Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, Vol. 2
Samuel de Champlain
Part 4 out of 5
Lescarbot gives a very interesting account of Captain Savalette, the
old Basque fisherman, who had made forty-two voyages into these
waters. He had been eminently successful in fishing, having taken
daily, according to his own account, fifty crowns' worth of codfish,
and expected his voyage would yield, ten thousand francs. His vessel
was of eighty tons burden, and could take in a hundred thousand dry
codfish. He was well known, and a great favorite with the voyagers to
this coast. He was from St. Jean de Luz, a small seaport town in the
department of the Lower Pyrenees in France, near the borders of Spain,
distinguished even at this day for its fishing interest.
274. The Indians were in the habit of selecting from day to day the best of
Savalette's fish when they came in, and appropriating them to their
own use, _nolens volens_.
275. _Canseau_. Currency has been given to an idle fancy that this name was
derived from that of a French navigator, but it has been abundantly
disproved by the Abbé Laverdière. It is undoubtedly a word of Indian
276. The variation of the magnetic needle in 1871, fifteen miles South of
the Harbor of Canseau, was, according to the Admiralty charts, 23
degrees west. The magnetic needle was employed in navigation as early
as the year 1200, and its variation had been discovered before the
time of Columbus. But for a long period its variation was supposed to
be fixed; that is to say, was supposed to be always the same in the
same locality. A few years before Champlain made his voyages to
America, it was discovered that its variation in Paris was not fixed,
but that it changed from year to year. If Champlain was aware of this,
his design in noting its exact variation, as he did at numerous points
on our coast, may have been to furnish data for determining at some
future day whether the variation were changeable here as well as in
France. But, whether he was aware of the discovery then recently made
in Paris or not, he probably intended, by noting the declination of
the needle, to indicate his longitude, at least approximately.
277. Chedabucto Bay.
278. The Strait of Canseau. Champlain gives it on his map, 1612. _Pasage du
glas;_ De Laet, 1633, _Passage du glas;_ Creuxius, 1660, Fretum
Campseium; Charlevoix, 1744, _Passage de Canceau_. It appears from the
above that the early name was soon superseded by that which it now
279. Now called _La Bras d'Or_, The Golden Arm.
280. There is, in fact, no passage of La Bras d'Or on the south-west; and
Champlain corrects his error, as may be seen by reference to his map
of 1612. It may also be stated that the sea enters from the
north-east. _Nordouest_ in the original is here probably a
typographical error for _nordest_. There are, indeed, two passages,
both on the north-east, distinguished as the Great and the Little Bras
281. _Le Port aux Anglois_, the Harbor of the English. On De Laet's map,
Port aux Angloix. This is the Harbor of Louisburgh, famous in the
history of the Island of Cape Breton.
282. Roscofs, a small seaport town. On Mercator's Atlas of 1623, it is
written Roscou, as in the text.
283. According to Lescarbot, they remained at St. Malo eight days, when
they went in a barque to Honfleur, narrowly escaping
shipwreck. Poutrincourt proceeded to Paris, where he exhibited to
Henry IV. corn, wheat, rye, barley, and oats, products of the colony
which he had so often promised to cherish, but whose means of
subsistence he had now nevertheless ungraciously taken away.
Poutrincourt also presented to him five _oustards_, or wild geese,
which he had bred from the shell. The king was greatly delighted with
them, and had them preserved at Fontainebleau. These exhibitions of
the products of New France had the desired effect upon the generous
heart of Henry IV.; and De Monts's monopoly of the fur-trade was
renewed for one year, to furnish some slight aid in establishing his
colonies in New France.
GREAT RIVER ST. LAWRENCE,
SIEUR DE CHAMPLAIN,
CAPTAIN IN ORDINARY TO THE KING IN THE MARINE,
FROM THE YEAR 1608 TO THAT OF 1612.
DETERMINATION OF SIEUR DE MONTS TO MAKE EXPLORATIONS IN THE INTERIOR; HIS
COMMISSION, AND ITS INFRINGEMENT BY THE BASQUES, WHO DISARMED THE VESSEL OF
PONT GRAVÉ; AND THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN THEM WHICH THEY SUBSEQUENTLY MADE.
Having returned to France after a stay of three years in New France, 
I proceeded to Sieur de Monts, and related to him the principal events of
which I had been a witness since his departure, and gave him the map and
plan of the most remarkable coasts and harbors there.
Some time afterward, Sieur de Monts determined to continue his undertaking,
and complete the exploration of the interior along the great river
St. Lawrence, where I had been by order of the late King Henry the Great
 in the year 1603, for a distance of some hundred and eighty leagues,
commencing in latitude 48° 40', that is, at Gaspé, at the entrance of the
river, as far as the great fall, which is in latitude 45° and some minutes,
where our exploration ended, and where boats could not pass as we then
thought, since we had not made a careful examination of it as we have since
Now after Sieur de Monts had conferred with me several times in regard to
his purposes concerning the exploration, he resolved to continue so noble
and meritorious an undertaking, notwithstanding the hardships and labors of
the past. He honored me with his lieutenancy for the voyage; and, in order
to carry out his purpose, he had two vessels equipped, one commanded by
Pont Gravé, who was commissioned to trade with the savages of the country
and bring back the vessels, while I was to winter in the country.
Sieur de Monts, for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the
expedition, obtained letters from his Majesty for one year, by which all
persons were forbidden to traffic in peltry with the savages, on penalties
stated in the following commission:--
HENRY BY THE GRACE OF GOD KING OF FRANCE AND NAVARRE, to our beloved and
faithful Councillors, the officers of our Admiralty in Normandy, Brittany,
and Guienne, bailiffs, marshals, prevosts, judges, or their lieutenants,
and to each one of them, according to his authority, throughout the extent
of their powers, jurisdictions, and precincts, greeting:
Acting upon the information which has been given us by those who have
returned from New France, respecting the good quality and fertility of the
lands of that country, and the disposition of the people to accept the
knowledge of God, We have resolved to continue the settlement previously
undertaken there, in order that our subjects may go there to trade without
hinderance. And in view of the proposition to us of Sieur de Monts,
Gentleman in Ordinary of our chamber, and our Lieutenant-General in that
country, to make a settlement, on condition of our giving him means and
supplies for sustaining the expense of it,  it has pleased us to
promise and assure him that none of our subjects but himself shall be
permitted to trade in peltry and other merchandise, for the period of one
year only, in the lands, regions, harbors, rivers, and highways throughout
the extent of his jurisdiction: this We desire to have fulfilled. For these
causes and other considerations impelling us thereto, We command and decree
that each one of you, throughout the extent of your powers, jurisdictions,
and precincts, shall act in our stead and carry out our will in distinctly
prohibiting and forbidding all merchants, masters, and captains of vessels,
also sailors and others of our subjects, of whatever rank and profession,
to fit out any vessels, in which to go themselves or send others in order
to engage in trade or barter in peltry and other things with the savages of
New France, to visit, trade, or communicate with them during the space of
one year, within the jurisdiction of Sieur de Monts, on penalty of
disobedience, and the entire confiscation of their vessels, supplies, arms,
and merchandise for the benefit of Sieur de Monts; and, in order that the
punishment of their disobedience may be assured, you will allow, as We have
and do allow, the aforesaid Sieur de Monts or his lieutenants to seize,
apprehend, and arrest all violators of our present prohibition and order,
also their vessels, merchandise, arms, supplies, and victuals, in order to
take and deliver them up to the hands of justice, so that action may be
taken not only against the persons, but also the property of the offenders,
as the case shall require. This is our will, and We bid you to have it at
once read and published in all localities and public places within your
authority and jurisdiction, as you may deem necessary, by the first one of
our officers or sergeants in accordance with this requisition, by virtue of
these presents, or a copy of the same, properly attested once only by one
of our well-beloved and faithful councillors, notaries, and secretaries, to
which it is Our will that credence should be given as to the present
original, in order that none of our subjects may claim ground for
ignorance, but that all may obey and act in accordance with Our will in
this matter. We order, moreover, all captains of vessels, mates, and second
mates, and sailors of the same, and others on board of vessels or ships in
the ports and harbors of the aforesaid country, to permit, as We have done,
Sieur de Monts, and others possessing power and authority from him, to
search the aforesaid vessels which shall have engaged in the fur-trade
after the present prohibition shall have been made known to them. It is Our
will that, upon the requisition, of the aforesaid Sieur de Monts, his
lieutenants, and others having authority, you should proceed against the
disobedient and offenders, as the case may require: to this end. We give
you power, authority, commission, and special mandate, notwithstanding the
act of our Council of the 17th day of July last,  any hue and cry,
Norman charter, accusation, objection, or appeals of whatsoever kind; on
account of which, and for fear of disregarding which, it is Our will that
there should be no delay, and, if any of these occur, We have withheld and
reserved cognizance of the same to Ourselves and our Council, apart from
all other judges, and have forbidden and prohibited the same to all our
courts and judges: for this is Our pleasure.
Given at Paris the seventh day of January, in the year of grace, sixteen
hundred and eight, and the nineteenth of Our reign. Signed, HENRY.
And lower down, By the King, Delomenie. And sealed with the single label of
the great seal of yellow wax.
Collated with the original by me, Councillor, Notary, and secretary of the
I proceeded to Honfleur for embarkation, where I found the vessel of Pont
Gravé in readiness. He left port on the 5th of April. I did so on the 13th,
arriving at the Grand Bank on the 15th of May, in latitude 45° 15'. On the
26th, we sighted Cape St. Mary, in latitude 46° 45', on the Island of
Newfoundland. On the 27th of the month, we sighted Cape St. Lawrence, on
Cape Breton, and also the Island of St. Paul, distant eighty-three leagues
from Cape St. Mary. On the 30th, we sighted Isle Percée and
Gaspé, in latitude 48° 40', distant from Cape St. Lawrence from
seventy to seventy-five leagues.
On the 3d of June, we arrived before Tadoussac, distant from Gaspé from
eighty to ninety leagues; and we anchored in the roadstead of
Tadoussac, a league distant from the harbor, which latter is a kind of
cove at the mouth of the river Saguenay, where the tide is very remarkable
on account of its rapidity, and where there are sometimes violent winds,
bringing severe cold. It is maintained that from the harbor of Tadoussac it
is some forty-five or fifty leagues to the first fall on this river, which
comes from the north-north-west. The harbor is small, and can accommodate
only about twenty vessels. It has water enough, and is under shelter of the
river Saguenay and a little rocky island; which is almost cut by the river;
elsewhere there are very high mountains with little soil and only rocks and
sand, thickly covered with such wood as fir and birch. There is a small
pond near the harbor, shut in by mountains covered with wood. There are two
points at the mouth: one on the south-west side, extending out nearly a
league into the sea, called Point St. Matthew, or otherwise Point aux
Allouettes; and another on the north-west side, extending out one-eighth of
a league, and called Point of all Devils. from the dangerous nature of
the place. The winds from the south-south-east strike the harbor, which are
not to be feared; but those, however, from the Saguenay are. The two points
above mentioned are dry at low tide: our vessel was unable to enter the
harbor, as the wind and tide were unfavorable. I at once had the boat
lowered, in order to go to the port and ascertain whether Pont Gravé had
arrived. While on the way, I met a shallop with the pilot of Pont Gravé and
a Basque, who came to inform me of what had happened to them because they
attempted to hinder the Basque vessels from trading, according to the
commission obtained by Sieur de Monts from his Majesty, that no vessels
should trade without permission of Sieur de Monts, as was expressed in it;
and that, notwithstanding the notifications which Pont Gravé made in behalf
of his Majesty, they did not desist from forcibly carrying on their
traffic; and that they had used their arms and maintained themselves so
well in their vessel that, discharging all their cannon upon that of Pont
Gravé, and letting off many musket-shots, he was severely wounded, together
with three of his men, one of whom died, Pont Gravé meanwhile making no
resistance; for at the first shower of musketry he was struck down. The
Basques came on board of the vessel and took away all the cannon and arms,
declaring that they would trade, notwithstanding the prohibition of the
King, and that when they were ready to set out for France they would
restore to him his cannon and ammunition, and that they were keeping them
in order to be in a state of security. Upon hearing all these particulars,
I was greatly annoyed at such a beginning, which we might have easily
Now, after hearing from the pilot all these things, I asked him why the
Basque had come on board of our vessel. He told me that he came in behalf
of their master, named Darache, and his companions, to obtain assurance
from me that I would do them no harm, when our vessel entered the harbor.
I replied that I could not give any until I had seen Pont Gravé. The Basque
said that, if I had need of any thing in their power, they would assist me
accordingly. What led them to use this language was simply their
recognition of having done wrong, as they confessed, and the fear that they
would not be permitted to engage in the whale-fishery. After talking at
length, I went ashore to see Pont Gravé, in order to deliberate as to what
was to be done. I found him very ill. He related to me in detail all that
had happened. We concluded that we could only enter the harbor by force,
and that the settlement must not be given up for this year, so that we
considered it best, in order not to make a bad cause out of a just one, and
thus work our ruin, to give them assurances on my part so long as I should
remain there, and that Pont Gravé should undertake nothing against them,
but that justice should be done in France, and their differences should be
Darache, master of the vessel, begged me to go on board, where he gave me a
cordial reception. After a long conference, I secured an agreement between
Pont Gravé and him, and required him to promise that he would undertake
nothing against Pont Gravé, or what would be prejudicial to the King and
Sieur de Monts; that, if he did the contrary, I should regard my promise as
null and void. This was agreed to, and signed by each.
In this place were a number of savages who had come for traffic in furs,
several of whom came to our vessel with their canoes, which are from eight
to nine paces long, and about a pace or pace and a half broad in the
middle, growing narrower towards the two ends. They are very apt to turn
over, in case one does not understand managing them, and are made of birch
bark, strengthened on the inside by little ribs of white cedar, very neatly
arranged; they are so light that a man can easily carry one. Each can carry
a weight equal to that of a pipe. When they want to go overland to a river
where they have business, they carry them with them. From Choüacoet along
the coast as far as the harbor of Tadoussac, they are all alike.
283. Champlain arrived on the shores of America on the 8th of May, 1604,
and left on the 3rd of September, 1607. He had consequently been on
our coast three years, three months, and twenty-five days.
284. _The late King Henry the Great_. Henry IV. died in 1610, and this
introductory passage was obviously written after that event, probably
near the time of the publication of his voyages in 1613.
285. In the preliminary voyage of 1603, Champlain ascended the St. Lawrence
as far as the falls of St. Louis, above Montreal.
286. The contribution by Henry IV. did not probably extend beyond the
monopoly of the fur-trade granted by him in this commission.
287. This, we presume, was the act abrogating the charter of De Monts
granted in 1603.
288. This cape still retains its ancient name, and is situated between
St. Mary's Bay and Placentia Bay.
289. Cape St. Lawrence is the northernmost extremity of the Island of Cape
Breton, and the Island of St. Paul is twenty miles north-east of it.
290. The Isle Percée, or pierced island, is a short distance north of the
Island of Bonaventure, at the entrance of Mal Bay, near the village of
Percée, where there is a government light. Gaspé Bay is some miles
farther north. "Below the bay," says Charlevoix, "we perceive a kind
of island, which is only a steep rock about thirty fathoms long, ten
high, and four in breadth: it looks like part of an old wall, and they
say it joined formerly to _Mount Ioli_, which is over against it on
the continent. This rock has in the midst of it an opening like an
arch, under which a boat of Biscay may pass with its sail up, and this
has given it the name of the _pierced island_."--_Letters to the
Duchess of Lesdiguières_, by Francis Xavier de Charlevoix, London,
1763, p. 12.
291. The position in the roadstead was south-east of the harbor, so that
the harbor was seen on the north-west. Charlevoix calls it Moulin
Baude. The reader will find the position indicated by the letter M on
Champlain's map of the Port of Tadoussac. Baude Moulin (Baude Mill),
directly north of it, was probably a mill _privilege_. Charlevoix, in
1720, anchored there, and asked them to show him the mill; and they
showed him some rocks, from which issued a stream of clear water. He
adds, they might build a water-mill here, but probably it will never
292. _Pointe de tous les Diables_. Now known as Pointe aux Vaches, _cows_.
The point on the other side of the river is still called Pointe aux
Alouettes, or Lark Point.
OF THE RIVER SAGUENAY, AND THE SAVAGES WHO VISITED US THERE.--OF THE ISLAND
OF ORLEANS, AND ALL THAT WE OBSERVED THERE WORTHY OF NOTE.
After this agreement, I had some carpenters set to work to fit up a little
barque of twelve or fourteen tons, for carrying all that was needed for our
settlement, which, however, could not be got ready before the last of June.
Meanwhile, I managed to visit some parts of the river Saguenay, a fine
river, which has the incredible depth of some one hundred and fifty to two
hundred fathoms.  About fifty leagues from the mouth of the harbor,
there is, as is said, a great waterfall, descending from a very high
elevation with great impetuosity. There are some islands in this river,
very barren, being only rocks covered with small firs and heathers. It is
half a league broad in places, and a quarter of a league at its mouth,
where the current is so strong that at three-quarters flood-tide in the
river it is still running out. All the land that I have seen consists only
of mountains and rocky promontories, for the most part covered with fir and
birch, a very unattractive country on both sides of the river. In a word,
it is mere wastes, uninhabited by either animals or birds; for, going out
hunting in places which seemed to me the most pleasant, I found only some
very small birds, such as swallows and river birds, which go there in
summer. At other times, there are none whatever, in consequence of the
excessive cold. This river flows from the north-west.
The savages told me that, after passing the first fall, they meet with
eight others, when they go a day's journey without finding any. Then they
pass ten others, and enter a lake,  which they are three days in
crossing, and they are easily able to make ten leagues a day up stream. At
the end of the lake there dwells a migratory people. Of the three rivers
which flow into this lake, one comes from the north, very near the sea,
where they consider it much colder than in their own country; and the other
two from other directions in the interior,  where are migratory
savages, living only from hunting, and where our savages carry the
merchandise we give them for their furs, such as beaver, marten, lynx, and
otter, which are found there in large numbers, and which they then carry to
our vessels. These people of the north report to our savages that they see
the salt sea; and, if that is true, as I think it certainly is, it can be
nothing but a gulf entering the interior on the north.  The savages
say that the distance from the north sea to the port of Tadoussac is
perhaps forty-five or fifty days' journey, in consequence of the
difficulties presented by the roads, rivers, and country, which is very
mountainous, and where there is snow for the most part of the year. This is
what I have definitely ascertained in regard to this river. I have often
wished to explore it, but could not do so without the savages, who were
unwilling that I or any of our party should accompany them. Nevertheless,
they have promised that I shall do so. This exploration would be desirable,
in order to remove the doubts of many persons in regard to the existence of
this sea on the north, where it is maintained that the English have gone in
these latter years to find a way to China. 
* * * * *
CHAMPLAIN'S EXPLANATION OF THE ACCOMPANYING MAP.
PORT DE TADOUCAC.
_The figures indicate the fathoms of water_.
_A_. A round mountain on the bank of the river Saguenay.
_B_. The harbor of Tadoussac.
_C_. A small fresh-water brook.
_D_. The encampment of the savages when they come to traffic.
_E_. A peninsula partly enclosing the port of the river Saguenay.
_F_. Point of All Devils.
_G_. The river Saguenay.
_H_. Point aux Alouettes.
_I_. Very rough mountains covered with firs and beeches.
_L_. The mill Bode.
_M_. The roadstead where vessels anchor while waiting for wind and tide.
_N_. A little pond near the harbor.
_O_. A small brook coming from the pond and flowing into the Saguenay.
_P_. Place without trees near the point where there is a quantity of grass.
* * * * *
I set out from Tadoussac the last day of the month to go to Quebec. 
We passed near an island called Hare Island,  distant six leagues from
the above-named port: it is two leagues from the northern, and nearly four
leagues from the southern shore. From Hare Island we proceeded to a little
river, dry at low tide, up which some seven hundred or eight hundred paces
there are two falls. We named it Salmon River,  since we caught some
of these fish in it. Coasting along the north shore, we came to a point
extending into the river, which we called Cap Dauphin,  distant three
leagues from Salmon River. Thence we proceeded to another, which we named
Eagle Cape,  distant eight leagues from Cap Dauphin. Between the two
there is a large bay,  at the extremity of which is a little river dry
at low tide. From Eagle Cape, we proceeded to Isle aux Coudres,  a
good league distant, which is about a league and a half long. It is nearly
level, and grows narrower towards the two ends. On the western end there
are meadows, and rocky points extending some distance out into the river.
On the south-west side it is very reefy, yet very pleasant in consequence
of the woods surrounding it. It is distant about half a league from the
northern shore, where is a little river extending some distance into the
interior. We named it Rivière du Gouffre,  since abreast of it the
tide runs with extraordinary rapidity; and, although it has a calm
appearance, it is always much agitated, the depth there being great: but
the river itself is shallow, and there are many rocks at and about its
mouth. Coasting along from Isle aux Coudres, we reached a cape which we
named Cap de Tourmente,  five leagues distant; and we gave it this
name because, however little wind there may be, the water rises there as if
it were full tide. At this point, the water begins to be fresh. Thence we
proceeded to the Island of Orleans,  a distance of two leagues, on the
south side of which are numerous islands, low, covered with trees and very
pleasant, with large meadows, having plenty of game, some being, so far as
I could judge, two leagues in length, others a trifle more or less. About
these islands are many rocks, also very dangerous shallows, some two
leagues distant from the main land on the South. All this shore, both north
and South, from Tadoussac to the Island of Orleans, is mountainous, and the
soil very poor. The wood is pine, fir, and birch only, with very ugly
rocks, so that in most places one could not make his way.
Now we passed along south of the Island of Orleans, which is a league and a
half distant from the main land and half a league on the north side, being
six leagues in length, and one in breadth, or in some places a league and a
half. On the north side, it is very pleasant, on account of the great
extent of woods and meadows there; but it is very dangerous sailing, in
consequence of the numerous points and rocks between the main land and
island, on which are numerous fine oaks and in some places nut-trees, and
on the borders of the woods vines and other trees such as we have in
France. This place is the commencement of the fine and fertile country of
the great river, and is distant one hundred and twenty leagues from its
mouth. Off the end of the island is a torrent of water on the north shore,
proceeding from a lake ten leagues in the interior:  it comes down
from a height of nearly twenty-five fathoms, above which the land is level
and pleasant, although farther inland are seen high mountains appearing to
be from fifteen to twenty leagues distant.
293. The deepest sounding as laid down on Laurie's Chart is one hundred and
forty-six fathoms. The same authority says the banks of the river
throughout its course are very rocky, and vary in height from one
hundred and seventy to three hundred and forty yards above the stream.
Its current is broad, deep, and uncommonly vehement: in some places,
where precipices intervene, are falls from fifty to sixty feet in
height, down which the whole volume of water rushes with tremendous
fury and noise. The general breadth of the river is about two and a
half miles, but at its mouth its width is contracted to three-quarters
of a mile. The tide runs upward about sixty-five miles from its mouth.
294. If the Indians were three days in crossing Lake St. John here referred
to, whose length is variously stated to be from twenty-five to forty
miles, it could hardly have been the shortest time in which it were
possible to pass it. It may have been the usual time, some of which
they gave to fishing or hunting. "In 1647, Father Jean Duquen,
missionary at Tadoussac, ascending the Saguenay, discovered the Lake
St. John, and noted its Indian name, Picouagami, or Flat Lake. He was
the first European who beheld that magnificent expanse of inland
water."--_Vide Transactions, Lit. and His. Soc. of Quebec_, 1867-68,
295. The first of these three rivers, which the traveller will meet as he
passes up the northern shore of the lake, is the Peribonca flowing
from the north-east. The second is the Mistassina, represented by the
Indians as coming from the salt sea. The third is the Chomouchonan,
flowing from the north-west.
296. There was doubtless an Indian trail from the head-waters of the
Mistassina to Mistassin Lake, and from thence to Rupert River, which
flows into the lower part of Hudson's Bay.
297. The salt sea referred to by the Indians was undoubtedly Hudson's Bay.
The discoverer of this bay, Henry Hudson, in the years 1607, 1608, and
1609, was in the northern ocean searching for a passage to Cathay. In
1610, he discovered the strait and bay which now bear his name. He
passed the winter in the southern part of the bay; and the next year,
1611, his sailors in a mutiny forced him and his officers into a
shallop and abandoned them to perish. Nothing was heard of them
afterward. The fame of Hudson's discovery had reached Champlain
before the publication of this volume in 1613. This will be apparent
by comparing Champlain's small map with the TABULA NAUTICA of Hudson,
published in 1612. It will be seen that the whole of the Carte
Géographique de la Nouvelle France of Champlain, on the west of
Lumley's Inlet, including Hudson's Strait and Bay, is a copy from the
Tabula Nautica. Even the names are in English, a few characteristic
ones being omitted, such as Prince Henry, the King's Forlant, and Cape
Charles.--_Vide Henry Hudson the Navigator_, by G. M. Asher, LL.D.,
Hakluyt Society, 1860, p. xliv.
298. This was June 30, 1608.
299. _Isle aux Lièvres_, or hares. This name was given by Jacques Cartier,
and it is still called Hare Island. It is about ten geographical miles
long, and generally about half or three-quarters of a mile wide.
300. _Rivière aux Saulmons_. "From all appearances," says Laverdière, "this
Salmon River is that which empties into the 'Port à l'Équilles,' eel
harbor, also called 'Port aux Quilles,' Skittles Port. Its mouth is
two leagues from Cape Salmon, with which it must not be confounded."
It is now known as Black River.
301. _Cap Dauphin_, now called Cape Salmon, which is about three leagues
from Black River.
302. _Cap à l'Aigle_, now known as Cap aux Oies, or Goose Cape. The Eagle
Cape of to-day is little more than two leagues from Cape Salmon, while
Goose Cape is about eight leagues, as stated in the text.
303. The bay stretching between Cape Salmon and Goose Cape is called Mal
Bay, within which are Cape Eagle, Murray Bay, Point au Ries, White
Cape, Red Cape, Black Cape, Point Père, Point Corneille, and Little
Mal Bay. In the rear of Goose Cape are Les Éboulemens Mountains, 2,547
feet in height. On the opposite side of the river is Point Ouelle, and
the river of the same name.
304. _Isle aux Coudres_, Hazel Island, so named by Jacques Cartier, still
retains its ancient appellation. Its distance from Goose Cape is about
two leagues. The description of it in the text is very accurate.
305. _Rivière du Gouffre_. This river still retains this name, signifying
whirlpool, and is the same that empties into St. Paul's Bay, opposite
306. _Cap de Tourmente_, cape of the tempest, is eight leagues from Isle
aux Coudres, but about two from the Isle of Orleans, as stated in the
text, which sufficiently identifies it.
307. _Isle d'Orléans_. Cartier discovered this island in 1635, and named it
the Island of Bacchus, because he saw vines growing there, which he
had not before seen in that region. He says, "Et pareillement y
trouuasmes force vignes, ce que n'auyons veu par cy deuant à toute la
terre, & par ce la nommasmes l'ysle de Bacchus."--_Brief Récit de la
Navigation Faite en MDXXXV._, par Jacques Cartier, D'Avezac ed.,
Paris, 1863, pp. 14, 15. The grape found here was probably the Frost
Grape, _Vitis cordifolia_. The "Island of Orleans" soon became the
fixed name of this island, which it still retains. Its Indian name is
said to have been _Minigo_.--_Vide_ Laverdière's interesting note,
_Oeuvres de Champlain_, Tome II, p. 24. Champlain's estimate of the
size of the island is nearly accurate. It is, according to the
Admiralty charts, seventeen marine miles in length, and four in its
308. This was the river Montmorency, which rises in Snow Lake, some fifty
miles in the interior.--_Vide_ Champlain's reference on his map of
Quebec and its environs. He gave this name to the river, which it
still retains, in honor of the Admiral Montmorency, to whom he
dedicated his notes on the voyage of 1603.--_Vide Laverdière_, in
loco; also _Champlain_, ed. 1632; _Chiarlevoix's Letters_, London,
1763, p. 19. The following is Jean Alfonse's description of the fall
of Montmorency: "When thou art come to the end of the Isle, thou shall
see a great River, which falleth fifteene or twenty fathoms downe from
a rocke, and maketh a terrible noyse."--_Hakluyt, Vol. III. p. 293.
The perpendicular descent of the Montmorency at the falls is 240 feet.
ARRIVAL AT QUEBEC, WHERE WE CONSTRUCTED OUR PLACE OF ABODE; ITS SITUATION.
--CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE SERVICE OF THE KING AND MY LIFE. BY SOME OF OUR
MEN--PUNISHMENT OF THEM, AND ALL THAT TRANSPIRED OF THE AFFAIR.
From the Island of Orleans to Quebec the distance is a league. I arrived
there on the 3d of July, when I searched for a place suitable for our
settlement, but I could find none more convenient or better situated than
the point of Quebec, so called by the savages,  which was covered with
nut-trees. I at once employed a portion of our workmen in cutting them
down, that we might construct our habitation there: one I set to sawing
boards, another to making a cellar and digging ditches, another I sent to
Tadoussac with the barque to get supplies. The first thing we made was the
storehouse for keeping under cover our supplies, which was promptly
accomplished through the zeal of all, and my attention to the work.
* * * * *
CHAMPLAIN'S EXPLANATION OF THE ACCOMPANYING MAP.
_The figures indicate the fathoms of water_.
_A_. The site where our habitation is built. [Note 1]
_B_. Cleared land where we sow wheat and other grain. [Note 2]
_C_. The gardens.[Note 3]
_D_. small brook coming from marshes. [Note 4]
_E_. River where Jacques Cartier passed the winter, which in his time he
called St. Croix, and which name has been transferred to a place
fifteen leagues above Quebec. [Note 5]
_F_. River of the marshes. [Note 6]
_G_. Place where was collected the grass for the animals brought here.
_H_. The grand fall of Montmorency, which descends from a height of more
than twenty-five fathoms into the river. [Note 8]
_I_. The end of the Island of Orleans.
_L_. A very narrow point on the shore east of Quebec. [Note 9]
_M_. Roaring river which extends to the Etechemins.
_N_. The great river of St. Lawrence.
_O_. Lake in the roaring river.
_P_. Mountains in the interior; bay which I named New Biscay,
_q_. Lake of the great fall of Montmorency. [Note 10]
_R_. Bear Brook. [Note 11]
_S_. Brook du Gendre. [Note 12]
_T_. Meadows overflowed at every tide.
_V_. Mont du Gas, very high, situated on the bank of the river. [Note 13]
_X_. Swift brook, adapted to all kinds of mills.
_Y_. Gravelly shore where a quantity of diamonds are found somewhat better
than those of Alanson.
_Z_. The Point of Diamonds.
_9_. Places where the savages often build their cabins. [Note 14]
NOTES. The following notes on Champlain's explanation of his map of Quebec
are by the Abbé Laverdière, whose accurate knowledge of that city and its
environs renders them especially valuable. They are given entire, with only
1. That is properly the point of Quebec, including what is at present
enclosed by La Place, the street Notre Dame, and the river.
2. This first clearing must have been what was called later the Esplanade
du Fort, or Grande Place, or perhaps both. The Grande Place became, in
1658, the fort of the Hurons: it was the space included between the Côte
of the lower town and the Rue du Fort.
3. A little above the gardens, on the slope of the Côte du Saut au Matelot,
a cross is seen, which seems to indicate that at that time the cemetery
was where it is said to be when it is mentioned some years later for the
4. According to the old plans of Quebec, these marshes were represented to
be west of Mont Carmel, and at the foot of the glacis of the Citadel.
The brook pulled eastward of the grounds of the Ursulines and Jésuites,
followed for some distance the Rue de la Fabrique as far as the
enclosure of the Hôtel Dieu, to the east of which it ran down the hill
towards the foot of the Côte de la Canoterie.
5. The river St. Charles. The letter E does not indicate precisely the
place where Jacques Quartier wintered, but only the mouth of the river.
6. Judging from the outlines of the shore, this brook, which came from the
south-west, flowed into the harbor of the Palais, towards the western
extremity of the Parc.
7. This is probably what was called later the barn of the Messieurs de la
Compagnie, or simply La Grange, and appears to have been somewhere on
the avenue of Mont Carmel.
8. The fall of Montmorency is forty fathoms or two hundred and forty French
feet, or even more.
9. Hence it is seen that in 1613 this point had as yet no name. In 1629,
Champlain calls it Cap de Lévis: it can accordingly be concluded that
this point derives its name from that of the Duc de Ventadour, Henri de
Lévis, and that it must have been so named between the years 1625 and
1627, the time when he was regent.
10. The Lake of the Snows is the source of the western branch of the
Rivière du Saut.
11. La Rivière de Beauport, which is called likewise La Distillerie.
12. Called later Ruisseau de la Cabaneaux Taupiers. Rivière Chalisour, and
finally Rivière des Fous, from the new insane asylum, by the site of
which it now passes.
13. Height where is now situated the bastion of the Roi à la Citadelle.
This name was given it, doubtless, in memory of M. de Monts, Pierre du
14. This figure appears not only at the Point du Cap Diamant, but also
along the shore of Beauport, and at the end of the Island of Orleans.
* * * * *
Some days after my arrival at Quebec, a locksmith conspired against the
service of the king. His plan was to put me to death, and, getting
possession of our fort, to put it into the hands of the Basques or
Spaniards, then at Tadoussac, beyond which vessels cannot go, from not
having a knowledge of the route, nor of the banks and rocks on the way.
In order to execute his wretched plan, by which he hoped to make his
fortune, he suborned four of the worst characters, as he supposed, telling
them a thousand falsehoods, and presenting to them prospects of acquiring
These four men, having been won over, all promised to act in such a manner
as to gain the rest over to their side; so that, for the time being, I had
no one with me in whom I could put confidence, which gave them still more
hope of making their plan succeed: for four or five of my companions, in
whom they knew that I put confidence, were on board of the barques, for the
purpose of protecting the provisions and supplies necessary for our
In a word, they were so skilful in carrying out their intrigues with those
who remained, that they were on the point of gaining all over to their
cause, even my lackey, promising them many things which they could not have
Being now all agreed, they made daily different plans as to how they should
put me to death, so as not to be accused of it, which they found to be a
difficult thing. But the devil, blindfolding them all and taking away their
reason and every possible difficulty, they determined to take me while
unarmed, and strangle me; or to give a false alarm at night, and shoot me
as I went out, in which manner they judged that they would accomplish their
work sooner than otherwise. They made a mutual promise not to betray each
other, on penalty that the first one who opened his mouth should be
poniarded. They were to execute their plan in four days, before the
arrival of our barques, otherwise they would have been unable to carry out
On this very day, one of our barques arrived, with our pilot, Captain
Testu, a very discreet man. After the barque was unloaded, and ready to
return to Tadoussac, there came to him a locksmith, named Natel, an
associate of Jean du Val, the head of the conspiracy, who told him that he
had promised the rest to do just as they did; but that he did not in fact
desire the execution of the plot, yet did not dare to make a disclosure in
regard to it, from fear of being poniarded.
Antoine Natel made the pilot promise that he would make no disclosure in
regard to what he should say, since, if his companions should discover it,
they would put him to death. The pilot gave him his assurance in all
particulars, and asked him to state the character of the plot which they
wished to carry out. This Natel did at length, when the pilot said to him:
"My friend, you have done well to disclose such a malicious design, and you
show that you are an upright man, and under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit. But these things cannot be passed by without bringing them to the
knowledge of Sieur de Champlain, that he may make provision against them;
and I promise you that I will prevail upon him to pardon you and the rest.
And I will at once," said the pilot, "go to him without exciting any
suspicion; and do you go about your business, listening to all they may
say, and not troubling yourself about the rest."
The pilot came at once to me, in a garden which I was having prepared, and
said that he wished to speak to me in a private place, where we could be
alone. I readily assented, and we went into the wood, where he related to
me the whole affair. I asked who had told it to him. He begged me to pardon
him who had made the disclosure, which I consented to do, although he ought
to have addressed himself to me. He was afraid, he replied, that you would
become angry, and harm him. I told him that I was able to govern myself
better than that, in such a matter; and desired him to have the man come to
me, that I might hear his statement. He went, and brought him all trembling
with fear lest I should do him some harm. I reassured him, telling him not
to be afraid; that he was in a place of safety, and that I should pardon
him for all that he had done, together with the others, provided he would
tell me in full the truth in regard to the whole matter, and the motive
which had impelled them to it. "Nothing," he said, "had impelled them,
except that they had imagined that, by giving up the place into the hands
of the Basques or Spaniards, they might all become rich, and that they did
not want to go back to France." He also related to me the remaining
particulars in regard to their conspiracy.
After having heard and questioned him, I directed him to go about his
work. Meanwhile, I ordered the pilot to bring up his shallop, which he
did. Then I gave two bottles of wine to a young man, directing him to say
to these four worthies, the leaders of the conspiracy, that it was a
present of wine, which his friends at Tadoussac had given him, and that he
wished to share it with them. This they did not decline, and at evening
were on board the barque where he was to give them the entertainment. I
lost no time in going there shortly after; and caused them to be seized,
and held until the next day.
Then were my worthies astonished indeed. I at once had all get up, for it
was about ten o'clock in the evening, and pardoned them all, on condition
that they would disclose to me the truth in regard to all that had
occurred; which they did, when I had them retire.
The next day I took the depositions of all, one after the other, in the
presence of the pilot and sailors of the vessel, which I had put down in
writing; and they were well pleased, as they said, since they had lived
only in fear of each other, especially of the four knaves who had ensnared
them. But now they lived in peace, satisfied, as they declared, with the
treatment which they had received.
The same day I had six pairs of handcuffs made for the authors of the
conspiracy: one for our surgeon, named Bonnerme, one for another, named La
Taille, whom the four conspirators had accused, which, however, proved
false, and consequently they were given their liberty.
This being done, I took my worthies to Tadoussac, begging Pont Gravé to do
me the favor of guarding them, since I had as yet no secure place for
keeping them, and as we were occupied in constructing our places of abode.
Another object was to consult with him, and others on the ship, as to what
should be done in the premises. We suggested that, after he had finished
his work at Tadoussac, he should come to Quebec with the prisoners, where
we should have them confronted with their witnesses, and, after giving them
a hearing, order justice to be done according to the offence which they had
I went back the next day to Quebec, to hasten the completion of our
storehouse, so as to secure our provisions, which had been misused by all
those scoundrels, who spared nothing, without reflecting how they could
find more when these failed; for I could not obviate the difficulty until
the storehouse should be completed and shut up.
Pont Gravé arrived some time after me, with the prisoners, which caused
uneasiness to the workmen who remained, since they feared that I should
pardon them, and that they would avenge themselves upon them for revealing
their wicked design.
We had them brought face to face, and they affirmed before them all which
they had stated in their depositions, the prisoners not denying it, but
admitting that they had acted in a wicked manner, and should be punished,
unless mercy might be exercised towards them; accursing, above all, Jean du
Val, who had been trying to lead them into such a conspiracy from the time
of their departure from France. Du Val knew not what to say, except that he
deserved death, that all stated in the depositions was true, and that he
begged for mercy upon himself and the others, who had given in their
adherence to his pernicious purposes.
After Pont Gravé and I, the captain of the vessel, surgeon, mate, second
mate, and other sailors, had heard their depositions and face to face
statements, we adjudged that it would be enough to put to death Du Val, as
the instigator of the conspiracy; and that he might serve as an example to
those who remained, leading them to deport themselves correctly in future,
in the discharge of their duty; and that the Spaniards and Basques, of whom
there were large numbers in the country, might not glory in the event. We
adjudged that the three others be condemned to be hung, but that they
should be taken to France and put into the hands of Sieur de Monts, that
such ample justice might be done them as he should recommend; that they
should be sent with all the evidence and their sentence, as well as that of
Jean du Val, who was strangled and hung at Quebec, and his head was put on
the end of a pike, to be set up in the most conspicuous place on our fort.
309. Champlain here plainly means to say that the Indians call the narrow
place in the river _Quebec_. For this meaning of the word, viz.,
narrowing of waters, in the Algonquin language, the authority is
abundant. Laverdière quotes, as agreeing with him in this view,
Bellenger, Ferland, and Lescarbot. "The narrowing of the river," says
Charlevoix, "gave it the name of _Quebeio_ or _Quebec_, which in the
_Algonquin_ language signifies _contraction_. The Abenaquis, whose
language is a dialect of the Algonquin, call it Quelibec, which
signifies something shut up."--_Charlevoix's Letters_, pp. 18, 19.
Alfred Hawkins, in his "Historical Recollections of Quebec," regards
the word of Norman origin, which he finds on a seal of the Duke of
Suffolk, as early as 1420. The theory is ingenious: but it requires
some other characteristic historical facts to challenge our belief.
When Cartier visited Quebec, it was called by the natives Stadacone.
--_Vide Cartier's Brief Récit_, 1545, D'Avezac ed., Paris, 1863,
RETURN OF PONT GRAVÉ TO FRANCE.--DESCRIPTION OF OUR QUARTERS AND THE PLACE
WHERE JACQUES CARTIER STAYED IN 1535.
After all these occurrences, Pont Gravé set out from Quebec, on the 18th of
September, to return to France with the three prisoners. After he had gone,
all who remained conducted themselves correctly in the discharge of their
I had the work on our quarters continued, which was composed of three
buildings of two stories. Each one was three fathoms long, and two and a
half wide. The storehouse was six fathoms long and three wide, with a fine
cellar six feet deep. I had a gallery made all around our buildings, on the
outside, at the second story, which proved very convenient. There were
also ditches, fifteen feet wide and six deep. On the outer side of the
ditches, I constructed several spurs, which enclosed a part of the
dwelling, at the points where we placed our cannon. Before the habitation
there is a place four fathoms wide and six or seven long, looking out upon
the river-bank. Surrounding the habitation are very good gardens, and a
place on the north side some hundred or hundred and twenty paces long and
fifty or sixty wide. Moreover, near Quebec, there is a little river, coming
from a lake in the interior,  distant six or seven leagues from our
settlement. I am of opinion that this river, which is north a quarter
north-west from our settlement, is the place where Jacques Cartier
wintered,  since there are still, a league up the river, remains of
what seems to have been a chimney, the foundation of which has been found,
and indications of there having been ditches surrounding their dwelling,
which was small. We found, also, large pieces of hewn, worm-eaten timber,
and some three or four cannon-balls. All these things show clearly that
there was a settlement there founded by Christians; and what leads me to
say and believe that it was that of Jacques Cartier is the fact that there
is no evidence whatever that any one wintered and built a house in these
places except Jacques Cartier, at the time of his discoveries. This place,
as I think, must have been called St. Croix, as he named it; which name
has since been transferred to another place fifteen leagues west of our
settlement. But there is no evidence of his having wintered in the place
now called St. Croix, nor in any other there, since in this direction there
is no river or other place large enough for vessels except the main river
or that of which I spoke above; here there is half a fathom of water at low
tide, many rocks, and a bank at the mouth; for vessels, if kept in the main
river, where there are strong currents and tides, and ice in the winter,
drifting along, would run the risk of being lost; especially as there is a
sandy point extending out into the river, and filled with rocks, between
which we have found, within the last three years, a passage not before
discovered; but one must go through cautiously, in consequence of the
dangerous points there. This place is exposed to the north-west winds; a
half fathoms. There are no signs of buildings here, nor any indications
that a man of judgment would settle in this place, there being many other
better ones, in case one were obliged to make a permanent stay. I have been
desirous of speaking at length on this point, since many believe that the
abode of Jacques Cartier was here, which I do not believe, for the reasons
here given; for Cartier would have left to posterity a narrative of the
matter, as he did in the case of all he saw and discovered; and I maintain
that my opinion is the true one, as can be shown by the history which he
has left, in writing.
* * * * *
CHAMPLAIN'S EXPLANATION OF THE ACCOMPANYING MAP.
ABITATION DE QUEBECQ.
_A_. The storehouse.
_C_. A building where our arms are kept, and for lodging our workmen.
_D_. Another building for our workmen.
_F_. Another building, comprising the blacksmith's shop and the lodgings of
_G_. Galleries extending entirely round the dwellings.
_H_. The dwelling of Sieur de Champlain.
_I_. Gate to the habitation where there is a drawbridge.
_L_. Promenade about the habitation ten feet wide, extending to the border
of the moat.
_M_. Moat extending all round our habitation.
_N_. Platforms, of a tenaille form, for our cannon.
_O_. Garden of Sieur de Champlain.
_P_. The kitchen.
_Q_. Open space before the habitation on the bank of the river.
_R_. The great river St. Lawrence.
* * * * *
As still farther proof that this place now called St. Croix is not the
place where Jacques Cartier wintered, as most persons think, this is what
he says about it in his discoveries, taken from his history; namely, that
he arrived at the Isle aux Coudres on the 5th of December,  1535,
which he called by this name, as hazel-nuts were found there. There is a
strong tidal current in this place; and he says that it is three leagues
long, but it is quite enough to reckon a league and a half. On the 7th of
the month, Notre Dame Day,  he set out from this island to go up the
river, in which he saw fourteen islands, distant seven or eight leagues
from Isle aux Coudres on the south. He errs somewhat in this estimation,
for it is not more than three leagues.  He also says that the place
where the islands are is the commencement of the land or province of
Canada, and that he reached an island ten leagues long and five wide, where
extensive fisheries are carried on, fish being here, in fact, very
abundant, especially the sturgeon. But its length is not more than six
leagues, and its breadth two; a fact well recognized now. He says also that
he anchored between this island and the main land on the north, the
smallest passage, and a dangerous one, where he landed two savages whom he
had taken to France, and that, after stopping in this place some time with
the people of the country, he sent for his barques and went farther up the
river, with the tide, seeking a harbor and place of security for his ships.
He says, farther, that they went on up the river, coasting along this
island, the length of which he estimates at ten leagues; and after it was
passed they found a very fine and pleasant bay, containing a little river
and bar harbor, which they found very favorable for sheltering their
vessels. This they named St. Croix, since he arrived there on this day; and
at the time of the voyage of Cartier the place was called Stadaca, 
but we now call it Quebec. He says, also, that after he had examined this
place he returned to get his vessels for passing the winter there.
Now we may conclude, accordingly, that the distance is only five leagues
from the Isle aux Coudres to the Isle of Orleans,  at the western
extremity of which the river is very broad; and at which bay, as Cartier
calls it, there is no other river than that which he called St. Croix, a
good league distant from the Isle of Orleans, in which, at low tide, there
is only half a fathom of water. It is very dangerous for vessels at its
mouth, there being a large number of spurs; that is, rocks scattered here
and there. It is accordingly necessary to place buoys in order to enter,
there being, as I have stated, three fathoms of water at ordinary tides,
and four fathoms, or four and a half generally, at the great tides at full
flood. It is only fifteen hundred paces from our habitation, which is
higher up the river; and, as I have stated, there is no other river up to
the place now called St. Croix, where vessels can lie, there being only
little brooks. The shores are flat and dangerous, which Cartier does not
mention until the time that he sets out from St. Croix, now called Quebec,
where he left his vessels, and built his place of abode, as is seen from
On the 19th of September, he set out from St. Croix, where his vessels
were, setting sail with the tide up the river, which they found very
pleasant, as well on account of the woods, vines, and dwellings, which were
there in his time, as for other reasons. They cast anchor twenty-five
leagues from the entrance to the land of Canada;  that is, at the
western extremity of the Isle of Orleans, so called by Cartier. What is
now called St Croix was then called Achelacy, at a narrow pass where the
river is very swift and dangerous on account of the rocks and other things,
and which can only be passed at flood-tide. Its distance from Quebec and
the river where Cartier wintered is fifteen leagues.
Now, throughout the entire extent of this river, from Quebec to the great
fall, there are no narrows except at the place now called St. Croix; the
name of which has been transferred from one place to another one, which is
very dangerous, as my description shows. And it is very apparent, from his
narrative, that this was not the site of his habitation, as is claimed; but
that the latter was near Quebec, and that no one had entered into a special
investigation of this matter before my doing so in my voyages. For the
first time I was told that he dwelt in this place, I was greatly
astonished, finding no trace of a river for vessels, as he states there
was. This led me to make a careful examination, in order to remove the
suspicion and doubt of many persons in regard to the matter. 
While the carpenters, sawers of boards, and other workmen, were employed on
our quarters, I set all the others to work clearing up around our place of
abode, in preparation for gardens in which to plant grain and seeds, that
we might see how they would flourish, as the soil seemed to be very good.
Meanwhile, a large number of savages were encamped in cabins near us,
engaged in fishing for eels, which begin to come about the 15th of
September, and go away on the 15th of October. During this time, all the
Savages subsist on this food, and dry enough of it for the winter to last
until the month of February, when there are about two and a half, or at
most three, feet of snow; and, when their eels and other things which they
dry have been prepared, they go to hunt the beaver until the beginning of
January. At their departure for this purpose, they intrusted to us all
their eels and other things, until their return, which was on the 15th of
December. But they did not have great success in the beaver-hunt, as the
amount of water was too great, the rivers having overrun their banks, as
they told us. I returned to them all their supplies, which lasted them only
until the 20th of January. When their supply of eels gave out, they hunted
the elk and such other wild beasts as they could find until spring, when I
was able to supply them with various things. I paid especial attention to
These people suffer so much from lack of food that they are sometimes
obliged to live on certain shell-fish, and eat their dogs and the skins
with which they clothe themselves against the cold. I am of opinion that,
if one were to show them how to live, and teach them the cultivation of the
soil and other things, they would learn very aptly. For many of them
possess good sense, and answer properly questions put to them. They have a
bad habit of taking vengeance, and are great liars, and you must not put
much reliance on them, except judiciously, and with force at hand. They
make promises readily, but keep their word poorly. The most of them observe
no law at all, so far as I have been able to see, and are, besides, full of
superstitions. I asked them with what ceremonies they were accustomed to
pray to their God, when they replied that they had none, but that each
prayed to him in his heart, as he wished. That is why there is no law among
them, and they do not know what it is to worship and pray to God, living as
they do like brute beasts. But I think that they would soon become good
Christians, if people would come and inhabit their country, which they are
for the most part desirous of. There are some savages among them, called by
them Pilotais, whom they believe have intercourse with the devil face to
face, who tells them what they must do in regard to war and other things;
and, if he should order them to execute any undertaking, they would obey at
once. So, also, they believe that all their dreams are true; and, in fact,
there are many who say that they have had visions and dreams about matters
which actually come to pass or will do so. But, to tell the truth, these
are diabolical visions, through which they are deceived and misled. This is
all I have been able to learn about their brutish faith. All these people
are well proportioned in body, without deformity, and are agile. The women,
also, are well-formed, plump, and of a swarthy color, in consequence of
certain pigments with which they rub themselves, and which give them a
permanent olive color. They are dressed in skins: a part only of the body
is covered. But in winter they are covered throughout, in good furs of elk,
otter, beaver, bear, seals, deer, and roe, of which they have large
quantities. In winter, when the snow is deep, they make a sort of snow-shoe
of large size, two or three times as large as that used in France, which
they attach to their feet, thus going over the snow without sinking in;
otherwise, they could not hunt or walk in many places. They have a sort of
marriage, which is as follows: When a girl is fourteen or fifteen years
old, and has several suitors, she may keep company with all she likes. At
the end of five or six years, she takes the one that pleases her for her
husband, and they live together to the end of their lives. But if, after
living some time together, they have no children, the man can disunite
himself and take another woman, alleging that his own is good for nothing.
Hence, the girls have greater freedom than the married women.
After marriage, the women are chaste, and their husbands generally
jealous. They give presents to the fathers or relatives of the girls they
have wedded. These are the ceremonies and forms observed in their
marriages. In regard to their burials: When a man or a woman dies, they dig
a pit, in which they put all their property, as kettles, furs, axes, bows,
arrows, robes, and other things. Then they place the body in the pit and
cover it with earth, putting, on top many large pieces of wood, and another
piece upright, painted red on the upper part. They believe in the
immortality of the soul, and say that they shall be happy in other lands
with their relatives and friends who are dead. In the case of captains or
others of some distinction, they celebrate a banquet three times a year
after their death, singing and dancing about the grave.
All the time they were with us, which was the most secure place for them,
they did not cease to fear their enemies to such an extent that they often
at night became alarmed while dreaming, and sent their wives and children
to our fort, the gates of which I had opened to them, allowing the men to
remain about the fort, but not permitting them to enter, for their persons
were thus as much in security as if they had been inside. I also had five
or six of our men go out to reassure them, and to go and ascertain whether
they could see any thing in the woods, in order to quiet them. They are
very timid and in great dread of their enemies, scarcely ever sleeping in
repose in whatever place they may be, although I constantly reassured them,
so far as I could, urging them to do as we did; namely, that they should
have a portion watch while the others slept, that each one should have his
arms in readiness like him who was keeping watch, and that they should not
regard dreams as the actual truth to be relied upon, since they are mostly
only false, to which I also added other words on the same subject. But
these remonstrances were of little avail with them, and they said that we
knew better than they how to keep guard against all things; and that they,
in course of time, if we continued to stay with them, would be able to
SEEDS AND VINES PLANTED AT QUEBEC.--COMMENCEMENT OF THE WINTER AND ICE.--
EXTREME DESTITUTION OF CERTAIN INDIANS.
On the 1st of October, I had some wheat sown, and on the 15th some rye. On
the 3d, there was a white frost in some places, and the leaves of the trees
began to fall on the 15th. On the 24th, I had some native vines set out,
which flourished very well. But, after leaving the settlement to go to
France, they were all spoiled from lack of attention, at which I was much
troubled on my return. On the 18th of November, there was a great fall of
snow, which remained only two days on the ground, during which time there
was a violent gale of wind. There died during this month a sailor and our
locksmith  of dysentery, so also many Indians from eating eels badly
cooked, as I think. On the 5th of February, it snowed violently, and the
wind was high for two days. On the 20th, some Indians appeared on the other
side of the river, calling to us to go to their assistance, which was
beyond our power, on account of the large amount of ice drifting in the
river. Hunger pressed upon these poor wretches so severely that, not
knowing what to do, they resolved, men, women, and children, to cross the
river or die, hoping that I should assist them in their extreme want.
Having accordingly made this resolve, the men and women took the children
and embarked in their canoes, thinking that they could reach our shore by
an opening in the ice made by the wind; but they were scarcely in the
middle of the stream when their canoes were caught by the ice and broken
into a thousand pieces. But they were skilful enough to throw themselves
with the children, which the women carried on their backs, on a large piece
of ice. As they were on it, we heard them crying out so that it excited
intense pity, as before them there seemed nothing but death. But fortune
was so favorable to these poor wretches that a large piece of ice struck
against the side of that on which they were, so violently as to drive them
ashore. On seeing this favorable turn, they reached the shore with as much
delight as they ever experienced, notwithstanding the great hunger from
which they were suffering. They proceeded to our abode, so thin and haggard
that they seemed like mere skeletons, most of them not being able to hold
themselves up. I was astonished to see them, and observe the manner in
which they had crossed, in view of their being so feeble and weak. I
ordered some bread and beans to be given them. So great was their
impatience to eat them, that they could not wait to have them cooked. I
lent them also some bark, which other savages had given me, to cover their
cabins. As they were making their cabin, they discovered a piece of
carrion, which I had had thrown out nearly two months before to attract the
foxes, of which we caught black and red ones, like those in France, but
with heavier fur. This carrion consisted of a sow and a dog, which had
sustained all the rigors of the weather, hot and cold. When the weather was
mild, it stank so badly that one could not go near it. Yet they seized it
and carried it off to their cabin, where they forthwith devoured it half
cooked. No meat ever seemed to them to taste better. I sent two or three
men to warn them not to eat it, unless they wanted to die: as they
approached their cabin, they smelt such a stench from this carrion half
warmed up, each one of the Indians holding a piece in his hand, that they
thought they should disgorge, and accordingly scarcely stopped at all.
These poor wretches finished their repast. I did not fail, however, to
supply them according to my resources; but this was little, in view of the
large number of them. In the space of a month, they would have eaten up all
our provisions, if they had had them in their power, they are so
gluttonous: for, when they have edibles, they lay nothing aside, but keep
consuming them day and night without respite, afterwards dying of hunger.
They did also another thing as disgusting as that just mentioned. I had
caused a bitch to be placed on the top of a tree, which allured the martens
 and birds of prey, from which I derived pleasure, since generally
this carrion was attacked by them. These savages went to the tree, and,
being too weak to climb it, cut it down and forthwith took away the dog,
which was only skin and bones, the tainted head emitting a stench, but
which was at once devoured.
This is the kind of enjoyment they experience for the most part in winter;
for in summer they are able to support themselves, and to obtain provisions
so as not to be assailed by such extreme hunger, the rivers abounding in
fish, while birds and wild animals fill the country about. The soil is very
good and well adapted for tillage, if they would but take pains to plant
Indian corn, as all their neighbors do, the Algonquins, Ochastaiguins,
 and Iroquois, who are not attacked by such extremes of hunger, which
they provide against by their carefulness and foresight, so that they live
happily in comparison with the Montagnais, Canadians, and Souriquois along
the seacoast. This is in the main their wretched manner of life. The show
and ice last three months there, from January to the 8th of April, when it
is nearly all melted: at the latest, it is only seldom that any is seen at
the end of the latter month at our settlement. It is remarkable that so
much snow and ice as there is on the river, and which is from two to three
fathoms thick, is all melted in less than twelve days. From Tadoussac to
Gaspé, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, and the Great Bay, the snow and ice
continue in most places until the end of May, at which time the entire
entrance of the great river is sealed with ice; although at Quebec there is
none at all, showing a strange difference for one hundred and twenty
leagues in longitude, for the entrance to the river is in latitude 49° 50'
to 51°, and our settlement  in 46° 40'.
310. The river St. Charles flows from a lake in the interior of the same
name. It was called by the Montagnais, according to Sagard as cited by
Laverdière, _in loco_, "Cabirecoubat, because it turns and forms
several points." Cartier named it the Holy Cross, or St. Croix,
because he says he arrived there "that day;" that is, the day on which
the exaltation of the Cross is celebrated, the 14th of September,
1535.--_Vide Cartier_, Hakluyt, Vol. III. p. 266. The Récollects gave
it the name of St. Charles, after the grand vicar of Pontoise, Charles
des Boues.--_Laverdière, in loco_. Jacques Cartier wintered on the
north shore of the St. Charles, which he called the St. Croix, or the
Holy Cross, about a league from Quebec. "Hard by, there is, in that
river, one place very narrow, deep, and swift running, but it is not
passing the third part of a league, over against the which there is a
goodly high piece of land, with a towne therein: and the country about
it is very well tilled and wrought, and as good as possibly can be
seene. This is the place and abode of Donnacona, and of our two men we
took in our first voyage, it is called Stadacona ... under which towne
toward the North the river and port of the holy crosse is, where we
staied from the 15 of September until the 16 of May, 1536, and there
our ships remained dry as we said before."--_Vide Jacques Cartier,
Second Voyage_, Hakluyt, Vol. III. p. 277.
311. The spot where Jacques Cartier wintered was at the junction of the
river Lairet and the St. Charles.
312. Cartier discovered the Isle of Coudres, that is, the isle of filberts
or hazel-nuts, on the 6th of September, 1535.--_Vide Cartier_, 1545,
D'Avezac ed., Paris, 1863, p. 12. This island is five nautical miles
long, which agrees with the statement of Champlain, and its greatest
width, is two miles and a quarter.
313. Notre Dame Day, _iour de nostre dame_, should read "Notre Dame Eve."
Cartier says, "Le septiesme iour dudict moys iour nostre-dame_,"
etc.--_Idem_, p. 12. Hakluyt renders it, "The seventh of the moneth
being our Ladees even."--Vol. III. p. 265.
314. As Champlain suggests, these islands are only three leagues higher up
the river; but, as they are on the opposite side, they could not be
compassed in much less than seven or eight leagues, as Cartier
315. This was an error in transcribing. Cartier has Stadacone.--_Vide Brief
Récit_, 1545, D'Avezac ed., p. 14.
316. The distance, according to Laurie's Chart, is at least twenty-six
317. Canada at this time was regarded by the Indians as a limited
territory, situated at or about Quebec. This statement is confirmed by
the testimony of Cartier: "Ledict Donnacona pria nostre cappitaine de
aller le lendemain veoir Canada, Ce que luy promist le dist
cappitaine. Et le lendemam, 13. iour du diet moys, ledict cappitaine
auecques ses gentilz homines accompaigne de cinquante compaignons bien
en ordre, allerèt veoir ledict Donnacona & son peuple, qui est distàt
dou estoient lesdictes nauires d'une lieue."--_Vide Brief Récit_,
1545, D'Avezac ed., p. 29. Of the above the following is Hakluyt's
translation: "Donnacona their Lord desired our Captaine the next day
to come and see Canada, which he promised to doe: for the next day
being the 13 of the moneth, he with all his Gentlemen and fiftie
Mariners very well appointed, went to visite Donnacona and his people,
about a league from our ships."
Their ships were at this time at St. Croix, a short distance up the
St. Charles, which flows into the St. Lawrence at Quebec; and the
little Indian village, or camp, which Donnacona called Canada, was at
Quebec. Other passages from Cartier, as well as from Jean Alfonse,
harmonize with this which we have cited. Canada was therefore in
Cartier's time only the name of a very small territory covered by an
Indian village. When it became the centre of French interests, it
assumed a wider meaning. The St. Lawrence was often called the River
of Canada, then the territory on its shores, and finally Canada has
come to comprehend the vast British possessions in America known as
the "Dominion of Canada."
318. The locality of Cartier's winter-quarters is established by Champlain
with the certainty of an historical demonstration, and yet there are
to be found those whose judgment is so warped by preconceived opinion
that they resist the overwhelming testimony which he brings to bear
upon the subject. Charlevoix makes the St. Croix of Cartier the
Rivière de Jacques Cartier.--_Vide Shea's Charlevoix_, Vol. I. p. 116.
319. Unless they had more than one locksmith, this must have been Antoine
Natel.--_Vide antea_, p. 178.
320. _Martres_. The common weasel, _Musltla vulgaris_.
321. _Ochastaiguins_. This, says Laverdière, is what Champlain first called
the Hurons, from the name of Ochateguin, one of their chiefs. Huron
was a nickname: the proper name of this tribe was Wendot or
Wyandot. They occupied the eastern bank of Lake Huron and the southern
shores of the Georgian Bay. The knowledge of the several tribes here
referred to had been obtained by Champlain, partly from his own
observation and partly from the Indians. The Algommequins or
Algonquins, known at this time to Champlain, were from the region of
the Ottawa. The Yroquois or Iroquois dwelt south of the St. Lawrence
in the State of New York, and comprised what are generally known as
the Five Nations. The Montagnais or Montaignets had their great
trading-post at Tadoussac, and roamed over a vast territory north and
east of that point, and west of it as far as the mountains that
separate the waters of the Saguenay and those of the Ottawa. The name
was given to them by the French from this mountain range. The
Canadians were those about the neighborhood of Quebec. The Souriquois
were of Nova Scotia, and subsequently known as Micmacs. Of most of
these different tribes, Champlain could speak from personal knowledge.
322. Laverdière gives the exact latitude of Quebec at the Observatory, on
the authority of Captain Bayfield, as 46° 49' 8".
THE SCURVY AT QUEBEC.--How THE WINTER PASSED.--DESCRIPTION OF THE PLACE.--
ARRIVAL AT QUEBEC OF SIEUR DES MARAIS, SON-IN-LAW OF PONT GRAVÉ.
The scurvy began very late; namely, in February, and continued until the
middle of April. Eighteen were attacked, and ten died; five others dying of
the dysentery. I had some opened, to see whether they were tainted, like
those I had seen in our other settlements. They were found the same. Some
time after, our surgeon died.  All this troubled us very much, on
account of the difficulty we had in attending to the sick. The nature of
this disease I have described before.
It is my opinion that this disease proceeds only from eating excessively of
salt food and vegetables, which heat the blood and corrupt the internal
parts. The winter is also, in part, its cause; since it checks the natural
warmth, causing a still greater corruption of the blood. There rise also
from the earth, when first cleared up, certain vapors which infect the air:
this has been observed in the case of those who have lived at other
settlements; after the first year when the sun had been let in upon what
was not before cleared up, as well in our abode as in other places, the air
was much better, and the diseases not so violent as before. But the country
is fine and pleasant, and brings to maturity all kinds of grains and feeds,
there being found all the various kinds of trees, which we have here in our
forests, and many fruits, although they are naturally wild; as, nut-trees,
cherry-trees, plum-trees, vines, raspberries, strawberries, currants, both
green and red, and several other small fruits, which are very good. There
are also several kinds of excellent plants and roots. Fishing is abundant
in the rivers; and game without limit on the numerous meadows bordering
them. From the month of April to the 15th of December, the air is so pure
and healthy that one does not experience the slightest indisposition. But
January, February, and March are dangerous, on account of the sicknesses
prevailing at this time, rather than in summer, for the reasons before
given; for, as to treatment, all of my company were well clothed, provided
with good beds, and well warmed and fed, that is, with the salt meats we
had, which, in my opinion, injured them greatly, as I have already stated.
As far as I have been able to see, the sickness attacks one who is delicate
in his living and takes particular care of himself as readily as one whose
condition is as wretched as possible. We supposed at first that the
workmen only would be attacked with this disease; but this we found was not
the case. Those sailing to the East Indies and various other regions, as
Germany and England, are attacked with it as well as in New France. Some
time ago, the Flemish, being attacked with this malady in their voyages to
the Indies, found a very strange remedy, which might be of service to us;
but we have never ascertained the character of it. Yet I am confident that,
with good bread and fresh meat, a person would not be liable to it.
On the 8th of April, the snow had all melted; and yet the air was still
very cold until April,  when the trees begin to leaf out.
Some of those sick with the scurvy were cured when Spring came, which is
the season for recovery. I had a savage of the country wintering with me,
who was attacked with this disease from having changed his diet to salt
meat; and he died from its effects, which clearly shows that salt food is
not nourishing, but quite the contrary in this disease.
On the 5th of June, a shallop arrived at our settlement with Sieur des
Marais, a son-in-law of Pont Gravé, bringing us the tidings that his
father-in-law had arrived at Tadoussac on the 28th of May. This
intelligence gave me much satisfaction, as we entertained hopes of
assistance from him. Only eight out of the twenty-eight at first forming
our company were remaining, and half of these were ailing.
On the 7th of June, I set out from Quebec for Tadoussac on some matters of
business, and asked Sieur des Marais to stay in my place until my return,
which he did.
Immediately upon my arrival, Pont Gravé and I had a conference in regard to
some explorations which I was to make in the interior, where the savages
had promised to guide us. We determined that I should go in a Shallop with
twenty men, and that Pont Gravé should stay at Tadoussac to arrange the
affairs of our settlement; and this determination was carried out, he
spending the winter there. This arrangement was especially desirable, since
I was to return to France, according to the orders sent out by Sieur de
Monts, in order to inform him of what I had done and the explorations I had
made in the country.
After this decision, I, set out at once from Tadoussac, and returned to
Quebec, where I had a shallop fitted out with all that was necessary for
making explorations in the country of the Iroquois, where I was to go with
our allies, the Montagnais.
323. His name was Bonnerme.--_Vide antea_, p. 180.
324. Read May instead of April.
DEPARTURE FROM QUEBEC AND VOYAGE TO THE ÎLE ST. ÉLOI.--MEETING THERE WITH
THE ALGONQUINS AND OCHATAIGUINS.
With this purpose, I set out on the 18th of the month. Here the river
begins to widen, in some places to the breadth of a league or a league and
a half. The country becomes more and more beautiful. There are hills along
the river in part, and in part it is a level country, with but few rocks.
The river itself is dangerous in many places, in consequence of its banks
and rocks; and it is not safe sailing without keeping the lead in hand. The
river is very abundant in many kinds of fish, not only such as we have
here, but others which we have not. The country is thickly covered with
massive and lofty forests, of the same kind of trees as we have about our
habitation. There are also many vines and nut-trees on the bank of the
river, and many small brooks and streams which are only navigable with
canoes. We passed near Point St. Croix, which many maintain, as I have said
elsewhere, is the place where Jacques Cartier spent the winter. This point
is sandy, extending some distance out into the river, and exposed to the
north-west wind, which beats upon it. There are some meadows, covered
however every full tide, which falls nearly two fathoms and a half. This
passage is very dangerous on account of the large number of rocks
stretching across the river, although there is a good but very winding
channel, where the river runs like a race, rendering it necessary to take
the proper time for passing. This place has deceived many, who thought
they could only pass at high tide from there being no channel: but we have
now found the contrary to be true, for one can go down at low tide; but it
would be difficult to ascend, in consequence of the strong current, unless
there were a good wind. It is consequently necessary to wait until the tide
is a third flood, in order to pass, when the current in the channel is six,
eight, ten, twelve, and fifteen fathoms deep.
Continuing our course, we reached a very pleasant river, nine leagues
distant from St. Croix and twenty-four from Quebec. This we named
St. Mary's River.  The river all the way from St. Croix is very
Pursuing our route, I met some two or three hundred savages, who were
encamped in huts near a little island called St. Éloi,  a league and a
half distant from St. Mary. We made a reconnoissance, and found that they
were tribes of savages, called Ochateguins and Algonquins,  on their
way to Quebec, to assist us in exploring the territory of the Iroquois,
with whom they are in deadly hostility, sparing nothing belonging to their
After reconnoitring, I went on shore to see them, and inquired who their
chief was. They told me there were two, one named Yroquet, and the other
Ochasteguin, whom they pointed out to me. I went to their cabin, where they
gave me a cordial reception, as is their custom.
I proceeded to inform them of the object of my voyage, with which they were
greatly pleased. After some talk, I withdrew. Some time after, they came to
my shallop, and presented me with some peltry, exhibiting many tokens of
pleasure. Then they returned to the shore.
The next day, the two chiefs came to see me, when they remained some time
without saying a word, meditating and smoking all the while. After due
reflection, they began to harangue in a loud voice all their companions who
were on the bank of the river, with their arms in their hands, and
listening very attentively to what their chiefs said to them, which was as
follows: that nearly ten moons ago, according to their mode of reckoning,
the son of Yroquet had seen me, and that I had given him a good reception,
and declared that Pont Gravé and I desired to assist them against their
enemies, with whom they had for a long time been at warfare, on account of
many cruel acts committed by them against their tribe, under color of
friendship; that, having ever since longed for vengeance, they had
solicited all the savages, whom I saw on the bank of the river, to come and
make an alliance with us, and that their never having seen Christians also
impelled them to come and visit us; that I should do with them and their
companions as I wished; that they had no children with them, but men versed
in war and full of courage, acquainted with the country and rivers in the
land of the Iroquois; that now they entreated me to return to our
settlement, that they might see our houses, and that, after three days, we
should all together come back to engage in the war; that, as a token of
firm friendship and joy, I should have muskets and arquebuses fired, at
which they would be greatly pleased. This I did, when they uttered great
cries of astonishment, especially those who had never heard nor seen the
After hearing them, I replied that, if they desired, I should be very glad
to return to our settlement, to gratify them still more; and that they
might conclude that I had no other purpose than to engage in the war, since
we carried with us nothing but arms, and not merchandise for barter, as
they had been given to understand; and that my only desire was to fulfill
what I had promised them; and that, if I had known of any who had made evil
reports to them, I should regard them as enemies more than they did
themselves. They told me that they believed nothing of them, and that they
never had heard any one speak thus. But the contrary was the case; for
there were some savages who told it to ours. I contented myself with
waiting for an opportunity to show them in fact something more than they
could have expected from me.
325. This river is now called the Sainte Anne.
326. A small island near Batiscan, not on the charts.
327. Hurons and Algonquins.
RETURN TO QUEBEC.--CONTINUATION AFTERWARDS WITH THE SAVAGES TO THE FALL OF
THE RIVER OF THE IROQUOIS.
The next day, we set out all together for our settlement, where they
enjoyed themselves some five or six days, which were spent in dances and
festivities, on account of their eagerness for us to engage in the war.
Pont Gravé came forthwith from Tadoussac with two little barques full of
men, in compliance with a letter, in which I I begged him to come as
speedily as possible.
The savages seeing him arrive rejoiced more than ever, inasmuch as I told
them that he had given some of his men to assist them, and that perhaps we
should go together.
On the 28th of the month,  we equipped some barques for assisting
these savages. Pont Gravé embarked on one and I on the other, when we all
set out together. The first of June,  we arrived at St. Croix, distant
fifteen leagues from Quebec, where Pont Gravé and I concluded that, for
certain reasons, I should go with the savages, and he to our settlement and
to Tadoussac. This resolution being taken, I embarked in my shallop all
that was necessary, together with Des Marais and La Routte, our pilot, and
I set out from St. Croix on the 3d of June  with all the savages. We
passed the Trois Rivières, a very beautiful country, covered with a growth
of fine trees. From this place to St. Croix is a distance of fifteen
leagues. At the mouth of the above-named river  there are six islands,
three of which are very small, the others some fifteen to sixteen hundred
paces long, very pleasant in appearance. Near Lake St. Peter,  some
two leagues up the river, there is a little fall not very difficult to
pass. This place is in latitude 46°, lacking some minutes. The savages of
the country gave us to understand that some days' journey up this river
there is a lake, through which the river flows. The length of the lake is
ten days' journey, when some falls are passed, and afterwards three or four
other lakes of five or six days' journey in length. Having reached the end
of these, they go four or five leagues by land, and enter still another
lake, where the Sacqué has its principal source. From this lake, the
savages go to Tadoussac.  The Trois Rivières extends forty days'
journey of the savages. They say that at the end of this river there is a
people, who are great hunters, without a fixed abode, and who are less than
six days' journey from the North Sea. What little of the country I have
seen is sandy, very high, with hills, covered with large quantities of pine
and fir on the river border; but some quarter of a league inland the woods
are very fine and open, and the country level. Thence we continued our
course to the entrance of Lake St. Peter, where the country is exceedingly
pleasant and level, and crossed the lake, in two, three, and four fathoms
of water, which is some eight leagues long and four wide. On the north
side, we saw a very pleasant river, extending some twenty leagues into the
interior, which I named St. Suzanne; on the south side, there are two, one
called Rivière du Pont, the other, Rivière de Gennes,  which are very
pretty, and in a fine and fertile country. The water is almost still in the
lake, which is full of fish. On the north bank, there are seen some slight
elevations at a distance of some twelve or fifteen leagues from the lake.
After crossing the lake, we passed a large number of islands of various
sizes, containing many nut-trees and vines, and fine meadows, with
quantities of game and wild animals, which go over from the main land to
these islands. Fish are here more abundant than in any other part of the
river that we had seen. From these islands, we went to the mouth of the
River of the Iroquois, where we stayed two days, refreshing ourselves with
good venison, birds, and fish, which the savages gave us. Here there sprang
up among them some difference of opinion on the subject of the war, so that
a portion only determined to go with me, while the others returned to their
country with their wives and the merchandise which they had obtained by
Setting out from the mouth of this river, which is some four hundred to
five hundred paces broad, and very beautiful, running southward,  we
arrived at a place in latitude 45°, and twenty-two or twenty-three leagues
from the Trois Rivières. All this river from its mouth to the first fall,
a distance of fifteen leagues, is very smooth, and bordered with woods,
like all the other places before named, and of the same forts. There are
nine or ten fine islands before reaching the fall of the Iroquois, which
are a league or a league and a half long, and covered with numerous oaks
and nut-trees. The river is nearly half a league wide in places, and very
abundant in fish. We found in no place less than four feet of water. The
approach to the fall is a kind of lake,  where the water descends, and
which is some three leagues in circuit. There are here some meadows, but
not inhabited by savages on account of the wars. There is very little water
at the fall, which runs with great rapidity. There are also many rocks and
stones, so that the savages cannot go up by water, although they go down
very easily. All this region is very level, covered with forests, vines,
and nut-trees. No Christians had been in this place before us; and we had
considerable difficulty in ascending the river with oars.
As soon as we had reached the fall, Des Marais, La Routte, and I, with five
men, went on shore to see whether we could pass this place; but we went
some league and a half without seeing any prospect of being able to do so,
finding only water running with great swiftness, and in all directions many
stones, very dangerous, and with but little water about them. The fall is
perhaps six hundred paces broad. Finding that it was impossible to cut a
way through the woods with the small number of men that I had, I
determined, after consultation with the rest, to change my original
resolution, formed on the assurance of the savages that the roads were
easy, but which we did not find to be the case, as I have stated. We
accordingly returned to our shallop, where I had left some men as guards,
and to indicate to the savages upon their arrival that we had gone to make
explorations along the fall.
After making what observations I wished in this place, we met, on
returning, some savages, who had come to reconnoitre, as we had done. They
told us that all their companions had arrived at our shallop, where we
found them greatly pleased, and delighted that we had gone in this manner
without a guide, aided only by the reports they had several times made to
Having returned, and seeing the slight prospect there was of passing the
fall with our shallop, I was much troubled. And it gave me especial
dissatisfaction to go back without seeing a very large lake, filled with
handsome islands, and with large tracts of fine land bordering on the lake,
where their enemies live according to their representations. After duly
thinking over the matter, I determined to go and fulfil my promise, and
carry out my desire. Accordingly, I embarked with the savages in their
canoes, taking with me two men, who went cheerfully. After making known my
plan to Des Marais and others in the shallop, I requested the former to
return to our settlement with the rest of our company, giving them the
assurance that, in a short time, by God's' grace, I would return to them.
I proceeded forthwith to have a conference with the captains of the
savages, and gave them to understand that they had told me the opposite of
what my observations found to be the case at the fall; namely, that it was
impossible to pass it with the shallop, but that this would not prevent me
from assisting them as I had promised. This communication troubled them
greatly; and they desired to change their determination, but I urged them
not to do so, telling them that they ought to carry out their first plan,
and that I, with two others, would go to the war with them in their canoes,
in order to show them that, as for me, I would not break my word given to
them, although alone; but that I was unwilling then to oblige any one of my
companions to embark, and would only take with me those who had the
inclination to go, of whom I had found two.
They were greatly pleased at what I said to them, and at the determination
which I had taken, promising, as before, to show me fine things.
328. The reader will observe that this must have been the 28th of June,
329. Read 1st of July.
330. Read 3d of July.
331. The river is now called St. Maurice; and the town at its mouth, Three
Rivers. Two islands at the mouth of the river divide it into three;
hence, it was originally called Trois Rivières, or Three Rivers.
332. Laverdière suggests that Champlain entered this lake, now for the
first time called St. Peter, in 1603, on St. Peter's day, the 29th
June, and probably so named it from that circumstance.
333. From the carrying-place they enter the Lake St. John, and from it
descend by the Saguenay to Tadoussac. In the preceding passage, Sacqué
was plainly intended for Saguenay.
334. Of the three rivers flowing into Lake St. Peter, none retains the name
given to them by Champlain. His _St. Suzanne_ is the river du Loup;
his _Rivière du Pont_ is the river St. François; and his _De Gennes_
is now represented by the Yamaska. Compare Champlain's map of 1612
with Laurie's Chart of the river St. Lawrence.
335. This is an error: the River of the Iroquois, now commonly known as the
Richelieu, runs towards the north.
336. The Chambly Basin. On Charlevoix's Carte de la Rivière Richelieu, it
is called Bassin de St. Louis.
DEPARTURE FROM THE FALL OF THE IROQUOIS RIVER.--DESCRIPTION OF A LARGE
LAKE.--ENCOUNTER WITH THE ENEMY AT THIS LAKE; THEIR MANNER OF ATTACKING THE
IROQUOIS, AND THEIR BEHAVIOR IN BATTLE.
I set out accordingly from the fall of the Iroquois River  on the 2d
of July.  All the savages set to carrying their canoes, arms, and
baggage overland, some half a league, in order to pass by the violence and
strength of the fall, which was speedily accomplished. Then they put them
all in the water again, two men in each with the baggage; and they caused
one of the men of each canoe to go by land some three leagues,  the
extent of the fall, which is not, however, so violent here as at the mouth,
except in some places, where rocks obstruct the river, which is not broader
than three hundred or four hundred paces. After we had passed the fall,
which was attended with difficulty, all the savages, who had gone by land
over a good path and level country, although there are a great many trees,
re-embarked in their canoes. My men went also by land; but I went in a
canoe. The savages made a review of all their followers, finding that there
were twenty-four canoes, with sixty men. After the review was completed, we
continued our course to an island,  three leagues long, filled with
the finest pines I had ever seen. Here they went hunting, and captured
some wild animals. Proceeding about three leagues farther on, we made a
halt, in order to rest the coming night.
They all at once set to work, some to cut wood, and others to obtain the
bark of trees for covering their cabins, for the sake of sheltering
themselves, others to fell large trees for; constructing a barricade on the
river-bank around their cabins, which they do so quickly that in less than
two hours so much is accomplished that five hundred of their enemies would
find it very difficult to dislodge them without killing large numbers. They
make no barricade on the river-bank, where their canoes are drawn up, in
order that they may be able to embark, if occasion requires. After they
were established in their cabins, they despatched three canoes, with nine
good men, according to their custom in all their encampments, to
reconnoitre for a distance of two or three leagues, to see if they can
perceive any thing, after which they return. They rest the entire night,
depending upon the observation of these scouts, which is a very bad custom
among them; for they are sometimes while sleeping surprised by their
enemies, who slaughter them before they have time to get up and prepare for
defence. Noticing this, I remonstrated with them on the mistake they made,
and told them that they ought to keep watch, as they had seen us do every
night, and have men on the lookout, in order to listen and see whether they
perceived any thing, and that they should not live in such a manner like
beasts. They replied that they could not keep watch, and that they worked
enough in the day-time in the chase, since, when engaged in war, they
divide their troops into three parts: namely, a part for hunting scattered
in several places; another to constitute the main body of their army, which
is always under arms; and the third to act as _avant-coureurs_, to look out
along the rivers, and observe whether they can see any mark or signal
showing where their enemies or friends have passed. This they ascertain by
certain marks which the chiefs of different tribes make known to each
other; but, these not continuing always the same, they inform themselves
from time to time of changes, by which means they ascertain whether they
are enemies or friends who have passed. The hunters never hunt in advance
of the main body, or _avant-coureurs_, so as not to excite alarm or produce
disorder, but in the rear and in the direction from which they do not
anticipate their enemy. Thus they advance until they are within two or
three days' march of their enemies, when they proceed by night stealthily
and all in a body, except the _van-couriers_. By day, they withdraw into
the interior of the woods, where they rest, without straying off, neither
making any noise nor any fire, even for the sake of cooking, so as not to
be noticed in case their enemies should by accident pass by. They make no
fire, except in smoking, which amounts to almost nothing. They eat baked
Indian meal, which they soak in water, when it becomes a kind of porridge.
They provide themselves with such meal to meet their wants, when they are
near their enemies, or when retreating after a charge, in which case they
are not inclined to hunt, retreating immediately.
In all their encampments, they have their Pilotois, or Ostemoy,  a
class of persons who play the part of soothsayers, in whom these people
have faith. One of these builds a cabin, surrounds it with small pieces of
wood, and covers it with his robe: after it is built, he places himself
inside, so as not to be seen at all, when he seizes and shakes one of the
posts of his cabin, muttering some words between his teeth, by which he
says he invokes the devil, who appears to him in the form of a stone, and
tells him whether they will meet their enemies and kill many of them. This
Pilotois lies prostrate on the ground, motionless, only speaking with the
devil: on a sudden, he rises to his feet, talking, and tormenting himself
in such a manner that, although naked, he is all of a perspiration. All the
people surround the cabin, seated on their buttocks, like apes. They
frequently told me that the shaking of the cabin, which I saw, proceeded
from the devil, who made it move, and not the man inside, although I could
see the contrary; for, as I have stated above, it was the Pilotois who took
one of the supports of the cabin, and made it move in this manner. They
told me also that I should see fire come out from the top, which I did not
see at all. These rogues counterfeit also their voice, so that it is heavy
and clear, and speak in a language unknown to the other savages. And, when
they represent it as broken, the savages think that the devil is speaking,
and telling them what is to happen in their war, and what they must do.
But all these scapegraces, who play the soothsayer, out of a hundred words,
do not speak two that are true, and impose upon these poor people. There
are enough like them in the world, who take food from the mouths of the
people by their impostures, as these worthies do. I often remonstrated with
the people, telling them that all they did was sheer nonsense, and that
they ought not to put confidence in them.
Now, after ascertaining from their soothsayers what is to be their fortune,
the chiefs take sticks a foot long, and as many as there are soldiers. They
take others, somewhat larger, to indicate the chiefs. Then they go into the
wood, and seek out a level place, five or fix feet square, where the chief,
as sergeant-major, puts all the sticks in such order as seems to him best.
Then he calls all his companions, who come all armed; and he indicates to
them the rank and order they are to observe in battle with their enemies.
All the savages watch carefully this proceeding, observing attentively the
outline which their chief has made with the sticks. Then they go away, and
set to placing themselves in such order as the sticks were in, when they
mingle with each other, and return again to their proper order, which
manoeuvre they repeat two or three times, and at all their encampments,
without needing a sergeant to keep them in the proper order, which they are
able to keep accurately without any confusion. This is their rule in war.
We set out on the next day, continuing our course in the river as far as
the entrance of the lake. There are many pretty islands here, low, and
containing very fine woods and meadows, with abundance of fowl and such
animals of the chase as stags, fallow-deer, fawns, roe-bucks, bears, and
others, which go from the main land to these islands. We captured a large
number of these animals. There are also many beavers, not only in this
river, but also in numerous other little ones that flow into it. These
regions, although they are pleasant, are not inhabited by any savages, on
account of their wars; but they withdraw as far as possible from the rivers
into the interior, in order not to be suddenly surprised.
The next day we entered the lake,  which is of great extent, say
eighty or a hundred leagues long, where I saw four fine islands, ten,
twelve, and fifteen leagues long, which were formerly inhabited by the
savages, like the River of the Iroquois; but they have been abandoned since
the wars of the savages with one another prevail. There are also many
rivers falling into the lake, bordered by many fine trees of the same kinds
as those we have in France, with many vines finer than any I have seen in
any other place; also many chestnut-trees on the border of this lake, which
I had not seen before. There is also a great abundance of fish, of many
varieties: among others, one called by the savages of the country
_Chaousarou_  which varies in length, the largest being, as the people
told me, eight or ten feet long. I saw some five feet long, which were as
large as my thigh; the head being as big as my two fists, with a snout two
feet and a half long, and a double row of very sharp and dangerous teeth.
Its body is, in shape, much like that of a pike; but it is armed with
scales so strong that a poniard could not pierce them. Its color is
silver-gray. The extremity of its snout is like that of a swine. This fish
makes war upon all others in the lakes and rivers. It also possesses
remarkable dexterity, as these people informed me, which is exhibited in
the following manner. When it wants to capture birds, it swims in among the
rushes, or reeds, which are found on the banks of the lake in several
places, where it puts its snout out of water and keeps perfectly still: so
that, when the birds come and light on its snout, supposing it to be only
the stump of a tree, it adroitly closes it, which it had kept ajar, and
pulls the birds by the feet down under water. The savages gave me the head
of one of them, of which they make great account, saying that, when they
have the headache, they bleed themselves with the teeth of this fish on the
spot where they suffer pain, when it suddenly passes away.
Continuing our course over this lake on the western side, I noticed, while
observing the country, some very high mountains on the eastern side, on the
top of which there was snow.  I made inquiry of the savages whether
these localities were inhabited, when they told me that the Iroquois dwelt
there, and that there were beautiful valleys in these places, with plains
productive in grain, such as I had eaten in this country, together with
many kinds of fruit without limit.  They said also that the lake
extended near mountains, some twenty-five leagues distant from us, as I
judge. I saw, on the south, other mountains, no less high than the first,
but without any snow.  The savages told me that these mountains were
thickly settled, and that it was there we were to find their enemies; but
that it was necessary to pass a fall in order to go there (which I
afterwards saw), when we should enter another lake, nine or ten leagues
long. After reaching the end of the lake, we should have to go, they said,
two leagues by land, and pass through a river flowing into the sea on the
Norumbegue coast, near that of Florida,  whither it took them only two
days to go by canoe, as I have since ascertained from some prisoners we
captured, who gave me minute information in regard to all they had personal
knowledge of, through some Algonquin interpreters, who understood the
Now, as we began to approach within two or three days' journey of the abode
of their enemies, we advanced only at night, resting during the day. But
they did not fail to practise constantly their accustomed superstitions, in
order to ascertain what was to be the result of their undertaking; and they
often asked me if I had had a dream, and seen their enemies, to which I
replied in the negative. Yet I did not cease to encourage them, and inspire
in them hope. When night came, we set out on the journey until the next
day, when we withdrew into the interior of the forest, and spent the rest
of the day there. About ten or eleven o'clock, after taking a little walk
about our encampment, I retired. While sleeping, I dreamed that I saw our
enemies, the Iroquois, drowning in the lake near a mountain, within sight.
When I expressed a wish to help them, our allies, the savages, told me we
must let them all die, and that they were of no importance. When I awoke,
they did not fail to ask me, as usual, if I had had a dream. I told them
that I had, in fact, had a dream. This, upon being related, gave them so
much confidence that they did not doubt any longer that good was to happen
When it was evening, we embarked in our canoes to continue our course; and,
as we advanced very quietly and without making any noise, we met on the
29th of the month the Iroquois, about ten o'clock at evening, at the
extremity of a cape which extends into the lake on the western bank. They
had come to fight. We both began to utter loud cries, all getting their
arms in readiness. We withdrew out on the water, and the Iroquois went on
shore, where they drew up all their canoes close to each other and began to
fell trees with poor axes, which they acquire in war sometimes, using also
others of stone. Thus they barricaded themselves very well.
Our forces also passed the entire night, their canoes being drawn up close
to each other, and fastened to poles, so that they might not get separated,
and that they might be all in readiness to fight, if occasion required. We
were out upon the water, within arrow range of their barricades. When they
were armed and in array, they despatched two canoes by themselves to the
enemy to inquire if they wished to fight, to which the latter replied that
they wanted nothing else; but they said that, at present, there was not
much light, and that it would be necessary to wait for daylight, so as to
be able to recognize each other; and that, as soon as the sun rose, they
would offer us battle. This was agreed to by our side. Meanwhile, the
entire night was spent in dancing and singing, on both sides, with endless
insults and other talk; as, how little courage we had, how feeble a
resistance we would make against their arms, and that, when day came, we
should realize it to our ruin. Ours also were not slow in retorting,
telling them they would see such execution of arms as never before,
together with an abundance of such talk as is not unusual in the siege of a
town. After this singing, dancing, and bandying words on both sides to the
fill, when day came, my companions and myself continued under cover, for
fear that the enemy would see us. We arranged our arms in the best manner
possible, being, however, separated, each in one of the canoes of the
savage Montagnais. After arming ourselves with light armor, we each took an
arquebuse, and went on shore. I saw the enemy go out of their barricade,
nearly two hundred in number, stout and rugged in appearance. They came at
a slow pace towards us, with a dignity and assurance which greatly amused
me, having three chiefs at their head. Our men also advanced in the same
order, telling me that those who had three large plumes were the chiefs,
and that they had only these three, and that they could be distinguished by
these plumes, which were much larger than those of their companions, and
that I should do what I could to kill them. I promised to do all in my
power, and said that I was very sorry they could not understand me, so that
I might give order and shape to their mode of attacking their enemies, and
then we should, without doubt, defeat them all; but that this could not now
be obviated, and that I should be very glad to show them my courage and
good-will when we should engage in the fight.
* * * * *
CHAMPLAIN'S EXPLANATION OP THE ACCOMPANYING MAP.
DEFEAT OF THE IROQUOIS AT LAKE CHAMPLAIN.
_A_. The fort of the Iroquois.
_B_. The enemy.
_C_. Canoes of the enemy, made of oak bark, each holding ten, fifteen, or
_D_. Two chiefs who were killed.
_E_. One of the enemy wounded by a musket-shot of Sieur de Champlain.
_F_. Sieur de Champlain.
_G_. Two musketeers of Sieur de Champlain.
_H_. Montagnais, Ochastaiguins, and Algonquins.
_I_. Canoes of our allied savages made of birch bark.
_K_. The woods.
NOTES. The letters _A_, _F_, _G_, and _K_, are wanting but the objects to
which they point are easily recognized. The letter _H_ has been placed on
the canoes of the allies instead of the collected body of the allies
immediately above them.
* * * * *
As soon as we had landed, they began to run for some two hundred paces
towards their enemies, who stood firmly, not having as yet noticed my
companions, who went into the woods with some savages. Our men began to
call me with loud cries; and, in order to give me a passage-way, they
opened in two parts, and put me at their head, where I marched some twenty
paces in advance of the rest, until I was within about thirty paces of the
enemy, who at once noticed me, and, halting, gazed at me, as I did also at
them. When I saw them making a move to fire at us, I rested my musket
against my cheek, and aimed directly at one of the three chiefs. With the
same shot, two fell to the ground; and one of their men was so wounded that
he died some time after. I had loaded my musket with four balls. When our
side saw this shot so favorable for them, they began to raise such loud
cries that one could not have heard it thunder. Meanwhile, the arrows flew
on both sides. The Iroquois were greatly astonished that two men had been
so quickly killed, although they were equipped with armor woven from cotton
thread, and with wood which was proof against their arrows. This caused
great alarm among them. As I was loading again, one of my companions fired
a shot from the woods, which astonished them anew to such a degree that,
seeing their chiefs dead, they lost courage, and took to flight, abandoning
their camp and fort, and fleeing into the woods, whither I pursued them,
killing still more of them. Our savages also killed several of them, and
took ten or twelve prisoners. The remainder escaped with the wounded.
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