Passenger Testimonies

Pierre Duhaut

I am a friend of Pierre Duhaut and will relate his experiences with La Salle:

I was born in the same city in France as La Salle and invested heavily in his expedition. I had rented a house in Dominique when we arrived and because La Salle was ill, I took him in. He ranted for over a week, consumed by fevers, which allowed his crew to roam freely, drinking and spending time with prostitutes. After he recovered, he attempted to resupply his expedition, going into debt to me to cover expenses.

La Salle managed the expedition poorly, allowing the men to be drunk frequently and spend time with prostitutes. We had trouble finding good drinking water and the brackish water we did use caused many of us to become sick with dysentery. La Salle was often angry, and he abused me. He showed me little respect, despite owing me money. He was furious with me after I became lost on an expedition and made my way back to Fort St. Louis. Many men died or deserted during La Salle’s force-march expeditions. He sent my brother back to the fort on one such trip, but he never arrived.

Many men died, from Indian attacks, drinking sea and bad water, dysentery, venereal diseases they acquired from the prostitutes, rattlesnakes bites, and malnutrition. Some drowned in the rivers and were eaten by alligators.

La Salle’s leadership was terrible and could not be tolerated, and sought a way of saving myself and the others. We got our revenge. Liotot , our surgeon, took an ax and clubbed to death Morenger, Nika, and Saget, who were all La Salle’s friends. The next morning, I hid in the bushes and shot La Salle, taking his belongings and dividing them up. We returned to our camp much calmer.

Duhaut remained among the Cenis Indians and was eventually murdered by a German buccaneer from an English ship.