[Footnote 32: See Appendix, No. IX. (see Vol II)]
[Footnote 33: The zones were imaginary bands or circles in the heavens, producing an effect of climate on corresponding belts on the globe of the earth. The frigid zones, between the polar circles and the poles, were considered uninhabitable and unnavigable, on account of the extreme cold. The torrid zone, lying beneath the track of the sun, or rather the central part of it, immediately about the equator, was considered uninhabitable, unproductive, and impassable, on account of the excessive heat. The temperate zones, lying between the torrid and the frigid zones, were supposed to be the only parts of the globe suited to the purposes of life. Parmenides, according to Strabo, was the inventor of this theory of the five zones. Aristotle supported the same doctrine. He believed that there was habitable earth in the southern hemisphere, but that it was forever divided from the part of the world already known by the impassable zone of scorching heat at the equator. (Aristot., Met., ii., cap. v.) Pliny supported the opinion of Aristotle concerning the burning zones. (Pliny, lib. i., cap. lxvi.) Strabo (lib. ii.), in mentioning this theory, gives it likewise his support; and others of the ancient philosophers, as well as the poets, might be cited, to show the general prevalence of the belief.—Cicero, Somnium Scipionis, cap. vi.; Geminus, cap. xiii., p. 31; ap. Petavii Opus de Doctr. Tempor. in quo Uranologium sive Systemata var. Auctorum. Amst., 1705, vol. iii.]
[Footnote 34: See Appendix, No. X. (see Vol II)]
[Footnote 35: Barros, Dec. I., lib. iii., cap. iv., p. 190, says distinctly, "Bartholomeu Diaz, e os de sua compantica per causa dos perigos, e tormentas, que em o dobrar delle passaram che puyeram nome Tormentoso." The merit of the first circumnavigation, therefore, does not belong to Vasco de Gama, as is generally supposed. Diaz was at the Cape in May, 1487, and, therefore, almost at the same time that Pedro de Covilham and Alonzo de Payva of Barcelona commenced their expedition. As early as December, 1487, Diaz himself brought to Portugal the account of his important discovery. The mission of Pedro Covilham and Alonzo de Payva, in 1487, was set on foot by King John II., in order to search for "the African priest Johannes." Believing the accounts which he had obtained from Indian and Arabian pilots in Calicut, Goa, Aden, as well as in Sofala, on the eastern coast of Africa, Covilham informed King John II., by means of two Jews from Cairo, that if the Portuguese were to continue their voyages of discovery upon the western coast in a southerly direction, they would come to the end of Africa, whence a voyage to the Island of the Moon, to Zanzibar, and the gold country of Sofala, would be very easy. Accounts of the Indian and Arabian trading stations upon the east coast of Africa, and of the form of the southern extremity of the Continent, may have extended to Venice, through Egypt, Abyssinia, and Arabia. The triangular form of Africa was actually delineated upon the map of Sanuto, made in 1306, and discovered in the "Portulano della Mediceo-Laurenziana," by Count Baldelli in 1351, and also in the chart of the world by Fra Mauro.—Humboldt's Cosmos, vol. ii., p. 290, 461.]
[Footnote 36: Faria y Sousa complains that "the admiral entered Lisbon with a vain-glorious exultation, in order to make Portugal feel, by displaying the tokens of his discovery, how much she had erred in not acceding to his propositions."—Europa Portuguesa, t. ii., p. 402, 403.
Ruy de Pina asserts that King John was much importuned to kill Columbus on the spot, since, with his death, the prosecution of the undertaking, as far as the sovereigns of Castile were concerned, would cease, from want of a suitable person to take charge of it; but the king had too much magnanimity to adopt the iniquitous measure proposed.—Vasconcellos, Vida del Rie Don Juan II., lib. vi,; Garcia de Resende, Vide da Dom Joam II.; Las Casas, Hist. Ind., lib. i., cap. lxxiv.; MS. quoted by Prescott.]
[Footnote 37: See Appendix, No. XI. (see Vol II)]
[Footnote 38: "A Castilla y a Leon Nuevo Mumto dio Colon," was the inscription on the costly monument that was raised over the remains of Columbus in the Carthusian Monastery of La Cuevas at Seville. "The like of which," says his son Ferdinand, with as much truth as simplicity, "was never recorded of any man in ancient or modern times."—Hist. del Almirante, cap. cviii.
His ashes were finally removed to Cuba, where they now repose in the Cathedral church of its capital.—Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. ii.
"E dandogli il titol di Don volsero che egli aggiungesse presso all'arme di casa sua quattro altre, cioe quelle del Regno de Castiglio di Leon, e il Mar Oceano con tutte l'isole e quattro anchore per dimostrare l'ufficio d'Almirante, con un motto d'intorno che dicea, 'Per Castiglia e per Leon, Nuovo Mundo trovo Colon.'"—Ramusio, Discorio, tom. iii.
The heir of Columbus was always to bear the arms of the admiral, to seal with them, and in his signature never to use any other title than simply "the Admiral."]
[Footnote 39: See Appendix, No. XII. (see Vol II)—In the Middle Ages the prevalent opinion was that the sea covered but one seventh of the surface of the globe; an opinion which Cardinal d'Ailly (Imago Mundi, cap. viii.) founded on the apocryphal fourth book of Ezra. Columbus, who always derived much of his cosmological knowledge from the cardinal's work, was much interested in upholding this idea of the smallness of the sea, to which the misunderstood expression of "the ocean-stream" contributed not a little. He was also accustomed to cite Aristotle, and Seneca, and St. Augustine, in confirmation of this opinion.—Humboldt's Examen Critique de l'Hist. de la Geographie, tom. i., p. 186.]
[Footnote 40: See, especially, the details of the conference held at Salamanca (the great seat of learning in Spain), given in the fourth chapter of Washington Irving's "Columbus." One of the objections advanced was, that, admitting the earth to be spherical, and should a ship succeed in reaching in this way the extremity of India, she could never get back again; for the rotundity of the globe would present a kind of mountain, up which it would be impossible for her to sail with the most favorable wind.—Hist. del Almirante, cap. ii.; Hist. de Chiapa por Remesel, lib. ii., cap. 27.]
[Footnote 41: Columbus was required by King John II., of Portugal, to furnish a detailed plan of his proposed voyages, with the charts and other documents according to which he proposed to shape his course, for the alleged purpose of having them examined by the royal counselors. He readily complied; but while he remained in anxious suspense as to the decision of the council, a caravel was secretly dispatched with instructions to pursue the route designated in the papers of Columbus. This voyage had the ostensible pretext of carrying provisions to the Cape de Verde Islands; the private instructions given were carried into effect when the caravel departed thence. It stood westward for several days; but then the weather grew stormy, and the pilots having no zeal to stimulate them, and seeing nothing but an immeasurable waste of wild, trembling waves still extending before them, lost all courage to proceed. They put back to the Cape de Verde Islands, and thence to Lisbon, excusing their own want of resolution by ridiculing the project of Columbus. On discovering this act of treachery, Columbus instantly quitted Portugal.—Hist. del Almirante, cap. viii.; Herrera, Dec. I., lib. i., cap. vii.; Munoz, Hist. del Nuevo Mundo, lib. ii.—Quoted by Prescott.]
[Footnote 42: "Le Vendredi n'etant pas regarde dans la Chretiente comme un jour de bon augure pour le commencement d'une entreprise, les historiens du 17[me] siecle, qui gemissaient deja sur les maux dont, selon eux, l'Europe a ete accable par la decouverte de l'Amerique, on fait remarque que Colomb est parti pour la premiere expedition vendredi, 3 aout 1492, et que la premiere terre d'Amerique a ete decouverte vendredi 12 Octobre de la meme annee. La reformation du calendrier appliquee au journal de Colomb, qui indique toujours a la fois, les jours de la semaine et la date du mois, feroit disparoitre le pronostic du jour fatal."—Humboldt's Geog. du Nouveau Continent, vol. iii., p. 160.]
[Footnote 43: His first landing in the New World partook of the same character as his departure from the Old.
"Christoforo Colombo—primo con una bandiera nella quale era figurato il nostro Signore Jesu Christo in croce, salto in terra, e quella pianto, e poi tutti gli alti smontarono, e inginocchiati baciarono la terra, tre volti piangendo di allegrezza. Di poi Colombo alzate le mani al cielo lagrimando disse, Signor Dio Eterno, Signore omnipotente, tu creasti il cielo, e la terra, e il mare con la tua santa parola, sia benedetto e glorificato il nome tuo, sia ringraziata la tua Maesta, la quale si e degnata per mano d' uno umil suo servo far ch' el suo santo nome sia conosciuto e divulgato in questa altra parte del mondo."—Pietro Martire, Dell' Indie Occidentali, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 2; Oviedo, Hist. Gen. dell' India.]
[Footnote 44: Columbus not only has, incontestably, the merit of first discovering the line where there is no declination of the needle, but also of first inducing a study of terrestrial magnetism in Europe, by his observations concerning the increasing declination as he sailed in a westerly direction from that line. It had been already easily recognized in the Mediterranean, and in all places where, in the twelfth century, the declination was as much as eight or ten degrees, even though their instruments were so imperfect that the ends of a magnetic needle did not point exactly to the geographical north or south. It is improbable that the Arabs or Crusaders drew attention to the fact of the compass pointing to the northeast and northwest in different parts of the world, as to a phenomenon which had long been known. The merit which belongs to Columbus is, not for the first observance of the existence of the declination, which is given, for example, upon the map of Andrew Bianca, in 1436, but for the remark which he made on the 13th of September, 1492, that about two degrees and a half to the east of the Island of Corvo the magnetic variation changed, and that it passed over from northeast to northwest. This discovery of a magnetic line without any variation indicates a remarkable epoch in nautical astronomy. It was celebrated with just praise by Oviedo, Casas, and Herrera. If with Livio Sanuto we ascribe it to the renowned mariner Sebastian Cabot, we forget that his first voyage, which was undertaken at the expense of some merchants of Bristol, and which was crowned with success by his touching the main-land of America, falls five years later than the first expedition of Columbus.—Humboldt's Cosmos, vol. ii., p. 318; Las Casas, Hist. Ind., lib. i., cap. 6.]
[Footnote 45: "In sailing toward the West India Islands birds are often seen at the distance of two hundred leagues from the nearest coast."—Sloane's Nat. Hist. of Jamaica, vol. i., p. 30.
Captain Cook says, "No one yet knows to what distance any of the Oceanic birds go to sea; for my own part, I do not believe that there is any one of the whole tribe that can be relied on in pointing out the vicinity of land."—Voyage toward the South Pole, vol. i., p. 275.
The Portuguese, however, only keeping along the African coast and watching the flight of birds with attention, concluded that they did not venture to fly far from land. Columbus adopted this erroneous opinion from his early instructors in navigation.]
[Footnote 46: "Puesto que el amirante a los diez de la noche vio lumbre ... y era como una candelilla de cera que se alzaba y levantaba, lo cual a pocos pareciera ser indicio de tierra. Pero el amirante tuvo por cierto estar junto a la tierra. Por lo qual quando dijeron la 'Salve' que acostumbran decir y cantar a su manera todos los marineros, y de hallan todos, vogo y amonestolos el amirante que hiciesen buena guarda al castillo de proa, y mirasen bien por la tierra."—Diar. de Colon. Prem. Viag. 11 de Oct.]
[Footnote 47: "Let those who are disposed to faint under difficulties, in the prosecution of any great and worthy undertaking, remember that eighteen years elapsed after the time that Columbus conceived his enterprise before he was enabled to carry it into effect; that most of that time was passed in almost hopeless solicitation, amid poverty, neglect, and taunting ridicule; that the prime of his life had wasted away in the struggle, and that, when his perseverance was finally crowned with success, he was about in his fifty-sixth year. This example should encourage the enterprising never to despair."—Washington Irving's Life of Columbus, vol. i., p. 174.]
[Footnote 48: "While Columbus lay on a sick-bed by the River Belem, he was addressed in a dream by an unknown voice, distinctly uttering these words: 'Maravillosamente Dios hizo sonar tu nombre en la tierra; de los atamientos de la Mar Oceana, que estaban cerradas con cadenas tan fuertes, te dio las llaves.' (Letter to the Catholic monarch, July 7th, 1503.)"—Humboldt's Cosmos.]
[Footnote 49: See Appendix, No. XIII. (see Vol II)]
[Footnote 50: "The application to King Henry VII. was not made until 1488, as would appear from the inscription on a map which Bartholomew presented to the king. Las Casas intimates, from letters and writings of Bartholomew Columbus, in his possession, that the latter accompanied Bartholomew Diaz in his voyage from Lisbon, in 1486, along the coast of Africa, in the course of which he discovered the Cape of Good Hope."—Las Casas, Hist. Ind., lib. i., cap. vii.]
[Footnote 51: "The American Continent was first discovered under the auspices of the English, and the coast of the United States by a native of England (Sebastian Cabot told me that he was born in Bristowe)."—History of the Travayles in the East and West Indies, by R. Eden and R. Willes, 1577. fol. 267. Posterity hardly remembered that they (the Cabots) had reached the American Continent nearly four months before Columbus, on his third voyage, came in sight of the main-land.—Bancroft's Hist. of the United States, vol. i., p. 11. Charlevoix's "Histoire de la Nouvelle France," and the "Fastes Chronologiques," endeavor to discredit the discoveries of John and Sebastian Cabot, but the testimonies of cotemporary authors are decisive. Unfortunately, no journal or relation remains of the voyages of the Cabots to North America, but several authors have handed down accounts of them, which they received from the lips of Sebastian Cabot himself. See Hakluyt, iii., 27; Galearius Butrigarius, in Ramusio, tom. ii.; Ramusio, Preface to tom. iii.; Peter Martyr ab Angleria, Dec. III., cap. vi.; Gomara, Gen. Hist. of the West Indies, b. ii., c. vi. In Fabian's Chronicle, the writer asserts that he saw, in the sixteenth year of Henry VII., two out of three men who had been brought from "Newfound Island" two years before. The grant made by Edward VI. to Sebastian Cabot of a pension equal to L1000 per annum of our money, attests that "the good and acceptable service" for which it was conferred was of a very important nature. The words of the grant are handed down to us by Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 31.—See Life of Henry VII., by Lord Bacon; Bacon's Works, vol. iii., p. 356, 357.]
[Footnote 52: "The only immediate fruit of Cabot's first enterprise is said to have been the importation from America of the first turkeys ever seen in Europe. Why this bird received the name it enjoys in England has never been satisfactorily explained. By the French it was called 'Coq d'Inde,' on account of its American original, America being then generally termed Western India."—Graham's Hist. of the United States, vol. i., p. 7.]
[Footnote 53: Baccalaos was the name given by the natives to the codfish with which these waters abounded. Pietro Martire, who calls Sebastian Cabot his "dear and familiar friend," speaks of Newfoundland as Baccalaos; also, Lopez de Gomara and Ramusio.]
[Footnote 54: Mr. Bancroft pronounces this "fact to be indisputable," though he acknowledges that "the testimony respecting this expedition is confused and difficult of explanation." Sebastian Cabot wrote "A Discourse of Navigation," in which the entrance of the strait leading into Hudson's Bay was laid down with great precision "on a card, drawn by his own hand."—Ortelius, Map of America in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum; Eden and Willis, p. 223; Sir H. Gilbert, in Hakluyt, vol. iii., p. 49, 50; Bancroft, vol. i., p. 12.]
[Footnote 55: The learned and ingenious author of the "Memoirs of Sebastian Cabot" has brought forward strong arguments against the discovery of the Continent of America by Jean Vas Cortereal in 1494.—Humboldt's Geog. du Nouveau Continent, vol. i., p. 279; vol. ii., p. 25.
"The discoverer of the territory of our country was one of the most extraordinary men of his age. There is deep cause for regret that time has spared so few memorials of his career. He gave England a continent, and no one knows his burial-place."—Bancroft, vol. i., p. 14.]
[Footnote 56: Ramusio, vol. iii., p. 417. This discovery is also attributed to Jacques Cartier, who entered the gulf on the 10th of August, 1535, and gave it the name of the saint whose festival was celebrated on that day.—Charlevoix.]
[Footnote 57: In an old map published in 1508, the Labrador coast is called Terra Corterealis.]
[Footnote 58: It has been conjectured that the name Terra de Laborador was given to this coast by the Portuguese slave merchants, on account of the admirable qualities of the natives as laborers.—Picture of Quebec.]
[Footnote 59: It was an idea entertained by Columbus, that, as he extended his discoveries to climates more and more under the torrid influence of the sun, he should find the productions of nature sublimated by its rays to more perfect and precious qualities. He was strengthened in this belief by a letter written to him, at the command of the queen, by one Jayme Ferrer, an eminent and learned lapidary, who, in the course of his trading for precious stones and metals, had been in the Levant and in various parts of the East; had conversed with the merchants of the remote parts of Asia and Africa, and the natives of India, Arabia, and Ethiopia, and was considered deeply versed in geography generally, but especially in the nature of those countries from whence the valuable merchandise in which he dealt was procured. In this letter Ferrer assured Columbus that, according to his experience, the rarest objects of commerce, such as gold, precious stones, drugs, and spices, were chiefly to be found in the regions about the equinoctial line, where the inhabitants were black, or darkly colored, and that until the admiral should arrive among people of such complexions, he did not think he would find those articles in great abundance.—Navarrete, Coleccion, tom. ii., Document 68.]
[Footnote 60: Ramusio, vol. iii., p. 347; Charlevoix, vol. i., p. 36; see Osorio, History of the Portuguese, b. i.; Barrow's Voyages, p. 37-48; Herrera, Dec. 1., lib. vii., cap. ix.; Ensayo Chronologico para la Historia general de la Florida. En Madrid, 1723.—Quoted by Murray.]
[Footnote 61: "Les demandes ordinaires qu'on nous fait sont, 'Y a-t-il des tresors? Y a-t-il de l'or et de l'argent?' Et personne ne demande, 'Ces peuples la sont il disposes a entendre la doctrine Chretienne?' Et quant aux mines, il y en a vraiment, mais il les faut fouiller avec industrie, labeur et patience. La plus belle mine que je sache, c'est du bled et du vin, avec la nourriture du bestial; qui a de ceci, il a de l'argent, et des mines, nous n'en vivons point."—Marc l'Escarbot.]
[Footnote 62: This bold stretch of papal authority, so often ridiculed as chimerical and absurd, was in a measure justified by the event, since it did, in fact, determine the principle on which the vast extent of unappropriated empire in the eastern and western hemispheres was ultimately divided between two petty states of Europe. Alexander had not even the excuse that he thought he was disposing of uncultivated and uninhabited regions, since he specifies in his donation both towns and castles: "Civitates et castra in perpetuum tenore praesentium donamus."]
[Footnote 63: "What," said Francis I., "shall the kings of Spain and Portugal divide all America between them, without suffering me to take a share as their brother? I would fain see the article in Adam's will that bequeaths that vast inheritance to them."—Encyclopedia, vol. iv., p. 695.]
[Footnote 64: "In the latter years of his life, Francis, by a strict economy of the public money, repaired the evils of his early extravagance, while, at the same time, he was enabled to spare sufficient for carrying on the magnificent public institutions he had undertaken, and for forwarding the progress of discovery, of the fine arts, and of literature."—Bacon's Life and Times of Francis I., p. 399-401.]
[Footnote 65: See Appendix, No. XIV. (see Vol II)]
[Footnote 66: "Navigo anche lungo la detta terra l'anno 1524 un gran capitano del Re Christianissimo Francesco, detto Giovanni da Verazzano, Fiorentino, e scorse tutta la costa fino alla Florida, come per una sua lettera scritta al detto Re, particolarmente si vedia la qual sola abbiamo potuto avere perciocche l'altre si sono smarrite nelli travagli della povera citta di Fiorenza e nell' ultimo viaggio che esso fece, avendo voluto smontar in terra con alcuni compagni, furono tutti morti da quei popoli, e in presentia di coloro che erano rimasi nelle navi, furono arrostiti e mangeati." (Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 416.) The Baron La Houtan and La Potherie give the same account of Verazzano's end; they are not, however, very trustworthy authorities. Le Beau repeats the same story; but Charlevoix's words are, "Je ne trouve aucun fondement a ce que quelques uns ont publie, qu'ayant mis pied a terre dans un endroit ou il voulait batir un fort, les sauvages se jeterent sur lui, le massacrerent avec tous ses gens et le mangerent." A Spanish historian has asserted, contrary to all probability, that Verazzano was taken by the Spaniards, and hung as a pirate.—D. Andres Gonzalez de Barcia, Ensayo Chronologico para la Historia della Florida.]
[Footnote 67: Tiraboschi, Storia della Literatura Italiana, vol. vii., p. 261, 262.—Quoted in the Picture of Quebec, to which valuable work J.C. Fisher, Esq., president of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, largely contributed.]
[Footnote 68: Signifying "here is nothing." The insatiable thirst of the Spanish discoverers for gold is justified by the greatest of all discoverers, the disinterested Columbus himself, on high religious principles. When acquainting their Castilian majesties with the abundance of gold to be procured in the newly-found countries, he thus speaks, "El oro es excelentisimo, del oro se hace tesoro; y con el quien lo tiene hace quanto quiere en el mundo, y elega a que echa las animas al paraiso." (Navarrete, Coleccion de los Viages, vol. i., p. 309.) A passage which the modern editor of his papers affirms to be in conformity with many texts of Scripture.]
[Footnote 69: The historian Herrera, writing in the light of experience, makes use of the strong expression, that "mines were a lure devised by the evil spirit to draw the Spaniards on to destruction." "L'Espagne," says Montesquieu, "a fait comme ce roi insense, qui demanda que tout ce qu'il toucheroit se convertit en or, et qui fut oblige de revenir aux Dieux, pour les prier de finir sa misere."—Esprit des Loix, lib. xxi., cap. 22.
"Les mines du Perou et du Mexique ne valoient pas meme pour l'Espagne ce qu'elle auroit tire du son propre fonds en los cultivant. Avec tant de tresors Philippe II. fit banqueroute."—Millot. "Paturage et labourage," said the wise Sully, "valent mieux que tout l'or du Perou."]
[Footnote 70: Father Hennepin asserts that the Spaniards were the first discoverers of Canada, and that, finding nothing there to gratify their extensive desires for gold, they bestowed upon it the appellation of El Capo di Nada, "Cape Nothing," whence, by corruption, its present name.—Nouvelle Description d'un tres grand pays situe dans l'Amerique entre le Nouveau Mexique et la Mer Glaciale, depuis l'an 1667 jusqu' en 1670. Par le Pere Louis Hennepin, Missionaire Recollet a Utrecht, 1697.
La Potherie gives the same derivation. Histoire de l'Amerique Septentrionale par M. de Bacqueville de la Potherie, a Paris, 1722. The opinion expressed in a note of Charlevoix (Histoire de la Nouvelle France, vol. i., p. 13), is that deserving most credit. "D'autres derivent ce nom du mot Iroquois 'Kannata,' qui se prononce Cannada, et signifie un amas de cabanes." This derivation would reconcile the different assertions of the early discoverers, some of whom give the name of Canada to the whole valley of the St. Lawrence; others, equally worthy of credit, confine it to a small district in the neighborhood of Stadacona (now Quebec). Seconda Relatione di Jacques Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 442, 447. "Questo popolo (di Hochelaga) non partendo mai del lore paese, ne essendo vagabondi, come quelli di Canada e di Saguenay benche dette di Canada sieno lor suggetti con otte o nove altri villaggi posti sopra detto fiume." Father du Creux, who arrived in Canada about the year 1625, in his "Historia Canadensis," gives the name of Canada to the whole valley of the St. Lawrence, confessing, however, his ignorance of the etymology: "Porro de Etymologia vocis Canada nihil satis certe potui comperire; priscam quidem esse, constat ex eo, quod illam ante annos prope sexaginta passim usurpari audiebam puer."
Duponceau, in the Transactions of the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, founds his conjecture of the Indian origin of the name of Canada upon the fact that, in the translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew into the Mohawk tongue, made by Brandt, the Indian chief, the word Canada is always used to signify a village. The mistake of the early discoverers, in taking the name of a part for that of the whole, is very pardonable in persons ignorant of the Indian language. It is highly improbable that at the period of its discovery the name of Canada was extended over this immense country. The migratory habits of the aborigines are alone conclusive against it. They distinguished themselves by their different tribes, not by the country over which they hunted and rode at will. They more probably gave names to localities than adopted their own from any fixed place of residence. The Iroquois and the Ottawas conferred their appellations on the rivers that ran through their hunting grounds, and the Huron tribe gave theirs to the vast lake now bearing their name. It has, however, never been pretended that any Indian tribe bore the name of Canada, and the natural conclusion therefore is, that the word "Canada" was a mere local appellation, without reference to the country; that each tribe had their own "Canada," or collection of huts, which shifted its position according to their migrations.
Dr. Douglas, in his "American History," pretends that Canada derives its name from Monsieur Kane or Cane, whom he advances to have been the first adventurer in the River St. Lawrence.—Knox's Historical Journal, vol. i., p. 303.]
In the year 1534, Philip Chabot, admiral of France, urged the king to establish a colony in the New World, by representing to him in glowing colors the great riches and power derived by the Spaniards from their transatlantic possessions. Francis I., alive to the importance of the design, soon agreed to carry it out. JACQUES CARTIER, an experienced navigator of St. Malo, was recommended by the admiral to be intrusted with the expedition, and was approved of by the king. On the 20th of April, 1534, Cartier sailed from St. Malo with two ships of only sixty tons burden each, and one hundred and twenty men for their crews: he directed his course westward, inclining rather to the north; the winds proved so favorable, that on the twentieth day of the voyage he made Cape Bonavista, in Newfoundland. But the harbors of that dreary country were still locked up in the winter's ice, forbidding the approach of shipping: he then bent to the southeast, and at length found anchorage at St. Catharine, six degrees lower in latitude. Having remained here ten days, he again turned to the north, and on the 21st of May reached Bird Island, fourteen leagues from the coast.
Jacques Cartier examined all the northern shores of Newfoundland, without having ascertained that it was an island, and then passed southward through the Straits of Belleisle. The country appeared every where the same bleak and inhospitable wilderness; but the harbors were numerous, convenient, and abounding in fish. He describes the natives as well-proportioned men, wearing their hair tied up over their heads like bundles of hay, quaintly interlaced with birds' feathers. Changing his course still more to the south, he then traversed the Gulf of St. Lawrence, approached the main-land, and on the 9th of July entered a deep bay; from the intense heat experienced there, he named it the "Baye de Chaleurs." The beauty of the country, and the kindness and hospitality of his reception, alike charmed him; he carried on a little trade with the friendly savages, exchanging European goods for their furs and provisions.
Leaving this bay, Jacques Cartier visited a considerable extent of the gulf coast; on the 24th of July he erected a cross thirty feet high, with a shield bearing the fleurs-de-lys of France, on the shore of Gaspe Bay. Having thus taken possession of the country for his king in the usual manner of those days, he sailed, the 25th of July, on his homeward voyage: at this place two of the natives were seized by stratagem, carried on board the ships, and borne away to France. Cartier coasted along the northern shores of the Gulf till the 15th of August, and even entered the mouth of the River St. Lawrence, but the weather becoming stormy, he determined to delay his departure no longer: he passed again through the Straits of Belleisle, and arrived at St. Malo on the 5th of September, 1534, contented with his success, and full of hope for the future.
Jacques Cartier was received with the consideration due to the importance of his report. The court at once perceived the advantage of an establishment in this part of America, and resolved to take steps for its foundation. Charles de Moncy, Sieur de la Mailleraye, vice-admiral of France, was the most active patron of the undertaking; through his influence Cartier obtained a more effective force, and a new commission, with ampler powers than before. When the preparations for the voyage were completed, the adventurers all assembled in the Cathedral of St. Malo, on Whitsunday, 1535, by the command of their pious leader; the bishop then gave them a solemn benediction, with all the imposing ceremonials of the Romish Church.
On the 19th of May Jacques Cartier embarked, and started on his voyage with fair wind and weather. The fleet consisted of three small ships, the largest being only one hundred and twenty tons burden. Many adventurers and young men of good family accompanied the expedition as volunteers. On the morrow the wind became adverse, and rose to a storm; the heavens lowered over the tempestuous sea; for more than a month the utmost skill of the mariners could only enable them to keep their ships afloat, while tossed about at the mercy of the waves. The little fleet was dispersed on the 25th of June: each vessel then made for the coast of Newfoundland as it best might. The general's vessel, as that of Cartier was called, was the first to gain the land, on the 7th of July, and there awaited her consorts; but they did not arrive till the 26th of the month. Having taken in supplies of fuel and water, they sailed in company to explore the Gulf of St. Lawrence. A violent storm arose on the 1st of August, forcing them to seek shelter. They happily found a port on the north shore, at the entrance of the Great River, where, though difficult of access, there was a safe anchorage. Jacques Cartier called it St. Nicolas, and it is now almost the only place still bearing the name he gave. They left their harbor on the 7th, coasting westward along the north shore, and on the 10th came to a gulf filled with numerous and beautiful islands. Cartier gave this gulf the name of St. Lawrence, having discovered it on that saint's festival day.
On the 15th of August they reached a long, rocky island toward the south, which Cartier named L'Isle de l'Assumption, now called Anticosti. Thence they continued their course, examining carefully both shores of the Great River, and occasionally holding communication with the inhabitants, till, on the 1st of September, they entered the mouth of the deep and gloomy Saguenay. The entrance of this great tributary was all they had leisure to survey; but the huge rocks, dense forests, and vast body of water, forming a scene of somber magnificence such as had never before met their view, inspired them with an exalted idea of the country they had discovered. Still passing to the southwest up the St. Lawrence, on the 6th they reached an island abounding in delicious filberts, and on that account named by the voyagers Isle aux Coudres. Cartier, being now so far advanced into an unknown country, looked out anxiously for a port where his vessels might winter in safety. He pursued his voyage till he came upon another island, of great extent, fertility, and beauty, covered with woods and thick, clustering vines. This he named Isle de Bacchus: it is now called Orleans. On the 7th of September, Donnacona, the chief of the country, came with twelve canoes filled by his train, to hold converse with the strangers, whose ships lay at anchor between the island and the north shore of the Great River. The Indian chief approached the smallest of the ships with only two canoes, fearful of causing alarm, and began an oration, accompanied with strange and uncouth gestures. After a time he conversed with the Indians who had been seized on the former voyage, and now acted as interpreters. He heard from them of their wonderful visit to the great nation over the salt lake, of the wisdom and power of the white men, and of the kind treatment they had received among the strangers. Donnacona appeared moved with deep respect and admiration; he took Jacques Cartier's arm and placed it gently over his own bended neck, in token of confidence and regard. The admiral cordially returned these friendly demonstrations. He entered the Indian's canoe, and presented bread and wine, which they ate and drank together. They then parted in all amity.
After this happy interview, Jacques Cartier, with his boats, pushed up the north shore against the stream, till he reached a spot where a little river flowed into a "goodly and pleasant sound," forming a convenient haven. He moored his vessels here for the winter on the 16th of September, and gave the name of St. Croix to the stream, in honor of the day on which he first entered its waters; Donnacona, accompanied by a train of five hundred Indians, came to welcome his arrival with generous friendship. In the angle formed by the tributary stream and the Great River, stood the town of Stadacona, the dwelling-place of the chief; thence an irregular slope ascended to a lofty height of table-land: from this eminence a bold headland frowned over the St. Lawrence, forming a rocky wall three hundred feet in height. The waters of the Great River—here narrowed to less than a mile in breath—rolled deeply and rapidly past into the broad basin beyond. When the white men first stood on the summit of this bold headland, above their port of shelter, most of the country was fresh from the hand of the Creator; save the three small barks lying at the mouth of the stream, and the Indian village, no sign of human habitation met their view. Far as the eye could reach, the dark forest spread; over hill and valley, mountain and plain; up to the craggy peaks, down to the blue water's edge; along the gentle slopes of the rich Isle of Bacchus, and even from projecting rocks, and in fissures of the lofty precipice, the deep green mantle of the summer foliage hung its graceful folds. In the dim distance, north, south, east, and west, where mountain rose above mountain in tumultuous variety of outline, it was still the same; one vast leafy vail concealed the virgin face of Nature from the stranger's sight. On the eminence commanding this scene of wild but magnificent beauty, a prosperous city now stands; the patient industry of man has felled that dense forest, tree by tree, for miles and miles around, and where it stood, rich fields rejoice the eye; the once silent waters of the Great River below now surge against hundreds of stately ships; commerce has enriched this spot, art adorned it; a memory of glory endears it to every British heart. But the name QUEBEC still remains unchanged; as the savage first pronounced it to the white stranger, it stands to-day among the proudest records of our country's story.
The chief Donnacona and the French continued in friendly intercourse, day by day exchanging good offices and tokens of regard. But Jacques Cartier was eager for further discoveries; the two Indian interpreters told him that a city of much larger size than Stadacona lay further up the river, the capital of a great country; it was called in the native tongue Hochelaga; thither he resolved to find his way. The Indians endeavored vainly to dissuade their dangerous guests from this expedition; they represented the distance, the lateness of the season, the danger of the great lakes and rapid currents; at length they had recourse to a kind of masquerade or pantomime, to represent the perils of the voyage, and the ferocity of the tribes inhabiting that distant land. The interpreters earnestly strove to dissuade Jacques Cartier from proceeding on his enterprise, and one of them refused to accompany him. The brave Frenchman would not hearken to such dissuasions, and treated with equal contempt the verbal and pantomimic warnings of the alleged difficulties. As a precautionary measure to impress the savages with an exalted idea of his power as a friend or foe, he caused twelve cannon loaded with bullets to be fired in their presence against a wood; amazed and terrified at the noise, and the effects of this discharge, they fled, howling and shrieking, away.
Jacques Cartier sailed for Hochelaga on the 19th of September; he took with him the Hermerillon, one of his smallest ships, the pinnace, and two long-boats, bearing thirty-five armed men, with their provisions and ammunition. The two larger vessels and their crews were left in the harbor of St. Croix, protected by poles and stakes driven into the water so as to form a barricade. The voyage presented few of the threatened difficulties; the country on both sides of the Great River was rich and varied, covered with stately timber, and abounding in vines. The natives were every where friendly and hospitable; all that they possessed was freely offered to the strangers. At a place called Hochelai, the chief of the district visited the French, and showed much friendship and confidence, presenting Jacques Cartier with a girl seven years of age, one of his own children.
On the 29th, the expedition was stopped in Lake St. Pierre by the shallows, not having hit upon the right channel. Jacques Cartier took the resolution of leaving his larger vessels behind and proceeding with his two boats; he met with no further interruption, and at length reached Hochelaga on the 2d of October, accompanied by De Pontbriand, De la Pommeraye, and De Gozelle, three of his volunteers. The natives welcomed him with every demonstration of joy and hospitality; above a thousand people, of all ages and sexes, come forth to meet the strangers, greeting them with affectionate kindness. Jacques Cartier, in return for their generous reception, bestowed presents of tin, beads, and other bawbles upon all the women, and gave some knives to the men. He returned to pass the night in the boats, while the savages made great fires on the shore, and danced merrily all night long. The place where the French first landed was probably about eleven miles from the city of Hochelaga, below the rapid of St. Mary.
On the day after his arrival Jacques Cartier proceeded to the town; his volunteers and some others of his followers accompanied him, arrayed in full dress; three of the natives undertook to guide them on their way. The road was well beaten, and bore evidence of having been much frequented: the country through which it passed was exceedingly rich and fertile. Hochelaga stood in the midst of great fields of Indian corn; it was of a circular form, containing about fifty large huts, each fifty paces long and from fourteen to fifteen wide, all built in the shape of tunnels, formed of wood, and covered with birch bark; the dwellings were divided into several rooms, surrounding an open court in the center, where the fires burned. Three rows of palisades encircled the town, with only one entrance; above the gate, and over the whole length of the outer ring of defense, there was a gallery, approached by flights of steps, and plentifully provided with stones and other missiles to resist attack. This was a place of considerable importance, even in those remote days, as the capital of a great extent of country, and as having eight or ten villages subject to its sway.
The inhabitants spoke the language of the great Huron nation, and were more advanced in civilization than any of their neighbors: unlike other tribes, they cultivated the ground and remained stationary. The French were well received by the people of Hochelaga; they made presents, the Indians gave fetes; their fire-arms, trumpets, and other warlike equipments filled the minds of their simple hosts with wonder and admiration, and their beards and clothing excited a curiosity which the difficulties of an unknown language prevented from being satisfied. So great was the veneration for the white men, that the chief of the town, and many of the maimed, sick, and infirm, came to Jacques Cartier, entreating him, by expressive signs, to cure their ills. The pious Frenchman disclaimed any supernatural power, but he read aloud part of the Gospel of St. John, made the sign of the cross over the sufferers, and presented them with chaplets and other holy symbols; he then prayed earnestly that the poor savages might be freed from the night of ignorance and infidelity. The Indians regarded these acts and words with deep gratitude and respectful admiration.
Three miles from Hochelaga, there was a lofty hill, well tilled and very fertile; thither Jacques Cartier bent his way, after having examined the town. From the summit he saw the river and the country for thirty leagues around, a scene of singular beauty. To this hill he gave the name of Mont Royal; since extended to the large and fertile island on which it stands, and to the city below. Time has now swept away every trace of Hochelaga; on its site the modern capital of Canada has arisen; fifty thousand people of European race, and stately buildings of carved stone, replace the simple Indians and the huts of the ancient town.
Jacques Cartier, having made his observations, returned to the boats, attended by a great concourse; when any of his men appeared fatigued with their journey, the kind Indians carried them on their shoulders. This short stay of the French seemed to sadden and displease these hospitable people, and on the departure of the boats they followed their course for some distance along the banks of the river. On the 4th of October Jacques Cartier reached the shallows, where the pinnace had been left; he resumed his course the following day, and arrived at St. Croix on the 11th of the same month.
The men who had remained at St. Croix had busied themselves during their leader's absence in strengthening their position, so as to secure it against surprise, a wise precaution under any circumstances among a savage people, but especially in the neighborhood of a populous town, the residence of a chief whose friendship they could not but distrust, in spite of his apparent hospitality.
The day after Jacques Cartier's arrival, Donnacona came to bid him welcome, and entreated him to visit Stadacona. He accepted the invitation, and proceeded with his volunteers and fifty sailors to the village, about three miles from where the ships lay. As they journeyed on, they observed that the houses were well provided and stored for the coming winter, and the country tilled in a manner showing that the inhabitants were not ignorant of agriculture; thus they formed, on the whole, a favorable impression of the docility and intelligence of the Indians during this expedition.
When the awful and unexpected severity of the winter set in, the French were unprovided with necessary clothing and proper provisions; the scurvy attacked them, and by the month of March twenty-five were dead, and nearly all were infected; the remainder would probably have also perished; but when Jacques Cartier was himself attacked with the dreadful disease, the Indians revealed to him the secret of its cure: this was the decoction of the leaf and bark of a certain tree, which proved so excellent a remedy that in a few days all were restored to health.
Jacques Cartier, on the 21st of April, was first led to suspect the friendship of the natives from seeing a number of strong and active young men make their appearance in the neighboring town; these were probably the warriors of the tribe, who had just then returned from the hunting grounds, where they had passed the winter, but there is now no reason to suppose that their presence indicated any hostility. However, Jacques Cartier, fearing treachery, determined to anticipate it. He had already arranged to depart for France. On the 3d of May he seized the chief, the interpreters, and two other Indians, to present them to Francis I.: as some amends for this cruel and flagrant violation of hospitality, he treated his prisoners with great kindness; they soon became satisfied with their fate. On the 6th of May he made sail for Europe, and, after having encountered some difficulties and delays, arrived safely at St. Malo the 8th of July, 1536.
The result of Jacques Cartier's expedition was not encouraging to the spirit of enterprise in France; no mines had been discovered, no rare and valuable productions found. The miserable state to which the adventurers had been reduced by the rigorous climate and loathsome diseases, the privations they had endured, the poverty of their condition, were sufficient to cool the ardor of those who might otherwise have wished to follow up their discoveries. But, happily for the cause of civilization, some of those powerful in France judged more favorably of Jacques Cartier's reports, and were not to be disheartened by the unsuccessful issue of one undertaking; the dominion over such a vast extent of country, with fertile soil and healthy climate, inhabited by a docile and hospitable people, was too great an object to be lightly abandoned. The presence of Donnacona, the Indian chief, tended to keep alive an interest in the land whence he had come; as soon as he could render himself intelligible in the French language, he confirmed all that had been said of the salubrity, beauty, and richness of his native country. The pious Jacques Cartier most of all strove to impress upon the king the glory and merit of extending the blessed knowledge of a Savior to the dark and hopeless heathens of the West; a deed well worthy of the prince who bore the title of Most Christian King and Eldest Son of the Church.
Jean Francois de la Roque, lord of Roberval, a gentleman of Picardy, was the most earnest and energetic of those who desired to colonize the lands discovered by Jacques Cartier; he bore a high reputation in his own province, and was favored by the friendship of the king. With these advantages he found little difficulty in obtaining a commission to command an expedition to North America; the title and authority of lieutenant general and viceroy was conferred upon him; his rule to extend over Canada, Hochelaga, Saguenay, Newfoundland, Belle Isle, Carpon, Labrador, La Grand Baye, and Baccalaos, with the delegated rights and powers of the crown. This patent was dated the 15th of January, 1540. Jacques Cartier was named second in command. The orders to the leaders of the expedition enjoined them to discover more than had been hitherto accomplished, and, if possible, to reach the country of Saguenay, where, from some reports of the Indians, they still hoped to find mines of gold and silver. The port of St. Malo was again chosen for the fitting out of the expedition: the king furnished a sum of money to defray the expenses.
Jacques Cartier exerted himself vigorously in preparing the little fleet for the voyage, and awaited the arrival of his chief with the necessary arms, stores, and ammunition; Roberval was meanwhile engaged at Honfleur in fitting out two other vessels at his own cost, and being urged to hasten by the king, he gave his lieutenant orders to start at once, with full authority to act as if he himself were present. He also promised to follow from Honfleur with all the required supplies. Jacques Cartier sailed on the 23d of May, 1541, having provisioned his fleet for two years. Storms and adverse winds dispersed the ships for some time, but in about a month they all met again on the coast of Newfoundland, where they hoped Roberval would join them. They awaited his coming for some weeks, but at length proceeded without him to the St. Lawrence; on the 23d of August they reached their old station near the magnificent headland of Quebec.
Donnacona's successor as chief of the Indians at Stadacona came in state to welcome the French on their return, and to inquire after his absent countrymen. They told him of the chief's death, but concealed the fate of the other Indians, stating that they were enjoying great honor and happiness in France, and would not return to their own country. The savages displayed no symptoms of anger, surprise, or distrust at this news; their countenances exhibited the same impassive calm, their manners the same quiet dignity as ever; but from that hour their hearts were changed; hatred and hostility took the place of admiration and respect, and a sad foreboding of their approaching destruction darkened their simple minds. Henceforth the French were hindered and molested by the inhabitants of Stadacona to such an extent that it was deemed advisable to seek another settlement for the winter. Jacques Cartier chose his new position at the mouth of a small river three leagues higher on the St. Lawrence; here he laid up some of his vessels under the protection of two forts, one on a level with the water, the other on the summit of an overhanging cliff; these strongholds communicated with each other by steps cut in the solid rock; he gave the name of Charlesbourg Royal to this new station. The two remaining vessels of the fleet he sent back to France with letters to the king, stating that Roberval had not yet arrived.
Under the impression that the country of the Saguenay, the land of fabled wealth, could be reached by pursuing the line of the St. Lawrence, Jacques Cartier set forth to explore the rapids above Hochelaga on the 7th of September, 1541. The season being so far advanced, he only undertook this expedition with a view to being better acquainted with the route, and to being provided with all necessary preparations for a more extensive exploration in the spring. In passing up the Great River he renewed acquaintance with the friendly and hospitable chief of Hochelai, and there left two boys under charge of the Indians to learn the language. On the 11th he reached the sault or rapids above Hochelaga, where the progress of the boats was arrested by the force of the stream; he then landed and made his way to the second rapid. The natives gave him to understand that above the next sault there lay a great lake; Cartier, having obtained this information, returned to where he had left the boats; about four hundred Indians had assembled and met him with demonstrations of friendship; he received their good offices and made them presents in return, but still regarded them with distrust on account of their unusual numbers. Having gained as much information as he could, he set out on his return to Charlesbourg Royal, his winter-quarters. The chief was absent when Jacques Cartier stopped at Hochelai on descending the river; he had gone to Stadacona to hold counsel with the natives of that district for the destruction of the white men. On arriving at Charlesbourg Royal, Jacques Cartier found confirmation of his suspicions against the Indians; they now avoided the French, and never approached the ships with their usual offerings of fish and other provisions; a great number of men had also assembled at Stadacona. He accordingly made every possible preparation for defense in the forts, and took due precautions against a surprise. There are no records extant of the events of this winter in Canada, but it is probable that no serious encounter took place with the natives; the French, however, must have suffered severely from the confinement rendered necessary by their perilous position, as well as from want of the provisions and supplies which the bitter climate made requisite.
Roberval, though high-minded and enterprising, failed in his engagements with Jacques Cartier: he did not follow his adventurous lieutenant with the necessary and promised supplies till the spring of the succeeding year. On the 16th of April, 1542, he at length sailed from Rochelle with three large vessels, equipped principally at the royal cost. Two hundred persons accompanied him, some of them being gentlemen of condition, others men and women purposing to become settlers in the New World. Jean Alphonse, an experienced navigator of Saintonge, by birth a Portuguese, was pilot of the expedition. After a very tedious voyage, they entered the Road of St. John's, Newfoundland, on the 8th of June, where they found no fewer than seventeen vessels engaged in the inexhaustible fisheries of those waters.
While Roberval indulged in a brief repose at this place, the unwelcome appearance of Jacques Cartier filled him with disappointment and surprise. The lieutenant gave the hostility of the savages and the weakness of his force as reasons for having abandoned the settlement where he had passed the winter. He still, however, spoke favorably of the richness and fertility of the country, and gladdened the eyes of the adventurers by the sight of a substance that resembled gold ore, and crystals that they fancied were diamonds, found on the bold headland of Quebec. But, despite these flattering reports and promising specimens, Jacques Cartier and his followers could not be induced, by entreaties or persuasions, to return. The hardships and dangers of the last terrible winter were too fresh in memory, and too keenly felt, to be again braved. They deemed their portion of the contract already complete, and the love of their native land overcame the spirit of adventure, which had been weakened, if not quenched, by recent disappointment and suffering. To avoid the chance of an open rupture with Roberval, the lieutenant silently weighed anchor during the night, and made all sail for France. This inglorious withdrawal from the enterprise paralyzed Roberval's power, and deferred the permanent settlement of Canada for generations then unborn. Jacques Cartier died soon after his return to Europe. Having sacrificed his fortune in the pursuit of discovery, his heirs were granted an exclusive privilege of trade to Canada for twelve years, in consideration of his sacrifices for the public good; but this gift was revoked four months after it was bestowed.
Roberval determined to proceed on his expedition, although deprived of the powerful assistance and valuable experience of his lieutenant. He sailed from Newfoundland for Canada, and reached Cap Rouge, the place where Jacques Cartier had wintered, before the end of June, 1542. He immediately fortified himself there, as the situation best adapted for defense against hostility, and for commanding the navigation of the Great River. Very little is known of Roberval's proceedings during the remainder of that year and the following winter. The natives do not appear to have molested the new settlers; but no progress whatever was made toward a permanent establishment. During the intense cold, the scurvy caused fearful mischief among the French; no fewer than fifty perished from that dreadful malady during the winter. Demoralized by misery and idleness, the little colony became turbulent and lawless, and Roberval was obliged to resort to extreme severity of punishment before quiet and discipline were re-established.
Toward the close of April the ice broke up, and released the French from their weary and painful captivity. On the 5th of June, 1543, Roberval set forth from Cap Rouge to explore the province of Saguenay, leaving thirty men and an officer to protect their winter-quarters: this expedition produced no results, and was attended with the loss of one of the boats and eight men. In the mean time the pilot, Jean Alphonse, was dispatched to examine the coasts north of Newfoundland, in hopes of discovering a passage to the East Indies; he reached the fifty-second degree of latitude, and then abandoned the enterprise; on returning to Europe, he published a narrative of Roberval's expedition and his own voyage, with a tolerably accurate description of the River St. Lawrence, and its navigation upward from the Gulf. Roberval reached France in 1543; the war between Francis I. and the Emperor Charles V. for some years occupied his ardent spirit, and supplied him with new occasions for distinction, till the death of the king, his patron and friend, in 1547. In the year 1549 he collected some adventurous men, and, accompanied by his brave brother, Achille, sailed once again for Canada; but none of this gallant band were ever heard of more. Thus, for many a year, were swallowed up in the stormy Atlantic all the bright hopes of founding a new nation in America: since these daring men had failed, none others might expect to be successful.
In the reign of Henry II., attention was directed toward Brazil; splendid accounts of its wealth and fertility were brought home by some French navigators who had visited that distant land. The Admiral Gaspard de Coligni was the first to press upon the king the importance of obtaining a footing in South America, and dividing the magnificent prize with the Portuguese monarch. This celebrated man was convinced that an extensive system of colonization was necessary for the glory and tranquillity of France. He purposed that the settlement in the New World should be founded exclusively by persons holding that Reformed faith to which he was so deeply attached, and thus would be provided a refuge for those driven from France by religious proscription and persecution. It is believed that Coligni's magnificent scheme comprehended the possession of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, gradually colonizing the banks of these great rivers into the depths of the Continent, till the whole of North America, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, should be hemmed in by this gigantic line of French outposts. However, the first proposition was to establish a colony on the coast of Brazil; the king approved the project, and Durand de Villegagnon, vice-admiral of Brittany, was selected to command in 1555; the expedition, however, entirely failed, owing to religious differences.
Under the reigns of Francis II. and Charles IX., while France was convulsed with civil war, America seemed altogether forgotten. But Coligni availed himself of a brief interval of calm to turn attention once more to the Western World. He this time bethought himself of that country to which Ponce de Leon had given the name of Florida, from the exuberant productions of the soil and the beauty of the scenery and climate. The River Mississippi had been discovered by Ferdinand de Soto, about the time of Jacques Cartier's last voyage, 1543; consequently, the Spaniards had this additional claim upon the territory, which, they affirmed, they had visited in 1512, twelve years before the date of Verazzano's voyage in 1524. However, the claims and rights of the different European nations upon the American Continent were not then of sufficient strength to prevent each state from pursuing its own views of occupation. Coligni obtained permission from Charles IX. to attempt the establishment of a colony in Florida, about the year 1562. The king was the more readily induced to approve of this enterprise, as he hoped that it would occupy the turbulent spirits of the Huguenots, many of them his bitter enemies, and elements of discord in his dominions. On the 18th of February, 1562, Jean de Ribaut, a zealous Protestant, sailed from Dieppe with two vessels and a picked crew; many volunteers, including some gentlemen of condition, followed his fortunes. He landed on the coast of Florida, near St. Mary's River, where he established a settlement and built a fort. Two years afterward Coligni sent out a re-enforcement, under the command of Rene de Laudonniere; this was the only portion of the admiral's great scheme ever carried into effect: when he fell, in the awful massacre of Saint Bartholomew, his magnificent project was abandoned. (1568.) After six years of fierce struggle with the Spaniards, the survivors of this little colony returned to France.
[Footnote 71: Hist. de la Nouvelle France, par le Pere Charlevoix, de la Compagnie de Jesus, vol. i., p. 11; Fastes Chronologiques, 1534.]
[Footnote 72: Prima Relatione de Jacques Cartier della Terra Nouva, detta la Nouva Francia, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 435.]
[Footnote 73: "Se la terra fosse cosi buono; come vi sono buoni porti, sarebbe un gran bene, ma ella non si debba chiamar Terra Nouva, anzi sassi e grebani salvatichi, e proprij luoghi da fiere, per cio che in tutto l'isola di Tramontana—[translated by Hakluyt "the northern part of the island"]—io non vidi tanta terra che se ne potesse coricar un carro, e vi smontai in parecchi luoghi, e all' isola di Bianco Sabbione non v'e altro che musco, e piccioli spini dispersi, secchi, e morti, e in somma io penso che questa sia la terra che Iddio dette a Caino."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 436.
The journal of the first two voyages of Cartier is preserved almost entire in the "Histoire de la Nouvelle France," by L'Escarbot; there is an Italian translation in the third volume of Ramusio. They are written in the third person, and it does not appear that he was himself the author.]
[Footnote 74: "Sono uomini d'assai bella vita e grandezza ma indomiti e salvatichi: portano i capelli in cuna legati e stretti a guisa d'un pugno di fieno rivolto, mettendone in mezzo un legnetto, o altra cosa in vece di chiodo, e vi legano insieme certe penne d'uccelli."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 436.]
[Footnote 75: De Laet., vol. i., p. 58.]
[Footnote 76: This was ingeniously represented to the natives as a religious ceremony, and, as such, excited nothing but the "grandissima ammirazione" of the natives present; it was, however, differently understood by their chief. "Ma essendo noi ritornati alle nostra navi, venne il Capitano lor vestito d'im pella vecchia d'orso negro in una barca con tre suoi figliuoli, e ci fece un lungo sermone mostrandaci detta croce e facendo il segno della croce con due dita poi ci mostrava la terra tutta intorno di noi come s'avesse voluto dice che tutta era sua, e che noi non dovevamo piantar detta croce senza sua licenza."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 439.]
[Footnote 77: "Trovavamo un molto bello e gran golfo pieno d'isole e buone entrate e passaggi, verso qual vento si possa fare."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 441.]
[Footnote 78: "Carthier donna au golphe le nom de St. Laurent, ou plutot il le donna a une baye qui est entre l'isle d'Anticoste et la cote septentrionale, d'ou ce nom s'est etendu a tout le golphe dont cette baye fait partie."—Hist. de la Nouvelle France, tom. i., p. 15.]
[Footnote 79: "Des sauvages l'appelloient Natiscotec, le nom d'Anticosti parait lui avoir ete donne par les Anglais."—Charlevoix, tom. i., p. 16. This island is one hundred and twenty-five miles long, and in its widest part thirty miles, dividing the River St. Lawrence into two channels. Throughout its whole extent it has neither bay nor harbor sufficiently safe to shelter ships. It is uncultivated, being generally of an unprofitable soil, upon which any attempted improvements have met with very unpromising results. Since the year 1809, establishments have been formed on the island for the relief of shipwrecked persons; two men reside there, at two different stations, all the year round, furnished with provisions for the use of those who may have the misfortune to need them. Boards are placed in different parts describing the distance and direction to these friendly spots; instances of the most flagrant inattention have, however, occurred, which were attended with the most distressing and fatal consequences."—Bonchette, vol. i., p. 169.
"At present the whole island might be purchased for a few hundred pounds. It belongs to some gentlemen in Quebec; and you might, for a very small sum, become one of the greatest land-owners in the world, and a Canadian seigneur into the bargain."—Grey's Canada.]
[Footnote 80: This is the first discovery of the River St. Lawrence, called by the natives the River Hochelaga, or the River of Canada. Jacques Cartier accurately determined the breadth of its mouth ninety miles across. Cape Rosier, a small distance to the north of the point of Gaspe, is properly the place which marks the opening of the gigantic river. "V'e tra le terre d'ostro e quelle di tramontana la distantia di trenta leghe in circa, e piu di dugento braccia di fondo. Ci dissero anche i detti salvatichi e certificarono quivi essere il cammino e principio del gran fiume di Hochelaga e strada di Canada."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 442.
J. Cartier always afterward speaks of the St. Lawrence as the River of Hochelaga, or Canada. Charlevoix says, "Parceque le fleuve qu'on appelloit auparavant la Riviere de Canada se decharge dans le Golphe de St. Laurent, il a insensiblement pris le nom de Fleuve de St. Laurent, qu'il porte aujourd'hui (1720)."]
[Footnote 81: "Lorsque Jacques Carthier decouvrit cette ile, il la trouva toute remplie de vignes, et la nomma l'Ile de Bacchus. Ce navigateur etait Breton, apres lui sont venus des Normands qui ont arrache les vignes et a Bacchus ont substitute Pomone et Ceres. En effet elle produit de bon froment et d'excellent fruits."—Journal Historique, lettre ii., p. 102.
Charlevoix also mentions that, when he visited the islands in 1720, the inhabitants were famed for their skill in sorcery, and were supposed to hold intercourse with the devil!
The Isle of Orleans was, in 1676, created an earldom, by the title of St. Laurent, which, however, has long been extinct. The first Comte de St. Laurent was of the name of Berthelot.—Charlevoix, vol. v., p. 99.]
[Footnote 82: "Il signor de Canada (chiamato Donnacona per nome, ma per signore il chiamano Agouhanna)."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 442. Agouhanna signified chief or lord.
Here, says Jacques Cartier, begins the country of Canada. "Il settimo giorno di detto mese la vigilia della Madonna, dopo udita la messa ci partimmo dall' isola de' nocellari per andar all'insu di detta fiume, e arrivamo a quattordici isole distanti dall' isola de Nocellari intorno setto in otto leghe, e quivi e il principio della provincia, e terra di Canada."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 442.]
[Footnote 83: The writer of these pages adds the testimony of an eye-witness to the opinion of the ingenious author of the "Picture of Quebec," as to the localities here described. The old writers, even Charlevoix himself, have asserted that the "Port St. Croix was at the entrance of the river now called Jacques Cartier, which flows into the St. Lawrence about fifteen miles above Quebec." Charlevoix, indeed, mentions that "Champlain pretend que cette riviere est celle de St. Charles, mais," he adds, "il se trompe," &c. However, the localities are still unchanged; though three centuries have since elapsed, the description of Jacques Cartier is easily recognized at the present day, and marks out the mouth of the little River St. Charles as the first winter station of the Europeans in Canada. The following are J. Cartier's words: "Per cercar luogo e porto sicuro da metter le nave, e andammo al contrario per detto fiume intorno di dieci leghe costezziando detta isola (di Bacchus) e in capo di quella trovammo un gorgo d'acqua bello e ameno ("the beautiful basin of Quebec," as it is called in the "Picture of Quebec")—nel quel luogo e un picciol fiume e porto, dove per il flusso e alta l'acqua intorno a tre braccia, ne parve questo luogo comodo per metter le nostre navi, per il che quivi le mettemmo in sicuro, e lo chiamammo Santa Croce, percio che nel detto giorno v' eramo giunti.... Alla riva e lito di quell' isola di Bacchus verso ponente v'e un goejo d'acque molto bello e dilettevole, e convenientemente da mettere navilij, dove e uno stretto del detto fiume molto corrente e profondo ma non e lungo piu d'un terzo di lega intorno, per traverso del quale vi e una terra tutta di colline di buona altezza ... quive e la stanza e la terra di Donnacona, e chiamasi il luogo Stadacona ... sotto la qual alta terra verso tramontana e il fiume e porto di Santa Croce, nel qual luogo e porto siamo stati dalli 15 di Settembre fino alli 16 di Maggio 1536, nel qual luogo le navi rimasero in secco." The "one place" in the River St. Lawrence, "deep and swift running," means, of course, that part directly opposite the Lower Town, and no doubt it appeared, by comparison, "very narrow" to those who had hitherto seen the noble river only in its grandest forms. The town of Stadacona stood on that part of Quebec which is now covered by the suburbs of St. Roch, with part of those of St. John, looking toward the St. Charles. The area, or ground adjoining, is thus described by Cartier, as it appeared three centuries ago: "terra Tanta buona, quanto sia possibile di vedere, e e molto fertile, piena di bellissimi arbori della sorte di quelli di Francia, come sarebbeno quercie, olmi, frassine, najare, nassi, cedri, vigne, specie bianchi, i quali producono il frutto cosi grosso come susine damaschini, e di molte altre specie d'arbori, sotto de quali vi nasce e cresce cosi bel canapo come quel di Francia, e nondimeno vi nasce senza semenza, e senza opera umana o lavoro alcuno."—Jacques Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 443, 449, 450.
The exact spot in the River St. Charles where the French passed the winter is supposed, on good authority, to have been the site of the old bridge, called Dorchester Bridge, where there is a ford at low water, close to the Marine Hospital. That it was on the east bank, not far from the residence of Charles Smith, Esq., is evident from the river having been frequently crossed by the natives coming from Stadacona to visit the French.—Picture of Quebec, p. 43-46; 1834.]
[Footnote 84: It received this name, according to La Potherie, in compliment to Charles des Boues, grand vicar of Pontoise, founder of the first mission of Recollets in New France. The River St. Charles was called Coubal Coubat by the natives, from its windings and meanderings.—Smith's Canada, vol. i., p. 104.]
[Footnote 85: "Quebec en langue Algonquine signifie retrecissement. Les Abenaquis dont la langue est une dialecte Algonquine, le nomment Quelibec, qui veut dire ce qui est ferme, parceque de l'entree de la petite riviere de la Chaudiere par ou ces sauvages venaient a Quebec, le port de Quebec ne paroit qu'une grande barge."—Charlevoix, vol. i., p. 50.
"Trouvant un lieu le plus etroit de la riviere que les habitans du pays nomment Quebec;" "la pointe de Quebec, ainsi appellee des sauvages."—Champlain, vol. i., p. 115, 124.
Others give a Norman derivation for the word: it is said that Quebec was so called after Caudebec, on the Seine.
La Potherie's words are: "On tient que les Normands qui etoient avec J. Cartier a sa premiere decouverte, apercevant en bout de l'isle d'Orleans, un cap fort eleve, s'ecrierent 'Quel bec!' et qu' a la suite du tems la nom de Quebec lui est reste. Je ne suis point garant de cette etymologie." Mr. Hawkins terms this "a derivation entirely illusory and improbable," and asserts that the word is of Norman origin. He gives an engraving of a seal belonging to William de la Pole, earl of Suffolk, dated in the 7th of Henry V., or A.D. 1420. The legend or motto is, "Sigillum Willielmi de la Pole, Comitis Suffolckiae, Domine de Hamburg et de Quebec." Suffolk was impeached by the Commons of England in 1450, and one of the charges brought against him was, his unbounded influence in Normandy, where he lived and ruled like an independent prince; it is not, therefore, improbable that he enjoyed the French title of Quebec in addition to his English honors.
The Indian name Stadacona had perished before the time of Champlain, owing, probably, to the migration of the principal tribe and the succession of others. The inhabitants of Hochelaga, we are told by Jacques Cartier, were the only people in the surrounding neighborhood who were not migratory.]
[Footnote 86: "In mezzo di quelle campagne, e posta la terra d'Hochelaga appresso e congiunta con una montagna coltivata tutta attorno e molto fertile, sopra la qual si vede molto lontano. Noi la chiamammo il Monto Regal.... Parecchi uomini e donne ci vennero a condur e menar sopra la montagna, qui dinanzi detta, la qual chiamammo Monte Regal, distante da detto luogo poco manco d'un miglio, sopra la quale essendo noi, vedemmo e avemmo notitia di piu di trenta leghe attorno di quella, e verso la parte di tramontana si vede una continuazione di montagne, li quali corrono avante e ponente, e altra tante verso il mezzo giorno, fra le quali montagna e la terra, piu bella che sia possibile a veder."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 447, 448.
"Cartier donna le nom de Mont Royal a la montagne au pied de laquelle etoit la bourgade de Hochelaga. Il decouvrit de la une grande etendue de pays dont la vue le charma, et avec raison, car il en est peu au monde de plus beau et de meilleur."—Charlevoix, tom. i., p. 20.]
[Footnote 87: "This tree is supposed to have been the spruce fir, Pinus Canadensis. It is called 'Ameda' by the natives. Spruce-beer is known to be a powerful anti-scorbutic."—Champlain. part i., p. 124.
Charlevoix calls the tree Epinette Blanche.]
[Footnote 88: Any information given by the natives as to the existence of mines was vague and unsatisfactory, "Poscia ci mostrarono con segni, che passate dette tre cadute si poteva navigar per detto fiume il spazio di tre lune: noi pensammo che quello sia il fiume che passa per il passe di Saguenay, e senza che li facessimo dimanda presero la catena del subiotto del capitano che era d'argento, e il manico del pugnale di uno de nostre compagni marinari, qual era d'ottone giallo quanto l'oro, e ci mostrarono che quello veniva di sopra di detto fiume ... Il capitan mostro loro del rame rosso, qual chiamano Caignetadze dimostrandoli con segni voltandosi verso detto paese li dimandava se veniva da quelle parti, e eglino cominciarono a crollar il capo, volendo dir no, ma ben ne significarono che veniva da Saguenay.
"Piu ci hanno detto e fatto intendere, che in quel paese di Saguenay sono genti vestite di drappi come noi, ... e che hanno gran quantita d'oro e rame rosso ... e che gli nomini e donne di quella terra sono vestite di pelli come loro, noi li dimandammo se ci e oro e rame rosso, ci risposero di si. Io penso che questo luogo sia verso la Florida per quanto ho potuto intendere dalli loro segni e indicij."—J. Cartier, in Ramusio, tom. iii., p. 448-450.]
[Footnote 89: The only valuable the natives seemed to have in their possession was a substance called esurgny, white as snow, of which they made beads and wore them about their necks. This they looked upon as the most precious gift they could bestow on the white men. The mode in which it was prepared is said by Cartier to be the following: When any one was adjudged to death for a crime, or when their enemies are taken in war, having first slain the person, they make long gashes over the whole of the body, and sink it to the bottom of the river in a certain place, where the esurgny abounds. After remaining ten or twelve hours, the body is drawn up and the esurgny or cornibotz is found in the gashes. These necklaces of beads the French found had the power to stop bleeding at the nose. It is supposed that in the above account the French misunderstood the natives or were imposed upon by them; and there is no doubt that the "valuable substance" described by Cartier was the Indian wampum.]
[Footnote 90: See Appendix, No. XIV. (see Vol II)]
[Footnote 91: The precise spot on which the upper fort of Jacques Cartier was built, afterward enlarged by Roberval, has been fixed by an ingenious gentleman at Quebec at the top of Cape Rouge Height, a short distance from the handsome villa of Mr. Atkinson. A few months ago, Mr. Atkinson's workmen, in leveling the lawn in front of the house, and close to the point of Cape Rouge Height, found beneath the surface some loose stones which had apparently been the foundation of some building or fortification. Among these stones were found several iron balls of different sizes, adapted to the caliber of the ship guns used at the period of Jacques Cartier's and Roberval's visit. Upon the whole, the evidence of the presence of the French at Cape Rouge may be considered as conclusive. Nor is there any good reason to doubt that Roberval took up his quarters in the part which Jacques Cartier had left.—Picture of Quebec, p. 62-469.]
[Footnote 92: Jacques Cartier was born at St. Malo about 1500. The day of his birth can not be discovered, nor the time and place of his death. Most probably he finished his useful life at St. Malo; for we find, under the date of the 29th of November, 1549, that the celebrated navigator with his wife, Catharine des Granges, founded an obit in the Cathedral of St. Malo, assigning the sum of four francs for that purpose. The mortuary registers of St. Malo make no mention of his death, nor is there any tradition on the subject.]
[Footnote 93: The name of America was first given to the New World in 1507. "L'opinion anciennement emise et encore tres repandue que Vespuce, dans l'exercice de son emploi de Piloto mayor, et charge de corriger les cartes hydrographiques de 1508 a 1512, ait profite de sa position pour appeler de son nom le Nouveau Monde, n'a aucun fondement. La denomination d'Amerique a ete proposee loin de Seville, en Lorraine, en 1507, une annee avant la creation de l'office d'un Piloto mayor de Indias. Les Mappe Mondes qui portent le nom d'Amerique n'ont paru que 8 our 10 ans apres la mort de Vespuce, et dans des pays sur lequels ni lui ni ses parents n'exercaient aucune influence. Il est probable que Vespuce n'a jamais su quelle dangereuse gloire on lui preparoit a Saint Die, dans un petit endroit, situe au pied des Vosges, et dont vraisembablement le nom meme lui etoit inconnu. Jusqu' a l'epoque de sa mort, le mot Amerique, employe comme denomination d'un continent ne s'est trouve imprime que dans deux seuls ouvrages, dans la Cosmographiae Introductio de Martin Waldseemuller, et dans le Globus Mundi (Argentor, 1509). On n'a jusqu'ici aucun rapport direct de Waldseemuller imprimateur de Saint Die, avec le navigateur Florentin."—Humboldt's Geogr. du Nouveau Continent, vol. v., p. 206.]
[Footnote 94: Nomoesi-Sipu, Fish River, Moesisip by corruption. This river is called Cucagna by Garcilasso.]
[Footnote 95: For the romantic details of Ferdinand de Soto's perilous enterprise, see Vega Garcilasso de Florida del Ynca, b. i., ch. iii., iv.; Herrera, Dec. VI., b. vii., ch. ix.; Purchas, 4, 1532; "Purchas, his Pilgrimage," otherwise called "Hackluytus Posthumus;" a voluminous compilation by a chaplain of Archbishop Abbot's, designed to comprise whatever had been related concerning the religion of all nations, from the earliest times.—Miss Aikin's Charles I., vol. i., p. 39.]
[Footnote 96: "La colonie Francaise etablie sous Charles IX. comprenoit la partie meridionnale de la Caroline Angloise, la Nouvelle Georgie, d'aujourd'hui (1740) San Matteo, appelle par Laudonniere Caroline en l'honneur du roi Charles, St. Augustin, et tout ce que les Espagnols ont sur cette cote jusqu'au Cap Francois, n'a jamais ete appellee autrement que la Floride Francaise, ou la Nouvelle France, ou la France Occidentale."—Charlevoix, tom. vi., p. 383.]
[Footnote 97: See Appendix, Nos. XV., XVI. (see Vol II)]
Little or no effort was made to colonize any part of Canada for nearly fifty years after the loss of Roberval; but the Huguenots of France did not forget that hope of a refuge from religious persecution which their great leader, Coligni, had excited in their breasts. Several of the leaders of subsequent expeditions of trade and discovery to Canada and Acadia were Calvinists, until 1627, when Champlain, zealous for the Romish faith, procured a decree forbidding the free exercise of the Reformed religion in French America.
Although the French seemed to have renounced all plan of settlement in America by the evacuation of Florida, the fishermen of Normandy and Brittany still plied their calling on the Great Bank and along the stormy shores of Newfoundland, and up the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence. By degrees they began to trade with the natives, and soon the greater gains and easier life of this new pursuit transformed many of these hardy sailors into merchants.
When, after fifty years of civil strife, the strong and wise sway of Henry IV. restored rest to troubled France, the spirit of discovery again arose. The Marquis de la Roche, a Breton gentleman, obtained from the king, in 1598, a patent granting the same powers that Roberval had possessed. He speedily armed a vessel, and sailed for Nova Scotia in the same year, accompanied by a skillful Norman pilot named Chedotel. He first reached Sable Island, where he left forty miserable wretches, convicts drawn from the prisons of France, till he might discover some favorable situation for the intended settlement, and make a survey of the neighboring coasts. When La Roche ever reached the Continent of America remains unknown; but he certainly returned to France, leaving the unhappy prisoners upon Sable Island to a fate more dreadful than even the dungeons or galleys of France could threaten. After seven years of dire suffering, twelve of these unfortunates were found alive, an expedition having been tardily sent to seek them by the king. When they arrived in France, they became objects of great curiosity; in consideration of such unheard-of suffering, their former crimes were pardoned, a sum of money was given to each, and the valuable furs collected during their dreary imprisonment, but fraudulently seized by the captain of the ship in which they were brought home, were allowed to their use. In the mean time, the Marquis de la Roche, who had so cruelly abandoned these men to their fate, harassed by lawsuits, overwhelmed with vexations, and ruined in fortune by the failure of his expedition, died miserably of a broken heart.
The misfortunes and ruin of the Marquis de la Roche did not stifle the spirit of commercial enterprise which the success of the fur trade had excited. Private adventurers, unprotected by any especial privilege, began to barter for the rich peltries of the Canadian hunters. (1600.) A wealthy merchant of St. Malo, named Pontgrave, was the boldest and most successful of these traders; he made several voyages to Tadoussac, at the mouth of the Saguenay, bringing back each time a rich cargo of rare and valuable furs. He saw that this commerce would open to him a field of vast wealth, could he succeed in obtaining an exclusive privilege to enjoy its advantages, and managed to induce Chauvin, a captain in the navy, to apply to the king for powers such as De la Roche had possessed: the application was successful, a patent was granted to Chauvin, and Pontgrave admitted to partnership. (1602.) It was, however, in vain that they attempted to establish a trading post at Tadoussac: after having made two voyages thither without realizing their sanguine expectations of gain, Chauvin died while once more preparing to try his fortune.
At this time the great object of colonization was completely forgotten in the eager pursuit of the fur trade, till De Chatte, the governor of Dieppe, who succeeded to the privileges of Chauvin, founded a company of merchants at Rouen, for the further development of the resources of Canada. (1603.) An armament was fitted out under the command of the experienced Pontgrave; he was commissioned by the king to make further discoveries in the St. Lawrence, and to establish a settlement upon some suitable position on the coast. Samuel de Champlain, a captain in the navy, accepted a command in this expedition at the request of De Chatte; he was a native of Saintonge, and had lately returned to France from the West Indies, where he had gained a high name for boldness and skill. Under the direction of this wise and energetic man the first successful efforts were made to found a permanent settlement in the magnificent province of Canada, and the stain of the errors and disasters of more than seventy years was at length wiped away.
Pontgrave and Champlain sailed for the St. Lawrence in 1603. They remained a short time at Tadoussac, where they left their ships; then, trusting themselves to a small, open boat, with only five sailors, they boldly pushed up the Great River to the sault St. Louis, where Jacques Cartier had reached many years before. By this time Hochelaga, the ancient Indian city, had, from some unknown cause, sunk into such insignificance that the adventurers did not even notice it, nor deem it worthy of a visit; but they anchored for a time under the shade of the magnificent headland of Quebec. On the return of the expedition to France, Champlain found, to his deep regret, that De Chatte, the worthy and powerful patron of the undertaking, had died during his absence. Pierre du Guast, sieur de Monts, had succeeded to the powers and privileges of the deceased, with even a more extensive commission.
De Monts was a Calvinist, and had obtained from the king the freedom of religious faith for himself and his followers in America, but under the engagement that the Roman Catholic worship should be established among the natives. Even his opponents admitted the honesty and patriotism of his character, and bore witness to his courage and ability; he was, nevertheless, unsuccessful; many of those under his command failed in their duty, and the jealousy excited by his exclusive privileges and obnoxious doctrines involved him in ruinous embarrassments.
The trading company established by De Chatte was continued and increased by his successor. With this additional aid De Monts was enabled to fit out a more complete armament than had ever hitherto been engaged in Canadian commerce. He sailed from Havre on the 7th of March, 1604, with four vessels. Of these, two under his immediate command were destined for Acadia. Champlain, Poutrincourt, and many other volunteers, embarked their fortunes with him, purposing to cast their future lot in the New World. A third vessel was dispatched under Pontgrave to the Strait of Canso, to protect the exclusive trading privileges of the company. The fourth steered for Tadoussac, to barter for the rich furs brought by the Indian hunters from the dreary wilds of the Saguenay.
On the 6th of May De Monts reached a harbor on the coast of Acadia, where he seized and confiscated an English vessel, in vindication of his exclusive privileges. Thence he sailed to the Island of St. Croix, where he landed his people, and established himself for the winter. In the spring of 1605 he hastened to leave this settlement, where the want of wood and fresh water, and the terrible ravages of the scurvy, had disheartened and diminished the number of his followers. In the mean time Champlain had discovered and named Port Royal, now Annapolis, a situation which presented many natural advantages. De Monts removed the establishment thither, and erected a fort, appointing Pontgrave to its command. Soon afterward he bestowed Port Royal and a large extent of the neighboring country upon De Poutrincourt, and the grant was ultimately confirmed by letters patent from the king. This was the first concession of land made in North America since its discovery.
When De Monts returned to France in 1605, he found that enemies had been busily and successfully at work in destroying his influence at court. Complaints of the injustice of his exclusive privileges poured in from all the ports in the kingdom. It was urged that he had interfered with and thwarted the fisheries, under the pretense of securing the sole right of trading with the Indian hunters. These statements were hearkened to by the king, and all the Sieur's privileges were revoked. De Monts bore up bravely against this disaster. He entered into a new engagement with De Poutrincourt, who had followed him to France, and dispatched a vessel from Rochelle on the 13th of May to succor the colony in Acadia. The voyage was unusually protracted, and the settlers at Port Royal, at length reduced to great extremities, feared that they had been abandoned to their fate. The wise and energetic Pontgrave did all that man could do to reassure them; but, finally, their supplies being completely exhausted, he was constrained to yield to the general wish, and embark his people for France. He had scarcely sailed, however, when he heard of the arrival of Poutrincourt and the long-desired supplies. He then immediately returned to Port Royal, where he found his chief already landed. Under able and judicious management, the colony increased and prospered until 1614, when it was attacked and broken up by Sir Samuel Argall with a Virginian force.
The enemies of De Monts did not relax in their efforts till he was deprived of his high commission. A very insufficient indemnity was granted for the great expenses he had incurred. Still he was not disheartened: in the following year, 1607, he obtained a renewal of his privileges for one year, on condition that he should plant a colony upon the banks of the St. Lawrence. The trading company did not lose confidence in their principal, although his courtly influence had been destroyed; but their object was confined to the prosecution of the lucrative commerce in furs, for which reason they ceased to interest themselves in Acadia, and turned their thoughts to the Great River of Canada, where they hoped to find a better field for their undertaking. They equipped two ships at Honfleur, under the command of Champlain and Pontgrave, to establish the fur trade at Tadoussac. De Monts remained in France, vainly endeavoring to obtain an extension of his patent. Despite his disappointments, he fitted out some vessels in the spring of 1608, with the assistance of the company, and dispatched them to the River St. Lawrence on the 13th of April, under the same command as before.
Champlain reached Tadoussac on the 3d of June; his views were far more extended than those of a mere merchant; even honest fame for himself, and increase of glory and power for his country, were, in his eyes, objects subordinate to the extension of the Catholic faith. After a brief stay, he ascended the Great River, examining the shore with minute care, to seek the most fitting place where the first foundation of French empire might be laid. On the 3d of July he reached QUEBEC, where, nearly three quarters of a century before, Jacques Cartier had passed the winter. This magnificent position was at once chosen by Champlain as the site of the future capital of Canada: centuries of experience have proved the wisdom of the selection; admirably situated for purposes of war or commerce, and completely commanding the navigation of the Great River, it stands the center of a scene of beauty that can nowhere be surpassed.
On the bold headland overlooking the waters of the basin, he commenced his work by felling the trees, and rooting up the wild vines and tangled underwood from the virgin soil. Some rude huts were speedily erected for shelter; spots around them were cultivated to test the fertility of the land: this labor was repaid by abundant production. The first permanent work undertaken in the new settlement was the erection of a solid building as a magazine for their provisions. A temporary barrack on the highest point of the position, for the officers and men, was subsequently constructed. These preparations occupied the remainder of the summer. The first snow fell on the 18th of November, but only remained on the ground for two days: in December it again returned, and the face of nature was covered till the end of April, 1609. From the time of Jacques Cartier to the establishment of Champlain, and even to the present day, there has been no very decided amelioration of the severity of the climate; indeed, some of the earliest records notice seasons milder than many of modern days.
The town of Stadacona, like its prouder neighbor of Hochelaga, seems to have dwindled into insignificance since the time when it had been an object of such interest and suspicion to Jacques Cartier. Some Indians still lived in huts around Quebec, but in a state of poverty and destitution, very different from the condition of their ancestors. During the winter of 1608, they suffered dire extremities of famine; several came over from the southern shores of the river, miserably reduced by starvation, and scarcely able to drag along their feeble limbs, to seek aid from the strangers. Champlain relieved their necessities and treated them with politic kindness. The French suffered severely from the scurvy during the first winter of their residence.
On the 18th of April, 1609, Champlain, accompanied by two Frenchmen, ascended the Great River with a war party of Canadian Indians. After a time, turning southward up a tributary stream, he came to the shores of a large and beautiful lake, abounding with fish; the shores and neighboring forests sheltered, in their undisturbed solitude, countless deer and other animals of the chase. To this splendid sheet of water he gave his own name, which it still bears. To the south and west rose huge snow-capped mountains, and in the fertile valleys below dwelt numbers of the fierce and hostile Iroquois. Champlain and his savage allies pushed on to the furthest extremity of the lake, descended a rapid, and entered another smaller sheet of water, afterward named St. Sacrement. On the shore they encountered two hundred of the Iroquois warriors; a battle ensued; the skill and the astonishing weapons of the white men soon gave their Canadian allies a complete victory. Many prisoners were taken, and, in spite of Champlain's remonstrances, put to death with horrible and protracted tortures. The brave Frenchman returned to Quebec, and sailed for Europe in September, leaving Captain Pierre Chauvin, an experienced officer, in charge of the infant settlement. Henry IV. received Champlain with favor, and called him to an interview at Fontainebleau: the king listened attentively to the report of the new colony, expressing great satisfaction at its successful foundation and favorable promise. But the energetic De Monts, to whom so much of this success was due, could find no courtly aid: the renewal of his privilege was refused, and its duration had already expired. By the assistance of the Merchant Company, he fitted out two vessels in the spring of 1610, under the tried command of Champlain and Pontgrave: the first was destined for Quebec, with some artisans, settlers, and necessary supplies for the colony; the second was commissioned to carry on the fur trade at Tadoussac. Champlain sailed from Honfleur on the 8th of April, and reached the mouth of the Saguenay in eighteen days, a passage which even all the modern improvements in navigation have rarely enabled any one to surpass in rapidity. He soon hastened on to Quebec, where, to his great joy, he found the colonists contented and prosperous; the virgin soil had abundantly repaid the labors of cultivation, and the natives had in no wise molested their dangerous visitors. He joined the neighboring tribes of Algonquin and Montagnez Indians, during the summer, in an expedition against the Iroquois. Having penetrated the woody country beyond Sorel for some distance, they came upon a place where their enemies were intrenched; this they took, after a bloody resistance. Champlain and another Frenchman were slightly wounded in the encounter.