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      Such, in brief, was the substance of this singular proposition. And, first, it is to be observed that it is based on a geographical blunder, the nature of which is explained by the map of La Salle's discoveries made in this very year. Here the river Seignelay, or Red River, is represented as running parallel to the northern border of Mexico, and at no great distance from it,the region now called Texas being almost entirely suppressed. According to the map, New Biscay might be reached from this river in a few days; and, after crossing the intervening forests, the coveted mines of Ste. Barbe, or Santa Barbara, would be within striking distance.[267] That La Salle believed in the possibility of invading the Spanish province of New Biscay from Red River there can be no doubt; neither can it reasonably be doubted that he hoped at some future day to make the attempt; and yet it is incredible that a man in his sober senses could have proposed this scheme with the intention of attempting to execute it at the time and in the manner which he indicates.[268] This memorial bears [Pg 349] some indications of being drawn up in order to produce a certain effect on the minds of the King and his minister. La Salle's immediate necessity was to obtain from them the means for establishing a fort and a colony within the mouth of the Mississippi. This was essential to his own plans; nor did he in the least exaggerate the value of such an establishment to the French nation, and the importance of anticipating other powers in the possession of it. But he thought that he needed a more glittering lure to attract the eyes of Louis and Seignelay; and thus, it may be, he held before them, in a definite and tangible form, the project of Spanish conquest which had haunted his imagination from youth,trusting that the speedy conclusion of peace, which actually took place, would absolve him from the immediate execution of the scheme, and give him time, with the means placed at his disposal, to mature his plans and prepare for eventual action. Such a procedure may be charged with indirectness; but there is a different explanation, which we shall suggest hereafter, and which implies no such reproach.[269]In this garden Champlain was one morning directing his laborers, when Tetu, his pilot, approached him with an anxious countenance, and muttered a request to speak with him in private. Champlain assenting, they withdrew to the neighboring woods, when the pilot disburdened himself of his secret. One Antoine Natel, a locksmith, smitten by conscience or fear, had revealed to him a conspiracy to murder his commander and deliver Quebec into the hands of the Basques and Spaniards then at Tadoussac. Another locksmith, named Duval, was author of the plot, and, with the aid of three accomplices, had befooled or frightened nearly all the company into taking part in it. Each was assured that he should make his fortune, and all were mutually pledged to poniard the first betrayer of the secret. The critical point of their enterprise was the killing of Champlain. Some were for strangling him, some for raising a false alarm in the night and shooting him as he came out from his quarters.

      That is the orator, Philopator, replied the person addressed, with a scornful emphasis on the word orator.[114] "Je vous proteste ici devant Dieu, que ma Relation est fidle et sincre," etc.Ibid., Avis au Lecteur.

      A band of Algonquins, late in the autumn of 1641, set forth from Three Rivers on their winter hunt, and, fearful of the Iroquois, made their way far northward, into the depths of the forests that border the Ottawa. Here they thought themselves 247 safe, built their lodges, and began to hunt the moose and beaver. But a large party of their enemies, with a persistent ferocity that is truly astonishing, had penetrated even here, found the traces of the snow-shoes, followed up their human prey, and hid at nightfall among the rocks and thickets around the encampment. At midnight, their yells and the blows of their war-clubs awakened their sleeping victims. In a few minutes all were in their power. They bound the prisoners hand and foot, rekindled the fire, slung the kettles, cut the bodies of the slain to pieces, and boiled and devoured them before the eyes of the wretched survivors. "In a word," says the narrator, "they ate men with as much appetite and more pleasure than hunters eat a boar or a stag." [9]

      Brigeac and his fellows in misfortune spent a woful night in this den of wolves; and in the morning their captors, having breakfasted on the remains of Vignal, took up their homeward march, dragging the Frenchmen with them. On reaching Oneida, Brigeac was tortured to death with the customary atrocities. Cuillrier, who was present, declared that they could wring from him no cry of pain, but that throughout he ceased not to pray for their conversion. The witness himself expected the same fate, but an old squaw happily adopted him, and thus saved his life. He eventually escaped to Albany, and returned to Canada by the circuitous but comparatively safe route of New York and Boston.Three years later, Frontenac received the appointment of Governor and Lieutenant-General for the king in all New France. "He was," says Saint-Simon, "a man of excellent parts, living much in society, and completely ruined. He found it hard to bear the imperious temper of his wife; and he was given the government of Canada to deliver him from her, and afford him some means of living." [9] Certain scandalous songs of the day 12 assign a different motive for his appointment. Louis XIV. was enamoured of Madame de Montespan. She had once smiled upon Frontenac; and it is said that the jealous king gladly embraced the opportunity of removing from his presence, and from hers, a lover who had forestalled him. [10]

      Before passing to the closing scenes of this wilderness drama, we will touch briefly on a few points aside from its main action, yet essential to an understanding of the scope of the mission. Besides their establishments at Quebec, Sillery, Three Rivers, and the neighborhood of Lake Huron, the Jesuits had an outlying post at the island of Miscou, on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, near the entrance of the Bay of Chaleurs, where they instructed the wandering savages of those shores, and confessed the French fishermen. The island was unhealthy in the extreme. Several of the priests sickened and died; and scarcely one convert repaid their toils. There was a more successful 318 mission at Tadoussac, or Sadilege, as the neighboring Indians called it. In winter, this place was a solitude; but in summer, when the Montagnais gathered from their hunting-grounds to meet the French traders, Jesuits came yearly from Quebec to instruct them in the Faith. Some times they followed them northward, into wilds where, at this day, a white man rarely penetrates. Thus, in 1646, De Quen ascended the Saguenay, and, by a series of rivers, torrents, lakes, and rapids, reached a Montagnais horde called the Nation of the Porcupine, where he found that the teachings at Tadoussac had borne fruit, and that the converts had planted a cross on the borders of the savage lake where they dwelt. There was a kindred band, the Nation of the White Fish, among the rocks and forests north of Three Rivers. They proved tractable beyond all others, threw away their "medicines" or fetiches, burned their magic drums, renounced their medicine-songs, and accepted instead rosaries, crucifixes, and versions of Catholic hymns.

      Besides Tonty, La Salle found in France another ally, La Motte de Lussire, to whom he offered a share in the enterprise, and who joined him at Rochelle, the place of embarkation. Here vexatious delays occurred. Bellinzani, director of trade, who had formerly taken lessons in rascality in the service of Cardinal Mazarin, abused his official position to throw obstacles in the way of La Salle, in order to extort money from him; and he extorted, in fact, a considerable sum, which his victim afterwards reclaimed. It was not till the fourteenth of July that La Salle, with Tonty, La Motte, and thirty men, set sail for Canada, and two months more elapsed before he reached Quebec. Here, to increase his resources and strengthen his position, he seems to have made a league with several Canadian merchants, [Pg 130] some of whom had before been his enemies, and were to be so again. Here, too, he found Father Louis Hennepin, who had come down from Fort Frontenac to meet him.[103]

      Maisonneuve sprang ashore, and fell on his knees. His followers imitated his example; and all joined their voices in enthusiastic songs of thanksgiving. Tents, baggage, arms, and stores were landed. An altar was raised on a pleasant spot near at hand; and Mademoiselle Mance, with Madame de la Peltrie, aided by her servant, Charlotte Barr, decorated it with a taste which was the 209 admiration of the beholders. [30] Now all the company gathered before the shrine. Here stood Vimont, in the rich vestments of his office. Here were the two ladies, with their servant; Montmagny, no very willing spectator; and Maisonneuve, a warlike figure, erect and tall, his men clustering around him,soldiers, sailors, artisans, and laborers,all alike soldiers at need. They kneeled in reverent silence as the Host was raised aloft; and when the rite was over, the priest turned and addressed them:Woe betide us! Woe betide us! repeated the Lydian merchant, who had first recognized the vessel. It is Thyamis, the most terrible of all the Cilician corsairs.


      "By fire," was the reply.[12] Ragueneau, Relation des Hurons, 1650, 6, 7.


      After this fashion, they entered the town of Argentan, and marched, two by two, through all the streets, crying with a loud voice that the Faith was perishing, and that whoever wished to save it must quit the country and go with them to Canada, whither they were soon to repair. It is said that they still hold this purpose, and that their leaders declare it revealed to them that they will find a vessel ready at the first port to which Providence directs them. The reason why they choose Canada for an asylum is, that Monsieur de Montigny (Laval), Bishop of Petr?a, who lived at the Hermitage a long time, where he was instructed in mystical theology by Monsieur de Bernires, exercises episcopal functions there; and that the Jesuits, who are their oracles, reign in that country.On the next day they reached an open space in the forest. The hostile town was close at hand, surrounded by rugged fields with a slovenly and savage cultivation. The young Hurons in advance saw the Iroquois at work among the pumpkins and maize, gathering their rustling harvest. Nothing could restrain the hare-brained and ungoverned crew. They screamed their war-cry and rushed in; but the Iroquois snatched their weapons, killed and wounded five or six of the assailants, and drove back the rest discomfited. Champlain and his Frenchmen were forced to interpose; and the report of their pieces from the border of the woods stopped the pursuing enemy, who withdrew to their defences, bearing with them their dead and wounded.


      Very well! Phanos then continued, promise to break up the hetaeria, and you shall lose nothing. The places of which we dispose are not dependent upon election, but are appointments. But there must be no more meetings of the hetaeria. If, in spite of your promise, you secretly assemble, woe betide you! No punishment will be too severe for us.