The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 46
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
had been made to find the Mississippi River but had failed. In
final desperation a few men and women were left at Fort St. Louis;
and the remainder, including the conspiring participants of the
approaching denouement, set out on their fateful journey. When
they reached a point near what is now Navasota, the conspirators
laid an ambuscade and "shot Monsr. de la Sale thro' the Head,
so that he dropp'd down on the Spot, without speaking one Word."
The body was dragged naked among the bushes and left to be de-
voured by the coyotes. In base exultation Liotot's final words to
La Salle were: "There thou liest, Great Bassa, there thou liest."
For two months the few survivors wandered aimlessly around
East Texas like a band of marauding wolves. They agreed on
nothing and snarled at everything. In May, 1687, retribution
came. Dissension over division of the spoils was the cause of it
all. Heins killed Duhaut and Ruter "fired his Piece upon Liotot,
the Surgeon, and shot him thro' with three Balls."3 Liotot lived
long enough to make his confession and then Ruter "put him out
of his Pain with a Pistol-Shot." Father Douay adds that "his hair
and then his shirt, and clothes, took fire & wrapped him in flames,
and in this torment he expired."14 Joutel completes the picture:
"We dug a Hole in the Earth, and bury'd him in it with Duhaut,
doing them more Honour than they had done to Monsieur de La
Sale and his nephew Moranget, whom they left to be devoured by
wild Beasts. Thus those Murderers met with what they had de-
serv'd, dying the same Death they had put others to.'15
Liotot, then, traitor and murderer that he became, chose to put
down the scalpel and the pestle and to take up the axe and the
pistol. As long as the exploits of La Salle "the resolute" are
remembered, just so long will the black soul of surgeon Liotot
No more striking figure ever sped across the stage of Texas
history than St. Denis. His vivid characteristics are epitomized
in his own words on an occasion when his flashing career was
temporarily halted: "I, Sieur Louis Juchereau de Saint Denis,
a gentleman by birth, a prisoner by oppression." In 1714, France
1lIbid. p. 154.
14Douay, op. cit. p. 216.
lsJoutel. op. cit. p. 155.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/54/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.