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Samuel de Champlain

Henry Dwight Sedgwick, Jr.

I

YOUTH, AND VOYAGE TO MEXICO

The story of Champlain's life is the story of the foundation of French empire in America. Champlain himself had all the qualities of a successful colonist, but, as the events of his life show, there was some fatal weakness in France which did not suffer her to found enduring colonies. In order fully to comprehend the causes of her ultimate failure, we should have to study the history of France in the sixteenth century, with its civil and religious wars; and as that, in its turn, is explained by the great struggle between Latin and Teutonic civilizations, of which the chief expression was the Reformation, we should wander far afield. As Bacon says, it were infinite to seek the cause of causes, and so throughout the story we must remember that the failure of the colony at Port Royal, and the weakness of the little settlements along the St. Lawrence, were not due to the men on the spot, but to remote causes across the Atlantic.

Champlain was born in the year 1567, a most interesting time. The flood of life, swelling upon the discovery of a new world, upon the knowledge of astronomy, navigation, and geography, upon printing and bills of exchange, swept over western Europe onward and upward. In England Elizabeth was finishing the first ten years of her reign, Francis Drake was captain of his first ship, Raleigh, Sidney, and Spenser were lads, Bacon, Marlowe, and Shakespeare little boys. To the south of the Pyrenees Philip II. was reigning and ruining, Cervantes had begun to write sonnets, Lope de Vega was five years old. In the Netherlands William the Silent was marshaling Dutch obstinacy in support of liberty. In Italy Giordano Bruno was a young Dominican friar, and Galileo could toddle out of his father's house to watch the evening stars.

In one way and another the desire for more life, the need of expression, the craving for things new, the emphasis of self, stirred imaginative men, driving some across the Atlantic, some to the study of human life, others to contemplation of the physical world. But a greater passion than delight in life or joy in knowledge was at work. The old Latin practices were in grapple with new Teutonic ideas, and the attempt at religious reformation was shaking Europe. In Spain and Italy the Papacy and absolutism had held their own triumphantly, in England Protestantism and personal liberty had won, and the main battle was raging midway between, in the pleasant land of France. In most Frenchmen of serious disposition the new birth from mediæval times had asserted itself in religious forms; but by this time massacre and outrage had made Christianity a mere name, and consequently a certain skeptical, compromising spirit, embodied in Montaigne and Henry IV., was abroad. The minds of serious men, who, a generation earlier, would have been absorbed in religious matters, had begun to turn to things more within the reach of human senses.

In this noteworthy time, 1567, Samuel Champlain was born in the little town of Brouage, province of Saintonge, on the Bay of Biscay, some twenty miles south of La Rochelle. Little is known of his family or early life. His father, probably the son of a fisherman, was a captain in the navy, and one of his uncles followed the sea and became a distinguished pilot. It is certain that Champlain was familiar with boats from boyhood, and that the sea laid strong hold upon his boyish imagination. In the dedication of one of his books he says: "Among the most useful and excellent arts navigation has always seemed to me to take the first place. In the measure that it is dangerous and accompanied by wrecks and a thousand perils, by so much is it honorable and lifted above all other arts, being in no wise suitable for those who lack courage and confidence. By this art we acquire knowledge of various lands, countries, and kingdoms. By it we bring home all sorts of riches, by it the idolatry of Paganism is overthrown and Christianity published in all parts of the earth. It is this art that from my childhood has lured me to love it, and has pricked me to expose myself almost all my life to the rude waves of the ocean."

In youth Champlain became an excellent seaman, but he was unable to gratify his master passion uninterruptedly. Civil and religious wars were desolating France, and Champlain toward their close enlisted in the king's army. Henry IV. had succeeded of right to the throne in 1589, but the Catholic League proclaimed the Cardinal of Bourbon as Charles X., and there were "crowns to be broke" and masses to be said before the rightful title was acknowledged.

Brouage was a military post of importance, coveted by both sides. It was captured, restored, recaptured, and frequently attacked from 1570 to 1589, so that all its inhabitants must have been familiar with war and trained to arms, more especially a lad of spirit like Champlain. There were periods of peace, however, and Champlain must have received some gentler schooling, for although he was a good soldier, an eager sailor, and a fanatical explorer, he was always just, tolerant, and gentle, especially with Indians; and his whole attitude toward life was so much that of a stoic and philosopher that we feel that he must have been subject to those intellectual and moral influences of which Montaigne is the great exponent. It may be that in one of these intervals of peace, at the age of seventeen or eighteen, he and some friends, their minds and mouths full of America, sailed a pinnace up the Gironde and the Garonne as far as Bordeaux, to see the city and hear with impressionable memories its wise and witty mayor deliver some characteristic speech similar to this passage from his "Essay on Savages." "I once saw among us some men fetched oversea from far-off lands. Because we could not understand their language, and because their manners and their clothes were so different from ours, did we not deem them savages and brutes? Who did not judge them stupid and brainless when we perceived them dumb, ignorant of the French language, ignorant of our hand kissings, of our sinuous obeisances, of our deportment and carriage,--after which, methinks, Nature should take pattern?"

Although Champlain had fought in the king's army against the Catholic League, and though Brouage, his birthplace, was a Huguenot town lying in Huguenot country, nevertheless he was a staunch Roman Catholic. Like other moderate men, he deemed the Leaguers mere rebels, and believed that they used religion as a cloak to cover political ambitions. He loved his religion, but he loved his country better; he fought to save her from dismemberment and from Spanish dominion, and no doubt his sympathy went out to the gallant, dashing Navarre struggling for his own against many enemies. He was indifferent enough toward theology to be able to agree with what Montaigne says of the treatment of religion during the civil wars: "One side pulls it to right, the other side pulls it to left, these say it is black, those affirm it is white, nevertheless both make use of it for their rude and ambitious enterprises in exactly the same way; and in ill behavior and injustice keep step so evenly, that they make it hard for us to believe in that diversity of opinion which they profess." The justice of this skepticism affected Champlain profoundly. In fact, all his life, at least till close to its end, Champlain seems not to have cared at all for purely theological matters.

History first mentions Champlain as quartermaster in the royal army serving in Brittany. Possibly he was there when the rebels with their Spanish allies captured the town of Blavet (Port Louis), and women flung themselves into the sea to escape the Spanish soldiers; but we know nothing certain until 1598, when peace was made and Champlain's uncle went to that port to act as pilot of the fleet which was to carry the Spanish garrison home. Champlain went with him in search of employment.

At Blavet Champlain's own narrative begins. At that port he embarked with his uncle, commissioned as pilot-general by the king of Spain, on board the St. Julien, a large ship of five hundred tons, and sailed to Cadiz, where the Spanish soldiers were landed. He spent several months at Cadiz, San Lucar de Barrameda, and Seville, drawing rude pictures of cities and harbors, as was his wont, and there found the opportunity, which he had coveted, of going to the West Indies.

Philip II., acting on the economic principles of the day, allowed no foreigners to trade with his western possessions or even to visit them; but every year a Spanish fleet sailed thither, and this year the admiral, looking about for ships, chartered the St. Julien for the voyage, and on the pilot-general's recommendation accepted Champlain as her captain. The voyage was uneventful. At Porto Rico the Spaniards found a scene of desolation, for the English had surprised the garrison, and, having sacked and pillaged, had set fire to the town. At San Domingo they captured two French vessels surreptitiously trading, and chased away a dozen others, which they might have captured had Spanish courage been equal to "their rodomontades." These islands Champlain describes as very pleasant "except for a great quantity of little flies, like midges or gnats, which bite in such a strange way that, if one is bitten on the face, red pimples swell up round the bite, and disfigure the whole countenance."

The fleet cruised on past Cuba to the mainland near Vera Cruz, where Champlain received leave of absence, and he at once set forth on horseback through the province of New Spain to the city of Mexico. His "Narrative" describes delicious fruits, beautiful rivers, birds of gay plumage, great prairies swarming with horses and cattle, splendid trees,--palms, cedars, orange, ebony, "and an infinity of other sorts." Nevertheless "all the contentment which I got from the sight of these agreeable things was but little compared with that which I had when I saw the lovely city of Mexico; I had not believed that it was so proudly built, with temples, palaces, and beautiful houses, nor its streets so well made, lined with beautiful great shops, filled with all kinds of rich merchandise."

He paid close attention to everything that he saw, making careful notes and childish drawings, for he intended to render a full report of these Spanish dominions to the king of France. He describes cocoa, and the method by which it is prepared as a beverage, cochineal, bananas, maize, melons, cucumbers, artichokes, lettuce, also various animals, alligators, lizards, rattlesnakes, jaguars, civets, llamas, wild boars, deer, besides "dragons of strange appearance, with head resembling that of an eagle, wings like a bat, body like a lizard, with two legs and a scaly tail."

With visions of French colonies in his mind, he watched carefully the methods of the Spaniards, in particular their behavior to the Indians; for he understood that the success of a colony would in great measure depend on the friendly attitude of the natives, and that the first step towards friendship with them was to understand their religion. His report contains an account of Spanish treatment of the Indians in matters of worship, which is interesting as a contrast to the course subsequently followed by the French. The Mexican Indians outside Spanish territory, "poor people devoid of reason," were moon-worshipers. Within Spanish dominion nothing of the sort was tolerated. Immediately after the conquest, the Inquisition had been established, the natives had been treated as slaves, and many of them had been cruelly put to death. The consequence was that those natives who could fled to the woods and revenged themselves on straggling Spaniards. The conquerors were compelled to promise personal liberty, and withdraw the harsh laws of the Inquisition, substituting in their stead "a gentle rule of life,...for if they had wished to continue to punish according to the rigor of the Inquisition, they would have burned all the natives." According to this gentle rule a priest lived in each village, who on Sunday morning at mass kept tally of all the inhabitants present. Those who failed to appear were ferreted out, and if their excuses did not appear true or reasonable, they were well cudgeled in sight of the congregation. As this report was to be submitted to Henry IV. and his council, it is plain that Champlain had complete confidence in finding among them no sympathy with such proselyting methods--a confidence that was entirely justified.

From the city of Mexico Champlain went back to Vera Cruz, and thence to Panama, where he noticed the advantages to trade that would result from cutting a canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific, thereby shortening the journey round the Horn by fifteen hundred leagues. On the return voyage the fleet stopped at Havana for several months, where as usual Champlain was eager to satisfy his curiosity about men and merchandise, plants and animals. He was interested by the Indian habit of "gathering tobacco, which is dried and then twisted into little rolls; sailors, even the English, and other people use them and suck in smoke from them in imitation of the Indians." From Cuba the Spaniards sailed back by way of Bermuda and the Azores to Cape St. Vincent, where they captured two English merchantmen, and then to San Lucar de Barrameda, which they reached in March, 1601, after an absence of two years and two months.

Champlain remained in Spain for a time, and probably did not return to France till the beginning of 1602. Then he went to Paris and made a report of his travels to the king; in return he was named a royal geographer and received a small pension. His report, which is entitled the "Brief narrative of the most remarkable things which Samuel Champlain of Brouage met in the West Indies on the voyage which he made there in the years 1599 and 1601," remained in manuscript till 1859, when an English translation was published. In 1870 the Abbé Laverdière of the Laval University in Quebec published the original. The report is a very simple, straightforward story, and reveals much of Champlain's character. Here is a man of thirty three or four, confident in himself, but with no touch of self-conceit, eager to serve his king and his country, bearing himself so wisely and modestly that Spanish jealousy and suspicion are not aroused, taking the dangers of the sea carelessly, a sturdy mariner, curious for knowledge; and yet the narrative reveals but a small part of the man; we have still to discover his steadfast courage, his patience, his resourcefulness, and his kind heart. Champlain, too, had a love of romance that carried him into many dangers, but never overcame his prudence, and a religion that kept him unavaricious among greedy traders, forgiving to those who wronged him, chaste even among Indian women,--a religion free from bigotry, that made him always desire that the people of the new world should be discreetly persuaded to Christianity but never forced into it. He is particularly interesting to Americans because he is a Frenchman with those qualities which a wayward English tradition denies to the French,--patience, sobriety, calm self-control, and a complete absence of vanity. His was the very character for the founder of a colony.

II

FIRST VOYAGE TO NORTH AMERICA

During his stay in Paris Champlain heard talk of a proposed French colony to be settled in that part of North America known as New France, but very little known except by name. The plan interested him immensely. It was the very affair for him. Here was an opportunity to put his knowledge and capacities to use in the service of his country, of the Christian religion, and in the pursuit of romantic and scientific adventure. Here was the chance to found a colony which by devotion to agriculture and commerce should be the beginning of a dominion which in the north would rival the Spanish empire in the south.

By the year 1602 the motives for western voyages had begun to change. During the previous century the mainspring of action for sailing westward had been the hope of finding some western route to the riches of China, Japan, and India. European trade with Asia in earlier times had been principally in the hands of Venice and Genoa, whose sailors carried cargoes to the end of the Mediterranean and sent them on by overland route eastward, and returned with bales and bundles brought by caravans. In the middle of the fifteenth century the Turks swept over Asia Minor, conquered the remains of the Roman Empire at Constantinople, and, spreading to Egypt, stopped all Christian trade. Europe was then forced to find another route. The Portuguese discovered a way round the Cape of Good Hope, but all geographers and sailors expected to discover a westward route. Magellan's voyage round the southern end of South America in 1520 took away the hope of a short southern route, and thereafter explorers directed their efforts to the discovery of a northwest passage. As knowledge of the American coast slowly increased, the limits within which a possible passage might exist decreased, until the St. Lawrence River and the icy seas opening from Baffin's Bay remained the most likely places. But at the time of Champlain's first expedition to North America, the northwest search had ceased to be the matter of chief importance. The period of vague exploration and chance discovery had ended, and the international strife between the maritime nations of western Europe for colonial empire had begun. Spain had a long lead, in her great possessions round about the Gulf of Mexico, but England and France were determined to follow and overtake her if possible.

A full hundred years before, the Spaniards in Haiti had already discovered gold mines, and from that time on the story of Spanish dominion in America is the story of searches for gold. One expedition went to Cuba, another to Florida. Cortez conquered Mexico; another adventurer attempted to plant a colony in Virginia, but without success; a third skirted the Atlantic coast from Labrador to Florida. By 1535 Pizarro had conquered Peru; then came inland expeditions through Florida and westward to the Mississippi; but as no gold was found, there was no motive for Spanish colonization there. Thus by the middle of the sixteenth century Spanish America was many times as large as Spain.

Meanwhile the Tudors, from Henry VII. to Elizabeth, had been developing the naval power of England, and had been encouraging sailors and merchant adventurers to try their fortunes on the seas. First the Cabots explored their way along the Atlantic coast. Then Hawkins developed the slave trade between Africa and America. Frobisher and Davis made exploring voyages between the coasts of Labrador and Greenland as far as the Arctic Ocean. Drake played the buccaneer on the Spanish Main. Raleigh was the first to propose colonization. In 1584 two ships fitted out by him touched at Roanoke Island, off Virginia, and the next year a little colony also sent by him landed there, but after a few months of hardship returned to England. Two years later another colony of his made a similar attempt, but it was destroyed by the Indians. In 1588, by the destruction of the Spanish Armada, the lordship of the Atlantic Ocean passed to England, and the way was cleared for Protestant colonists.

Although the Spanish and the English were the first of modern mariners to reach South and North America, French sailors and fishermen were close upon their rudders. There are claims that a ship from Dieppe touched at Brazil in 1488, and it is certain that in the beginning of the sixteenth century Norman and Breton fishing smacks were fishing for cod off the Banks of Newfoundland, as they have continued to do from that time till to-day. These fishermen sailed due west; and familiarity with this route no doubt determined the course of French colonists to Canada, for Normandy and Brittany are on the same parallel as Newfoundland and the mouth of the St. Lawrence. Before the middle of the century Jacques Cartier, a Breton from St. Malo, had made several voyages up the St. Lawrence, and had spent two winters in Canada, one on the site of Quebec. As a consequence of his discoveries, Sieur de Roberval, under royal authority and with the title of lieutenant-general of Canada, attempted to establish a colony. He took across the ocean a motley company of nobles, soldiers, artisans, laborers, and convicts; but disease, mutiny, and want dealt blow on blow, until the survivors were thankful to abandon their settlement and sail back to France. With Roberval went as pilot Jean Alphonse of Saintonge, an experienced navigator, who, in search for the Northwest Passage, went as far north as Davis Strait and Baffin's Bay, and on his return published his "Cosmography," a work containing many marvelous matters, which his fellow Saintongeois, Champlain, no doubt diligently studied.

In the middle of the century Coligny attempted to found a Huguenot colony in Brazil, but the Portuguese, deeming it a trespasser, destroyed it. In 1562-63 Coligny tried to make another Huguenot settlement in Florida, but the Spaniards, in time of peace and by a dastardly ruse, captured the village and massacred all the inhabitants. French traders also had sailed to New York harbor, following in the wake of Verrazano, a Florentine mariner in the service of Francis I., and up the Hudson for the purpose of trading with the Indians. They built a blockhouse and some huts near Albany, but no permanent settlement was established.

The fierce wars of religion (1562-1598) prevented further French exploration, so that at the close of the century, when Spain had a long-established empire around the Gulf of Mexico, and the English had definite plans for the colonization of Virginia, France, except for the regular voyages of the fishermen to the Banks and the irregular ventures of few traders, had little but a claim to represent her title to the great northern regions from Maine to Labrador.

As soon, however, as peace was reëstablished in France, the curiosity of cosmographers, the spirit of adventurers, and the purses of traders resumed the attempts at exploration and colonization. The Marquis de la Roche made an endeavor which ended in accidents and misery; but one failure could not daunt the Norman merchants. Chauvin, a sea captain, and Pontgravé, a merchant of Rouen (destined to become a life-long friend of Champlain), obtained from the king, Henry IV., a monopoly of the fur trade with Canada, upon the condition that they should found a colony. Little success followed, but on Chauvin's death, Aymar de Chastes, a distinguished and patriotic nobleman, sought and obtained the reversion of these privileges and monopolies. He had served the royal cause faithfully and well in Brittany, and there had made the acquaintance of Champlain, learning his character and accomplishments; so that when he found the latter had returned from Spain and was in attendance on the court, he offered him an important position in the new enterprise.

Champlain, weary of dangling about the Louvre and the Tuileries, and of sauntering through the Place Royale, hailed the offer with delight, and, rejoicing in the prospect of serving his king and his country in the manner which he loved best, accepted at once. De Chastes was unable to go, being kept by various duties, but Champlain betook himself at once to Honfleur, the seaport for Rouen, where he met Pontgravé, and the two embarked in a little ship to make a reconnoitring voyage, and report upon a site favorable for a settlement.

They set sail on March 15, 1603, and on May 2 reached the Banks; on the 20th they were passing Anticosti, and on the 24th, after an easy sail up the St. Lawrence, they cast anchor at Tadousac, by the mouth of the river Saguenay. Here Champlain made his first acquaintance with North American Indians, excepting that he had seen certain captives in France, of whom two returned on the ship with him.

Champlain relates that the day after landing, Pontgravé and he went with the two returning Indians to the wigwam of the great sagamore, Anadabijou, where there was a gathering of the tribe. One of the two Indians made a speech to the assembled company, in which he told of the hospitality bestowed upon him by the French king, and said that his brethren might rest assured that the king was most kindly disposed toward them, and wished to people their country, and either help them make peace with the Iroquois or send them soldiers to win victory. He then described the beautiful palaces of France, the people he had seen, and French manners and customs. All listened in silence. Then Anadabijou presented some tobacco to his guests, and after smoking for a time began his harangue, speaking with circumspection, and pausing at intervals. He said that they should all be very happy to have his Majesty for a good friend; to this all the Indians assented with shouts of ho, ho, ho. He continued that they were very glad to have his Majesty people their land and make war on their enemies, that there was no nation on earth to whom they were more kindly disposed than the French; and ended by dilating upon the advantages that they would receive from the king. After the harangue the company fell to the repast, which was contained in eight or ten great pots. One helped the others, who took their portions on bits of bark and ate very untidily, wiping their greasy hands on their hair or on the backs of their dogs. Then, the feasting done, while one chanted, the others danced, brandishing scalps and tomahawks, and shouted songs of victory.

Champlain's narrative makes it plain that the kindness which the French showed to the Canadian Indians had already developed into a policy of alliance in peace and war, and that therefore he was not personally responsible or blameworthy for subsequently taking part with them in a raid against the Iroquois. On the contrary, it seems clear that in uniting with the Algonquins and their allies against the Five Nations, he acted in obedience to instructions given by de Chastes or perhaps by the royal council.

The alliance has been condemned because the Iroquois subsequently proved themselves fiercer, stronger, and more capable than the Canadian Indians; but at the time it appeared to be a wise policy, and still seems so if we confine ourselves to the facts then known to the French. For the sake of trading, of colonizing, and of proselytizing, the French desired to win the friendship of the Indians. The nearest way to that end was to prove that they themselves were friendly, and by far the most cogent proof of friendship to them was enmity to their enemies. A petty number of French soldiers could easily have turned the scales of force against the Iroquois, and colonists, traders, and missionaries would then have lived among friends, delivered from the fear of arson and massacre.

Although Champlain would have preferred a treaty of peace between the Canadian Indians and the Iroquois, he believed in this policy of alliance offensive and defensive, and pursued it; and had the French government and the trading companies been willing to provide a couple of hundred soldiers, such policy might well have been completely successful.

Champlain found the Algonquins of a joyous disposition, laughing often, though melancholy at times, cruel to their enemies and great liars, but reasonable and intelligent. He inquired about their religion of the sagamore, who told him that they believed in one God who had created all things, and listened attentively to Christian dogmas which Champlain expounded, and said he was in part ready to be persuaded. However, as the early missionaries had great difficulty in finding Algonquin equivalents for such words as trinity, grace, redemption, it is doubtful how much the sagamore really understood even of simpler matters. Nevertheless he left Champlain under the impression that with proper instruction the Indians were ready to become Christians.

From Tadousac Champlain explored the river Saguenay, attempting in vain to fathom its depth. He questioned the Indians concerning its course from the lake (St. John) out of which it flowed, and still more eagerly asked about a mysterious sea (Hudson's Bay) far to the north, reported to be salt. On June 18 the Frenchmen sailed on up the St. Lawrence in pinnaces, for the channel had not been sounded and was so little known that no ships of any size dared venture beyond Tadousac. They passed Hare Island, Pointe-à-Pic, the Eboulements, Isle aux Coudres and Baie St. Paul, until on the 22d they reached the Island of Orleans, and then the Falls of Montmorency and the cliffs of Quebec. On they went past Three Rivers, till they came to the river of the Iroquois (Richelieu), which they tried to ascend but could not, being stopped by rapids.

There Champlain's curiosity was pricked by reports that the Richelieu flowed out of a large lake (Champlain), that beyond that lake there was another, near which dwelt the Iroquois, and then a great river (Hudson) flowing south, by which a canoe might reach the coast of Florida. Champlain sailed on up the St. Lawrence as far as Mont Royal (Montreal), but the city of Hochelaga, which had existed in Cartier's time, had disappeared, leaving no trace behind. There he heard vague stories of great inland seas, following one another toward the west; and concluding that the last must be the South Sea, he resolved to explore this unknown region the first opportunity he could make. Time failed him and he was obliged to return to Tadousac on July 11.

After cruising about the mouth of the St. Lawrence, Champlain set sail for France, stopping near Gaspé, where he heard stories of a horrible monster called the Gougou, with woman's shape most terrifying, so tall that the mainmast of a ship would scarcely reach its waist, and hungry to eat Indians. Champlain was at first inclined to think these stories fables, but so many Indians confirmed them that he deemed the land the residence of some evil and tormenting spirit.

The ship sailed from Gaspé on August 24, and with favoring winds arrived at Havre-de-Grâce on September 20. De Chastes had died in their absence. Champlain presented himself at court and showed the king his report of the voyage, and a map, which unfortunately is now lost. He was well received and the king promised to take the colonization of Canada under his protection. The narrative of his voyage, preceded by a dignified dedication to the very noble, high, and mighty Seigneur, Charles de Montmorency, admiral of France and Brittany, was published in Paris in the autumn by Claude de Monstr'oeil, printer to the University of Paris, whose shop was in the court of the palace.

III

SECOND VOYAGE, WINTER AT ISLE ST. CROIX

At the opening of the sixteenth century the modern world had begun. Ships plied between Spain and the West Indies, between France and the Banks of Newfoundland, between England and India. English merchants had penetrated Muscovy and had flown the flag of St. George on the Caspian Sea, the East India Company had been chartered, the Atlantic ports had begun to bestir themselves, the overland routes from Venice to Frankfort, from Frankfort to Antwerp, were falling into ruin, the paths of the sea were the roads to wealth, and the period of commerce and colonial empire had begun.

Henry IV. and his councilors, except Sully who feared a waste of money, were alive to the new conditions and the new needs. They wished to plant French colonies in North America, and were wise enough to perceive that the basis of a colony must be cultivation of the soil, and that agriculture is a quicker road to wealth than gold hunting. There was no money in the royal exchequer, and at that time it was an accepted principle that private enterprise was necessary to make a colony prosper, and that the one means which a government possessed to stimulate private enterprise was to grant a monopoly in trading privileges. With this policy the king had granted a monopoly in the trade of skins and ivory to de Chastes as well as to his predecessors, much to the detriment of the merchants of St. Malo; but he felt particularly free to do so, as that city had been disloyal during his struggle with the League. On de Chastes's death the Sieur de Monts of Saintonge came forward to take his place and asked the right to colonize Acadia, a very ill-defined region extending from Philadelphia to Cape Breton. Permission was granted, de Monts was made feudal lord over the new country with all but regal powers, and with a monopoly of the fur trade extending far enough north to include Newfoundland and the mouth of the St. Lawrence. De Monts agreed to establish settlements, cultivate the soil, and convert the natives to the Roman Catholic religion.

No sooner had the monopoly been granted than the merchants of Rouen, Dieppe, St. Malo, and La Rochelle cried out that they would be ruined; the Parlement of Rouen presented a remonstrance alleging that de Monts was a Huguenot, and that the liberties of trade were destroyed. De Monts, however, for a time triumphed over rivalry and envy. He hurried on his preparations, and on April 7, 1604, sailed in a ship of 150 tons from Havre-de-Grâce with Champlain, Baron de Poutrincourt (a new enthusiast), and a mixed company of priests, Huguenot ministers, impressed rogues, and honest settlers. Pontgravé was to follow in a smaller vessel with supplies for passing the winter. De Monts had made a voyage to Canada several years before, and had gone as far as Tadousac, but he did not like the country, and determined to sail farther south, seeking a milder climate.

On May 1 they sighted Sable Island, and then ran along the coast of Acadia (Nova Scotia), capturing a ship which was trading in furs contrary to the rights conferred by the monopoly, and disembarked at Port Mouton. There Champlain was sent southward in a pinnace of eight tons with eleven men, to explore the coast and find good harbors for the ships. He was gone for about three weeks, having sailed round Cape Sable into the Bay of Fundy. On his return de Monts followed the same course and sailed into Annapolis harbor, to the site of Port Royal (Annapolis). There, as lord suzerain, he granted a fief to Poutrincourt, who was so charmed with the spot that he proposed to live there. Thence they went on looking for copper mines, while Champlain busied himself taking soundings and making maps of every harbor at which they stopped.

They passed the mouth of St. John River and came to the St. Croix River, which is now the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick, and near its mouth discovered the Island of St. Croix, which they named. This island, only eight or nine hundred paces in circumference and rocky all about except for one spit of sand enriched with clay, yet full of oak, pine, and birch, seemed to de Monts a good place for a settlement. Here they disembarked and set to work, erecting fortifications, planting cannon, constructing houses, much annoyed by mosquitoes, which stung some of the men so that they could hardly see. All worked so well that before long they had built a little house for M. de Monts, a cabin for rainy days, a storehouse, a forge, a hut for the carpenters, a well, an oven for baking bread, a kitchen, one house for Messieurs d'Orville, Champlain, and Champdoré, a second for three other gentlemen, and two more for the artisans, a little cabin for the curé, and lodgings for the sailors, besides making gardens and a palisade.

After the winter quarters were erected, the ship in which they had come sailed back to France, with Poutrincourt on board beholding visions of a barony at Port Royal, and Champlain was sent with a dozen sailors and two Indians to explore the coast to the southwest. He skirted the Maine shore, and passed an island that looked like seven or eight mountains huddled together, bare on top and girded with trees of little growth. This he named Monts Deserts. Thence he sailed on past Penobscot Bay, to the mouth of the Kennebec River, where he had a very friendly interview with some Indians, to whom he gave presents of hatchets, beads, knives, and trinkets. He left them in good humor, and returned to St. Croix at the beginning of October.

In the mean time Pontgravé had sown more seed of future troubles by seizing several Basque trading vessels, and arresting their captains for violation of the king's grant, much to their surprise and indignation, for they and their fathers had been fishing and trading off Acadia for near a hundred years, and knew nothing of charters and monopolies. To the long series of complaints from Basque, Breton, and Norman they added fresh charges of ill treatment which, so they said, they had received from de Monts's officers. They cried aloud that if the king would not interfere, commerce would be ruined, customs would fall away, their wives and children would be forced to beg for food, and they either starve or become pirates. Lawsuits and lobbying began. But news of these evil days did not reach Acadia till later, and de Monts and his companions peacefully settled down for a dreary winter on the Isle St. Croix.

Champlain and some others sowed grain in their little gardens, but the sandy soil choked the seed, except that which de Monts had planted in a little patch of ground on the mainland. An early winter came upon them, snow fell on October 6, and blocks of ice floated by the island in the beginning of December. Lack of fresh vegetables and meat brought a loathsome disease, the scurvy. Great swollen sores formed in the patient's mouth, he could not eat, his teeth all but dropped out, he was spotted as with flea-bites, he coughed, his breath came short, pains racked his limbs, he could not walk, and most of the time could not stand up alone. Out of seventy-nine men, thirty-five died, twenty were near to death, and most of the others had pains and short breath. They could find no remedy, but the spring brought back health to those who were still living. Champlain himself escaped the disease, but life was hard even for the well.

There was no cellar under the storehouse, and everything froze except some Spanish wine. Cider was distributed by the pound. There was nothing else to drink, except melted snow, as it was impossible to get to the mainland for fresh water and there were no springs on the island. The mill was hard to grind, because most of the men were weak from sickness and cold; therefore bread was scarce, and there was nothing to eat but salt meat and dried vegetables, which always threatened scurvy. The discontent was great, and de Monts was about to make ready two pinnaces and try to sail to Gaspé, on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in hope of finding a fishing vessel that would take them back to France, when in the middle of June, 1605, Pontgravé arrived on a ship from St. Malo with provisions and various supplies. Another winter on that island was impossible, so de Monts decided to look at once for a more pleasant place for a settlement. With Champlain and a small company he set sail in one of the pinnaces which had been prepared for Gaspé, and coasted to the south-west, past Grand Manan, Mt. Desert, and the Kennebec River, to the islands near Portland. A little farther on, by the river Saco, they came upon the Almouchiquois (probably the Massachusetts Indians), who cultivated the soil.

The pinnace went on its way southward past Boston bay and the river Charles, past Plymouth Rock, and down Cape Cod till, on July 20, it made the harbor of Nauset, which Champlain calls Mallebarre. There a number of Indians came to the beach in friendly fashion, offering hospitality. Champlain and de Monts went with them to see their huts, fields, and manner of life, and everything went pleasantly for several days till an unfortunate breach of the peace. Up to this time the French had had most amicable relations with all the Indians they had met, interchanging presents and vows of amity. That day four or five sailors had gone ashore with large pails to fetch fresh water from a spring behind one of the sand dunes a little distance from the beach. One of the Indians, becoming covetous, watched his chance, and, snatching a pail from the hands of a sailor, darted off with it. The other sailors ran to the shore crying for help. There were at the time some Indians aboard the pinnace, who, taking fright at the cries, jumped into the water,--except one who was caught,--and swam ashore. When those on shore saw that their comrades on the ship were safe, they chased the sailor from whom they had stolen the pail, shot him down with arrows, and dispatched him with knives.

Meanwhile the French pulled to the beach in their rowboats, firing their muskets. Champlain's weapon exploded in his hands and nearly killed him. But before they could land, the savages, far too nimble to be overtaken, ran off into the woods, and did not show themselves for several hours, when some came slowly towards the shore making signs that not they were the wrong-doers but others, who had fled far away. The French, disappointed that their happy series of friendships with the indigenes had been broken, made no attempt at revenge, and recognizing that the captured Indian was in no way to blame, loosed him and let him go.

The expedition was prevented from going farther south by lack of provisions, so they turned back and sailed to St. Croix, which they reached on August 2 without special adventures. There they found a vessel from St. Malo laden with supplies for the following winter; but de Monts, resolving not to spend another winter on that dreary little island, loaded all their possessions, including the woodwork of the houses, on the pinnaces, and sailed across the Bay of Fundy to the wooded shore of Port Royal (Annapolis), near the mouth of Annapolis River, in that Acadia described by Longfellow.

    This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,

    Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,

    Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,

    Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.

    Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean

    Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

There they built houses, cabins, and fortifications, and prepared a little settlement for their second winter. By this time, however, the uproar arising from the confiscations and seizures of Basque and Breton trading vessels had resounded across the Atlantic, and de Monts found it necessary to go back to France to defend his cause before the king. Pontgravé stayed, as lieutenant in charge, and with him remained Champlain, who was eager to continue his explorations along the American coast as far as Florida.

As soon as de Monts had sailed, the little company of forty-five men went to work on their gardens. Champlain, who hated idleness, took special interest in his. He dug all round it a little ditch, which he filled with water from a spring, and he stocked the ditch with very good trout, and made a little sluiceway and water gate to guard against an overflow. In the fields near the settlement he made an arbor under some large trees, where he went to enjoy the freshness of the air; and there he dug a little reservoir in which fish caught in the sea were kept till they were needed for food. There, too, he sowed grain, which grew well, and gave him great satisfaction; but first it was necessary, as he says, to do a great deal of hard work. "We used to go there often," he adds, "to pass the time, and it seemed as if the little birds of the neighborhood were pleased thereby, for they flocked together in great numbers, and made such flutterings and chirpings that I think I never heard the like."

The winter was a hard one, and scurvy broke out again. Twelve men died. In the spring a pinnace of seventeen tons was made ready for a voyage of exploration down the New England coast, but one storm drove it ashore, and a second destroyed it altogether, and the trip had to be abandoned. Champlain was greatly vexed, for there was not time to build another pinnace and make the proposed voyage to the Florida coast before the arrival of the vessels from France which were to be sent by de Monts.

The vessels had not arrived by the middle of July, and provisions ran out; so Pontgravé, acting under de Monts' parting instructions, took the settlers on board the bark, to sail to Cape Breton or Gaspé, in order to find some fishing or trading ship that would carry them back to France. Two men volunteered to stay and take care of the settlement and guard the wheat, furniture, and odds and ends which could not be stowed on the bark; and an old chief, Membertou, a man of great reputation for sagacity and cunning, promised to be a good friend to them. Pontgravé then set sail in the bark, with Champlain and all (except the brave two) aboard, and another little boat of only seven or eight tons followed after. On the fourth day a furious wind broke the rudder fastenings and left the bark helpless to the fury of the sea. They did not know what to do. It was impossible to land, although the coast of Nova Scotia was just off their port bow, for the surf was running mountain high all along the shore, and they chose rather to drown at sea than be dashed to pieces on the rocks. Every man fell to thinking what could be done for the general safety. One sailor suggested that a quantity of rope tied to the stern and let drag in the water would help steer the ship. "We saw," says Champlain, "that, unless God helped us by other means, that device would not guarantee us from wreck." Champdoré, the pilot, took a cable, cut it, and adjusted the rudder so skillfully that it steered as well as ever, and the ship was enabled to hold her course.

IV

PORT ROYAL

In the mean time de Monts had had trials and sufferings in Paris. The Basques and Bretons were pouring lamentation and complaint into every ear that would hearken. The monopolists' settlement was said to be in a desert, in a horrid climate, the losses great, the profits small, and many men dead. All this was only too true, but the most damaging charge was behind: report said that not a single Indian had been converted to Christianity, and no wonder, for de Monts was a Protestant. Basque and Breton fur traders grieved as if they had set their hearts on the baptism of the heathen. De Monts did what he could, both to defend his monopoly and to fit out a ship with supplies for the colonists; and Poutrincourt, though he was in the midst of a lawsuit, was full of spirit and ready to return to Port Royal, and a new adventurer, Marc Lescarbot, a lawyer of small practice but great resource, was ready to go too.

With great prudence de Monts and Poutrincourt sought a priest, in order to give an orthodox color to the new expedition, and went about to various churches in Paris asking for one. They were told that it was holy week and that the priests could not leave the confessionals. At La Rochelle, whence the expedition was to sail, Poutrincourt tried again, for there were said to be many priests there with little to do; but the answer was, "that for such a voyage people needs must be pushed on by great zeal and piety, and that therefore he would do well to go to the Jesuit Fathers." Poutrincourt, however, not relishing that advice, concluded that he had no time for further search. Preparations were hurried on as fast as practicable, and after various setbacks, their ship, the Jonas, sailed on May 13, 1606, leaving de Monts behind to protect the interests of his company at court.

They had a long voyage, and did not reach Port Royal till July 26, nine days after Pontgravé and Champlain had left. At the entrance to the harbor of Port Royal they saw nobody to greet them and heard nothing. The garrison of two were at dinner, but Membertou's watchful eyes saw the sail, and he ran into the fort shouting, "What, you amuse yourselves with dinner, and don't see the great ship that's coming up, and we can't tell what kind of people are on board." One man ran to the cannon, the other to the shore with his harquebus; Membertou took one of his daughters--for he was a very old man--and paddled out in a canoe to inspect the newcomer. The fleur-de-lis was flying at her peak. The soldier in the fort fired the cannon as a salute of welcome; the ship replied; and the arrival was celebrated with jollity, especially when Pontgravé and Champlain, who had met the little boat left by Poutrincourt near Cape Sable to watch for them, also sailed up the harbor.

After a general consultation Poutrincourt, who was at the head of the settlement, decided not to attempt a change of winter quarters until another year, and immediately planted wheat, rye, and other grains about a mile from the water. Pontgravé sailed back to France, taking with him all the men who had passed the winter at Port Royal except Champlain, Champdoré, and one other. There was a report that there were some fur traders carrying on illegal trade off Cape Breton, so Pontgravé hurried off in hope to capture them.

A few days after Pontgravé's departure Poutrincourt and Champlain set forth on their expedition to reach the coast of Florida. They sailed along the shores of New Brunswick and stopped at the island of St. Croix, where they found a crop of excellent wheat, sprung from the sowing of two years before. Then they went on along the coast of Maine and Massachusetts, following the course of Champlain's former expedition, until they came to Chatham harbor, where they stopped to repair the bark and to bake bread.

It soon became apparent that the Indians had evil intentions. Poutrincourt gave strict orders to run no risks, and bade every man return to the ship that night. Everybody obeyed except the man who was baking; he stayed to finish the loaves that were in the oven, and two men stayed with him. When evening came Poutrincourt sent a dory to fetch them back, but the three refused to come, in spite of remonstrance and entreaty, and two sailors from the dory joined them, in order to eat some cake that had been made. Their comrades, returning to the bark, said nothing to Poutrincourt of the disobedience. At daybreak the Indians crept up in great numbers, surprised the sleeping Frenchmen, and poured volleys of arrows upon them. One sailor fell dead, the others stumbled toward the shore, riddled with arrows, crying for help. The man on watch shouted, "To arms!" and quick as possible some fifteen men pushed off in the dory, which stuck on a sand-bar. The men jumped into the water, wading ashore with their harquebuses over their heads. The Indians fled, and the French buried their murdered comrades, and set up a cross on the grave. Three hours later the Indians came back, threw down the cross, and dug up the bodies. The Frenchmen landed again, but the Indians escaped, and plans of punishment were postponed.

The bark attempted to continue its voyage, and succeeded in getting to Martha's Vineyard, but contrary winds drove it back; and as the season was growing late Poutrincourt decided to return to Port Royal, but before going the Frenchmen had their revenge: they lured the Indians into an ambuscade and killed several. The voyage back was uneventful.

They were received with joy by Marc Lescarbot, who had been preparing to welcome them with honor. He had decorated the fort by fastening over the great gate the royal arms of France, surrounded by laurel wreaths, and had put underneath the escutcheons of de Monts and of Poutrincourt, also encircled with laurel. Lescarbot was a most delightful person, poorly endowed with physical strength, but of wonderful spirit; eagerly interested in everything,--roaming, digging, building, planting, writing verses, making jests, composing history,--he makes us understand the extent of the difference between the French colonists and the Englishmen of Plymouth Rock.

Lescarbot did not like Champlain very much, for what reason is not apparent. Perhaps Champlain was too serious minded, and inclined to think writing poetry an unnecessary, even an undesirable, accomplishment in a colonist; or perhaps Lescarbot deemed the mere explorer and geographer of necessity somewhat thick witted. There was no quarrel of any kind, but Champlain alludes to Lescarbot casually as to a frivolous subject, and Lescarbot once or twice finds fault with Champlain for no good reason. The reader is sorry that the serious, noble-minded Champlain was not able to derive more pleasure from his gay compatriot, who flashes up so brilliantly in this dull winter at Port Royal, especially as Champlain was by no means a sour Puritan, but held up his end of jollity and good fellowship.

Lescarbot tells the story of the principal amusement during the winter. "I must tell how, in order to keep us jolly and well served in our victuals, an Order was established for the Sieur de Poutrincourt's table, according to a device of Champlain. His idea was that those sitting at this table should play the host each one in turn, that is, once every fifteen days. The host's duty was to see that we were well and honorably treated. This was so well done that (though gourmands at home tell us that we did not have the Rue aux Ours of Paris) we had there ordinarily as good cheer as we could have had at their Rue aux Ours, and cheaper; because each man, two days before his turn came, was careful to go hunting or fishing, and brought back something dainty in addition to our ordinary fare, so that at breakfast and dinner we were never without some good dish of meat or fish, and at supper had still more; for then was the great feast, to which the host, as lord purveyor, having got everything ready in the kitchen, marched, napkin on shoulder, the collar of the Order round his neck, and all the members of the Order after him, each man carrying his dish. The same happened at dessert, though not always with so much ceremony. And in the evening before saying grace, the purveyor surrendered the collar of the Order to his successor in the charge, and each drank a glass of wine to the other." After the feast, stories were told, songs sung by both Frenchmen and Indians, and Lescarbot recited his own verses.

Lescarbot by no means confined himself to amusement. During Poutrincourt's voyage down the New England coast, he had been put in charge of the colony, and took his appointment seriously. He planted rye and barley, he hoed in the garden, thinking the while of "our old father Noah, great King, great Priest, great Prophet, whose occupation was to be husbandman;" he cut paths in the woods, and digged a ditch round the fort. After working outdoors all day, in the evening, when every one was indoors, he shut himself in his room to read or to write. "I am not even ashamed to say, that, having been urged by the Sieur de Poutrincourt, our chief, to give a few hours of my time to teach our little settlement in the ways of Christianity, so as not to live like the beasts, and also to show a good example of our way of living to the Indians, I did so in the exigency and because I was asked, every Sunday and sometimes on special occasions, almost all the time that we were there alone. It stood me in good stead that I had brought my Bible and some books without any special reason, for otherwise such a duty would have been too hard for me and I should have been obliged to refuse. My doings were not without fruit, for many came and told me that they had never heard God preached so well, and that before that they knew nothing of the principles of Christian doctrine, and that is the condition in which the greater part of Christendom lives. But if on one side there was edification, on the other there was some adverse speech, because I always tried to speak the truth with proper French freedom."

The winter was mild and was pleasantly passed, except for the scurvy which attacked the colony late in the season. It was not so severe as in the two preceding years. Only seven died. The eight or ten others who had the disease recovered when, to use Lescarbot's phrase, "the sun once more began to warm the earth and to cast amorous looks at its mistress," and all were able to set to work on their gardens. But disappointment was in store for them.

On the 24th of May, after morning prayers, when breakfast had been distributed, the Sagamore Membertou, in spite of his hundred years, was the first to spy a French ship coming up the harbor. Bad news was brought; in the first place the Dutch, led by a traitor Frenchman, had sailed up the St. Lawrence, and had carried off all the skins brought by the Indians, thereby inflicting a great blow upon the company. But worse tidings were to follow. De Monts' privileges and monopolies had been revoked by the royal council. Rumor said that certain persons in high place had promised the complaining Bretons and Normans to see that the patent should be broken, provided a certain sum of money was forthcoming. The money was paid, unknown to the king, and the grant was rescinded on the ostensible grounds that the price of beaver-skins had been raised, and that no Indians had been converted. Lescarbot says that after the revocation of the monopoly, the price of skins doubled, and that he deemed the Christian character too noble to be given on a sudden to savages who had no sentiment of religion. Chagrined as they were, none of the colonists imputed any wrong to the king, and they celebrated the news of the birth of his second son by burning bonfires and singing the Te Deum.

There was nothing to be done but to abandon the colony, for it could not support itself, and de Monts could not provide funds except from a monopoly of the fur trade. They sorrowfully made ready to leave. Lescarbot went direct to Canso, where the Jonas was laying in cod previous to taking the colonists home; but Poutrincourt wanted to reap what he had sowed and take home specimens of Acadian grain to the king, and Champlain wished to map out the coast of New Brunswick, so they tarried, and did not reach Canso till the end of August. They sailed on September 3, and arrived at St. Malo on September 30, 1607.

Champlain had been away from France for three years and a half, on an unsuccessful enterprise, yet, indignant as he was against the lobbyists and their bribery, all he said of them was, "God pardon those whom He has taken, and mend those who are still living."

The year 1607 was memorable for the foundation of an English colony at Jamestown. From that beginning the power of England gradually increased on American soil till it possessed all the land from the Spanish domain in Florida on the south to the French colonies in Acadia on the north. Fear of English raids, such as that of Argall, who in 1613 destroyed the little Jesuit settlement near Mt. Desert and Poutrincourt's colony at Port Royal, undoubtedly affected the course of French settlers. From this time on the main current of French enterprise was directed to Canada instead of to Acadia. The French left the English south of the river St. John in undisputed possession.

V

FIRST YEAR AT QUEBEC, 1608-1609

On his arrival in France Champlain went to see the Sieur de Monts, showed him his maps and charts, and gave him an account of all that had happened at Port Royal while he was away. The two talked over plans, and de Monts resolved, in spite of his misfortunes, to persevere and make another attempt to plant a colony. Following Champlain's advice, he chose Canada as the place, and obtained from Henry IV. a commission, bearing date January 7, 1608, which granted him a monopoly of the fur trade with Canada for one year. Two ships were fitted out at Honfleur. Pontgravé, who was appointed deputy for trading with the Indians, sailed in one in the beginning of April, and Champlain, de Monts' lieutenant for all matters except trading, left a few days later, receiving a friendly good-by from Lescarbot in the form of a sonnet.

On May 15 Champlain was off the Banks, and on June 3 anchored at Tadousac, where he found troubles in plenty. Pontgravé had attempted to enforce the king's commission against some Basque fur traders; the latter had resisted. They had wounded Pontgravé and two of his men, killed a third, boarded the ship, and had taken possession of all the arms and ammunition. Champlain entered into parley with the Basques, and after consultation with Pontgravé said that they might go in peace, on condition that the whole dispute be left to the courts in France. The Basques accepted the terms and departed.

Pontgravé, though suffering from his wound, began to trade with the Montagnais Indians, who were wont to paddle their canoes down the rough waters of the Saguenay, and bring from Lake St. John to Tadousac the skins collected by the hunters in the wild regions stretching northward to Hudson's Bay.

Champlain, after an interval of five years, once more sailed up the broad St. Lawrence. In four days he passed the island of Orleans, and after a search found no better place for a camp than the sloping ground covered with nut-trees, between the river and the cliffs, where the lower town of Quebec now stands. Here he landed on July 3, and with his usual energy laid the foundation of that romantic city. One band of workmen chopped down the trees, another sawed them into beams and planks, a third dug a cellar and hollowed out a ditch, while the fourth hurried back to Tadousac to fetch the stores and utensils.

Unexpectedly quickly one pinnace arrived from Tadousac in charge of the pilot Têtu, a man of much good sense. He unloaded his cargo, and was about to sail back when a smith, Natel by name, went up to him and whispered that there was something of which he wished to speak. Thereupon Natel related how Duval, a locksmith, had contrived a plot to surprise Champlain, unprepared and unarmed, by the ruse of a false alarm at night, and then having murdered him, to deliver the place to the Basques or the Spanish. Duval had suborned with lies and false hopes three of the worst men in the company, and then the four together had frightened or seduced almost all the others into consent or acquiescence. The murder was to have been committed before the pinnaces arrived from Tadousac. Têtu said to Natel, "My friend, you have done well to reveal so wicked a plot. You show that you are a good man, led by the Holy Spirit. But the Sieur de Champlain must know of this so that he can take the proper measures, and you must promise to act so that he will pardon you and others. I will tell him secretly, and no one will suspect. Go about your business, learn what you can, and be sure that everything will go well."

Têtu went at once to Champlain, who was working in his garden, took him off into the woods, and disclosed the plot. Natel was then brought up, and repeated what he had told. Champlain bade Têtu bring his dory to the shore; he then gave two bottles of wine to a trusty man, and directed him to tell the four ringleaders that the wine was a present from some friends at Tadousac, and to invite them to come aboard the pinnace for supper and a carouse. The four accepted the invitation and came; Champlain followed and arrested them promptly. It was then ten o'clock in the evening, and on land all had gone to bed. Each man was waked, told that the plot was discovered, and that he should be pardoned if he would confess everything. All agreed, and the next morning Champlain took their statements down in writing, and was relieved to discover that they had all joined the conspiracy from fear of the four ringleaders. These four were handcuffed, and promptly tried by a court-martial. The witnesses confirmed their depositions. The four were sentenced to death. Duval was hanged, and his head, stuck on a pike, was fastened to the highest peak of the roof as a warning; the other three were sent back to France, where they were condemned to the galleys. Perhaps we may contrast Champlain's leniency with Sir Thomas Dale's severity in Virginia, who, a year or two later, discovered a similar conspiracy against him, and put the five ringleaders to death in a "cruel and unusual" manner.

Meanwhile the buildings at Quebec were going up as fast as possible. They consisted of a main structure and two wings, each with its chimney. In Champlain's drawing each chimney puffs a wreath of curling smoke into the air. Close to the buildings was a small court encompassed by a high wall; in the middle of the court rose a tall dovecote, and on top of the wall and round the top of the first story of the buildings ran a covered gallery, loopholed for muskets. Outside was a ditch, and three platforms on which the cannon were mounted, and beyond was a little garden with beds and walks laid out symmetrically, and a few yards farther down was the river bank.

Here, while Pontgravé was taking back his cargo of skins to France, Champlain was preparing for the winter. In the first days of October he sowed wheat, after the 15th rye, and by the 24th he began planting vines, although frosts had already come and the leaves were falling fast; for he understood that a colony to thrive must support itself, and not depend on help from over seas for the maintenance of life. In November the snow began to fall and the winter closed in on them. The Indians were very friendly; and after they had finished catching eels, and hunting beaver and moose, they encamped in their wigwams near the settlement. But they needed more help than they gave, for they were in constant alarm lest their terrible enemies, the Iroquois, should attack them, and a bad dream would send them howling to the French for protection. Champlain tried to make them keep a watch or picket at night, but they merely replied that the French knew better how to take care of them than they did themselves.

The Canadian winter was harsh, and the spring dreary. The scurvy again broke out. Of the little company of twenty-eight, fifteen died from it; five more from dysentery. In June, 1609, when news came that Pontgravé had returned to Tadousac, half of the eight survivors were ill. Nevertheless Champlain, ever restless to explore, hastened away to confer with Pontgravé, and the two agreed that Pontgravé should stay in charge at Tadousac while Champlain went to explore the St. Lawrence.

Champlain started on July 18, and had not gone far before he met two or three hundred Indians, Hurons, Montagnais, and Algonquins in alliance, who had bivouacked by the river and were on their way to Quebec to take him on a journey of discovery into the land of the Iroquois. The pipe of peace was produced and a ceremonious parley followed; the savages wished to see the great buildings at Quebec, so all went back there, to feastings and celebrations. A fresh start was made on the 28th. Champlain had a dozen men with him in a shallop, and the Indians all followed in their canoes. When they came to the mouth of the river of the Iroquois (river Richelieu) they halted for two days, hunting and fishing. Then a dispute arose among the Indians, and half of them went home; the other half paddled up the Richelieu, and Champlain sailed after them in his shallop. They passed a number of lovely little islands, and soon came to the Chambly Rapids, which neither shallop nor canoes could pass; but the canoes were easily carried, whereas it was impossible with so few white men to carry the shallop overland. Champlain was greatly vexed at the idea of going back without seeing "un grandicime lac" filled with green islands and surrounded by a beautiful country, so he resolved to send back the shallop and keep on with two white men in a canoe.

The party, sixty in number, shouldered their canoes, and having gone beyond the rapids, embarked on the river again, and paddled about ten miles before they stopped for the night. Then, as the custom was, they chopped down trees and built a strong barricade around their camp, excepting on the river side, where the canoes were drawn up.

At each encampment the medicine-man erected a little hut and covered it with his robes to hide the interior. Then going inside so that he could not be seen, he shook the hut by pulling at the main pole, mumbling the while certain words in his throat which he said summoned the devil, who appeared in the shape of a stone, and delivered oracular answers to the question whether the allies should find their enemies and kill many of them. The conversation ended, the medicine-man leaped to his feet, talking and whirling about in such a fashion that he became bathed in sweat. Meanwhile all the Indians sat round about, telling Champlain that the shaking of the hut was caused by the devil, and that he would see fire issue from the top of the hut; but he did not. Champlain remonstrated with them and told them that the whole performance was nonsense, and that they ought not to believe in it; but he reasoned in vain.

The next day they paddled to the beginning of the great lake named in honor of Champlain, and the day after they continued down it, and skirted the western shore, leaving the Green Mountains, still capped with snow, on their left, till they came in sight of the Adirondacks to the right, in which place the Indians expected to meet the Iroquois. Then it became necessary to take precautions; they lay close during the day and paddled that night, and paid sharp attention to dreams. Before this the Indians had frequently asked Champlain if he had not had a dream; he had always answered no, but that day he said he dreamt that he saw the Iroquois drowning in a lake. This dream inspired the Indians with absolute confidence in victory.

The next evening they came upon some Iroquois canoes. Each side yelled in defiance and prepared for battle, but the Iroquois retreated to land and hewed down trees with their stone hatchets, and made a barricade. The allies stayed in their canoes, and sent an envoy to ask if the Iroquois wished to fight; they answered that they desired nothing else, but that it would be better to wait for day. Both parties spent the night dancing, singing, and shouting insults and opprobrious epithets "as we are wont to do at the siege of a city," remarks Champlain.

When morning dawned, Champlain and his two white men, protected by helmet, breastplate, and greaves, after the military fashion of the time, each with his harquebus, separated and lay down in the bottom of their respective canoes, so as not to be seen. Then the allies landed, and Champlain watched the Iroquois come forth from their intrenched camp, about two hundred, vigorous and strong. They advanced to the combat slowly, with a deliberation and gravity that gave him a soldier's content, three chiefs, decorated with flowing plumes, conspicuous at their head. The Algonquins bade Champlain shoot at the chiefs, and he promised to do his best. As they drew near the enemy, the allies, outnumbered three to one, called on Champlain and opened their ranks to let him pass and go first. He advanced till he was about thirty paces from the Iroquois, who, perceiving him, stopped in astonishment, for he was the first white man they had ever seen. He saw them bending their bows, so he fired his harquebus, loaded with four balls. The chief fell and two warriors near him. The allies raised a shout "to outroar thunder," and arrows rained on each side; but the Iroquois were shaken by the miraculous destruction of their three warriors, and on the discharge of another harquebus from another spot, discomfited they broke and fled, losing several dead and a dozen prisoners, beside what stores they had in their camp, whereas the allies sustained no injuries except a few trifling arrow wounds. This battle was fought near Ticonderoga.

After a three hours' dance to celebrate the victory, the allies started back; having paddled about twenty-five miles, they landed and began to torture their prisoners. They took one, harangued him on his cruelty toward their people, bidding him make up his mind to receive the like treatment, and sing if he had enough courage. He did sing, but with a chant very sad to hear. Then the victors lighted a fire, and each took a burning brand and burnt the wretched captive little by little; and in order that he should suffer as much as possible, they stopped now and then and poured water over him. Then they plucked out his nails and burnt the tips of his fingers, and next dropped boiling gum on his head. After that they hacked his arms and pulled out the nerves, and when they could not tear them out, cut them. The captive uttered strange cries, but behaved with such fortitude that at times one might have thought that he felt nothing. The torturers invited Champlain to join them. He replied that Frenchmen never practiced such cruelties, and asked leave to put a bullet through the captive's head; they refused and he walked off in anger. At this the Indians, not wishing to displease him, gave him leave to shoot, and he ended the ordeal with a shot from his harquebus. The Indians took the dead body, ripped it open, threw the bowels into the lake, and cut off legs, arms, and head after taking the scalp. They then cut out the heart, and chopped it in bits, which they forced into the mouths of the other captives, who, however, instead of swallowing, spat them out. The bleeding bits were finally thrown into the lake.

The next day the victors continued their homeward journey. When they came to the Falls of Chambly on the river Richelieu, the Hurons and Algonquins went their several ways, and Champlain, promising to help them always like a brother, returned with the Montagnais, who paddled down the St. Lawrence at the rate of seventy-five to ninety miles a day, until, having barely stopped at Quebec, they came to Tadousac, where wives and daughters greeted them with ceremony and great rejoicing.

This raid was more eventful in the history of the New World than Champlain was aware, for the battle with the Iroquois made them bitter enemies of the French. These five confederated tribes, the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Senecas, and Cayugas, were the most powerful in North America, and thereafter always allied themselves with the enemies of France. They lived in the central and western parts of New York State, and had convenient routes to threaten Canada, either by Lake Champlain and the river Richelieu, or by Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. They were fiercer, braver, and more capable in war than any other Indians, and perhaps, had the white men not come, would have established their sway over a wide dominion, subduing or destroying all rivals.

Toward the end of August Pontgravé and Champlain decided to return to France; they established Pierre Chauvin of Dieppe at Quebec with fifteen men, and on September 1 sailed in the shallop to Tadousac, where the large vessel had remained. Thence they set sail on the 10th, and arrived at Honfleur a month later. Champlain took post at once to Fontainebleau, to report to de Monts, who was at court. He also had an interview with the king, who was much pleased and interested, and graciously accepted a belt of porcupine-skin, Indian work well wrought, two little scarlet birds, and the head of a great fish caught in Lake Champlain.

De Monts went to Rouen to discuss matters with some of his associates, certain merchants there, and they decided to continue the settlement, and to make further explorations. Then he returned to Paris and tried to obtain a further grant of exclusive privileges, but his enemies were too strong and he got nothing. Nevertheless he determined to persevere, animated by a great desire that all things should redound to the welfare and the honor of France. Pontgravé was eager to go back to trade in furs and do what else he could to defray expenses, and Champlain was ready to pass another winter in Quebec. All three went to work to get together the necessary stores and supplies.

Energy was necessary. A new competitor for the possession of North America was in the field. In this same year Henry Hudson, in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, having attempted in vain to find a northeast passage to Cathay, crossed the Atlantic, to look for a western route, and, discovering a broad river flowing north, sailed in his little vessel, the Half Moon, as far up as the Catskills. His voyage was the beginning of the Dutch settlement at New Amsterdam, on the island of Manhattan.

VI

CANADIAN AFFAIRS, 1610-1613

Champlain embarked again at Honfleur on March 7, 1610, but fell so ill that he feared he should be unable to make the voyage, and put back in a small boat. He recovered, and by good luck the vessel he had been on was obliged to put in for some forgotten necessaries; so he went aboard again and sailed April 8. He made Tadousac on the 26th, and there learned that the little colony at Quebec had had a very good winter, little snow, and hardly any sickness. The colonists had had plenty of fresh meat, and their chief difficulty had been to amuse themselves. Champlain pushed on and found some Montagnais expecting him to go at once on the warpath with them. In a few days sixty more warriors came, and it was agreed that all should meet at the Three Rivers.

Champlain left Quebec on June 14, found the Montagnais at the rendezvous, and they went on together to an island at the mouth of the river of the Iroquois, where they were to await the Algonquins. As they were felling trees to barricade their camp, an Algonquin paddled up furiously in his canoe, and said that his people had found the Iroquois, who were strongly fortified in a camp not far away. The Indians hurried to shore, making less speed with more haste, and darted off through the woods, leaving Champlain and his four comrades to wander wildly, for they could not keep up with their fleet-footed allies, and lost their way, floundering in bogs up to their knees. They pushed on, encumbered by their armor and harquebuses, and bitten by mosquitoes, which swarmed so thick that they could scarce draw breath, when, beginning to despair, they caught sight of two friendly braves. They shouted out that the braves must act as guides, otherwise they would take no part in the battle. The Indians guided them, and soon they met a third, who reported that the Algonquins and Montagnais had been repulsed from the Iroquois fort, and that the only hope of victory lay in Champlain's arrival. In a short time they could hear shouts and battle-cries, and when Champlain came up the allies raised a din "like a tornado."

The Frenchmen reconnoitred the barricade and found it very strongly built, but they advanced close and began firing. The Iroquois at first defended themselves bravely; one Frenchman was wounded in the arm. Champlain, too, was hit by an arrow, which pierced his ear and buried itself in his neck; but he pulled it out, and was able to continue the fight. He directed the savages to approach the barricade under cover of the harquebuses and tie ropes to its supports, and wrench them out and so make a breach in the wall. While the Indians were engaged in this operation, a fresh band of Frenchmen came up and began firing on the fort from the side opposite to Champlain. They had come from a trading pinnace which had followed Champlain's shallop, and hearing the musket fire had hurried to take part in the fight. Encouraged by this aid the allied Indians carried out Champlain's manoeuvre with success; the breach was made, Frenchmen and Indians rushed in together, brandishing swords and tomahawks. The Iroquois, cowed by the firearms, made slight resistance. Some were killed on the spot, others ran and were at once shot down, others escaped as far as the river and were drowned, and fifteen were taken prisoners; not one succeeded in getting away.

The allies danced and sang, and tortured their prisoners, with no thought of following up their victory. Champlain had his wound dressed by a physician from Rouen who had come with him, and all stayed three days at the island of Saint-Ignace, near the mouth of the Richelieu. The Hurons came up, much disgusted to find they had missed their share of combat and victory. French traders also came, eager to avoid battle and danger, yet prompt to buy furs, and finally Pontgravé appeared with a shallop full of merchandise. After a short delay all separated and went their several ways. One young Frenchman, eager to learn the Indian tongue, went with the Algonquins, and a young Indian in exchange stayed with Champlain. Lescarbot says that he often saw this young Indian in Paris, and that he used to mock and jeer when he saw two Frenchmen quarrel without fighting, and call them women and cowards.

Champlain went back to Quebec, and there had consultations with Pontgravé as to plans for the next winter. Nothing had been definitely decided, when vessels arrived from Brouage bringing vague and terrible rumors. M. de St. Luc, reviving civil war, had gone with soldiers from Paris and driven the Huguenots out of Brouage; the king had been murdered, and also Sully and two other noblemen, whose names were not known. Champlain was greatly troubled, and, though he did not believe that the news could be true, was eager to go home. Pontgravé decided to go with him. They left at Quebec seventeen men, whom they enjoined to live soberly in the fear of God, and repaired to Tadousac. They sailed on August 13, and at Honfleur learned that the king had indeed been murdered, but that the other rumors were false.

The death of Henry IV. was a great blow to Champlain, for the king not only had been his friend, but had taken large views of policy, and had worked for the prosperity of France with a love even greater than Champlain's.

With regard to the schemes of de Monts and Champlain on colonization, the king had been placed in an embarrassing position. The country, exhausted by nearly forty years of war, was very poor, and though the king exercised economy, he had not been able to pay for a colonial settlement out of his revenues. The only means to raise funds was to grant a monopoly of trade to a company for a period of years, in hope that the colony would thereafter be self-supporting. Such a monopoly in Canada certainly did great injustice to merchants and traders who had been wont to send out vessels to Tadousac ever since Roberval's time, and in spite of Champlain's courage and enthusiasm the first attempts at planting a colony had not given cautious men at home much reason to expect success. Nevertheless the king was romantic and adventurous, and had he lived, the prospect of the colonists might have been bright; but on his death his incompetent young son, Louis XIII., succeeded to the crown, with Marie de Medici, his mother, as regent, and the colonists were left for the time to their own devices.

In this cheerless condition of affairs de Monts, Champlain, and the leading merchants put their heads together. De Monts was governor of the little town of Pont in Saintonge, not far from La Rochelle, and was obliged to stay in France; and he had no better plan to offer than that Champlain should return to Canada in the spring and strengthen friendly relations with the Indian tribes in the interior, for the purpose of retaining the company's old trade with them, in spite of the broken monopoly. Champlain agreed and made ready for the expedition.

Business often took him to Rouen, where both friendly and unfriendly merchants congregated. Rouen, at the time when Champlain was there, cheering stockholders, and buying supplies for the colony at Quebec, was more like what it is to-day than any of the other French cities. There stood the Cathedral with its towers, and its beautiful north door, outside of which the booksellers ranged their booths, and displayed for sale "The Voyage of Sieur de Champlain in the year 1603," as well as Ronsard, Montaigne, and Rabelais. There stood the glorious church of St. Ouen, where Champlain knelt, and felt his heart uplifted by its winged vault; and perhaps like other visitors he went to the donjon keep where Joan of Arc had been tortured, and said his prayers again. Many a time he must have listened to the biggest bell in France ring out from the north tower of the Cathedral, and have heard her sister peal back her answer from the belfry by the Great Clock, as he rode through the narrow streets on his way to the sign of "The Little Shoes," wondering if in years to come the city of Quebec might not look as fair. Many times must he have had serious talk with long-pursed merchants in their shops on the Rue aux Anglais and Rue aux Espagnols, urging them to share in the great ventures which were to bring so much profit to them and so much honor to France, and begging for letters to their correspondents in Dieppe, St. Malo, and La Rochelle.

In the midst of his absorbing labors there were brighter spots in their season. He fell in love. On December 27 he signed a contract of marriage with Mademoiselle Hélène Boullé, daughter of Nicolas Boullé, secretary of the king's chamber. The betrothal took place in Paris at the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, from whose bell tower had rung the signal for St. Bartholomew's massacre, and the marriage was celebrated the next day. The young lady brought him a dowry of forty-five hundred francs. Gossip says that this was the motive of his marriage, but a hard-working seafaring soldier, upright, honest, chaste, might well captivate the imagination of a child, and in return lose his heart to a sweet maid who might have been his daughter.

    "She loved him for the dangers he had passed,

    And he loved her that she did pity them."

Her father was a Huguenot, and she had been brought up in that faith, but Champlain would have no such barrier between them. So teaching her himself, he persuaded her to take his creed, and before he left he confided her to the care of some Ursuline nuns to watch over her in his absence.

His ship sailed from Honfleur on March 1, 1611, but after eighteen days of good weather met contrary winds and was driven out of her course. With great difficulty, for she was obliged to make frequent tacks, she came within eighty leagues of the Banks, where she encountered series of icebergs rising a hundred feet and more out of the water. The ship was delayed so long that she did not cast anchor at Tadousac till May 13, after a voyage of two months and two weeks. Pontgravé stopped there, but Champlain kept on to Quebec, where his shallop, which had been injured, was repaired, and then up the river to Mont Royal (Montreal) where he selected a place for a trading post, and named an island near by Ste. Hélène in honor of his wife. Pontgravé followed, having found the fur trade at Tadousac bad; and many traders, in the hope of taking advantage of his friendly relations with the Indians, came trooping after him.

On June 13 the Indians came, but they were suspicious at sight of the fleet of trading pinnaces and withdrew; then followed confabulations, feasts, ceremonies, interchange of presents, and many talks on geography between Champlain and any Indians who had either information or guesses to impart. Finally it was agreed that on their part the Indians should take Champlain on a journey of exploration through their country, and that on his part Champlain should ask the king for forty or fifty soldiers to help them in their wars, that he should fetch gifts for the chiefs through whose territories they might go; and it was further agreed that if the land explored seemed good and fertile the French should plant colonies and all live there together happily and in fear of God.

More ceremonies followed, and the Frenchman who had passed a winter with the Hurons and the Indian who had gone to France with Champlain rejoined their respective compatriots, and another young Frenchman, named Vignau, who afterwards achieved notoriety, remained with the Algonquins.

Between the importunity of the traders and the procrastination of the Indians there was neither profit nor exploration to be made that year. Champlain returned to France, convinced that to attain success new methods must be tried and new help obtained.

He at once conferred with de Monts, who put the whole matter in his hands; next he consulted members of the company, and finding them unwilling to persevere without the grant of a monopoly, went busily to work with new schemes, in spite of injuries received from a fall from his horse. His project was to secure the help of some powerful nobleman, who should become the protector of the company, and watch over its interests at court. The plan was approved by his associates, and he persuaded the Count of Soissons, "a pious prince, well disposed to all holy enterprises," to accept an appointment as governor of New France, which was granted by the king, who also bestowed on the company exclusive privileges of trade in the regions beyond Quebec. The count named Champlain his lieutenant, and then unfortunately for the enterprise died. Condé, first prince of the blood, took his place.

This business took a year's time, and vexations lay in wait for Champlain both abroad and at home. In the summer ships arrived from Canada, and reported that the Indian braves had come in, expecting to have him join them on the warpath, and had been greatly disappointed not to find him. His friends had tried to pacify the Indians, and had promised them that he would come next year; but rival traders from St. Malo had asserted that he was dead. "See," writes Champlain, "how envy of virtuous actions glides into evil natures; these traders wish others to run a thousand risks in the discovery of strange lands and peoples, in order that they may have the spoil and others the pains. It is not reasonable when one has caught the sheep that others should shear it."

In France many intriguers, angered by the new monopoly, strove to obtain the revocation of Champlain's commission, and succeeded in giving Champlain so much to do that he was unable to prepare for wintering in Quebec, and was obliged to content himself with the plan of a journey of exploration instead. In the mean time he prepared the narrative of his last voyages, which he closed with the words: "I trust that God will one day give our king the grace (for his own greatness and for the good of his subjects) to bring many poor Indians to the knowledge of our faith, so that they may one day enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven." The book contained two large maps of New France made by Champlain, and was dedicated both to the king and to the queen regent. It was published in January, 1613. Champlain was at last able to leave, and reached Quebec early in May.

VII

THE OTTAWA RIVER.--THE RÉCOLLETS.--THE HURONS.

The chief purpose of this voyage of Champlain was to make further search for a north-west passage. Exciting indications had been furnished by the report made to him by Nicolas Vignau, the young man who, after passing a winter with Tessouat, a chief of the Algonquins, had returned to France in 1612. He told how he had journeyed up the river of the Algonquins (the Ottawa) to the lake from which it flowed, and on to the north, a journey of seventeen days from the rapids near Montreal, till he had come to the North Sea, where he had seen the wreck of an English ship lost on the coast; that, as he heard, the English sailors had attempted to rob the Indians there, and all had been killed. Vignau swore to the truth of his story by everything that he held sacred, and showed Champlain his written narrative, which received confirmation from the recent accounts of Henry Hudson's voyage to the North Sea in 1610-1611. Champlain submitted this report to President Jeannin, Marshal de Brissac, M. Nicolas Brûlart de Sillery, the chancellor, and other noblemen of the court, and they bade Champlain go himself and make the same journey.

Full of expectation, a day or two after arrival, Champlain left the island of Ste. Hélène in canoes, with Vignau, three other Frenchmen, and an Indian. At the Lachine Rapids they shouldered their canoes and packs, which the Frenchmen found uncomfortably heavy, and walked through the woods; they paddled up the lake of St. Louis, the lake of the Two Mountains, and up the Ottawa, where they passed the rapids of Carillon with much labor, walking along the bank, and towing their canoes with ropes. Champlain met some Indians on their way to the St. Lawrence, who had heard that he was coming; and after a friendly confabulation, they gave him an Indian guide, and he sent back with them to Montreal the least valuable of his Frenchmen.

Champlain made slow progress up the river; the current was strong, and there were many carries. At one place the Indians undid their packs, and left everything but bare necessaries hidden in the woods, for they said there was a very long and difficult carry ahead, past certain rapids. Vignau, however, asserted that there would be no danger in passing the rapids, and that they should stay in the canoes. The Indians replied that Vignau must be tired of life, and bade Champlain not to believe him, as he spoke falsely. As Champlain had already noticed that Vignau showed no knowledge of their route, he took the Indians' advice in spite of Vignau's protestations.

Weary with their packs, stung to desperation by mosquitoes, hungry and sore, they arrived at last at Muskrat Lake, where there was an Indian settlement. These Indians received them very hospitably, and said the Frenchmen must have fallen from the clouds, so difficult was the journey up the Ottawa. They gave them food, showed them their gardens planted with Indian corn, and sent them on with an escort to another Indian village, near the Lac des Allumettes.

There Tessouat, the chief, entertained them most hospitably, and made a feast in their honor, inviting all the countryside. Champlain expressed his astonishment that they should live so far north, in a bleak climate with poor soil, while fertile land and sunny weather made the region about Mont Royal so pleasant. They explained that they lived where they did to avoid danger from the Iroquois, but that if the French would make a settlement near Mont Royal they would gladly migrate thither. Champlain replied he had already chopped down trees and hauled stones to lay the foundations of a trading post at Mont Royal, and they all shouted their satisfaction. At the feast each man brought his wooden trencher, and Tessouat helped them from a dish of boiled maize, enriched with fish and meat, and cooked without salt. There were also roasted meats and boiled fish, but as the cooking was very dirty, Champlain asked for meat and fish, which he cooked to his own taste. Eating over, the young braves withdrew, and the elders smoked in silence for an hour and a half.

Champlain then explained through his interpreter the purposes of his visit, which were to assure them of his good-will, to assist them in their wars, to ascertain the fertility of the country, to explore the forests, rivers, and lakes; but that his immediate wish was to go to the country of the Nipissings on his way to the North Sea, and that he hoped they would furnish him with guides and four canoes. The chiefs smoked and whispered to one another, then Tessouat gave their answer: they had always found Champlain more kindly disposed toward them than any other Frenchman they had ever seen; the proofs he had given in the past gave them confidence of his kindness for the future; his coming to see them, and his readiness to join them in their wars, compelled them to love him as dearly as their own children; therefore, they would give the four canoes, but much against their will, on account of the perils which would beset him on the journey, for the Nipissings were sorcerers, and had killed many of their people by witchcraft and poison; and that was the reason that they were not friends with them.

Champlain answered that he was not afraid, and that God would protect him. They repeated their promise to give him four canoes, and, well content, he had gone off to inspect the vegetables in their gardens, when the interpreter hurriedly came to tell him that the Indians had concluded not to give him either canoes or escort. Greatly vexed, for his only route to the North Sea was through the country of the Nipissings, he rushed back, upbraided them, and bade them at least give him two canoes and four men for escort. Tessouat enumerated again the dangers of the way, the number of cataracts, the wickedness of the Nipissings, and added that the real cause of their refusal was their fear lest he be killed.

To this Champlain replied that he was disappointed to find that they were not his friends, and that there, pointing to Vignau, sat a young man who had been to the country of the Nipissings, and had not found the way difficult, nor the people as bad as they said. At that all the Indians, and especially Tessouat, stared at Vignau, and Tessouat spoke out in his language: "Nicolas, is it true that you said that you have been to the Nipissings?" Vignau remained silent a long time, and then answered in their language: "Yes, I have been there." All the savages started to their feet with yells as if they would tear him to pieces, and Tessouat burst forth: "You are a shameless liar; you know very well that you went to bed every night by my side with my children, and that every morning you got up by my side; if you have been to those people it was when you were asleep; how could you be so impudent as to tell your chief lies, and so wicked as to wish him to hazard his life among such dangers? You are damned, and he ought to put you to death, with greater cruelty than we show to our enemies. I no longer wonder at his importunity to go among these people."

Champlain immediately took Vignau aside, and conjured him to speak the truth, and say whether he had been to the great sea. Vignau, on his oath, protested that he had told the truth, and that if the Indians would lend the canoes he would guide Champlain to the sea. Then Champlain went back, and the Indians crowded about him, saying they were indignant that he should trust a liar rather than their chiefs. He repeated that Vignau had been to the North Sea with a cousin of Tessouat, and had seen the wreck of an English ship. The Indians shouted "Liar, liar," and bade Vignau describe the road. Champlain produced Vignau's map, and the savages, examining it, questioned Vignau closely. The latter made no reply, but sat gloomily silent. Champlain called him out before the other Frenchmen, and said that he must know the truth, that he was ready to forgive the past, but that if he misled him further he would hang him without mercy. Vignau fell on his knees, and confessed that he had invented the whole story. Hot with anger, Champlain bade the others take the impostor away, as he could not bear to see him; and though misled into hardship and danger, tricked in his hopes, made a fool of before the king and council, a year of his life wasted, his reputation hurt, his friends weakened, his enemies encouraged, he let the cheat go unpunished.

All hope of passage to the North Sea gone, there was nothing to do but turn back. Champlain promised Tessouat to come again next year, and took the chief's son with him. Before leaving he erected a great cross, decorated with the king's arms, on the border of the lake, and asked the savages to preserve it. He began his hard journey back in the beginning of June. Going down stream was quicker than going up, and he arrived at Mont Royal in the middle of June. After buying from the Indians all their furs and leaving two young Frenchmen with them, he bade them good-by, promising to return the following spring, and took passage in a trading vessel for St. Malo.

There was plenty of work for Champlain to do in France. Condé, the governor-general, had been busy in raising rebellions and selling his submission, and had done nothing for Canada or the company, and de Monts had been so much occupied with various matters that he had been unable to perfect the new company, and do the things necessary to secure the exclusive privileges granted by the charter. In consequence of this neglect, in the summer (1613), during Champlain's absence, special license had been granted to five vessels, three from Normandy, one from La Rochelle, and one from St. Malo, to trade in furs west of Quebec, on condition that they should contribute towards the expense of Champlain's expedition.

This division of interests foreboded contention and failure for all. On his return, therefore, Champlain stopped at St. Malo, and explained to the merchants there how advantageous it would be for those concerned to have one well-ordered company in which all interests should be combined under the authority of a great prince, for they could see how trade had suffered in the last few years by disorderly competition. Persuaded by his arguments, they promised to come to court to help form a united company, provided certain conditions were agreed to. Champlain then hurried to Fontainebleau, and submitted the report of his adventures and ill success to the king and to Condé.

In a few days the merchants from St. Malo and from Rouen arrived, and a kind of stock company was formed for the period of eleven years. Champlain, eager that a united France, Huguenot as well as Catholic, should support the colony, insisted that a one-third interest should be reserved for the merchants of La Rochelle; but the latter, busy with reorganizing the Reformed Church, with a view to becoming a republic, dawdled and hesitated till their opportunity was forfeit, and the Bretons and Normans divided between them the one-third interest set apart for La Rochelle. Normandy took the lead in the enterprise, vessels for Canada were fitted out in her ports, and the colonists came chiefly from Rouen, Honfleur, Cherbourg, le Havre, Dieppe, and Caen.

The failure of La Rochelle to join deprived the company of the wealth, intelligence, and ability of the rich Huguenot merchants, and Champlain felt the need of filling their place and strengthening the company by wider public sympathy and support. This could be effected, he believed, by promoting a purpose, which he had near at heart, the conversion of the Indians to Christianity. There was nothing of the bigot in Champlain; he was a loyal son of the church, and he had no special dislike to Huguenots,--his old chief de Monts was of them, so was his wife's father, so were the merchants whom he tried to bring into the new company; and in his desire to convert the heathen, there was far less of the zealous churchman than of the large-hearted man, who grieves to see his fellow-men so like brutes in many respects. He had attempted in vain to make the colonies non-sectarian in religious matters; the Huguenots had held off, so he was driven to the Catholics.

He took advice of a distinguished citizen, one of the king's secretaries, and comptroller-general of the salt works of Brouage, a pious and good man, greatly interested in the matter, who bade him go to the Récollets, a branch of the Franciscan order. Among the Récollets he found a spirit of devotion and self-sacrifice worthy of St. Francis. They were ready to brave all dangers in the path of duty, but there was much to be obtained in the way of permission; father superior, provincial, general, governor, king, and Pope must sign warrants giving four poor brethren leave to carry the gospel to New France, and near a year was spent in obtaining sufficient authority to allow them to embark.

There was need of money, but Champlain laid his plans before a noble company of cardinals and bishops, assembled as the spiritual power of the realm to take their place in the States-General then convening, and begged so well that he was given fifteen hundred livres. The merchants of Rouen and St. Malo promised to contribute, but failed to do so; nevertheless, Champlain at length prepared everything, and the four brethren repaired to Honfleur, where the Saint-Etienne, under command of Pontgravé, was ready to sail. Champlain says, "Each of us examined his own conscience, and confessed and repented of his sins, in order to put ourselves in a state of grace, so that we should be more prepared to submit ourselves, under the protection of God, to the mercy of the waves and of the great, perilous ocean."

In the beginning of June they reached Quebec; and at once a simple convent was built beside the little fort, a chapel was begun, an altar raised and mass said for the first time in New France. Missions were divided among the four brethren, and the most zealous, Father Joseph Carillon, started at once for Mont Royal, and picking up such smattering of the Indian tongue as he could, resolved to go to the Hurons and pass the winter with them.

Champlain wished to explore, but the Indians reminded him of his promise to take part in their campaign against the Iroquois; so he acquiesced, and returned from a powwow at Mont Royal to Quebec to make preparation, for he was fully convinced that the Iroquois must be driven back from the shores of the St. Lawrence, otherwise all trade with the Hurons and other Indians west of the River Richelieu, which served the Iroquois for a warpath, would have to be abandoned. Before he went he endeavored to persuade Father Joseph to forego his plan of passing the winter with the Hurons; but Father Joseph replied that he must go, both to learn their language and to comprehend their nature; and as to dangers and difficulties, by God's grace he would be able to withstand and endure them; that he should adapt himself to their manner of living and to other discomforts well and cheerfully, and in temporal matters there was need of but little to content a man who had taken the vow of poverty, and who sought only the kingdom of God for his fellows and himself. Champlain had no further wish to dissuade him, seeing this great content at an opportunity to suffer for the name and the glory of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Champlain delayed a few days at Quebec, and when he returned found that the impatient savages, thinking him killed or captured by the Iroquois, had broken their camp and returned home. With them had gone Father Joseph and twelve Frenchmen. Champlain, with a couple of white men and some Indians, immediately set out after them, taking the same route which he had followed in 1613 with the impostor Vignau. After hard paddling and marching he reached the Lac des Allumettes, thence he continued up the Ottawa River, now enjoying a clear stretch of river, now making carries past rapids, till he turned to the left and ascended the river Mattawan, then quitting that, after a portage past some little lakes, he reached the lake of the Nipissings, and paddled along its shore till he reached their village. After two days' rest, he went westward down French River, where he saw a tribe of Indians with wonderful headdress, and on till he reached the great fresh-water sea, Lake Huron, of which he had heard such vague reports. There he came upon the villages of the Hurons, well peopled, in which he was received with great cordiality, especially by those warriors who had not waited for him, as they had promised, at the rendezvous near Mont Royal. In one of the villages was Father Joseph, ministering and teaching; he had already set up a great wooden cross, and the Indians were building him a chapel, in which, soon after Champlain's arrival, he celebrated mass.

After a week or two spent in feasts and dances the Huron braves set forth on the warpath. They crossed Lake Simcoe, paddled down the river Trent, crossed the east end of Lake Ontario, and marched past the west shore of Lake Oneida. In a day or two they came upon an Iroquois fort, which they attacked with great fury and the utmost imprudence. They were easily repulsed. Champlain endeavored to direct their movements, but in vain. A second attack, foolishly attempted, was repulsed with great loss. The Hurons lost heart, and retreated, carrying Champlain, who was wounded in two places. He hoped to be able to leave them on the march home, and go by water from Lake Ontario to Quebec; but no Indian would lend a canoe or act as his guide; so he was obliged to go back, and spend an idle winter with them, to his great chagrin. All chance of making explorations to the north was lost for this year.

In September Champlain went back to France, accompanied by Father Joseph and Father Denis. He says: "On landing we gave praise and benediction to God, for His great care in preserving our lives, and for plucking and snatching us, as it were, from all the dangers to which we had been exposed, and for bringing us back in health to our native land; and we prayed Him to move the hearts of the king and his council to render what help might be needful to uplift these poor Indians to a knowledge of God, from which act honor would accrue to his majesty, greatness and increase to his kingdom, prosperity to his subjects, and the glory of all the labor and enterprise would be to God, author of all things perfect, to whom be honor and glory, Amen."

VIII

QUEBEC, 1616-1635

From 1616 to 1628 Champlain's life was one long struggle against danger, difficulty, and vexation, both in France and in Canada. There were always foes and rivals, and the frail little colony lay helpless among them. The traders of La Rochelle refused to respect the grants made to the company formed by Rouen and St. Malo; Huguenot irritated Catholic, and Catholic badgered Huguenot; the reformed worship was prohibited, and the prohibition was ostentatiously violated; viceroys succeeded one another with shifting policy, only consistent in lining their own purses. The merchants neither wished to establish French colonies nor to civilize the Indians, for they feared lest agricultural occupations would hurt the fur trade, and all plotted to harm one another.

Sailors from La Rochelle furnished firearms to the savages, and rendered them dangerous; and all the traders treated the Indians harshly, and made them unfriendly. At one time the Montagnais threatened hostility from the north, at another the Iroquois besieged Quebec, and once a Spanish ship sailed up the St. Lawrence to Tadousac, causing great alarm. In the midst of confusion Champlain kept making trips up and down the river, superintending the little settlements with watchful eye, and fulfilling the duties of commander as best he could. Every year he sailed back to France, where he hurried from St. Malo to Rouen, from Rouen to Paris, encouraging, entreating, warning, and threatening, in the interests of New France.

Quebec was a wretched little settlement of fifty or sixty traders, its buildings were tumbling down, its gardens few, its farms consisting only of pigs and poultry, and its inhabitants rude and quarrelsome. In 1620, on the verge of the cliff, not far from where his great statue steps lightly on its pedestal, in garb very unlike the rough clothes he wore as commander of the colony, Champlain built a new fort; and down below, near the river, he repaired the habitation to receive his wife, still a young woman of only twenty-two. She was well received by the settlement, and having no children, and being very devout, devoted herself, during the four years that she stayed, to assisting the Récollet fathers in their missionary labors among the Indian women and children. She and her husband were always good friends, but she had not the character and force necessary to make her a real helpmeet.

The most important event in these troubled years was the advent of the Jesuits. In spite of the Edict of Nantes, relations between Catholic and Huguenot were greatly strained, both in the New World and in the Old. In Canada the Protestants set at naught decrees of the king's council, they committed all sorts of illegal acts, and when the injured traders went to La Rochelle for justice the mayor said: "I think I am doing you no little favor and courtesy in advising you to keep quiet and go away as quickly as possible; for if the people know that you have come here to execute the commands of milords of the council, you will stand a good chance of being drowned in the harbor, and I should be unable to help you."

In France the Huguenots desired to set up a republic, called on England and Holland to help them, and civil war was renewed. Peace was patched up, but to the patriotic citizen, who hoped to see the fair domains of France triple their size by colonies over the sea, it looked more clear than ever that some means must be devised to give complete preponderance to the Catholics in those colonies.

The Récollet fathers in New France appealed for help to the rich and powerful Order of Jesus; and the viceroy of Canada, the duke de Ventadour, a friend and protector of that order, sent, at his own expense, five fathers, Lallemant, Brébeuf, Masse, François, and Gilbert, in order that he might see "the glory of God flourish in those barbarous lands." These fathers arrived in Quebec in July, 1625, and the order began its great career of heroism, self-abnegation, and domineering tyranny in North America. Even to-day, in the province of Quebec, the great wooden churches, with schools and convents attendant, lift their crosses high above the little villages, seeming to gather the straggling cottages and huts as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and show in their physical domination the spiritual control which the Roman Church acquired over the simple French settlers by the unflagging energy and persistence of the Jesuit order. Report says that Champlain dreaded their coming, but he was too prudent or too good a Catholic to say so in his narrative.

By the year 1627 Richelieu, become the all-powerful minister, had made himself Grand Master and Superintendent of Navigation and Commerce, and though busy with a hundred cares at home, laid his vigorous hand on Canadian affairs; he suppressed all existing charters and privileges, and formed a new company of one hundred associates, of which he was to be the head. This new company was granted a perpetual monopoly of the fur trade, and a monopoly of other commerce, excepting whale and cod fishery, for fifteen years, and on its part undertook to plant and maintain a colony of several hundred persons, until it should become self-supporting. The company was forbidden to transport to Canada any persons except French Catholics. This measure was political rather than religious, for the Huguenots at La Rochelle were again in revolt, the king's army was besieging the city, and the English had sent Buckingham with a hundred ships to its relief.

The foreign allies were driven back and the city captured, but Richelieu did not propose that a colony, founded or controlled by rebels, should be able to start a fresh revolt against the crown of France, and offer alliance to England and to Holland; and perhaps he realized that, with the Order of Jesus once established in Canada, there could be no hope of toleration and peace unless that order was supreme and unvexed by heretics.

The war between France and England had a further effect on Champlain's fortunes. In the spring of 1628 the little colony of Quebec, long neglected, was looking forward eagerly to the supplies it was to receive from the new company; but none came, and the settlers were put on starvation rations. By June they had resolved to abandon Quebec, and were building a pinnace which was nearly ready to carry them to Gaspé, when report came that English ships were seen near Tadousac. Champlain immediately put Quebec in as good condition for defense as possible; and none too soon, for in a few days a shallop brought a demand for surrender from one David Kirke, in the name of the king of England. Champlain refused absolutely, and his bold front deceived Kirke, who sailed away, but as luck would have it, met the French ships which had been fitted out by the company with supplies of all kinds for the colonists. He captured them all, and went home well content.

Vague rumors of a sea-fight reached Champlain,--but no certain news. Expecting the enemy daily, the settlement passed the autumn and winter in extreme privation. The scanty quantity of peas and beans was eked out with roots and berries. The winter and spring were so many months of famine. Champlain was turning over desperate plans, when the English flag again appeared. A small fleet anchored off Quebec. There was no possibility of defense. Champlain surrendered upon honorable terms, and on July 22, 1629, the English flag was hoisted on the rampart of the fort, and the captured cannon announced the English victory.

The prisoners were taken to Tadousac, where Champlain met various friends who had also been captured, and learned that a treaty of peace had been agreed upon between England and France on April 24, two months before the fall of Quebec. After delaying at Tadousac for some weeks, the English ships sailed for England, and anchored off Plymouth in October. Champlain went direct to London, where he conferred with the French ambassador, and found that both nations had bound themselves to restore, each to the other, whatever should have been captured after the date of the treaty. After a short stay he returned to France, where he made report to Richelieu. Many diplomatic requests were made to the English to fulfil their share of the treaty, but they held on to Canada till 1632, when Charles I. gave the necessary orders, and French ships, bearing various besealed and beribboned documents, sailed to Quebec, and once more, after three years, the fleur-de-lis was hoisted on the ramparts.

If the English had retained their conquests of 1629 in Canada and Acadia, English supremacy in America, north of Florida, would have been conceded, and the long struggle which ended at last on the Plains of Abraham might have been avoided. English colonists were rapidly outnumbering the French,--from 1629 the Puritan exodus swelled the settlements in Massachusetts, until within a dozen years there were 26,000 colonists in New England. During the same time the population of Virginia was doubling. Lord Baltimore formed a colony in Maryland, and the conquest of New Amsterdam, shut in on north and south by the English, was plainly imminent.

Besides increase of population, there were other causes of English strength in America. The principle of self-government had already been put into practice; in Virginia, the House of Burgesses had been established; in Massachusetts the colonists had the right to elect governor, council, and assembly. England allowed the Puritans to found colonies at their pleasure, but France would not allow a single Huguenot to settle in French dominions across the ocean. The Jesuits and theology were masters in New France, and, although the Puritans dominated in New England, other English colonies were open to other sects, Maryland to Catholics, Virginia to Episcopalians, and an emigrant of any faith could find toleration if nothing more. Therefore, although the perseverance of French settlers, and the wonderful explorations of La Salle and his followers, were able to make France possessor of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, fencing in the English, the doom of French transatlantic empire had already been decreed, and the restoration of 1632 was a vain ceremony.

On the return of the French Quebec was desolate: the habitation had been burnt; the houses of the Jesuit fathers nearly destroyed; the Indians had been kicked, cuffed, and frightened away; only a few French colonists, who had remained there by Champlain's advice, gave an appearance of life. These welcomed their compatriots with joy.

Champlain himself did not go to Canada till the following year, when he was sent out by Richelieu as his lieutenant, and resumed his hard task as commander of the little settlement. With his usual energy he began the reconstruction of the habitation, and strengthened the fort. He reëstablished friendly relations with the Indians, forbade the sale of spirits or wine to them, prepared a market place, a habitation, and a fort at Three Rivers, some twenty leagues up the St. Lawrence, for the barter of furs, and endeavored to arouse the authorities in France to the need of a strong campaign against the Iroquois. But he was now an old man; the trading company, eager for immediate dividends, cared little for the evil that might come after their day; and Richelieu was busy with many cares at home.

Harassed by anxieties, Champlain became more pious in the observance of religious ritual. His confessor, Father Le Jeune, a Jesuit, for none of the Récollet brethren had been allowed to return, wrote: "The fort seemed like a well-managed school: in the morning at table M. de Champlain heard read aloud some good history, and at night the lives of the saints; in the evening there was private meditation, and then prayers were said kneeling. The Angelus was rung at dawn, at midday, and at sunset, according to the usage of the Church. In a word, we had reason to be comforted, seeing a chief so zealous for the glory of our Lord, and for the good of the settlement."

On a column before the church were posted prohibitions and their penalties; men must not swear, neither get drunk, nor absent themselves from mass or divine service on feast days. A pillory was set up hard by as a warning, and once a drunken blasphemer was put in it as an example to evil-doers. A chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of the Recovery, was built where now stands the Cathedral of Notre Dame; and the Jesuits prayed and preached to Frenchmen and Indians, with great content and success.

Age brought to Champlain a gloomier cast of mind; life lost its adventurous interest, the color faded from expected travels toward the north, and from hoped-for voyages to the west over the great fresh-water seas, and he turned toward contemplation of a life to come. His wife had remained in France, eager to become a nun, and well provided for; so he made his will, bequeathing his little property of 4000 livres to the Virgin Mary. To this bequest the Jesuits laid claim, as her representatives on earth; but the will was broken in the French courts for some legal defect.

We of to-day, being children of this world, had rather have seen this wandering Ulysses, to the last, urging his comrades westward;

                      "for my purpose holds

    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

    Of all the western stars, until I die."

But perhaps we lack sympathy, imagination, and insight. A noble man is likely to have a noble religion, and Champlain's piety never interfered with his devotion to his country. In the last letter of his which we have, he wrote to Richelieu commending Canada to his protection.

       SIRE,--The honor of the commands which I have received

   from your Eminence has uplifted my courage to render

   service of all kinds with as great fidelity and affection

   as one could wish from a faithful servant. I will spare

   neither my blood nor my life, if there be occasion for

   either. I trust that your Eminence will stoop your

   authority to a consideration of the condition of this

   land, which stretches more than fifteen hundred leagues

   from east to west. It has the same latitudes as our

   France; it is watered by one of the world's noblest

   rivers. Here live innumerable people,--some dwell in

   cities and villages,  others wander about hunting and

   fishing. They only need the help of Frenchmen and of

   priests to learn our faith. The beauty and richness of

   this land cannot be praised or commended too much.

   Everything stretches out its arms to you, Monseigneur,

   and it seems as if God had given you to this generation

   for the very purpose of enjoying greater opportunities

   for good than any of your predecessors had. For thirty

   years I have been familiar with this land, and I have

   learned to know it well; pardon my zeal, Monseigneur, if

   I say to you, that, as your renown has spread to the

   east, so let it extend to the west. Make the English

   respect our rights. Danger from them removed, within

   twelve months, by the help of one hundred and twenty

   French soldiers, we could subdue the Iroquois, and then

   worship and trade would increase beyond belief.

   The cost of one hundred and twenty men is little to his

   Majesty, the enterprise is as full of honor as could be

   wished, and all for the glory of God, whom I pray with

   all my heart to give to you increase of prosperity all

   your days, and to grant to me to be, all the rest of my

   life, your very humble, very faithful and obedient

   servant,

                                            CHAMPLAIN.

      QUEBEC, NEW FRANCE,

      August 15, 1635.

The lord cardinal, however, was straining every nerve to break the power of Austria and Spain, and the petitions of New France sounded faint in his ears.

Champlain was not destined to do more towards incorporating within the realm of his dear France the fair new country beyond the sea. Sixty-eight years of hard life overcame his constitution at last, paralysis struck him, and on Christmas day, 1635, he died. His confessor said, "He was born again in Heaven; at least we can say that his death was filled with blessings. I believe that God has done him this favor, in consideration of the good that he had done for New France, where, we hope, one day God will be loved and served by us French, and will be known and worshiped by the Indians. It is true that he has lived in great justice and equity, in perfect faithfulness toward his king, and toward the gentlemen of the company; but at death he perfected his virtues, with sentiments of piety so great that we all marvelled."

Champlain was very noble in public and in private life, simple, just, honorable, and kind, with a tenderness toward the weak, and a steadfast, patient loyalty in trouble, that with his "insuppressive mettle" make him one of the worthiest, if not the worthiest, man in the early history of North America.


THE END

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