There is no one of the Pioneers of this continent whose achievements equal those of the Chevalier Robert de la Salle. He passed over thousands of miles of lakes and rivers in the birch canoe. He traversed countless leagues of prairie and forest, on foot, guided by the moccasined Indian, threading trails which the white man's foot had never trod, and penetrating the villages and the wigwams of savages, where the white man's face had never been seen.
introduce a brief account of his adventures. There is something in blood. The Marquette family had been illustrious in France from time immemorial. Generation after generation, many of its members had obtained renown, not only for chivalric courage, but for every virtue which can adorn humanity. Their ancestral home was a massive feudal castle on an eminence near the stately city of Leon. The armorial bearing of the family commemorates deeds of heroic enterprise five hundred years ago. They were generally earnest Christians.
James Marquette was born at the ancient seat of the family in the year 1637. His mother was a woman of fervent piety and of unusual strength and culture of mind. Her brother, John Baptiste de la Salle, was the founder of a system of Christian schools for the gratuitous education of the poor. Thousands were thus instructed long before the present system of public schools was introduced. It was to the instructions of his noble mother that James Marquette was indebted for his elevated
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