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      The character of these candidates for matrimony has not escaped the pen of slander. The caustic La Hontan, writing fifteen or twenty years after, draws the following sketch of the mothers of Canada: After the regiment of Carignan was disbanded, ships were sent out freighted with girls of indifferent virtue, under the direction of a few pious old duennas, who divided them into three classes. These vestals were, so to speak, piled one on the other in three different halls, where the bridegrooms chose their brides as a butcher chooses his sheep out of the midst of the


      1637-1640.


      got ready their houses and clearings, and were now prepared[192] Tonty, Mmoire; Membr in Le Clerc, ii. 191. Hennepin, who hated Tonty, unjustly charges him with having abandoned the search too soon, admitting, however, that it would have been useless to continue it. This part of his narrative is a perversion of Membr's account.

      united into the barony of Lcngueuil. See Papers on theThree things, which they saw or heard of in their new home, excited their astonishment. The first was the vast flight of wild pigeons which in spring darkened the air around the Lake of Onondaga; the second was the salt springs of Salina; the third was the rattlesnakes, which Le Mercier describes with excellent precision, adding that, as he learns from the Indians, their tails are good for toothache and their flesh for fever. These reptiles, for reasons best known to themselves, haunted the neighborhood of the salt-springs, but did not intrude their presence into the abode of the French.

      It was not solely or chiefly for commercial gain that La Salle had established Fort Frontenac. He regarded it as a first step towards greater things; and now, at length, his plans were ripe and his time was come. In the autumn of 1677 he left the fort in charge of his lieutenant, descended the St. Lawrence to Quebec, and sailed for France. He had the patronage of Frontenac and the help of strong friends in Paris. It is said, as we have seen already, that his enemies denounced him, in advance, as a madman; but a memorial of his, which his friends laid before the minister Colbert, found a favorable hearing. In it he set forth his plans, or a portion of them. He first recounted briefly the discoveries he had made, and then described the country he had seen south and west of the great lakes. "It is nearly all so beautiful and so fertile; so free from forests, and so full of meadows, brooks, and rivers; so abounding in fish, game, and venison, that one can find there in plenty, and with little trouble, all that is needful for the support of flourishing colonies. The soil will produce everything that is raised in France. Flocks and herds can be left out at pasture all winter; and there are even native wild cattle, which, instead of hair, have a fine wool that may answer for making cloth and hats. Their hides are better than those of France, as appears [Pg 123] by the sample which the Sieur de la Salle has brought with him. Hemp and cotton grow here naturally, and may be manufactured with good results; so there can be no doubt that colonies planted here would become very prosperous. They would be increased by a great number of western Indians, who are in the main of a tractable and social disposition; and as they have the use neither of our weapons nor of our goods, and are not in intercourse with other Europeans, they will readily adapt themselves to us and imitate our way of life as soon as they taste the advantages of our friendship and of the commodities we bring them, insomuch that these countries will infallibly furnish, within a few years, a great many new subjects to the Church and the King.


      Well! exclaimed the old captain, I shall rely on Phanos words. He never forgets.

      [236] Procs Verbal de la Prise de Possession du Pays des Arkansas, 14 Mars, 1682.

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      immense quantity of beaver-skins which had passed through

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      IV.

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      Not my property, but yours, replied Lycon.CHAPTER VII.


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