Voyages of Samuel de Champlain V3
by Samuel de Champlain
1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse











The present volume completes the work proposed by the Prince Society of a translation into English of the VOYAGES OF CHAMPLAIN. It includes the journals issued in 1604, 1613, and 1619, and covers fifteen years of his residence and explorations in New France.

At a later period, in 1632, Champlain published, in a single volume, an abridgment of the issues above mentioned, containing likewise a continuation of his journal down to 1631. This continuation covers thirteen additional years. But it is to be observed that the events recorded in the journal of these later years are immediately connected with the progress and local interests of the French colony at Quebec. This last work of the great explorer is of primary importance and value as constituting original material for the early history of Canada, and a translation of it into English would doubtless be highly appreciated by the local historian. A complete narrative of these events, however, together with a large amount amount of interesting matter relating to the career of Champlain derived from other sources, is given in the Memoir contained in the first volume of this work.

This English translation contains not only the complete narratives of all the personal explorations made by Champlain into the then unbroken forests of America, but the whole of his minute, ample, and invaluable descriptions of the character and habits, mental, moral, and physical of the various savage tribes with which he came in contact. It will furnish, therefore, to the student of history and the student of ethnology most valuable information, unsurpassed in richness and extent, and which cannot be obtained from any other source. To aid one or both of these two classes in their investigations, the work was undertaken and has now been completed.

E. F. S.

BOSTON, 91 BOYLSTON STREET, April 5, 1882.








Of Saintonge, Captain in ordinary to the King in the Marine;


A MOST FAITHFUL JOURNAL OF OBSERVATIONS made in the, exploration of New France, describing not only the countries, coasts, rivers, ports, and harbors, with their latitudes, and the various deflections of the Magnetic Needle, but likewise the religious belief of the inhabitants, their superstitions, mode of life and warfare; furnished with numerous illustrations.

Together with two geographical maps: the first for the purposes of navigation, adapted to the compass as used by mariners, which, deflects to the north-east; the other in its true meridian, with longitudes and latitudes, to which is added the Voyage to the Strait north of Labrador, from the 53d to the 63d degree of latitude, discovered in 1612 by the English when they were searching for a northerly course to China.


JEAN BERJON, Rue St Jean de Beauvais, at the Flying Horse, and at his store in the Palace, at the gallery of the Prisoners.





We set out from Honfleur on the first day of March. The wind was favorable until the eighth, when we were opposed by a wind south-southwest and west-northwest, driving us as far as latitude 42 deg., without our being able to make a southing, so as to sail straight forward on our course. Accordingly after encountering several heavy winds, and being kept back by bad weather, we nevertheless, through great difficulty and hardship, and by sailing on different tacks, succeeded in arriving within eighty leagues of the Grand Bank, where the fresh fishery is carried on. Here we encountered ice thirty or forty fathoms high, or more, which led us to consider what course we ought to take, fearing that we might fall in with more during the night, or that the wind changing would drive us on to it. We also concluded that this would not be the last, since we had set out from France too early in the season. We sailed accordingly during that day with short sail, as near the wind as we could. When night came, the fog arose so thick and obscure that we could scarcely see the ship's length. About eleven o'clock at night, more ice was seen, which alarmed us. But through the energy of the sailors we avoided it. Supposing that we had passed all danger, we met with still more ice, which the sailors saw ahead of our vessel, but not until we were almost upon it. When all had committed themselves to God, having given up all hope of avoiding collision with this ice, which was already under our bowsprit, they cried to the helmsman to bear off; and this ice which was very extensive drove in such a manner that it passed by without striking our vessel, which stopped short, and remained as still as if it had never moved, to let it pass. Although the danger was over, our blood was not so quickly cooled, so great had been our fear, and we praised God for delivering us from so imminent a peril. This experience being over, we passed the same night two or three other masses of ice, not less dangerous than the former ones. There was at the same time a dripping fog, and it was so cold that we could scarcely get warm. The next day we met several other large and very high masses of ice, which, in the distance, looked like islands. We, however, avoided them all, and reached the Grand Bank, where we were detained by bad weather for the space of six days. The wind growing a little milder, and very favorable, we left the banks in latitude 44 deg. 30', which was the farthest south we could go. After sailing some sixty leagues west-northwest, we saw a vessel coming down to make us out, but which afterwards wore off to the east-northeast, to avoid a large bank of ice, which covered the entire extent of our line of vision. Concluding that there was a passage through the middle of this great floe, which was divided into two parts, we entered, in pursuance of our course, between the two, and sailed some ten leagues without seeing anything, contrary to our conjecture of a fine passage through, until evening, when we found the floe closed up. This gave us much anxiety as to what was to be done, the night being at hand and there being no moon, which deprived us of all means of returning to the point whence we had come. Yet, after due deliberation, it was resolved to try to find again the entrance by which we had come, which we set about accomplishing. But the night coming on with fog, rain, snow, and a wind so violent that we could scarcely carry our mainsail, every trace of our way was lost. For, as we were expecting to avoid the ice so as to pass out, the wind had already closed up the passage, so that we were obliged to return to the other tack. We were unable to remain longer than a quarter of an hour on one tack before taking another, in order to avoid the numerous masses of ice drifting about on all sides. We thought more than twenty times that we should never escape with our lives. The entire night was spent amid difficulties and hardships. Never was the watch better kept, for nobody wished to rest, but to strive to escape from the ice and danger. The cold was so great, that all the ropes of the vessel were so frozen and covered with large icicles that the men could not work her nor stick to the deck. Thus we ran, on this tack and that, awaiting with hope the daylight. But when it came, attended by a fog, and we saw that our labor and hardship could not avail us anything, we determined to go to a mass of ice, where we should be sheltered from the violent wind which was blowing; to haul everything down, and allow ourselves to be driven along with the ice, so that when at some distance from the rest of the ice we could make sail again, and go back to the above-mentioned bank and manage as before, until the fog should pass away, when we might go out as quickly as possible. Thus we continued the entire day until the morning of the next day, when we set sail, now on this tack now on that, finding ourselves everywhere enclosed amid large floes of ice, as if in lakes on the mainland. At evening we sighted a vessel on the other side of one of these banks of ice, which, I am sure, was in no less anxiety than ourselves. Thus we remained four or five days, exposed to these risks and extreme hardships, until one morning on looking out in all directions, although we could see no opening, yet in one place it seemed as if the ice was not thick, and that we could easily pass through. We got under weigh, and passed by a large number of bourguignons; that is, pieces of ice separated from the large banks by the violence of the winds. Having reached this bank of ice, the sailors proceeded to provide themselves with large oars and pieces of wood, in order to keep off the blocks of ice we met. In this way we passed this bank, but not without touching some pieces of ice, which did no good to our vessel, although they inflicted no essential damage. Being outside, we praised God for our deliverance. Continuing our course on the next day, we encountered other pieces, in which we became so involved that we found ourselves surrounded on all sides, except where we had entered. It was accordingly necessary to turn back, and endeavor to double the southern point. This we did not succeed in doing until the second day, passing by several small pieces of ice, which had been separated from the main bank. This latter was in latitude 44 deg. 30'. We sailed until the morning of the next day, towards the northwest, north- northwest, when we met another large ice bank, extending as far as we could see east and west. This, in the distance, seemed like land; for it was so level that it might properly be said to have been made so on purpose. It was more than eighteen feet high, extending twice as far under water. We calculated that we were only some fifteen leagues from Cape Breton, it being the 26th day of the month. These numerous encounters with ice troubled us greatly. We were also fearful that the passage between Capes Breton and Raye would be closed, and that we should be obliged to keep out to sea a long time before being able to enter. Unable to do anything else, we were obliged to run out to sea again some four or five leagues, in order to double another point of the above-mentioned grand ice bank, which continued on our west-southwest. After turning on the other tack to the northwest, in order to double this point, we sailed some seven leagues, and then steered to the north-northwest some three leagues, when we observed another ice bank. The night approached, and the fog came on so that we put to sea to pass the remainder of the night, purposing at daybreak to return and reconnoitre the last mentioned ice. On the twenty-seventh day of the month, we sighted land west-northwest of us, seeing no ice on the north- northeast. We approached nearer for the sake of a better observation, and found that it was Canseau. This led us to bear off to the north for Cape Breton Island; but we had scarcely sailed two leagues when we encountered an ice bank on the northeast. Night coming on, we were obliged to put out to sea until the next day, when we sailed northeast, and encountered more ice, bearing east, east-southeast from us, along which we coasted heading northeast and north for more than fifteen leagues. At last we were obliged to sail towards the west, greatly to our regret, inasmuch as we could find no passage, and should be obliged to withdraw and sail back on our track. Unfortunately for us we were overtaken by a calm, so that it seemed as if the swell of the sea would throw us upon the ice bank just mentioned, and we got ready to launch our little boat, to use in case of necessity. If we had taken refuge on the above-mentioned ice it would only have been to languish and die in misery. While we were deliberating whether to launch our boat, a fresh breeze arose to our great delight, and thus we escaped from the ice. After we had sailed two leagues, night came on, with a very thick fog, causing us to haul down our sail, as we could not see, and as there were several large pieces of ice in our way, which we were afraid of striking. Thus we remained the entire night until the next day, which was the twenty-ninth, when the fog increased to such an extent that we could scarcely see the length of the vessel. There was also very little wind. Yet we did not fail to set sail, in order to avoid the ice. But, although expecting to extricate ourselves, we found ourselves so involved in it that we could not tell on which side to tack. We were accordingly again compelled to lower sail, and drift until the ice should allow us to make sail. We made a hundred tacks on one side and the other, several times fearing that we were lost. The most self-possessed would have lost all judgment in such a juncture; even the greatest navigator in the world. What alarmed us still more was the short distance we could see, and the fact that the night was coming on, and that we could not make a shift of a quarter of a league without finding a bank or some ice, and a great deal of floating ice, the smallest piece of which would have been sufficient to cause the loss of any vessel whatever. Now, while we were still sailing along amid the ice, there arose so strong a wind that in a short time the fog broke away, affording us a view, and suddenly giving us a clear air and fair sun. Looking around about us, we found that we were shut up in a little lake, not so much as a league and a half in circuit. On the north we perceived the island of Cape Breton, nearly four leagues distant, and it seemed to us that the passage-way to Cape Breton was still closed. We also saw a small ice bank astern of our vessel, and the ocean beyond that, which led us to resolve to go beyond the bank, which was divided. This we succeeded in accomplishing without striking our vessel, putting out to sea for the night, and passing to the southeast of the ice. Thinking now that we could double this ice bank, we sailed east-northeast some fifteen leagues, perceiving only a little piece of ice. At night we hauled down the sail until the next day, when we perceived another ice bank to the north of us, extending as far as we could see. We had drifted to within nearly half a league of it, when we hoisted sail, continuing to coast along this ice in order to find the end of it. While sailing along, we sighted on the first day of May a vessel amid the ice, which, as well as ourselves, had found it difficult to escape from it. We backed our sails in order to await the former, which came full upon us, since we were desirous of ascertaining whether it had seen other ice. On its approach we saw that it was the son [1] of Sieur de Poutrincourt, on his way to visit his father at the settlement of Port Royal. He had left France three months before, not without much reluctance, I think, and still they were nearly a hundred and forty leagues from Port Royal, and well out of their true course. We told them we had sighted the islands of Canseau, much to their satisfaction, I think, as they had not as yet sighted any land, and were steering straight between Cape St. Lawrence and Cape Raye, in which direction they would not have found Port Royal, except by going overland. After a brief conference with each other we separated, each following his own course. The next day we sighted the islands of St. Pierre, finding no ice. Continuing our course we sighted on the following day, the third of the month, Cape Raye, also without finding ice. On the fourth we sighted the island of St. Paul, and Cape St. Lawrence, being some eight leagues north of the latter. The next day we sighted Gaspe. On the seventh we were opposed by a northwest wind, which drove us out of our course nearly thirty-five leagues, when the wind lulled, and was in our favor as far as Tadoussac, which we reached on the 13th day of May.[2] Here we discharged a cannon to notify the savages, in order to obtain news from our settlement at Quebec. The country was still almost entirely covered with snow. There came out to us some canoes, informing us that one of our pataches had been in the harbor for a month, and that three vessels had arrived eight days before. We lowered our boat and visited these savages, who were in a very miserable condition, having only a few articles to barter to satisfy their immediate wants. Besides they desired to wait until several vessels should meet, so that there might be a better market for their merchandise. Therefore they are mistaken who expect to gain an advantage by coming first, for these people are very sagacious and cunning.

On the 17th of the month I set out from Tadoussac for the great fall,[3] to meet the Algonquin savages and other tribes, who had promised the year before to go there with my man, whom I had sent to them, that I might learn from him what he might see during the winter. Those at this harbor who suspected where I was going, in accordance with the promises which I had made to the savages, as stated above, began to build several small barques, that they might follow me as soon as possible. And several, as I learned before setting out from France, had some ships and pataches fitted out in view of our voyage, hoping to return rich, as from a voyage to the Indies.

Pont Grave remained at Tadoussac expecting, if he did nothing there, to take a patache and meet me at the fall. Between Tadoussac and Quebec our barque made much water, which obliged me to stop at Quebec and repair the leak. This was on the 21st day of May.


1. This was Charles de Biencourt, Sieur de Saint Just. He was closely associated with his father, Sieur de Poutrincourt, in his colony at Port Royal. Vide Vol. I. p. 122, note 77.

2. They left Honfleur on the first day of March, and were thus seventy-four days in reaching Tadoussac. The voyage was usually made in favorable weather in thirty days.

3. The Falls of St. Louis, near Montreal, now more commonly known as the La Chine Rapids.



On going ashore I found Sieur du Parc, who had spent the winter at the settlement. He and all his companions were very well, and had not suffered any sickness. Game, both large and small, had been abundant during the entire winter, as they told me. I found there the Indian captain, named Batiscan, and some Algonquins, who said they were waiting for me, being unwilling to return to Tadoussac without seeing me. I proposed to them to take one of our company to the Trois Rivieres to explore the place, but being unable to obtain anything from them this year I put it off until the next. Still I did not fail to inform myself particularly regarding the origin of the people living there, of which they told me with exactness. I asked them for one of their canoes, which they were unwilling to part with on any terms, because of their own need of it. For I had planned to send two or three men to explore the neighborhood of the Trois Rivieres, and ascertain what there was there. This, to my great regret, I was unable to accomplish, and postponed the project to the first opportunity that might present itself.

Meanwhile I urged on the repairs to our barque. When it was ready, a young man from La Rochelle, named Tresart, asked me to permit him to accompany me to the above-mentioned fall. This I refused, replying that I had special plans of my own, and that I did not wish to conduct any one to my prejudice, adding that there were other companies than mine there, and that I did not care to open up a way and serve as guide, and that he could make the voyage well enough alone and without my help.

The same day I set out from Quebec, and arrived at the great fall on the twenty-eighth of May. But I found none of the savages who had promised me to be there on this day. I entered at once a poor canoe, together with the savage I had taken to France and one of my own men. After examining the two shores, both in the woods and on the river bank, in order to find a spot favorable for the location of a settlement, and to get a place ready for building, I went some eight leagues by land along the great fall and through the woods, which are very open, as far as a lake, [4] whither our savage conducted me. Here I observed the country very carefully. But in all that I saw, I found no place more favorable than a little spot to which barques and shallops can easily ascend, with the help of a strong wind or by taking a winding course, in consequence of the strong current. But above this place, which we named La Place Royale, at the distance of a league from Mont Royal, there are a great many little rocks and shoals, which are very dangerous. Near Place Royale there is a little river, extending some distance into the interior, along the entire length of which there are more than sixty acres of land cleared up and like meadows, where grain can be sown and gardens made. Formerly savages tilled these lands, [5] but they abandoned them on account of their wars, in which they were constantly engaged. There is also a large number of other fine pastures, where any number of cattle can graze. There are also the various kinds of trees found in France, together with many vines, nut and plum trees, cherries, strawberries, and other kinds of good fruit. Among the rest there is a very excellent one, with a sweet taste like that of plantains, a fruit of the Indies, as white as snow, with a leaf resembling that of nettles, and which creeps up the trees and along the ground like ivy. [6] Fish are very abundant, including all the varieties we have in France, and many very good ones which we do not have. Game is also plenty, the birds being of various kinds. There are stags, hinds, does, caribous, [7] rabbits, lynxes, [8] bears, beavers, also other small animals, and all in such large numbers, that while we were at the fall we were abundantly supplied with them.

After a careful examination, we found this place one of the finest on this river. I accordingly forthwith gave orders to cut down and clear up the woods in the Place Royale, [9] so as to level it and prepare it for building. The water can easily be made to flow around it, making of it a little island, so that a habitation can be formed as one may wish.

There is a little island some twenty fathoms from Place Royale, about a hundred paces long, where a good and strong settlement might be made. There are also many meadows, containing very good and rich potter's clay, as well adapted for brick as for building purposes, and consequently a very useful article. I had a portion of it worked up, from which I made a wall four feet thick, three or four high, and ten fathoms long, to see how it would stand during the winter, when the freshets came down, although I thought the water would not reach up to it, the ground there being twelve feet above the river, which was very high. In the middle of the river there was an island about three-quarters of a league around, where a good and strong town could be built. This we named Isle de Sainte Helene. [10] This river at the fall is like a lake, containing two or three islands, and bordered by fine meadows.

On the first day of June, Pont Grave arrived at the fall, having been unable to accomplish anything at Tadoussac. A numerous company attended and followed after him to share in the booty, without the hope of which they would have been far in the rear.

Now, while awaiting the savages, I had two gardens made, one in the meadows, the other in the woods, which I had cleared up. On the 2d of June I sowed some seeds, all of which came up finely, and in a short time, attesting the good quality of the soil.

We resolved to send Savignon, our savage, together with another, to meet his countrymen, so as to hasten their arrival. They hesitated about going in our canoe, of which they were distrustful, it being a very poor one. They set out on the 5th. The next day four or five barques arrived as an escort for us, since they could do nothing at Tadoussac.

On the 7th I went to explore a little river, along which the savages sometimes go to war, and which flows into the fall of the river of the Iroquois. [11] It is very pleasant, with meadow land more than three leagues in circuit, and much arable land. It is distant a league from the great fall, and a league and a half from Place Royale.

On the 9th our savage arrived. He had gone somewhat beyond the lake, which is ten leagues long, and which I had seen before. [12] But he met no one, and they were unable to go any farther, as their canoe gave out, which obliged them to return. They reported that after passing the fall they saw an island, where there was such a quantity of herons that the air was completely filled with them. There was a young man belonging to Sieur de Monts named Louis, who was very fond of the chase. Hearing this, he wished to go and satisfy his curiosity, earnestly entreating our savage to take him to the place. To this the savage consented, taking also a captain of the Montagnais, a very respectable person, whose name was Outetoucos. On the following morning Louis caused the two savages to be called, and went with them in a canoe to the island of the herons. This island is in the middle of the fall. [13] Here they captured as many herons and other birds as they wanted, and embarked again in their canoe. Outetoucos, contrary to the wish of the other savage, and against his remonstrances, desired to pass through a very dangerous place, where the water fell more than three feet, saying that he had formerly gone this way, which, however, was false. He had a long discussion in opposition to our savage, who wished to take him on the south side, along the mainland, [14] where they usually go. This, however, Outetoucos did not wish, saying that there was no danger. Our savage finding him obstinate yielded to his desire. But he insisted that at least a part of the birds in the canoe should be taken out, as it was overloaded, otherwise he said it would inevitably fill and be lost. But to this he would not consent, saying that it would be time enough when they found themselves in the presence of danger. They accordingly permitted themselves to be carried along by the current. But when they reached the precipice, they wanted to throw overboard their load in order to escape. It was now, however, too late, for they were completely in the power of the rapid water, and were straightway swallowed up in the whirlpools of the fall, which turned them round a thousand times. For a long time they clung to the boat. Finally the swiftness of the water wearied them so that this poor Louis, who could not swim at all, entirely lost his presence of mind, and, the canoe going down, he was obliged to abandon it. As it returned to the surface, the two others who kept holding on to it, saw Louis no more, and thus he died a sad death. [15] The two others continued to hold on to the canoe. When, however, they were out of danger, this Outetoucos, being naked and having confidence in his swimming powers, abandoned it in the expectation of reaching the shore, although the water still ran there with great rapidity. But he was drowned, for he had been so weakened and overcome by his efforts that it was impossible for him to save himself after abandoning the canoe. Our savage Savignon, understanding himself better, held firmly to the canoe until it reached an eddy, whither the current had carried it. Here he managed so well that, notwithstanding his suffering and weariness, he approached the shore gradually, when, after throwing the water out of the canoe, he returned in great fear that they would take vengeance upon him, as the savages do among themselves, and related to us this sad story, which caused us great sorrow.

On the next day I went in another canoe to the fall, together with the savage and another member of our company, to see the place where they had met with their accident, and find, if possible, the remains. But when he showed me the spot, I was horrified at beholding such a terrible place, and astonished that the deceased should have been so lacking in judgment as to pass through such a fearful place, when they could have gone another way. For it is impossible to go along there, as there are seven or eight descents of water one after the other, the lowest three feet high, the seething and boiling of the water being fearful. A part of the fall was all white with foam, indicating the worst spot, the noise of which was like thunder, the air resounding with the echo of the cataracts. After viewing and carefully examining this place, and searching along the river bank for the dead bodies, another very light shallop having proceeded meanwhile on the other bank also, we returned without finding anything.

* * * * *



A. Small place that I had cleared up. B. Small pond. C. Small islet, where I had a stone wall made. D. Small brook, where the barques are kept. E. Meadows where the savages stay when they come to this region. F. Mountains seen in the interior. G. Small pond. H. Mont Royal. I. Small brook. L. The fall. M. Place on the north side, where the savages transfer their canoes by land. N. Spot where one of our men and a savage were drowned. O. Small rocky islet. P. Another islet where birds make their nests. Q. Heron island. R. Another island in the fall. S. Small islet T. Small round islet. V. Another islet half covered with water. X. Another islet, where there are many river birds. Y. Meadows. Z. Small river. 2. Very large and fine islands. 3. Places which are bare when the water is low, where there are great eddies, as at the main fall. 4. Meadows covered with water 5. Very shallow places. 6. Another little islet. 7. Small rocks. 8. Island St. Helene. 9. Small island without trees. oo. Marshes connecting with the great fall.


4. This journey of eight leagues would take them as far as the Lake of Two Mountains.

5. This little river is mentioned by Champlain in his Voyage of 1603, Vol. I. p. 268. It is represented on early maps as formed by two small streams, flowing, one from the north or northeastern, and the other from the southern side of the mountain, in the rear of the city of Montreal, which unite some distance before they reach the St. Lawrence, flowing into that river at Point Callieres. These little brooks are laid down on Champlain's local map, Le Grand Sault St. Louis, on Charlevoix's Carte de l'Isle de Montreal, 1744, and on Bellin's L'Isle de Montreal, 1764; but they have disappeared on modern maps, and probably are either extinct or are lost in the sewerage of the city, of which they have become a part. We have called the stream formed by these two brooks, note 190, Vol. I., Riviere St. Pierre. On Potherie's map, the only stream coming from the interior is so named. Vide Histoire de L'Amerique par M. de Bacqueville de la Potherie, 1722, p. 311. On a map in Greig's Hochelaga Depicta, 1839, it is called St. Peter's River. The same stream on Bouchette's map, 1830, is denominated Little River. It seems not unlikely that a part of it was called, at one time, Riviere St. Pierre, and another part Petite Riviere.

It is plain that on this stream was situated the sixty acres of cleared land alluded to in the text as formerly occupied by the savages.

It will be remembered that seventy-six years anterior to this, in 1535, Jacques Cartier discovered this place, which was then the seat of a large and flourishing Indian town. It is to be regretted that Champlain did not inform us more definitely as to the history of the former occupants of the soil. Some important, and we think conclusive, reasons have been assigned for supposing that they were a tribe of the Iroquois. Among others may be mentioned the similarity in the construction of their towns and houses or cabins, the identity of their language as determined by a collation of the words found in Cartier's journal with the language of the Iroquois; and to these may be added the traditions obtained by missionaries and others, as cited by Laverdiere, to which we must not, however, attach too much value. Vide Laverdiere in loco. While it seems probable that the former occupants were of the Iroquois family, it is impossible to determine whether on retiring they joined the Five Nations in the State of New York, or merged themselves with the Hurons, who were likewise of Iroquois origin.

6. I am unable to identify this plant. Its climbing propensity and the color of its fruit suggest Rhus radicans, but in other respects the similarity fails.

7. Cerfs, Daims, Cheureuls, Caribous. Champlain employs the names of the different species of the Cerf family as used in Europe; but as our species are different, this use of names creates some confusion. There were in Canada, the moose, the caribou, the wapiti, and the common red deer. Any enumeration by the early writers must include these, under whatever names they may be described. One will be found applying a name to a given species, while another will apply the same name to quite a different species. Charlevoix mentions the orignal (moose) caribou, the hart, and the roebuck. Under the name hart, he probably refers to the wapiti, elaphus Canadensis, and roe-buck, to the common red deer, Cervus Virginianus. Vide Charlevoix's Letters to the Dutchess of Lesdiguieres, 1763, pp. 64-69, also Vol. I. of this work, p. 265.

8. Lynxes, Loups-seruiers. The compound word loup-cervier was significant, and was applied originally to the animal of which the stag was its natural prey, qui attaque les cerfs. In Europe it described the lynx, a large powerful animal of the feline race, that might well venture to attack the stag. But in Canada this species is not found. What is known as the Canadian lynx, Felis Canadensis, is only a large species of cat, which preys upon birds and the smaller quadrupeds. Champlain probably gives it the name loup-servier for the want of one more appropriate. It is a little remarkable that he does not in this list mention the American wolf, Lupus occidentalis, so common in every part of Canada, and which he subsequently refers to as the animal especially dreaded by the deer. Vide postea, pp. 139, 157.

9. The site of Place Royale was on Point Callieres, so named in honor of Chevalier Louis Hector de Callieres Bonnevue, governor of Montreal in 1684.

10. It seems most likely that the name of this island was suggested by the marriage which Champlain had contracted with Helene Boulle, the year before. This name had been given to several other places. Vide Vol. I. pp. 104, 105.

11. Vide Vol. I. p. 268, note 191. Walker and Miles's Atlas, map 186.

12. The Lake of the Two Mountains. Vide antea, note 4.

13. On Champlain's local map of the Falls of St. Louis, the letter Q is wanting; but the expression, ceste isle est au milieu du faut, in the middle of the fall, as suggested by Laverdiere, indicates that the island designated by the letter R is Heron Island. Vide postea, R on map at p. 18.

14. Grand Tibie, so in the original. This is a typographical error for grand terre. Vide Champlain, 1632, Quebec ed., p. 842.

15. The death of this young man may have suggested the name which was afterward given to the fall. He was, however, it is reasonable to suppose, hardly equal in sanctity of character to the Saint Louis of the French. Hitherto it had been called Le Grand Saut. But soon after this it began to be called Grand Saut S. Louys. Vide postea, pp. 38, 51, 59.



On the thirteenth day of the month [16] two hundred Charioquois [17] savages, together with the captains Ochateguin, Iroquet, and Tregouaroti, brother of our savage, brought back my servant. [18] We were greatly pleased to see them. I went to meet them in a canoe with our savage. As they were approaching slowly and in order, our men prepared to salute them with a discharge of arquebuses, muskets, and small pieces. When they were near at hand, they all set to shouting together, and one of the chiefs gave orders that they should make their harangue, in which they greatly praised us, commending us as truthful, inasmuch as I had kept the promise to meet them at this fall. After they had made three more shouts, there was a discharge of musketry twice from thirteen barques or pataches that were there. This alarmed them so, that they begged me to assure them that there should be no more firing, saying that the greater part of them had never seen Christians, nor heard thunderings of that sort, and that they were afraid of its harming them, but that they were greatly pleased to see our savage in health, whom they supposed was dead, as had been reported by some Algonquins, who had heard so from the Montagnais. The savage commended the treatment I had shown him in France, and the remarkable objects he had seen, at which all wondered, and went away quietly to their cabins, expecting that on the next day I would show them the place where I wished to have them dwell. I saw also my servant, who was dressed in the costume of the savages, who commended the treatment he had received from them. He informed me of all he had seen and learned during the winter, from the savages.

The next day I showed them a spot for their cabins, in regard to which the elders and principal ones consulted very privately. After their long consultation they sent for me alone and my servant, who had learned their language very well. They told him they desired a close alliance with me, and were sorry to see here all these shallops, and that our savage had told them he did not know them at all nor their intentions, and that it was clear that they were attracted only by their desire of gain and their avarice, and that when their assistance was needed they would refuse it, and would not act as I did in offering to go with my companions to their country and assist them, of all of which I had given them proofs in the past. They praised me for the treatment I had shown our savage, which was that of a brother, and had put them under such obligations of good will to me, that they said they would endeavor to comply with anything I might desire from them, but that they feared that the other boats would do them some harm. I assured them that they would not, and that we were all under one king, whom our savage had seen, and belonged to the same nation, though matters of business were confined to individuals, and that they had no occasion to fear, but might feel as much security as if they were in their own country. After considerable conversation, they made me a present of a hundred castors. I gave them in exchange other kinds of merchandise. They told me there were more than four hundred savages of their country who had purposed to come, but had been prevented by the following representations of an Iroquois prisoner, who had belonged to me, but had escaped to his own country. He had reported, they said, that I had given him his liberty and some merchandise, and that I purposed to go to the fall with six hundred Iroquois to meet the Algonquins and kill them all, adding that the fear aroused by this intelligence had alone prevented them from coming. I replied that the prisoner in question had escaped without my leave, that our savage knew very well how he went away, and that there was no thought of abandoning their alliance, as they had heard, since I had engaged in war with them, and sent my servant to their country to foster their friendship, which was still farther confirmed by my keeping my promise to them in so faithful a manner.

They replied that, so far as they were concerned, they had never thought of this; that they were well aware that all this talk was far from the truth, and that if they had believed the contrary they would not have come, but that the others were afraid, never having seen a Frenchman except my servant. They told me also that three hundred Algonquins would come in five or six days, if we would wait for them, to unite with themselves in war against the Iroquois; that, however, they would return without doing so unless I went. I talked a great deal with them about the source of the great river and their country, and they gave me detailed information about their rivers, falls, lakes and lands, as also about the tribes living there, and what is to be found in the region. Four of them assured me that they had seen a sea at a great distance from their country, but that it was difficult to go there, not only on account of the wars, but of the intervening wilderness. They told me also that the winter before some savages had come from the direction of Florida, beyond the country of the Iroquois, who lived near our ocean, and were in alliance with these savages. In a word, they made me a very exact statement, indicating by drawings all the places where they had been, and taking pleasure in talking to me about them; and for my part I did not tire of listening to them, as they confirmed points in regard to which I had been before in doubt. After all this conversation was concluded, I told them that we would trade for the few articles they had, which was done the next day. Each one of the barques carried away its portion; we on our side had all the hardship and venture; the others, who had not troubled themselves about any explorations, had the booty, the only thing that urges them to activity, in which they employ no capital and venture nothing.

The next day, after bartering what little they had, they made a barricade about their dwelling, partly in the direction of the wood, and partly in that of our pataches; and this they said they did for their security, in order to avoid the surprises of their enemies, which we took for the truth. On the coming night, they called our savage, who was sleeping on my patache, and my servant, who went to them. After a great deal of conversation, about midnight they had me called also. Entering their cabins, I found them all seated in council. They had me sit down near them, saying that when they met for the purpose of considering a matter, it was their custom to do so at night, that they might not be diverted by anything from attention to the subject in hand; that at night one thought only of listening, while during the day the thoughts were distracted by other objects.

But in my opinion, confiding in me, they desired to tell me privately their purpose. Besides, they were afraid of the other pataches, as they subsequently gave me to understand. For they told me that they were uneasy at seeing so many Frenchmen, who were not especially united to one another, and that they had desired to see me alone; that some of them had been beaten; that they were as kindly disposed towards me as towards their own children, confiding so much in me that they would do whatever I told them to do, but that they greatly mistrusted the others; that if I returned I might take as many of their people as I wished, if it were under the guidance of a chief; and that they sent for me to assure me anew of their friendship, which would never be broken, and to express the hope that I might never be ill disposed towards them; and being aware that I had determined to visit their country, they said they would show it to me at the risk of their lives, giving me the assistance of a large number of men, who could go everywhere; and that in future we should expect such treatment from them as they had received from us.

Straightway they brought fifty castors and four strings of beads, which they value as we do gold chains, saying that I should share these with my brother, referring to Pont Grave, we being present together; that these presents were sent by other captains, who had never seen me; that they desired to continue friends to me; that if any of the French wished to go with them, they should be greatly pleased to have them do so; and that they desired more than ever to establish a firm friendship. After much conversation with them, I proposed that inasmuch as they were desirous to have me visit their country, I would petition His Majesty to assist us to the extent of forty or fifty men, equipped with what was necessary for the journey, and that I would embark with them on condition that they would furnish us the necessary provisions for the journey, and that I would take presents for the chiefs of the country through which we should pass, when we would return to our settlement to spend the winter; that moreover, if I found their country favorable and fertile, we would make many settlements there, by which means we should have frequent intercourse with each other, living happily in the future in the fear of God, whom we would make known to them. They were well pleased with this proposition, and begged me to shake hands upon it, saying that they on their part would do all that was possible for its fulfilment; that, in regard to provisions, we should be as well supplied as they themselves, assuring me again that they would show me what I desired to see. Thereupon, I took leave of them at daybreak, thanking them for their willingness to carry out my wishes, and entreating them to continue to entertain the same feelings.

On the next day, the 17th, they said that they were going castor-hunting, and that they would all return. On the following morning they finished bartering what little they had, when they embarked in their canoes, asking us not to take any steps towards taking down their dwellings, which we promised them. Then they separated from each other, pretending to go a hunting in different directions. They left our savage with me that we might have less distrust in them. But they had appointed themselves a rendezvous above the fall, where they knew well enough that we could not go with our barques. Meanwhile, we awaited them in accordance with what they had told us.

The next day there came two savages, one Iroquet, the other the brother of our Savignon. They came to get the latter, and ask me in behalf of all their companions to go alone with my servant to where they were encamped, as they had something of importance to tell me, which they were unwilling to communicate to any Frenchmen. I promised them that I would go.

The following day I gave some trifles to Savignon, who set out much pleased, giving me to understand that he was about to live a very irksome life in comparison with that which he had led in France. He expressed much regret at separation, but I was very glad to be relieved of the care of him. The two captains told me that on the morning of the next day they would send for me, which they did. I embarked, accompanied by my servant, with those who came. Having arrived at the fall, we went some eight leagues into the woods, where they were encamped on the shore of a lake, where I had been before.[19] They were much pleased at seeing me, and began to shout after their custom. Our Indian came out to meet me, and ask me to go to the cabin of his brother, where he at once had some meat and fish put on the fire for my entertainment. While I was there, a banquet was held, to which all the leading Indians were invited. I was not forgotten, although I had already eaten sufficiently; but, in order not to violate the custom of the country, I attended. After banqueting, they went into the woods to hold their council, and meanwhile I amused myself in looking at the country round about, which is very pleasant.

Some time after they called me, in order to communicate to me what they had resolved upon. I proceeded to them accordingly with my servant. After I had seated myself by their side, they said they were very glad to see me, and to find that I had not failed to keep my word in what I had promised them; saying that they felt it an additional proof of my affection that I continued the alliance with them, and that before setting out they desired to take leave of me, as it would have been a very great disappointment to them to go away without seeing me, thinking that I would in that case have been ill disposed towards them. They said also that what had led them to say they were going a hunting, and build the barricade, was not the fear of their enemies nor the desire of hunting, but their fear of all the other pataches accompanying me, inasmuch as they had heard it said that on the night they sent for me they were all to be killed, and that I should not be able to protect them from the others who were much more numerous; so that in order to get away they made use of this ruse. But they said if there had been only our two pataches they would have stayed some days longer, and they begged that, when I returned with my companions, I would not bring any others. To this I replied that I did not bring these, but that they followed without my invitation; that in the future, however, I would come in another manner; at which explanation they were much pleased.

And now they began again to repeat what they had promised me in regard to the exploration of the country, while I promised, with the help of God, to fulfil what I had told them. They besought me again to give them a man, and I replied that if there was any one among us who was willing to go, I should be well pleased.

They told me there was a merchant, named Bouyer, commander of a patache, who had asked them to take a young man, which request, however, they had been unwilling to grant before ascertaining whether this was agreeable to me, as they did not know whether we were friends, since he had come in my company to trade with them; also that they were in no wise under any obligations to him, but that he had offered to make them large presents.

I replied that we were in no wise enemies, and that they had often seen us conversing with each other; but that in regard to traffic each did what he could, and that the above-named Bouyer was perhaps desirous of sending this young man as I had sent mine, hoping for some return in the future, which I could also lay claim to from them; that, however, they must judge towards whom they had the greatest obligations, and from whom they were to expect the most.

They said there was no comparison between the obligations in the two cases, not only in view of the help I had rendered them in their wars against their enemies, but also of the offer of my personal assistance in the future, in all of which they had found me faithful to the truth, adding that all depended on my pleasure. They said moreover that what made them speak of the matter was the presents he had offered them, and that, if this young man should go with them, it would not put them under such obligations to this Bouyer as they were under to me, and that it would have no influence upon the future, since they only took him on account of the presents from Bouyer.

I replied that it was indifferent to me whether they took him or not, and in fact that if they took him for a small consideration I should be displeased at it, but if in return for valuable presents, I should be satisfied, provided he stayed with Iroquet; which they promised me. Then there was made on both sides a final statement of our agreements. They had with them one who had three times been made prisoner by the Iroquois, but had been successful in escaping. This one resolved to go, with nine others, to war, for the sake of revenge for the cruelties his enemies had caused him to suffer. All the captains begged me to dissuade him if possible, since he was very valiant, and they were afraid that, advancing boldly towards the enemy, and supported by a small force only, he would never return. To satisfy them I endeavored to do so, and urged all the reasons I could, which, however, availed little; for he, showing me a portion of his fingers cut off, also great cuts and burns on his body, as evidences of the manner they had tortured him, said that it was impossible for him to live without killing some of his enemies and having vengeance, and that his heart told him he must set out as soon as possible, as he did, firmly resolved to behave well.

After concluding with them, I asked them to take me back in our patache. To accomplish this, they got ready eight canoes in order to pass the fall, stripping themselves naked, and directing me to go only in my shirt. For it often happens that some are lost in passing the fall. Consequently, they keep close to each other, so as to render assistance at once, if any canoe should happen to turn over. They said to me, if yours should unfortunately overturn, not knowing how to swim, you must not think of abandoning it, and must cling to the little pieces in the middle of it, for we can easily rescue you. I am sure that even the most self-possessed persons in the world, who have not seen this place nor passed it in little boats such as they have, could not do so without the greatest apprehension. But these people are so skilful in passing falls, that it is an easy matter for them. I passed with them, which I had never before done, nor any other Christian, except my above-mentioned servant. Then we reached our barques, where I lodged a large number of them, and had some conversation with the before-mentioned Bouyer in view of the fear he entertained that I should prevent his servant from going with the savages. They returned the next day with the young man, who proved expensive to his master who had expected, in my opinion, to recover the losses of his voyage, which were very considerable, like those of many others.

One of our young men also determined to go with these savages, who are Charioquois, living at a distance of some one hundred and fifty leagues from the fall. He went with the brother of Savignon, one of the captains, who promised me to show him all that could be seen. Bouyer's man went with the above-mentioned Iroquet, an Algonquin, who lives some eighty leagues from the fall. Both went off well pleased and contented.

After the departure of the savages, we awaited the three hundred others who, as had been told us, were to come, in accordance with the promise I had made them. Finding that they did not come, all the pataches determined to induce some Algonquin savages, who had come from Tadoussac, to go to meet them, in view of a reward that would be given them on their return, which was to be at the latest not over nine days from the time of their departure, so that we might know whether to expect them or not, and be able to return to Tadoussac. This they agreed to, and a canoe left with this purpose.

On the fifth of July a canoe arrived from the Algonquins, who were to come to the number of three hundred. From it we learned that the canoe which had set out from us had arrived in their country, and that their companions, wearied by their journey, were resting, and that they would soon arrive, in fulfilment of the promise they had made; that at most they would not be more than eight days behindhand, but that there would be only twenty-four canoes, as one of their captains and many of their comrades had died of a fever that had broken out among them. They also said that they had sent many to the war, which had hindered their progress. We determined to wait for them.

But finding that this period had elapsed without their arrival, Pont Grave set out from the fall on the eleventh of the month, to arrange some matters at Tadoussac, while I stayed to await the savages.

The same day a patache arrived, bringing provisions for the numerous barques of which our party consisted. For our bread, wine, meat, and cider had given out some days before, obliging us to have recourse to fishing, the fine river water, and some radishes which grow in great abundance in the country; otherwise we should have been obliged to return. The same day an Algonquin canoe arrived, assuring us that on the next day the twenty-four canoes were to come, twelve of them prepared for war.

On the twelfth the Algonquins arrived with some little merchandise. Before trafficking they made a present to a Montagnais Indian, the son of Anadabijou, [20] who had lately died, in order to mitigate his grief at the death of his father. Shortly after they resolved to make some presents to all the captains of the pataches. They gave to each of them ten castors, saying they were very sorry they had no more, but that the war, to which most of them were going, was the reason; they begged, however, that what they offered might be accepted in good part, saying that they were all friends to us, and to me, who was seated near them, more than to all the others, who were well disposed towards them only on account of their castors, and had not always assisted them like myself, whom they had never found double-tongued like the rest.

I replied that all those whom they saw gathered together were their friends; that, in case an opportunity should present itself, they would not fail to do their duty; that we were all friends; that they should continue to be well disposed towards us; that we would make them presents in return for those they gave us; and that they should trade in peace. This they did, and carried away what they could.

The next day they brought me privately forty castors, assuring me of their friendship, and that they were very glad of the conclusion which I had reached with the savages who had gone away, and that we should make a settlement at the fall, which I assured them we would do, making them a present in return.

After everything had been arranged, they determined to go and obtain the body of Outetoucos, who was drowned at the fall, as we have before mentioned. They went to the spot where he had been buried, disinterred him and carried him to the island of St Helene, where they performed their usual ceremony, which is to sing and dance over the grave with festivities and banquets following. I asked them why they disinterred the body. They replied that if their enemies should find the grave they would do so, and divide the body into several pieces, which they would then hang to trees in order to offend them. For this reason they said that they transferred it to a place off from the road, and in the most secret manner possible.

On the 15th there arrived fourteen canoes, the chief over which was named Tecouehata. Upon their arrival all the other savages took up arms and performed some circular evolutions. After going around and dancing to their satisfaction, the others who were in their canoes also began to dance, making various movements of the body. After finishing their singing, they went on shore with a small quantity of furs, and made presents similar to those of the others. These were reciprocated by some of equal value. The next day they trafficked in what little they had, and presented me personally with thirty castors, for which I made them an acknowledgment. They begged me to continue my good will to them, which I promised to do. They spoke with me very especially respecting certain explorations towards the north, which might prove advantageous; and said, in reference to them, that if any one of my company would like to go with them, they would show him what would please me, and would treat him as one of their own children. I promised to give them a young man, at which they were much pleased. When he took leave of me to go with them, I gave him a detailed memorandum of what he was to observe while with them. After they had bartered what little they had, they separated into three parties; one for the war, another for the great fall, another for a little river which flows into that of the great fall. Thus they set out on the 18th day of the month, on which day we also departed.

The same day we made the thirty leagues from this fall to the Trois Rivieres. On the 19th we arrived at Quebec, which is also thirty leagues from the Trois Rivieres. I induced the most of those in each boat to stay at the settlement, when I had some repairs made and some rose-bushes set out. I had also some oak wood put on board to make trial of in France, not only for marine wainscoting, but also for windows. The next day, the 20th of July, I set out. On the 23d I arrived at Tadoussac, whence I resolved to return to France, in accordance with the advice of Pont Grave. After arranging matters relating to our settlement, according to the directions which Sieur de Monts had given me, I embarked in the vessel of Captain Tibaut, of La Rochelle, on the 11th of August. During our passage we had an abundance of fish, such as orades, mackerel, and pilotes, the latter similar to herrings, and found about certain planks covered with pousle-pieds, a kind of shell-fish attaching itself thereto, and growing there gradually. Sometimes the number of these little fish is so great that it is surprising to behold. We caught also some porpoises and other species of fish. The weather was favorable as far as Belle Isle, [21] where we were overtaken by fogs, which continued three or four days. The weather then becoming fair, we sighted Alvert, [22] and arrived at La Rochelle on the 16th of September, 1611.


16. June 13th.

17. Charioquois. In the issue of 1632, p. 397, Champlain has Sauuages Hurons. It is probable that Charioquois was only a chief of the Hurons.

18. This was the young man that had been sent to pass the winter with the Indians, in exchange for the savage which had accompanied Champlain to France. Vide antea, Vol. II. p. 246.

19. This was doubtless on the Lake of Two Mountains.

20. Champlain's orthography is here Aronadabigeau. Vide Vol. I pp. 236, 291.

21. Belle Ile. An island on the coast of Brittany in France.

22. Alvert, a village near Marennes, which they sighted as they approached La Rochelle.



Upon my arrival at La Rochelle I proceeded to visit Sieur de Monts, at Pons [23] in Saintonge, to inform him of all that had occurred during the expedition, and of the promise which the Ochateguins[24] and Algonquins had made me, on condition that we would assist them in their wars, as I had agreed. Sieur de Monts, after listening to it all, determined to go to the Court to arrange the matter. I started before him to go there also. But on the way I was unfortunately detained by the falling of a horse upon me, which came near killing me. This fall detained me some time; but as soon as I had sufficiently recovered from its effects I set out again to complete my journey and meet Sieur de Monts at Fontainebleau, who, upon his return to Paris, had a conference with his associates. The latter were unwilling to continue in the association, as there was no commission forbidding any others from going to the new discoveries and trading with the inhabitants of the country. Sieur de Monts, seeing this, bargained with them for what remained at the settlement at Quebec, in consideration of a sum of money which he gave them for their share. He sent also some men to take care of the settlement, in the expectation of obtaining a commission from His Majesty. But while he was engaged in the pursuit of this object some important matters demanded his attention, so that he was obliged to abandon it, and he left me the duty of taking the necessary steps for it. As I was about arranging the matter, the vessels arrived from New France with men from our settlement, those whom I had sent into the interior with the savages. They brought me very important information, saying that more than two hundred savages had come, expecting to find me at the great fall of St. Louis, where I had appointed a rendezvous, with the intention of assisting them according to their request. But, finding that I had not kept my promise, they were greatly displeased. Our men, however, made some apologies, which were accepted, and assured them that they would not fail to come the following year or never. The savages agreed to this on their part. But several others left the old trading-station of Tadoussac, and came to the fall with many small barques to see if they could engage in traffic with these people, whom they assured that I was dead, although our men stoutly declared the contrary. This shows how jealousy against meritorious objects gets possession of bad natures; and all they want is that men should expose themselves to a thousand dangers, to discover peoples and territories, that they themselves may have the profit and others the hardship. It is not reasonable that one should capture the lamb and another go off with the fleece. If they had been willing to participate in our discoveries, use their means, and risk their persons, they would have given evidence of their honor and nobleness, but on the contrary they show clearly that they are impelled by pure malice that they may enjoy the fruit of our labors equally with ourselves.

On this subject, and to show how many persons strive to pervert praiseworthy enterprises, I will instance again the people of St. Malo and others, who say that the profit of these discoveries belongs to them, since Jacques Cartier, who first visited Canada and the islands of New Foundland, was from their city, as if that city had contributed to the expenses of these discoveries of Jacques Cartier, who went there by the order and at the expense of King Francis I, in the years 1534 and 1535 to discover these territories now called New France. If then Cartier made any discovery at the expense of His Majesty, all his subjects have the same rights and liberties in them as the people of St. Malo, who cannot prevent others who make farther discoveries at their own expense, as is shown in the case of the discoveries above described, from profiting by them in peace. Hence they ought not to claim any rights if they themselves make no contributions, and their reasons for doing so are weak and foolish.

To prove more conclusively that they who maintain this position do so without any foundation, let us suppose that a Spaniard or other foreigner had discovered lands and wealth at the expense of the King of France. Could the Spaniards or other foreigners claim these discoveries and this wealth on the ground that the discoverer was a Spaniard or foreigner? No! There would be no sense in doing so, and they would always belong to France. Hence the people of St. Malo cannot make these claims for the reason which they give, that Cartier was a citizen of their city; and they can only take cognizance of the fact that he was a citizen of theirs, and render him accordingly the praise which is his due.

Besides, Cartier in the voyage which he made never passed the great fall of St. Louis, and made no discoveries north or south of the river St. Lawrence. His narratives give no evidence of it, in which he speaks only of the river Saguenay, the Trois Rivieres and St. Croix, where he spent the winter in a fort near our settlement. Had he done so, he would not have failed to mention it, any more than what he has mentioned, which shows that he left all the upper part of the St. Lawrence, from Tadoussac to the great fall, being a territory difficult to explore, and that he was unwilling to expose himself or let his barques engage in the venture. So that what he did has borne no fruit until four years ago, when we made our settlement at Quebec, after which I ventured to pass the fall to help the savages in their wars, and fend among them men to make the acquaintance of the people, to learn their mode of living, and the character and extent of their territory. After devoting ourselves to labors which have been so successful, is it not just that we should enjoy their fruits, His Majesty not having contributed anything to aid those who have assumed the responsibilities of these undertakings up to the present time. I hope that God will at some time incline him to do so much for His service, his own glory and the welfare of his subjects, as to bring many new peoples to the knowledge of our faith, that they may at last enjoy the heavenly kingdom.


Champlain here introduces an explanation of his two geographical maps of New France, and likewise his method of determining a meridian line. For convenience of use the maps are placed at the end of this work, and for the same reason these explanations are carried forward to p. 219, in immediate proximity to the maps which they explain.—EDITOR.


23. De Monts was governor of Pons, a town situated about ten miles south of Saintes, in the present department of Lower Charente.

24. Ochateguins. Vide Vol III. Quebec ed. p 169. They were Hurons, and Ochateguin is supposed to have been one of their chiefs. Vide Vol II. note 321.




To the very high, powerful, and excellent Henri de Bourbon, Prince de Conde, First Prince of the Blood, First Peer of France, Governor and Lieutenant of His Majesty in Guienne.


The Honor that I have received from your Highness in being intrusted with the discovery of New France has inspired in me the desire to pursue with still greater pains and zeal than ever the search for the North Sea. With this object in view I have made a voyage during the past year, 1613, relying on a man whom I had sent there and who assured me he had seen it, as you will perceive in this brief narrative, which I venture to present to your Excellence, and in which are particularly described all the toils and sufferings I have had in the undertaking. But although I regret having lost this year so far as the main object is concerned, yet my expectation, as in the first voyage, of obtaining more definite information respecting the subject from the savages, has been fulfilled. They have told me about various lakes and rivers in the north, in view of which, aside from their assurance that they know of this sea, it seems to me easy to conclude from the maps that it cannot be far from the farthest discoveries I have hitherto made. Awaiting a favorable time and opportunity to prosecute my plans, and praying God to preserve you, most happy Prince, in all prosperity, wherein consists my highest wish for your greatness, I remain in the quality of

Your most humble and devoted servant,







The desire which I have always had of making new discoveries in New France, for the good, profit, and glory of the French name, and at the same time to lead the poor natives to the knowledge of God, has led me to seek more and more for the greater facility of this undertaking, which can only be secured by means of good regulations. For, since individuals desire to gather the fruits of my labor without contributing to the expenses and great outlays requisite for the support of the settlements necessary to a successful result, this branch of trade is ruined by the greediness of gain, which is so great that it causes merchants to set out prematurely in order to arrive first in this country. By this means they not only become involved in the ice, but also in their own ruin, for, from trading with the savages in a secret manner and offering through rivalry with each other more merchandise than is necessary, they get the worst of the bargain. Thus, while purposing to deceive their associates, they generally deceive themselves.

For this reason, when I returned to France on the 10th of September, 1611, I spoke to Sieur de Monts about the matter, who approved of my suggestions; but his engagements not allowing him to prosecute the matter at court, he left to me its whole management.

I then drew up a statement, which I presented to President Jeannin, who, being a man desirous of seeing good undertakings prosper, commended my project, and encouraged me in its prosecution.

But feeling assured that those who love to fish in troubled waters would be vexed at such regulations and seek means to thwart them, it seemed advisable to throw myself into the hands of some power whose authority would prevail over their jealousy.

Now, knowing Monseigneur le Comte de Soissons[25] to be a prince devout and well disposed to all holy undertakings, I addressed myself to him through Sieur de Beaulieu, councillor, and almoner in ordinary to the King, and urged upon him the importance of the matter, setting forth the means of regulating it, the harm which disorder had heretofore produced, and the total ruin with which it was threatened, to the great dishonor of the French name, unless God should raise up some one who would reanimate it and give promise of securing for it some day the success which had hitherto been little anticipated. After he had been informed in regard to all the details of the scheme and seen the map of the country which I had made, he promised me, under the sanction of the King, to undertake the protectorate of the enterprise.

I immediately after presented to His Majesty, and to the gentlemen of his Council, a petition accompanied by articles, to the end that it might please him to issue regulations for the undertaking, without which, as I have said, it would fail. Accordingly his Majesty gave the direction and control to the before-mentioned Count, who then honored me with the lieutenancy.

Now as I was preparing to publish the commission [26] of the King in all the ports and harbors of France, there occurred the sickness and greatly lamented death of the Count, which postponed somewhat the undertaking. But his Majesty at once committed the direction to Monseigneur le Prince,[27] who proceeded in the execution of its duties, and, having in like manner honored me with the lieutenancy, [28] directed me to go on with the publication of the commission. But as soon as this was done, some marplots, who had no interest in the matter, importuned him to annul it, representing to him as they claimed the interests of all the merchants of France, who had no cause for complaint, since all were received into the association and could not therefore justly be aggrieved. Accordingly, their evil intention being recognized, they were dismissed, with permission only to enter into the association.

During these altercations, it was impossible for me, as the time of my departure was very near at hand, to do anything for the habitation at Quebec, for repairing and enlarging which I desired to take out some workmen. It was accordingly necessary to go out this year without any farther organization. The passports of Monseigneur le Prince were made out for four vessels, which were already in readiness for the voyage, viz. three from Rouen and one from La Rochelle, on condition that each should furnish four men for my assistance, not only in my discoveries but in war, as I desired to keep the promise which I had made to the Ochataiguins [29] in the year 1611, to assist them in their wars at the time of my next voyage.

As I was preparing to set out, I was informed that the Parliamentary Court of Rouen would not permit the publication of the commission of the King, because his Majesty had reserved to himself and his Council the sole cognizance of the differences which might arise in this matter; added to which was the fact that the merchants of St. Malo were also opposed to it. This greatly embarrassed me, and obliged me to make three journeys to Rouen, with orders of his Majesty, in consideration of which the Court desisted from their inhibition, and the assumptions of the opponents were overruled. The commission was then published in all the ports of Normandy.


25. For a brief notice of the Count de Soissons, vide Vol. I. note 74; also note by Laverdiere, Quebec ed., p. 433.

26. This Commission, dated October 15, 1612, will be found in Champlain's issue of 1632. Vide Quebec ed., p 887.

27. Henry de Bourbon. Vide Vol. I. p 113, note 75.

28. Champlain was appointed lieutenant of the Prince de Conde on the 22d day of November, 1612. Vide issue of 1632, Quebec ed., p. 1072.

29. Ochateguins, or Hurons.



I set out from Rouen on the 5th of March for Honfleur, accompanied by Sieur L'Ange, to assist me in my explorations, and in war if occasion should require.

On the next day, the 6th of the month, we embarked in the vessel of Sieur de Pont Grave, immediately setting sail, with a favorable wind.

On the 10th of April we sighted the Grand Bank, where we several times tried for fish, but without success.

On the 15th we had a violent gale, accompanied by rain and hail, which was followed by another, lasting forty-eight hours, and so violent as to cause the loss of several vessels on the island of Cape Breton.

On the 21st we sighted the island and Cap de Raye. [30] On the 29th the Montagnais savages, perceiving us from All Devils' Point, [31] threw themselves into their canoes and came to meet us, being so thin and hideous-looking that I did not recognize them. At once they began crying for bread, saying that they were dying of hunger. This led us to conclude that the winter had not been severe, and consequently the hunting poor, which matter we have alluded to in previous voyages.

Having arrived on board of our vessel they examined the faces of all, and as I was not to be seen anywhere they asked where Monsieur de Champlain was, and were answered that I had remained in France. But this they would not think of believing, and an old man among them came to me in a corner where I was walking, not desiring to be recognized as yet, and taking me by the ear, for he suspected who it was, saw the scar of the arrow wound, which I received at the defeat of the Iroquois. At this he cried out, and all the others after him, with great demonstrations of joy, saying, Your people are awaiting you at the harbor of Tadoussac.

The same day we arrived at Tadoussac, and although we had set out last, nevertheless arrived first, Sieur Boyer of Rouen arriving with the same tide. From this it is evident that to set out before the season is simply rushing into the ice. When we had anchored, our friends came out to us, and, after informing us how everything was at the habitation, began to dress three outardes [32] and two hares, which they had brought, throwing the entrails overboard, after which the poor savages rushed, and, like famished beasts, devoured them without drawing. They also scraped off with their nails the fat with which our vessel had been coated, eating it gluttonously as if they had found some great delicacy.

The next day two vessels arrived from St. Malo, which had set out before the oppositions had been settled and the commission been published in Normandy. I proceeded on board, accompanied by L'Ange. The Sieurs de la Moinerie and la Tremblaye were in command, to whom I read the commission of the King, and the prohibition against violating it on penalties attached to the same. They replied that they were subjects and faithful servants of His Majesty, and that they would obey his commands; and I then had attached to a post in the port the arms and commission of His Majesty, that no ground for ignorance might be claimed.

On the 2d of May, seeing two shallops equipped to go to the Falls, I embarked with the before-mentioned L'Ange in one of them. We had very bad weather, so that the masts of our shallop were broken, and had it not been for the preserving hand of God we should have been lost, as was before our eyes a shallop from St Malo, which was going to the Isle d'Orleans, those on board of which however being saved.

On the 7th we arrived at Quebec, where we found in good condition those who had wintered there, they not having been sick; they told us that the winter had not been severe, and that the river had not frozen. The trees also were beginning to put forth leaves and the fields to be decked with flowers.

On the 13th we set out from Quebec for the Falls of St. Louis, where we arrived on the 21st, finding there one of, our barques which had set out after us from Tadoussac, and which had traded some with a small troop of Algonquins, who came from the war with the Iroquois, and had with them two prisoners. Those in the barque gave them to understand that I had come with a number of men to assist them in their wars, according to the promise I had made them in previous years; also that I desired to go to their country and enter into an alliance with all their friends, at which they were greatly pleased. And, inasmuch as they were desirous of returning to their country to assure their friends of their victory, see their wives, and put to death their prisoners in a festive tabagie, they left us pledges of their return, which they promised should be before the middle of the first moon, according to their reckoning, their shields made of wood and elk leather, and a part of their bows and arrows. I regretted very much that I was not prepared to go with them to their country.

Three days after, three canoes arrived with Algonquins, who had come from the interior, with some articles of merchandise which they bartered. They told me that the bad treatment which the savages had received the year before had discouraged them from coming any more, and that they did not believe that I would ever return to their country on account of the wrong impressions which those jealous of me had given them respecting me; wherefore twelve hundred men had gone to the war, having no more hope from the French, who, they did not believe, would return again to their country.

This intelligence greatly disheartened the merchants, as they had made a great purchase of merchandise, with the expectation that the savages would come, as they had been accustomed to. This led me to resolve, as I engaged in my explorations, to pass through their country, in order to encourage those who had stayed back, with an assurance of the good treatment they would receive, and of the large amount of good merchandise at the Fall, and also of the desire I had to assist them in their war. For carrying out this purpose I requested three canoes and three savages to guide us, but after much difficulty obtained only two and one savage, and this by means of some presents made them.


30. The island refers to New Foundland. Cap de Raye, still known as Cape Ray, was on the southwestern angle of New Foundland.

31. Now called Point aux Vaches. It was sometimes called All-Devils' Point. Vide note 136, Vol. I. p. 235.

32. Outardes. Sometimes written houtardes, and Oltardes. The name outarde or bustard, the otis of ornithologists, a land bird of Europe, was applied to a species of goose in Canada at a very early period.

The outarde is mentioned by Cartier in 1535, and the name may have been originally applied by the fishermen and fur-traders at a much earlier period, doubtless on account of some fancied resemblance which they saw to the lesser bustard or outarde, which was about the size of the English pheasant. Vide Pennant's British Zooelogy, Vol. I. p. 379. Cartier, Champlain, Lescarbot, Baron La Hontan, Potherie, and Charlvoix mention the outarde in catalogues of water-fowl in which oye, the goose, is likewise mentioned. They very clearly distinguish it from the class which they commonly considered oyes, or geese. Cartier, for instance, says, Il y a aussi grand nombre d'oyseaulx, scauoir grues, signes, oltardes, oyes sauuages, blanches, & grises. Others speak of outardes et oyes. They do not generally describe it with particularity. Champlain, however, in describing the turkey, cocq d'Inde, on the coast of New England, says, aussi gros qu'vne outarde, qui est une espece d'oye. Father Pierre Biard writes, et au mesme temps les outardes arriuent du midy, qui sont grosses cannes au double des nostres. From these statements it is obvious that the outarde was a species of goose, but was so small that it could well be described as a large duck. In New France there were at least four species of the goose, which might have come under the observation of the early navigators and explorers. We give them in the order of their size, as described in Coues' Key to North American Birds.

1. Canada Goose, Branta Canadensis, SCOPOLI, 36 inches. 2. Snow Goose, Anser hyperboreus, LINNAEUS, 30 inches. 3. Am. White-fronted Goose, Anser albifrons, LINNAEUS, 27 inches. 4. Brant Goose, Branta bernicla, SCOPOLI, 24 inches.

Recurring to the statement of Cartier above cited, it will be observed that he mentions, besides the outarde, wild geese white and gray. The first and largest of the four species above mentioned, the Canada goose, Branta Canadensis, is gray, and the two next, the Snow goose and White-fronted, would be classified as white. This disposes of three of the four mentioned. The outarde of Cartier would therefore be the fourth species in the list, viz. the Brant goose. Branta bernicla. This is the smallest species found on our northern coast, and might naturally be described, as stated by Father Biard, as a large duck. It is obvious that the good Father could not have described the Canada goose, the largest of the four species, as a large duck, and the white geese have never been supposed to be referred to under the name of outarde. The Brant goose, to which all the evidence which we have been able to find in the Canadian authorities seems to point as the outarde of early times, is common in our markets in its season, but our market-men, unaccustomed to make scientific distinctions, are puzzled to decide whether it should be classed as a goose or a duck. It is not improbable that the early voyagers to our northern latitudes, unable to decide to which of these classes this water-fowl properly belonged, and seeing in it a fancied resemblance to the lesser outarde, with which they were familiar, gave it for sake of the distinction, but nevertheless inappropriately, the name of outarde. The reader is referred to the following authorities.

Vide Brief Recit par Jacques Cartier, 1545. D'Avezac ed., p. 33; Champlain, Quebec ed., p. 220; Jesuite Relations, 1616, p. 10; Le Grand Voyage du Pays des Hurons, par Sagard, Paris, 1632, p. 301; Dictionaire de la Langue Hurone, par Sagard, Paris, 1632, oyseaux; Letters to the Dutchess of Lesdiguieres, By Fr. Xa. de Charlevoix, London. 1763, p. 88; Le Jeune, Relations des Jesuites, 1633, P. 4, 1636, p. 47; Histoire de l'Amerique Septentrionale, par de la Potherie, Paris, 1722, Vol. I. pp. 20, 172, 212, 308; Lescarbot, Histoire de la Nouvelle France, pp. 369, 582, 611.



Now, as I had only two canoes, I could take with me but four men, among whom was one named Nicholas de Vignau, the most impudent liar that has been seen for a long time, as the sequel of this narrative will show. He had formerly spent the winter with the savages, and I had sent him on explorations the preceding years. He reported to me, on his return to Paris in 1612, that he had seen the North Sea; that the river of the Algonquins came from a lake which emptied into it; and that in seventeen days one could go from the Falls of St. Louis to this sea and back again; that he had seen the wreck and debris of an English ship that had been wrecked, on board of which were eighty men, who had escaped to the shore, and whom the savages killed because the English endeavored to take from them by force their Indian corn and other necessaries of life; and that he had seen the scalps which these savages had flayed off, according to their custom, which they would show me, and that they would likewise give me a young English boy whom they had kept for me. This intelligence had greatly pleased me, for I thought that I had almost found that for which I had for a long time been searching. Accordingly I enjoined upon him to tell me the truth, in order that I might inform the King, and warned him that if he gave utterance to a lie he was putting the rope about his neck, assuring him on the other hand that, if his narrative were true, he could be certain of being well rewarded. He again assured me, with stronger oaths than ever; and in order to play his role better he gave me a description of the country, which he said he had made as well as he was able. Accordingly the confidence which I saw in him, his entire frankness as it seemed, the description which he had prepared, the wreck and debris of the ship, and the things above mentioned, had an appearance of probability, in connection with the voyage of the English to Labrador in 1612, where they found a strait, in which they sailed as far as the 63d degree of latitude and the 290th of longitude, wintering at the 53d degree and losing some vessels, as their report proves.[33] These circumstances inducing me to believe that what he said was true, I made a report of the same to the Chancellor, [34] which I showed to Marshal de Brissac,[35] President Jeannin, [36] and other Seigneurs of the Court, who told me that I ought to visit the place in person. For this reason I requested Sieur Georges, a merchant of La Rochelle, to give him a passage in his ship, which he willingly did, and during the voyage he questioned him as to his object in making it; and, since it was not of any profit to him, he asked if he expected any pay, to which the young man answered that he did not, that he did not expect anything, from any one but the King, and that he undertook the voyage only to show me the North Sea, which he had seen. He made an affidavit of this at La Rochelle before two notaries.

Now as I took leave on Whitsuntide, [37] of all the principal men to whose prayers I commended myself, and also to those of all others, I said to him in their presence that if what he had previously said was not true he must not give me the trouble to undertake the journey, which involved many dangers. Again he affirmed all that he had said, on peril of his life.

Accordingly, our canoes being laden with some provisions, our arms, and a few articles of merchandise for making presents to the savages, I set out on Monday the 27th of May from Isle St. Helene with four Frenchmen and one savage, a parting salute being given me with some rounds from small pieces. This day we went only to the Falls of St. Louis, a league up the river, the bad weather not allowing us to go any farther.

On the 29th we passed the Falls, [38] partly by land, partly by water, it being necessary for us to carry our canoes, clothes, victuals, and arms on our shoulders, no small matter for persons not accustomed to it. After going two leagues beyond the Falls, we entered a lake, [39] about twelve leagues in circuit, into which three rivers empty; one coming from the west, from the direction of the Ochateguins, distant from one hundred and fifty to two hundred leagues from the great Falls; [40] another from the south and the country of the Iroquois, a like distance off; [41] and the other from the north and the country of the Algonquins and Nebicerini, also about the same distance. [42] This river on the north, according to the report of the savages, comes from a source more remote, and passes by tribes unknown to them and about three hundred leagues distant.

This lake is filled with fine large islands, containing only pasturage land, where there is fine hunting, deer and fowl being plenty. Fish are abundant. The country bordering the lake is covered with extensive forests. We proceeded to pass the night at the entrance to this lake, making barricades against the Iroquois, who roam in these regions in order to surprise their enemies; and I am sure that if they were to find us they would give us as good a welcome as them, for which reason we kept a good watch all night. On the next day I took the altitude of the place, and found it in latitude 45 deg. 18'. About three o'clock in the afternoon we entered the river which comes from the north, and, passing a small fall [43] by land so as to favor our canoes, we proceeded to a little island, where we spent the remainder of the night.

On the last day of May we passed another lake, [44] seven or eight leagues long and three broad, containing several islands. The neighboring country is very level, except in some places, where there are pine-covered hills. We passed a fall called by the inhabitants of the country Quenechouan,[45] which is filled with stones and rocks, and where the water runs with great velocity. We had to get into the water and drag our canoes along the shore with a rope. Half a league from there we passed another little fall by rowing, which makes one sweat. Great skill is required in passing these falls, in order to avoid the eddies and surf, in which they abound; but the savages do this with the greatest possible dexterity, winding about and going by the easiest places, which they recognize at a glance.

On Saturday, the 1st of June, we passed two other falls; the first half a league long, the second a league, in which we had much difficulty; for the rapidity of the current is so great that it makes a frightful noise, and produces, as it descends from stage to stage, so white a foam everywhere that the water cannot be seen at all. This fall is strewn with rocks, and contains some islands here and there covered with pines and white cedars. This was the place where we had a hard time; for, not being able to carry our canoes by land on account of the density of the wood, we had to drag them in the water with ropes, and in drawing mine I came near losing my life, as it crossed into one of the eddies, and if I had not had the good fortune to fall between two rocks the canoe would have dragged me in, inasmuch as I was unable to undo quickly enough the rope which was wound around my hand, and which hurt me severely and came near cutting it off. In this danger I cried to God and began to pull my canoe, which was returned to me by the refluent water, such as occurs in these falls. Having thus escaped I thanked God, begging Him to preserve us. Later our savage came to help me, but I was out of danger. It is not strange that I was desirous of preserving my canoe, for if it had been lost it would have been necessary to remain, or wait until some savages came that way, a poor hope for those who have nothing to dine on, and who are not accustomed to such hardship. As for our Frenchmen, they did not have any better luck, and several times came near losing their lives; but the Divine Goodness preserved us all. During the remainder of the day we rested, having done enough.

1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse