of the expedition, wrote, in his Journal: “In some places鈥攁nd they were but too frequent鈥攖he water was only two or three inches deep; and we were reduced to the sad necessity of 鏉窞榫欏嚖闃佽鍧?dragging our canoes over the sharp pebbles, which, with all our care and precaution, stripped off large slivers of the bark. At last, tired and worn, and almost in despair of ever seeing La Belle Rivi猫re, we entered it at noon of the 29th.” The part of the Ohio, or “La Belle Rivi猫re,” which they had thus happily 鏉窞婊ㄦ睙琛楀コ鏈€澶氱殑鍦版柟 reached, is now called the Alleghany. The Great West lay outspread before them, a realm of wild and waste fertility.
French America had two heads,鈥攐ne among the snows of Canada, and one among the canebrakes of Louisiana; one communicating with the world through 鏉窞鎸夋懇绱噾娌?the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the other through the Gulf of Mexico. These vital points were feebly connected by a chain of military posts,鈥攕lender, and often interrupted,鈥攃ircling through the wilderness nearly three thousand miles. Midway between Canada and Louisiana 40
V1 lay the valley of the Ohio. If the English 鏉窞涓嶆瑙勭殑瓒虫荡搴?should seize it, they would sever the chain of posts, and cut French America asunder. If the French held it, and entrenched themselves well along its eastern limits, they would shut their rivals between the Alleghanies and the
sea, control all the tribes of 鏉窞寰￠緳閬搒pa the West, and turn them, in case of war, against the English borders,鈥攁 frightful and insupportable scourge.
The Indian population of the Ohio and its northern tributaries was relatively considerable. The upper or eastern half of the valley was occupied by mingled 鏉窞鏈夌孩鐏竴鏉¤鍦ㄥ摢閲?hordes of Delawares, Shawanoes, Wyandots, and Iroquois, or Indians of the Five Nations, who had migrated thither from their ancestral abodes within the present limits of the State of New York, and who were called Mingoes by the English traders. Along with them were a few wandering Abenakis, Nipissings, and Ottawas. 鏉窞鏈夊悕姘旂殑瓒崇枟搴?Farther west, on the waters of the Miami, the Wabash, and other neighboring streams, was the seat of a confederacy formed of the various bands of the Miamis and their kindred or affiliated tribes.
Still farther west, towards the Mississippi, were the remnants 鏉窞鎸夋懇濂充环鏍?of the Illinois.
France had done but little to make good her claims to this grand domain. East of the Miami she had no military post whatever. Westward, on the Maumee, there was a small wooden fort, another on the St. Joseph, and two on the Wabash. On the meadows of 鏉窞娌瑰帇鎸夋懇浼氭墍璁哄潧 the Mississippi, in the Illinois country, stood Fort Chartres,鈥攁 much stronger 41
V1 work, and one of the chief links of the chain that connected Quebec with New Orleans. Its four stone bastions were impregnable to musketry; and, here in the depths of the wilderness, there was no fear that cannon would be brought 鏉窞妗戞嬁鎸夋懇澶氬皯閽?against it. It was the centre and citadel of a curious little forest settlement, the only vestige of civilization through all this region. At Kaskaskia, extended along the borders of the stream, were seventy or eighty French houses; thirty or forty at Cahokia, 鏉窞419浜ゅ弸缇?opposite the site of St. Louis; and a few more at the intervening hamlets of St. Ph