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1 Sept.

Cuap. Iul. the Hurons and their allies preparing for an expedition

against their ancient enemies, the Iroquois. Anxious to 1615.

reconnoitre the hostile territory, and also to secure the friendship of the Canadian savages, the gallant Frenchman resolved to accompany their warriors. After visiting the tribes at the head-waters of the Ottawa, and discovering Lake Huron, which, because of its "great extent," he named "La Mer Douce," Champlain, attended by an armed party of ten Frenchmen, accordingly set out toward the south, with his Indian allies. Enraptured with the 66. very beautiful and pleasant country' through which they passed, and amusing themselves with fishing and hunting, as they descended the chain of "Shallow Lakes," which discharge their waters through the River Trent, the

expedition reached the banks of Lake Ontario. * October. Crossing the end of the lake “at the outlet of the great

River Saint Lawrence," and passing by many beautiful islands on the way, the invaders followed the eastern shore, of Ontario, for fourteen leagues, toward their enemy's coun

try. In the vicinity of the present village of Henderson, Champlain in the county of Jefferson, the party landed, and the savJefferson ages hid all their canoes in the woods near the bank of

the lake. After proceeding about four leagues, over a sandy tract, Champlain remarked “a very agreeable and beautiful country, traversed by several small streams and two little rivers which empty into the lake." These riv- . ers were the Big and Little Sandy Creeks, and the beautiful country” was the northern edge of the present county of Oswego. Leaving the shores of the lake, the invaders continued their route inland to the southward, for twenty-five or thirty leagues. For four days they pressed onward, meeting no foes, and crossing in their way a number of rivulets, and a river forming the outlet of Oneida Lake; which Champlain described as “twenty-five or thirty leagues in circuit, in which there are beautiful islands,

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tled in Maine and Nova Scotia several years before this:; but Champlain now first intro: duced the Recollet, or Franciscan fathers, into Canada.

* Le Lac des Entouhonorons,” Champlain, 254; Bouchette's British America, i., 84.

quois castle

ga attack

and where our Iroquois enemies catch their fish, which are Cukř. TIL very abundant.” Here the Canadians captured eleven Ir

1615. oquois, who had come about four leagues from their fort , October to fish in the Oneida Lake. Among the prisoners were four squaws. Preparations were immediately made for the usual savage tortures; but Champlain humanely prą. testing against the cruelty of his allies, as " not the act of a warrior," succeeded in saving the lives of the women, though the men all suffered death.

In the afternoon of the next day the expedition arrived The Iro before the fortified village of the Iroquois, on the northern at Omondabank of the Onondaga Lake, near the site of the present ed. town of Liverpool.* The village was inclosed by four rows of palisades, made of large pieces of timber closely interlaced. The stockade was thirty feet high, with galleries running around like a parapet, which were garnished with double pieces of wood, arquebuse-proof; and the fortification stood close by a “pond where water was neve er wanting.'

Some skirmishing took place as soon as the invaders reached the Onondaga Fort; though their first design was not to discover themselves until the next morning. But the impatience of the savages overcame their prudence. They were anxious to see the effect of the fire-arms of their French allies; and Champlain, advancing with his little detachment against the Onondagas, quickly “showed them what they had never seen or heard before."

As soon as the Iroquois heard the reports of the arquebuses, and felt the balls whistling about their ears, they nimbly took refuge within their fort, carrying with them their killed and wounded. The assailing party then fell back upon

their main body, with five or six wounded; one of whom died.

*"This Iroquois fort was on the shore of Onondaga Lake; and it is highly probable that it was on the ground subsequently occupied by Sieur Dupuis, in 1665, and also by Count Frontenac in his expedition against the Onondagas, in 1696, and by Colonel Van Schaick in 1779." -- Clark's Hist. of Onondaga, i., 256. The spot is marked on Champlain's Map very distinctly. Every geographical detail in Champlain's work seems to confirm the opinion of Clark and Marshall that the lake must have been the Onondaga; and that it could not have been the Canandaigua, as assumed in a note on page 16, iik Doc. Hist., N. Ý.



2 October,

Contrary to Champlain's advice, the invaders now retreated a cannon's shot from the fort. This provoked his earnest remonstrances; and his genius soon suggested a plan of attack, borrowed from the ancient modes of warfare. A movable tower, in which four French marksmen could be placed, was to be constructed, sufficiently high to command the palisades; and while the besieged Iroquois were thus securely picked off, the stockade itself was to be set on fire. The plan was promptly approved of by the Canadians, who commenced the work the next day, and labored with such diligence that the tower was completed in four hours. They then wished to wait for a reinforcement of five hundred men which they expected; but Champlain, judging that delay in most cases is prejudicial, pressed them to attack the fort at once.

The invaders, yielding to his arguments, followed his advice. The tower was carried, by two hundred men, to within a pike's length from the stockade; and four arquebusiers, well protected from arrows and stones, began to fire on the invested Iroquois. The besieged savages at first answered with warm discharges of arrows; but the fatal balls of the French marksmen soon drove them from their galleries. Champlain now directed the Hurons to set fire to the stockade. But instead of obeying, they began to shout at the enemy, and discharge ineffective flights of arrows into the fort. Ignorant of discipline, and impatient of control, each savage did as he liked. At length they lit a fire, on the wrong side of the fort, contrary to the wind, so that it produced no effect. The besiegers then began to pile wood against the palisades, though in such small quantity that it did little good. The noise now became overpowering Champlain attempted to warn the savages against the results of their bad judgment; but the great confusion prevented him from being heard. Perceiving that he was only “splitting his head by crying out,” he directed the remainder of his French party to fire upon the besieged. Many of the Iroquois were killed; but, observing the disorder of their assailants, they poured wa

dian invad


ter from the gutters in such abundance, that every spark Chap. III. of fire was soon extinguished. Meanwhile they discharged

1615. incessant flights of arrows, which fell upon the besiegers like hail. The combat lasted about four hours. Two of the Huron chiefs and fifteen warriors were wounded. The CanaChamplain himself was twice severely injured by arrows; ers reand the repulsed besiegers retreated to their encampment.

Here they remained inactive several days. No arguments of Champlain could induce the Hurons to renew the attack until their expected re-enforcement of five hundred men should arrive from Canada. A few skirmishes occurred; but whenever the Iroquois saw the French arquebusiers approaching, they promptly retreated within their fort. At length the invaders, tired of waiting for their re-enforcements, broke up the siege, contrary to Cham- 16 October plain's earnest remonstrance, and began their retreat. The gallant Frenchman, himself disabled by his wounds from walking, was placed in a frame of wicker-work, and carried for several days on the backs of the savages.

The Iroquois pursued their enemies for half a league, but the retreat was conducted in such good order that the invaders suffered no loss.

In a few days the party reached the spot where they 20 October had hidden their canoes on the shore of Lake Ontario, and were overjoyed to find that they had not been discovered and destroyed by the Iroquois. Champlain was now anxious to return to Montreal by way of the Saint Lawrence, Return of

the expediover the upper waters of which no European had yet tion to passed. But his savage allies refused to furnish him with a promised guide and canoe; and he was obliged to accompany them home, an unwilling guest, and pass a dreary winter in the Huron country. The following spring Champlain set out on his return, and, after forty 1616. days travel, reached the French settlements toward the 20 May end of June. His countrymen received him with joy, as June. one risen from the grave; for the savages had long before reported him dead.*


* Voyages de Champlain, 240-306; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii., 10–17. See also an interest


Thus the French were the first Europeans who visited

two of the magnificent lakes which partially bound the 1616.

territories of New York. Almost contemporaneously with Hudson's exploration of the great River of the Mountains, Champlain had discovered those beautiful waters on our northeastern frontier which now bear his brilliant name. Six years later, the adventurous Frenchman, again the first of Europeans, was coasting along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, and penetrating the valley of Onondaga. But the progress of French discovery was the progress of French arms.

The exploring voyages of Hudson and his followers were visits of peaceful agents of commercial Holland in search of new avenues for trade, and intent chiefly on its rewards. No predatory movements marked their onward way. Enterprising and patriotic, they were discreet and humane. If blood was early shed, it was shed in retaliation, or to repel attack. But the expeditions of Champlain were incursions of bold adventurers from gallant France, seeking trophies of victory in the unknown territories of the Iroquois. The placid waters of Lakes Champlain and Onondaga were alike stained by unoffending native blood; and the roar of the few French arquebuses which first echoed through the frontier forests of New Netherland, but preluded the advance, in after years, of serried battalions over northern New York, bearing to battle and conquest the triumphant lilies of the Bourbon.

The valley of the “Cahohatatea,"* or Mauritius River, the North at the time Hudson first ascended its waters, was inhab

ited, chiefly, by two aboriginal races of Algonquin lineage, afterward known among the English colonists by the generic names of Mohegans and Mincees. The Dutch generally called the Mohegans, Mahicans; and the Mincees,



ing paper on this subject, by O. H. Marshall, of Buffalo, in N. Y. H. S. Proceedings for 1849, p. 96-103 ; and Clark's Onondaga, i., 251-256.

* The Iroquois name of the North or Hudson River, upon the authority of Mr. John Bleecker, of Albany, "the ancient Indian interpreter, now (1810) in the 79th year of his age." See letter of Dr. Mitchill to Dr. Miller, dated Albany, 3d March, 1810, in N. Y. H. S. Coll., i., p. 43. See also Schoolcraft, in N. Y. H. S. Proc., 1844, p. 94. The Mahicans called it the “Shatemuc;" while the Delawares and other southern tribes, according to Heckewelder, named it the "Mahican-ittuk," or place of the Mahicans.

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