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60   HISTORY OF CANADA.

west. Others, however, reaped the benefit of their western travels; it is left to us merely to note that the earliest opening up of the Western States was largely the work of Canadians.

North-Western Exploration.—We have a more direct interest in the exploration northward. The route from Lake Superior to Lake Winnipeg had become well known to the fur traders, and posts had been established on the Kaministiquia River, the Lake of the Woods, and Lake Winnipeg. The Jesuit father, Charlevoix, to whose pen we are indebted for a history of New France, was stationed (about 1725) at the western end of Lake Superior. The Indians there told hint of a stream which flowed toward the west to a great body of water where the tide ebbed and flowed. At his post on Lake Nepigon, north of Lake Superior, the famous de la Verendrye heard similar stories. He formed the opinion that the way to the western ocean was through the country of the Assiniboels—the modern Manitoba. He offered to find it, and was granted a monopoly of the trade north and west of Lake Superior to aid him in the search. Between the years 1731 and 1749 de la Verendrye and his sons explored an immense tract of country behind the territory of the Hudson's Bay Company. They established no less than six fortified posts to command the approaches to this great North-West, besides two smaller posts, one on the site of the present city of Winnipeg and the other at the mouth of the Saskatchewan River. Two of de la Verendrye's sons penetrated in 1742 through the country lying to the south-west of the Missouri River to the foot of a spur of the Rocky Mountains. One of these sons, known as the Chevalier de la Verendrye, also went as far west as the forks of the Saskatchewan. The story of the Verendryes is very like that of La Salle. Their toil was ill requited. The father, indeed, received the cross of the Order of St. Louis, but very little else. The sons, after incurring heavy debts, found themselves ousted from their posts and their monopoly given to one more in favor with a new governor. The march of events on the St. Lawrence prevented much attention being paid to this north-western region. during the remaining years of French rule in Canada.

Commercial Monopoly Retards Settlement. — The spasmodic zeal for manufactures which the intendant Talon had aroused, died away almost immediately after his departure from


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