access to the immense regions of the west and the
north-west, to the great multitude from all nations, whom no one can number; but the Jesuits were too
feeble, and too few, to attempt the spiritual conquest of so many countries: they pray for recruits; they invoke the blessing of the Divine Majesty
on their thoughts and enterprises.
At the various missions, Indians from the remotest points appeared.
In 1638, there came to the Huron
mission a chief of the Huron
tribe that dwelt on the head waters of the Ohio
; and we find constant mention of Algonquins from the west, especially from Green Bay
In the autumn of 1640, Charles Raymbault
and Claude Pijart
reached the Huron
missions, destined for service among the Algonquins of the north and the west.
By continual warfare with the Mohawks, the French
had been excluded from the navigation of Lake Ontario
, and had never even launched a canoe on Lake Erie
Their avenue to the west was by way of the Ottawa and French River; so that the whole coast of Ohio
and Southern Michigan
remained unknown, except as seen by missionaries from their stations in Canada
In 1640, Brebeuf
had been sent to the villages of the neutral nation which occupied the territory on the Niagara
Of these some villages were extended, on the southern shore of Lake Erie
, beyond Buffalo
; but it is not certain that Brebeuf
visited them, or that he was at any time on the soil of our republic.
His mission perfected the knowledge of the great watercourse of the valley of the St. Lawrence
. ‘Could we but gain the mastery,’ it was said, ‘of the shore of Ontario
on the side nearest the abode of the Iroquois
, we could ascend by the St. Lawrence
, without ’