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[160] for their vastness and height, crowd even to the skirts
Chap. XX.}
of the pebbly shore. It is also observed that, in the
1673.
land of the Chickasas, the Indians have guns.

Near the latitude of 33 degrees, on the western bank of the Mississippi, stood the village of Mitchigamea, in a region that had not been visited by Europeans since the days of De Soto. ‘Now,’ thought Marquette, ‘we must, indeed, ask the aid of the Virgin.’ Armed with bows and arrows, with clubs, axes, and bucklers, amidst continual whoops, the natives, bent on war, embark in vast canoes made out of the trunks of hollow trees; but, at the sight of the mysterious peace-pipe held aloft, God touched the hearts of the old men, who checked the impetuosity of the young, and, throwing their bows and quivers into the canoes, as a token of peace, they prepared a hospitable welcome.

The next day, a long, wooden canoe, containing ten men, escorted the discoverers, for eight or ten leagues, to the village of Akansea, the limit of their voyage. They had left the region of the Algonquins, and, in the midst of the Sioux and Chickasas, could speak only by an interpreter. A half league above Akansea, they were met by two boats, in one of which stood the commander, holding in his hand the peace-pipe, and singing as he drew near. After offering the pipe, he gave bread of maize. The wealth of his tribe consisted in buffalo skins; their weapons were axes of steel,—a proof of commerce with Europeans.

Thus had our travellers descended below the entrance of the Arkansas, to the genial climes that have almost no winter but rains, beyond the bound of the Huron and Algonquin languages, to the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico, and to tribes of Indians that had obtained European arms by traffic with Spaniards or with Virginia

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