and Lake Michigan, was occupied about this time. It was after-wards the scene of many stirring events. Through all these regions the vagabond coureurs de bois sought out the Indian tribes, and by their easy adoption of the Indian mode of life gained a firm hold of the fur trade. Some, however, were accused of taking the pelts to Albany, and of thus arousing a desire among the Dutch and English traders to visit this western region.
Talon Takes Formal Possession of the West.—To
forestall them, Talon in 1671 sent St. Lusson with an imposing force to take formal possession for New France of this great region. He was met at Sault Ste. Marie by representatives of no less than fourteen distinct tribes, brought together by Nicolas Perrot, a leading spirit among the coureurs de bois. With solemn ceremony a cross was planted, and the fleur-de-lis of France was flung to the breeze in token of French supremacy. A short time before there had been another formal "taking of possession" on the north shore of Lake Erie. Joliet, the first white man to make the 'passage from Lake Huron to Lake Erie, had coasted eastward along the north shore of the latter. He entered the Grand River, and, after going some distance up stream, portaged across to Lake Ontario, emerging near where Hamilton now lies. Here he met La Salle, the famous western explorer. With La Salle was a Sulpician priest, Dollier de Casson, who has given us a history of Montreal up to his time. De Casson retraced the course Joliet had taken, and, after spending a winter on the north shore of Lake Erie, took formal possession of the region for France.
Discovery of the Mississippi.—Stories of a great river to the west of Lake Michigan were from time to time told by the Indians to the Jesuit fathers. Talon was eager to find this stream, in hope that it might be found to flow into the Pacific, and so afford the long-desired passage to the South Sea and Cathay. In 1673 the explorer Joliet and Father Marquette pushed up the Fox River from Green Bay, crossed the divide, and descended the Wisconsin to the long-sought river, the Mississippi. They followed its course to the south for many days. Returning at length, they reached Lake Michigan by way of the Illinois River and the Chicago portage. It seemed now as if France would secure the whole interior of the continent from Quebec around to