La Salle was a French explorer who followed the path of the Mississippi river from the great lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. In doing so he overcame nearly insurmountable difficulties and faced down terror, privation, freezing cold, and savage natives. He passed thousands of miles of lakes and rivers in a birch canoe and transversed countless trails to claim the Mississippi valley for France.
THE INHABITANTS OF THE GREAT VALLEY OF THE WEST
WHOSE MAGNIFICENT REALMS
LA SALLE AND HIS COMPANIONS WERE THE FIRST TO EXPLORE,
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, BY
JOHN S. C. ABBOT
There is no one of the Pioneers of this continent whose achievements equal those of the Chevalier Robert de la Salle. He passed over thousands of miles of lakes and rivers in the birch canoe. He traversed countless leagues of prairie and forest, on foot, guided by the moccasined Indian, threading trails which the white man's foot had never trod, and penetrating the villages and the wigwams of savages, where the white man's face had never been seen.
Fear was an emotion La Salle never experienced. His adventures were more wild and wondrous than almost any recorded in the tales of chivalry. As time is rapidly obliterating from our land the footprints of the savage, it is important that these records of his strange existence should be perpetuated.
Fortunately we have full and accurate accounts of these explorations, in the journals of Messrs. Marquette, Hennepin, and Joliet. We have still more minute narratives, in Etablissement de la Foix, par le P. Chretien Le Clercq, Paris 1691; Dernieres Decouvertes, par le Chevalier de Tonti, Paris 1697; Journal Historique, par M. Joutel, Paris 1713.
For the incidents in the last fatal expedition, to establish a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi, and the wonderful land tour of more than two thousand miles from the sea-coast of Texas to Quebec, through the territories of hundreds of tribes, we have the narratives of Father Christian Le Clercq, the narrative of Father Anastasias Douay, and the minute and admirably written almost daily journal of Monsieur Joutel, in his Dernier Voyage. Both Douay and Joutel accompanied this expedition from its commencement to its close.
In these adventures the reader will find a more vivid description of the condition of this continent, and the character of its inhabitants two hundred years ago, than can be found anywhere else. Sir Walter Scott once remarked, that no one could take more pleasure in reading his romances, than he had taken in writing them. In this volume we have the romance of truth.
If the writer can judge of the pleasure of the reader, from the intense interest he has experienced in following these adventurers through their perilous achievements, this narrative will prove to be one of extraordinary interest.
Fair Haven, Connecticut.