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Harney, Richard J. / History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest
(1880)

Harney, Richard J.
Early history of the Northwest,   pp. [9]-94 PDF (49.5 MB)


Page 11

[page 11]
EARLY HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST
nificent St. Lawrence, at this point a mile
wide, washed the base of the rugged cliff which
rose in towering majesty from the broad
stream, and a few Indian wigwams occupied
the site of the future city of Quebec.  Here
reposed, in the solitude of the vast wilderness,
oneof the most enduring monuments of Ameri-
can history.  The majestic cliff then in its
silent grandeur, was destined to become
famous as the spot where the heroes, Wolf
and Montcalm, laid down their lives in a
battle which involved the political destiny of a
continent. The field of Abraham, upon which
was to be fought the great, decisive battle for
American Empire, between the Cross of St.
George and the Fleur de fis of France, then
slumbered in savage solitude.
Cartier returned to France in the Spring,
and in 1541 again ascended the St. Lawrence,
as the advance of a colony under Roberval,
commissioned by the King of France.   He
anchored off Cap Rouge.   Here he landed,
built a fort, cleared land and planted it. This
was the first attempt at agriculture by civilized
man on the continent.
For about a year the colonists lived here in
amity with the Indians.  This was twenty-
four years before the founding of St. Augus-
tine, and sixty-six years before the settlement
of Jamestown.  In all that vast wilderness,
from the GLlf of Mexico to the Polar Seas,
there was not another civilized being.
Roberval, who was to followv Cartier with
another fleet and a reinforcement of colonists,
not arriving long after the expected time, the
latter abandoned the place and returned to
France.   Roberval arrived at Cap Rouge
shortly after Cartier's departure, and landed
his colonists, composed of soldiers, mechanics,
laborers, women and children.  Here they
erected a large structure, and, after enduring
for a short time the hard vicissitudes of a life
subject to the contingencies of such a situa-
tion,the remnant of the colony, wasted by dis-
ease and privations, returned to France. That
country shortly afterwards entered upon an era
of fratricidal strife; the civil convulsions of
Europe left no opportunity for American col-
onization; the first act in American civilization
came to a close, and the country for half a cen-
tury was left in the undisturbed possession- of
its savage occupants.
CHAPTER II.
Samuel de Champlain, the Pioneer Explorer of the Interior-
Founds Quebec - Forms an Alliance with the Algonquins
and Hurons.
AFTER an interval of sixty odd years
 French colonization received a new
impetus, and now was to begin that
mighty process which was to trans-
form a wilderness continent into a
civilization whose grandeur, power and useful
achievements have rivaled the greatest nations
of Europe.
And now appears on the scene a name
deservedly as enduring as American history-
the great pioneer in the civilized occupancy of
the interior of the continent-Samuel de Chami-
plain. This brave explorer and noble Chris-
tian gentleman was the discoverer of the Great
Lakes. His arduous and dangerous explora-
tions, the diligence and accuracy with which
he mapped out the geography of a large part
of the country and its water courses, his noble
efforts to advance the ends of civilization and
the exemplary habits of his life, have won for
him an enviable position in the annals of
American history.
In 1603, he sailed up the St. Lawrence, and
explored it to Mont Royal. The Indian tribes
that Cartier had found there had disappeared,
and Algonquins had taken their place.  He
returned to France, and, in the following year,
accompanied De Monts who, with a feudal
commission from, the King of France, as Lieu-.
tenant-General of Acadia, went to establish a
colony in what is now Nova Stotia.  After
exploring the Bay of Funday, of which the
untiring Champlain made a coast survey, and
maps and charts, they selected the mouth of
the St. Croix as the site of their colony,
erected buildings, and enclosed them with a
palisade; and now, once more we find the
French the only European inhabitants on the
continent, except the Spaniards in Flotida.
The English had as yet made no settlement.
Says Parkman: "It was from France that these
barbarous shores first learned to serve the ends
of peaceful industry."
But the colony at St. Croix must be left to
its fate while attention is called to the enter-
prises of Champlain, which pioneered the set-
tlement of the Northwest-the feeble begin-
nings of that early civilization of the North-
west, which was a cross with barbarism-a
romantic mingling of the elements of barbaric
and civilized life, over which France reared its
standard and marshaled its dusky retainers in
the solitudes of the wilderness, in. its efforts to
erect a French-Indian Empire whose terri-
1535-41.]


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