Harney, Richard J. / History of Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and early history of the Northwest
Harney, Richard J.
Early history of the Northwest, pp. -94 PDF (49.5 MB)
[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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