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covered with mats of rushes. The inhabitants, according to their custom, had separated, and gone away to the hunting grounds, where they were to pass the winter, this being the proper season for the chase and for taking furs. Great quantities of corn were found carefully buried in dry places, a temptation too seductive for men who had subsisted for months on the flesh of wild animals alone. The Sieur de la Salle knew the hazard he should run by appropriating to his use a portion of this corn, and the vengeance which such an act might bring upon him from its owners; but the call of necessity was more imperious than that of danger, and he caused about fifty bushels of it to be carried to the canoes, trusting in his good fortune to appease and satisfy the savages, when he should meet them, by presents and a fair recompense. We are not told whether this meeting ever took place.
On the 1st January, 1680, they came suddenly upon an encampment of Indians, who, after the first surprise was over, received them as friends. La Salle's address was significant and jesuitical. He told them that he had come from Canada to impart to them the knowledge of the true God, to assist them against their enemies, and to supply them with arms and with the conveniences of life. The rifle and the Bible are still too often associated on similar occasions.
Of course, another fort was built here. “The position was strong by nature, situate on a high bank rising from the margin of the river, and bounded on two sides by ravines running nearly at right angles to the stream.” It was characteristically named Fort Crécecour, or Broken heart; rather, we should think, a generic, than a special appellation.
A vessel for navigating the Mississippi was laid down and nearly completed; but as she could not be finished without a further supply of materials, La Salle came to the hardy resolution of going to Frontenac, and returning with them as soon as possible. In the mean time, Father Hennepin, a missionary who had accompanied him, was directed to explore the Mississippi which he accordingly attempted in a canoe, accompanied by two other Frenchmen; and after La Salle's subsequent discoveries became known, assumed the credit of having traced its downward course till it issued in the Gulf of Mexico.
Meanwhile, La Salle, having reached Frontenac after an arduous journey, made arrangements for carrying out his vast enterprize. Accompanied by a staff of fifty four persons, Frenchmen, savages, women and children, he returned by the lakes, as before, to the Miamis river, whence he varied his course a little and arrived in safety on the waters of the Mississippi, on the 6th February.
Of course, the great business of the expedition was not overlooked. We must not stop here to enquire by what authority a stranger, setting his foot in a new country, becomes, henceforward, lord of the soil. We complain with too much reason, that in many cases might gives right. To us the fallacy that sight gives right, appears still more monstrous.
Yet this seems to be a recognized principle in the law of conquest. How La Salle carried out this idea, will be seen in the following proeding relative to his treatment of the Arkansas.
He took possession of the country in the name of his king, erected a cross, and adorned it with the arms of France. This was done with much pomp and ceremony, at which the savages testified great joy, and doubtless supposed it to be intended for their amusement. Father Zenobe also performed his part, by endeavoring to impress upon the multitude some of the mysteries of his faith, as far as he could do it without understanding a word of their language; and he did not despair of having produced good effects, especially as he observed, on his return, that the cross stood untouched, and had been surrounded by the Indians with a line of palisades.
With regard to the Natches, the procedure was similar. “Another cross was planted, with the arms of France attached to it, by which ceremony the country was declared to be held by the king.”
Proceeding on their voyage, the river presently divided itself into three branches, down the westernmost of which La Salle proceeded, leaving the exploration of the other two, to his companions. On the borders of the broad ocean a column and a cross were of course erected. The arms of France were attached to the column, with this inscription; Louis the Great, King of France and Navarre, reigns; the 9th of April, 1682. All the men were under arms, and, after chanting the Te Deum, they honored the occasion by a discharge of their muskets, and cries of Long live the King. The column was then erected by the Sieur de la Salle, who made a formal speech, taking possession of the whole country of Louisiana for the French King, the nations and people contained therein, the seas and harbors adjacent, and all the streams flowing into the Mississippi, which he calls the great River St. Louis. A leaden plate was buried at the foot of a tree, with a Latin inscription, containing the arms of France and the date, and purporting that La Salle, Tonty, Zenobe, and twenty Frenchmen, were the first to navigate the river from the Illinois to its mouth. The cross was then erected with similar ceremonies.
We have stated in the introduction to this narrative, that one principal reason for giving it, was to moot and canvass the strange question of natural aggrandizement; and we have now arrived at a point where we may call upon our young readers seriously to consider, how far the mere transit through a new country, should give a title to the casual visitor superior even to that of the aboriginal possessor. There is something really ludicrous in the idea: it is so palpably absurd, that if interest were not concerned, no one nation or individual could think of justifying it. And yet how much of the earth's surface is held by no better tenure. La Salle was quite a model-conqueror. His kindness, moderation, and impartiality, were much above the usual standard; and we have mainly brought him forward that our readers may from a comparatively favorable case, infer something of the wrong and outrage which sometimes attend such acquisitions of territory. Proceedings of this nature tend much to efface or obscure the boundary lines between offensive and defensive warfare; and force us to the conclusion that, both must inevitably be bad things, if they flow so imperceptibly into each other.
Not long after this brilliant achievement, La Salle returned of course to France, where he arrived on the 13th December, 1683, and proceeded to lay before his sovereign a project for sailing out to the Gulf of Mexico, in order to take effective possession of his newly acquired territories.
Unskilled in navigation they overshot their mark, and by a second mistake bore still farther to the westward till they reached Matagorda bay. Here of course their first step was to build a fort. Disaffection and trials of various kinds arose among the colonists, but La Salle’s indomitable patience and firmness carried him through. Wearied with frequent and fruitless wanderings, he was at length attacked with fever, and in this enfeebled state was barbarously murdered by one of his own company, on the 19th March, 1687.
Such is a feeble outline of the career of this singular but not uninteresting man. Had space allowed, we should have endeavored to do justice to the many admirable features in his character. We might perhaps sum them up pretty correctly in the words of an old poet
Benigne he was, and wonder diligent,
And adversitie full patient.” His trials were great, his triumphs signal, and especially those gained over himself; he was much envied, and most cruelly maligned; but notwithstanding the many enemies he had, we trace nothing like a feeling of revenge in any of his actions or purposes. He had so much to do, that he found no time for those sallies and skirmishings and deadly feuds which have stayed the progress and damaged the interests of thousands.
EASTERN MEALS. THE mode of living in Palestine is extremely simple. In the morning a pipe of tobacco serves for breakfast, with sometimes a cup of coffee to it; though very many never indulge in the luxury of taking a breakfast at all. About noon a little bread and cheese, eaten with onions, or radishes, or some fruit, serves for a lunch. Their principal meal is taken in the evening, a little after sunset. For this, considerable preparation is often made during the afternoon. When all is ready, a small round table, nine or ten inches high, is taken down from the wall, and spread with the dishes. We were often enjoying the evening air in the garden when our neighbours dined, and Yusuf would sometimes invite us to sit down with him, though we always declined. The family sat round the table on the ground, and as they used neither knives, forks, nor plates, each one dipped the fingers in the various dishes which covered the table. The principal dish was generally pilau ; which is made of rice boiled with meat, or simply boiled in water until soft, and then fried in oil or Arab butter—which latter is always rancid. Besides pilau, there were the round thin cakes of bread, a little goat cheese, sometimes a broiled fish, and onions or other salading; and a neighbour called Ibrahim, who sold wine, supplied Yusuf with a bottle of the “ wine of Lebanon ” to wash down the dinner. In eating, one would take a little pilau with his fingers out of the dish, then perhaps tear off a piece of bread; and bite a little from an immense radish, or a green onion ; occasionally taking up a few crumbs of the cheese: then he would again thrust his fingers into the pilau dish,—and so on.* When the meal was over, the hands of each were cleansed by water being poured over them at the door.f After dinner, a small cup of coffee was usually taken, and then the men generally smoked until they retired to rest—which they did about eight o'clockWillan's Land of Israel.
POOR FRANCE. On entering the harbour of Marseilles, we were all taken with our luggage to the quarantine house, to be imprisoned there for five days. The accommodation was much better than in the quarantine establishments in the East; but, at the best, it is a most unpleasant thing to be shut up, with nothing to do, and to feel that one is a prisoner. . I walked a good deal in the grounds with a French gentleman who was returning from India, and who could speak a little English. He was an enthusiastic republican, and discoursed largely on the organization of labor. He would have it that the English aristocracy was a “bad institusheone,” and said that by and bye there would be
vor leetle revolusheone” in England, after the model of France. He predicted that the entire continent would soon be under republican governments, and that England, if she remained a monarchy, would be isolated, and its power would cease.Willan's Land of Israel.
* Allusions to this custom of dipping the hand into the dish are common in Scripture. Some read “dish" instead of “bosom” in Proverbs xix. 24 & xxvi. 15.
+ This mode of washing the hands was adopted in patriarchal times, though the texts referring to it are not always rendered with critical accuracy, their beauty is consequently lost.