Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, Vol. 2
by Samuel de Champlain
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291. The position in the roadstead was south-east of the harbor, so that the harbor was seen on the north-west. Charlevoix calls it Moulin Baude. The reader will find the position indicated by the letter M on Champlain's map of the Port of Tadoussac. Baude Moulin (Baude Mill), directly north of it, was probably a mill privilege. Charlevoix, in 1720, anchored there, and asked them to show him the mill; and they showed him some rocks, from which issued a stream of clear water. He adds, they might build a water-mill here, but probably it will never be done.

292. Pointe de tous les Diables. Now known as Pointe aux Vaches, cows. The point on the other side of the river is still called Pointe aux Alouettes, or Lark Point.



After this agreement, I had some carpenters set to work to fit up a little barque of twelve or fourteen tons, for carrying all that was needed for our settlement, which, however, could not be got ready before the last of June.

Meanwhile, I managed to visit some parts of the river Saguenay, a fine river, which has the incredible depth of some one hundred and fifty to two hundred fathoms. [293] About fifty leagues from the mouth of the harbor, there is, as is said, a great waterfall, descending from a very high elevation with great impetuosity. There are some islands in this river, very barren, being only rocks covered with small firs and heathers. It is half a league broad in places, and a quarter of a league at its mouth, where the current is so strong that at three-quarters flood-tide in the river it is still running out. All the land that I have seen consists only of mountains and rocky promontories, for the most part covered with fir and birch, a very unattractive country on both sides of the river. In a word, it is mere wastes, uninhabited by either animals or birds; for, going out hunting in places which seemed to me the most pleasant, I found only some very small birds, such as swallows and river birds, which go there in summer. At other times, there are none whatever, in consequence of the excessive cold. This river flows from the north-west.

The savages told me that, after passing the first fall, they meet with eight others, when they go a day's journey without finding any. Then they pass ten others, and enter a lake, [294] which they are three days in crossing, and they are easily able to make ten leagues a day up stream. At the end of the lake there dwells a migratory people. Of the three rivers which flow into this lake, one comes from the north, very near the sea, where they consider it much colder than in their own country; and the other two from other directions in the interior, [295] where are migratory savages, living only from hunting, and where our savages carry the merchandise we give them for their furs, such as beaver, marten, lynx, and otter, which are found there in large numbers, and which they then carry to our vessels. These people of the north report to our savages that they see the salt sea; and, if that is true, as I think it certainly is, it can be nothing but a gulf entering the interior on the north. [296] The savages say that the distance from the north sea to the port of Tadoussac is perhaps forty-five or fifty days' journey, in consequence of the difficulties presented by the roads, rivers, and country, which is very mountainous, and where there is snow for the most part of the year. This is what I have definitely ascertained in regard to this river. I have often wished to explore it, but could not do so without the savages, who were unwilling that I or any of our party should accompany them. Nevertheless, they have promised that I shall do so. This exploration would be desirable, in order to remove the doubts of many persons in regard to the existence of this sea on the north, where it is maintained that the English have gone in these latter years to find a way to China. [297]

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The figures indicate the fathoms of water.

A. A round mountain on the bank of the river Saguenay. B. The harbor of Tadoussac. C. A small fresh-water brook. D. The encampment of the savages when they come to traffic. E. A peninsula partly enclosing the port of the river Saguenay. F. Point of All Devils. G. The river Saguenay. H. Point aux Alouettes. I. Very rough mountains covered with firs and beeches. L. The mill Bode. M. The roadstead where vessels anchor while waiting for wind and tide. N. A little pond near the harbor. O. A small brook coming from the pond and flowing into the Saguenay. P. Place without trees near the point where there is a quantity of grass.

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I set out from Tadoussac the last day of the month to go to Quebec. [298] We passed near an island called Hare Island, [299] distant six leagues from the above-named port: it is two leagues from the northern, and nearly four leagues from the southern shore. From Hare Island we proceeded to a little river, dry at low tide, up which some seven hundred or eight hundred paces there are two falls. We named it Salmon River, [300] since we caught some of these fish in it. Coasting along the north shore, we came to a point extending into the river, which we called Cap Dauphin, [301] distant three leagues from Salmon River. Thence we proceeded to another, which we named Eagle Cape, [302] distant eight leagues from Cap Dauphin. Between the two there is a large bay, [303] at the extremity of which is a little river dry at low tide. From Eagle Cape, we proceeded to Isle aux Coudres, [304] a good league distant, which is about a league and a half long. It is nearly level, and grows narrower towards the two ends. On the western end there are meadows, and rocky points extending some distance out into the river. On the south-west side it is very reefy, yet very pleasant in consequence of the woods surrounding it. It is distant about half a league from the northern shore, where is a little river extending some distance into the interior. We named it Riviere du Gouffre, [305] since abreast of it the tide runs with extraordinary rapidity; and, although it has a calm appearance, it is always much agitated, the depth there being great: but the river itself is shallow, and there are many rocks at and about its mouth. Coasting along from Isle aux Coudres, we reached a cape which we named Cap de Tourmente, [306] five leagues distant; and we gave it this name because, however little wind there may be, the water rises there as if it were full tide. At this point, the water begins to be fresh. Thence we proceeded to the Island of Orleans, [307] a distance of two leagues, on the south side of which are numerous islands, low, covered with trees and very pleasant, with large meadows, having plenty of game, some being, so far as I could judge, two leagues in length, others a trifle more or less. About these islands are many rocks, also very dangerous shallows, some two leagues distant from the main land on the South. All this shore, both north and South, from Tadoussac to the Island of Orleans, is mountainous, and the soil very poor. The wood is pine, fir, and birch only, with very ugly rocks, so that in most places one could not make his way.

Now we passed along south of the Island of Orleans, which is a league and a half distant from the main land and half a league on the north side, being six leagues in length, and one in breadth, or in some places a league and a half. On the north side, it is very pleasant, on account of the great extent of woods and meadows there; but it is very dangerous sailing, in consequence of the numerous points and rocks between the main land and island, on which are numerous fine oaks and in some places nut-trees, and on the borders of the woods vines and other trees such as we have in France. This place is the commencement of the fine and fertile country of the great river, and is distant one hundred and twenty leagues from its mouth. Off the end of the island is a torrent of water on the north shore, proceeding from a lake ten leagues in the interior: [308] it comes down from a height of nearly twenty-five fathoms, above which the land is level and pleasant, although farther inland are seen high mountains appearing to be from fifteen to twenty leagues distant.


293. The deepest sounding as laid down on Laurie's Chart is one hundred and forty-six fathoms. The same authority says the banks of the river throughout its course are very rocky, and vary in height from one hundred and seventy to three hundred and forty yards above the stream. Its current is broad, deep, and uncommonly vehement: in some places, where precipices intervene, are falls from fifty to sixty feet in height, down which the whole volume of water rushes with tremendous fury and noise. The general breadth of the river is about two and a half miles, but at its mouth its width is contracted to three-quarters of a mile. The tide runs upward about sixty-five miles from its mouth.

294. If the Indians were three days in crossing Lake St. John here referred to, whose length is variously stated to be from twenty-five to forty miles, it could hardly have been the shortest time in which it were possible to pass it. It may have been the usual time, some of which they gave to fishing or hunting. "In 1647, Father Jean Duquen, missionary at Tadoussac, ascending the Saguenay, discovered the Lake St. John, and noted its Indian name, Picouagami, or Flat Lake. He was the first European who beheld that magnificent expanse of inland water."—Vide Transactions, Lit. and His. Soc. of Quebec, 1867-68, p. 5.

295. The first of these three rivers, which the traveller will meet as he passes up the northern shore of the lake, is the Peribonca flowing from the north-east. The second is the Mistassina, represented by the Indians as coming from the salt sea. The third is the Chomouchonan, flowing from the north-west.

296. There was doubtless an Indian trail from the head-waters of the Mistassina to Mistassin Lake, and from thence to Rupert River, which flows into the lower part of Hudson's Bay.

297. The salt sea referred to by the Indians was undoubtedly Hudson's Bay. The discoverer of this bay, Henry Hudson, in the years 1607, 1608, and 1609, was in the northern ocean searching for a passage to Cathay. In 1610, he discovered the strait and bay which now bear his name. He passed the winter in the southern part of the bay; and the next year, 1611, his sailors in a mutiny forced him and his officers into a shallop and abandoned them to perish. Nothing was heard of them afterward. The fame of Hudson's discovery had reached Champlain before the publication of this volume in 1613. This will be apparent by comparing Champlain's small map with the TABULA NAUTICA of Hudson, published in 1612. It will be seen that the whole of the Carte Geographique de la Nouvelle France of Champlain, on the west of Lumley's Inlet, including Hudson's Strait and Bay, is a copy from the Tabula Nautica. Even the names are in English, a few characteristic ones being omitted, such as Prince Henry, the King's Forlant, and Cape Charles.—Vide Henry Hudson the Navigator, by G. M. Asher, LL.D., Hakluyt Society, 1860, p. xliv.

298. This was June 30, 1608.

299. Isle aux Lievres, or hares. This name was given by Jacques Cartier, and it is still called Hare Island. It is about ten geographical miles long, and generally about half or three-quarters of a mile wide.

300. Riviere aux Saulmons. "From all appearances," says Laverdiere, "this Salmon River is that which empties into the 'Port a l'Equilles,' eel harbor, also called 'Port aux Quilles,' Skittles Port. Its mouth is two leagues from Cape Salmon, with which it must not be confounded." It is now known as Black River.

301. Cap Dauphin, now called Cape Salmon, which is about three leagues from Black River.

302. Cap a l'Aigle, now known as Cap aux Oies, or Goose Cape. The Eagle Cape of to-day is little more than two leagues from Cape Salmon, while Goose Cape is about eight leagues, as stated in the text.

303. The bay stretching between Cape Salmon and Goose Cape is called Mal Bay, within which are Cape Eagle, Murray Bay, Point au Ries, White Cape, Red Cape, Black Cape, Point Pere, Point Corneille, and Little Mal Bay. In the rear of Goose Cape are Les Eboulemens Mountains, 2,547 feet in height. On the opposite side of the river is Point Ouelle, and the river of the same name.

304. Isle aux Coudres, Hazel Island, so named by Jacques Cartier, still retains its ancient appellation. Its distance from Goose Cape is about two leagues. The description of it in the text is very accurate.

305. Riviere du Gouffre. This river still retains this name, signifying whirlpool, and is the same that empties into St. Paul's Bay, opposite Isle-aux Coudres.

306. Cap de Tourmente, cape of the tempest, is eight leagues from Isle aux Coudres, but about two from the Isle of Orleans, as stated in the text, which sufficiently identifies it.

307. Isle d'Orleans. Cartier discovered this island in 1635, and named it the Island of Bacchus, because he saw vines growing there, which he had not before seen in that region. He says, "Et pareillement y trouuasmes force vignes, ce que n'auyons veu par cy deuant a toute la terre, & par ce la nommasmes l'ysle de Bacchus."—Brief Recit de la Navigation Faite en MDXXXV., par Jacques Cartier, D'Avezac ed., Paris, 1863, pp. 14, 15. The grape found here was probably the Frost Grape, Vitis cordifolia. The "Island of Orleans" soon became the fixed name of this island, which it still retains. Its Indian name is said to have been Minigo.—Vide Laverdiere's interesting note, Oeuvres de Champlain, Tome II, p. 24. Champlain's estimate of the size of the island is nearly accurate. It is, according to the Admiralty charts, seventeen marine miles in length, and four in its greatest width.

308. This was the river Montmorency, which rises in Snow Lake, some fifty miles in the interior.—_Vide_ Champlain's reference on his map of Quebec and its environs. He gave this name to the river, which it still retains, in honor of the Admiral Montmorency, to whom he dedicated his notes on the voyage of 1603.—_Vide Laverdiere_, in loco; also _Champlain_, ed. 1632; _Chiarlevoix's Letters_, London, 1763, p. 19. The following is Jean Alfonse's description of the fall of Montmorency: "When thou art come to the end of the Isle, thou shall see a great River, which falleth fifteene or twenty fathoms downe from a rocke, and maketh a terrible noyse."—_Hakluyt, Vol. III. p. 293. The perpendicular descent of the Montmorency at the falls is 240 feet.



From the Island of Orleans to Quebec the distance is a league. I arrived there on the 3d of July, when I searched for a place suitable for our settlement, but I could find none more convenient or better situated than the point of Quebec, so called by the savages, [309] which was covered with nut-trees. I at once employed a portion of our workmen in cutting them down, that we might construct our habitation there: one I set to sawing boards, another to making a cellar and digging ditches, another I sent to Tadoussac with the barque to get supplies. The first thing we made was the storehouse for keeping under cover our supplies, which was promptly accomplished through the zeal of all, and my attention to the work.

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The figures indicate the fathoms of water.

A. The site where our habitation is built. [Note 1] B. Cleared land where we sow wheat and other grain. [Note 2] C. The gardens.[Note 3] D. small brook coming from marshes. [Note 4] E. River where Jacques Cartier passed the winter, which in his time he called St. Croix, and which name has been transferred to a place fifteen leagues above Quebec. [Note 5] F. River of the marshes. [Note 6] G. Place where was collected the grass for the animals brought here. [Note 7] H. The grand fall of Montmorency, which descends from a height of more than twenty-five fathoms into the river. [Note 8] I. The end of the Island of Orleans. L. A very narrow point on the shore east of Quebec. [Note 9] M. Roaring river which extends to the Etechemins. N. The great river of St. Lawrence. O. Lake in the roaring river. P. Mountains in the interior; bay which I named New Biscay, q. Lake of the great fall of Montmorency. [Note 10] R. Bear Brook. [Note 11] S. Brook du Gendre. [Note 12] T. Meadows overflowed at every tide. V. Mont du Gas, very high, situated on the bank of the river. [Note 13] X. Swift brook, adapted to all kinds of mills. Y. Gravelly shore where a quantity of diamonds are found somewhat better than those of Alanson. Z. The Point of Diamonds. 9. Places where the savages often build their cabins. [Note 14]

NOTES. The following notes on Champlain's explanation of his map of Quebec are by the Abbe Laverdiere, whose accurate knowledge of that city and its environs renders them especially valuable. They are given entire, with only slight modifications.

1. That is properly the point of Quebec, including what is at present enclosed by La Place, the street Notre Dame, and the river.

2. This first clearing must have been what was called later the Esplanade du Fort, or Grande Place, or perhaps both. The Grande Place became, in 1658, the fort of the Hurons: it was the space included between the Cote of the lower town and the Rue du Fort.

3. A little above the gardens, on the slope of the Cote du Saut au Matelot, a cross is seen, which seems to indicate that at that time the cemetery was where it is said to be when it is mentioned some years later for the first time.

4. According to the old plans of Quebec, these marshes were represented to be west of Mont Carmel, and at the foot of the glacis of the Citadel. The brook pulled eastward of the grounds of the Ursulines and Jesuites, followed for some distance the Rue de la Fabrique as far as the enclosure of the Hotel Dieu, to the east of which it ran down the hill towards the foot of the Cote de la Canoterie.

5. The river St. Charles. The letter E does not indicate precisely the place where Jacques Quartier wintered, but only the mouth of the river.

6. Judging from the outlines of the shore, this brook, which came from the south-west, flowed into the harbor of the Palais, towards the western extremity of the Parc.

7. This is probably what was called later the barn of the Messieurs de la Compagnie, or simply La Grange, and appears to have been somewhere on the avenue of Mont Carmel.

8. The fall of Montmorency is forty fathoms or two hundred and forty French feet, or even more.

9. Hence it is seen that in 1613 this point had as yet no name. In 1629, Champlain calls it Cap de Levis: it can accordingly be concluded that this point derives its name from that of the Duc de Ventadour, Henri de Levis, and that it must have been so named between the years 1625 and 1627, the time when he was regent.

10. The Lake of the Snows is the source of the western branch of the Riviere du Saut.

11. La Riviere de Beauport, which is called likewise La Distillerie.

12. Called later Ruisseau de la Cabaneaux Taupiers. Riviere Chalisour, and finally Riviere des Fous, from the new insane asylum, by the site of which it now passes.

13. Height where is now situated the bastion of the Roi a la Citadelle. This name was given it, doubtless, in memory of M. de Monts, Pierre du Guast.

14. This figure appears not only at the Point du Cap Diamant, but also along the shore of Beauport, and at the end of the Island of Orleans.

* * * * *

Some days after my arrival at Quebec, a locksmith conspired against the service of the king. His plan was to put me to death, and, getting possession of our fort, to put it into the hands of the Basques or Spaniards, then at Tadoussac, beyond which vessels cannot go, from not having a knowledge of the route, nor of the banks and rocks on the way.

In order to execute his wretched plan, by which he hoped to make his fortune, he suborned four of the worst characters, as he supposed, telling them a thousand falsehoods, and presenting to them prospects of acquiring riches.

These four men, having been won over, all promised to act in such a manner as to gain the rest over to their side; so that, for the time being, I had no one with me in whom I could put confidence, which gave them still more hope of making their plan succeed: for four or five of my companions, in whom they knew that I put confidence, were on board of the barques, for the purpose of protecting the provisions and supplies necessary for our settlement.

In a word, they were so skilful in carrying out their intrigues with those who remained, that they were on the point of gaining all over to their cause, even my lackey, promising them many things which they could not have fulfilled.

Being now all agreed, they made daily different plans as to how they should put me to death, so as not to be accused of it, which they found to be a difficult thing. But the devil, blindfolding them all and taking away their reason and every possible difficulty, they determined to take me while unarmed, and strangle me; or to give a false alarm at night, and shoot me as I went out, in which manner they judged that they would accomplish their work sooner than otherwise. They made a mutual promise not to betray each other, on penalty that the first one who opened his mouth should be poniarded. They were to execute their plan in four days, before the arrival of our barques, otherwise they would have been unable to carry out their scheme.

On this very day, one of our barques arrived, with our pilot, Captain Testu, a very discreet man. After the barque was unloaded, and ready to return to Tadoussac, there came to him a locksmith, named Natel, an associate of Jean du Val, the head of the conspiracy, who told him that he had promised the rest to do just as they did; but that he did not in fact desire the execution of the plot, yet did not dare to make a disclosure in regard to it, from fear of being poniarded.

Antoine Natel made the pilot promise that he would make no disclosure in regard to what he should say, since, if his companions should discover it, they would put him to death. The pilot gave him his assurance in all particulars, and asked him to state the character of the plot which they wished to carry out. This Natel did at length, when the pilot said to him: "My friend, you have done well to disclose such a malicious design, and you show that you are an upright man, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But these things cannot be passed by without bringing them to the knowledge of Sieur de Champlain, that he may make provision against them; and I promise you that I will prevail upon him to pardon you and the rest. And I will at once," said the pilot, "go to him without exciting any suspicion; and do you go about your business, listening to all they may say, and not troubling yourself about the rest."

The pilot came at once to me, in a garden which I was having prepared, and said that he wished to speak to me in a private place, where we could be alone. I readily assented, and we went into the wood, where he related to me the whole affair. I asked who had told it to him. He begged me to pardon him who had made the disclosure, which I consented to do, although he ought to have addressed himself to me. He was afraid, he replied, that you would become angry, and harm him. I told him that I was able to govern myself better than that, in such a matter; and desired him to have the man come to me, that I might hear his statement. He went, and brought him all trembling with fear lest I should do him some harm. I reassured him, telling him not to be afraid; that he was in a place of safety, and that I should pardon him for all that he had done, together with the others, provided he would tell me in full the truth in regard to the whole matter, and the motive which had impelled them to it. "Nothing," he said, "had impelled them, except that they had imagined that, by giving up the place into the hands of the Basques or Spaniards, they might all become rich, and that they did not want to go back to France." He also related to me the remaining particulars in regard to their conspiracy.

After having heard and questioned him, I directed him to go about his work. Meanwhile, I ordered the pilot to bring up his shallop, which he did. Then I gave two bottles of wine to a young man, directing him to say to these four worthies, the leaders of the conspiracy, that it was a present of wine, which his friends at Tadoussac had given him, and that he wished to share it with them. This they did not decline, and at evening were on board the barque where he was to give them the entertainment. I lost no time in going there shortly after; and caused them to be seized, and held until the next day.

Then were my worthies astonished indeed. I at once had all get up, for it was about ten o'clock in the evening, and pardoned them all, on condition that they would disclose to me the truth in regard to all that had occurred; which they did, when I had them retire.

The next day I took the depositions of all, one after the other, in the presence of the pilot and sailors of the vessel, which I had put down in writing; and they were well pleased, as they said, since they had lived only in fear of each other, especially of the four knaves who had ensnared them. But now they lived in peace, satisfied, as they declared, with the treatment which they had received.

The same day I had six pairs of handcuffs made for the authors of the conspiracy: one for our surgeon, named Bonnerme, one for another, named La Taille, whom the four conspirators had accused, which, however, proved false, and consequently they were given their liberty.

This being done, I took my worthies to Tadoussac, begging Pont Grave to do me the favor of guarding them, since I had as yet no secure place for keeping them, and as we were occupied in constructing our places of abode. Another object was to consult with him, and others on the ship, as to what should be done in the premises. We suggested that, after he had finished his work at Tadoussac, he should come to Quebec with the prisoners, where we should have them confronted with their witnesses, and, after giving them a hearing, order justice to be done according to the offence which they had committed.

I went back the next day to Quebec, to hasten the completion of our storehouse, so as to secure our provisions, which had been misused by all those scoundrels, who spared nothing, without reflecting how they could find more when these failed; for I could not obviate the difficulty until the storehouse should be completed and shut up.

Pont Grave arrived some time after me, with the prisoners, which caused uneasiness to the workmen who remained, since they feared that I should pardon them, and that they would avenge themselves upon them for revealing their wicked design.

We had them brought face to face, and they affirmed before them all which they had stated in their depositions, the prisoners not denying it, but admitting that they had acted in a wicked manner, and should be punished, unless mercy might be exercised towards them; accursing, above all, Jean du Val, who had been trying to lead them into such a conspiracy from the time of their departure from France. Du Val knew not what to say, except that he deserved death, that all stated in the depositions was true, and that he begged for mercy upon himself and the others, who had given in their adherence to his pernicious purposes.

After Pont Grave and I, the captain of the vessel, surgeon, mate, second mate, and other sailors, had heard their depositions and face to face statements, we adjudged that it would be enough to put to death Du Val, as the instigator of the conspiracy; and that he might serve as an example to those who remained, leading them to deport themselves correctly in future, in the discharge of their duty; and that the Spaniards and Basques, of whom there were large numbers in the country, might not glory in the event. We adjudged that the three others be condemned to be hung, but that they should be taken to France and put into the hands of Sieur de Monts, that such ample justice might be done them as he should recommend; that they should be sent with all the evidence and their sentence, as well as that of Jean du Val, who was strangled and hung at Quebec, and his head was put on the end of a pike, to be set up in the most conspicuous place on our fort.


309. Champlain here plainly means to say that the Indians call the narrow place in the river Quebec. For this meaning of the word, viz., narrowing of waters, in the Algonquin language, the authority is abundant. Laverdiere quotes, as agreeing with him in this view, Bellenger, Ferland, and Lescarbot. "The narrowing of the river," says Charlevoix, "gave it the name of Quebeio or Quebec, which in the Algonquin language signifies contraction. The Abenaquis, whose language is a dialect of the Algonquin, call it Quelibec, which signifies something shut up."—Charlevoix's Letters, pp. 18, 19. Alfred Hawkins, in his "Historical Recollections of Quebec," regards the word of Norman origin, which he finds on a seal of the Duke of Suffolk, as early as 1420. The theory is ingenious: but it requires some other characteristic historical facts to challenge our belief. When Cartier visited Quebec, it was called by the natives Stadacone. —Vide Cartier's Brief Recit, 1545, D'Avezac ed., Paris, 1863, p. 14.



After all these occurrences, Pont Grave set out from Quebec, on the 18th of September, to return to France with the three prisoners. After he had gone, all who remained conducted themselves correctly in the discharge of their duty.

I had the work on our quarters continued, which was composed of three buildings of two stories. Each one was three fathoms long, and two and a half wide. The storehouse was six fathoms long and three wide, with a fine cellar six feet deep. I had a gallery made all around our buildings, on the outside, at the second story, which proved very convenient. There were also ditches, fifteen feet wide and six deep. On the outer side of the ditches, I constructed several spurs, which enclosed a part of the dwelling, at the points where we placed our cannon. Before the habitation there is a place four fathoms wide and six or seven long, looking out upon the river-bank. Surrounding the habitation are very good gardens, and a place on the north side some hundred or hundred and twenty paces long and fifty or sixty wide. Moreover, near Quebec, there is a little river, coming from a lake in the interior, [310] distant six or seven leagues from our settlement. I am of opinion that this river, which is north a quarter north-west from our settlement, is the place where Jacques Cartier wintered, [311] since there are still, a league up the river, remains of what seems to have been a chimney, the foundation of which has been found, and indications of there having been ditches surrounding their dwelling, which was small. We found, also, large pieces of hewn, worm-eaten timber, and some three or four cannon-balls. All these things show clearly that there was a settlement there founded by Christians; and what leads me to say and believe that it was that of Jacques Cartier is the fact that there is no evidence whatever that any one wintered and built a house in these places except Jacques Cartier, at the time of his discoveries. This place, as I think, must have been called St. Croix, as he named it; which name has since been transferred to another place fifteen leagues west of our settlement. But there is no evidence of his having wintered in the place now called St. Croix, nor in any other there, since in this direction there is no river or other place large enough for vessels except the main river or that of which I spoke above; here there is half a fathom of water at low tide, many rocks, and a bank at the mouth; for vessels, if kept in the main river, where there are strong currents and tides, and ice in the winter, drifting along, would run the risk of being lost; especially as there is a sandy point extending out into the river, and filled with rocks, between which we have found, within the last three years, a passage not before discovered; but one must go through cautiously, in consequence of the dangerous points there. This place is exposed to the north-west winds; a half fathoms. There are no signs of buildings here, nor any indications that a man of judgment would settle in this place, there being many other better ones, in case one were obliged to make a permanent stay. I have been desirous of speaking at length on this point, since many believe that the abode of Jacques Cartier was here, which I do not believe, for the reasons here given; for Cartier would have left to posterity a narrative of the matter, as he did in the case of all he saw and discovered; and I maintain that my opinion is the true one, as can be shown by the history which he has left, in writing.

* * * * *



A. The storehouse. B. Dove-cote. C. A building where our arms are kept, and for lodging our workmen. D. Another building for our workmen. E. Dial. F. Another building, comprising the blacksmith's shop and the lodgings of the mechanics. G. Galleries extending entirely round the dwellings. H. The dwelling of Sieur de Champlain. I. Gate to the habitation where there is a drawbridge. L. Promenade about the habitation ten feet wide, extending to the border of the moat. M. Moat extending all round our habitation. N. Platforms, of a tenaille form, for our cannon. O. Garden of Sieur de Champlain. P. The kitchen. Q. Open space before the habitation on the bank of the river. R. The great river St. Lawrence.

* * * * *

As still farther proof that this place now called St. Croix is not the place where Jacques Cartier wintered, as most persons think, this is what he says about it in his discoveries, taken from his history; namely, that he arrived at the Isle aux Coudres on the 5th of December, [312] 1535, which he called by this name, as hazel-nuts were found there. There is a strong tidal current in this place; and he says that it is three leagues long, but it is quite enough to reckon a league and a half. On the 7th of the month, Notre Dame Day, [313] he set out from this island to go up the river, in which he saw fourteen islands, distant seven or eight leagues from Isle aux Coudres on the south. He errs somewhat in this estimation, for it is not more than three leagues. [314] He also says that the place where the islands are is the commencement of the land or province of Canada, and that he reached an island ten leagues long and five wide, where extensive fisheries are carried on, fish being here, in fact, very abundant, especially the sturgeon. But its length is not more than six leagues, and its breadth two; a fact well recognized now. He says also that he anchored between this island and the main land on the north, the smallest passage, and a dangerous one, where he landed two savages whom he had taken to France, and that, after stopping in this place some time with the people of the country, he sent for his barques and went farther up the river, with the tide, seeking a harbor and place of security for his ships. He says, farther, that they went on up the river, coasting along this island, the length of which he estimates at ten leagues; and after it was passed they found a very fine and pleasant bay, containing a little river and bar harbor, which they found very favorable for sheltering their vessels. This they named St. Croix, since he arrived there on this day; and at the time of the voyage of Cartier the place was called Stadaca, [315] but we now call it Quebec. He says, also, that after he had examined this place he returned to get his vessels for passing the winter there.

Now we may conclude, accordingly, that the distance is only five leagues from the Isle aux Coudres to the Isle of Orleans, [316] at the western extremity of which the river is very broad; and at which bay, as Cartier calls it, there is no other river than that which he called St. Croix, a good league distant from the Isle of Orleans, in which, at low tide, there is only half a fathom of water. It is very dangerous for vessels at its mouth, there being a large number of spurs; that is, rocks scattered here and there. It is accordingly necessary to place buoys in order to enter, there being, as I have stated, three fathoms of water at ordinary tides, and four fathoms, or four and a half generally, at the great tides at full flood. It is only fifteen hundred paces from our habitation, which is higher up the river; and, as I have stated, there is no other river up to the place now called St. Croix, where vessels can lie, there being only little brooks. The shores are flat and dangerous, which Cartier does not mention until the time that he sets out from St. Croix, now called Quebec, where he left his vessels, and built his place of abode, as is seen from what follows.

On the 19th of September, he set out from St. Croix, where his vessels were, setting sail with the tide up the river, which they found very pleasant, as well on account of the woods, vines, and dwellings, which were there in his time, as for other reasons. They cast anchor twenty-five leagues from the entrance to the land of Canada; [317] that is, at the western extremity of the Isle of Orleans, so called by Cartier. What is now called St Croix was then called Achelacy, at a narrow pass where the river is very swift and dangerous on account of the rocks and other things, and which can only be passed at flood-tide. Its distance from Quebec and the river where Cartier wintered is fifteen leagues.

Now, throughout the entire extent of this river, from Quebec to the great fall, there are no narrows except at the place now called St. Croix; the name of which has been transferred from one place to another one, which is very dangerous, as my description shows. And it is very apparent, from his narrative, that this was not the site of his habitation, as is claimed; but that the latter was near Quebec, and that no one had entered into a special investigation of this matter before my doing so in my voyages. For the first time I was told that he dwelt in this place, I was greatly astonished, finding no trace of a river for vessels, as he states there was. This led me to make a careful examination, in order to remove the suspicion and doubt of many persons in regard to the matter. [318]

While the carpenters, sawers of boards, and other workmen, were employed on our quarters, I set all the others to work clearing up around our place of abode, in preparation for gardens in which to plant grain and seeds, that we might see how they would flourish, as the soil seemed to be very good.

Meanwhile, a large number of savages were encamped in cabins near us, engaged in fishing for eels, which begin to come about the 15th of September, and go away on the 15th of October. During this time, all the Savages subsist on this food, and dry enough of it for the winter to last until the month of February, when there are about two and a half, or at most three, feet of snow; and, when their eels and other things which they dry have been prepared, they go to hunt the beaver until the beginning of January. At their departure for this purpose, they intrusted to us all their eels and other things, until their return, which was on the 15th of December. But they did not have great success in the beaver-hunt, as the amount of water was too great, the rivers having overrun their banks, as they told us. I returned to them all their supplies, which lasted them only until the 20th of January. When their supply of eels gave out, they hunted the elk and such other wild beasts as they could find until spring, when I was able to supply them with various things. I paid especial attention to their customs.

These people suffer so much from lack of food that they are sometimes obliged to live on certain shell-fish, and eat their dogs and the skins with which they clothe themselves against the cold. I am of opinion that, if one were to show them how to live, and teach them the cultivation of the soil and other things, they would learn very aptly. For many of them possess good sense, and answer properly questions put to them. They have a bad habit of taking vengeance, and are great liars, and you must not put much reliance on them, except judiciously, and with force at hand. They make promises readily, but keep their word poorly. The most of them observe no law at all, so far as I have been able to see, and are, besides, full of superstitions. I asked them with what ceremonies they were accustomed to pray to their God, when they replied that they had none, but that each prayed to him in his heart, as he wished. That is why there is no law among them, and they do not know what it is to worship and pray to God, living as they do like brute beasts. But I think that they would soon become good Christians, if people would come and inhabit their country, which they are for the most part desirous of. There are some savages among them, called by them Pilotais, whom they believe have intercourse with the devil face to face, who tells them what they must do in regard to war and other things; and, if he should order them to execute any undertaking, they would obey at once. So, also, they believe that all their dreams are true; and, in fact, there are many who say that they have had visions and dreams about matters which actually come to pass or will do so. But, to tell the truth, these are diabolical visions, through which they are deceived and misled. This is all I have been able to learn about their brutish faith. All these people are well proportioned in body, without deformity, and are agile. The women, also, are well-formed, plump, and of a swarthy color, in consequence of certain pigments with which they rub themselves, and which give them a permanent olive color. They are dressed in skins: a part only of the body is covered. But in winter they are covered throughout, in good furs of elk, otter, beaver, bear, seals, deer, and roe, of which they have large quantities. In winter, when the snow is deep, they make a sort of snow-shoe of large size, two or three times as large as that used in France, which they attach to their feet, thus going over the snow without sinking in; otherwise, they could not hunt or walk in many places. They have a sort of marriage, which is as follows: When a girl is fourteen or fifteen years old, and has several suitors, she may keep company with all she likes. At the end of five or six years, she takes the one that pleases her for her husband, and they live together to the end of their lives. But if, after living some time together, they have no children, the man can disunite himself and take another woman, alleging that his own is good for nothing. Hence, the girls have greater freedom than the married women.

After marriage, the women are chaste, and their husbands generally jealous. They give presents to the fathers or relatives of the girls they have wedded. These are the ceremonies and forms observed in their marriages. In regard to their burials: When a man or a woman dies, they dig a pit, in which they put all their property, as kettles, furs, axes, bows, arrows, robes, and other things. Then they place the body in the pit and cover it with earth, putting, on top many large pieces of wood, and another piece upright, painted red on the upper part. They believe in the immortality of the soul, and say that they shall be happy in other lands with their relatives and friends who are dead. In the case of captains or others of some distinction, they celebrate a banquet three times a year after their death, singing and dancing about the grave.

All the time they were with us, which was the most secure place for them, they did not cease to fear their enemies to such an extent that they often at night became alarmed while dreaming, and sent their wives and children to our fort, the gates of which I had opened to them, allowing the men to remain about the fort, but not permitting them to enter, for their persons were thus as much in security as if they had been inside. I also had five or six of our men go out to reassure them, and to go and ascertain whether they could see any thing in the woods, in order to quiet them. They are very timid and in great dread of their enemies, scarcely ever sleeping in repose in whatever place they may be, although I constantly reassured them, so far as I could, urging them to do as we did; namely, that they should have a portion watch while the others slept, that each one should have his arms in readiness like him who was keeping watch, and that they should not regard dreams as the actual truth to be relied upon, since they are mostly only false, to which I also added other words on the same subject. But these remonstrances were of little avail with them, and they said that we knew better than they how to keep guard against all things; and that they, in course of time, if we continued to stay with them, would be able to learn it.



On the 1st of October, I had some wheat sown, and on the 15th some rye. On the 3d, there was a white frost in some places, and the leaves of the trees began to fall on the 15th. On the 24th, I had some native vines set out, which flourished very well. But, after leaving the settlement to go to France, they were all spoiled from lack of attention, at which I was much troubled on my return. On the 18th of November, there was a great fall of snow, which remained only two days on the ground, during which time there was a violent gale of wind. There died during this month a sailor and our locksmith [319] of dysentery, so also many Indians from eating eels badly cooked, as I think. On the 5th of February, it snowed violently, and the wind was high for two days. On the 20th, some Indians appeared on the other side of the river, calling to us to go to their assistance, which was beyond our power, on account of the large amount of ice drifting in the river. Hunger pressed upon these poor wretches so severely that, not knowing what to do, they resolved, men, women, and children, to cross the river or die, hoping that I should assist them in their extreme want. Having accordingly made this resolve, the men and women took the children and embarked in their canoes, thinking that they could reach our shore by an opening in the ice made by the wind; but they were scarcely in the middle of the stream when their canoes were caught by the ice and broken into a thousand pieces. But they were skilful enough to throw themselves with the children, which the women carried on their backs, on a large piece of ice. As they were on it, we heard them crying out so that it excited intense pity, as before them there seemed nothing but death. But fortune was so favorable to these poor wretches that a large piece of ice struck against the side of that on which they were, so violently as to drive them ashore. On seeing this favorable turn, they reached the shore with as much delight as they ever experienced, notwithstanding the great hunger from which they were suffering. They proceeded to our abode, so thin and haggard that they seemed like mere skeletons, most of them not being able to hold themselves up. I was astonished to see them, and observe the manner in which they had crossed, in view of their being so feeble and weak. I ordered some bread and beans to be given them. So great was their impatience to eat them, that they could not wait to have them cooked. I lent them also some bark, which other savages had given me, to cover their cabins. As they were making their cabin, they discovered a piece of carrion, which I had had thrown out nearly two months before to attract the foxes, of which we caught black and red ones, like those in France, but with heavier fur. This carrion consisted of a sow and a dog, which had sustained all the rigors of the weather, hot and cold. When the weather was mild, it stank so badly that one could not go near it. Yet they seized it and carried it off to their cabin, where they forthwith devoured it half cooked. No meat ever seemed to them to taste better. I sent two or three men to warn them not to eat it, unless they wanted to die: as they approached their cabin, they smelt such a stench from this carrion half warmed up, each one of the Indians holding a piece in his hand, that they thought they should disgorge, and accordingly scarcely stopped at all. These poor wretches finished their repast. I did not fail, however, to supply them according to my resources; but this was little, in view of the large number of them. In the space of a month, they would have eaten up all our provisions, if they had had them in their power, they are so gluttonous: for, when they have edibles, they lay nothing aside, but keep consuming them day and night without respite, afterwards dying of hunger. They did also another thing as disgusting as that just mentioned. I had caused a bitch to be placed on the top of a tree, which allured the martens [320] and birds of prey, from which I derived pleasure, since generally this carrion was attacked by them. These savages went to the tree, and, being too weak to climb it, cut it down and forthwith took away the dog, which was only skin and bones, the tainted head emitting a stench, but which was at once devoured.

This is the kind of enjoyment they experience for the most part in winter; for in summer they are able to support themselves, and to obtain provisions so as not to be assailed by such extreme hunger, the rivers abounding in fish, while birds and wild animals fill the country about. The soil is very good and well adapted for tillage, if they would but take pains to plant Indian corn, as all their neighbors do, the Algonquins, Ochastaiguins, [321] and Iroquois, who are not attacked by such extremes of hunger, which they provide against by their carefulness and foresight, so that they live happily in comparison with the Montagnais, Canadians, and Souriquois along the seacoast. This is in the main their wretched manner of life. The show and ice last three months there, from January to the 8th of April, when it is nearly all melted: at the latest, it is only seldom that any is seen at the end of the latter month at our settlement. It is remarkable that so much snow and ice as there is on the river, and which is from two to three fathoms thick, is all melted in less than twelve days. From Tadoussac to Gaspe, Cape Breton, Newfoundland, and the Great Bay, the snow and ice continue in most places until the end of May, at which time the entire entrance of the great river is sealed with ice; although at Quebec there is none at all, showing a strange difference for one hundred and twenty leagues in longitude, for the entrance to the river is in latitude 49 deg. 50' to 51 deg., and our settlement [322] in 46 deg. 40'.


310. The river St. Charles flows from a lake in the interior of the same name. It was called by the Montagnais, according to Sagard as cited by Laverdiere, in loco, "Cabirecoubat, because it turns and forms several points." Cartier named it the Holy Cross, or St. Croix, because he says he arrived there "that day;" that is, the day on which the exaltation of the Cross is celebrated, the 14th of September, 1535.—Vide Cartier, Hakluyt, Vol. III. p. 266. The Recollects gave it the name of St. Charles, after the grand vicar of Pontoise, Charles des Boues.—Laverdiere, in loco. Jacques Cartier wintered on the north shore of the St. Charles, which he called the St. Croix, or the Holy Cross, about a league from Quebec. "Hard by, there is, in that river, one place very narrow, deep, and swift running, but it is not passing the third part of a league, over against the which there is a goodly high piece of land, with a towne therein: and the country about it is very well tilled and wrought, and as good as possibly can be seene. This is the place and abode of Donnacona, and of our two men we took in our first voyage, it is called Stadacona ... under which towne toward the North the river and port of the holy crosse is, where we staied from the 15 of September until the 16 of May, 1536, and there our ships remained dry as we said before."—Vide Jacques Cartier, Second Voyage, Hakluyt, Vol. III. p. 277.

311. The spot where Jacques Cartier wintered was at the junction of the river Lairet and the St. Charles.

312. Cartier discovered the Isle of Coudres, that is, the isle of filberts or hazel-nuts, on the 6th of September, 1535.—Vide Cartier, 1545, D'Avezac ed., Paris, 1863, p. 12. This island is five nautical miles long, which agrees with the statement of Champlain, and its greatest width, is two miles and a quarter.

313. Notre Dame Day, _iour de nostre dame_, should read "Notre Dame Eve." Cartier says, "Le septiesme iour dudict moys iour nostre-dame_," etc.—_Idem_, p. 12. Hakluyt renders it, "The seventh of the moneth being our Ladees even."—Vol. III. p. 265.

314. As Champlain suggests, these islands are only three leagues higher up the river; but, as they are on the opposite side, they could not be compassed in much less than seven or eight leagues, as Cartier estimates.

315. This was an error in transcribing. Cartier has Stadacone.—Vide Brief Recit, 1545, D'Avezac ed., p. 14.

316. The distance, according to Laurie's Chart, is at least twenty-six nautical miles.

317. Canada at this time was regarded by the Indians as a limited territory, situated at or about Quebec. This statement is confirmed by the testimony of Cartier: "Ledict Donnacona pria nostre cappitaine de aller le lendemain veoir Canada, Ce que luy promist le dist cappitaine. Et le lendemam, 13. iour du diet moys, ledict cappitaine auecques ses gentilz homines accompaigne de cinquante compaignons bien en ordre, alleret veoir ledict Donnacona & son peuple, qui est distat dou estoient lesdictes nauires d'une lieue."—Vide Brief Recit, 1545, D'Avezac ed., p. 29. Of the above the following is Hakluyt's translation: "Donnacona their Lord desired our Captaine the next day to come and see Canada, which he promised to doe: for the next day being the 13 of the moneth, he with all his Gentlemen and fiftie Mariners very well appointed, went to visite Donnacona and his people, about a league from our ships."

Their ships were at this time at St. Croix, a short distance up the St. Charles, which flows into the St. Lawrence at Quebec; and the little Indian village, or camp, which Donnacona called Canada, was at Quebec. Other passages from Cartier, as well as from Jean Alfonse, harmonize with this which we have cited. Canada was therefore in Cartier's time only the name of a very small territory covered by an Indian village. When it became the centre of French interests, it assumed a wider meaning. The St. Lawrence was often called the River of Canada, then the territory on its shores, and finally Canada has come to comprehend the vast British possessions in America known as the "Dominion of Canada."

318. The locality of Cartier's winter-quarters is established by Champlain with the certainty of an historical demonstration, and yet there are to be found those whose judgment is so warped by preconceived opinion that they resist the overwhelming testimony which he brings to bear upon the subject. Charlevoix makes the St. Croix of Cartier the Riviere de Jacques Cartier.—Vide Shea's Charlevoix, Vol. I. p. 116.

319. Unless they had more than one locksmith, this must have been Antoine Natel.—Vide antea, p. 178.

320. Martres. The common weasel, Musltla vulgaris.

321. Ochastaiguins. This, says Laverdiere, is what Champlain first called the Hurons, from the name of Ochateguin, one of their chiefs. Huron was a nickname: the proper name of this tribe was Wendot or Wyandot. They occupied the eastern bank of Lake Huron and the southern shores of the Georgian Bay. The knowledge of the several tribes here referred to had been obtained by Champlain, partly from his own observation and partly from the Indians. The Algommequins or Algonquins, known at this time to Champlain, were from the region of the Ottawa. The Yroquois or Iroquois dwelt south of the St. Lawrence in the State of New York, and comprised what are generally known as the Five Nations. The Montagnais or Montaignets had their great trading-post at Tadoussac, and roamed over a vast territory north and east of that point, and west of it as far as the mountains that separate the waters of the Saguenay and those of the Ottawa. The name was given to them by the French from this mountain range. The Canadians were those about the neighborhood of Quebec. The Souriquois were of Nova Scotia, and subsequently known as Micmacs. Of most of these different tribes, Champlain could speak from personal knowledge.

322. Laverdiere gives the exact latitude of Quebec at the Observatory, on the authority of Captain Bayfield, as 46 deg. 49' 8".



The scurvy began very late; namely, in February, and continued until the middle of April. Eighteen were attacked, and ten died; five others dying of the dysentery. I had some opened, to see whether they were tainted, like those I had seen in our other settlements. They were found the same. Some time after, our surgeon died. [323] All this troubled us very much, on account of the difficulty we had in attending to the sick. The nature of this disease I have described before.

It is my opinion that this disease proceeds only from eating excessively of salt food and vegetables, which heat the blood and corrupt the internal parts. The winter is also, in part, its cause; since it checks the natural warmth, causing a still greater corruption of the blood. There rise also from the earth, when first cleared up, certain vapors which infect the air: this has been observed in the case of those who have lived at other settlements; after the first year when the sun had been let in upon what was not before cleared up, as well in our abode as in other places, the air was much better, and the diseases not so violent as before. But the country is fine and pleasant, and brings to maturity all kinds of grains and feeds, there being found all the various kinds of trees, which we have here in our forests, and many fruits, although they are naturally wild; as, nut-trees, cherry-trees, plum-trees, vines, raspberries, strawberries, currants, both green and red, and several other small fruits, which are very good. There are also several kinds of excellent plants and roots. Fishing is abundant in the rivers; and game without limit on the numerous meadows bordering them. From the month of April to the 15th of December, the air is so pure and healthy that one does not experience the slightest indisposition. But January, February, and March are dangerous, on account of the sicknesses prevailing at this time, rather than in summer, for the reasons before given; for, as to treatment, all of my company were well clothed, provided with good beds, and well warmed and fed, that is, with the salt meats we had, which, in my opinion, injured them greatly, as I have already stated. As far as I have been able to see, the sickness attacks one who is delicate in his living and takes particular care of himself as readily as one whose condition is as wretched as possible. We supposed at first that the workmen only would be attacked with this disease; but this we found was not the case. Those sailing to the East Indies and various other regions, as Germany and England, are attacked with it as well as in New France. Some time ago, the Flemish, being attacked with this malady in their voyages to the Indies, found a very strange remedy, which might be of service to us; but we have never ascertained the character of it. Yet I am confident that, with good bread and fresh meat, a person would not be liable to it.

On the 8th of April, the snow had all melted; and yet the air was still very cold until April, [324] when the trees begin to leaf out.

Some of those sick with the scurvy were cured when Spring came, which is the season for recovery. I had a savage of the country wintering with me, who was attacked with this disease from having changed his diet to salt meat; and he died from its effects, which clearly shows that salt food is not nourishing, but quite the contrary in this disease.

On the 5th of June, a shallop arrived at our settlement with Sieur des Marais, a son-in-law of Pont Grave, bringing us the tidings that his father-in-law had arrived at Tadoussac on the 28th of May. This intelligence gave me much satisfaction, as we entertained hopes of assistance from him. Only eight out of the twenty-eight at first forming our company were remaining, and half of these were ailing.

On the 7th of June, I set out from Quebec for Tadoussac on some matters of business, and asked Sieur des Marais to stay in my place until my return, which he did.

Immediately upon my arrival, Pont Grave and I had a conference in regard to some explorations which I was to make in the interior, where the savages had promised to guide us. We determined that I should go in a Shallop with twenty men, and that Pont Grave should stay at Tadoussac to arrange the affairs of our settlement; and this determination was carried out, he spending the winter there. This arrangement was especially desirable, since I was to return to France, according to the orders sent out by Sieur de Monts, in order to inform him of what I had done and the explorations I had made in the country.

After this decision, I, set out at once from Tadoussac, and returned to Quebec, where I had a shallop fitted out with all that was necessary for making explorations in the country of the Iroquois, where I was to go with our allies, the Montagnais.


323. His name was Bonnerme.—Vide antea, p. 180.

324. Read May instead of April.



With this purpose, I set out on the 18th of the month. Here the river begins to widen, in some places to the breadth of a league or a league and a half. The country becomes more and more beautiful. There are hills along the river in part, and in part it is a level country, with but few rocks. The river itself is dangerous in many places, in consequence of its banks and rocks; and it is not safe sailing without keeping the lead in hand. The river is very abundant in many kinds of fish, not only such as we have here, but others which we have not. The country is thickly covered with massive and lofty forests, of the same kind of trees as we have about our habitation. There are also many vines and nut-trees on the bank of the river, and many small brooks and streams which are only navigable with canoes. We passed near Point St. Croix, which many maintain, as I have said elsewhere, is the place where Jacques Cartier spent the winter. This point is sandy, extending some distance out into the river, and exposed to the north-west wind, which beats upon it. There are some meadows, covered however every full tide, which falls nearly two fathoms and a half. This passage is very dangerous on account of the large number of rocks stretching across the river, although there is a good but very winding channel, where the river runs like a race, rendering it necessary to take the proper time for passing. This place has deceived many, who thought they could only pass at high tide from there being no channel: but we have now found the contrary to be true, for one can go down at low tide; but it would be difficult to ascend, in consequence of the strong current, unless there were a good wind. It is consequently necessary to wait until the tide is a third flood, in order to pass, when the current in the channel is six, eight, ten, twelve, and fifteen fathoms deep.

Continuing our course, we reached a very pleasant river, nine leagues distant from St. Croix and twenty-four from Quebec. This we named St. Mary's River. [325] The river all the way from St. Croix is very pleasant.

Pursuing our route, I met some two or three hundred savages, who were encamped in huts near a little island called St. Eloi, [326] a league and a half distant from St. Mary. We made a reconnoissance, and found that they were tribes of savages, called Ochateguins and Algonquins, [327] on their way to Quebec, to assist us in exploring the territory of the Iroquois, with whom they are in deadly hostility, sparing nothing belonging to their enemies.

After reconnoitring, I went on shore to see them, and inquired who their chief was. They told me there were two, one named Yroquet, and the other Ochasteguin, whom they pointed out to me. I went to their cabin, where they gave me a cordial reception, as is their custom.

I proceeded to inform them of the object of my voyage, with which they were greatly pleased. After some talk, I withdrew. Some time after, they came to my shallop, and presented me with some peltry, exhibiting many tokens of pleasure. Then they returned to the shore.

The next day, the two chiefs came to see me, when they remained some time without saying a word, meditating and smoking all the while. After due reflection, they began to harangue in a loud voice all their companions who were on the bank of the river, with their arms in their hands, and listening very attentively to what their chiefs said to them, which was as follows: that nearly ten moons ago, according to their mode of reckoning, the son of Yroquet had seen me, and that I had given him a good reception, and declared that Pont Grave and I desired to assist them against their enemies, with whom they had for a long time been at warfare, on account of many cruel acts committed by them against their tribe, under color of friendship; that, having ever since longed for vengeance, they had solicited all the savages, whom I saw on the bank of the river, to come and make an alliance with us, and that their never having seen Christians also impelled them to come and visit us; that I should do with them and their companions as I wished; that they had no children with them, but men versed in war and full of courage, acquainted with the country and rivers in the land of the Iroquois; that now they entreated me to return to our settlement, that they might see our houses, and that, after three days, we should all together come back to engage in the war; that, as a token of firm friendship and joy, I should have muskets and arquebuses fired, at which they would be greatly pleased. This I did, when they uttered great cries of astonishment, especially those who had never heard nor seen the like.

After hearing them, I replied that, if they desired, I should be very glad to return to our settlement, to gratify them still more; and that they might conclude that I had no other purpose than to engage in the war, since we carried with us nothing but arms, and not merchandise for barter, as they had been given to understand; and that my only desire was to fulfill what I had promised them; and that, if I had known of any who had made evil reports to them, I should regard them as enemies more than they did themselves. They told me that they believed nothing of them, and that they never had heard any one speak thus. But the contrary was the case; for there were some savages who told it to ours. I contented myself with waiting for an opportunity to show them in fact something more than they could have expected from me.


325. This river is now called the Sainte Anne.

326. A small island near Batiscan, not on the charts.

327. Hurons and Algonquins.



The next day, we set out all together for our settlement, where they enjoyed themselves some five or six days, which were spent in dances and festivities, on account of their eagerness for us to engage in the war.

Pont Grave came forthwith from Tadoussac with two little barques full of men, in compliance with a letter, in which I I begged him to come as speedily as possible.

The savages seeing him arrive rejoiced more than ever, inasmuch as I told them that he had given some of his men to assist them, and that perhaps we should go together.

On the 28th of the month, [328] we equipped some barques for assisting these savages. Pont Grave embarked on one and I on the other, when we all set out together. The first of June, [329] we arrived at St. Croix, distant fifteen leagues from Quebec, where Pont Grave and I concluded that, for certain reasons, I should go with the savages, and he to our settlement and to Tadoussac. This resolution being taken, I embarked in my shallop all that was necessary, together with Des Marais and La Routte, our pilot, and nine men.

I set out from St. Croix on the 3d of June [330] with all the savages. We passed the Trois Rivieres, a very beautiful country, covered with a growth of fine trees. From this place to St. Croix is a distance of fifteen leagues. At the mouth of the above-named river [331] there are six islands, three of which are very small, the others some fifteen to sixteen hundred paces long, very pleasant in appearance. Near Lake St. Peter, [332] some two leagues up the river, there is a little fall not very difficult to pass. This place is in latitude 46 deg., lacking some minutes. The savages of the country gave us to understand that some days' journey up this river there is a lake, through which the river flows. The length of the lake is ten days' journey, when some falls are passed, and afterwards three or four other lakes of five or six days' journey in length. Having reached the end of these, they go four or five leagues by land, and enter still another lake, where the Sacque has its principal source. From this lake, the savages go to Tadoussac. [333] The Trois Rivieres extends forty days' journey of the savages. They say that at the end of this river there is a people, who are great hunters, without a fixed abode, and who are less than six days' journey from the North Sea. What little of the country I have seen is sandy, very high, with hills, covered with large quantities of pine and fir on the river border; but some quarter of a league inland the woods are very fine and open, and the country level. Thence we continued our course to the entrance of Lake St. Peter, where the country is exceedingly pleasant and level, and crossed the lake, in two, three, and four fathoms of water, which is some eight leagues long and four wide. On the north side, we saw a very pleasant river, extending some twenty leagues into the interior, which I named St. Suzanne; on the south side, there are two, one called Riviere du Pont, the other, Riviere de Gennes, [334] which are very pretty, and in a fine and fertile country. The water is almost still in the lake, which is full of fish. On the north bank, there are seen some slight elevations at a distance of some twelve or fifteen leagues from the lake. After crossing the lake, we passed a large number of islands of various sizes, containing many nut-trees and vines, and fine meadows, with quantities of game and wild animals, which go over from the main land to these islands. Fish are here more abundant than in any other part of the river that we had seen. From these islands, we went to the mouth of the River of the Iroquois, where we stayed two days, refreshing ourselves with good venison, birds, and fish, which the savages gave us. Here there sprang up among them some difference of opinion on the subject of the war, so that a portion only determined to go with me, while the others returned to their country with their wives and the merchandise which they had obtained by barter.

Setting out from the mouth of this river, which is some four hundred to five hundred paces broad, and very beautiful, running southward, [335] we arrived at a place in latitude 45 deg., and twenty-two or twenty-three leagues from the Trois Rivieres. All this river from its mouth to the first fall, a distance of fifteen leagues, is very smooth, and bordered with woods, like all the other places before named, and of the same forts. There are nine or ten fine islands before reaching the fall of the Iroquois, which are a league or a league and a half long, and covered with numerous oaks and nut-trees. The river is nearly half a league wide in places, and very abundant in fish. We found in no place less than four feet of water. The approach to the fall is a kind of lake, [336] where the water descends, and which is some three leagues in circuit. There are here some meadows, but not inhabited by savages on account of the wars. There is very little water at the fall, which runs with great rapidity. There are also many rocks and stones, so that the savages cannot go up by water, although they go down very easily. All this region is very level, covered with forests, vines, and nut-trees. No Christians had been in this place before us; and we had considerable difficulty in ascending the river with oars.

As soon as we had reached the fall, Des Marais, La Routte, and I, with five men, went on shore to see whether we could pass this place; but we went some league and a half without seeing any prospect of being able to do so, finding only water running with great swiftness, and in all directions many stones, very dangerous, and with but little water about them. The fall is perhaps six hundred paces broad. Finding that it was impossible to cut a way through the woods with the small number of men that I had, I determined, after consultation with the rest, to change my original resolution, formed on the assurance of the savages that the roads were easy, but which we did not find to be the case, as I have stated. We accordingly returned to our shallop, where I had left some men as guards, and to indicate to the savages upon their arrival that we had gone to make explorations along the fall.

After making what observations I wished in this place, we met, on returning, some savages, who had come to reconnoitre, as we had done. They told us that all their companions had arrived at our shallop, where we found them greatly pleased, and delighted that we had gone in this manner without a guide, aided only by the reports they had several times made to us.

Having returned, and seeing the slight prospect there was of passing the fall with our shallop, I was much troubled. And it gave me especial dissatisfaction to go back without seeing a very large lake, filled with handsome islands, and with large tracts of fine land bordering on the lake, where their enemies live according to their representations. After duly thinking over the matter, I determined to go and fulfil my promise, and carry out my desire. Accordingly, I embarked with the savages in their canoes, taking with me two men, who went cheerfully. After making known my plan to Des Marais and others in the shallop, I requested the former to return to our settlement with the rest of our company, giving them the assurance that, in a short time, by God's' grace, I would return to them.

I proceeded forthwith to have a conference with the captains of the savages, and gave them to understand that they had told me the opposite of what my observations found to be the case at the fall; namely, that it was impossible to pass it with the shallop, but that this would not prevent me from assisting them as I had promised. This communication troubled them greatly; and they desired to change their determination, but I urged them not to do so, telling them that they ought to carry out their first plan, and that I, with two others, would go to the war with them in their canoes, in order to show them that, as for me, I would not break my word given to them, although alone; but that I was unwilling then to oblige any one of my companions to embark, and would only take with me those who had the inclination to go, of whom I had found two.

They were greatly pleased at what I said to them, and at the determination which I had taken, promising, as before, to show me fine things.


328. The reader will observe that this must have been the 28th of June, 1609.

329. Read 1st of July.

330. Read 3d of July.

331. The river is now called St. Maurice; and the town at its mouth, Three Rivers. Two islands at the mouth of the river divide it into three; hence, it was originally called Trois Rivieres, or Three Rivers.

332. Laverdiere suggests that Champlain entered this lake, now for the first time called St. Peter, in 1603, on St. Peter's day, the 29th June, and probably so named it from that circumstance.

333. From the carrying-place they enter the Lake St. John, and from it descend by the Saguenay to Tadoussac. In the preceding passage, Sacque was plainly intended for Saguenay.

334. Of the three rivers flowing into Lake St. Peter, none retains the name given to them by Champlain. His St. Suzanne is the river du Loup; his Riviere du Pont is the river St. Francois; and his De Gennes is now represented by the Yamaska. Compare Champlain's map of 1612 with Laurie's Chart of the river St. Lawrence.

335. This is an error: the River of the Iroquois, now commonly known as the Richelieu, runs towards the north.

336. The Chambly Basin. On Charlevoix's Carte de la Riviere Richelieu, it is called Bassin de St. Louis.



I set out accordingly from the fall of the Iroquois River [337] on the 2d of July. [338] All the savages set to carrying their canoes, arms, and baggage overland, some half a league, in order to pass by the violence and strength of the fall, which was speedily accomplished. Then they put them all in the water again, two men in each with the baggage; and they caused one of the men of each canoe to go by land some three leagues, [339] the extent of the fall, which is not, however, so violent here as at the mouth, except in some places, where rocks obstruct the river, which is not broader than three hundred or four hundred paces. After we had passed the fall, which was attended with difficulty, all the savages, who had gone by land over a good path and level country, although there are a great many trees, re-embarked in their canoes. My men went also by land; but I went in a canoe. The savages made a review of all their followers, finding that there were twenty-four canoes, with sixty men. After the review was completed, we continued our course to an island, [340] three leagues long, filled with the finest pines I had ever seen. Here they went hunting, and captured some wild animals. Proceeding about three leagues farther on, we made a halt, in order to rest the coming night.

They all at once set to work, some to cut wood, and others to obtain the bark of trees for covering their cabins, for the sake of sheltering themselves, others to fell large trees for; constructing a barricade on the river-bank around their cabins, which they do so quickly that in less than two hours so much is accomplished that five hundred of their enemies would find it very difficult to dislodge them without killing large numbers. They make no barricade on the river-bank, where their canoes are drawn up, in order that they may be able to embark, if occasion requires. After they were established in their cabins, they despatched three canoes, with nine good men, according to their custom in all their encampments, to reconnoitre for a distance of two or three leagues, to see if they can perceive any thing, after which they return. They rest the entire night, depending upon the observation of these scouts, which is a very bad custom among them; for they are sometimes while sleeping surprised by their enemies, who slaughter them before they have time to get up and prepare for defence. Noticing this, I remonstrated with them on the mistake they made, and told them that they ought to keep watch, as they had seen us do every night, and have men on the lookout, in order to listen and see whether they perceived any thing, and that they should not live in such a manner like beasts. They replied that they could not keep watch, and that they worked enough in the day-time in the chase, since, when engaged in war, they divide their troops into three parts: namely, a part for hunting scattered in several places; another to constitute the main body of their army, which is always under arms; and the third to act as avant-coureurs, to look out along the rivers, and observe whether they can see any mark or signal showing where their enemies or friends have passed. This they ascertain by certain marks which the chiefs of different tribes make known to each other; but, these not continuing always the same, they inform themselves from time to time of changes, by which means they ascertain whether they are enemies or friends who have passed. The hunters never hunt in advance of the main body, or avant-coureurs, so as not to excite alarm or produce disorder, but in the rear and in the direction from which they do not anticipate their enemy. Thus they advance until they are within two or three days' march of their enemies, when they proceed by night stealthily and all in a body, except the van-couriers. By day, they withdraw into the interior of the woods, where they rest, without straying off, neither making any noise nor any fire, even for the sake of cooking, so as not to be noticed in case their enemies should by accident pass by. They make no fire, except in smoking, which amounts to almost nothing. They eat baked Indian meal, which they soak in water, when it becomes a kind of porridge. They provide themselves with such meal to meet their wants, when they are near their enemies, or when retreating after a charge, in which case they are not inclined to hunt, retreating immediately.

In all their encampments, they have their Pilotois, or Ostemoy, [341] a class of persons who play the part of soothsayers, in whom these people have faith. One of these builds a cabin, surrounds it with small pieces of wood, and covers it with his robe: after it is built, he places himself inside, so as not to be seen at all, when he seizes and shakes one of the posts of his cabin, muttering some words between his teeth, by which he says he invokes the devil, who appears to him in the form of a stone, and tells him whether they will meet their enemies and kill many of them. This Pilotois lies prostrate on the ground, motionless, only speaking with the devil: on a sudden, he rises to his feet, talking, and tormenting himself in such a manner that, although naked, he is all of a perspiration. All the people surround the cabin, seated on their buttocks, like apes. They frequently told me that the shaking of the cabin, which I saw, proceeded from the devil, who made it move, and not the man inside, although I could see the contrary; for, as I have stated above, it was the Pilotois who took one of the supports of the cabin, and made it move in this manner. They told me also that I should see fire come out from the top, which I did not see at all. These rogues counterfeit also their voice, so that it is heavy and clear, and speak in a language unknown to the other savages. And, when they represent it as broken, the savages think that the devil is speaking, and telling them what is to happen in their war, and what they must do.

But all these scapegraces, who play the soothsayer, out of a hundred words, do not speak two that are true, and impose upon these poor people. There are enough like them in the world, who take food from the mouths of the people by their impostures, as these worthies do. I often remonstrated with the people, telling them that all they did was sheer nonsense, and that they ought not to put confidence in them.

Now, after ascertaining from their soothsayers what is to be their fortune, the chiefs take sticks a foot long, and as many as there are soldiers. They take others, somewhat larger, to indicate the chiefs. Then they go into the wood, and seek out a level place, five or fix feet square, where the chief, as sergeant-major, puts all the sticks in such order as seems to him best. Then he calls all his companions, who come all armed; and he indicates to them the rank and order they are to observe in battle with their enemies. All the savages watch carefully this proceeding, observing attentively the outline which their chief has made with the sticks. Then they go away, and set to placing themselves in such order as the sticks were in, when they mingle with each other, and return again to their proper order, which manoeuvre they repeat two or three times, and at all their encampments, without needing a sergeant to keep them in the proper order, which they are able to keep accurately without any confusion. This is their rule in war.

We set out on the next day, continuing our course in the river as far as the entrance of the lake. There are many pretty islands here, low, and containing very fine woods and meadows, with abundance of fowl and such animals of the chase as stags, fallow-deer, fawns, roe-bucks, bears, and others, which go from the main land to these islands. We captured a large number of these animals. There are also many beavers, not only in this river, but also in numerous other little ones that flow into it. These regions, although they are pleasant, are not inhabited by any savages, on account of their wars; but they withdraw as far as possible from the rivers into the interior, in order not to be suddenly surprised.

The next day we entered the lake, [342] which is of great extent, say eighty or a hundred leagues long, where I saw four fine islands, ten, twelve, and fifteen leagues long, which were formerly inhabited by the savages, like the River of the Iroquois; but they have been abandoned since the wars of the savages with one another prevail. There are also many rivers falling into the lake, bordered by many fine trees of the same kinds as those we have in France, with many vines finer than any I have seen in any other place; also many chestnut-trees on the border of this lake, which I had not seen before. There is also a great abundance of fish, of many varieties: among others, one called by the savages of the country Chaousarou [343] which varies in length, the largest being, as the people told me, eight or ten feet long. I saw some five feet long, which were as large as my thigh; the head being as big as my two fists, with a snout two feet and a half long, and a double row of very sharp and dangerous teeth. Its body is, in shape, much like that of a pike; but it is armed with scales so strong that a poniard could not pierce them. Its color is silver-gray. The extremity of its snout is like that of a swine. This fish makes war upon all others in the lakes and rivers. It also possesses remarkable dexterity, as these people informed me, which is exhibited in the following manner. When it wants to capture birds, it swims in among the rushes, or reeds, which are found on the banks of the lake in several places, where it puts its snout out of water and keeps perfectly still: so that, when the birds come and light on its snout, supposing it to be only the stump of a tree, it adroitly closes it, which it had kept ajar, and pulls the birds by the feet down under water. The savages gave me the head of one of them, of which they make great account, saying that, when they have the headache, they bleed themselves with the teeth of this fish on the spot where they suffer pain, when it suddenly passes away.

Continuing our course over this lake on the western side, I noticed, while observing the country, some very high mountains on the eastern side, on the top of which there was snow. [344] I made inquiry of the savages whether these localities were inhabited, when they told me that the Iroquois dwelt there, and that there were beautiful valleys in these places, with plains productive in grain, such as I had eaten in this country, together with many kinds of fruit without limit. [345] They said also that the lake extended near mountains, some twenty-five leagues distant from us, as I judge. I saw, on the south, other mountains, no less high than the first, but without any snow. [346] The savages told me that these mountains were thickly settled, and that it was there we were to find their enemies; but that it was necessary to pass a fall in order to go there (which I afterwards saw), when we should enter another lake, nine or ten leagues long. After reaching the end of the lake, we should have to go, they said, two leagues by land, and pass through a river flowing into the sea on the Norumbegue coast, near that of Florida, [347] whither it took them only two days to go by canoe, as I have since ascertained from some prisoners we captured, who gave me minute information in regard to all they had personal knowledge of, through some Algonquin interpreters, who understood the Iroquois language.

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