A former Jesuit priest, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle arrived in Ville Marie (present-day Montreal) in 1667 where he was granted an estate on Montreal Island. When he became obsessed with being the first person to find an overland route to the Pacific Ocean and, thence, the Orient, la Salle devoted his life to that end.
In 1669, la Salle sold his estate back to the people who had granted it to him and bought and kitted out 5 trading canoes. Fourteen men were hired to accompany him. Since exporation and religion went hand in hand, the Suplicians appointed Dollier de Casson, along with 3 canoes and 7 other new recuits from France, to go with la Salle. Accompanying de Casson was his long-time friend, Abbé René de Bréhan de Galinée, who de Casson had long trusted to map his explorations and discoveries. By July, la Salle was ready to leave.
They had no sooner set out when la Salle's followers realized how totally incompetent he was. He could barely paddle a canoe, appeared very ill-at-ease in the wilderness, and could speak nothing but French. He appeared not even to know where he was going. By September, the party had reached the northern shore of Lake Erie, and, in early November, la Salle suddenly announced that he was sick and was returning to Ville Marie. He simply disappeared into the bush.
La Salle finally reached Ville Marie the next summer, in 1670.
Later, when Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet discovered the Mississippi River, la Salle claimed that he had discovered it first, 3 years earlier.
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle
The Early Years
* Incompetence and Failure *
The Mississippi River
Deception and Murder