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energy of an imperial will. He feared, and with reason, that the want of enterprise and capital among the merchants would prevent the broad and immediate results at which he aimed; and, to secure these results, he established a series of great trading corporations, in which the principles of privilege and exclusion were pushed to their utmost limits. Prominent among them was the Company of the West. The king signed the edict creating it on the 24th of May, 1664. Any person in the kingdom or out of it might become a partner by subscribing, within a certain time, not less than three thousand francs. France was a mere patch on the map, compared to the vast domains of the new association. Western Africa from Cape Verd to the Cape of Good Hope, South America between the Amazon and the Orinoco, Cayenne, the Antilles, and all New France, from Hudsons Bay to Virginia and Florida were bestowed on it for ever, to be held of the Crown on the simple condition of faith and homage. As, according to the edict, the glory of God was the chief object in view, the company was required to supply its possessions with a sufficient number of priests, and diligently to exclude all teachers of false doctrine. It was empowered to build forts and war-ships, cast cannon, wage war, make peace, establish courts, appoint judges, and otherwise to act as sovereign within its own domains. A monopoly of trade was granted it for forty years. * Sugar from the Antilles, and furs from Canada, were the chief source of expected profit; and Africa was to supply the slaves to raise the sugar. Scarcely was the grand machine set in motion, when its directors betrayed a narrowness and blindness of policy which boded the enterprise no good. Canada was a chief sufferer. Once more, bound hand and foot, she was handed over to a selfish league of merchants; monopoly in trade, monopoly in religion, monopoly in government. Nobody but the company had a right to bring her the necessaries of life; and nobody but the company had a right to exercise the traffic which alone could give her the means of paying for these necessaries. Moreover, the supplies which it brought were insufficient, and the prices which it demanded were exorbitant. It was throttling its wretched victim. The Canadian merchants remonstrated. ** It was clear that, if the colony was to live, the system must be changed; and a change was accordingly ordered. The company gave up its monopoly of the fur trade, but reserved the right to levy a duty of one-fourth of the beaver-skins, and one-tenth of the moose-skins: and it also reserved the entire trade of Tadoussac; that is to say, the trade of all the tribes between the lower St. Lawrence and Hudsons Bay. It retained besides the exclusive right of transporting furs in its own ships, thus controlling the commerce of Canada, and discouraging, or rather extinguishing, the enterprise of Canadian merchants. On its part, it was required to pay governors, judges, and all the colonial officials out of the duties which it levied. ****La Salle was of a different mind. His goal was the Ohio, and not the northern lakes. A few days before, while hunting, he had been attacked by a fever, sarcastically ascribed by Galine to his having seen three large rattle-snakes crawling up a rock. He now told his two colleagues that he was in no condition to go forward, and should be forced to part with them. The staple of La Salle's character, as his life will attest, was an invincible determination of purpose, which set at naught all risks and all sufferings. He had cast himself with all his resources into this enterprise; and, while his faculties remained, he was not a man to recoil from it. On the other hand, the masculine fibre of which he was made did not always withhold him from the practice of the arts of address, [Pg 25] and the use of what Dollier de Casson styles belles paroles. He respected the priesthood, with the exception, it seems, of the Jesuits; and he was under obligations to the Sulpitians of Montreal. Hence there can be no doubt that he used his illness as a pretext for escaping from their company without ungraciousness, and following his own path in his own way.
Dont look at me so, my bee,M said Glaucus smiling. My whole soul yearns to you. But you know what the sailors say: Ships must be kept free from Aphrodites lures, first because they are sacred, and secondly because it isnt right to trifle, when there is only a plank between us and death.
"Thus far, he has not told me his plan; and he changes his mind every moment. He is a man so suspicious, and so afraid that one will penetrate his secrets, that I dare not ask him anything. He says [Pg 356] that M. de Parassy, commissary's clerk, with whom he has often quarrelled, is paid by his enemies to defeat his undertaking; and many other things with which I will not trouble you....
1564. *** Doutre et Lareau, Hist, du Droit Canadien, 254.
The earliest French writers estimate the total number of the Sioux at forty thousand; but this is little better than conjecture. Mr. Riggs, in 1852, placed it at about twenty-five thousand.In this emergency, La Salle went in search of some watercourse by which they might reach Lake Erie, and soon came upon a small river, which was probably the Huron. Here, while the sick men rested, their companions made a canoe. There were no birch-trees; and they were forced to use elm-bark, which at that early season would not slip freely from the wood until they loosened it with hot water. Their canoe being made, they embarked in it, and for a time floated prosperously down the stream, when at length the way was barred by a matted [Pg 197] barricade of trees fallen across the water. The sick men could now walk again, and, pushing eastward through the forest, the party soon reached the banks of the Detroit.