Lawrence, or Quebec River, and mingle in the ocean. I believe we shall have 60 arpents of land sown this next spring, hence I count on having a large quantity of corn; and I will have a mill built on the spot, so as to be absolutely independent of Canada for provisions.
It is one arpent square, and we shall enlarge it if necessary. You will see annexed the plan of Fort Ponchartrain which I have had built at Detroit- I have thus named it by the order of the Chev. Detroit is a river lying north-north-east towards Lake Huron and south-south-west to the entrance of Lake Erie. According to my reckoning it will be about 25 or 26 leagues in length and it is navigable throughout so that a vessel of guns could pass through it safely.
The female has a pouch under her belly which opens and shuts as she requires, so that, sometimes when her little ones are playing, if the mother finds herself pressed, she quickly shuts them up in pouch and carries them all away with her at once and gains her retreat.
It is there that these mighty oxen, which are covered with wool, find food in abundance. In places the woods are mixed, as white oak, red, walnut, elm, white wood trees, mulberry trees, cottonwood, chestnuts, ash; and in others they are not. You know that I set out from Montreal on the 2 nd of June,with men and three months' provisions; that I arrived at Detroit on the 24 th of July, having gone by the ordinary route of the Utauais, by which I made only 30 portages, in order to try it.
But 15 leagues from Detroit, at the entrance to Lake Erie, inclining to the south-south-west, are boundless prairies which stretch away for about leagues. There are so many turkeys that 20 or 30 could be killed at one shot every met with. At the entrance to Lake Huron the lands are brown and well wooded; a vast and grand prairie is seen there which extends to the interior of the lands on both sides of the river up to Lake St. Claire, there are fewer prairies than elsewhere. I have seen others of a sky blue color with red breasts; there are some which are curiously marked like those great butterflies.
There are swans everywhere; there are quails, woodcocks, pheasants, rabbits - it is the only place on the continent of America where any have been seen.
Houses could be provided and buildings erected of bricks, for there is earth which is very suitable for that, and fortunately, five leagues from the fort. There are also stretches of chestnuts, chiefly towards Lake Erie.
A thing which is most convenient for is that it does not wind at all; its two prevailing winds are the north-east and the south-west. That is, My Lord, the of the country of Detroit and all I can tell you of it as I have only been one year there, very busy in doing what follows, to which I beg you to give your attention. Some have plumage of a beautifuly red fire color, the most vivid it were possible to see; they have a few spots of black in the tail and at the tips of their wings, but that is only noticed when they are seen flying. In the river of Detroit there are neither stones nor rocks, but in Lake Huron there are fine quarries, and it is a country wooded like Canada, that is to say, with endless forests.
This fort is in no danger provided there are enough people there to defend it. This wheat, although sown hastily, came up very fine and was cut on the 21 st of July. As this place is well supplied with animals, the wolves, of which there are s, find abundant food there; but if often costs them their skins because they sell well also; and this aids in destroying them, because the savages hunt them.
This country, so temperate, so fertile, and so beautiful that it may justly be called the earthly paradise of North America, deserves all the care of the King to keep it up and to attract inhabitants to it, so that a solid settlement may be formed there which shall not be liable to the usual vicissitudes of the other posts in which only a mere garrison is placed.
That would be good for making fences, its grain is very hard; when it has arrived at maturity, the wood is so hard that it is very difficult to drive an axe into it. This tree is a big one. All the surroundings of this lake are extensive pasture lands, and the grass on them is so high that a man can scarcely be seen in it. There is a of stags and hinds, they are seen in hundreds, roebuck, black bears, otters and other smaller fur-bearing animals; the skins of these animals sell well. After the fort was built, and the dwellings, I had the land cleared there and some French wheat sown on the 7 th of October, not having had time to prepare it well.
In places there are mulberry trees which bear big black mulberries; dating a frenchman Michigan distance fruit is excellent and refreshing. It is only necessary to pound it and to apply it to the wound, and you are instantly cured. In all this I have only complied with the orders of the Governor-General. I have also a fine garden in which I put some vines, and some ungrafted fruit trees. We were nearly years in Canada without thinking of prosecuting the porpoise-fishery, although we saw them every day before our eyes; as soon as there was no demand for the beaver, we began to think of something else.
The apples are of medium size, too acid. It is necessary to have settlers, in order to develop the trade. All the soldiers have their own gardens. Its position is delightful and very advantageous; it is the narrowest part of the river, where no one can pass by day without being seen.
I also had some sown this spring, as is done in Canada; it came up well enough, but not like that of the autumn. There are also s of beavers on this mainland and in the neighborhood. There are three or four kinds which are very good; the others are very large and pleasant to look at, but they have rather tough skins and mealy flesh.
There are six kinds of walnuts; these trees is good for furniture and gun-stocks. I have observed there nearly twenty different kinds of plums. I have seen a of different birds of rare beauty. I could not send any of our oxen or calves to France until after barges have been built, on which I believe they are going to work at once. There is an island which is very large, and is entirely composed of limestone.
On the banks and round about the clusters of timber there is an infinite of fruit trees, chiefly plums and apples. There are also citron-trees which are the same in form and color as the citrons of Portugal, but they are sweeter and smaller; there is a very large of them, they are good preserved.
Forty leagues from this lake, going straight towards the south, there is no winter; the French and the savages have reported that they have seen neither ice or snow there. There are many cranes, grey and white; they stand higher than a man.
It is certain that, on both sides of the river of Detroit, the lands are very fertile and extend in the same manner and with the same pleasing character about ten leagues into the interior, after which few fruit trees are to be found and fewer prairies seen. The leaf is like the capillary plant; neither man nor animal could climb it.
I also had twelve arpents or more sown this spring, in the month of May, with Indian corn which came up eight feet high; it will have been harvested about the 20 th of the month of August, and I hope there will be a good deal of it. All the fruit trees in general are loaded with their fruit; there is reason to believe if these trees were grafted, pruned and well cultivated, their fruit would be much better, and that it might be made good fruit.
There are but few snakes at Detroit; they are very common in the country of the Iroquois. I sent this spring to the Chevalier de Calliere some hides and wool of these animals, and he sent both to the directors of the Company of the colony to make trial of them, and it has been found that this discovery will prove a valuable one; that the hides may dating a frenchman Michigan distance very usefully employed, and this wool used for stockings and cloth-making.
There are wood rats which are as large as rabbits; most of them are grey, but there are some seen which are as white as snow.
It is only for about four leagues that the channel is wider. There is also a of cherry-trees, their fruit is not very good. We have fish in great abundance, and it could not be otherwise, for this river is inclosed and situated between two lakes, or rather between as many seas.
One of them will be on Lake Frontenac and the other at Detroit in order to facilitate the conveyance of hides and wool which could not be effected by canoe transport. There is also a very large quantity of hazel nuts and filberts.
On all sides the vine is seen; there are with some bitter and rough grapes, - others whose berries are extremely large and plump. This lake is scarcely noticed, on of several large and fine islands which form various passages or channels which are no wider than the river. They are so well laid out that they might be taken for orchards planted by the hand of a gardener.
I have observed that a pleasant warbling proceeds from all these birds, especially from the red ones with large beaks. These barges will serve also for the other large skins, for beaver skins, and other small furs which will be conveyed at less expense this way. I have no doubt that, by cultivating it as they do in France, this vine will produce good grapes and consequently good wine.
It is my duty to give you an of this country, I will begin with a short description, so that you may be more definitely informed about it. There are also white and red grapes, the skins of which are very thin, full of good juice. The houses there are of good timber, of white oak, which is even and hard and as heavy as iron. There are partridges, hazel-hens, and a stupenduous of turtle-doves. There is one tree which is unknown to me, and to all who have seen it; its leaves are a vivid green, and remain so until the month of January, it has been observed that it flowers in the spring, and towards the end of November; the flowers are white.
Towards the middle there is a lake which has been called St. Claire, which is about 30 leagues in circumference and 10 leagues in length. The savages value these latter greatly, on of their plumage, with which they adorn themselves. Through this passage, the waters of Lake Nemebigoun, which is leagues, flow gently; those of Lake Superior, which is leagues round; those of Lake Michigan or Illinois, leagues; those of Lake Huron, leagues.
The root of this tree is a very subtle and deadly poison; and it is also a sovereign remedy against snake-bites. The land having thus shown its quality, and taught me that the French tillage must be followed, I left dating a frenchman Michigan distance with M. I have no doubt he has increased it somewhat since my departure.
I have seen others all yellow, with tails bigger than their bodies, and they spread out their tails as peacocks do.
There is another tree which is well defended, the prickles of which are half a foot long and pierce the wood like a nail; it bears a fruit like kidney-beans. This river or strait of the seas is scattered over, from one lake to the other, both on the mainland and on the islands there, in its plains and on its banks, with large clusters of trees surrounded by charming meadows; but these same trees are marvelously lofty, without nodes and almost without branches until near the top, except the great oak. Game is very common there, as wild geese and all kinds of wild ducks.
The latter are the best, and I have taken care to select some of these plants and have them planted near the fort. I have seen an herb, pointed out to me by the Iroquois, which renders the venom of snakes innocuous; perhaps it may have some other use. They will serve for everything in general that is included in trade; and, as they will be capable of sailing two thousand leagues in the surrounding districts, we shall not fail, in time, to make some discovery which perhaps will be no less lucrative than glorious to France.