All that remains of the enterprises of these devoted men, is the remembrance of their labors, perpetuated, in most instances, only by the names of the spots which witnessed their efforts of love in behalf of their savage brethren. The little French church at Sandwich, opposite Detroit, alone is left, a witness of the zeal and self-sacrifice of these pioneers of Christianity.
Passing “Old Mackinac,” on the main land, which forms the southern border of the straits, we soon came out into the broad waters of Lake Michigan. Every traveller, and every reader of our history, is familiar with the incidents connected with the taking of the old fort by the Indians, in the days of Pontiac. How, by means of a game of ball, played in an apparently friendly spirit outside the walls, and of which the officers and soldiers had come forth to be spectators, the ball was dexterously tossed over the wall, and the savages rushing in, under pretext of finding it, soon got possession and massacred the garrison.
The little Indian village of L’Arbre Croche gleamed far away south, in the light of the setting sun. With that exception, there was no sign of living habitation along that vast and wooded shore. The gigantic forest-trees, and here and there the little glades of prairie opening to the water, showed a landscape that would have gladdened the eye of the agriculturist, with its promise of fertility; but it was evidently untrodden by the foot of man, and we left it, in its solitude, as we took our course westward across the waters.
The rainy and gusty weather, so incident to the equinoctial season, overtook us again before we reached the mouth of Green Bay, and kept us company until the night of our arrival upon the flats, about three miles below the settlement. Here the little steamer grounded “fast and hard.” As almost every one preferred braving the elements to remaining cooped up in the quarters we had occupied for the past week, we decided to trust ourselves to the little boat, spite of wind, and rain, and darkness, and in due time we reached the shore.
Our arrival at Green Bay was at an unfortunate moment. It was the time of a treaty between the United States Government and the Menomonees and Waubanakees. Consequently, not only the commissioners of the treaty, with their clerks and officials, but traders, claimants, travellers, and idlers innumerable were upon the ground. Most of these were congregated in the only hotel the place afforded. This was a tolerably-sized house near the river-side, and as we entered the long dining-room, cold and dripping from the open boat, we were infinitely amused at the motley assemblage it contained. Various groups were seated around. New comers, like ourselves, stood here and there, for there were not seats enough to accommodate all who sought entertainment. The landlord sat calm and indifferent, his hands in his pockets, exhibiting all the phlegm of a Pennsylvania Dutchman.