Dutisne's Expedition.On Sept. 14, 1712, Antoine Crozat was granted a monopoly of the Louisiana trade for a period of 15 years. About two years later there arrived at Mobile, then the headquarters of the colony, a young Canadian named Claude Charles Dutisne (the name is sometimes written Du Tissenet) to enter Crozat's employ. From the mines at Kaskaskia he brought specimens of lead ore, which he presented to Gov. Cadillac, and then took charge of a grant of land until Crozat was succeeded by the Western Company in 1717. Under the new regime Bienville superseded Cadillac as governor, M. de Boisbriant was appointed governor of Illinois and left for his post in Oct., 1818, and Dutisne was ordered to join him at Kaskaskia before the close of the year.
In 1719, by order of Bienville, Dutisne led an expedition to the Indians west of the Mississippi, Hale, in his Kanzas and Nebraska," published in 1854, says: "He found the Osages at the spot which they still occupy. If his measurements were exact, his first Pawnee or Panioukee village was near the mouth of the Republican Fork. Fifteen days westward travel must have been up the valley of one of the forks of the Kansas river; but the name of the Padoucah Indians is now lost. From the time he reached the Osage villages, Dutisne was exploring the territory of Kansas . . . . Dutisne, therefore, may he regarded as the discoverer of Kansas to the civilized world."
Cutler's History of Kansas says that Dutisne probably crossed Kansas "from about the locality of Linn county, northwest to the forks of the Kansas and thence west to the headwaters of the Smoky Hill."
Maloy, a writer in the Agora Magazine (vol. II, p. 16) says that Dutisne in 1719 "passed through Morris and Geary counties, and discovered indubitable evidence of Coronado's trail and camp near Fort Riley."
Other writers have made similar statements, with the result that the opinion has naturally become prevalent that Dutisne was in Kansas. But the report of his expedition will hardly justify that belief. On Nov. 22, 1719, Dutisne wrote a letter to Bienville, in which he gave the following account of his expedition: "When I went among the Osages I was well received by them. Having explained my intentions to them, they answered me well in everything that regarded themselves, but when I spoke of going among the Panis (Pawnees), they all opposed it, and would not assent to the reasons which I gave for going. Having learned that they did not intend for me to carry away the goods which I had brought, I proposed to them to let me take three guns, for myself and my interpreter, telling them decidedly that if they did not consent I would be very angry and you would be indignant; upon which they consented. Knowing the character of these savages, I did not delay, but set out on the road. In four days I was among the Panis, where I was very badly received, owing to the fact that the Osages had made them believe that our intentions were to entrap them and make them slaves . . . . but when they, learned the falsehood of the Osages they consented to make an alliance and treated me very well."
Then, after explaining how he traded the three guns, etc., for three horses and a mule, "marked with a Spanish brand," he continues: "I proposed to them to let me pass through to the Padoucahs. To this they were much opposed, as they are deadly enemies. Seeing they would not consent, I questioned them in regard to the Spaniards. . . . It seems to me we could succeed in making peace between this tribe and the Padoucahs, and by this means open a route to the Spaniards. It could be done by giving back to them their slaves and making them some presents. I told them it was your desire they should be friends. We could yet attempt the passage by the Missouri, going to the Panismahas to carry them some presents. I have offered M. de Boisbriant to go there myself, and if this is your wish I am ready to execute it so as to merit the honor of your protection. . . . The way to go there from the Osages is south, one-quarter west."
In Margry's works (vol. VI, pp. 309-12) is an extract from one of La Harpe's relations, apparently taken from Dutisne's report. This relation says the Pani villages were 40 leagues southwest from the Osages. The latter Dutisne described as being 80 leagues from the mouth of the Osage river, near the present town of Osceola, in St. Clair county, Mo. Forty leagues southwest from that point would bring the site of the Pani villages near the southeast corner of Kansas, possibly inside the present boundary of the state. There is nothing in Dutisne's report, or any account of the expedition, to show that he made the fifteen days' journey up the Smoky Hill river mentioned by Hale, though Dutisne did say that, according to the report of the Panis, "it is fifteen days' journey to the great village of the Padoucahs." It is therefore extremely problematical whether Dutisne was ever in what is now the State of Kansas, though from the distances and directions mentioned in his report he may have touched the southeast corner of the state.Pages 554-556 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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