The Pious Missionaries Employed By The Roman Catholic Church To
Convert The Indians, Did Everything In Their Power To Counteract
The Profligacy Caused And Propagated By These Men In The Heart Of
The Catholic chapel might often be seen planted
beside the trading house, and its spire surmounted by a cross,
towering from the midst of an Indian village, on the banks of a
river or a lake.
The missions had often a beneficial effect on
the simple sons of the forest, but had little power over the
renegades from civilization.
At length it was found necessary to establish fortified posts at
the confluence of the rivers and the lakes for the protection of
the trade, and the restraint of these profligates of the
wilderness. The most important of these was at Michilimackinac,
situated at the strait of the same name, which connects Lakes
Huron and Michigan. It became the great interior mart and place
of deposit, and some of the regular merchants who prosecuted the
trade in person, under their licenses, formed establishments
here. This, too, was a rendezvous for the rangers of the woods,
as well those who came up with goods from Montreal as those who
returned with peltries from the interior. Here new expeditions
were fitted out and took their departure for Lake Michigan and
the Mississippi; Lake Superior and the Northwest; and here the
peltries brought in return were embarked for Montreal.
The French merchant at his trading post, in these primitive days
of Canada, was a kind of commercial patriarch.
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