Skip navigation

General Relations with the French

General Histories

Burton, C. M. "Fort Pontchartrain Du Detroit." Vol. 29, : 240-317.

This account of the French tenure at Detroit includes many aspects of French-Indian relations. Pages 244-248 deal with the Iroquois alliance with English. Pages 264-267 discuss trade with the Indians. Pages 283-295 deal with a war between the Odawa and the Maimis. Finally, pages 295-303 deal with general issues such as alcohol and trade.

Crossman, D. L. "Early French Occupation of Michigan." Vol. 14, (1890): 651-668.

Begins with a lengthy discussion of the first European explorers to visit the Americas, including an argument that states the Irish Bishop, St. Joseph, brought civilization to the Aztecs in the sixth century. Crossman then proceeds to discuss issues more relevant to Michigan's Indians: early visits to Europe, first experiences with missionaries, first execution by a European court (1683), involvement in fur trade, political / military relations with England and France, and a detailed account of Pontiac's conspiracy.

Primary Documents

Entries are listed chronologically.

Cadillac to Unknown. October 18, 1700. Vol. 33, : 96-101.

This letter discusses the founding of Detroit and its importance to relations with Indians.

Jean Mermet to Cadillac. April 19, 1702. Vol. 33, : 118-119.
C. H. Veneau to Cadillac. June 4, 1702. Vol. 33, : 123-124.
J. Marest to Cadillac. July 23, 1702. Vol. 33, : 126-129.

Letters of protest from the Jesuits to Cadillac. This letter expresses their anger about Quarante Sous, a Miami chief and his group's hunting increase. These also mention the Jesuits invitation to the Maimi to settle near Detroit.

Cadillac to Unknown. September 25, 1702. Vol. 33, : 133-151.

This letter discusses advantages of Fort Detroit and its impact on Indians, specifically in preventing the negative influence of traders, associated with drinking alcohol and immorality).

Joseph Marset to Cadillac. May 12, 1703. Vol. 33, : 159-160.

Fifteenth letter of the Jesuits' sent to Cadillac. This one pertains to the relocation of Mackinac Indians to Detroit.

Cadillac to Unknown. August 31, 1703. Vol. 33, : 161-181.

A report on the conditions at Detroit, including discussions regarding relocation of the Michilimackinac Indians to Detroit (162-164) and the Hurons' desire to ally with the French (165-166).

"Memorandum of M. De la Mothe Cadillac Concerning the Establishment of Detroit." Novemeber 19, 1704. Vol. 33, : 198-241.

In a question and answer format, Cadillac answers charges of the Jesuits' regarding trade with Indians, brandy, attacks of Miami on other tribes, etc.

Marset to Vaudreuil. August 14, 1706. Vol. 33, : 262-269.

Letter regarding the hostilities between the Odawas and the Miamis, and Cadillac's involvement.

Cadillac to Vaudreuil. August 27, 1706. Vol. 33, : 272-285.

Discusses the war between the Maimi and the Odawa, including the Odawa's attack on Detroit.

"Talk of Marquis De Vaudreuil with the Sonnontouans." September 4, 1706. Vol. 33, : 285-288.

Attempting to discover why the Odawa attacked the Maimi at Detroit.

"Speech of Miscouaky, Chief of the Outaouas, to Marquis De Vaudreuil." September 26, 1706. Vol. 33, : 288-294.

Explains that the Odawa attacked the Miami because they were going to attack Odawa villages, that the Odawa Chief Le Pesant proposed the attack and on one could change his mind, and that the French were killed accidentally. Also, they still want to fight the Huron and Miami.

"Replies of m. De Vaudreuil to Miscopuaky, Chief of the Outaouas." November 4, 1706. Vol. 33, : 294-296.

Vaudreuil orders the Odawa not to go to war against Miami and Huron. He also states his desire for the Odawa to take responsibility of the death of the Frenchmen who were killed at Detroit and denies them presents and supplies until spring.

"Words of the Outauois, on the 18th of June with the Answers." June 18, 1707. Vol. 33, : 319-325.

Jean Le Blanc brought prisoners to make amends for the killing of a priest at Detroit, but Vaudreuil demands the head of Le Pesant, who ordered the attack.

"Words of the Outauois, on the 21st of June with the Answers." June 21, 1707. Vol. 33, : 324-326.

Le Blanc says he can't deliver Le Pesant's head because he is allied with many tribes; Vaudreuil says Le Blanc must agree not to obey Le Pesant anymore and must make peace with the Miami and French at Detroit.

Vaudreuil to Unknown. July 24, 1707. Vol. 33, : 328-331.

Concerns Le Blanc's attempts to make reparations for death of Frenchmen at Detroit. He's sincere in offering himself to Cadillac in place of Le Pesant in order to make peace.

"Council Held at Detroit on the 6th of August." August 6, 1707. Vol. 33, : 331-336.

Council between Cadillac and the Odawa to resolve the Odawa and Miami hostilities. Cadillac demands Le Pesant, Miami and Huron demand vengeance, and Cadillac gives them Odawa slaves.

"Words of the Ottawa to Cadillac." September 24, 1707. Vol. 33, : 346-350.

The Odawa deliver Le Pesant and beg for his life. He escapes and Cadillac pardons him and grants peace and presents to the Odawa. (Le Pesant is an 80-year-old man whose name means "The Heavy One.")

"Speeches of Three Indians from Michilimackinac." October 7, 1707. Vol. 33, : 362-365.

The Michigan Indians who came to Detroit during the Le Pesant episode are afraid that Le Pesant will seek revenge against the Odawa who captured him.

"Observations of the Marquis de Vaudreuil on the Letter from De La Mothe." n.d. (October 1707?) Vol. 33, : 354-361.

Accuses Cadillac of letting Le Pesant escape but states that it might have been the best course of action.

Sr. d'Aigremont to Unknown. November 14, 1708. Vol. 33, : 424-452.

Another account of the attack on Detroit by the Odawa and Cadillac's handling of the crisis.

"Memorandum by Marquis de Vaudreuil and Raudot, on the other Proposal of the Sr. De La Mothe to Establish Four Companies of savages at Detroit." November 13, 1708. Vol. 33, : 399-400.

Cadillac wants to use Indians as soldiers. Vaudreuil and Raudot disagree and state their contention that Indian soldiers would be a danger to the French.

Vaudreuil and Raudot to Unknown. November 14, 1708. Vol. 33, : 401-424.

Difficulties in keeping Indinas loyal to France; Odawa attack on Detroit in 1706; Huron and Miami plotted the murder of Cadillac and killed three Frenchmen; Cadillac fails in attack on the Odawa and makes peace; French and Indian attack on a British town.

"Memorandum to Serve as Instructions from the Marquis de Vaudreuil to the Officers and Voyagers Dispatched to Bring Down to Montreal the Savages of the Upper Country." March 10, 1711. Vol. 33, : 497-502.

Attempt to demonstrate the strength of France's Indian allies to the Iroquois.

Dubuisson to Vaudreuil. June 15, 1712. Vol. 33, : 537-552.

This letter discusses war between the French and the British; destruction of Maskoutin and Outagamis villages; the Odawa Chief Saginaw; conflict of the Huron, Miami, Odawa groups of Indians against the Fox, Mascoutin, Outagamis, Iroquois; the Illinois; Missouri and Osages become French allies; and various councils, battles, sieges, etc.

Marest to Vaudreuil. July 2, 1712. Vol. 33, : 557-559.

Indian Chief Koutaouiliboe is angry with the French because Detroit makes Michilimackinac less important.

Vaudreuil to Unknown. September 6, 1712. Vol. 33, : 559-567.

Vaudreuil wants a missionary to go to Michilimackinac; more intrigue concerning Odawa, Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo, Outagamis, and Maskoutins.

Vaudreuil to Unknown. October 15, 1712. Vol. 33, : 569-571.

Fox Indians attempt to attack Detroit. Dubuisson and allied Indians killed 1000 of them.

Walker, C. I. "Early Detroit." Vol. 8, (1886): 415-44.

Includes information on Potawatomi , Fox, Iroquois, Miami, Ojibwe, and Huron Indians. Also contains a detailed account of an attempt by the Foxes to destroy the fort in 1712.

"War Against the Fox Indians and Amnesty to the Coureurs de Bois." April 28, 1816. Vol. 33, : 573-574.
Vaudreuil to Unknown. October 14, 1716. Vol. 33, : 576-579
"Remarks on the War with the Fox Indians." n.d. (1716?) Vol. 33, : 579-582.

French war against Fox for murders of Frenchmen; calling coureurs in to serve as soldiers.

Vaudreuil to Unknown. October 12, 1717. Vol. 33, : 590-593.

New head of Detroit, Tonty, stopped Odawa from going to the English at Orange. Odawa and Potawatomi were angry about high prices and the lack of brandy at Detroit. Consequently, he had to agree to lower prices and get brandy. Also, the Odawa killed an Iroquois man and his Miami bride.

Vaudreuil to Duke of Orleans. October 12, 1717. Vol. 33, : 588-590.

De Louvigny sent to Fox to make aure that they were co-operating with the terms of peace. Smallpox edidemic among the Fox halts his efforts. The account mentions chiefs Pemoussa, Michiouaouigan, and Okimaouasen.

Vaudreuil and Began to Unknown. November 8, 1718. Vol. 33, : 595-598.

Tonty (Head of Detroit) prevents Indians from going to British and prevents a war between the Miami and the Odawa.

"Reports on American Colonies." September 8, 1721. Vol. 19, : 11-13.

Describes the importance of maintaining good relations with the Indians via annual presents, trade, treaties between tribes, and sending chiefs to Europe.

"Memorandum by the King." December 19, 1721. Vol. 33, : 704-705.

King orders traders not to give brandy to the Indians.

"The Hurons ask for Free Trade at Detroit." August 9, 1727. Vol. 34, (1905): 49-51.

The Hurons request that a system of free trade be reinstated at Detroit. Also, they ask for a new commandant.

Beaucharnois. "Beaucharnois asks that Tonty be Recalled." September 25, 1727. Vol. 34, (1905): 51-53.

This letter explains the importance of the Hurons to the settlement at Detroit and recommends that measures be taken to ensure their happiness.

Beaucharnois. "Boisheberts's Report on the Indian Trouble." Canada, July 24, 1733. Vol. 34, (1905): 108-109.

Lists casualties from and of Indian nations. Also mentions the effects of smallpox.

"War Against the Fox Indians." 1735. Vol. 34, (1905): 122-128.

Copy of the account of the journey of Sr. de Noyelle, commanding the war party against the Sauk and Fox Indians, 1735.

Woodward, A. B. "Letter from Judge Woodward. Un-addressed." Vol. 12, (1888): 508-511.

In the letter dated March 8, 1808, River Raisen, Woodward describes meetings that had recently taken place between Indian chiefs and "their French Father" or "Bonaparte."