French commandants. By 1718, however, posts had been built on Lake Superior and at the foot of Green Bay, and from these vantage points it was proposed to make fur ther attempts to solve the mystery of the West and to open a way to the westward sea. In France new forces were coming to the fore, and an era of great expectations and wild speculation was being initiated under the leadership of the regent, Philippe Duc d'orleans. America was the land of boundless resources, the fortune of every one in the kingdom from scullion to courtier was to be made by investing in the stock of the Company of the West, founded especially to exploit cen tral North America; the name Mississippi was on the lips of noble and peasant, implying boundless fertility and endless wealth. True, the Mississippi Bubble, as it was called after it burst, was located in Louisiana at the mouth of the mighty stream. Nevertheless the entire val ley was expected to contribute to its glory and the limits of the valley were yet to be defined. The regent deter mined to send out a secret mission to ascertain the pros pects of western exploration by way of the upper Great Lakes and the upper reaches Of the great river.