Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, Vol. 1
by Samuel de Champlain
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Transcriber's Notes:

The footnotes in the main portion of the original text, which are lengthy and numerous, have been converted to endnotes that appear at the end of each chapter. Their numeration is the same as in the original.

The original spelling remains unaltered, with the following exceptions:

1. This text was originally printed with tall-s. They have been replaced here with ordinary 's.'

2. Some quotations from the 17th-century French reproduce manuscript abbreviation marks (macrons over vowels). These represent 'n' or 'm' and have been expanded.

3. In the transcription of some words of the Algonquian languages, the original text of this edition uses a character that resembles an infinity sign. This is taken from the old system that the Jesuits used to record these languages, and represents a long, nasalized, unrounded 'o'. It is here represented with an '8'.







VOL. I. 1567-1635




The labors and achievements of the navigators and explorers, who visited our coasts between the last years of the fifteenth and the early years of the seventeenth centuries, were naturally enough not fully appreciated by their contemporaries, nor were their relations to the future growth of European interests and races on this continent comprehended in the age in which they lived. Numberless events in which they were actors, and personal characteristics which might have illustrated and enriched their history, were therefore never placed upon record. In intimate connection with the career of Cabot, Cartier, Roberval, Ribaut, Laudonniere, Gosnold, Pring, and Smith, there were vast domains of personal incident and interesting fact over which the waves of oblivion have passed forever. Nor has Champlain been more fortunate than the rest. In studying his life and character, we are constantly finding ourselves longing to know much where we are permitted to know but little. His early years, the processes of his education, his home virtues, his filial affection and duty, his social and domestic habits and mode of life, we know imperfectly; gathering only a few rays of light here and there in numerous directions, as we follow him along his lengthened career. The reader will therefore fail to find very much that he might well desire to know, and that I should have been but too happy to embody in this work. In the positive absence of knowledge, this want could only be supplied from the field of pure imagination. To draw from this source would have been alien both to my judgment and to my taste.

But the essential and important events of Champlain's public career are happily embalmed in imperishable records. To gather these up and weave them into an impartial and truthful narrative has been the simple purpose of my present attempt. If I have succeeded in marshalling the authentic deeds and purposes of his life into a complete whole, giving to each undertaking and event its true value and importance, so that the historian may more easily comprehend the fulness of that life which Champlain consecrated to the progress of geographical knowledge, to the aggrandizement of France, and to the dissemination of the Christian faith in the church of which he was a member, I shall feel that my aim has been fully achieved.

The annotations which accompany Dr. Otis's faithful and scholarly translation are intended to give to the reader such information as he may need for a full understanding of the text, and which he could not otherwise obtain without the inconvenience of troublesome, and, in many instances, of difficult and perplexing investigations. The sources of my information are so fully given in connection with the notes that no further reference to them in this place is required.

In the progress of the work, I have found myself under great obligations to numerous friends for the loan of rare books, and for valuable suggestions and assistance. The readiness with which historical scholars and the custodians of our great depositories of learning have responded to my inquiries, and the cordiality and courtesy with which they have uniformly proffered their assistance, have awakened my deepest gratitude. I take this opportunity to tender my cordial thanks to those who have thus obliged and aided me. And, while I cannot spread the names of all upon these pages, I hasten to mention, first of all, my friend, Dr. Otis, with whom I have been so closely associated, and whose courteous manner and kindly suggestions have rendered my task always an agreeable one. I desire, likewise, to mention Mr. George Lamb, of Boston, who has gratuitously executed and contributed a map, illustrating the explorations of Champlain; Mr. Justin Winsor, of the Library of Harvard College; Mr. Charles A. Cutter, of the Boston Athenaeum; Mr. John Ward Dean, of the Library of the New England Historic Genealogical Society; Mrs. John Carter Brown, of Providence, R. I.; Miss S. E. Dorr, of Boston; Monsieur L. Delisle, Directeur General de la Bibliotheque Nationale, of Paris; M. Meschinet De Richemond, Archiviste de la Charente Inferieure, La Rochelle, France; the Hon. Charles H. Bell, of Exeter, N. H.; Francis Parkman, LL.D., of Boston; the Abbe H. R. Casgrain, of Riviere Ouelle, Canada; John G. Shea, LL.D., of New York; Mr. James M. LeMoine, of Quebec; and Mr. George Prince, of Bath, Maine.

I take this occasion to state for the information of the members of the Prince Society, that some important facts contained in the Memoir had not been received when the text and notes of the second volume were ready for the press, and, to prevent any delay in the completion of the whole work, Vol. II. was issued before Vol. I., as will appear by the dates on their respective title-pages.

E. F. S.

BOSTON, 14 ARLINGTON STREET, November 10, 1880.









Champlain was descended from an ancestry whose names are not recorded among the renowned families of France. He was the son of Antoine de Champlain, a captain in the marine, and his wife Marguerite LeRoy. They lived in the little village of Brouage, in the ancient province of Saintonge. Of their son Samuel, no contemporaneous record is known to exist indicating either the day or year of his birth. The period at which we find him engaged in active and responsible duties, such as are usually assigned to mature manhood, leads to the conjecture that he was born about the year 1567. Of his youth little is known. The forces that contributed to the formation of his character are mostly to be inferred from the abode of his early years, the occupations of those by whom he was surrounded, and the temper and spirit of the times in which he lived.

Brouage is situated in a low, marshy region, on the southern bank of an inlet or arm of the sea, on the southwestern shores of France, opposite to that part of the Island of Oleron where it is separated from the mainland only by a narrow channel. Although this little town can boast a great antiquity, it never at any time had a large population. It is mentioned by local historians as early as the middle of the eleventh century. It was a seigniory of the family of Pons. The village was founded by Jacques de Pons, after whose proper name it was for a time called Jacopolis, but soon resumed its ancient appellation of Brouage.

An old chronicler of the sixteenth century informs us that in his time it was a port of great importance, and the theatre of a large foreign commerce. Its harbor, capable of receiving large ships, was excellent, regarded, indeed, as the finest in the kingdom of France. [1] It was a favorite idea of Charles VIII. to have at all times several war-ships in this harbor, ready against any sudden invasion of this part of the coast.

At the period of Champlain's boyhood, the village of Brouage had two absorbing interests. First, it had then recently become a military post of importance; and second, it was the centre of a large manufacture of salt. To these two interests, the whole population gave their thoughts, their energy, and their enterprise.

In the reign of Charles IX., a short time before or perhaps a little after the birth of Champlain, the town was fortified, and distinguished Italian engineers were employed to design and execute the work. [2] To prevent a sudden attack, it was surrounded by a capacious moat. At the four angles formed by the moat were elevated structures of earth and wood planted upon piles, with bastions and projecting angles, and the usual devices of military architecture for the attainment of strength and facility of defence. [3]

During the civil wars, stretching over nearly forty years of the last half of the sixteenth century, with only brief and fitful periods of peace, this little fortified town was a post ardently coveted by both of the contending parties. Situated on the same coast, and only a few miles from Rochelle, the stronghold of the Huguenots, it was obviously exceedingly important to them that it should be in their possession, both as the key to the commerce of the surrounding country and from the very great annoyance which an enemy holding it could offer to them in numberless ways. Notwithstanding its strong defences, it was nevertheless taken and retaken several times during the struggles of that period. It was surrendered to the Huguenots in 1570, but was immediately restored on the peace that presently followed. The king of Navarre [4] took it by strategy in 1576, placed a strong garrison in it, repaired and strengthened its fortifications; but the next year it was forced to surrender to the royal army commanded by the duke of Mayenne. [5] In 1585, the Huguenots made another attempt to gain possession of the town. The Prince of Conde encamped with a strong force on the road leading to Marennes, the only avenue to Brouage by land, while the inhabitants of Rochelle co-operated by sending down a fleet which completely blocked up the harbor. [6] While the siege was in successful progress, the prince unwisely drew off a part of his command for the relief of the castle of Angiers; [7] and a month later the siege was abandoned and the Huguenot forces were badly cut to pieces by de Saint Luc, [8] the military governor of Brouage, who pursued them in their retreat.

The next year, 1586, the town was again threatened by the Prince of Conde, who, having collected another army, was met by De Saint Luc near the island of Oleron, who sallied forth from Brouage with a strong force; and a conflict ensued, lasting the whole day, with equal loss on both sides, but with no decisive results.

Thus until 1589, when the King of Navarre, the leader of the Huguenots, entered into a truce with Henry III., from Champlain's birth through the whole period of his youth and until he entered upon his manhood, the little town within whose walls he was reared was the fitful scene of war and peace, of alarm and conflict.

But in the intervals, when the waves of civil strife settled into the calm of a temporary peace, the citizens returned with alacrity to their usual employment, the manufacture of salt, which was the absorbing article of commerce in their port.

This manufacture was carried on more extensively in Saintonge than in any other part of France. The salt was obtained by subjecting water drawn from the ocean to solar evaporation. The low marsh-lands which were very extensive about Brouage, on the south towards Marennes and on the north towards Rochefort, were eminently adapted to this purpose. The whole of this vast region was cut up into salt basins, generally in the form of parallelograms, excavated at different depths, the earth and rubbish scooped out and thrown on the sides, forming a platform or path leading from basin to basin, the whole presenting to the eye the appearance of a vast chess-board. The argillaceous earth at the bottom of the pans was made hard to prevent the escape of the water by percolation. This was done in the larger ones by leading horses over the surface, until, says an old chronicler, the basins "would hold water as if they were brass." The water was introduced from the sea, through sluices and sieves of pierced planks, passing over broad surfaces in shallow currents, furnishing an opportunity for evaporation from the moment it left the ocean until it found its way into the numerous salt-basins covering the whole expanse of the marshy plains. The water once in the basins, the process of evaporation was carried on by the sun and the wind, assisted by the workmen, who agitated the water to hasten the process. The first formation of salt was on the surface, having a white, creamy appearance, exhaling an agreeable perfume, resembling that of violets. This was the finest and most delicate salt, while that precipitated, or falling to the bottom of the basin, was of a darker hue.

When the crystallization was completed, the salt was gathered up, drained, and piled in conical heaps on the platforms or paths along the sides of the basins. At the height of the season, which began in May and ended in September, when the whole marsh region was covered with countless white cones of salt, it presented an interesting picture, not unlike the tented camp of a vast army.

The salt was carried from the marshes on pack-horses, equipped each with a white canvas bag, led by boys either to the quay, where large vessels were lying, or to small barques which could be brought at high tide, by natural or artificial inlets, into the very heart of the marsh-fields.

When the period for removing the salt came, no time was to be lost, as a sudden fall of rain might destroy in an hour the products of a month. A small quantity only could be transported at a time, and consequently great numbers of animals were employed, which were made to hasten over the sinuous and angulated paths at their highest speed. On reaching the ships, the burden was taken by men stationed for the purpose, the boys mounted in haste, and galloped back for another.

The scene presented in the labyrinth of an extensive salt-marsh was lively and entertaining. The picturesque dress of the workmen, with their clean white frocks and linen tights; the horses in great numbers mantled in their showy salt-bags, winding their way on the narrow platforms, moving in all directions, turning now to the right hand and now to the left, doubling almost numberless angles, here advancing and again retreating, often going two leagues to make the distance of one, maintaining order in apparent confusion, altogether presented to the distant observer the aspect of a grand equestrian masquerade.

The extent of the works and the labor and capital invested in them were doubtless large for that period. A contemporary of Champlain informs us that the wood employed in the construction of the works, in the form of gigantic sluices, bridges, beam-partitions, and sieves, was so vast in quantity that, if it were destroyed, the forests of Guienne would not suffice to replace it. He also adds that no one who had seen the salt works of Saintonge would estimate the expense of forming them less than that of building the city of Paris itself.

The port of Brouage was the busy mart from which the salt of Saintonge was distributed not only along the coast of France, but in London and Antwerp, and we know not what other markets on the continent of Europe. [9]

The early years of Champlain were of necessity intimately associated with the stirring scenes thus presented in this prosperous little seaport. As we know that he was a careful observer, endowed by nature with an active temperament and an unusual degree of practical sense we are sure that no event escaped his attention, and that no mystery was permitted to go unsolved. The military and commercial enterprise of the place brought him into daily contact with men of the highest character in their departments. The salt-factors of Brouage were persons of experience and activity, who knew their business, its methods, and the markets at home and abroad. The fortress was commanded by distinguished officers of the French army, and was a rendezvous of the young nobility; like other similar places, a training-school for military command. In this association, whether near or remote, young Champlain, with his eagle eye and quick ear, was receiving lessons and influences which were daily shaping his unfolding capacities, and gradually compacting and crystallizing them into the firmness and strength of character which he so largely displayed in after years. His education, such as it was, was of course obtained during this period. He has himself given us no intimation of its character or extent. A careful examination of his numerous writings will, however, render it obvious that it was limited and rudimentary, scarcely extending beyond the fundamental branches which were then regarded as necessary in the ordinary transactions of business. As the result of instruction or association with educated men, he attained to a good general knowledge of the French language, but was never nicely accurate or eminently skilful in its use. He evidently gave some attention in his early years to the study and practice of drawing. While the specimens of his work that have come down to us are marked by grave defects, he appears nevertheless to have acquired facility and some skill in the art, which he made exceedingly useful in the illustration of his discoveries in the new world.

During Champlain's youth and the earlier years of his manhood, he appears to have been engaged in practical navigation. In his address to the Queen [10] he says, "this is the art which in my early years won my love, and has induced me to expose myself almost all my life to the impetuous waves of the ocean." That he began the practice of navigation at an early period may likewise be inferred from the fact that in 1599 he was put in command of a large French ship of 500 tons, which had been chartered by the Spanish authorities for a voyage to the West Indies, of which we shall speak more particularly in the sequel. It is obvious that he could not have been intrusted with a command so difficult and of so great responsibility without practical experience in navigation; and, as it will appear hereafter that he was in the army several years during the civil war, probably from 1592 to 1598, his experience in navigation must have been obtained anterior to that, in the years of his youth and early manhood.

Brouage offered an excellent opportunity for such an employment. Its port was open to the commerce of foreign nations, and a large number of vessels, as we have already seen, was employed in the yearly distribution of the salt of Saintonge, not only in the seaport towns of France, but in England and on the Continent. In these coasting expeditions, Champlain was acquiring skill in navigation which was to be of very great service to him in his future career, and likewise gathering up rich stores of experience, coming in contact with a great variety of men, observing their manners and customs, and quickening and strengthening his natural taste for travel and adventure. It is not unlikely that he was, at least during some of these years, employed in the national marine, which was fully employed in guarding the coast against foreign invasion, and in restraining the power of the Huguenots, who were firmly seated at Rochelle with a sufficient naval force to give annoyance to their enemies along the whole western coast of France.

In 1592, or soon after that date, Champlain was appointed quarter-master in the royal army in Brittany, discharging the office several years, until, by the peace of Vervins, in 1598, the authority of Henry IV. was firmly established throughout the kingdom. This war in Brittany constituted the closing scene of that mighty struggle which had been agitating the nation, wasting its resources and its best blood for more than half a century. It began in its incipient stages as far back as a decade following 1530, when the preaching of Calvin in the Kingdom of Navarre began to make known his transcendent power. The new faith, which was making rapid strides in other countries, easily awakened the warm heart and active temperament of the French. The principle of private judgment which lies at the foundation of Protestant teaching, its spontaneity as opposed to a faith imposed by authority, commended it especially to the learned and thoughtful, while the same principle awakened the quick and impulsive nature of the masses. The effort to put down the movement by the extermination of those engaged in it, proved not only unsuccessful, but recoiled, as usual in such cases, upon the hand that struck the blow. Confiscations, imprisonments, and the stake daily increased the number of those which these severe measures were intended to diminish. It was impossible to mark its progress. When at intervals all was calm and placid on the surface, at the same time, down beneath, where the eye of the detective could not penetrate, in the closet of the scholar and at the fireside of the artisan and the peasant, the new gospel, silently and without observation, was spreading like an all-pervading leaven. [11]

In 1562, the repressed forces of the Huguenots could no longer be restrained, and, bursting forth, assumed the form of organized civil war. With the exception of temporary lulls, originating in policy or exhaustion, there was no cessation of arms until 1598. Although it is usually and perhaps best described as a religious war, the struggle was not altogether between the Catholic and the Huguenot or Protestant. There were many other elements that came in to give their coloring to the contest, and especially to determine the course and policy of individuals.

The ultra-Catholic desired to maintain the old faith with all its ancient prestige and power, and to crush out and exclude every other. With this party were found the court, certain ambitious and powerful families, and nearly all the officials of the church. In close alliance with it were the Roman Pontiff, the King of Spain, and the Catholic princes of Germany.

The Huguenots desired what is commonly known as liberty of conscience; or, in other words, freedom to worship God according to their own views of the truth, without interference or restriction. And in close alliance with them were the Queen of England and the Protestant princes of Germany.

Personal motives, irrespective of principle, united many persons and families with either of these great parties which seemed most likely to subserve their private ambitions. The feudal system was nearly extinct in form, but its spirit was still alive. The nobles who had long held sway in some of the provinces of France desired to hold them as distinct and separate governments, and to transmit them as an inheritance to their children. This motive often determined their political association.

During the most of the period of this long civil war, Catherine de Medicis [12] was either regent or in the exercise of a controlling influence in the government of France. She was a woman of commanding person and extraordinary ability, skilful in intrigue, without conscience and without personal religion. She hesitated at no crime, however black, if through it she could attain the objects of her ambition. Neither of her three sons, Francis, Charles, and Henry, who came successively to the throne, left any legal heir to succeed him. The succession became, therefore, at an early period, a question of great interest. If not the potent cause, it was nevertheless intimately connected with most of the bloodshed of that bloody period.

A solemn league was entered into by a large number of the ultra-Catholic nobles to secure two avowed objects, the succession of a Catholic prince to the throne, and the utter extermination of the Huguenots. Henry, King of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV. of France, admitted to be the legal heir to the throne, was a Protestant, and therefore by the decree of the League disqualified to succeed. Around his standard, the Huguenots rallied in great numbers. With him were associated the princes of Conde, of royal blood, and many other distinguished nobles. They contended for the double purpose of securing the throne to its rightful heir and of emancipating and establishing the Protestant faith.

But there was another class, acting indeed with one or the other of these two great parties, nevertheless influenced by very different motives. It was composed of moderate Catholics, who cared little for the political schemes and civil power of the Roman Pontiff, who dreaded the encroachments of the King of Spain, who were firmly patriotic and desired the aggrandizement and glory of France.

The ultra-Catholic party was, for a long period, by far the most numerous and the more powerful; but the Huguenots were sufficiently strong to keep up the struggle with varying success for nearly forty years.

After the alliance of Henry of Navarre with Henry III. against the League, the moderate Catholics and the Huguenots were united and fought together under the royal standard until the close of the war in 1598.

Champlain was personally engaged in the war in Brittany for several years. This province on the western coast of France, constituting a tongue of land jutting out as it were into the sea, isolated and remote from the great centres of the war, was among the last to surrender to the arms of Henry IV. The Huguenots had made but little progress within its borders. The Duke de Mercoeur [13] had been its governor for sixteen years, and had bent all his energies to separate it from France, organize it into a distinct kingdom, and transmit its sceptre to his own family.

Champlain informs us that he was quarter-master in the army of the king under Marshal d'Aumont, de Saint Luc, and Marshal de Brissac, distinguished officers of the French army, who had been successively in command in that province for the purpose of reducing it into obedience to Henry IV.

Marshal d'Aumont [14] took command of the army in Brittany in 1592. He was then seventy years of age, an able and patriotic officer, a moderate Catholic, and an uncompromising foe of the League. He had expressed his sympathy for Henry IV. a long time before the death of Henry III., and when that event occurred he immediately espoused the cause of the new monarch, and was at once appointed to the command of one of the three great divisions of the French army. He received a wound at the siege of the Chateau de Camper, in Brittany, of which he died on the 19th of August, 1595.

De Saint Luc, already in the service in Brittany, as lieutenant-general under D'Aumont, continued, after the death of that officer, in sole command. [15] He raised the siege of the Chateau de Camper after the death of his superior, and proceeded to capture several other posts, marching through the lower part of the province, repressing the license of the soldiery, and introducing order and discipline. On the 5th of September, 1596, he was appointed grand-master of the artillery of France, which terminated his special service in Brittany.

The king immediately appointed in his place Marshal de Brissac, [16] an officer of broad experience, who added other great qualities to those of an able soldier. No distinguished battles signalized the remaining months of the civil war in this province. The exhausted resources and faltering courage of the people could no longer be sustained by the flatteries or promises of the Duke de Mercoeur. Wherever the squadrons of the marshal made their appearance the flag of truce was raised, and town, city, and fortress vied with each other in their haste to bring their ensigns and lay them at his feet.

On the seventh of June, 1598, the peace of Vervins was published in Paris, and the kingdom of France was a unit, with the general satisfaction of all parties, under the able, wise, and catholic sovereign, Henry the Fourth. [17]


1. The following from Marshal de Montluc refers to Brouage in 1568. Speaking of the Huguenots he says:—"Or ils n'en pouvoient choisir un plus a leur advantage, que celui de la Rochelle, duquel depend celui de Brouage, qui est le plus beau port de mer de la France." Commentaires, Paris, 1760, Tom. III., p. 340.

2. "La Riviere Puitaille qui en etoit Gouverneur, fut charge de faire travailler aux fortifications. Belarmat, Bephano, Castritio d'Urbin, & le Cavalier Orlogio, tous Ingenieurs Italiens, presiderent aux travaux."—Histoire La Rochelle, par Arcere, a la Rochelle, 1756, Tom. I., p. 121.

3. Histioire de la Saintonge et de l'Aunis, 1152-1548, par M. D. Massion, Paris. 1838, Vol. II., p. 406.

4. The King of Navarre "sent for Monsieur de Mirabeau under colour of treating with him concerning other businesses, and forced him to deliver up Brouage into his hands, a Fort of great importance, as well for that it lies upon the Coast of the Ocean-sea, as because it abounds with such store of salt-pits, which yeeld a great and constant revenue; he made the Sieur de Montaut Governour, and put into it a strong Garrison of his dependents, furnishing it with ammunition, and fortifying it with exceeding diligence."—His. Civ. Warres of France, by Henrico Caterino Davila, London, 1647, p. 455.

5. "The Duke of Mayenne, having without difficulty taken Thone-Charente, and Marans, had laid siege to Brouage, a place, for situation, strength, and the profit of the salt-pits, of very great importance; when the Prince of Conde, having tryed all possible means to relieve the besieged, the Hugonots after some difficulty were brought into such a condition, that about the end of August they delivered it up, saving only the lives of the Souldiers and inhabitants, which agreement the Duke punctually observed."—His. Civ. Warres, by Davila, London, 1647, p. 472. See also Memoirs of Sully, Phila., 1817, Vol. I., p. 69.

"Le Jeudi XXVIII Mars. Fut tenu Conseil au Cabinet de la Royne mere du Roy [pour] aviser ce que M. du Maine avoit a faire, & j'ai mis en avant l'enterprise de Brouage."—Journal de Henri III., Paris, 1744, Tom. III., p. 220.

6. "The Prince of Conde resolved to besiege Brouage, wherein was the Sieur de St. Luc, one of the League, with no contemptible number of infantry and some other gentlemen of the Country. The Rochellers consented to this Enterprise, both for their profit, and reputation which redounded by it; and having sent a great many Ships thither, besieged the Fortress by Sea, whilst the Prince having possessed that passage which is the only way to Brouage by land, and having shut up the Defendants within the circuit of their walls, straightned the Siege very closely on that side."—Davila, p. 582. See also, Histoire de Thou, a Londres, 1734, Tom. IX., p. 383.

The blocking up the harbor at this time appears to have been more effective than convenient. Twenty boats or rafts filled with earth and stone were sunk with a purpose of destroying the harbor. De Saint Luc, the governor, succeeded in removing only four or five. The entrance for vessels afterward remained difficult except at high tide. Subsequently Cardinal de Richelieu expended a hundred thousand francs to remove the rest, but did not succeed in removing one of them.—Vide Histoire de La Rochelle, par Arcere, Tom I. p. 121.

7. The Prince of Conde. "Leaving Monsieur de St. Mesmes with the Infantry and Artillery at the Siege of Brouage, and giving order that the Fleet should continue to block it up by sea, he departed upon the eight of October to relieve the Castle of Angiers with 800 Gentlemen and 1400 Harquebuziers on horseback."—Davila, p. 583. See also Memoirs of Sully, Phila., 1817, Vol. I., p 123; Histoire de Thou, a Londres, 1734, Tom. IX, p. 385.

8. "St. Luc sallying out of Brouage, and following those that were scattered severall wayes, made a great slaughter of them in many places; whereupon the Commander, despairing to rally the Army any more, got away as well as they could possibly, to secure their own strong holds."— His. Civ. Warres of France, by Henrico Caterino Davila, London, 1647, p 588.

9. An old writer gives us some idea of the vast quantities of salt exported from France by the amount sent to a single country.

"Important denique sexies mille vel circiter centenarios salis, quorum singuli constant centenis modiis, ducentenas ut minimum & vicenas quinas, vel & tricenas, pro salis ipsius candore puritateque, libras pondo pendentibus, sena igitur libras centenariorum millia, computatis in singulos aureis nummis tricenis, centum & octoginta reserunt aureorum millia."—Belguae Descrtptio, a Lud. Gvicciardino, Amstelodami, 1652, p. 244.

TRANSLATION.—They import in fine 6000 centenarii of salt, each one of which contains 100 bushels, weighing at least 225 or 230 pounds, according to the purity and whiteness of the salt; therefore six thousand centenarii, computing each at thirty golden nummi, amount to 180,000 aurei.

It may not be easy to determine the value of this importation in money, since the value of gold is constantly changing, but the quantity imported may be readily determined, which was according to the above statement, 67,500 tons.

A treaty of April 30, 1527, between Francis I. of France and Henry VIII. of England, provided as follows:—"And, besides, should furnish unto the said Henry, as long as hee lived, yearly, of the Salt of Brouage, the value of fifteene thousand Crownes."—Life and Raigne of Henry VIII., by Lord Herbert of Cherbury, London, 1649, p. 206.

Saintonge continued for a long time to be the source of large exports of salt. De Witt, writing about the year 1658, says they received in Holland of "salt, yearly, the lading of 500 or 600 ships, exported from Rochel, Maran, Brouage, the Island of Oleron, and Ree."—Republick of Holland, by John De Witt, London, 1702, p. 271. But it no longer holds the pre-eminence which it did three centuries ago. Saintonge long since yielded the palm to Brittany.

10. Vide Oeuvres de Champlain, Quebec ed, Tom. III. p. v.

11. In 1558, it was estimated that there were already 400,000 persons in France who were declared adherents of the Reformation.—Ranke's Civil Wars in France, Vol. I., p. 234.

"Although our assemblies were most frequently held in the depth of midnight, and our enemies very often heard us passing through the street, yet so it was, that God bridled them in such manner that we were preserved under His protection."—Bernard Palissy, 1580. Vide Morlay's Life of Palissy, Vol. II., p. 274.

When Henry IV. besieged Paris, its population was more than 200,000.— Malte-Brun.

12. "Catherine de Medicis was of a large and, at the same time, firm and powerful figure, her countenance had an olive tint, and her prominent eyes and curled lip reminded the spectator of her great uncle, Leo X" —Civil Wars in France, by Leopold Ranke, London, 1852, p 28.

13. Philippe Emanuel de Lorraine, Duc de Mercoeur, born at Nomeny, September 9, 1558, was the son of Nicolas, Count de Vaudemont, by his second wife, Jeanne de Savoy, and was half-brother of Queen Louise, the wife of Henry III. He was made governor of Brittany in 1582. He embraced the party of the League before the death of Henry III., entered into an alliance with Philip II., and gave the Spaniards possession of the port of Blavet in 1591. He made his submission to Henry IV. in 1598, on which occasion his only daughter Francoise, probably the richest heiress in the kingdom, was contracted in marriage to Cesar, Duc de Vendome, the illegitimate son of Henry IV. by Gabrielle d'Estrees, the Duchess de Beaufort. The Duc de Mercoeur died at Nuremburg, February 19, 1602.—Vide Birch's Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth, Vol. I., p. 82; Davila's His. Civil Warres of France, p. 1476.

14. Jean d'Aumont, born in 1522, a Marshal of France who served under six kings, Francis I., Henry II., Francis II., Charles IX., Henry III., and Henry IV. He distinguished himself at the battles of Dreux, Saint-Denis, Montcontour, and in the famous siege of Rochelle in 1573. After the death of Henry III., he was the first to recognize Henry IV., whom he served with the same zeal as he had his five predecessors He took part in the brilliant battle of Arques in 1589. In the following year, he so distinguished himself at Ivry that Henry IV., inviting him to sup with him after this memorable battle, addressed to him these flattering words, "Il est juste que vous soyez du festin, apres m'avoir si bien servi a mes noces." At the siege of the Chateau de Camper, in Upper Brittany, he received a musket shot which fractured his arm, and died of the wound on the 19th of August, 1595, at the age of seventy-three years. "Ce grand capitaine qui avoit si bien merite du Roi et de la nation, emporta dans le tombeau les regrets des Officiers & des soldats, qui pleurerent amerement la perte de leur General. La Bretagne qui le regardoit comme son pere, le Roi, tout le Royaume enfin, furent extremement touchez de sa mort. Malgre la haine mutuelle des factions qui divisoient la France, il etoit si estime dans les deux partis, que s'il se fut agi de trouver un chevalier Francois sans reproche, tel que nos peres en ont autrefois eu, tout le monde auroit jette les yeux sur d'Aumont."—Histoire Universelle de Jacque-Auguste de Thou, a Londres, 1734, Tom. XII., p. 446—Vide also, Larousse; Camden's His. Queen Elizabeth, London, 1675 pp 486,487, Memoirs of Sully, Philadelphia, 1817, pp. 122, 210; Oeuvres de Brantome, Tom. IV., pp. 46-49; Histoire de Bretagne, par M. Daru, Paris, 1826, Vol. III. p. 319; Freer's His. Henry IV., Vol. II, p. 70.

15. Francois d'Espinay de Saint-Luc, sometimes called Le Brave Saint Luc, was born in 1554, and was killed at the battle of Amiens on the 8th of September, 1597. He was early appointed governor of Saintonge, and of the Fortress of Brouage, which he successfully defended in 1585 against the attack of the King of Navarre and the Prince de Conde. He assisted at the battle of Coutras in 1587. He served as a lieutenant-general in Brittany from 1592 to 1596. In 1594, he planned with Brissac, his brother-in-law, then governor of Paris for the League, for the surrender of Paris to Henry IV. For this he was offered the baton of a Marshal of France by the king, which he modestly declined, and begged that it might be given to Brissac. In 1578, through the influence or authority of Henry III., he married the heiress, Jeanne de Cosse-Brissac, sister of Charles de Cosse-Brissac, postea, a lady of no personal attractions, but of excellent understanding and character. —Vide Courcelle's Histoire Genealogique des Pairs de France, Vol. II.; Birch's Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth, Vol. I., pp. 163, 191; Freer's Henry III., p. 162; De Mezeray's His. France, 1683, p. 861.

16. Charles de Cosse-Brissac, a Marshal of France and governor of Angiers. He was a member of the League as early as 1585. He conceived the idea of making France a republic after the model of ancient Rome. He laid his views before the chief Leaguers but none of them approved his plan. He delivered up Paris, of which he was governor, to Henry IV. in 1594, for which he received the Marshal's baton. He died in 1621, at the siege of Saint Jean d'Angely.—Vide Davila, pp. 538, 584, 585; Sully, Philadelphia, 1817, V. 61. Vol. I., p. 420; Brantome, Vol. III., p. 84; His. Collections, London, 1598, p. 35; De Thou, a Londres, 1724, Tome XII., p. 449.

17. "By the Articles of this Treaty the king was to restore the County of Charolois to the king of Spain, to be by him held of the Crown of France; who in exchange restor'd the towns of Calice, Ardres, Montbulin, Dourlens, la Capelle, and le Catelet in Picardy, and Blavet in Britanny: which Articles were Ratifi'd and Sign'd by his Majesty the eleventh of June [1598]; who in his gayety of humour, at so happy a conclusion, told the Duke of Espernon, That with one dash of his Pen he had done greater things, than he could of a long time have perform'd with the best Swords of his Kingdom."—Life of the Duke of Espernon, London, 1670, p. 203; Histoire du Roy Henry le Grand, par Prefixe, Paris, 1681, p. 243.



The service of Champlain as quarter-master in the war in Brittany commenced probably with the appointment of Marshal d'Aumont to the command of the army in 1592, and, if we are right in this conjecture, it covered a period of not far from six years. The activity of the army, and the difficulty of obtaining supplies in the general destitution of the province, imposed upon him constant and perplexing duty. But in the midst of his embarrassments he was gathering up valuable experience, not only relating to the conduct of war, but to the transactions of business under a great variety of forms. He was brought into close and intimate relations with men of character, standing, and influence. The knowledge, discipline, and self-control of which he was daily becoming master were unconsciously fitting him for a career, humble though it might seem in its several stages, but nevertheless noble and potent in its relations to other generations.

At the close of the war, the army which it had called into existence was disbanded, the soldiers departed to their homes, the office of quarter-master was of necessity vacated, and Champlain was left without employment.

Casting about for some new occupation, following his instinctive love of travel and adventure, he conceived the idea of attempting an exploration of the Spanish West Indies, with the purpose of bringing back a report that should be useful to France. But this was an enterprise not easy either to inaugurate or carry out. The colonial establishments of Spain were at that time hermetically sealed against all intercourse with foreign nations. Armed ships, like watch-dogs, were ever on the alert, and foreign merchantmen entered their ports only at the peril of confiscation. It was necessary for Spain to send out annually a fleet, under a convoy of ships of war, for the transportation of merchandise and supplies for the colonies, returning laden with cargoes of almost priceless value. Champlain, fertile in expedient, proposed to himself to visit Spain, and there form such acquaintances and obtain such influence as would secure to him in some way a passage to the Indies in this annual expedition.

The Spanish forces, allies of the League in the late war, had not yet departed from the coast of France. He hastened to the port of Blavet, [18] where they were about to embark, and learned to his surprise and gratification that several French ships had been chartered, and that his uncle, a distinguished French mariner, commonly known as the Provencal Cappitaine, had received orders from Marshal de Brissac to conduct the fleet, on which the garrison of Blavet was embarked, to Cadiz in Spain. Champlain easily arranged to accompany his uncle, who was in command of the "St. Julian," a strong, well-built ship of five hundred tons.

Having arrived at Cadiz, and the object of the voyage having been accomplished, the French ships were dismissed, with the exception of the "St. Julian," which was retained, with the Provincial Captain, who had accepted the office of pilot-general for that year, in the service of the King of Spain.

After lingering a month at Cadiz, they proceeded to St. Lucar de Barameda, where Champlain remained three months, agreeably occupied in making observations and drawings of both city and country, including a visit to Seville, some fifty miles in the interior.

In the mean time, the fleet for the annual visit to the West Indies, to which we have already alluded, was fitting out at Saint Lucar, and about to sail under the command of Don Francisco Colombo, who, attracted by the size and good sailing qualities of the "Saint Julian," chartered her for the voyage. The services of the pilot-general were required in another direction, and, with the approbation of Colombo, he gave the command of the "Saint Julian" to Champlain. Nothing could have been more gratifying than this appointment, which assured to Champlain a visit to the more important Spanish colonies under the most favorable circumstances.

He accordingly set sail with the fleet, which left Saint Lucar at the beginning of January, 1599.

Passing the Canaries, in two months and six days they sighted the little island of Deseada, [19] the vestibule of the great Caribbean archipelago, touched at Guadaloupe, wound their way among the group called the Virgins, turning to the south made for Margarita, [20] then famous for its pearl fisheries, and from thence sailed to St. Juan de Porto-rico. Here the fleet was divided into three squadrons. One was to go to Porto-bello, on the Isthmus of Panama, another to the coast of South America, then called Terra Firma, and the third to Mexico, then known as New Spain. This latter squadron, to which Champlain was attached, coasted along the northern shore of the island of Saint Domingo, otherwise Hispaniola, touching at Porto Platte, Mancenilla, Mosquitoes, Monte Christo, and Saint Nicholas. Skirting the southern coast of Cuba, reconnoitring the Caymans, [21] they at length cast anchor in the harbor of San Juan d'Ulloa, the island fortress near Vera Cruz. While here, Champlain made an inland journey to the City of Mexico, where he remained a month. He also sailed in a patache, or advice-boat, to Porto-bello, when, after a month, he returned again to San Juan d'Ulloa. The squadron then sailed for Havana, from which place Champlain was commissioned to visit, on public business, Cartagena, within the present limits of New Grenada, on the coast of South America. The whole armada was finally collected together at Havana, and from thence took its departure for Spain, passing through the channel of Bahama, or Gulf of Florida, sighting Bermuda and the Azores, reaching Saint Lucar early in March, 1601, after an absence from that port of two years and two months. [22]

On Champlain's return to France, he prepared an elaborate report of his observations and discoveries, luminous with sixty-two illustrations sketched by his own hand. As it was his avowed purpose in making the voyage to procure information that should be valuable to his government, he undoubtedly communicated it in some form to Henry IV. The document remained in manuscript two hundred and fifty-seven years, when it was first printed at London in an English translation by the Hakluyt Society, in 1859. It is an exceedingly interesting and valuable tract, containing a lucid description of the peculiarities, manners, and customs of the people, the soil, mountains, and rivers, the trees, fruits, and plants, the animals, birds, and fishes, the rich mines found at different points, with frequent allusions to the system of colonial management, together with the character and sources of the vast wealth which these settlements were annually yielding to the Spanish crown.

The reader of this little treatise will not fail to see the drift and tendency of Champlain's mind and character unfolded on nearly every page. His indomitable perseverance, his careful observation, his honest purpose and amiable spirit are at all times apparent. Although a Frenchman, a foreigner, and an entire stranger in the Spanish fleet, he had won the confidence of the commander so completely, that he was allowed by special permission to visit the City of Mexico, the Isthmus of Panama, and the coast of South America, all of which were prominent and important centres of interest, but nevertheless lying beyond the circuit made by the squadron to which he was attached.

For the most part, Champlain's narrative of what he saw and of what he learned from others is given in simple terms, without inference or comment.

His views are, however, clearly apparent in his description of the Spanish method of converting the Indians by the Inquisition, reducing them to slavery or the horrors of a cruel death, together with the retaliation practised by their surviving comrades, resulting in a milder method. This treatment of the poor savages by their more savage masters Champlain illustrates by a graphic drawing, in which two stolid Spaniards are guarding half a dozen poor wretches who are burning for their faith. In another drawing he represents a miserable victim receiving, under the eye and direction of the priest, the blows of an uplifted baton, as a penalty for not attending church.

Champlain's forecast and fertility of mind may be clearly seen in his suggestion that a ship-canal across the Isthmus of Panama would be a work of great practical utility, saving, in the voyage to the Pacific side of the Isthmus, a distance of more than fifteen hundred leagues. [23]

As it was the policy of Spain to withhold as much as possible all knowledge of her colonial system and wealth in the West Indies, we may add, that there is probably no work extant, on this subject, written at that period, so full, impartial, and truthful as this tract by Champlain. It was undoubtedly written out from notes and sketches made on the spot, and probably occupied the early part of the two years that followed his return from this expedition, during which period we are not aware that he entered upon any other important enterprise. [24]

This tour among the Spanish colonies, and the description which Champlain gave of them, information so much desired and yet so difficult to obtain, appear to have made a strong and favorable impression upon the mind of Henry IV., whose quick comprehension of the character of men was one of the great qualities of this distinguished sovereign. He clearly saw that Champlain's character was made up of those elements which are indispensable in the servants of the executive will. He accordingly assigned him a pension to enable him to reside near his person, and probably at the same time honored him with a place within the charmed circle of the nobility. [25]

While Champlain was residing at court, rejoicing doubtless in his new honors and full of the marvels of his recent travels, he formed the acquaintance, or perhaps renewed an old one, with Commander de Chastes, [26] for many years governor of Dieppe, who had given a long life to the service of his country, both by sea [27] and by land, and was a warm and attached friend of Henry IV. The enthusiasm of the young voyager and the long experience of the old commander made their interviews mutually instructive and entertaining. De Chastes had observed and studied with great interest the recent efforts at colonization on the coast of North America. His zeal had been kindled and his ardor deepened doubtless by the glowing recitals of his young friend. It was easy for him to believe that France, as well as Spain, might gather in the golden fruits of colonization. The territory claimed by France was farther to the north, in climate and in sources of wealth widely different, and would require a different management. He had determined, therefore, to send out an expedition for the purpose of obtaining more definite information than he already possessed, with the view to surrender subsequently his government of Dieppe, take up his abode in the new world, and there dedicate his remaining years to the service of God and his king. He accordingly obtained a commission from the king, associating with himself some of the principal merchants of Rouen and other cities, and made preparations for despatching a pioneer fleet to reconnoitre and fix upon a proper place for settlement, and to determine what equipment would be necessary for the convenience and comfort of the colony. He secured the services of Pont Grave, [28] a distinguished merchant and Canadian fur-trader, to conduct the expedition. Having laid his views open fully to Champlain, he invited him also to join the exploring party, as he desired the opinion and advice of so careful an observer as to a proper plan of future operations.

No proposition could have been more agreeable to Champlain than this, and he expressed himself quite ready for the enterprise, provided De Chastes would secure the consent of the king, to whom he was under very great obligations. De Chastes readily obtained the desired permission, coupled, however, with an order from the king to Champlain to bring back to him a faithful report of the voyage. Leaving Paris, Champlain hastened to Honfleur, armed with a letter of instructions from M. de Gesures, the secretary of the king, to Pont Grave, directing him to receive Champlain and afford him every facility for seeing and exploring the country which they were about to visit. They sailed for the shores of the New World on the 15th of March, 1603.

The reader should here observe that anterior to this date no colonial settlement had been made on the northern coasts of America. These regions had, however, been frequented by European fishermen at a very early period, certainly within the decade after its discovery by John Cabot in 1497. But the Basques, Bretons, and Normans, [29] who visited these coasts, were intent upon their employment, and consequently brought home only meagre information of the country from whose shores they yearly bore away rich cargoes of fish.

The first voyage made by the French for the purpose of discovery in our northern waters of which we have any authentic record was by Jacques Cartier in 1534, and another was made for the same purpose by this distinguished navigator in 1535. In the former, he coasted along the shores of Newfoundland, entered and gave its present name to the Bay of Chaleur, and at Gaspe took formal possession of the country in the name of the king. In the second, he ascended the St. Lawrence as far as Montreal, then an Indian village known by the aborigines as Hochelaga, situated on an island at the base of an eminence which they named Mont-Royal, from which the present commercial metropolis of the Dominion derives its name. After a winter of great suffering, which they passed on the St. Charles, near Quebec, and the death of many of his company, Cartier returned to France early in the summer of 1536. In 1541, he made a third voyage, under the patronage of Francois de la Roque, Lord de Roberval, a nobleman of Picardy. He sailed up the St. Lawrence, anchoring probably at the mouth of the river Cap Rouge, about four leagues above Quebec, where he built a fort which he named Charlesbourg-Royal. Here he passed another dreary and disheartening winter, and returned to France in the spring of 1542. His patron, De Roberval, who had failed to fulfil his intention to accompany him the preceding year, met him at St. John, Newfoundland. In vain Roberval urged and commanded him to retrace his course; but the resolute old navigator had too recent an experience and saw too clearly the inevitable obstacles to success in their undertaking to be diverted from his purpose. Roberval proceeded up the Saint Lawrence, apparently to the fort just abandoned by Cartier, which he repaired and occupied the next winter, naming it Roy-Francois; [30] but the disasters which followed, the sickness and death of many of his company, soon forced him, likewise, to abandon the enterprise and return to France.

Of these voyages, Cartier, or rather his pilot-general, has left full and elaborate reports, giving interesting and detailed accounts of the mode of life among the aborigines, and of the character and products of the country.

The entire want of success in all these attempts, and the absorbing and wasting civil wars in France, paralyzed the zeal and put to rest all aspirations for colonial adventure for more than half a century.

But in 1598, when peace again began to dawn upon the nation, the spirit of colonization revived, and the Marquis de la Roche, a nobleman of Brittany, obtained a royal commission with extraordinary and exclusive powers of government and trade, identical with those granted to Roberval nearly sixty years before. Having fitted out a vessel and placed on board forty convicts gathered out of the prisons of France, he embarked for the northern coasts of America. The first land he made was Sable Island, a most forlorn sand-heap rising out of the Atlantic Ocean, some thirty leagues southeast of Cape Breton. Here he left these wretched criminals to be the strength and hope, the bone and sinew of the little kingdom which, in his fancy, he pictured to himself rising under his fostering care in the New World. While reconnoitring the mainland, probably some part of Nova Scotia, for the purpose of selecting a suitable location for his intended settlement, a furious gale swept him from the coast, and, either from necessity or inclination, he returned to France, leaving his hopeful colonists to a fate hardly surpassed by that of Selkirk himself, and at the same time dismissing the bright visions that had so long haunted his mind, of personal aggrandizement at the head of a colonial establishment.

The next year, 1599, Sieur de Saint Chauvin, of Normandy, a captain in the royal marine, at the suggestion of Pont Grave, of Saint Malo, an experienced fur-trader, to whom we have already referred, and who had made several voyages to the northwest anterior to this, obtained a commission sufficiently comprehensive, amply providing for a colonial settlement and the propagation of the Christian faith, with, indeed, all the privileges accorded by that of the Marquis de la Roche. But the chief and present object which Chauvin and Pont Grave hoped to attain was the monopoly of the fur trade, which they had good reason to believe they could at that time conduct with success. Under this commission, an expedition was accordingly fitted out and sailed for Tadoussac. Successful in its main object, with a full cargo of valuable furs, they returned to France in the autumn, leaving, however, sixteen men, some of whom perished during the winter, while the rest were rescued from the same fate by the charity of the Indians. In the year 1600, Chauvin made another voyage, which was equally remunerative, and a third had been projected on a much broader scale, when his death intervened and prevented its execution.

The death of Sieur de Chauvin appears to have vacated his commission, at least practically, opening the way for another, which was obtained by the Commander de Chastes, whose expedition, accompanied by Champlain, as we have already seen, left Honfleur on the 15th of March, 1603. It consisted of two barques of twelve or fifteen tons, one commanded by Pont Grave, and the other by Sieur Prevert, of Saint Malo, and was probably accompanied by one or more advice-boats. They took with them two Indians who had been in France some time, doubtless brought over by De Chauvin on his last voyage. With favoring winds, they soon reached the banks of Newfoundland, sighted Cape Ray, the northern point of the Island of Cape Breton, Anticosti and Gaspe, coasting along the southern side of the river Saint Lawrence as far as the Bic, where, crossing over to the northern shore, they anchored in the harbor of Tadoussac. After reconnoitring the Saguenay twelve or fifteen leagues, leaving their vessels at Tadoussac, where an active fur trade was in progress with the Indians, they proceeded up the St. Lawrence in a light boat, passed Quebec, the Three Rivers, Lake St. Peter, the Richelieu, which they called the river of the Iroquois, making an excursion up this stream five or six leagues, and then, continuing their course, passing Montreal, they finally cast anchor on the northern side, at the foot of the Falls of St. Louis, not being able to proceed further in their boat.

Having previously constructed a skiff for the purpose, Pont Grave and Champlain, with five sailors and two Indians with a canoe, attempted to pass the falls. But after a long and persevering trial, exploring the shores on foot for some miles, they found any further progress quite impossible with their present equipment. They accordingly abandoned the undertaking and set out on their return to Tadoussac. They made short stops at various points, enabling Champlain to pursue his investigations with thoroughness and deliberation. He interrogated the Indians as to the course and extent of the St. Lawrence, as well as that of the other large rivers, the location of the lakes and falls, and the outlines and general features of the country, making rude drawings or maps to illustrate what the Indians found difficult otherwise to explain. [31]

The savages also exhibited to them specimens of native copper, which they represented as having been obtained from the distant north, doubtless from the neighborhood of Lake Superior. On reaching Tadoussac, they made another excursion in one of the barques as far as Gaspe, observing the rivers, bays, and coves along the route. When they had completed their trade with the Indians and had secured from them a valuable collection of furs, they commenced their return voyage to France, touching at several important points, and obtaining from the natives some general hints in regard to the existence of certain mines about the head waters of the Bay of Fundy.

Before leaving, one of the Sagamores placed his son in charge of Pont Grave, that he might see the wonders of France, thus exhibiting a commendable appreciation of the advantages of foreign travel. They also obtained the gift of an Iroquois woman, who had been taken in war, and was soon to be immolated as one of the victims at a cannibal feast. Besides these, they took with them also four other natives, a man from the coast of La Cadie, and a woman and two boys from Canada.

The two little barques left Gaspe on the 24th of August; on the 5th of September they were at the fishing stations on the Grand Banks, and on the 20th of the same month arrived at Havre de Grace, having been absent six months and six days.

Champlain received on his arrival the painful intelligence that the Commander de Chastes, his friend and patron, under whose auspices the late expedition had been conducted, had died on the 13th of May preceding. This event was a personal grief as well as a serious calamity to him, as it deprived him of an intimate and valued friend, and cast a cloud over the bright visions that floated before him of discoveries and colonies in the New World. He lost no time in repairing to the court, where he laid before his sovereign, Henry IV., a map constructed by his own hand of the regions which he had just visited, together with a very particular narrative of the voyage.

This "petit discours," as Champlain calls it, is a clear, compact, well-drawn paper, containing an account of the character and products of the country, its trees, plants, fruits, and vines, with a description of the native inhabitants, their mode of living, their clothing, food and its preparation, their banquets, religion, and method of burying their dead, with many other interesting particulars relating to their habits and customs.

Henry IV. manifested a deep interest in Champlain's narrative. He listened to its recital with great apparent satisfaction, and by way of encouragement promised not to abandon the undertaking, but to continue to bestow upon it his royal favor and patronage.

There chanced at this time to be residing at court, a Huguenot gentleman who had been a faithful adherent of Henry IV. in the late war, Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, gentleman ordinary to the king's chamber, and governor of Pons in Saintonge. This nobleman had made a trip for pleasure or recreation to Canada with De Chauvin, several years before, and had learned something of the country, and especially of the advantages of the fur trade with the Indians. He was quite ready, on the death of De Chastes, to take up the enterprise which, by this event, had been brought to a sudden and disastrous termination. He immediately devised a scheme for the establishment of a colony under the patronage of a company to be composed of merchants of Rouen, Rochelle, and of other places, their contributions for covering the expense of the enterprise to be supplemented, if not rendered entirely unnecessary, by a trade in furs and peltry to be conducted by the company.

In less than two months after the return of the last expedition, De Monts had obtained from Henry IV., though contrary to the advice of his most influential minister, [32] a charter constituting him the king's lieutenant in La Cadie, with all necessary and desirable powers for a colonial settlement. The grant included the whole territory lying between the 4Oth and 46th degrees of north latitude. Its southern boundary was on a parallel of Philadelphia, while its northern was on a line extended due west from the most easterly point of the Island of Cape Breton, cutting New Brunswick on a parallel near Fredericton, and Canada near the junction of the river Richelieu and the St. Lawrence. It will be observed that the parts of New France at that time best known were not included in this grant, viz., Lake St. Peter, Three Rivers, Quebec, Tadoussac, Gaspe, and the Bay Chaleur. These were points of great importance, and had doubtless been left out of the charter by an oversight arising from an almost total want of a definite geographical knowledge of our northern coast. Justly apprehending that the places above mentioned might not be included within the limits of his grant, De Monts obtained, the next month, an extension of the bounds of his exclusive right of trade, so that it should comprehend the whole region of the gulf and river of St. Lawrence. [33]

The following winter, 1603-4, was devoted by De Monts to organizing his company, the collection of a suitable band of colonists, and the necessary preparations for the voyage. His commission authorized him to seize any idlers in the city or country, or even convicts condemned to transportation, to make up the bone and sinew of the colony. To what extent he resorted to this method of filling his ranks, we know not. Early in April he had gathered together about a hundred and twenty artisans of all trades, laborers, and soldiers, who were embarked upon two ships, one of 120 tons, under the direction of Sieur de Pont Grave, commanded, however, by Captain Morel, of Honfleur; another of 150 tons, on which De Monts himself embarked with several noblemen and gentlemen, having Captain Timothee, of Havre de Grace, as commander.

De Monts extended to Champlain an invitation to join the expedition, which he readily accepted, but, nevertheless, on the condition, as in the previous voyage, of the king's assent, which was freely granted, nevertheless with the command that he should prepare a faithful report of his observations and discoveries.


18. Blavet was situated at the mouth of the River Blavet, on the southern coast of Brittany. Its occupation had been granted to the Spanish by the Duke de Mercoeur during the civil war, and, with other places held by the Spanish, was surrendered by the treaty of Vervins, in June, 1598. It was rebuilt and fortified by Louis XIII, and is now known as Port Louis.

19. Deseada, signifying in Spanish the desired land.

20. Margarita, a Spanish word from the Greek [Greek: margaritaes], signifying a pearl. The following account by an eye-witness will not be uninteresting: "Especially it yieldeth store of pearls, those gems which the Latin writers call Uniones, because nulli duo reperiuntur discreti, they always are found to grow in couples. In this Island there are many rich Merchants who have thirty, forty, fifty Blackmore slaves only to fish out of the sea about the rocks these pearls.... They are let down in baskets into the Sea, and so long continue under the water, until by pulling the rope by which they are let down, they make their sign to be taken up.... From Margarita are all the Pearls sent to be refined and bored to Carthagena, where is a fair and goodly street of no other shops then of these Pearl dressers. Commonly in the month of July there is a ship or two at most ready in the Island to carry the King's revenue, and the Merchant's pearls to Carthagena. One of these ships is valued commonly at three score thousand or four score thousand ducats and sometimes more, and therefore are reasonable well manned; for that the Spaniards much fear our English and the Holland ships."—Vide New Survey of the West Indies, by Thomas Gage, London, 1677, p. 174.

21. Caymans, Crocodiles.

22. For an interesting Account of the best route to and from the West Indies in order to avoid the vigilant French and English corsairs, see Notes on Giovanni da Verrazano, by J. C. Brevoort, New York, 1874, p. 101.

23. At the time that Champlain was at the isthmus, in 1599-1601, the gold and silver of Peru were brought to Panama, then transported on mules a distance of about four leagues to a river, known as the Rio Chagres, whence they were conveyed by water first to Chagres. and thence along the coast to Porto-bello, and there shipped to Spain.

Champlain refers to a ship-canal in the following words: "One might judge, if the territory four leagues in extent lying between Panama and this river were cut through, he could pass from the south sea to that on the other side, and thus shorten the route by more than fifteen hundred leagues. From Panama to the Straits of Magellan would constitute an island, and from Panama to New Foundland another, so that the whole of America would be in two islands."—Vide Brief Discours des Choses Plus Remarquables, par Sammuel Champlain de Brovage, 1599, Quebec ed., Vol. I. p 141. This project of a ship canal across the isthmus thus suggested by Champlain two hundred and eighty years ago is now attracting the public attention both in this country and in Europe. Several schemes are on foot for bringing it to pass, and it will undoubtedly be accomplished, if it shall be found after the most careful and thorough investigation to be within the scope of human power, and to offer adequate commercial advantages.

Some of the difficulties to be overcome are suggested by Mr. Marsh in the following excerpt—

"The most colossal project of canalization ever suggested, whether we consider the physical difficulties of its execution, the magnitude and importance of the waters proposed to be united, or the distance which would be saved in navigation, is that of a channel between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific, across the Isthmus of Darien. I do not now speak of a lock-canal, by way of the Lake of Nicaragua, or any other route,—for such a work would not differ essentially from other canals and would scarcely possess a geographical character,—but of an open cut between the two seas. The late survey by Captain Selfridge, showing that the lowest point on the dividing ridge is 763 feet above the sea-level, must be considered as determining in the negative the question of the possibility of such a cut, by any means now at the control of man; and both the sanguine expectations of benefits, and the dreary suggestions of danger from the realization of this great dream, may now be dismissed as equally chimerical."—Vide The Earth as Modified by Human Action, by George P. Marsh, New York, 1874, p. 612.

24. A translation of Champlain's Voyage to the West Indies and Mexico was made by Alice Wilmere, edited by Norton Shaw, and published by the Hakluyt Society, London, 1859.

25. No positive evidence is known to exist as to the time when Champlain was ennobled. It seems most likely to have been in acknowledgment of his valuable report made to Henry IV. after his visit to the West Indies.

26. Amyar de Chastes died on the 13th of May, 1603, greatly respected and beloved by his fellow-citizens. He was charged by his government with many important and responsible duties. In 1583, he was sent by Henry III., or rather by Catherine de Medicis, to the Azores with a military force to sustain the claims of Antonio, the Prior of Crato, to the throne of Portugal. He was a warm friend and supporter of Henry IV., and took an active part in the battles of Ivry and Arques. He commanded the French fleet on the coasts of Brittany; and, during the long struggle of this monarch with internal enemies and external foes, he was in frequent communication with the English to secure their co-operation, particularly against the Spanish. He accompanied the Duke de Boullon, the distinguished Huguenot nobleman, to England, to be present and witness the oath of Queen Elizabeth to the treaty made with France.

On this occasion he received a valuable jewel as a present from the English queen. He afterwards directed the ceremonies and entertainment of the Earl of Shrewsbury, who was deputed to receive the ratification of the before-mentioned treaty by Henry IV. Vide Busk's His. Spain and Portugal, London, 1833, p. 129 et passim; Denis' His. Portugal, Paris, 1846, p. 296; Freer's Life of Henry IV., Vol. I. p. 121, et passim; Memoirs of Sully, Philadelphia, 1817, Vol. I. p. 204; Birch's Memoirs Queen Elizabeth, London, 1754, Vol. II. pp. 121, 145, 151, 154, 155; Asselini MSS. Chron., cited by Shaw in Nar Voyage to West Ind. and Mexico, Hakluyt Soc., 1859, p. xv.

27. "Au meme tems les nouvelles vinrent.... que le Commandeur de Chastes dressoit une grande Armee de Mer en Bretagne."—Journal de Henri III. (1586), Paris, 1744, Tom. III. p. 279.

28. Du Pont Grave was a merchant of St Malo. He had been associated with Chauvin in the Canada trade, and continued to visit the St Lawrence for this purpose almost yearly for thirty years.

He was greatly respected by Champlain, and was closely associated with him till 1629. After the English captured Quebec, he appears to have retired, forced to do so by the infirmities of age.

29. Jean Parmentier, of Dieppe, author of the Discorso d'un gran capitano in Ramusio, Vol. III., p. 423, wrote in the year 1539, and he says the Bretons and Normans were in our northern waters thirty-five years before, which would be in 1504. Vide Mr. Parkman's learned note and citations in Pioneers of France in the New World, pp. 171, 172. The above is doubtless the authority on which the early writers, such as Pierre Biard, Champlain, and others, make the year 1504 the period when the French voyages for fishing commenced.

30. Vide Voyage of Iohn Alphonse of Xanctoigne, Hakluyt, Vol. III., p. 293.

31. Compare the result of these inquiries as stated by Champlain, p.252 of this vol and New Voyages, by Baron La Hontan, 1684, ed. 1735, Vol I. p. 30.

32. The Duke of Sully's disapprobation is expressed in the following words: "The colony that was sent to Canada this year, was among the number of those things that had not my approbation; there was no kind of riches to be expected from all those countries of the new world, which are beyond the fortieth degree of latitude. His majesty gave the conduct of this expedition to the Sieur du Mont."—Memoirs of Sully, Philadelphia, 1817, Vol. III. p. 185.

33. "Frequenter, negocier, et communiquer durant ledit temps de dix ans, depuis le Cap de Raze jusques au quarantieme degre, comprenant toute la cote de la Cadie, terre et Cap Breton, Bayes de Sainct-Cler, de Chaleur, Ile Percee, Gachepe, Chinschedec, Mesamichi, Lesquemin, Tadoussac, et la riviere de Canada, tant d'un cote que d'aurre, et toutes les Bayes et rivieres qui entrent au dedans desdites cotes."— Extract of Commission, Histoire de la Nouvelle-France, par Lescarbot, Paris, 1866, Vol. II. p. 416.



De Monts, with Champlain and the other noblemen, left Havre de Grace on the 7th April, 1604, while Pont Grave, with the other vessel, followed three days later, to rendezvous at Canseau.

Taking a more southerly course than he had originally intended, De Monts came in sight of La Heve on the 8th of May, and on the 12th entered Liverpool harbor, where he found Captain Rossignol, of Havre de Grace, carrying on a contraband trade in furs with the Indians, whom he arrested, and confiscated his vessel.

The next day they anchored at Port Mouton, where they lingered three or four weeks, awaiting news from Pont Grave, who had in the mean time arrived at Canseau, the rendezvous agreed upon before leaving France. Pont Grave had there discovered several Basque ships engaged in the fur-trade. Taking possession of them, he sent their masters to De Monts. The ships were subsequently confiscated and sent to Rochelle.

Captain Fouques was despatched to Canseau in the vessel which had been taken from Rossignol, to bring forward the supplies which had been brought over by Pont Grave. Having transshipped the provisions intended for the colony, Pont Grave proceeded through the Straits of Canseau up the St. Lawrence, to trade with the Indians, upon the profits of which the company relied largely for replenishing their treasury.

In the mean time Champlain was sent in a barque of eight tons, with the secretary Sieur Ralleau, Mr. Simon, the miner, and ten men, to reconnoitre the coast towards the west. Sailing along the shore, touching at numerous points, doubling Cape Sable, he entered the Bay of Fundy, and after exploring St. Mary's Bay, and discovering several mines of both Silver and iron, returned to Port Mouton and made to De Monts a minute and careful report.

De Monts immediately weighed anchor and sailed for the Bay of St. Mary, where he left his vessel, and, with Champlain, the miner, and some others, proceeded to explore the Bay of Fundy. They entered and examined Annapolis harbor, coasted along the western shores of Nova Scotia, touching at the Bay of Mines, passing over to New Brunswick, skirting its whole southeastern coast, entering the harbor of St. John, and finally penetrating Passamaquoddy Bay as far as the mouth of the river St. Croix, and fixed upon De Monts's Island [34] as the seat of their colony. The vessel at St. Mary's with the colonists was ordered to join them, and immediately active measures were taken for laying out gardens, erecting dwellings and storehouses, and all the necessary preparations for the coming winter. Champlain was commissioned to design and lay out the town, if so it could be called.

When the work was somewhat advanced, he was sent in a barque of five or six tons, manned with nine sailors, to search for a mine of pure copper, which an Indian named Messamoueet had assured them he could point out to them on the coast towards the river St. John. Some twenty-five miles from the river St. Croix, they found a mine yielding eighteen per cent, as estimated by the miner; but they did not discover any pure copper, as they had hoped.

On the last day of August, 1604, the vessel which had brought out the colony, together with that which had been taken from Rossignol, took their departure for the shores of France. In it sailed Poutrincourt, Ralleau the secretary of De Monts, and Captain Rossignol.

From the moment of his arrival on the coast of America, Champlain employed his leisure hours in making sketches and drawings of the most important rivers, harbors, and Indian settlements which they had visited.

While the little colony at De Monts's Island was active in getting its appointments arranged and settled, De Monts wisely determined, though he could not accompany it himself, nevertheless to send out an expedition during the mild days of autumn, to explore the region still further to the south, then called by the Indians Norumbegue. Greatly to the satisfaction of Champlain, he was personally charged, with this important expedition. He set out on the 2d of September, in a barque of seventeen or eighteen tons, with twelve sailors and two Indian guides. The inevitable fogs of that region detained them nearly a fortnight before they were able to leave the banks of Passamaquoddy. Passing along the rugged shores of Maine, with its endless chain of islands rising one after another into view, which they called the Ranges, they at length came to the ancient Pemetiq, lying close in to the shore, having the appearance at sea of seven or eight mountains drawn together and springing from the same base. This Champlain named Monts Deserts, which we have anglicized into Mount Desert, [35] an appellation which has survived the vicissitudes of two hundred and seventy-five years, and now that the island, with its salubrious air and cool shades, its bold and picturesque scenery, is attracting thousands from the great cities during the heats of summer, the name is likely to abide far down into a distant and indefinite future.

Leaving Mount Desert, winding their way among numerous islands, taking a northerly direction, they soon entered the Penobscot, [36] known by the early navigators as the river Norumbegue. They proceeded up the river as far as the mouth of an affluent now known as the Kenduskeag, [37] which was then called, or rather the place where it made a junction with the Penobscot was called by the natives, Kadesquit, situated at the head of tide-water, near the present site of the city of Bangor. The falls above the city intercepted their further progress. The river-banks about the harbor were fringed with a luxurious growth of forest trees. On one side, lofty pines reared their gray trunks, forming a natural palisade along the shore. On the other, massive oaks alone were to be seen, lifting their sturdy branches to the skies, gathered into clumps or stretching out into long lines, as if a landscape gardener had planted them to please the eye and gratify the taste. An exploration revealed the whole surrounding region clothed in a similar wild and primitive beauty.

After a leisurely survey of the country, they returned to the mouth of the river. Contrary to what might have been expected, Champlain found scarcely any inhabitants dwelling on the borders of the Penobscot. Here and there they saw a few deserted wigwams, which were the only marks of human occupation. At the mouth of the river, on the borders of Penobscot Bay, the native inhabitants were numerous. They were of a friendly disposition, and gave their visitors a cordial welcome, readily entered into negotiations for the sale of beaver-skins, and the two parties mutually agreed to maintain a friendly intercourse in the future.

Having obtained from the Indians some valuable information as to the source of the Penobscot, and observed their mode of life, which did not differ from that which they had seen still further east, Champlain departed on the 20th of September, directing his course towards the Kennebec. But, encountering bad weather, he found it necessary to take shelter under the lee of the island of Monhegan.

After sailing three or four leagues farther, finding that his provisions would not warrant the continuance of the voyage, he determined, on the 23d of September, to return to the settlement at Saint Croix, or what is now known as De Monts's Island, where they arrived on the 2d day of October, 1604.

De Monts's Island, having an area of not more than six or seven acres, is situated in the river Saint Croix, midway between its opposite shores, directly upon the dividing line between the townships of Calais and Robinston in the State of Maine. At the northern end of the island, the buildings of the settlement were clustered together in the form of a quadrangle with an open court in the centre. First came the magazine and lodgings of the soldiers, then the mansion of the governor, De Monts, surmounted by the colors of France. Houses for Champlain and the other gentlemen, [38] for the cure, the artisans and workmen, filled up and completed the quadrangle. Below the houses, gardens were laid out for the several gentlemen, and at the southern extremity of the island cannon were mounted for protection against a sudden assault.

In the ample forests of Maine or New Brunswick, rich in oak and maple and pine, abounding in deer, partridge, and other wild game, watered by crystal fountains springing from every acre of the soil, we naturally picture for our colonists a winter of robust health, physical comfort, and social enjoyment. The little island which they had chosen was indeed a charming spot in a summer's day, but we can hardly comprehend in what view it could have been regarded as suitable for a colonial plantation. In space it was wholly inadequate; it was destitute of wood and fresh water, and its soil was sandy and unproductive. In fixing the location of their settlement and in the construction of their houses, it is obvious that they had entirely misapprehended the character of the climate. While the latitude was nearly the same, the temperature was far more rigorous than that of the sunny France which they had left. The snow began to fall on the 6th of October. On the 3d of December the ice was seen floating on the surface of the water. As the season advanced, and the tide came and went, huge floes of ice, day after day, swept by the island, rendering it impracticable to navigate the river or pass over to the mainland. They were therefore imprisoned in their own home. Thus cut off from the game with which the neighboring forests abounded, they were compelled to subsist almost exclusively upon salted meats. Nearly all the forest trees on the island had been used in the construction of their houses, and they had consequently but a meagre supply of fuel to resist the chilling winds and penetrating frosts. For fresh water, their only reliance was upon melted snow and ice. Their store-house had not been furnished with a cellar, and the frost left nothing untouched; even cider was dispensed in solid blocks. To crown the gloom and wretchedness of their situation, the colony was visited with disease of a virulent and fatal character. As the malady was beyond the knowledge, so it baffled the skill of the surgeons. They called it mal de la terre. Of the seventy-nine persons, composing the whole number of the colony, thirty-five died, and twenty others were brought to the verge of the grave. In May, having been liberated from the baleful influence of their winter prison and revived by the genial warmth of the vernal sun and by the fresh meats obtained from the savages, the disease abated, and the survivors gradually regained their strength.

Disheartened by the bitter experiences of the winter, the governor, having fully determined to abandon his present establishment, ordered two boats to be constructed, one of fifteen and the other of seven tons, in which to transport his colony to Gaspe, in case he received no supplies from France, with the hope of obtaining a passage home in some of the fishing vessels on that coast. But from this disagreeable alternative he was happily relieved. On the 15th of June, 1605, Pont Grave arrived, to the great joy of the little colony, with all needed supplies. The purpose of returning to France was at once abandoned, and, as no time was to be lost, on the 18th of the same month, De Monts, Champlain, several gentlemen, twenty sailors, two Indians, Panounias and his wife, set sail for the purpose of discovering a more eligible site for his colony somewhere on the shores of the present New England. Passing slowly along the coast, with which Champlain was already familiar, and consequently without extensive explorations, they at length reached the waters of the Kennebec, [39] where the survey of the previous year had terminated and that of the present was about to begin.

On the 5th of July, they entered the Kennebec, and, bearing to the right, passed through Back River, [40] grazing their barque on the rocks in the narrow channel, and then sweeping down round the southern point of Jerremisquam Island, or Westport, they ascended along its eastern shores till they came near the present site of Wiscasset, from whence they returned on the western side of the island, through Monseag Bay, and threading the narrow passage between Arrowsick and Woolwich, called the Upper Hell-gate, and again entering the Kennebec, they finally reached Merrymeeting Bay. Lingering here but a short time, they returned through the Sagadahock, or lower Kennebec, to the mouth of the river.

This exploration did not yield to the voyagers any very interesting or important results. Several friendly interviews were held with the savages at different points along the route. Near the head waters of the Sheepscot, probably in Wiscasset Bay, they had an interview, an interesting and joyous meeting, with the chief Manthomerme and twenty-five or thirty followers, with whom they exchanged tokens of friendship. Along the shores of the Sheepscot their attention was attracted by several pleasant streams and fine expanses of meadow; but the soil observed on this expedition generally, and especially on the Sagadahock, [41] or lower Kennebec, was rough and barren, and offered, in the judgment of De Monts and Champlain, no eligible site for a new settlement.

Proceeding, therefore, on their voyage, they struck directly across Casco Bay, not attempting, in their ignorance, to enter the fine harbor of Portland.

On the 9th of July, they made the bay that stretches from Cape Elizabeth to Fletcher's Neck, and anchored under the lee of Stratton Island, directly in sight of Old Orchard Beach, now a famous watering place during the summer months.

The savages having seen the little French barque approaching in the distance, had built sires to attract its attention, and came down upon the shore at Prout's Neck, formerly known as Black Point, in large numbers, indicating their friendliness by lively demonstrations of joy. From this anchorage, while awaiting the influx of the tide to enable them to pass over the bar and enter a river which they saw flowing into the bay, De Monts paid a visit to Richmond's Island, about four miles distant, which he was greatly delighted, as he found it richly studded with oak and hickory, whose bending branches were wreathed with luxuriant grapevines loaded with green clusters of unripe fruit. In honor of the god of wine, they gave to the island the classic name of Bacchus. [42] At full tide they passed over the bar and cast anchor within the channel of the Saco.

The Indians whom they found here were called Almouchiquois, and differed in many respects from any which they had seen before, from the Sourequois of Nova Scotia and the Etechemins of the northern part of Maine and New Brunswick. They spoke a different language, and, unlike their neighbors on the east, did not subsist mainly by the chase, but upon the products of the soil, supplemented by fish, which were plentiful and of excellent quality, and which they took with facility about the mouth of the river. De Monts and Champlain made an excursion upon the shore, where their eyes were refreshed by fields of waving corn, and gardens of squashes, beans, and pumpkins, which were then bursting into flower. [43] Here they saw in cultivation the rank narcotic petun, or tobacco, [44] just beginning to spread out its broad velvet leaves to the sun, the sole luxury of savage life. The forests were thinly wooded, but were nevertheless rich in primitive oak, in lofty ash and elm, and in the more humble and sturdy beech. As on Richmond's Island so here, along the bank of the river they found grapes in luxurious growth, from which the sailors busied themselves in making verjuice, a delicious beverage in the meridian heats of a July sun. The natives were gentle and amiable, graceful in figure, agile in movement, and exhibited unusual taste, dressing their hair in a variety of twists and braids, intertwined with ornamental feathers.

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