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Michigan State

Education

In the meantime, and following in the wake of Pere Marquette, small bodies of immigrants from the shores of the St. Lawrence successively reached and settled upon the eastern borders of the lower peninsula skirting lakes Erie and St. Clair, including the Detroit river. Possessed of simple peasant habits and frugal tastes, their wants were readily supplied by game from the forest, fish from the waters, and by the products of a narrow strip of land which each family was wont to cultivate.
As a class, they were quite deficient in all the leading characteristics demanded by the exigencies of border life. They were neither gifted with ambition to excel, genius to invent, or energy to achieve. Content with their rural pursuits and simple pleasures, the spirit of adventure was too feebly developed in their natures to induce either research or exploration.
Thus it chanced, through successive ages, that whilst dwelling upon its borders, the whole interior of the broad peninsula remained to them terra incognita, an unknown region. In no practical sense of the term, therefore, can those peasant settlers be regarded as the representatives or exponents of genuine human attainment and development, or as the pioneers of modern civilization in Michigan.

University of Michigan


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