It happened so in this instance.
Naturally the question suggests itself, Why did these people want the
river now when nobody had wanted it in the five preceding generations?
Apparently it was because at this late day they thought they had
discovered a way to make it useful; for it had come to be believed that
the Mississippi emptied into the Gulf of California, and therefore
afforded a short cut from Canada to China. Previously the supposition
had been that it emptied into the Atlantic, or Sea of Virginia.
Chapter 2 The River and Its Explorers
LA SALLE himself sued for certain high privileges, and they were
graciously accorded him by Louis XIV of inflated memory. Chief among
them was the privilege to explore, far and wide, and build forts, and
stake out continents, and hand the same over to the king, and pay the
expenses himself; receiving, in return, some little advantages of one
sort or another; among them the monopoly of buffalo hides. He spent
several years and about all of his money, in making perilous and painful
trips between Montreal and a fort which he had built on the Illinois,
before he at last succeeded in getting his expedition in such a shape
that he could strike for the Mississippi.