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[52] the river, painted and gayly decorated with great
Chap. II.} 1541.
plumes of white feathers, the warriors standing in rows with bow and arrows in their hands, the chieftains sitting under awnings as magnificent as the artless manufactures of the natives could weave, came rowing down the stream in a fleet of two hundred canoes, seeming to the admiring Spaniards ‘like a fair army of galleys.’ They brought gifts of fish, and loaves made of the fruit of the persimmon. At first they showed some desire to offer resistance; but, soon becoming conscious of their relative weakness, they ceased to defy an enemy who could not be overcome, and suffered injury without attempting open retaliation. The boats of the natives were too weak to transport horses; almost a month expired before barges, large enough to hold three horsemen each, were constructed for crossing the river. At length, the Spaniards embarked upon the
Mississippi; and were borne to its western bank.

The Dahcota tribes, doubtless, then occupied the country south-west of the Missouri;1 Soto had heard

its praises; he believed in its vicinity to mineral wealth; and he determined to visit its towns. In ascending the Mississippi, the party was often obliged to wade through morasses; at length they came, as it would seem, upon the district of Little Prairie, and the dry and elevated lands which extend towards New Madrid. Here the religions of the invaders and

1 Charlevoix, Journal Historique let. XXVIII. Nuttall's Arkansas, 82, 250, and 251. McCulloh disagrees, 526—528.

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