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One of the premiere accounts of La Salle's tragic final voyage, compiled from the diary of his close subordinate. The party embarked in 1684, ostensibly to establish a French base at the mouth of the Mississippi as headquarters for operations, but as well to push as far as possible into the region in order to gain a foothold against the Spanish. In fact, and via a conscious deceit, the base was established at Espiritu Santo Bay, in Texas, where the party spent two years making excursions into the surrounding territory. When expected reinforcements failed to appear, La Salle and his men determined to return to Canada via the Mississippi; however, a member of the expedition assassinated La Salle when they reached the Trinity River, and the company split up. Some of the survivors, including Joutel, pressed on, reaching Canada by way of the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers. Joutel's diary passed to other hands prior to publication, and the present edition, edited by De Michel, is somewhat abridged. It was published to counter the errors in Tonti's DERNIERES DECOUVERTES... (1697). The complete journal was not published until 1878, as part of Margry's compilation. Joutel's JOURNAL... is one of the major works of the period on the region, and "of the three narratives of this journey, those of Joutel, Cavelier, and Douay, the first is by far the best".


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