The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902

Pei alosa and the La Salle Expedition.

In the discovery and exploration of North America the sterile,
frigid Northeast fell to the lot of France. Verrazano and hardy
fishermen dared early the northern seas, but authentic title was won
for France by Jacques Cartier, who, in 1534-35, breasted the cur-
rents of the St. Lawrence as far as Mont Royale (Montreal) where
his progress to China was checked by the Lachine rapids. Nothing
successful in the way of exploration and colonization of the coun-
try was achieved, however, until the time of Henry IV, when
throughout his reign, and next during that of Louis XIV, trader,
soldier, and priest carried French influence slowly southward and
westward along the Great Lakes, adding the vast possession of
Louisiana and, finally, planting a colony upon the coast of Texas.
The connecting link between Canada and the establishment in
Texas was the Mississippi river. The rumors of this great river
that had been borne to the French by the Indians had worked
greatly upon their imagination and multiplied speculation. There
were conjectures that it might empty into the Vermilion sea, or that
it might flow east and find its outlet in Virginia ; but such were
set at rest when Joliet and Marquette, in 1673, reached the river
and voyaged down it as far as the Arkansas. For fear of capture
by the Spaniards these two explorers did not go farther down the
river, but they reasonably conjectured that it emptied into the Gulf
of Mexico. Their work was crowned by La Salle, who, in 1682,
reached the mouth and proclaimed the lands drained by the great
river and its tributaries to be Louisiana and the possession of the
King of France.
As it had been, previous to his determination of the course and
outlet, so afterward more than ever was the Mississippi the chief
subject of La Salle's speculations and the inspiration of his move-
ments. His activities in the western part of New France, the con-
summation of which had been the descent of the Mississippi, had
'French, flistorical Collections of Louisiana, I 49.

Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 29, 2016.

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