By Donald J. Blakeslee
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Often he or she must detour into other topics and the events of other times. There is no way this kind of research can be completed within a limited time or by searching for the sorts of documents that deal with the subject directly. All I could do was to define the goal and learn what might apply. The rest was indirect vision, reading around the subject rather than in it. Few have written about Indian trails, fewer still about the Mallet expedition. The lode of primary documents is meager indeed.
The desire of New Mexicans for trade with Louisiana was obvious. The optimism gradually faded. A return expedition in 1741-1742 under the direction of André Fabry de la Bruyère foundered on the lower reaches of the Canadian River. The French authorities attempted no other government-sponsored expeditions. This was just as well, because Spanish policy had changed. After reviewing the Mallet entrada, the Spanish government decided to pursue a hard line to protect its northern marches in North America from French intrusion and possible invasion.
After 1634 the company granted fiefs to individuals who would bring in settlers. As a result, the population reached 2,500 by the 1660s. Most of the settlers were concentrated in a narrow strip along the St. Lawrence River. A scarcity of arable land and the continuing threat of Iroquois raids kept them there (Eccles 1972: 35). Continual subdivision of properties and need for river frontage created long, narrow holdings and prevented the formation of villages. This settlement pattern was one of the factors that generated a new kind of person, dramatically different from the peasants of France.
Along ancient trails: the Mallet expedition of 1739 by Donald J. Blakeslee