The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902 Page: 98
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98 Tewas Historical Association quarterly.
been pursuant to letters patent granted him by the king, May 12,
1678.1 The discoveries made under this grant were reported by La
Salle in a memoir presented shortly after his arrival in France,
December 23, 1683.2
In this memoir there is to be found much in explanation of his
return and also the key to his next enterprise. He announced in
the beginning of it the happy fulfillment of the wish expressed by
Colbert of discovering a port for the king's vessels in the Gulf of
Mexico; and for rendering this service he asked to be continued
in the title and government of Fort St. Louis-an apparently
simple request. This fort was the sole representative of all his
efforts and expenditures of the preceding five years. It had been
established in this wise. Fort Frontenac on the northern shore of
Lake Ontario had begun to prove a disadvantageous situation for
the fur trade, since the French traders there could no longer com-
pete for the Iroquois service with the English at Albany; a vast
individual trade carried on by the Frenchmen had also disorganized
the trade of the company, and both these causes, with the promise
of an undeveloped interior, had been instrumental in turning La
Salle westward. As a part of this movement he had established, in
1682, Fort St. Louis on the Illinois, and had gathered around it
the Illinois and other Indian tribes that sought protection against
the hostile Iroquois. These allied savages, more than eighteen
thousand in number, formed, he conceived, the beginning of a
colony in which they were to be the factors in a great and lucrative
Before leaving this last time for France, however, La Salle had
experienced much misfortune in his efforts and faced the prospect of
failure in his plans. He had seen his friend Frontenac replaced as
governor; the Iriquois threatening an outbreak, thus imperiling
trade; his emenies active; his creditors pressing; and to crown all
his ill-luck the new governor take possession of both Fort Frontenac
and Fort St. Louis, upon the ground that his trading privilege had
expired. There was thus a deep significance in the simply stated
request for the restitution of his fort.
La Salle proposed in this first memoir to return to the country
1French, Historical Collections of Louisiana, I 35.
"Ibid., I 37.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902, periodical, 1902; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101021/m1/104/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.