that the sight of a similar rosary had caused the death of his father - fell into a rage, took his gun, and was on the point of firing on this poor Neophyte, when he was held back by some Savages who happened to be present.

I do not tell you how many times I have received like insults at their hands, or how many times I would have expired under their blows but for the special protection of God, who has preserved me from their fury. Once, especially, one of them would have cleft my head with a blow from a hatchet, had I not turned away at the very moment when his arm was raised to strike me. Thank God, our Village is freed from all these impostors. The

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care that we ourselves have taken of the sick, and the remedies that we give them, which effect the cure of most sick persons, have ruined the credit and reputation of the charlatans and have forced them to go to settle elsewhere.

However there are among them some who are not so completely brutish; sometimes we can talk with them, and try to disabuse them of the senseless confidence that they have in their Manitous; but it is not usual to succeed in this. A conversation that one of our Fathers had with one of these Charlatans will make you understand how far their infatuation goes in this respect; and what must be the condescension of a Missionary to bring himself even to refute such extravagant opinions as these with which they are possessed.

The French had come to establish a fort on the river Ouabache; they asked for a Missionary, and Father Mermet was sent to them. This Father believed that he ought also to labor for the conversion of the Mascoutens, who had set up a Village on the borders of the same river: this is a Tribe of Savages who understand the Illinois language, but who because of the extreme attachment which they have for the superstitions of their Charlatans, were not very much inclined to listen to the instructions of the Missionary.

The course that Father Mermet took was to perplex, in the presence of this people, one of these Charlatans, who worshiped the ox as his great Manitou. After having insensibly led him so far as to avow that it was not the ox which he adored, but an ox Manitou which was under the earth, which animated all oxen, and which restored life to his sick

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people, he asked him if the other animals - like the bear, for instance, which his comrades worshiped - were not likewise animated by a Manitou which is under the earth: "Without doubt," answered the Charlatan: "But if that be so," returned the Missionary, "men ought also to have a Manitou which animates them." "Nothing is more certain," said the Charlatan. I' That is sufficient for me to convince you that you are not very reasonable," replied the Missionary; "for, if man who is on the earth be the master of all animals, if he kill them, if he eat them, it must be that the Manitou which animates men is also master of all the other Manitous; where then is your intelligence, that you do not invoke him who is master of all the others?" This reasoning disconcerted the Charlatan, and that is all the effect that it produced, - for they were not on that account less attached to their ridiculous superstitions than they were before.

At that very time a contagious disease desolated their Village, and carried off every day many Savages; the Charlatans were not spared, and they died like other people. The Missionary believed that he could win their confidence by taking care of so many sick people; he applied himself to this without intermission, and many times his zeal nearly cost him his life. The services that he rendered them were requited only with abuse; there were even some who went so far as to discharge arrows at him; these fell at his feet, - either because they were shot by too feeble hands, or because God, who designed the Missionary for other labors, chose at that time to screen him from their fury. Father Mermet, however, administered Baptism to a few Savages who

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asked urgently for it, and who died shortly after having received it.

In the meantime, the Charlatans withdrew to a short distance from the fort in order to make a great sacrifice to their Manitou: they killed as many as forty dogs, which they carried on the tops of poles while singing, dancing, and assuming a thousand absurd postures. The mortality did not cease on account of all these sacrifices. The chief of the Charlatans imagined that their Manitou, more helpless than the Manitou of the French, was compelled to yield to it. In this belief he went around the fort many times, crying with all his might: "We are dead; gently, oh Manitou of the French, strike gently, do not kill us all." Then, addressing the Missionary: "Cease, good Manitou, let us live, thou hast life and death in thy coffers: keep death, give life." The Missionary pacified him and promised to take still more care of the sick than he had done up to that time; but, notwithstanding all the care that he gave them, more than half of the Village perished.

To return to our Illinois: they are very different from these Savages, and from what they themselves were formerly. Christianity, as I have already said, has softened their fierce habits, and they are now distinguished for certain gentle and polite manners that have led the Frenchmen to take their daughters in marriage. Moreover, we find in them docility and ardor in the practice of Christian virtues. This is the order that we observe each day in this Mission. Very early in the morning the Catechumens are called to the Church, where they offer up prayers; they listen to an instruction and sing a few Hymns.

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When they have withdrawn Mass is said, at which all the Christians are present, - the men being placed on one side and the women on the other. We also say our prayers, which are followed by an instruction, after which each one goes to his work; then we are busy with visiting the sick, giving them the necessary remedies, instructing them, and consoling. those who have any cause for sorrow.

In the afternoon we have the Catechism, when every one is present, - Christians and Catechumens, adults and children, young people and old people; and when each one, without distinction of rank or of age, answers the questions that the Missionary asks him. As these people have no books and as they are naturally indolent, they would very soon have forgotten the principles of Religion, if they had not been reminded of them by almost continual instructions. Visiting the cabins fills up the remainder of our day.

In the evening, all the people meet again at the Church, that they may hear instruction, offer prayers, and sing a few Hymns. On Sundays and on Feast- days, to the ordinary exercises is added an instruction which is given after Vespers. The fervor with which these good Neophytes repair to the Church at all these hours is admirable; they stop their work, and run in haste from a great distance, in order to be present at the appointed time. They generally end the day with private meetings, which they hold in their own houses, - the men apart from the women; and there they recite the Rosary in two choirs, and far on into the night they sing Hymns. These Hymns are actual instructions, which they retain more easily because the words are set to airs which they know, and which are pleasing to them.

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They often approach the Sacraments and the custom among them is to confess and communicate every fortnight. We have been obliged to appoint the days on which they are allowed to confess, otherwise they would leave us no leisure to attend to our other duties. On Saturday and Sunday of each week, we hear them; and on those days we are overwhelmed with a crowd of Penitents. The care that we take of the sick wins for us their entire confidence. It is especially in these moments that we gather the fruit of our labors; their docility is then perfect and we have not unfrequently the satisfaction of seeing them die in great peace, and in a lively hope of being very soon united to God in Heaven.

This Mission owes its establishment to the late Father Gravier. It is truë that Father Marquet was the first who discovered the Mississipi, about thirty- nine years ago; but, not knowing the language of the country, he did not stop here. Some time afterward, he made a second journey, with the design of fixing his dwelling here and of working for the conversion of these tribes; death which removed him from us while he was on the way, left to another the charge of executing this enterprise. It was Father Daloës who took it upon himself: he knew the language of the Oumiamis, which somewhat resembles that of the Illinois; however, he made only a very short stay here, being of the opinion that he would accomplish greater results in another district, where indeed he ended his apostolic life.

Thus it is properly Father Gravier who ought to be regarded as the founder of the Illinois Mission; it was he who first made clear the principles of their language, and who reduced them to the rules of

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Grammar; we have only perfected that which he successfully began. At first, this Missionary had much to suffer from the Charlatans, and his life was exposed to continual dangers; but nothing discouraged him, and he surmounted all obstacles by his patience and his gentleness. As he was obliged to depart for Michillimakinac his Mission was intrusted to father Bineteau and to Father Pinet, I worked for some time with these two Missionaries, and after their deaths I alone remained, charged with all the labors of the Mission until the arrival of Father Mermet. Previously I was in the large Village of the Peouarias, where Father Gravier, who had returned there for the second time, received a wound which caused his death.

We have lost few people this year; but I infinitely regret one of our instructors, whose life and death were very edifying. In this place we call those men "instructors" who in other Missions are called "Catechists;" because it is not in the Church but in the cabins that they instruct the catechumens and the Neophytes. There are likewise instructresses for the women and girls. Henri (it is thus that the instructor of whom I speak was named), although of a somewhat inferior family, had made himself respected by every one on account of his great piety. He resided in our Village for only seven or eight years; before coming here he had never seen any Missionaries, and had not even the first idea of Christianity. His conversion was something rather' remarkable. He was attacked by smallpox, with all his family: this disease snatched from him at once his wife and some of his children; it rendered the others blind or extremely disfigured. He himself

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was brought to the point of death; when he thought that he had only a few moments longer to live, he seemed to see Missionaries who restored to him his life, who opened to him the door of Heaven, and who urged him to enter therein; and from that moment he began to feel better.

When he was scarcely able to walk, he came to see us in our Village, and earnestly begged us to teach him the truths of Religion; so far as we instructed him, he taught his children what he retained of our instructions: and very soon this whole family was prepared to receive Baptism. One of his children, although he was stone-blind, charmed us by the deep feeling of piety that we discovered in him. In the painful malady with which he was long afflicted, his prayers were continual; and some years ago he died in great innocence. Henri, his father, likewise passed through severe trials; a long and distressing malady completed the purification of his virtue, and prepared him for a death that seemed to us precious in the sight of God.

It is only a short time ago, that I also administered Baptism to a young catechumen, aged seventeen years, who has greatly edified our Christians by her firmness, and by her faithful attachment to Christianity. The home example was well fitted to lead her astray: the daughter of an idolatrous father and mother, she found in her own family the greatest obstacles to the virtues that she was practicing. In order to try her still more, a young libertine took a fancy to marry her: he employed every means to gain her consent to this marriage, even to promising that he would become a Christian. Our catechumen's father and mother, who had been won over

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by the young man, treated her with the greatest inhumanity, in order to shake her constancy. Her brother went so far as to threaten that he would kill her if she persisted in refusing her consent. These menaces and this bad treatment made no impression upon her: her whole comfort was in going to Church, and she often said to me: "The death with which they threaten me does not terrify me; I would willingly accept it, rather than the husband whom they propose to me. This young man whom they wish me to marry is a deceiver; he has no thought of becoming a convert. But, even though his promises were sincere, neither he, nor any others will change the resolution that I have made; no, my Father, I will never have any other spouse than Jesus Christ."

The persecution that they continually forced her to undergo in her family was carried so far that she was obliged to conceal herself in the house of one of her relatives, who was a Christian: there she was tried by various infirmities that did not lessen her fervor, - which is the more surprising, because the least adversity is apt to discourage our Savages. Some time afterward, having heard that her mother was in danger of losing her sight, on account of two cataracts which obscured her vision, this noble girl, forgetting the unworthy treatment that she had received, immediately hastened to her mother's assistance. Her tenderness and her assiduous care softened the mother's heart, and won her to such a degree that now she accompanies her daughter to the Church, and is receiving instructions that she may be prepared for the grace of Baptism, which she eagerly desires.

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As our Savages seldom live upon anything but the smoked flesh of animals, which they kill in the hunt, there are times during the year when all the people leave the village and scatter through the forests, to pursue the wild beasts. This is a critical time, in which they need more than ever the presence of the Missionary, who is obliged to accompany them in all these journeys.

There are mainly two great hunts: that of summer, which seldom lasts longer than three weeks; and that which takes place during winter, which lasts from four to five months. Although the summer hunt is shorter, it is nevertheless more fatiguing; it cost the life of the late Father Bineteau. He accompanied the Savages in the greatest heat of the month of July; sometimes he was in danger of smothering amid the grass, which was extremely high; sometimes he suffered cruëlly from thirst, not finding in the dried-up prairies a single drop of water to allay it. By day he was drenched with perspiration, and at night he was obliged to sleep on the ground, - exposed to the dew, to the harmful effects of the air, and to many other inconveniences, concerning which I will not go into detail. These hardships brought upon him a violent sickness, from which he expired in my arms.

During the winter, the Savages separate into many bands, and try to find the places where they think the game will be most abundant. Then it is that we wish that we could multiply ourselves, so as not to lose sight of them. All that we can do is to go in succession through the various camps in which they are, in order to keep piety alive in them, and administer to them the Sacraments. Our village is

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Frenchmen who have settled here; and these savages are exempt, for the most part, from this sort of hunting. Father Mermet, with whom I have had the good fortune to be for several years past, remains in the village, in order to instruct them; the delicacy of his constitution renders him totally unable to endure the fatigue incident to these long journeys. Nevertheless, in spite of his feeble health, I can say that he is the soul of this Mission; it is his virtue, his gentleness, his pathetic instructions, and the peculiar talent that he has of winning the respect and the friendship of the Savages, which have brought our Mission to the flourishing state in which it is. As for myself, who am fitted to travel over the snow, to work the paddle in a canoe, and who have, thanks to God, the necessary strength to withstand like toils, I range the forests with the rest of our Savages, of whom the greater number spend part of the winter in hunting.

These journeys which we are compelled to take from time to time - either to follow the Savages, or for other reasons important to the well-being of our Missions - are extremely difficult. You can judge of them yourself from the detailed account of a few which I have made in these late years, which will give you an idea of the manner in which we journey in this country. If our Missions are not so flourishing as others on account of a great number of conversions, at least they are precious and beneficial to us, on account of the labors and hardships which are inseparable from them.

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About twenty-five leagues from here is the village of the Tamarouas. This is a Mission which was at first intrusted to Father Pinet, whose zeal and whose labors were so greatly blessed by God that I myself am witness that his Church could not contain the multitude of Savages who came to it in crowds. This Father had as his successor Monsieur Bergier, a Priest from the Seminary of the Missions étrangères. Having learned that he was dangerously sick, I immediately went to assist him. I remained eight entire days with this worthy Ecclesiastic; the care that I took of him and the remedies which I gave him, seemed gradually to restore him, so that, believing himself better, - and knowing, besides, how necessary my presence was to my own Mission, on account of the departure of the Savages, - he urged me to return to it. Before leaving him, I administered to him, by way of precaution, the holy Viaticum; he instructed me as to the condition of his Mission, recommending it to me in case that God should take him away. I charged the Frenchman who took care of the patient to inform us at once, if he were in danger; and I retraced the way to my Mission.

As it is only twenty-five leagues from one village to the other, we sleep out-of-doors but once, provided we make good progress; the meals that we take on the way consist of some ears of corn and a small piece of smoked beef, which we carry with us. When we are hungry, we kindle a fire close by some brook, so that we may have something to drink; we roast the corn and the meat, and afterward we lie down near the fire, turning now on one side, now on the other, according as we need to warm ourselves.

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When I arrived at our village, nearly all the Savages had gone: they were scattered along the Mississipi. I immediately set out to join them. Hardly had I gone six leagues when I found three cabins, in one of which was a poor old man, very sick. I heard his confession, gave him some remedies, and promised to come again to see him, thinking indeed that he had still many days to live.

Five or six leagues farther on, I found a great number of cabins, which formed a sort of village; I halted there a few days, in order to perform my accustomed functions. In the absence of the Missionary, they do not fail to meet together every day. in a large cabin; and there prayers are offered, the rosary is recited, and hymns are sung, sometimes far into the night, - for it is chiefly in the winter, when the nights are long, that a great part of that time is spent in singing the praises of God. We are careful to appoint one of the most fervent and most respected of our Neophytes to preside over meetings of this sort.

I had already remained some time with these dear Neophytes when some one came to tell me that there were, eighteen leagues still farther down the Mississipi, sick people who needed prompt assistance, I immediately embarked in a pirogue: this is a kind of boat made of a large tree, hollowed out to the length of forty feet, and which is very heavy; this gives a great deal of trouble when it is necessary to ascend the river.47 Happily, we had only to descend; and, as the rapidity in that place equals that of the Rhone, we made those eighteen leagues in a single day.

The sick people were not in such urgent danger as

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had been represented to me, and I soon relieved them by my remedies. As there was a Church there, and a great number of cabins, I remained some days, in order to revive the fervor of my Neophytes by frequent instructions and by participation in the sacraments. Our Savages have such confidence in the Missionary who directs them that. they reveal to him with an admirable openness of heart everything that occurs during his absence; therefore, if any disturbance takes place, or if any one gives cause for scandal, the Missionary, when informed of it, is in a position to remedy the evil, and to prevent the grievous consequences that might follow.

I was obliged to separate from my Neophytes sooner than I could have wished; the good old man whom I had left so sick, and the illness of Monsieur Bergier, continually disturbed me, and urged me to return to the village, that I might hear news of them. Accordingly I ascended the Mississipi, but it was with great toil; I had only one Savage with me, and his lack of skill obliged me to paddle continually, or to use the pole. After all, I arrived in time at the cabin of this fervent Christian who was dying; he confessed for the last time, and received the holy Viaticum with great devotion, - exhorting his son and all around him to live according to the precepts of the Gospel, and to persevere even until their last breath in the Faith that they had embraced.

As soon as I had reached our village, I wished to go to see Monsieur Bergier; but the people opposed this, alleging as a cause that, no one having brought news of him, - as had been promised in case he Were

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worse, - they could not doubt that his health was reëstablished. I yielded to this reasoning; but, a few days afterward, I felt genuine regret for not having followed my first plan. A young slave came, about two o'clock in the afternoon, to apprise us of his death, and beg us to go to perform the funeral rites. I set out forthwith. I had already gone six leagues when night overtook me; a heavy rain which had fallen did not permit my taking a few hours' rest. Therefore I walked until daybreak, when, the weather having cleared a little, I lighted a fire to dry myself, and then continued my way. I arrived at the village toward evening, God having given me strength to make these fifteen leagues in a day and a night. The next day at dawn I said mass for the deceased, and buried him.

The death of Monsieur Bergier was somewhat sudden, according to what was told me by the Frenchman who was with him; he felt it coming all at once, and said that it would be useless to send for me, since he would be dead before my arrival. He merely took in his hands the crucifix, which he kissed lovingly, and expired. He was a Missionary of truë merit and of a very austere life. At the beginning of his Mission, he had to bear rude attacks from the Charlatans, - who, availing themselves of his slight knowledge of the Savage language, every day took away from him some Christians; but eventually, he learned how to make himself, in his turn, feared by those impostors. His death was for them a cause of triumph. They gathered around the cross that he had erected, and there they invoked their Manitou, - each one dancing, and attributing to himself the glory of having

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killed the Missionary, after which they broke the cross into a thousand pieces. I learned this with grief some time after.

I thought that such an outrage ought not to go unpunished; therefore I entreated the French no longer to trade with them, unless they should make reparation for the insult which they had offered to Religion. This punishment had all the effect that I could desire; the chiefs of the village came twice in succession to declare their keen regret for their fault; and, by this avowal, they induced me to visit them from time to time. But, it must be acknowledged, a Missionary does no great good to the Savages unless he live with them, and continually watch their conduct; without this they very soon forget the instructions that he has given them, and, little by little, they return to their former licentiousness.

This knowledge that we have of the fickleness of the Savages afterward gave us great uneasiness about the condition of the Mission of the Peouarias; our distance from this village, which is the largest one in these quarters, prevented our making frequent journeys to it. Besides, the bad treatment that the late Father Gravier received from them had obliged Messieurs the Governors of Canada and Mobile to forbid the French from trading with them. In truth, many Christians from that village had come to submit themselves to us; but there remained many others who, not being sustained by the usual instructions, would possibly falter in the Faith.

Finally, at the time when we were considering means for reëstablishing this Mission, we learned, from some Frenchmen who had secretly traded with

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them, that these Savages were much humbled by the neglect in which they had been left; that in many encounters they had been beaten by their enemies, for want of powder, which was no longer furnished to them by the French; that they seemed deeply impressed by the unworthy manner in which they had treated Father Gravier, and that they earnestly wished for a Missionary.

This news made Father Mermet, Father de Ville, and myself decide that we must avail ourselves of the favorable disposition in which the Peouarias were, for putting the Mission again on its old footing. Providence afforded us a very natural way: it was necessary that one of us should make a journey to Michillimakinac, - that is to say, to more than three hundred leagues from here, - in order to confer with Father Joseph Marest, my brother, about the affairs of our Missions, of which he is the Superior. In making this journey, we could not avoid passing through the Village of the Peouarias; and we hoped that the presence of a Missionary might induce them to renew the solicitation which they had already made, and also the signs of repentance which they had given.

As I was thoroughly acquainted with those Savages, Father Mermet and Father de Ville intrusted me with the undertaking. Accordingly I set out, on friday of Easter week in the year 1711. I had only one day to prepare myself for so long a journey, because I was hurried by two Peouarias who wished to return home, and by whom I was glad to be accompanied. Some other Savages went with us as far as the Village of the Tamarouas, where I arrived on the second day after my departure. I left

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there the next day, carrying with me only my Crucifix and my Breviary, and being accompanied only by three Savages. Two of these Savages were not Christians and the third was still only a Catechumen.

I acknowledge to you, my Reverend Father, that I was somewhat uncomfortable when I saw myself at the mercy of these three Savages, upon whom I could scarcely depend. I pictured to myself, on the one hand, the fickleness of this kind of people, - whom the merest fancy might perhaps lead to abandon me, or whom the fear of hostile bands might put to flight at the least alarm. On the other hand, the horror of our forests, those vast uninhabited Regions in which I would certainly perish if I were abandoned, presented themselves to my mind and took away nearly all my courage. But, at last, reassuring myself by the testimony of my own conscience, - which inwardly told me that I was seeking only God and his glory, - I resigned myself entirely to Providence.

The journeys that are made in this Country ought not to be compared with those that you make in Europe. You find, from time to time, Towns and Villages, houses to receive you, bridges or boats for crossing rivers, beaten paths which conduct you to your destination, and people who put you on the right way if you are going astray. Here there is nothing of that; we have traveled for twelve days without meeting a single soul. Sometimes we have been on prairies stretching farther than the eye could reach, intersected by brooks and rivers, without finding any path which could guide us; sometimes it has been necessary for us to open a passage through,

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dense forests, amid thickets filled with briers and thorns; at other times we have had to go through marshes abounding in mire, in which we sometimes sank waist-deep.

After having been much fatigued during the day, we are obliged to sleep at night on the grass or on some leaves, exposed to the wind, to the rain, and to the injurious effects of the air, - happy even then if we are near some brook; as otherwise, however thirsty we may be, the night would pass without possibility of quenching our thirst. We kindle a fire; and, when some wild beast has been killed on the way, we have pieces of it broiled, and eat them with a few ears of Indian corn, if we have any.

Besides these inconveniences, common to all those who journey in these deserts, we had that of actual fasting during our whole journey. Not that we did not find abundance of roe, deer, and especially of oxen; but our Savages could not kill any of them. What they had heard said the night before our departure - to wit, that the Country was infested by hostile bands - had prevented their taking guns, for fear of being discovered by the sound of the shots, should they fire; or of being impeded by the guns, if it were necessary to take flight. Accordingly they used only their arrows; and the oxen that they shot escaped with the arrows by which they were pierced, and went away to die, far distant from us.

Nevertheless, these poor people took good care of me: they bore me on their shoulders, when it was necessary to pass over any brook; and, whenever there were deep rivers to cross, they collected many pieces of dry wood which they bound together, and, making me sit upon this sort of boat, they began to

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swim, and pushed me before them to the other shore.

It is not without reason that they feared a party of warriors; they would have had no quarter from them. Either their heads would have been split, or else they would have been taken prisoners, to be burned afterward by a slow fire, or to be cast into the kettle. Nothing is more frightful than the wars of our Savages. Ordinarily their parties consist only of twenty, thirty or forty men; sometimes these parties are of only six or seven persons, and these are most to be feared. As their entire skill lies in surprising their enemy, the small number facilitates the pains that they take to conceal themselves, in order that they may more securely strike the blow which they .are planning. For our warriors do not pique themselves upon attacking their enemy in front, and when he is on his guard, - for that they would need to be ten to one; and, moreover, on those occasions each one avoids being the first to advance. Their method is to follow on the trail of their enemy, and to kill some one of them while he is asleep, - or, rather, to lie in ambush in the vicinity of the Villages, and to split the head of the first one who comes forth, - and, taking off his scalp, to display it as a trophy among their countrymen. This is the way in which they do it.

As soon as one of these warriors has killed his enemy, he draws his knife, makes a cut around the head, and tears from it the skin with the hair, which he carries in triumph to his Village. For several days this scalp is hung from the top of his cabin, and then all the people of the Village come to congratulate him upon his valor, and bring presents to show him the interest that they take in his

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victory. Sometimes they are satisfied with 'making the enemy prisoners; but they immediately tie their hands and compel them to run on before at full speed, fearing that they may be pursued, as sometimes happens, by the companions of those whom they are taking away. The fate of these prisoners is very sad; for often they are burned by a slow fire, and at other times they are put into the kettle, in order to make a feast for all the fighting men.

The very first day after our departure we found traces of a party of the enemy. I wondered at the very piercing sight of our Savages: they showed me on the grass the footprints of those warriors; they distinguished where the latter had been seated, where they had walked, and how many they were; but I, however intently I looked, could not discover the slightest trace of them. It was a great good fortune for me that fear did not seize upon them at that moment; they would have left me entirely alone in the midst of the woods. But, shortly after, I myself gave them, unintentionally, a severe fright, Swellings that I had on my feet made me walk slowly, and the Savages had gone on somewhat in advance, without my paying any attention to them; suddenly I perceived that I was alone, and you may imagine what my perplexity was. I began immediately to call them, but they made me no answer; I cried louder, but they, not doubting that I was struggling with a party of warriors, freed themselves at once from their loads, in order to run more rapidly. I redoubled my cries and their fright increased more and more; the two idolatrous Savages were already beginning to flee, but the Catechumen, ashamed of abandoning me, drew a trifle

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nearer that he might find out what was the matter. When he perceived that there was nothing to fear, he made a sign to his comrades; then addressing me, he said in a trembling voice, "You have frightened us very much; my companions were already fleeing, but, as for me, I was resolved to die with you, rather than to abandon you." This incident taught me to follow my traveling companions more closely; and, on their part, they were more attentive not to separate themselves from me.

Meanwhile the pain that I had in my feet was becoming more severe. From the very beginning of the journey, I had had some blisters, which I neglected, - persuading myself that, by dint of walking, I would become hardened to the task. As the fear of meeting hostile parties obliged us to make long stages, - that we might pass the night in the midst of brushwood and thickets, so that the enemy could not approach us without being heard, - and as, besides, we dared not kindle a fire for fear that we might be discovered, these hardships brought me to a sad state. I walked only upon sores; this touched the Savages who accompanied me, to such a degree, that they resolved upon carrying me in turn; they rendered me this service two days in succession. But, having reached the Illinois river, and being only twenty-five leagues from the Peouarias, I urged one of my Savages to go ahead and inform the Frenchmen of my arrival, and of the unfortunate state in which I was. However, I still went forward a little during two days, - dragging myself along as well as I could; and being carried, now and then, by the two Savages who had remained with me.

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The third day, about noon, I saw several Frenchmen coming, who brought me a canoe and some fresh provisions. They were astonished to see how feeble I was; this was the result of the long fast that I had made, and of the pain that I had suffered in walking. They put me into their canoe; and, as I had no other ailment, the rest and the good care that they gave me very soon restored me. Nevertheless, I was even more than ten days without being able to stand upon my feet.

On the other hand, I was much consoled by the proceedings of the Peouarias; all the Chiefs of the Village came to greet me, expressing to me their joy at seeing me again, and entreating me to forget their past faults, and to come to dwell with them. I responded to these marks of friendship by reciprocal expressions of affection; and I promised them to fix my dwelling among them, as soon as I should have finished the business that was calling me to Michillimakinac.

After I had remained a fortnight in the Village of the Peouarias and had partially recovered through the care that was given me, I thought of continuing my journey. I had hoped that the Frenchmen, who were to go back at about that time, would take me with them as far as my destination; but, as no rain had yet fallen, it was not possible for them to go by the river. Therefore I resolved to go by the river Saint Joseph to the Mission of the Pouteautamis, which is under the direction of Father Chardon. (48) In nine days' time I made this second journey, which was of seventy leagues; and I made it partly on the river, which is full of rapids, and partly by going across the country. God preserved me in a very

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special manner in this journey. A party of warriors, enemies of the Illinois, rushed upon some hunters, a gunshot distant from the road that I was taking; they killed one of them, and another, whom they carried away to their Village, they put into the kettle, and made of him a war-feast.

As I was drawing near the village of the Pouteautamis the Lord was well pleased to compensate me for all my troubles by one of those unforeseen events which he sometimes brings about for the consolation of his servants. Some Savages, who were sowing their fields, having perceived me far away, went to inform Father Chardon of my arrival. The Father immediately came to meet me, followed by another Jesuit. What an agreeable surprise when I saw my brother, who threw himself upon my neck to embrace me! It had been fifteen years since we had separated from each other, without hope of ever meeting again. It is truë that I had set out to join him, but it was only at Michillimakinac that our interview was to take place and not at more than a hundred leagues this side of that place. God had doubtless suggested to him the plan of making his visit to the Mission of saint Joseph at that very time, so as to make me forget in a moment all my past toils. We both blessed the divine Mercy which led us to come from such distant places, in order to give us a consolation which is much better experienced than described. Father Chardon participated in the joy of this happy meeting, and gave us every generous entertainment that we could have expected from his kindness.

After having remained a week at the Mission of Saint Joseph, I embarked with my brother in his

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canoe, that we might go together to Michillimakinac. This voyage was very agreeable to me, not only because I had the pleasure of being with a brother who is extremely dear to me, but also because it gave me the opportunity of profiting a longer time by his conversation and by his example.

It is more than a hundred leagues from the Mission of Saint Joseph to Michillimakinac. We sailed the whole length of lake Michigan, which is named on the maps lake Illinois, - without any reason, since there are no Illinois who dwell in its vicinity. Bad weather detained us seventeen days on this voyage, which is sometimes made in less than a week.

Michillimakinac is situated between two large lakes, into which other lakes and many rivers empty. For this reason this village is the general resort of the Frenchmen and of the Savages; and it is the center of nearly all the fur trade of the country. The soil here is far from being as good as in the land of our Illinois. During the greater part of the year, fish is our only food. The water, which constitutes the charm of the place in summer, renders a sojourn here during the winter very dreary and very monotonous. The ground is covered with snow from All Saints' until the month of May.

The character of these Savages bears the impress of the climate in which they live; it is harsh and indocile. Religion does not take so deep root in them as we could wish; and there are only a few souls who, from time to time, give themselves truly to God, and console the Missionary for all his labors, As for me, I wondered at the patience with which my brother bore their faults; at his gentleness, unwearied by their caprices and their coarseness; at

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his diligence in visiting and instructing them, and inspiring their indolent natures to activity in the services of Religion; and at his zeal and charity, sufficient to enkindle their hearts if they had been less hard and more tractable. I said then to myself that success is not always the recompense of Apostolic men's labors, nor the measure of their merit.

Having finished all our business in the period of about two months which I spent with my brother, we were obliged to separate. As it was God who ordered this separation, he knew how to mitigate its bitterness. I went to rejoin Father Chardon, with whom I remained a fortnight. He is a Missionary full of zeal, who has a rare talent for learning Languages; he knows nearly all those of the Savages who are near these lakes. He has even learned enough Illinois to make himself understood, although he has seen some of these Savages only by chance, when they come to his village; for the Pouteautamis and the Illinois live on good terms, and visit each other from time to time. Their manners, however, are very different; the former are brutal and coarse; the latter, on the contrary, are gentle and kind.

After having taken leave of the Missionary, we ascended the river Saint Joseph, in order to make a portage at 30 leagues from its mouth. This is what we call making a portage: The canoes that are used for navigation in this Country, being only of bark, are very light, although they carry as much as a shallop. When the canoe has carried us a long time on the water, we, in our turn, carry it on the land, in order to reach another river; and that is what we

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did in this place. We first transported all that was in the canoe to the source of the Illinois river, which is called Huakiki; then we carried our canoe thither, and, after having loaded it, we embarked to continue our way. We were only two days in making this portage, which was a league and a half long. (49) The copious rains which fell at that season had swollen our little rivers, and delivered us from the rapids that we dreaded. At last we perceived our own welcome Country; the wild oxen and the herds of deer were roving along the bank of the river, and from the canoe we shot some, now and then, which served for our repasts.

Many of the Savages from the village of the Peouarias came some leagues to meet me, in order to escort me and to defend me from the parties of warriors who range the forests; and, when I drew near the Village, they sent one of their number thither to give notice of my arrival. The greater part of the men ascended to the Fort, which is placed upon a rock on the bank of the river. When I entered the Village, they fired a volley from their muskets in sign of rejoicing; joy was actually painted on their faces, and they vied in displaying it in my presence. I was invited with the Frenchmen and the Illinois chiefs to a feast, which the most distinguished men of the Peouarias gave us. It was then that one of their principal Chiefs, speaking in the name of the Tribe, expressed to me the keen grief that they felt for the unworthy manner in which they had treated Father Gravier; and he besought me to forget it, to have pity upon them and their children, and to open for them the door of Heaven, which they had shut against themselves.

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For my part, I returned thanks to God from the bottom of my heart, on seeing the fulfillment of what I had desired with the greatest ardor; I answered them in a few words that I was touched by their repentance; that I always looked upon them as my children; and that, after having visited my own Mission, I would come to fix my dwelling among them, that I might help them by my instructions to reënter the way of salvation, from which they had perhaps strayed. At these words a great cry of joy arose, and each one eagerly expressed to me his gratitude. During the two days that I spent in this Village, I said Mass in public, and performed all the duties of a Missionary.

It was about the end of August when I embarked to return to my Mission at Cascaskias, which is 150 leagues distant from the village of the Peouarias. On the very first day after our departure, we found a Scioux canoe which was broken in some places, and was drifting; and we saw a camp of warriors, in which we judged, at a glance, that there were possibly a hundred persons. We were justly frightened, and were upon the point of turning back to the Village that we had left, and from which we were only ten leagues distant.

These Scioux are the most cruël of all the Savages; we were lost if we had fallen into their hands. They are great warriors, but it is principally upon the water that they are formidable. They have only small bark canoes, made in the form of a gondola; these are scarcely larger than the body of a man, and can hold only two or, at most, three persons. They paddle kneeling, using the paddle sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, - that is to say,

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making three or four dips of the paddle on the right side, and then as many on the left side, - but with so much dexterity and swiftness that their canoes seem to fly over the water. After having examined everything attentively, we judged that these Savages had struck their blow and were retreating; nevertheless, we kept on our guard, and traveled more slowly, in order not to meet them. But, when we had once reached the Mississipi, we went on by hard paddling. At last, on the 10th of September I arrived at my dear mission in perfect health, after five months' absence.

I say nothing to you of the joy that we all had in meeting again; you can judge how great it was on both sides. But when there was discussion about keeping the promise that I had made to the Peouarias of going to live with them, the Frenchmen and the Savages opposed it, - apparently because they were accustomed to my ways and do not like changes. Accordingly, Father de Ville was sent there in my place. This Father, who had been a short time with us, has now proved by his zeal, by his ability to win the Savages, and by the improvement that he is making among them, that God appointed him to this Mission, not having judged me worthy of it.

When I had returned to my Mission, I blessed God for the favors which he had heaped upon it during my absence. That year, there had been an abundant harvest of corn and of wild oats. Besides the beauty of the place, we also have salt-springs in the neighborhood, which are of great benefit to us. Cows have just been brought to us which will render, us the same service in tillage that the oxen render in

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France. We have tried to tame the wild oxen, but we have never succeeded. There are mines of lead and of tin not far from here; perhaps more valuable ones would be found, as I said before, if some intelligent person were employed to discover them. (50) We are only 30 leagues from the Missouri, or Pekitanoui. This is a large river which flows into the Mississipi and it is said that it comes from a still greater distance than does that river. The best mines of the Spaniards are at the head of this river. Finally, we are comparatively near the river Ouabache, which also empties into the Mississipi, below us. We could easily by means of this river trade with the Miamis, and with a multitude of other Tribes more distant; for it extends as far as the Country of the Iroquois.

All these advantages are extremely favorable to the plan that some Frenchmen have of settling in our Village. Whether or not this sort of settlement would be likely to contribute to the welfare of Religion, is a question which I cannot easily answer. Should the Frenchmen who may come among us resemble those whom I have formerly seen here, who edified our Neophytes by their piety and by the strictness of their morals, nothing would be more comforting to us, or more conducive to the progress of the Gospel. But if, unhappily, some of them should come and openly practice libertinage and perhaps irreligion, as is to be feared, all would be over with our Mission. Their pernicious example would make more impression on the minds of the Savages than all that we could say to preserve them from the same dissolute conduct; they would not fail to reproach us - as they have already done, in some

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places - with abusing their readiness to believe us, saying that the Laws of Christianity are not so severe as we teach. They would say that it is not credible that people as enlightened as Frenchmen are, and brought up in the bosom of Religion, would willingly rush to their own destruction and cast themselves into hell, if it were truë that such and such actions merited so terrible a punishment. All the arguments that the Missionary could oppose to this influence of an evil example would have no power over the minds of a People who are seldom affected except by that which strikes the senses. Therefore, my Reverend Father, aid me in my prayers to the Lord that he may render all my apprehensions vain, and that he may continue to pour out his blessings upon my feeble labors. I commend myself to your holy sacrifices, and am with respect, etc..

Father GABRIEL MAREST, Missionary.

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NOTES TO VOL. LXVI. (Figures in parentheses, following the number of note, refer to p.s of English text.)

(48) (p. 279). — At least a part of the Pottawattomies had evidently migrated to the St. Joseph River, by 1711, and were accompanied by their missionary, Chardon; they had probably fled thither to escape their enemies.

Fort St. Joseph appears to have been located in what is now Portage township, St. Joseph county, Ind., on the east side of St. Joseph River, a short distance below the present city of South Bend. It guarded the much-used portage between St. Joseph River and the head waters of the Kankakee. — See Wis. Hist. Colls., vol. xi., pp. 115, 178, 179, notes. In his St. Joseph-Kankakee Portage, — Publication no. i. of the Northern Indiana Historical Society (South Bend, 1899), — George A. Baker states (p. 43) that the fort was located one mile south of the present city of Niles, Mich.

(49) (p. 287). — Huakiki (also written Theakiki): the river now known as the Kankakee, a branch of the Illinois River. Charlevoix thus explains the name (Journ. Hist., p. 371): “Theakiki, which our Canadians have corrupted to Kiakiki. ‘Theak’ means ‘a Wolf,’ — I cannot now recall in what language; but that river bears this name because the Mahingans, who are also called the Wolves, had formerly taken refuge there.” — See description, historical and topographical, of this river and its basin, and of the noted portage, in Baker’s paper, cited in preceding note.

(50) (p. 293). —Salt-springs are found at various localities in Western and Southern Illinois — in Saline, Gallatin, and La Salle counties; also in Randolph county (wherein is Kaskaskia), and St. Clair county (wherein is Cahokia). — See Ill.. Geol. Survey Rep. vol. iv. (1870), pp. 22, 189; vol. vi. (1875), pp. 216, 232; vol. vii., pp. 31, 38.

Across the Mississippi, in Missouri, there are abundant and rich deposits of lead and zinc-metals which are also found to some extent in southwestern Illinois, while in the northwestern section of that State and in Southwestern Wisconsin are extensive lead mines. Zinc is a metal which, although in actual use for many centuries in

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the manufacture of brass and bronze, was not accurately known before the 18th century; and it was sometimes regarded, by unscientific persons, as a species of tin — hence the allusion in the text. — See Winslow’s “Lead and Zinc Deposits,” in Missouri Geol. Survey Rep., vols. vi., vii. (Jefferson City, MO., 1894); in vol. vi. is given an historical sketch of the minerals lead and zinc, and another of mining in Missouri.