Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, Vol. 1
Samuel de Champlain

Part 4 out of 5

of France. Sometimes one and sometimes the other was more prominent.

His voyage to the West Indies was undertaken under a twofold impulse. It
gratified his love of exploration and brought back rare and valuable
information to France. Spain at that time did not open her island-ports to
the commerce of the world. She was drawing from them vast revenues in
pearls and the precious metals. It was her policy to keep this whole
domain, this rich archipelago, hermetically sealed, and any foreign vessel
approached at the risk of capture and confiscation. Champlain could not,
therefore, explore this region under a commission from France. He
accordingly sought and obtained permission to visit these Spanish
possessions under the authority of Spain herself. He entered and personally
examined all the important ports that surround and encircle the Caribbean
Sea, from the pearl-bearing Margarita on the south, Deseada on the east, to
Cuba on the west, together with the city of Mexico, and the Isthmus of
Panama on the mainland. As the fruit of these journeyings, he brought back
a report minute in description, rich in details, and luminous with
illustrations. This little brochure, from the circumstances attendant upon
its origin, is unsurpassed in historical importance by any similar or
competing document of that period. It must always remain of the highest
value as a trustworthy, original authority, without which it is probable
that the history of those islands, for that period, could not be accurately
and truthfully written.

Champlain was a pioneer in the exploration of the Atlantic coast of New
England and the eastern provinces of Canada, From the Strait of Canseau, at
the northeastern extremity of Nova Scotia, to the Vineyard Sound, on the
southern limits of Massachusetts, he made a thorough survey of the coast in
1605 and 1606, personally examining its most important harbors, bays, and
rivers, mounting its headlands, penetrating its forests, carefully
observing and elaborately describing its soil, its products, and its native
inhabitants. Besides lucid and definite descriptions of the coast, he
executed topographical drawings of numerous points of interest along our
shores, as Plymouth harbor, Nauset Bay, Stage Harbor at Chatham, Gloucester
Bay, the Bay of Baco, with the long stretch of Old Orchard Beach and its
interspersed islands, the mouth of the Kennebec, and as many more on the
coast of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. To these he added descriptions,
more or less definite, of the harbors of Barnstable, Wellfleet, Boston, of
the headland of Cape Anne, Merrimac Bay, the Isles of Shoals, Cape
Porpoise, Richmond's Island, Mount Desert, Isle Haute, Seguin, and the
numberless other islands that adorn the exquisite sea-coast of Maine, as
jewels that add a new lustre to the beauty of a peerless goddess.

Other navigators had coasted along our shores. Some of them had touched at
single points, of which they made meagre and unsatisfactory surveys.
Gosnold had, in 1602, discovered Savage Rock, but it was so indefinitely
located and described that it cannot even at this day be identified.
Resolving to make a settlement on one of the barren islands forming the
group named in honor of Queen Elizabeth and still bearing her name; after
some weeks spent in erecting a storehouse, and in collecting a cargo of
"furrs, skyns, saxafras, and other commodities," the project of a
settlement was abandoned and he returned to England, leaving, however, two
permanent memorials of his voyage, in the names which he gave respectively
to Martha's Vineyard and to the headland of Cape Cod.

Captain Martin Pring came to our shores in 1603, in search of a cargo of
sassafras. There are indications that he entered the Penobscot. He
afterward paid his respects to Savage Rock, the undefined _bonanza_ of his
predecessor. He soon found his desired cargo on the Vineyard Islands, and
hastily returned to England.

Captain George Weymouth, in 1605, was on the coast of Maine concurrently,
or nearly so, with Champlain, where he passed a month, explored a river,
set up a cross, and took possession of the country in the name of the king.
But where these transactions took place is still in dispute, so
indefinitely does his journalist describe them.

Captain John Smith, eight years later than Champlain, surveyed the coast of
New England while his men were collecting a cargo of furs and fish. He
wrote a description of it from memory, part or all of it while a prisoner
on board a French ship of war off Fayall, and executed a map, both
valuable, but nevertheless exceedingly indefinite and general in their

These flying visits to our shores were not unimportant, and must not be
undervalued. They were necessary steps in the progress of the grand
historical events that followed. But they were meagre and hasty and
superficial, when compared to the careful, deliberate, extensive, and
thorough, not to say exhaustive, explorations made by Champlain.

In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Cartier had preceded Champlain by a period of
more than sixty years. During this long, dreary half-century the stillness
of the primeval forest had not been disturbed by the woodman's axe. When
Champlain's eyes fell upon it, it was still the same wild, unfrequented,
unredeemed region that it had been to its first discoverer. The rivers,
bays, and islands described by Cartier were identified by Champlain, and
the names they had already received were permanently fixed by his added
authority. The whole gulf and river were re-examined and described anew in
his journal. The exploration of the Richelieu and of Lake Champlain was
pushed into the interior three hundred miles from his base at Quebec. It
reached into a wilderness and along gentle waters never before seen by any
civilized race. It was at once fascinating and hazardous, environed as it
was by vigilant and ferocious savages, who guarded its gates with the
sleepless watchfulness of the fabled Cerberus.

The courage, endurance, and heroism of Champlain were tested in the still
greater-exploration of 1615. It extended from Montreal, the whole length of
the Ottawa, to Lake Nipissing, the Georgian Bay, Simcoe, the system of
small lakes on the south, across the Ontario, and finally ending in the
interior of the State of New York, a journey through tangled forests and
broken water-courses of more than a thousand miles, occupying nearly a
year, executed in the face of physical suffering and hardship before which
a nature less intrepid and determined, less loyal to his great purpose,
less generous and unselfish, would have yielded at the outset. These
journeys into the interior, along the courses of navigable rivers and
lakes, and through the primitive forests, laid open to the knowledge of the
French a domain vast and indefinite in extent, on which an empire broader
and far richer in resources than the old Gallic France might have been
successfully reared.

The personal explorations of Champlain in the West Indies, on the Atlantic
coast, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the State of New York and of
Vermont, and among the lakes in Canada and those that divide the Dominion
from the United States, including the full, explicit, and detailed journals
which he wrote concerning them, place Champlain undeniably not merely in
the front rank, but at the head of the long list of explorers and
navigators, who early visited this part of the continent of North America.

Champlain's literary labors are interesting and important. They were not
professional, but incidental, and the natural outgrowth of the career to
which he devoted his life He had the sagacity to see that the fields which
he entered as an explorer were new and important, that the aspect of every
thing which he then saw would, under the influence and progress of
civilization, soon be changed, and that it was historically important that
a portrait Sketched by an eyewitness should be handed down to other
generations. It was likewise necessary for the immediate and successful
planting of colonies, that those who engaged in the undertaking should have
before them full information of all the conditions on which they were to
build their hopes of final success.

Inspired by such motives as these, Champlain wrote out an accurate journal
of the events that transpired about him, of what he personally saw, and of
the observations of others, authenticated by the best tests which, under
the circumstances, he was able to apply. His natural endowments for this
work were of the highest order. As an observer he was sagacious,
discriminating, and careful. His judgment was cool, comprehensive, and
judicious. His style is in general clear, logical, and compact. His
acquired ability was not, however, extraordinary. He was a scholar neither
by education nor by profession. His life was too full of active duties, or
too remote from the centres of knowledge for acquisitions in the
departments of elegant and refined learning. The period in which he lived
was little distinguished for literary culture. A more brilliant day was
approaching, but it had not yet appeared. The French language was still
crude and unpolished. It had not been disciplined and moulded into the
excellence to which it soon after arose in the reign of Louis XIV. We
cannot in reason look for a grace, refinement, and flexibility which the
French language had not at that time generally attained. But it is easy to
see under the rude, antique, and now obsolete forms which characterize
Champlain's narratives, the elements of a style which, under, early
discipline, nicer culture, and a richer vocabulary, might have made it a
model for all times. There are, here and there, some involved, unfinished,
and obscure passages, which seem, indeed, to be the offspring of haste, or
perhaps of careless and inadequate proof-reading. But in general his style
is without ornament, simple, dignified, concise, and clear. While he was
not a diffusive writer, his works are by no means limited in extent, as
they occupy in the late erudite Laverdière's edition, six quarto volumes,
containing fourteen hundred pages. In them are three large maps,
delineating the whole northeastern part of the continent, executed with
great care and labor by his own hand, together with numerous local
drawings, picturing not only bays and harbors, Indian canoes, wigwams, and
fortresses, but several battle scenes, conveying a clear idea, not possible
by a mere verbal description, of the savage implements and mode of warfare.
[120] His works include, likewise, a treatise on navigation, full of
excellent suggestions to the practical seaman of that day, drawn from his
own experience, stretching over a period of more than forty years.

The Voyages of Champlain, as an authority, must always stand in the front
rank. In trustworthiness, in richness and fullness of detail, they have no
competitor in the field of which they treat. His observations upon the
character, manners, customs, habits, and utensils of the aborigines, were
made before they were modified or influenced in their mode of life by
European civilization. The intercourse of the strolling fur-trader and
fishermen with them was so infrequent and brief at that early period, that
it made upon them little or no impression. Champlain consequently pictures
the Indian in his original, primeval simplicity. This will always give to
his narratives, in the eye of the historian, the ethnologist, and the
antiquary, a peculiar and pre-eminent importance. The result of personal
observation, eminently truthful and accurate, their testimony must in all
future time be incomparably the best that can be obtained relating to the
aborigines on this part of the American continent.

In completing this memoir, the reader can hardly fail to be impressed, not
to say disappointed, by the fact that results apparently insignificant
should thus far have followed a life of able, honest, unselfish, heroic
labor. The colony was still small in numbers, the acres subdued and brought
into cultivation were few, and the aggregate yearly products were meagre.
But it is to be observed that the productiveness of capital and labor and
talent, two hundred and seventy years ago, cannot well be compared with the
standards of to-day. Moreover, the results of Champlain's career are
insignificant rather in appearance than in reality. The work which he did
was in laying foundations, while the superstructure was to be reared in
other years and by other hands. The palace or temple, by its lofty and
majestic proportions, attracts the eye and gratifies the taste; but its
unseen foundations, with their nicely adjusted arches, without which the
superstructure would crumble to atoms, are not less the result of the
profound knowledge and practical wisdom of the architect. The explorations
made by Champlain early and late, the organization and planting of his
colonies, the resistance of avaricious corporations, the holding of
numerous savage tribes in friendly alliance, the daily administration of
the affairs of the colony, of the savages, and of the corporation in
France, to the eminent satisfaction of all generous and noble-minded
patrons, and this for a period of more than thirty years, are proofs of an
extraordinary combination of mental and moral qualities. Without
impulsiveness, his warm and tender sympathies imparted to him an unusual
power and influence over other men. He was wise, modest, and judicious in
council, prompt, vigorous, and practical in administration, simple and
frugal in his mode of life, persistent and unyielding in the execution of
his plans, brave and valiant in danger, unselfish, honest, and
conscientious in the discharge of duty. These qualities, rare in
combination, were always conspicuous in Champlain, and justly entitle him
to the respect and admiration of mankind.


117. _Vide Creuxius, Historia Canadensis_, pp 183, 184.

118. The justness of Champlain's conception of the value of the fur-trade
has been verified by its subsequent history. The Hudson's Bay Company
was organized for the purpose of carrying on this trade, under a
charter granted by Charles II., in 1670. A part of the trade has at
times been conducted by other associations But this company is still
in active and rigorous operation. Its capital is $10,000,000. At its
reorganization in 1863, it was estimated that it would yield a net
annual income, to be divided among the corporators, of $400,000. It
employs twelve hundred servants beside its chief factors. It is easy
to see what a vast amount of wealth in the shape of furs and peltry
has been pouring into the European markets, for more than two hundred
years, from this fur bearing region, and the sources of this wealth
are probably little, if in any degree, diminished.

119. _Vide Documents inédits sur Samuel de Champlain_, par Étienne
Charavay, archiviste-paléographe, Paris, 1875.

120. The later sketches made by Champlain are greatly superior to those
which he executed to illustrate his voyage in the West Indies. They
are not only accurate, but some of them are skilfully done, and not
only do no discredit to an amateur, but discover marks of artistic
taste and skill.


EUSTACHE BOULLÉ. A brother-in-law of Champlain, who made his first visit to
Canada in 1618. He was an active assistant of Champlain, and in 1625 was
named his lieutenant. He continued there until the taking of Quebec by the
English in 1629. He subsequently took holy orders.--_Vide Doc. inédits sur
Samuel de Champlain_, par Étienne Charavay. Paris, 1875, p. 8.

PONT GRAVÉ. The whole career of this distinguished merchant was closely
associated with Canadian trade. He was in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the
interest of Chauvin, in 1599. He commanded the expedition sent out by De
Chaste in 1603, when Champlain made his first exploration of the River St.
Lawrence. He was intrusted with the chief management of the trade carried
on with the Indians by the various companies and viceroys under Champlain's
lieutenancy until the removal of the colony by the English, when his active
life was closed by the infirmities of age. He was always a warm and trusted
friend of Champlain, who sought his counsel on all occasions of importance.

THE BIRTH OF CHAMPLAIN. All efforts to fix the exact date of his birth have
been unsuccessful. M. De Richemond, author of a _Biographie de la Charente
Inférieure_, instituted most careful searches, particularly with the hope
of finding a record of his baptism. The records of the parish of Brouage
extend back only to August 11, 1615. The duplicates, deposited at the
office of the civil tribunal of Marennes anterior to this date, were
destroyed by fire.--_MS. letter of M. De Richemond, Archivist of the Dep.
of Charente Inférieure_, La Rochelle, July 17, 1875.

MARC LESCARBOT. We have cited the authority of this writer in this work on
many occasions. He was born at Vervins, perhaps about 1585. He became an
advocate, and a resident of Paris, and, according to Larousse, died in
1630. He came to America in 1606, and passed the winter of that year at the
French settlement near the present site of Lower Granville, on the western
bank of Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia. In the spring of 1607 he crossed
the Bay of Fundy, entered the harbor of St. John, N. B., and extended his
voyage as far as De Monts's Island in the River St. Croix. He returned to
France that same year, on the breaking up of De Monts's colony. He was the
author of the following works: _Histoire de la Nouvelle France_, 1609; _Les
Muses de la Nouvelle France; Tableau de la Suisse, auquel sont décrites les
Singularites des Alpes_, Paris, 1618; _La Chasse aux Anglais dans l'isle de
Rhé et au Siége de la Rochelle, et la Réduction de cette Ville en 1628_,
Paris, 1629.

PLYMOUTH HARBOR. This note will modify our remarks on p. 78, Vol. II.
Champlain entered this harbor on the 18th of July, 1605, and, lingering but
a single day, sailed out of it on the 19th. He named it _Port St. Louis_,
or _Port du Cap St. Louis_.--_Vide antea_, pp. 53, 54; Vol. II., pp. 76-78.
As the fruit of his brief stay in the harbor of Plymouth, he made an
outline sketch of the bay which preserves most of its important features.
He delineates what is now called on our Coast Survey maps _Long Beach_ and
_Duxbury Beach_. At the southern extremity of the latter is the headland
known as the _Gurnet_. Within the bay he figures two islands, of which he
speaks also in the text. These two islands are mentioned in Mourt's
Relation, printed in 1622.--_Vide Dexter's ed._ p. 60. They are also
figured on an old map of the date of 1616, found by J. R. Brodhead in the
Royal Archives at the Hague; likewise on a map by Lucini, without date,
but, as it has Boston on it, it must have been executed after 1630. These
maps may be found in _Doc. His. of the State of New York_, Vol. I.;
_Documents relating to the Colonial His. of the State of New York_, Vol.
I., p. 13. The reader will find these islands likewise indicated on the map
of William Wood, entitled _The South part of New-England, as it is Planted
this yeare, 1634_.--_Vide New England Prospect_, Prince Society ed. They
appear also on Blaskowitz's "Plan of Plimouth," 1774.--_Vide Changes in the
Harbor of Plymouth_, by Prof. Henry Mitchell, Chief of Physical
Hydrography, U. S. Coast Survey, Report of 1876, Appendix No. 9. In the
collections of the Mass. Historical Society for 1793, Vol. II., in an
article entitled _A Topographical Description of Duxborough_, but without
the author's name, the writer speaks of two pleasant islands within the
harbor, and adds that Saquish was joined to the Gurnet by a narrow piece of
land, but for several years the water had made its way across and
_insulated_ it.

From the early maps to which we have referred, and the foregoing citations,
it appears that there were two islands in the harbor of Plymouth from the
time of Champlain till about the beginning of the present century. A
careful collation of Champlain's map of the harbor with the recent Coast
Survey Charts will render it evident that one of these islands thus figured
by Champlain, and by others later, is Saquish Head; that since his time a
sand-bank has been thrown up and now become permanent, connecting it with
the Gurnet by what is now called Saquish Neck. Prof. Mitchell, in the work
already cited, reports that there are now four fathoms less of water in the
deeper portion of the roadstead than when Champlain explored the harbor in
1605. There must, therefore, have been an enormous deposit of sand to
produce this result, and this accounts for the neck of sand which has been
thrown up and become fixed or permanent, now connecting Saquish Head with
the Gurnet.

MOUNT DESERT. This island was discovered on the fifth day of September,
1604. Champlain having been comissioned by Sieur De Monts, the Patentee of
La Cadie, to make discoveries on the coast southwest of the Saint Croix,
left the mouth of that river in a small barque of seventeen or eighteen
tons, with twelve sailors and two savages as guides, and anchored the same
evening, apparently near Bar Harbor. While here, they explored Frenchman's
Bay as far on the north as the Narrows, where Champlain says the distance
across to the mainland is not more than a hundred paces. The next day, on
the sixth of the month, they sailed two leagues, and came to Otter Creek
Cove, which extends up into the island a mile or more, nestling between the
spurs of Newport Mountain on the east and Green Mountain on the west.
Champlain says this cove is "at the foot of the mountains," which clearly
identifies it, as it is the only one in the neighborhood answering to this
description. In this cove they discovered several savages, who had come
there to hunt beavers and to fish. On a visit to Otter Cove Cliffs in June,
1880, we were told by an old fisherman ninety years of age, living on the
borders of this cove, and the statement was confirmed by several others,
that on the creek at the head of the cove, there was, within his memory, a
well-known beaver dam.

The Indians whose acquaintance Champlain made at this place conducted him
among the islands, to the mouth of the Penobscot, and finally up the river,
to the site of the present city of Bangor. It was on this visit, on the
fifth of September, 1604, that Champlain gave the island the name of
_Monts-déserts_. The French generally gave to places names that were
significant. In this instance they did not depart from their usual custom.
The summits of most of the mountains on this island, then as now, were only
rocks, being destitute of trees, and this led Champlain to give its
significant name, which, in plain English, means the island of the desert,
waste, or uncultivatable mountains. If we follow the analogy of the
language, either French or English, it should be pronounced with the accent
on the penult, Mount Désert, and not on the last syllable, as we sometimes
hear it. This principle cannot be violated without giving to the word a
meaning which, in this connection, would be obviously inappropriate and

CARTE DE LA NOUVELLE FRANCE, 1632. As the map of 1632 has often been
referred to in this work, we have introduced into this volume a heliotype
copy. The original was published in the year of its date, but it had been
completed before Champlain left Quebec in 1629. The reader will bear in
mind that it was made from Champlain's personal explorations, and from such
other information as could be obtained from the meagre sources which
existed at that early period, and not from any accurate or scientific
surveys. The information which he obtained from others was derived from
more or less doubtful sources, coming as it did from fishermen,
fur-traders, and the native inhabitants. The two former undoubtedly
constructed, from time to time, rude maps of the coast for their own use.
From these Champlain probably obtained valuable hints, and he was thus able
to supplement his own knowledge of the regions with which he was least
familiar on the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Beyond the
limits of his personal explorations on the west, his information was wholly
derived from the savages. No European had penetrated into those regions, if
we except his servant, Étienne Brûlé, whose descriptions could have been of
very little service. The deficiencies of Champlain's map are here
accordingly most apparent. Rivers and lakes farther west than the Georgian
Bay, and south of it, are sometimes laid down where none exist, and, again,
where they do exist, none are portrayed. The outline of Lake Huron, for
illustration, was entirely misconceived. A river-like line only of water
represents Lake Erie, while Lake Michigan does not appear at all.

The delineation of Hudson's Bay was evidently taken from the TABULA NAUTICA
of Henry Hudson, as we have shown in Note 297, Vol. II., to which the
reader is referred.

It will be observed that there is no recognition on the map of any English
settlement within the limits of New England. In 1629, when the _Carte de la
Nouvelle France_ was completed, an English colony had been planted at
Plymouth, Mass., nine years, and another at Piscataqua, or Portsmouth, N.
H., six years. The Rev. William Blaxton had been for several years in
occupation of the peninsula of Shawmut, or Boston. Salem had also been
settled one or two years. These last two may not, it is true, have come to
Champlain's knowledge. But none of these settlements are laid down on the
map. The reason of these omissions is obvious. The whole territory from at
least the 40th degree of north latitude, stretching indefinitely to the
north, was claimed by the French. As possession was, at that day, the most
potent argument for the justice of a territorial claim, the recognition, on
a French map, of these English settlements, would have been an indiscretion
which the wise and prudent Champlain would not be likely to commit.

There is, however, a distinct recognition of an English settlement farther
south. Cape Charles and Cape Henry appear at the entrance of Chesapeake
Bay. Virginia is inscribed in its proper place, while Jamestown and Point
Comfort are referred to by numbers.

On the borders of the map numerous fish belonging to these waters are
figured, together with several vessels of different sizes and in different
attitudes, thus preserving their form and structure at that period. The
degrees of latitude and longitude are numerically indicated, which are
convenient for the references found in Champlain's journals, but are
necessarily too inaccurate to be otherwise useful. But notwithstanding its
defects, when we take into account the limited means at his command, the
difficulties which he had to encounter, the vast region which it covers,
this map must be regarded as an extraordinary achievement. It is by far the
most accurate in outline, and the most finished in detail, of any that had
been attempted of this region anterior to this date.

THE PORTRAITS OF CHAMPLAIN.--Three engraved portraits of Champlain have
come to our knowledge. All of them appear to have been after an original
engraved portrait by Balthazar Moncornet. This artist was born in Rouen
about 1615, and died not earlier than 1670. He practised his art in Paris,
where he kept a shop for the sale of prints. Though not eminently
distinguished as a skilful artist, he nevertheless left many works,
particularly a great number of portraits. As he had not arrived at the age
of manhood when Champlain died, his engraving of him was probably executed
about fifteen or twenty years after that event. At that time Madame
Champlain, his widow, was still living, as likewise many of Champlaln's
intimate friends. From some of them it is probable Moncornet obtained a
sketch or portrait, from which his engraving was made.

Of the portraits of Champlain which we have seen, we may mention first that
in Laverdière's edition of his works. This is a half-length, with long,
curling hair, moustache and imperial. The sleeves of the close-fitting coat
are slashed, and around the neck is the broad linen collar of the period,
fastened in front with cord and tassels. On the left, in the background, is
the promontory of Quebec, with the representation of several turreted
buildings both in the upper and lower town. On the border of the oval,
which incloses the subject, is the legend, _Moncornet Ex c. p._ The
engraving is coarsely executed, apparently on copper. It is alleged to have
been taken from an original Moncornet in France. Our inquiries as to where
the original then was, or in whose possession it then was or is now, have
been unsuccessful. No original, when inquiries were made by Dr. Otis, a
short time since, was found to exist in the department of prints in the
Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Another portrait of Champlain is found in Shea's translation of
Charlevoix's History of New France. This was taken from the portrait of
Champlain, which, with that of Cartier, Montcalm, Wolfe, and others, adorns
the walls of the reception room of the Speaker of the House of Commons, in
the Parliament House at Ottawa, in Canada, which was painted by Thomas
Hamel, from a copy of Moncornet's engraving obtained in France by the late
M. Faribault. From the costume and general features, it appears to be after
the same as that contained in Laverdière's edition of Champlain's works, to
which we have already referred. The artist has given it a youthful
appearance, which suggests that the original sketch was made many years
before Champlain's death. We are indebted to the politeness of Dr. Shea for
the copies which accompany this work.

A third portrait of Champlain may be found in L'Histoire de France, par M.
Guizot, Paris, 1876, Vol. v. p. 149. The inscription reads: "CHAMPLAIN
[SAMUEL DE], d'après un portrait gravé par Moncornet." It is engraved on
wood by E. Ronjat, and represents the subject in the advanced years of his
life. In position, costume, and accessories it is widely different from the
others, and Moncornet must have left more than one engraving of Champlain,
or we must conclude that the modern artists have taken extraordinary
liberties with their subject. The features are strong, spirited, and
characteristic. A heliotype copy accompanies this volume.


The journals of Champlain, commonly called his Voyages, were written and
published by him at intervals from 1603 to 1632. The first volume was
printed in 1603, and entitled,--

1. _Des Sauuages, ou, Voyage de Samuel Champlain, de Brouage, faict en la
France Nouuelle, l'an mil six cens trois. A Paris, chez Claude de
Monstr'oeil, tenant sa boutique en la Cour du Palais, au nom de Jesus.
1604. Auec privilege du Roy_. 12mo. 4 preliminary leaves. Text 36 leaves.
The title-page contains also a sub-title, enumerating in detail the
subjects treated of in the work. Another copy with slight verbal changes
has no date on the title-page, but in both the "privilège" is dated
November 15, 1603. The copies which we have used are in the Library of
Harvard College, and in that of Mrs. John Carter Brown, of Providence, R.

An English translation of this issue is contained in _Purchas his
Pilgrimes_. London, 1625, vol. iv., pp. 1605-1619.

The next publication appeared in 1613, with the following title:--

2. _Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain Xaintongeois, Capitaine ordinaire
pour le Roy, en la marine. Divisez en deux livres. ou, journal tres-fidele
des observations faites és descouuertures de la Nouuelle France: tant en la
description des terres, costes, riuieres, ports, haures, leurs hauteurs, &
plusieurs delinaisons de la guide-aymant; qu'en la creance des peuples,
leur superslition, façon de viure & de guerroyer: enrichi de quantité de
figures, A Paris, chez Jean Berjon, rue S. Jean de Beauuais, au Cheual
volant, & en sa boutique au Palais, à la gallerie des prisonniers.
M.DC.XIII. Avec privilege dv Roy_. 4to. 10 preliminary leaves. Text, 325
pages; table 5 pp. One large folding map. One small map. 22 plates. The
title-page contains, in addition, a sub-title in regard to the two maps.

The above-mentioned volume contains, also, the Fourth Voyage, bound in at
the end, with the following title:--

_Qvatriesme Voyage du Sr de Champlain Capitaine ordinaire povr le Roy en la
marine, & Lieutenant de Monseigneur le Prince de Condé en la Nouuelle
France, fait en l'année_ 1613. 52 pages. Whether this was also issued as a
separate work, we are not informed.

The copy of this publication of 1613 which we have used is in the Library
of Harvard College.

The next publication of Champlain was in 1619. There was a re-issue of the
same in 1620 and likewise in 1627. The title of the last-mentioned issue is
as follows:--

3. _Voyages et Descovvertures faites en la Novvelle France, depuis l'année
1615. iusques à la fin de l'année 1618. Par le Sieur de Champlain,
Cappitaine ordinaire pour le Roy en la Mer du Ponant. Seconde Edition. A
Paris, chez Clavde Collet, au Palais, en la gallerie des Prisonniers.
M.D.C.XXVII. Avec privilege dv Roy_. 12mo. 8 preliminary leaves. Text 158
leaves, 6 plates. The title-page contains, in addition, a sub-title, giving
an outline of the contents. The edition of 1627, belonging to the Library
of Harvard College, contains likewise an illuminated title-page, which we
here give in heliotype. As this illuminated title-page bears the date of
1619, it was probably that of the original edition of that date.

The next and last publication of Champlain was issued in 1632, with the
following title:--

4. _Les Voyages de la Novvelle France occidentale, dicte Canada, faits par
le Sr de Champlain Xainctongeois, Capitaine pour le Roy en la Marine du
Ponant, & toutes les Descouuertes qu'il a faites en ce païs depuis l'an
1603, iusques en l'an 1629. Où se voit comme ce pays a esté premierement
descouuert par les François, sous l'authorité de nos Roys tres-Chrestiens,
iusques au regne de sa Majesté à present regnante Louis XIII. Roy de France
& de Navarre. A Paris. Chez Clavde Collet au Palais, en la Gallerie des
Prisonniers, à l'Estoille d'Or. M.DC.XXXII. Avec Privilege du Roy_.

There is also a long sub-title, with a statement that the volume contains
what occurred in New France in 1631. The volume is dedicated to Cardinal
Richelieu. 4to. 16 preliminary pages. Text 308 pages. 6 plates, which are
the same as those in the edition of 1619. "Seconde Partie," 310 pages. One
large general map; table explanatory of map, 8 pages. "Traitté de la
Marine," 54 pages. 2 plates. "Doctrine Chrestienne" and "L'Oraison
Dominicale," 20 pages. Another copy gives the name of Sevestre as
publisher, and another that of Pierre Le Mvr.

The publication of 1632 is stated by Laverdière to have been reissued in
1640, with a new title and date, but without further changes. This,
however, is not found in the National Library at Paris, which contains all
the other editions and issues. The copies of the edition of 1632 which we
have consulted are in the Harvard College Library and in the Boston

It is of importance to refer, as we have done, to the particular copy used,
for it appears to have been the custom in the case of books printed as
early as the above, to keep the type standing, and print issues at
intervals, sometimes without any change in the title-page or date, and yet
with alterations to some extent in the text. For instance, the copy of the
publication of 1613 in the Harvard College Library differs from that in
Mrs. Brown's Library, at Providence, in minor points, and particularly in
reference to some changes in the small map. The same is true of the
publication of 1603. The variations are probably in part owing to the lack
of uniformity in spelling at that period.

None of Champlain's works had been reprinted until 1830, when there
appeared, in two volumes, a reprint of the publication of 1632, "at the
expense of the government, in order to give work to printers." Since then
there has been published the elaborate work, with extensive annotations, of
the Abbé Laverdière, as follows:--


This contains all the works of Champlain above mentioned, and the text is a
faithful reprint from the early Paris editions. It includes, in addition to
this, Champlain's narrative of his voyage to the West Indies, in 1598, of
which the following is the title:--

_Brief Discovrs des choses plvs remarqvables qve Sammvel Champlain de
Brovage a reconneues aux Indes Occidentalles au voiage qu'il en a faict en
icelles en l'année mil v[c] iiij.[xx].xix. & en l'année mil vj[c] i. comme

This had never before been published in French, although a translation of
it had been issued by the Hakluyt Society in 1859. The _MS_. is the only
one of Champlain's known to exist, excepting a letter to Richelieu,
published by Laverdière among the "Pièces Justificatives." When used by
Laverdière it was in the possession of M. Féret, of Dieppe, but has since
been advertised for sale by the Paris booksellers, Maisonneuve & Co., at
the price of 15,000 francs, and is now in the possession of M. Pinart.

The volume printed in 1632 has been frequently compared with that of 1613,
as if the former were merely a second edition of the latter. But this
conveys an erroneous idea of the relation between the two. In the first
place, the volume of 1632 contains what is not given in any of the previous
publications of Champlain. That is, it extends his narrative over the
period from 1620 to 1632. It likewise goes over the same ground that is
covered not only by the volume of 1613, but also by the other still later
publications of Champlain, up to 1620. It includes, moreover, a treatise on
navigation. In the second place, it is an abridgment, and not a second
edition in any proper sense. It omits for the most part personal details
and descriptions of the manners and customs of the Indians, so that very
much that is essential to the full comprehension of Champlain's work as an
observer and explorer is gone. Moreover, there seems a to be some internal
evidence indicating that this abridgment was not made by Champlain himself,
and Laverdière suggests that the work has been tampered with by another
hand. Thus, all favorable allusions to the Récollets, to whom Champlain was
friendly, are modified or expunged, while the Jesuits are made to appear in
a prominent and favorable light. This question has been specially
considered by Laverdière in his introduction to the issue of 1632, to which
the reader is referred.

The language used by Champlain is essentially the classic French of the
time of Henry IV. The dialect or patois of Saintonge, his native province,
was probably understood and spoken by him; but we have not discovered any
influence of it in his writings, either in respect to idiom or vocabulary.
An occasional appearance at court, and his constant official intercourse
with public men of prominence at Paris and elsewhere, rendered necessary
strict attention to the language he used.

But though using in general the language of court and literature, he
offends not unfrequently against the rules of grammar and logical
arrangement. Probably his busy career did not allow him to read, much less
study, at least in reference to their style, such masterpieces of
literature as the "Essais" of Montaigne, the translations of Amyot, or the
"Histoire Universelle" of D'Aubigné. The voyages of Cartier he undoubtedly
read; but, although superior in point of literary merit to Champlaih's
writings, they were, by no-means without their blemishes, nor were they
worthy of being compared with the classical authors to which we have
alluded. But Champlain's discourse is so straightforward, and the thought
so simple and clear, that the meaning is seldom obscure, and his occasional
violations of grammar and looseness of style are quite pardonable in one
whose occupations left him little time for correction and revision. Indeed,
one rather wonders that the unpretending explorer writes so well. It is the
thought, not the words, which occupies his attention. Sometimes, after
beginning a period which runs on longer than usual, his interest in what he
has to narrate seems so completely to occupy him that he forgets the way in
which he commenced, and concludes in a manner not in logical accordance
with the beginning. We subjoin a passage or two illustrative of his
inadvertencies in respect to language. They are from his narrative of the
voyage of 1603, and the text of the Paris edition is followed:

1. "Au dit bout du lac, il y a des peuples qui sont cabannez, puis on entre
dans trois autres riuieres, quelques trois ou quatre iournees dans chacune,
où au bout desdites riuieres, il y a deux ou trois manières de lacs, d'où
prend la source du Saguenay." Chap. iv.

2. "Cedit iour rengeant tousiours ladite coste du Nort, iusques à vn lieu
où nous relachasmes pour les vents qui nous estoient contraires, où il y
auoit force rochers & lieux fort dangereux, nous feusmes trois iours en
attendant le beau temps" Chap. v.

3. "Ce seroit vn grand bien qui pourrait trouuer à la coste de la Floride
quelque passage qui allast donner proche du & susdit grand lac." Chap. x.

4. "lesquelles [riuieres] vont dans les terres, où le pays y est tres-bon &
fertille, & de fort bons ports." Chap. x.

5. "Il y a aussi vne autre petite riuiere qui va tomber comme à moitié
chemin de celle par où reuint ledict sieur Preuert, où sont comme deux
manières de lacs en ceste-dicte riuiere." Chap. xii.

The following passages are taken at random from the voyages of 1604-10, as
illustrative of Champlain's style in general:

1. Explorations in the Bay of Fundy, Voyage of 1604-8. "De la riuiere
sainct Iean nous fusmes à quatre isles, en l'vne desquelles nous mismes
pied à terre, & y trouuasmes grande quantité d'oiseaux appeliez Margos,
don't nous prismes force petits, qui sont aussi bons que pigeonneaux. Le
sieur de Poitrincourt s'y pensa esgarer: Mais en fin il reuint à nostre
barque comme nous l'allions cerchant autour de isle, qui est esloignee de
la terre ferme trois lieues." Chap iii.

2. Explorations in the Vineyard Sound. Voyage of 1604-8. "Comme nous eusmes
fait quelques six ou sept lieues nous eusmes cognoissance d'vne isle que
nous nommasmes la soupçonneuse, pour auoir eu plusieurs fois croyance de
loing que ce fut autre chose qu'vne isle, puis le vent nous vint contraire,
qui nous fit relascher au lieu d'où nous estions partis, auquel nous fusmes
deux on trois jours sans que durant ce temps il vint aucun sauuage se
presenter à nous." Chap. xv.

3. Fight with the Indians on the Richelieu. Voyage of 1610.

"Les Yroquois s'estonnoient du bruit de nos arquebuses, & principalement de
ce que les balles persoient mieux que leurs flesches; & eurent tellement
l'espouuante de l'effet qu'elles faisoient, voyant plusieurs de leurs
compaignons tombez morts, & blessez, que de crainte qu'ils auoient, croyans
ces coups estre sans remede ils se iettoient par terre, quand ils
entendoient le bruit: aussi ne tirions gueres à faute, & deux ou trois
balles à chacun coup, & auios la pluspart du temps nos arquebuses appuyees
sur le bord de leur barricade." Chap. ii.

The following words, found in the writings of Champlain, are to be noted as
used by him in a sense different from the ordinary one, or as not found in
the dictionaries. They occur in the voyages of 1603 and 1604-11. The
numbers refer to the continuous pagination in the Quebec edition:

_appoil_, 159. A species of duck. (?)

_catalougue_, 266. A cloth used for wrapping up a dead body. Cf. Spanish

_déserter_, 211, _et passim_. In the sense of to clear up a new country by
removing the trees, &c.

_esplan_, 166. A small fish, like the _équille_ of Normandy.

_estaire_, 250. A kind of mat. Cf. Spanish _estera_.

_fleurir_, 247. To break or foam, spoken of the waves of the sea.

_legueux_, 190. Watery.(?) Or for _ligneux_, fibrous.(?)

_marmette_, 159. A kind of sea-bird.

_Matachias_, 75, _et passim_. Indian word for strings of beads, used to
ornament the person.

_papesi_, 381. Name of one of the sails of a vessel.

_petunoir_, 79. Pipe for smoking.

_Pilotua_, 82, _et passim_. Word used by the Indians for soothsayer or

_souler_, 252. In sense of, to be wont, accustomed.

_truitière_, 264. Trout-brook.

The first and main aim of the translator has been to give the exact sense
of the original, and he has endeavored also to reproduce as far as possible
the spirit and tone of Champlain's narrative. The important requisite in a
translation, that it should be pure and idiomatic English, without any
transfer of the mode of expression peculiar to the foreign language, has
not, it is hoped, been violated, at least to any great extent. If,
perchance, a French term or usage has been transferred to the translation,
it is because it has seemed that the sense or spirit would be better
conveyed in this way. At best, a translation comes short of the original,
and it is perhaps pardonable at times to admit a foreign term, if by this
means the sense or style seems to be better preserved. It is hoped that the
present work has been done so as to satisfy the demands of the historian,
who may find it convenient to use it in his investigations.

C. P. O.

BOSTON, June 17, 1880





Made in New France in the year 1603.


The customs, mode of life, marriages, wars, and dwellings of the Savages of
Canada. Discoveries for more than four hundred and fifty leagues in the
country. The tribes, animals, rivers, lakes, islands, lands, trees, and
fruits found there. Discoveries on the coast of La Cadie, and numerous
mines existing there according to the report of the Savages.


Claude de Monstr'oeil, having his store in the Court of the Palace, under
the name of Jesus.



To the very noble, high and powerful Lord Charles De Montmorency, Chevalier
of the Orders of the King, Lord of Ampuille and of Meru, Count of
Secondigny, Viscount of Melun, Baron of Chateauneuf and of Gonnort, Admiral
of France and of Brittany.

_My Lord,

Although many have written about the country of Canada, I have nevertheless
been unwilling to rest satisfied with their report, and have visited these
regions expressly in order to be able to render a faithful testimony to the
truth, which you will see, if it be your pleasure, in the brief narrative
which I address to you, and which I beg you may find agreeable, and I pray
God for your ever increasing greatness and prosperity, my Lord, and shall
remain all my life,

Your most humble
and obedient servant,


By license of the King, given at Paris on the 15th of November, 1603,
signed Brigard.

Permission is given to Sieur de Champlain to have printed by such printer
as may seem good to him, a book which he has composed, entitled, "The
Savages, or Voyage of Sieur de Champlain, made in the Year 1603;" and all
book-sellers and printers of this kingdom are forbidden to print, sell, or
distribute said book, except with the consent of him whom he shall name and
choose, on penalty of a fine of fifty crowns, of confiscation, and all
expenses, as is more fully stated in the license.

Said Sieur de Champlain, in accordance with his license, has chosen and
given permission to Claude de Monstr'oeil, book-seller to the University of
Paris, to print said book, and he has ceded and transferred to him his
license, so that no other person can print or have printed, sell, or
distribute it, during the time of five years, except with the consent of
said Monstr'oeil, on the penalties contained in the said license.






We set out from Honfleur on the 15th of March, 1603. On the same day we put
back to the roadstead of Havre de Grâce, the wind not being favorable. On
Sunday following, the 16th, we set sail on our route. On the 17th, we
sighted d'Orgny and Grenesey, [121] islands between the coast of Normandy
and England. On the 18th of the same month, we saw the coast of Brittany.
On the 19th, at 7 o'clock in the evening we reckoned that we were off
Ouessant. [122] On the 21st, at 7 o'clock in the morning, we met seven
Flemish vessels, coming, as we thought from the Indies. On Easter day, the
30th of the same month, we encountered a great tempest, which seemed to be
more lightning than wind, and which lasted for seventeen days, though not
continuing so severe as it was on the first two days. During this time, we
lost more than we gained. On the 16th of April, to the delight of all, the
weather began to be more favorable, and the sea calmer than it had been, so
that we continued our course until the 18th, when we fell in with a very
lofty iceberg. The next day we sighted a bank of ice more than eight
leagues long, accompanied by an infinite number of smaller banks, which
prevented us from going on. In the opinion of the pilot, these masses of
ice were about a hundred or a hundred and twenty leagues from Canada. We
were in latitude 45 deg. 40', and continued our course in 44 deg..

On the 2nd of May we reached the Bank at 11 o'clock in the forenoon, in 44
deg. 40'. On the 6th of the same month we had approached so near to land
that we heard the sea beating on the shore, which, however, we could not
see on account of the dense fog, to which these coasts are subject. [123]
For this reason we put out to sea again a few leagues, until the next
morning, when the weather being clear, we sighted land, which was Cape
St. Mary. [124]

On the 12th we were overtaken by a severe gale, lasting two days. On the
15th we sighted the islands of St. Peter. [125] On the 17th we fell in with
an ice-bank near Cape Ray, six leagues in length, which led us to lower
sail for the entire night that we might avoid the danger to which we were
exposed. On the next day we set sail and sighted Cape Ray, [126] the
islands of St. Paul, and Cape St. Lawrence. [127] The latter is on the
mainland lying to the south, and the distance from it to Cape Ray is
eighteen leagues, that being the breadth of the entrance to the great bay
of Canada. [128] On the same day, about ten o'clock in the morning, we fell
in with another bank of ice, more than eight leagues in length. On the
20th, we sighted an island some twenty-five or thirty leagues long, called
_Anticosty_, [129] which marks the entrance to the river of Canada. The
next day, we sighted Gaspé, [130] a very high land, and began to enter the
river of Canada, coasting along the south side as far as Montanne, [131]
distant sixty-five leagues from Gaspé. Proceeding on our course, we came in
sight of the Bic, [132] twenty leagues from Mantanne and on the southern
shore; continuing farther, we crossed the river to Tadoussac, fifteen
leagues from the Bic. All this region is very high, barren, and

On the 24th of the month, we came to anchor before Tadoussac, [133] and on
the 26th entered this port, which has the form of a cove. It is at the
mouth of the river Saguenay, where there is a current and tide of
remarkable swiftness and a great depth of water, and where there are
sometimes troublesome winds, [134] in consequence of the cold they bring.
It is stated that it is some forty-five or fifty leagues up to the first
fall in this river, and that it flows from the northwest. The harbor of
Tadoussac is small, in which only ten or twelve vessels could lie; but
there is water enough on the east, sheltered from the river Saguenay, and
along a little mountain, which is almost cut off by the river. On the shore
there are very high mountains, on which there is little earth, but only
rocks and sand, which are covered, with pine, cypress and fir, [135] and a
smallish species of trees. There is a small pond near the harbor, enclosed
by wood-covered mountains. At the entrance to the harbor, there are two
points: the one on the west side extending a league out into the river, and
called St. Matthew's Point; [136] the other on the southeast side extending
out a quarter of a league, and called All-Devils' Point. This harbor is
exposed to the winds from the south, southeast, and south-southwest. The
distance from St. Matthew's Point to All-Devils' Point is nearly a league;
both points are dry at low tide.


121. Alderney and Guernsey. French maps at the present day for Alderney
have d'Aurigny.

122. The islands lying off Finistère, on the western extremity of Brittany
in France.

123. The shore which they approached was probably Cape Pine, east of
Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.

124. In Placentia bay, on the southern coast of Newfoundland.

125. West of Placentia Bay.

126. Cape Ray is northwest of the islands of St. Peter.

127. Cape St. Lawrence, now called Cape North, is the northern extremity of
the island of Cape Breton, and the island of St. Paul is a few miles
north of it.

128. The Gulf or Bay of St. Lawrence. It was so named by Jacques Cartier on
his second voyage, in 1535. Nous nommasmes la dicte baye la Sainct
Laurens, _Brief Recit_, 1545, D'Avezac ed. p. 8. The northeastern part
of it is called on De Laet's map, "Grand Baye."

129. "This island is about one hundred and forty miles long,
thirty-five miles broad at its widest part, with an average
breadth of twenty-seven and one-half miles."--_Le Moine's
Chronicles of the St. Lawrence_, p.100. It was named by Cartier
in 1535, the Island of the Assumption, having been discovered on
the 15th of August, the festival of the Assumption. Nous auons
nommes l'ysle de l'Assumption.--_Brief Recit_, 1545, D'Avenzac's
ed. p. 9. Alfonse, in his report of his voyage of 1542, calls it
the _Isle de l'Ascension_, probably by mistake. "The Isle of
Ascension is a goodly isle and a goodly champion land, without
any hills, standing all upon white rocks and Alabaster, all
covered with wild beasts, as bears, Luserns, Porkespicks."
_Hakluyt_, Vol. III. p. 292. Of this island De Laet says, "Elle
est nommee el langage des Sauvages _Natiscotec_"--_Hist. du
Nouveau Monde_, a Leyde, 1640, p.42. _Vide also Wyet's Voyage_ in
Hakluyt, Vol. III. p. 241. Laverdière says the Montagnais now
call it _Natascoueh_, which signifies, _where the bear is
caught_. He cites Thevet, who says it is called by the savages,
_Naticousti_, by others _Laisple_. The use of the name Anticosty
by Champlain, now spelled Anticosti, would imply that its
corruption from the original, _Natiscotec_, took place at a very
early date. Or it is possible that Champlain wrote it as he heard
it pronounced by the natives, and his orthography may best
represent the original.

130. _Gachepé_, so written in the text, subsequently written by the author
_Gaspey_, but now generally _Gaspé_. It is supposed to have been
derived from the Abnaquis word _Katsepi8i_, which means what is
separated from the rest, and to have reference to a remarkable rock,
three miles above Cape Gaspé, separated from the shore by the violence
of the waves, the incident from which it takes its name.--_Vide
Voyages de Champlain_, ed. 1632, p. 91; _Chronicles of the St.
Lawrence_, by J. M. Le Moine, p. 9.

131. A river flowing into the St. Lawrence from the south in latitude 48
deg. 52' and in longitude west from Greenwich 67 deg. 32', now known
as the Matane.

132. For Bic, Champlain has _Pic_, which is probably a typographical error.
It seems probable that Bic is derived from the French word _bicoque_,
which means a place of small consideration, a little paltry town. Near
the site of the ancient Bic, we now have, on modern maps, _Bicoque_
Rocks, _Bicquette_ Light, _Bic_ Island, _Bic_ Channel, and _Bic_
Anchorage. As suggested by Laverdière, this appears to be the
identical harbor entered by Jacques Cartier, in 1535, who named if the
Isles of Saint John, because he entered it on the day of the beheading
of St. John, which was the 29th of August. Nous les nommasmes les
Ysleaux sainct Jehan, parce que nous y entrasmes le jour de la
decollation dudict sainct. _Brief Récit_, 1545, D'Avezac's ed. p. 11.
Le Jeune speaks of the _Isle du Bic_ in 1635. _Vide Relation des
Jésuites_, p. 19.

133. _Tadoussac_, or _Tadouchac_, is derived from the word _totouchac_,
which in Montagnais means _breasts_, and Saguenay signifies _water
which springs forth_, from the Montagnais word _saki-nip_.--_Vide
Laverdière in loco_. Tadoussac, or the breasts from which water
springs forth, is naturally suggested by the rocky elevations at the
base of which the Saguenay flows.

134. _Impetueux_, plainly intended to mean _troublesome_, as may be seen
from the context.

135. Pine, _pins_. The white pine, _Pinus strobus_, or _Strobus
Americanus_, grows as far north as Newfoundland, and as far south as
Georgia. It was observed by Captain George Weymouth on the Kennebec,
and hence deals afterward imported into England were called _Weymouth
pine_--_Vide Chronological History of Plants_, by Charles Picketing,
M.D., Boston, 1879, p. 809. This is probably the species here referred
to by Champlain. Cypress, _Cyprez_. This was probably the American
arbor vitæ. _Thuja occidentalis_, a species which, according to the
Abbé Laverdière, is found in the neighborhood of the Saguenay.
Champlain employed the same word to designate the American savin, or
red cedar. _Juniperus Virginiana_, which he found on Cape Cod--_Vide_
Vol. II. p. 82. Note 168.

Fir, _sapins_. The fir may have been the white spruce, _Abies alba_,
or the black spruce, _Abies nigra_, or the balsam fir or Canada
balsam, _Abies balsamea_, or yet the hemlock spruce, _Abies

136. _St. Matthew's Point_, now known as Point aux Allouettes, or Lack
Point.--_Vide_ Vol. II. p 165, note 292. _All-Devils' Point_, now
called _Pointe aux Vaches_. Both of these points had changed their
names before the publication of Champlain's ed., 1632.--_Vide_ p. 119
of that edition. The last mentioned was called by Champlain, in 1632,
_pointe aux roches_. Laverdière thinks _ro_ches was a typographical
error, as Sagard, about the same time, writes _vaches_.--_Vide Sagard.
Histoire du Canada_, 1636, Stross. ed., Vol I p. 150.

We naturally ask why it was called _pointe aux vaches_, or point of
cows. An old French apothegm reads _Le diable est aux vaches_, the
devil is in the cows, for which in English we say, "the devil is to
pay." May not this proverb have suggested _vaches_ as a synonyme of



On the 27th, we went to visit the savages at St. Matthew's point, distant a
league from Tadoussac, accompanied by the two savages whom Sieur du Pont
Gravé took to make a report of what they had seen in France, and of the
friendly reception the king had given them. Having landed, we proceeded to
the cabin of their grand Sagamore [137] named _Anadabijou_, whom we found
with some eighty or a hundred of his companions celebrating a _tabagie_,
that is a banquet. He received us very cordially, and according to the
custom of his country, seating us near himself, with all the savages
arranged in rows on both sides of the cabin. One of the savages whom we had
taken with us began to make an address, speaking of the cordial reception
the king had given them, and the good treatment they had received in
France, and saying they were assured that his Majesty was favorably
disposed towards them, and was desirous of peopling their country, and of
making peace with their enemies, the Iroquois, or of sending forces to
conquer them. He also told them of the handsome manors, palaces, and houses
they had seen, and of the inhabitants and our mode of living. He was
listened to with the greatest possible silence. Now, after he had finished
his address, the grand Sagamore, Anadabijou, who had listened to it
attentively, proceeded to take some tobacco, and give it to Sieur du Pont
Gravé of St. Malo, myself, and some other Sagamores, who were near him.
After a long smoke, he began to make his address to all, speaking with
gravity, stopping at times a little, and then resuming and saying, that
they truly ought to be very glad in having his Majesty for a great friend.
They all answered with one voice, _Ho, ho, ho_, that is to say _yes, yes_.
He continuing his address said that he should be very glad to have his
Majesty people their land, and make war upon their enemies; that there was
no nation upon earth to which they were more kindly disposed than to the
French. finally he gave them all to understand the advantage and profit
they could receive from his Majesty. After he had finished his address, we
went out of his cabin, and they began to celebrate their _tabagie_ or
banquet, at which they have elk's meat, which is similar to beef, also that
of the bear, seal and beaver, these being their ordinary meats, including
also quantities of fowl. They had eight or ten boilers full of meats, in
the middle of this cabin, separated some six feet from each other, each one
having its own fire. They were seated on both sides, as I stated before,
each one having his porringer made of bark. When the meat is cooked, some
one distributes to each his portion in his porringer, when they eat in a
very filthy manner. For when their hands are covered with fat, they rub
them on their heads or on the hair of their dogs of which they have large
numbers for hunting. Before their meat was cooked, one of them arose, took
a dog and hopped around these boilers from one end of the cabin to the
other. Arriving in front of the great Sagamore, he threw his dog violently
to the ground, when all with one voice exclaimed, _Ho, ho, ho_, after which
he went back to his place. Instantly another arose and did the same, which
performance was continued until the meat was cooked. Now after they had
finished their _tabagie_, they began to dance, taking the heads of their
enemies, which were slung on their backs, as a sign of joy. One or two of
them sing, keeping time with their hands, which they strike on their knees:
sometimes they stop, exclaiming, _Ho, ho, ho_, when they begin dancing
again, puffing like a man out of breath. They were having this celebration
in honor of the victory they had obtained over the Iroquois, several
hundred of whom they had killed, whose heads they had cut off and had with
them to contribute to the pomp of their festivity. Three nations had
engaged in the war, the Etechemins, Algonquins, and Montagnais. [138]
These, to the number of a thousand, proceeded to make war upon the
Iroquois, whom they encountered at the mouth of the river of the Iroquois,
and of whom they killed a hundred. They carry on war only by surprising
their enemies; for they would not dare to do so otherwise, and fear too
much the Iroquois, who are more numerous than the Montagnais, Etechemins,
and Algonquins.

On the 28th of this month they came and erected cabins at the harbor of
Tadoussac, where our vessel was. At daybreak their grand Sagamore came out
from his cabin and went about all the others, crying out to them in a loud
voice to break camp to go to Tadoussac, where their good friends were. Each
one immediately took down his cabin in an incredibly short time, and the
great captain was the first to take his canoe and carry it to the water,
where he embarked his wife and children and a quantity of furs. Thus were
launched nearly two hundred canoes, which go wonderfully fast; for,
although our shallop was well manned, yet they went faster than ourselves.
Two only do the work of propelling the boat, a man and a woman. Their
canoes are some eight or nine feet long, and a foot or a foot and a half
broad in the middle, growing narrower towards the two ends. They are very
liable to turn over, if one does not understand how to manage them, for
they are made of the bark of trees called _bouille_, [139] strengthened on
the inside by little ribs of wood strongly and neatly made. They are so
light that a man can easily carry one, and each canoe can carry the weight
of a pipe. When they wish to go overland to some river where they have
business, they carry their canoes with them.

Their cabins are low and made like tents, being covered with the same kind
of bark as that before mentioned. The whole top for the space of about a
foot they leave uncovered, whence the light enters; and they make a number
of fires directly in the middle of the cabin, in which there are sometimes
ten families at once. They sleep on skins, all together, and their dogs
with them. [140]

They were in number a thousand persons, men, women and children. The place
at St. Matthew's Point, where they were first encamped, is very pleasant.
They were at the foot of a small slope covered with trees, firs and
cypresses. At St. Matthew's Point there is a small level place, which is
seen at a great distance. On the top of this hill there is a level tract of
land, a league long, half a league broad, covered with trees. The soil is
very sandy, and contains good pasturage. Elsewhere there are only rocky
mountains, which are very barren. The tide rises about this slope, but at
low water leaves it dry for a full half league out.


137. _Sagamo_, thus written in the French According to Laflèche, as cited
by Laverdière, this word, in the Montagnais language, is derived from
_tchi_, great and _okimau_, chief, and consequently signifies the
Great Chief.

138. The Etechemins, may be said in general terms to have occupied the
territory from St. John, N. B., to Mount Desert Island, in Maine, and
perhaps still further west, but not south of Saco. The Algonquins here
referred to were those who dwelt on the Ottawa River. The Montagnais
occupied the region on both sides of the Saguenay, having their
trading centre at Tadoussac. War had been carried on for a period we
know not how long, perhaps for several centuries, between these allied
tribes and the Iroquois.

139. _Bouille_ for _bouleau_, the birch-tree. _Betula papyracea_, popularly
known as the paper or canoe birch. It is a large tree, the bark white,
and splitting into thin layers. It is common in New England, and far
to the north The white birch, _Betula alba_, of Europe and Northern
Asia, is used for boat-building at the present day.--_Vide
Chronological History of Plants_, by Charles Pickering, M.D., Boston,
1879, p. 134.

140. The dog was the only domestic animal found among the aborigines of
this country. "The Australians," says Dr. Pickering, "appear to be the
only considerable portion of mankind destitute of the companionship of
the dog. The American tribes, from the Arctic Sea to Cape Horn, had
the companionship of the dog, and certain remarkable breeds had been
developed before the visit of Columbus" (F. Columbus 25); further,
according to Coues, the cross between the coyote and female dog is
regularly procured by our northwestern tribes, and, according to Gabb,
"dogs one-fourth coyote are pointed out; the fact therefore seems
established that the coyote or American barking wolfe, _Canis
latrans_, is the dog in its original wild state."--_Vide Chronological
History of Plants_, etc., by Charles Pickering, M.D., Boston, 1879, p.

"It was believed by some for a length of time that the wild dog was of
recent introduction to Australia: this is not so."--_Vide Aborigines
of Victoria_, by R. Brough Smyth, London, 1878, Vol. 1. p. 149. The
bones of the wild dog have recently been discovered in Australia, at a
depth of excavation, and in circumstances, which prove that his
existence there antedates the introduction of any species of the dog
by Europeans. The Australians appear, therefore, to be no exception to
the universal companionship of the dog with man.



On the 9th of June the savages proceeded to have a rejoicing all together,
and to celebrate their _tabagie_, which I have before described, and to
dance, in honor of their victory over their enemies. Now, after they had
feasted well, the Algonquins, one of the three nations, left their cabins
and went by themselves to a public place. Here they arranged all their
wives and daughters by the side of each other, and took position themselves
behind them, all singing in the manner I have described before. Suddenly
all the wives and daughters proceeded to throw off their robes of skins,
presenting themselves stark naked, and exposing their sexual parts. But
they were adorned with _matachiats_, that is beads and braided strings,
made of porcupine quills, which they dye in various colors. After finishing
their songs, they all said together, _Ho, ho, ho:_ at the same instant all
the wives and daughters covered themselves with their robes, which were at
their feet. Then, after stopping a short time, all suddenly beginning to
sing throw off their robes as before. They do not stir from their position
while dancing, and make various gestures and movements of the body, lifting
one foot and then the other, at the same time striking upon the ground.
Now, during the performance of this dance, the Sagamore of the Algonquins,
named _Besouat_, was seated before these wives and daughters, between two
sticks, on which were hung the heads of their enemies. Sometimes he arose
and went haranguing, and saying to the Montagnais and Etechemins: "Look!
how we rejoice in the victory that we have obtained over our enemies; you
must do the same, so that we may be satisfied." Then all said together,
_Ho, ho, ho_. After returning to his position, the grand Sagamore together
with all his companions removed their robes, making themselves stark naked
except their sexual parts, which are covered with a small piece of skin.
Each one took what seemed good to him, as _matachiats_, hatchets, swords,
kettles, fat, elk flesh, seal, in a word each one had a present, which they
proceeded to give to the Algonquins. After all these ceremonies, the dance
ceased, and the Algonquins, men and women, carried their presents into
their cabins. Then two of the most agile men of each nation were taken,
whom they caused to run, and he who was the fastest in the race, received a

All these people have a very cheerful disposition, laughing often; yet at
the same time they are somewhat phlegmatic. They talk very deliberately, as
if desiring to make themselves well understood, and stopping suddenly, they
reflect for a long time, when they resume their discourse. This is their
usual manner at their harangues in council, where only the leading men, the
elders, are present, the women and children not attending at all.

All these people suffer so much sometimes from hunger, on account of the
severe cold and snow, when the animals and fowl on which they live go away
to warmer countries, that they are almost constrained to eat one another. I
am of opinion that if one were to teach them how to live, and instruct them
in the cultivation of the soil and in other respects, they would learn very
easily, for I can testify that many of them have good judgment and respond
very appropriately to whatever question may be put to them. [141] They have
the vices of taking revenge and of lying badly, and are people in whom it
is not well to put much confidence, except with caution and with force at
hand. They promise well, but keep their word badly.

Most of them have no law, so far as I have been able to observe or learn
from the great Sagamore, who told me that they really believed there was a
God, who created all things. Whereupon I said to him: that, "Since they
believed in one sole God, how had he placed them in the world, and whence
was their origin." He replied: that, "After God had made all things, he
took a large number of arrows, and put them in the ground; whence sprang
men and women, who had been multiplying in the world up to the present
time, and that this was their origin." I answered that what he said was
false, but that there really was one only God, who had created all things
upon earth and in the heavens. Seeing all these things so perfect, but that
there was no one to govern here on earth, he took clay from the ground, out
of which he created Adam our first father. While Adam was sleeping, God
took a rib from his side, from which he formed Eve, whom he gave to him as
a companion, and, I told him, that it was true that they and ourselves had
our origin in this manner, and not from arrows, as they suppose. He said
nothing, except that he acknowledged what I said, rather than what he had
asserted. I asked him also if he did not believe that there was more than
one only God. He told me their belief was that there was a God, a Son, a
Mother, and the Sun, making four; that God, however, was above all, that
the Son and the Sun were good, since they received good things from them;
but the Mother, he said, was worthless, and ate them up; and the Father not
very good. I remonstrated with him on his error, and contrasted it with our
faith, in which he put some little confidence. I asked him if they had
never seen God, nor heard from their ancestors that God had come into the
world. He said that they had never seen him; but that formerly there were
five men who went towards the setting sun, who met God, who asked them:
"Where are you going?" they answered: "We are going in search of our
living." God replied to them: "You will find it here." They went on,
without paying attention to what God had said to them, when he took a stone
and touched two of them with it, whereupon they were changed to stones; and
he said again to the three others: "Where are you going?" They answered as
before, and God said to them again: "Go no farther, you will find it here."
And seeing that nothing came to them, they went on; when God took two
sticks, with which he touched the two first, whereupon they were
transformed into sticks, when the fifth one stopped, not wishing to go
farther. And God asked him again: "Where are you going?" "I am going in
search of my living." "Stay and thou shalt find it." He staid without
advancing farther, and God gave him some meat, which he ate. After making
good cheer, he returned to the other savages, and related to them all the

He told me also that another time there was a man who had a large quantity
of tobacco (a plant from which they obtain what they smoke), and that God
came to this man, and asked him where his pipe was. The man took his pipe,
and gave it to God, who smoked much. After smoking to his satisfaction, God
broke the pipe into many pieces, and the man asked: "Why hast thou broken
my pipe? thou seest in truth that I have not another." Then God took one
that he had, and gave it to him, saying: "Here is one that I will give you,
take it to your great Sagamore; let him keep it, and if he keep it well, he
will not want for any thing whatever, neither he nor all his companions."
The man took the pipe, and gave it to his great Sagamore; and while he kept
it, the savages were in want of nothing whatever: but he said that
afterwards the grand Sagamore lost this pipe, which was the cause of the
severe famines they sometimes have. I asked him if he believed all that; he
said yes, and that it was the truth. Now I think that this is the reason
why they say that God is not very good. But I replied, "that God was in all
respects good, and that it was doubtless the Devil who had manifested
himself to those men, and that if they would believe as we did in God they
would not want for what they had need of; that the sun which they saw, the
moon and the stars, had been created by this great God, who made heaven and
earth, but that they have no power except that which God has given them;
that we believe in this great God, who by His goodness had sent us His dear
Son who, being conceived of the Holy Spirit, was clothed with human flesh
in the womb of the Virgin Mary, lived thirty years on earth, doing an
infinitude of miracles, raising the dead, healing the sick, driving out
devils, giving sight to the blind, teaching men the will of God his Father,
that they might serve, honor and worship Him, shed his blood, suffered and
died for us, and our sins, and ransomed the human race, that, being buried,
he rose again, descended into hell, and ascended into heaven, where he is
seated on the right hand of God his Father." [142] I told him that this was
the faith of all Christians who believe in the Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit, that these, nevertheless, are not three Gods, but one the same and
only God, and a trinity in which there is no before nor after, no greater
nor smaller; that the Virgin Mary, mother of the Son of God, and all the
men and women who have lived in this world doing the commandments of God,
and enduring martyrdom for his name, and who by the permission of God have
done miracles, and are saints in heaven in his paradise, are all of them
praying this Great Divine Majesty to pardon us our errors and sins which we
commit against His law and commandments. And thus, by the prayers of the
saints in heaven and by our own prayers to his Divine Majesty, He gives
what we have need of, and the devil has no power over us and can do us no
harm. I told them that if they had this belief, they would be like us, and
that the devil could no longer do them any harm, and that they would not
lack what they had need of.

Then this Sagamore replied to me that he acknowledged what I said. I asked
him what ceremonies they were accustomed to in praying to their God. He
told me that they were not accustomed to any ceremonies, but that each
prayed in his heart as he desired. This is why I believe that they have no
law, not knowing what it is to worship and pray to God, and living, the
most of them, like brute beasts. But I think that they would speedily
become good Christians, if people were to colonize their country, of which
most of them were desirous.

There are some savages among them whom they call _Pilotoua_, [143] who have
personal communications with the devil. Such an one tells them what they
are to do, not only in regard to war, but other things; and if he should
command them to execute any undertaking, as to kill a Frenchman or one of
their own nation, they would obey his command at once.

They believe, also, that all dreams which they have are real; and many of
them, indeed, say that they have seen in dreams things which come to pass
or will come to pass. But, to tell the truth in the matter, these are
visions of the devil, who deceives and misleads them. This is all that I
have been able to learn from them in regard to their matters of belief,
which is of a low, animal nature.

All these people are well proportioned in body, without any deformity, and
are also agile. The women are well-shaped, full and plump, and of a swarthy
complexion, on account of the large amount of a certain pigment with which
they rub themselves, and which gives them an olive color. They are clothed
in skins, one part of their body being covered and the other left
uncovered. In winter they provide for their whole body, for they are
dressed in good furs, as those of the elk, otter, beaver, seal, stag, and
hind, which they have in large quantities. In winter, when the snows are
heavy, they make a sort of _raquette_ [144] two or three times as large as
those in France. These they attach to their feet, and thus walk upon the
snow without sinking in; for without them, they could not hunt or make
their way in many places.

Their manner of marriage is as follows: When a girl attains the age of
fourteen or fifteen years, she may have several suitors and friends, and
keep company with such as she pleases. At the end of some five or six years
she may choose that one to whom her fancy inclines as her husband, and they
will live together until the end of their life, unless, after living
together a certain period, they fail to have children, when the husband is
at liberty to divorce himself and take another wife, on the ground that his
own is of no worth. Accordingly, the girls are more free than the wives;
yet as soon as they are married they are chaste, and their husbands are for
the most part jealous, and give presents to the father or relatives of the
girl whom they marry. This is the manner of marriage, and conduct in the

In regard to their interments, when a man or woman dies, they make a
trench, in which they put all their property, as kettles, furs, axes, bows
and arrows, robes, and other things. Then they put the body in the trench,
and cover it with earth, laying on top many large pieces of wood, and
erecting over all a piece of wood painted red on the upper part. They
believe in the immortality of the soul, and say that when they die
themselves, they shall go to rejoice with their relatives and friends in
other lands.


141. _Vide_ Vol. II of this work, p 190.

142. This summary of the Christian faith is nearly in the words of the
Apostles Creed.

143. On _Pilotoua_ or _Pilotois, vide_ Vol. II. note 341.

144. _Une manière de raquette_. The snow-shoe, which much resembles the
racket or battledore, an instrument used for striking the ball in the
game of tennis. This name was given for the want of one more specific.



On the 11th of June, I went some twelve or fifteen leagues up the Saguenay,
which is a fine river, of remarkable depth. For I think, judging from what
I have heard in regard to its source, that it comes from a very high place,
whence a torrent of water descends with great impetuosity. But the water
which proceeds thence is not capable of producing such a river as this,
which, however, only extends from this torrent, where the first fall is, to
the harbor Tadoussac, at the mouth of the Saguenay, a distance of some
forty-five or fifty leagues, it being a good league and a half broad at the
widest place, and a quarter of a league at the narrowest; for which reason
there is a strong current. All the country, so far as I saw it, consisted
only of rocky mountains, mostly covered with fir, cypress, and birch; a
very unattractive region in which I did not find a level tract of land
either on the one side or the other. There are some islands in the river,
which are high and sandy. In a word, these are real deserts, uninhabitable
for animals or birds. For I can testify that when I went hunting in places
which seemed to me the most attractive, I found nothing whatever but little
birds, like nightingales and swallows, which come only in summer, as I
think, on account of the excessive cold there, this river coming from the

They told me that, after passing the first fall, whence this torrent comes,
they pass eight other falls, when they go a day's journey without finding
any; then they pass ten other falls and enter a lake [145] which it
requires two days to cross, they being able to make easily from twelve to
fifteen leagues a day. At the other extremity of the lake is found a people
who live in cabins. Then you enter three other rivers, up each of which the
distance is a journey of some three or four days. At the extremity of these
rivers are two or three bodies of water, like lakes, in which the Saguenay
has its source, from which to Tadoussac is a journey of ten days in their
canoes. There is a large number of cabins on the border of these rivers,
occupied by other tribes which come from the north to exchange with the
Montagnais their beaver and marten skins for articles of merchandise, which
the French vessels furnish to the Montagnais. These savages from the north
say that they live within sight of a sea which is salt. If this is the
case, I think that it is a gulf of that sea which flows from the north into
the interior, and in fact it cannot be otherwise. [146] This is what I have
learned in regard to the River Saguenay.


145. This was Lake St John. This description is given nearly _verbatim_ in
Vol. II. p. 169.--_Vide_ notes in the same volume, 294, 295. 146.
Champlain appears to have obtained from the Indians a very correct
idea not only of the existence but of the character of Hudson's Bay,
although that bay was not discovered by Hudson till about seven years
later than this.



On Wednesday, the eighteenth day of June, we set out from Tadoussac for the
Fall. [147] We passed near an island called Hare Island, [148] about two
leagues, from the northern shore and some seven leagues from Tadoussac and
five leagues from the southern shore. From Hare Island we proceeded along
the northern coast about half a league, to a point extending out into the
water, where one must keep out farther. This point is one league [149] from
an island called _Isle au Coudre_, about two leagues wide, the distance
from which to the northern shore is a league. This island has a pretty even
surface, growing narrower towards the two ends. At the western end there
are meadows and rocky points, which extend out some distance into the
river. This island is very pleasant on account of the woods surrounding it.
It has a great deal of slate-rock, and the soil is very gravelly; at its
extremity there is a rock extending half a league out into the water. We
went to the north of this island, [150] which is twelve leagues distant
from Hare Island.

On the Thursday following, we set out from here and came to anchor in a
dangerous cove on the northern shore, where there are some meadows and a
little river, [151] and where the savages sometimes erect their cabins. The
same day, continuing to coast along on the northern shore, we were obliged
by contrary winds to put in at a place where there were many very dangerous
rocks and localities. Here we stayed three days, waiting for fair weather.
Both the northern and Southern shores here are very mountainous, resembling
in general those of the Saguenay.

On Sunday, the twenty-second, we set out for the Island of Orleans, [152]
in the neighborhood of which are many islands on the southern shore. These
are low and covered with trees, Seem to be very pleasant, and, so far as I
could judge, some of them are one or two leagues and others half a league
in length. About these islands there are only rocks and shallows, so that
the passage is very dangerous.

They are distant some two leagues from the mainland on the south. Thence we
coasted along the Island of Orleans on the south. This is distant a league
from the mainland on the north, is very pleasant and level, and eight
leagues long. The coast on the south is low for some two leagues inland;
the country begins to be low at this island which is perhaps two leagues
distant from the southern shore. It is very dangerous passing on the
northern shore, on account of the sand-banks and rocks between the island
and mainland, and it is almost entirely dry here at low tide.

At the end of this island I saw a torrent of water [153] which descended
from a high elevation on the River of Canada. Upon this elevation the land
is uniform and pleasant, although in the interior high mountains are seen
some twenty or twenty-five leagues distant, and near the first fall of the

We came to anchor at Quebec, a narrow passage in the River of Canada, which
is here some three hundred paces broad. [154] There is, on the northern
side of this passage, a very high elevation, which falls off on two sides.
Elsewhere the country is uniform and fine, and there are good tracts full
of trees, as oaks, cypresses, birches, firs, and aspens, also wild
fruit-trees and vines which, if they were cultivated, would, in my opinion,
be as good as our own. Along the shore of Quebec, there are diamonds in
some slate-rocks, which are better than those of Alençon. From Quebec to
Hare Island is a distance of twenty-nine leagues.


147. _Saut de St Louis_, about three leagues above Montreal.

148. _Isle au Lieure_ Hare Island, so named by Cartier from the great
number of hares which he found there. Le soir feusmes à ladicte ysle,
ou trouuasmes grand nombre de lieures, desquelz eusmes quantité: & par
ce la nommasmes l'ysle es lieures.--_Brief Récit_, par Jacques
Cartier, 1545, D'Avezac ed p. 45.

The distances are here overestimated. From Hare Island to the northern
shore the distance is four nautical miles, and to the southern six.

149. The point nearest to Hare Island is Cape Salmon, which is about six
geographical miles from the Isle au Coudres, and we should here
correct the error by reading not one but two leagues. The author did
not probably intend to be exact.

150. _Isle au Coudre.--Vide Brief Récit_, par Jacques Cartier, 1545,
D'Avezac ed. p. 44; also Vol. II. of this work, p. 172. Charlevoix
says, whether from tradition or on good authority we know not, that
"in 1663 an earthquake rooted up a mountain, and threw it upon the
Isle au Coudres, which made it one-half larger than before."--
_Letters to the Duchess of Lesdiguieres_, London, 1763, p. 15.

151. This was probably about two leagues from the Isle aux Coudres, where
is a small stream which still bears the name La Petite Rivière.

152. _Isle d'Orléans.--Vide_ Vol. II. p. 173.

153. On Champlain's map of the harbor of Quebec he calls this "torrent" le
grand saut de Montmorency, the grand fall of Montmorency. It was named
by Champlain himself, and in honor of the "noble, high, and powerful
Charles de Montmorency," to whom the journal of this voyage is
dedicated. The stream is shallow, "in some places," Charlevoix says,
"not more than ankle deep." The grandeur or impressiveness of the
fall, if either of these qualities can be attributed to it, arises
from its height and not from the volume of water--_Vide_ ed. 1632, p.
123. On Bellm's Atlas Maritime, 1764, its height is put down at
_sixty-five feet_. Bayfield's Chart more correctly says 251 feet above
high water spring tides--_Vide_ Vol. II of this work, note 308.

154. _Nous vinsmmes mouiller l'ancre à Quebec, qui est vn destroict de
laditt riuiere de Canadas_. These words very clearly define the
meaning of Quebec, which is an Indian word, signifying a narrowing or
a contraction.--_Vide_ Vol. II. p. 175, note 309. The breadth of the
river at this point is underestimated It is not far from 1320 feet, or
three-quarters of a mile.



On Monday, the 23d of this month, we set out from Quebec, where the river
begins to widen, sometimes to the extent of a league, then a league and a
half or two leagues at most. The country grows finer and finer; it is
everywhere low, without rocks for the most part. The northern shore is
covered with rocks and sand-banks; it is necessary to go along the southern
one about half a league from the shore. There are some small rivers, not
navigable, except for the canoes of the savages, and in which there are a
great many falls. We came to anchor at St. Croix, fifteen leagues distant
from Quebec; a low point rising up on both sides. [155] The country is fine
and level, the soil being the best that I had seen, with extensive woods,
containing, however, but little fir and cypress. There are found there in
large numbers vines, pears, hazel-nuts, cherries, red and green currants,
and certain little radishes of the size of a small nut, resembling truffles
in taste, which are very good when roasted or boiled. All this soil is
black, without any rocks, excepting that there a large quantity of slate.
The soil is very soft, and, if well cultivated, would be very productive.

On the north shore there is a river called Batiscan, [156] extending a
great distance into the interior, along which the Algonquins sometimes
come. On the same shore there is another river, [157] three leagues below
St. Croix, which was as far as Jacques Cartier went up the river at the
time of his explorations. [158] The above-mentioned river is pleasant,
extending a considerable distance inland. All this northern shore is very
even and pleasing.

On Wednesday, [159] the 24th, we set out from St. Croix, where we had
stayed over a tide and a half in order to proceed the next day by daylight,
for this is a peculiar place on account of the great number of rocks in the
river, which is almost entirely dry at low tide; but at half-flood one can
begin to advance without difficulty, although it is necessary to keep a
good watch, lead in hand. The tide rises here nearly three fathoms and a

The farther we advanced, the finer the country became. After going some
five leagues and a half, we came to anchor on the northern shore. On the
Wednesday following, we set out from this place, where the country is
flatter than the preceding and heavily wooded, as at St. Croix. We passed
near a small island covered with vines, and came to anchor on the southern
shore, near a little elevation, upon ascending which we found a level
country. There is another small island three leagues from St. Croix, near
the southern shore. [160] We set out on the following Thursday from this
elevation, and passed by a little island near the northern shore. Here I
landed at six or more small rivers, up two of which boats can go for a
considerable distance. Another is some three hundred feet broad, with some
islands at its mouth. It extends far into the interior, and is the deepest
of all. [161] These rivers are very pleasant, their shores being covered
with trees which resemble nut-trees, and have the same odor; but, as I saw
no fruit, I am inclined to doubt. The savages told me that they bear fruit
like our own.

Advancing still farther, we came to an island called St. Éloi; [162] also
another little island very near the northern shore. We passed between this
island and the northern shore, the distance from one to the other being
some hundred and fifty feet; that from the same island to the southern
shore, a league and a half. We passed also near a river large enough for
canoes. All the northern shore is very good, and one can sail along there
without obstruction; but he should keep the lead in hand in order to avoid
certain points. All this shore along which we coasted consists of shifting
sands, but a short distance in the interior the land is good.

The Friday following, we set out from this island, and continued to coast
along the northern shore very near the land, which is low and abundant in
trees of good quality as far as the Trois Rivières. Here the temperature
begins to be somewhat different from that of St. Croix, since the trees are
more forward here than in any other place that I had yet seen. From the
Trois Rivières to St. Croix the distance is fifteen leagues. In this river
[163] there are six islands, three of which are very small, the others
being from five to six hundred feet long, very pleasant, and fertile so far
as their small extent goes. There is one of these in the centre of the
above-mentioned river, confronting the River of Canada, and commanding a
view of the others, which are distant from the land from four to five
hundred feet on both sides. It is high on the southern side, but lower
somewhat on the northern. This would be, in my judgment, a favorable place
in which to make a settlement, and it could be easily fortified, for its
situation is strong of itself, and it is near a large lake which is only
some four leagues distant. This river extends close to the River Saguenay,
according to the report of the savages, who go nearly a hundred leagues
northward, pass numerous falls, go overland some five or six leagues, enter
a lake from which principally the Saguenay has its source, and thence go to
Tadoussac. [164] I think, likewise, that the settlement of the Trois
Rivières would be a boon for the freedom of some tribes, who dare not come
this way in consequence of their enemies, the Iroquois, who occupy the
entire borders of the River of Canada; but, if it were settled, these
Iroquois and other savages could be made friendly, or, at least, under the
protection of this settlement, these savages would come freely without fear
or danger, the Trois Rivières being a place of passage. All the land that I
saw on the northern shore is sandy. We ascended this river for about a
league, not being able to proceed farther on account of the strong current.
We continued on in a skiff, for the sake of observation, but had not gone
more than a league when we encountered a very narrow fall, about twelve
feet wide, on account of which we could not go farther. All the country
that I saw on the borders of this river becomes constantly more
mountainous, and contains a great many firs and cypresses, but few trees of
other kinds.


155. The Point of St. Croix, where they anchored, must have been what is
now known as Point Platon. Champlain's distances are rough estimates,
made under very unfavorable circumstances, and far from accurate.
Point Platon is about thirty-five miles from Quebec.

156. Champlain does not mention the rivers precisely in their order. On his
map of 1612, he has _Contrée de Bassquan_ on the west of Trois
Rivières. The river Batiscan empties into the St. Lawrence about four
miles west of the St. Anne--_Vide Atlas Maritime_, by Bellin, 1764;
_Atlas of the Dominion of Canada_, 1875.

157. River Jacques Cartier, which is in fact about five miles east of Point

158. Jacques Cartier did, in fact, ascend the St. Lawrence as far as
Hochelaga, or Montreal. The Abbé Laverdière suggests that Champlain
had not at this time seen the reports of Cartier. Had he seen them he
would hardly have made this statement. Pont Gravé had been here
several times, and may have been Champlain's incorrect informant.
_Vide Laverdière in loco_.

159. Read Tuesday.

160. Richelieu Island, so called by the French, as early as 1635, nearly
opposite Dechambeau Point.--_Vide Laurie's Chart_. It was called St
Croix up to 1633. _Laverdière in loco_ The Indians called it _Ka
ouapassiniskakhi_.--_Jésuit Relations_, 1635, p. 13.

161. This river is now known as the Sainte Anne. Champlain says they named
it _Rivière Saincte Marie_--_Vide_ Quebec ed. Tome III. p. 175; Vol.
II. p 201 of this work.

162. An inconsiderable island near Batiscan, not laid down on the charts.

163. The St. Maurice, anciently known as _Trois Rivièrs_, because two
islands in its mouth divide it into three channels. Its Indian name,
according to Père Le Jeune, was _Metaberoutin_. It appears to be the
same river mentioned by Cartier in his second voyage, which he
explored and reported as shallow and of no importance. He found in it
four small islands, which may afterward have been subdivided into six.
He named it _La Riuiere die Fouez.--Brief Récit_, par Jacques Cartier,
D'Avezac ed. p. 28. _Vide Relations des Jésuites_, 1635, p. 13.

164. An eastern branch of the St Maurice River rises in a small lake, from
which Lake St. John, which is an affluent of the Saguenay, may be
reached by a land portage of not more than five or six leagues.



On the Saturday following, we set out from the Trois Rivières, and came to
anchor at a lake four leagues distant. All this region from the Trois
Rivières to the entrance to the lake is low and on a level with the water,
though somewhat higher on the south side. The land is very good and the
pleasantest yet seen by us. The woods are very open, so that one could
easily make his way through them.

The next day, the 29th of June, [165] we entered the lake, which is some
fifteen leagues long and seven or eight wide. [166] About a league from its
entrance, and on the south side, is a river [167] of considerable size and
extending into the interior some sixty or eighty leagues. Farther on, on
the same side, there is another small river, extending about two leagues
inland, and, far in, another little lake, which has a length of perhaps
three or four leagues. [168] On the northern shore, where the land appears
very high, you can see for some twenty leagues; but the mountains grow
gradually smaller towards the west, which has the appearance of being a
flat region. The savages say that on these mountains the land is for the
most part poor. The lake above mentioned is some three fathoms deep where
we passed, which was nearly in the middle. Its longitudinal direction is
from east to west, and its lateral one from north to south. I think that it
must contain good fish, and such varieties as we have at home. We passed
through it this day, and came to anchor about two leagues up the river,
which extends its course farther on, at the entrance to which there are
thirty little islands. [169] From what I could observe, some are two
leagues in extent, others a league and a half, and some less. They contain
numerous nut-trees, which are but little different from our own, and, as I
am inclined to think, the nuts are good in their season. I saw a great many
of them under the trees, which were of two kinds, some small, and others an
inch long; but they were decayed. There are also a great many vines on the
shores of these islands, most of which, however, when the waters are high,
are submerged. The country here is superior to any I have yet seen.

The last day of June, we set out from here and went to the entrance of the
River of the Iroquois, [170] where the savages were encamped and fortified
who were on their way to make war with the former. [171] Their fortress is
made of a large number of stakes closely pressed against each other. It
borders on one side on the shore of the great river, on the other on that
of the River of the Iroquois. Their canoes are drawn up by the side of each
other on the shore, so that they may be able to flee quickly in case of a
surprise from the Iroquois; for their fortress is covered with oak bark,
and serves only to give them time to take to their boats.

We went up the River of the Iroquois some five or six leagues, but, because
of the strong current, could not proceed farther in our barque, which we
were also unable to drag overland, on account of the large number of trees
on the shore. Finding that we could not proceed farther, we took our skiff
to see if the current were less strong above; but, on advancing some two
leagues, we found it still stronger, and were unable to go any farther.
[172] As we could do nothing else, we returned in our barque. This entire
river is some three to four hundred paces broad, and very unobstructed. We
saw there five islands, distant from each other a quarter or half a league,
or at most a league, one of which, the nearest, is a league long, the
others being very small. All this country is heavily wooded and low, like
that which I had before seen; but there are more firs and cypresses than in
other places. The soil is good, although a little sandy. The direction of
this river is about southwest. [173]

The savages say that some fifteen leagues from where we had been there is a
fall [174] of great length, around which they carry their canoes about a
quarter of a league, when they enter a lake, at the entrance to which there
are three islands, with others farther in. It may be some forty or fifty
leagues long and some twenty-five wide, into which as many as ten rivers
flow, up which canoes can go for a considerable distance. [175] Then, at
the other end of this lake, there is another fall, when another lake is
entered, of the same size as the former, [176] at the extremity of which
the Iroquois are encamped. They say also that there is a river [177]
extending to the coast of Florida, a distance of perhaps some hundred or
hundred and forty leagues from the latter lake. All the country of the
Iroquois is somewhat mountainous, but has a very good soil, the climate
being moderate, without much winter.


165. They entered the lake on St. Peter's day, the 29th of June, and, for
this reason doubtless, it was subsequently named Lake St. Peter, which
name it still retains. It was at first called Lake Angouleme--_Vide_
marginal note in Hakluyt. Vol. III. p. 271. Laverdière cites Thévet to
the same effect.

166. From the point at which the river flows into the lake to its exit, the
distance is about twenty-seven miles and its width about seven miles.
Champlain's distances, founded upon rough estimates made on a first
voyage of difficult navigation, are exceedingly inaccurate, and,
independent of other data, cannot be relied upon for the
identification of localities.

167. The author appears to have confused the relative situations of the two
rivers here mentioned. The smaller one should, we think, have been
mentioned first. The larger one was plainly the St Francis, and the
smaller one the Nicolette.

168. This would seem to be the _Baie la Vallure_, at the southwestern
extremity of Lake St. Peter.

169. The author here refers to the islands at the western extremity of Lake
St. Peter, which are very numerous. On Charlevoix's Carte de la
Rivière de Richelieu they are called _Isles de Richelieu_. The more
prominent are Monk Island, Isle de Grace, Bear Island. Isle St Ignace,
and Isle du Pas. Champlain refers to these islands again in 1609, with
perhaps a fuller description--_Vide_ Vol. II. p. 206.

170. The Richelieu, flowing from Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence. For
description of this river, see Vol. II. p. 210, note 337. In 1535 the
Indians at Montreal pointed out this river as leading to Florida.--
_Vide Brief Récit_, par Jacques Cartier, 1545, D'Avezac ed.

171. The Hurons, Algonquins, and Montagnais were at war with the Iroquois,
and the savages assembled here were composed of some or all of these

172. The rapids in the river here were too strong for the French barque, or
even the skiff, but were not difficult to pass with the Indian canoe,
as was fully proved in 1609.--_Vide_ Vol. II. p. 207 of this work.

173. The course of the Richelieu is nearly from the south to the north.

174. The rapids of Chambly.

175. Lake Champlain, discovered by him in 1609.--_Vide_ Vol. II. ch. ix.

176. Lake George. Champlain either did not comprehend his Indian
informants, or they greatly exaggerated the comparative size of this

177. The Hudson River--_Vide_ Vol. II. p. 218, note 347.



Setting out from the River of the Iroquois, we came to anchor three leagues
from there, on the northern shore. All this country is low, and filled with
the various kinds of trees which I have before mentioned.

On the first day of July we coasted along the northern shore, where the
woods are very open; more so than in any place we had before seen. The soil
is also everywhere favorable for cultivation.

I went in a canoe to the southern shore, where I saw a large number of
islands, [178] which abound in fruits, such as grapes, walnuts, hazel-nuts,
a kind of fruit resembling chestnuts, and cherries; also in oaks, aspens,
poplar, hops, ash, maple, beech, cypress, with but few pines and firs.
There were, moreover, other fine-looking trees, with which I am not
acquainted. There are also a great many strawberries, raspberries, and
currants, red, green, and blue, together with numerous small fruits which
grow in thick grass. There are also many wild beasts, such as orignacs,
stags, hinds, does, bucks, bears, porcupines, hares, foxes, bearers,
otters, musk-rats, and some other kinds of animals with which I am not
acquainted, which are good to eat, and on which the savages subsist. [179]

We passed an island having a very pleasant appearance, some four leagues
long and about half a league wide. [180] I saw on the southern shore two
high mountains, which appeared to be some twenty leagues in the interior.
[181] The savages told me that this was the first fall of the River of the

On Wednesday following, we set out from this place, and made some five or
six leagues. We saw numerous islands; the land on them was low, and they
were covered with trees like those of the River of the Iroquois. On the
following day we advanced some few leagues, and passed by a great number of
islands, beautiful on account of the many meadows, which are likewise to be
seen on the mainland as well as on the islands. [182] The trees here are
all very small in comparison with those we had already passed.

We arrived finally, on the same day, having a fair wind, at the entrance to
the fall. We came to an island almost in the middle of this entrance, which
is a quarter of a league long. [183] We passed to the south of it, where
there were from three to five feet of water only, with a fathom or two in
some places, after which we found suddenly only three or four feet. There
are many rocks and little islands without any wood at all, and on a level
with the water. From the lower extremity of the above-mentioned island in
the middle of the entrance, the water begins to come with great force.
Although we had a very favorable wind, yet we could not, in spite of all
our efforts, advance much. Still, we passed this island at the entrance of
the fall. Finding that we could not proceed, we came to anchor on the
northern shore, opposite a little island, which abounds in most of the
fruits before mentioned. [184] We at once got our skiff ready, which had
been expressly made for passing this fall, and Sieur Du Pont Gravé and
myself embarked in it, together with some savages whom we had brought to
show us the way. After leaving our barque, we had not gone three hundred
feet before we had to get out, when some sailors got into the water and
dragged our skiff over. The canoe of the savages went over easily. We
encountered a great number of little rocks on a level with the water, which
we frequently struck.

There are here two large islands; one on the northern side, some fifteen
leagues long and almost as broad, begins in the River of Canada, some
twelve leagues towards the River of the Iroquois, and terminates beyond the
fall. [185] The island on the south shore is some four leagues long and
half a league wide. [186] There is, besides, another island near that on
the north, which is perhaps half a league long and a quarter wide. [187]
There is still another small island between that on the north and the other
farther south, where we passed the entrance to the fall. [188] This being
passed, there is a kind of lake, in which are all these islands, and which
is some five leagues long and almost as wide, and which contains a large
number of little islands or rocks. Near the fall there is a mountain, [189]
visible at a considerable distance, also a small river coming from this
mountain and falling into the lake. [190] On the south, some three or four
mountains are seen, which seem to be fifteen or sixteen leagues off in the
interior. There are also two rivers; the one [191] reaching to the first
lake of the River of the Iroquois, along which the Algonquins sometimes go
to make war upon them, the other near the fall and extending some feet
inland. [192]

On approaching this fall [193] with our little skiff and the canoe, I saw,
to my astonishment, a torrent of water descending with an impetuosity such
as I have never before witnessed, although it is not very high, there being
in some places only a fathom or two, and at most but three. It descends as
if by steps, and at each descent there is a remarkable boiling, owing to
the force and swiftness with which the water traverses the fall, which is
about a league in length. There are many rocks on all sides, while near the
middle there are some very narrow and long islands. There are rapids not
only by the side of those islands on the south shore, but also by those on
the north, and they are so dangerous that it is beyond the power of man to
pass through with a boat, however small. We went by land through the woods
a distance of a league, for the purpose of seeing the end of the falls,
where there are no more rocks or rapids; but the water here is so swift
that it could not be more so, and this current continues three or four
leagues; so that it is impossible to imagine one's being able to go by
boats through these falls. But any one desiring to pass them, should
provide himself with the canoe of the savages, which a man can easily
carry. For to make a portage by boat could not be done in a sufficiently
brief time to enable one to return to France, if he desired to winter
there. Besides this first fall, there are ten others, for the most part
hard to pass; so that it would be a matter of great difficulty and labor to
see and do by boat what one might propose to himself, except at great cost,
and the risk of working in vain. But in the canoes of the savages one can
go without restraint, and quickly, everywhere, in the small as well as
large rivers. So that, by using canoes as the savages do, it would be
possible to see all there is, good and bad, in a year or two.

The territory on the side of the fall where we went overland consists, so
far as we saw it, of very open woods, where one can go with his armor
without much difficulty. The air is milder and the soil better than in any
place I have before seen. There are extensive woods and numerous fruits, as
in all the places before mentioned. It is in latitude 45 deg. and some

Finding that we could not advance farther, we returned to our barque, where
we asked our savages in regard to the continuation of the river, which I
directed them to indicate with their hands; so, also, in what direction its
source was. They told us that, after passing the first fall, [194] which we
had seen, they go up the river some ten or fifteen leagues with their
canoes, [195] extending to the region of the Algonquins, some sixty leagues
distant from the great river, and that they then pass five falls,
extending, perhaps, eight leagues from the first to the last, there being
two where they are obliged to carry their canoes. [196] The extent of each
fall may be an eighth of a league, or a quarter at most. After this, they
enter a lake, [197] perhaps some fifteen or sixteen leagues long. Beyond
this they enter a river a league broad, and in which they go several


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