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ESTABLISHMENT OF A MISSION IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF FORT FRONTENAC. APRIL, 1750.
[Paris Doe. X.]
A large number of Iroquois Savages having declared their willingness to embrace Christianity, it has been proposed to establish a Mission in the neighbourhood of Fort Frontenac. Abbe Picquet, a zealous Missionary in whom the nations have evinced much confidence has taken charge of it, and of testing, as much as possible what reliance is to be placed on the dispositions of the Indians.1
Nevertheless, as Mr de la GalHsonniere had remarked in the month of October, one thousand seven hundred and forty eight, that too much dependence ought not to be placed on them, Mr. de la Jonquiere was written to, on the fourth of May one thousand seven hundred and forty nine, that he should neglect nothing for the formation of this establishment, because if it at all succeeded it would not be difficult to give the Indians to understand that the only means they had to relieve themselves of the pretensions of the English to their lands is the destruction of Choueguen which they founded solely with a view to bridle these Nations; but it was necessary to be prudent and circumspect to induce the Savages to undertake it.
31" 8ber 1749. Mr. de la Jonquiere sends a plan drawn by Sieur de Lery of the ground selected by the Abbe Picquet for his mission and a letter from that Abbe containing a Relation of his voyage and the situation of the place.
1 The following Extract from Paris Doe. X., furnishes the date of the Abbe Picquet's departure to establish his colony on the Oswegatchie River:—"30 Sept. 1748. The Abb£ Picquet departs from Quebec for Fort Frontenac; he is to look in the neighbourhood of that Fort, for a location best adapted for a village for the Iroquois of the Five Nations who propose to embrace Christianity."
He says he left the fourth of May of last year with twenty-five Frenchmen and four Iroquois Indians; he arrived the thirtieth at the River de la Presentation, called Soegatzy. The land there is the finest in Canada. There is Oak timber in abundance, and trees of a prodigious size and height, but it will be necessary, for the defence of the settlement, to fell them without permission. Picquet reserved sufficient on the land he had cleared to build a bark.
He then set about building a store house to secure his effects; he, next, had erected a small fort of pickets and he will have a small house constructed which will serve as a bastion.
Sieur Picquet had a special interview with the Indians; they were satisfied with all he had done; and assured him they were willing to follow his advice and to immediately establish their village. To accomplish this, they are gone to regulate their affairs and have promised to return with their provisions.
The situation of this post is very advantageous; it is on the borders of the River de la Presentation, at the head of all the rapids, on the west side of a beautiful basin formed by that river, capable of easily holding forty or fifty barks.
In all parts of it there has been found at least two fathoms and a half of water and often four fathoms. This basin is so located that no wind scarcely can prevent its being entered. The bank is very low in a level country the point of which runs far out. The passage across is hardly a quarter of a league, and all the canoes going up or down, cannot pass elsewhere. A fort on this point would be impregnable; it would be impossible to approach, and nothing commands, it. The east side is more elevated, and runs by a gradual inclination into an Amphitheatre. A beautiful town could hereafter be built there.
This post is, moreover, so much the more advantageous as the English and Iroquois can easily descend to Montreal by the River de la Presentation which has its source in a lake bordering on the Mohawks and Corlar. If they take possession of this River they will block the passage to Fort Frontenac and more easily assist Choueguen. Whereas by means of a Fort at the Point, it would be easy to have a force there in case of need to despatch to