Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys



1615, 1616.


The lot of the favored guest of an Indian camp or village is idleness
without repose, for he is never left alone, with the repletion of
incessant and inevitable feasts. Tired of this inane routine, Champlain,
with some of his Frenchmen, set forth on a tour of observation.
Journeying at their ease by the Indian trails, they visited, in three
days, five palisaded villages. The country delighted them, with its
meadows, its deep woods, its pine and cedar thickets, full of hares and
partridges, its wild grapes and plums, cherries, crab-apples, nuts, and
raspberries. It was the seventeenth of August when they reached the
Huron metropolis, Cahiague, in the modern township of Orillia, three
leagues west of the river Severn, by which Lake Simcoe pours its waters
into the bay of Matchedash. A shrill clamor of rejoicing, the fixed
stare of wondering squaws, and the screaming flight of terrified
children hailed the arrival of Champlain. By his estimate, the place
contained two hundred lodges; but they must have been relatively small,
since, had they been of the enormous capacity sometimes found in these
structures, Cahiague alone would have held the whole Huron population.
Here was the chief rendezvous, and the town swarmed with gathering
warriors. There was cheering news; for an allied nation, called
Carantonans, probably identical with the Andastes, had promised to join
the Hurons in the enemy's country, with five hundred men. Feasts and the
war-dance consumed the days, till at length the tardy bands had all
arrived; and, shouldering their canoes and scanty baggage, the naked
host set forth.

At the outlet of Lake Simcoe they all stopped to fish,--their simple
substitute for a commissariat. Hence, too, the intrepid Etienne Brule,
at his own request, was sent with twelve Indians to hasten forward the
five hundred allied warriors,--a dangerous venture, since his course
must lie through the borders of the Iroquois.

He set out on the eighth of September, and on the morning of the tenth,
Champlain, shivering in his blanket, awoke to see the meadows sparkling
with an early frost, soon to vanish under the bright autumnal sun. The
Huron fleet pursued its course along Lake Simcoe, across the portage to
Balsam or Sturgeon Lake, and down the chain of lakes which form the
sources of the river Trent. As the long line of canoes moved on its way,
no human life was seen, no sign of friend or foe; yet at times, to the
fancy of Champlain, the borders of the stream seemed decked with groves
and shrubbery by the hands of man, and the walnut trees, laced with
grape-vines, seemed decorations of a pleasure-ground.

They stopped and encamped for a deer-hunt. Five hundred Indians, in
line, like the skirmishers of an army advancing to battle, drove the
game to the end of a woody point; and the canoe-men killed them with
spears and arrows as they took to the river. Champlain and his men
keenly relished the sport, but paid a heavy price for their pleasure. A
Frenchman, firing at a buck, brought down an Indian, and there was need
of liberal gifts to console the sufferer and his friends.

The canoes now issued from the mouth of the Trent. Like a flock of
venturous wild-fowl, they put boldly out upon Lake Ontario, crossed it
in safety, and landed within the borders of New York, on or near the
point of land west of Hungry Bay. After hiding their light craft in the
woods, the warriors took up their swift and wary march, filing in
silence between the woods and the lake, for four leagues along the
strand. Then they struck inland, threaded the forest, crossed the outlet
of Lake Oneida, and after a march of four days, were deep within the
limits of the Iroquois. On the ninth of October some of their scouts met
a fishing-party of this people, and captured them,--eleven in number,
men, women, and children. They were brought to the camp of the exultant
Hurons. As a beginning of the jubilation, a chief cut off a finger of
one of the women, but desisted from further torturing on the angry
protest of Champlain, reserving that pleasure for a more convenient

On the next day they reached an open space in the forest. The hostile
town was close at hand, surrounded by rugged fields with a slovenly and
savage cultivation. The young Hurons in advance saw the Iroquois at work
among the pumpkins and maize, gathering their rustling harvest. Nothing
could restrain the hare-brained and ungoverned crew. They screamed their
war-cry and rushed in; but the Iroquois snatched their weapons, killed
and wounded five or six of the assailants, and drove back the rest
discomfited. Champlain and his Frenchmen were forced to interpose; and
the report of their pieces from the border of the woods stopped the
pursuing enemy, who withdrew to their defences, bearing with them their
dead and wounded.

It appears to have been a fortified town of the Onondagas, the central
tribe of the Iroquois confederacy, standing, there is some reason to
believe, within the limits of Madison County, a few miles south of Lake
Oneida. Champlain describes its defensive works as much stronger than
those of the Huron villages. They consisted of four concentric rows of
palisades, formed of trunks of trees, thirty feet high, set aslant in
the earth, and intersecting each other near the top, where they
supported a kind of gallery, well defended by shot-proof timber, and
furnished with wooden gutters for quenching fire. A pond or lake, which
washed one side of the palisade, and was led by sluices within the town,
gave an ample supply of water, while the galleries were well provided
with magazines of stones.

Champlain was greatly exasperated at the desultory and futile procedure
of his Huron allies. Against his advice, they now withdrew to the
distance of a cannon-shot from the fort, and encamped in the forest, out
of sight of the enemy. "I was moved," he says, "to speak to them roughly
and harshly enough, in order to incite them to do their duty; for I
foresaw that if things went according to their fancy, nothing but harm
could come of it, to their loss and ruin. He proceeded, therefore, to
instruct them in the art of war."

In the morning, aided doubtless by his ten or twelve Frenchmen, they set
themselves with alacrity to their prescribed task. A wooden tower was
made, high enough to overlook the palisade, and large enough to shelter
four or five marksmen. Huge wooden shields, or movable parapets, like
the mantelets of the Middle Ages, were also constructed. Four hours
sufficed to finish the work, and then the assault began. Two hundred of
the strongest warriors dragged the tower forward, and planted it within
a pike's length of the palisade. Three arquebusiers mounted to the top,
where, themselves well sheltered, they opened a raking fire along the
galleries, now thronged with wild and naked defenders. But nothing could
restrain the ungovernable Hurons. They abandoned their mantelets, and,
deaf to every command, swarmed out like bees upon the open field,
leaped, shouted, shrieked their war-cries, and shot off their arrows;
while the Iroquois, yelling defiance from their ramparts, sent back a
shower of stones and arrows in reply. A Huron, bolder than the rest, ran
forward with firebrands to burn the palisade, and others followed with
wood to feed the flame. But it was stupidly kindled on the leeward side,
without the protecting shields designed to cover it; and torrents of
water, poured down from the gutters above, quickly extinguished it. The
confusion was redoubled. Champlain strove in vain to restore order. Each
warrior was yelling at the top of his throat, and his voice was drowned
in the outrageous din. Thinking, as he says, that his head would split
with shouting, he gave over the attempt, and busied himself and his men
with picking off the Iroquois along their ramparts.

The attack lasted three hours, when the assailants fell back to their
fortified camp, with seventeen warriors wounded. Champlain, too, had
received an arrow in the knee, and another in the leg, which, for the
time, disabled him. He was urgent, however, to renew the attack; while
the Hurons, crestfallen and disheartened, refused to move from their
camp unless the five hundred allies, for some time expected, should
appear. They waited five days in vain, beguiling the interval with
frequent skirmishes, in which they were always worsted; then began
hastily to retreat, carrying their wounded in the centre, while the
Iroquois, sallying from their stronghold, showered arrows on their
flanks and rear. The wounded, Champlain among the rest, after being
packed in baskets made on the spot, were carried each on the back of a
strong warrior, "bundled in a heap," says Champlain, "doubled and
strapped together after such a fashion that one could move no more than
an infant in swaddling-clothes. The pain is extreme, as I can truly say
from experience, having been carried several days in this way, since I
could not stand, chiefly on account of the arrow-wound I had got in the
knee. I never was in such torment in my life, for the pain of the wound
was nothing to that of being bound and pinioned on the back of one of
our savages. I lost patience, and as soon as I could bear my weight I
got out of this prison, or rather out of hell."

At length the dismal march was ended. They reached the spot where their
canoes were hidden, found them untouched, embarked, and recrossed to the
northern shore of Lake Ontario. The Hurons had promised Champlain an
escort to Quebec; but as the chiefs had little power, in peace or war,
beyond that of persuasion, each warrior found good reasons for refusing
to lend his canoe. Champlain, too, had lost prestige. The "man with the
iron breast" had proved not inseparably wedded to victory; and though
the fault was their own, yet not the less was the lustre of their hero
tarnished. There was no alternative. He must winter with the Hurons. The
great war party broke into fragments, each band betaking itself to its
hunting-ground. A chief named Durantal, or Darontal, offered Champlain
the shelter of his lodge, and he was glad to accept it.

Meanwhile, Etienne Brule had found cause to rue the hour when he
undertook his hazardous mission to the Carantonan allies. Three years
passed before Champlain saw him. It was in the summer of 1618, that,
reaching the Saut St. Louis, he there found the interpreter, his hands
and his swarthy face marked with traces of the ordeal he had passed.
Brule then told him his story.

He had gone, as already mentioned, with twelve Indians, to hasten the
march of the allies, who were to join the Hurons before the hostile
town. Crossing Lake Ontario, the party pushed onward with all speed,
avoiding trails, threading the thickest forests and darkest swamps, for
it was the land of the fierce and watchful Iroquois. They were well
advanced on their way when they saw a small party of them crossing a
meadow, set upon them, surprised them, killed four, and took two
prisoners, whom they led to Carantonan,--a palisaded town with a
population of eight hundred warriors, or about four thousand souls. The
dwellings and defences were like those of the Hurons, and the town seems
to have stood on or near the upper waters of the Susquehanna. They were
welcomed with feasts, dances, and an uproar of rejoicing. The five
hundred warriors prepared to depart; but, engrossed by the general
festivity, they prepared so slowly, that, though the hostile town was
but three days distant, they found on reaching it that the besiegers
were gone. Brule now returned with them to Carantonan, and, with
enterprise worthy of his commander, spent the winter in a tour of
exploration. Descending a river, evidently the Susquehanna, he followed
it to its junction with the sea, through territories of populous tribes,
at war the one with the other. When, in the spring, he returned to
Carantonan, five or six of the Indians offered to guide him towards his
countrymen. Less fortunate than before, he encountered on the way a band
of Iroquois, who, rushing upon the party, scattered them through the
woods. Brule ran like the rest. The cries of pursuers and pursued died
away in the distance. The forest was silent around him. He was lost in
the shady labyrinth. For three or four days he wandered, helpless and
famished, till at length he found an Indian foot-path, and, choosing
between starvation and the Iroquois, desperately followed it to throw
himself on their mercy. He soon saw three Indians in the distance, laden
with fish newly caught, and called to them in the Huron tongue, which
was radically similar to that of the Iroquois. They stood amazed, then
turned to fly; but Brule, gaunt with famine, flung down his weapons in
token of friendship. They now drew near, listened to the story of his
distress, lighted their pipes, and smoked with him; then guided him to
their village, and gave him food.

A crowd gathered about him. "Whence do you come? Are you not one of the
Frenchmen, the men of iron, who make war on us?"

Brule answered that he was of a nation better than the French, and fast
friends of the Iroquois.

His incredulous captors tied him to a tree, tore out his beard by
handfuls, and burned him with fire-brands, while their chief vainly
interposed in his behalf. He was a good Catholic, and wore an Agnus Dei
at his breast. One of his torturers asked what it was, and thrust out
his hand to take it.

"If you touch it," exclaimed Brule, "you and all your race will die."

The Indian persisted. The day was hot, and one of those thunder-gusts
which often succeed the fierce heats of an American midsummer was rising
against the sky. Brule pointed to the inky clouds as tokens of the anger
of his God. The storm broke, and, as the celestial artillery boomed over
their darkening forests, the Iroquois were stricken with a superstitious
terror. They all fled from the spot, leaving their victim still bound
fast, until the chief who had endeavored to protect him returned, cut
the cords, led him to his lodge, and dressed his wounds. Thenceforth
there was neither dance nor feast to which Brule was not invited; and
when he wished to return to his countrymen, a party of Iroquois guided
him four days on his way. He reached the friendly Hurons in safety, and
joined them on their yearly descent to meet the French traders at

Brule's adventures find in some points their counterpart in those of his
commander on the winter hunting-grounds of his Huron allies. As we turn
the ancient, worm-eaten page which preserves the simple record of his
fortunes, a wild and dreary scene rises before the mind,--a chill
November air, a murky sky, a cold lake, bare and shivering forests, the
earth strewn with crisp brown leaves, and, by the water-side, the bark
sheds and smoking camp-fires of a band of Indian hunters. Champlain was
of the party. There was ample occupation for his gun, for the morning
was vocal with the clamor of wild-fowl, and his evening meal was
enlivened by the rueful music of the wolves. It was a lake north or
northwest of the site of Kingston. On the borders of a neighboring
river, twenty-five of the Indians had been busied ten days in preparing
for their annual deer-hunt. They planted posts interlaced with boughs in
two straight converging lines, each extending mere than half a mile
through forests and swamps. At the angle where they met was made a
strong enclosure like a pound. At dawn of day the hunters spread
themselves through the woods, and advanced with shouts, clattering of
sticks, and howlings like those of wolves, driving the deer before them
into the enclosure, where others lay in wait to despatch them with
arrows and spears.

Champlain was in the woods with the rest, when he saw a bird whose novel
appearance excited his attention; and, gun in hand, he went in pursuit.
The bird, flitting from tree to tree, lured him deeper and deeper into
the forest; then took wing and vanished. The disappointed sportsman
tried to retrace his steps. But the day was clouded, and he had left his
pocket-compass at the camp. The forest closed around him, trees mingled
with trees in endless confusion. Bewildered and lost, he wandered all
day, and at night slept fasting at the foot of a tree. Awaking, he
wandered on till afternoon, when he reached a pond slumbering in the
shadow of the woods. There were water-fowl along its brink, some of
which he shot, and for the first time found food to allay his hunger. He
kindled a fire, cooked his game, and, exhausted, blanketless, drenched
by a cold rain, made his prayer to Heaven, and again lay down to sleep.
Another day of blind and weary wandering succeeded, and another night of
exhaustion. He had found paths in the wilderness, but they were not made
by human feet. Once more roused from his shivering repose, he journeyed
on till he heard the tinkling of a little brook, and bethought him of
following its guidance, in the hope that it might lead him to the river
where the hunters were now encamped. With toilsome steps he followed the
infant stream, now lost beneath the decaying masses of fallen trunks or
the impervious intricacies of matted "windfalls," now stealing through
swampy thickets or gurgling in the shade of rocks, till it entered at
length, not into the river, but into a small lake. Circling around the
brink, he found the point where the brook ran out and resumed its
course. Listening in the dead stillness of the woods, a dull, hoarse
sound rose upon his ear. He went forward, listened again, and could
plainly hear the plunge of waters. There was light in the forest before
him, and, thrusting himself through the entanglement of bushes, he stood
on the edge of a meadow. Wild animals were here of various kinds; some
skulking in the bordering thickets, some browsing on the dry and matted
grass. On his right rolled the river, wide and turbulent, and along its
bank he saw the portage path by which the Indians passed the neighboring
rapids. He gazed about him. The rocky hills seemed familiar to his eye.
A clew was found at last; and, kindling his evening fire, with grateful
heart he broke a long fast on the game he had killed. With the break of
day he descended at his ease along the bank, and soon descried the smoke
of the Indian fires curling in the heavy morning air against the gray
borders of the forest. The joy was great on both sides. The Indians had
searched for him without ceasing; and from that day forth his host,
Durantal, would never let him go into the forest alone.

They were thirty-eight days encamped on this nameless river, and killed
in that time a hundred and twenty deer. Hard frosts were needful to give
them passage over the land of lakes and marshes that lay between them
and the Huron towns. Therefore they lay waiting till the fourth of
December; when the frost came, bridged the lakes and streams, and made
the oozy marsh as firm as granite. Snow followed, powdering the broad
wastes with dreary white. Then they broke up their camp, packed their
game on sledges or on their shoulders, tied on their snowshoes, and
began their march. Champlain could scarcely endure his load, though some
of the Indians carried a weight fivefold greater. At night, they heard
the cleaving ice uttering its strange groans of torment, and on the
morrow there came a thaw. For four days they waded through slush and
water up to their knees; then came the shivering northwest wind, and all
was hard again. In nineteen days they reached the town of Cahiague, and,
lounging around their smoky lodge-fires, the hunters forgot the
hardships of the past.

For Champlain there was no rest. A double motive urged him,--discovery,
and the strengthening of his colony by widening its circle of trade.
First, he repaired to Carhagouha; and here he found the friar, in his
hermitage, still praying, preaching, making catechisms, and struggling
with the manifold difficulties of the Huron tongue. After spending
several weeks together, they began their journeyings, and in three days
reached the chief village of the Nation of Tobacco, a powerful tribe
akin to the Hurons, and soon to be incorporated with them. The
travellers visited seven of their towns, and then passed westward to
those of the people whom Champlain calls the Cheveax Releves, and whom
he commends for neatness and ingenuity no less than he condemns them for
the nullity of their summer attire. As the strangers passed from town to
town, their arrival was everywhere the signal of festivity. Champlain
exchanged pledges of amity with his hosts, and urged them to come down
with the Hurons to the yearly trade at Montreal.

Spring was now advancing, and, anxious for his colony, he turned
homeward, following that long circuit of Lake Huron and the Ottawa which
Iroquois hostility made the only practicable route. Scarcely had he
reached the Nipissings, and gained from them a pledge to guide him to
that delusive northern sea which never ceased to possess his thoughts,
when evil news called him back in haste to the Huron towns. A band of
those Algonquins who dwelt on the great island in the Ottawa had spent
the winter encamped near Cahiague, whose inhabitants made them a present
of an Iroquois prisoner, with the friendly intention that they should
enjoy the pleasure of torturing him. The Algonquins, on the contrary,
fed, clothed, and adopted him. On this, the donors, in a rage, sent a
warrior to kill the Iroquois. He stabbed him, accordingly, in the midst
of the Algonquin chiefs, who in requital killed the murderer. Here was a
casus belli involving most serious issues for the French, since the
Algonquins, by their position on the Ottawa, could cut off the Hurons
and all their allies from coming down to trade. Already a fight had
taken place at Cahiague the principal Algonquin chief had been wounded,
and his band forced to purchase safety by a heavy tribute of
wampum[FN#33] and a gift of two female prisoners.

All eyes turned to Champlain as umpire of the quarrel. The great
council-house was filled with Huron and Algonquin cltiefs, smoking with
that immobility of feature beneath which their race often hide a more
than tiger-like ferocity. The umpire addressed the assembly, enlarged on
the folly of falling to blows between themselves when the common enemy
stood ready to devour them both, extolled the advantages of the French
trade and alliance, and, with zeal not wholly disinterested, urged them
to shake hands like brothers. The friendly counsel was accepted, the
pipe of peace was smoked, the storm dispelled, and the commerce of New
France rescued from a serious peril.

Once more Champlain turned homeward, and with him went his Huron host,
Durantal. Le Caron had preceded him; and, on the eleventh of July, the
fellow-travellers met again in the infant capital of Canada. The Indians
had reported that Champlain was dead, and he was welcomed as one risen
from the grave. The friars, who were all here, chanted lands in their
chapel, with a solemn mass and thanksgiving. To the two travelers, fresh
from the hardships of the wilderness, the hospitable board of Quebec,
the kindly society of countrymen and friends, the adjacent gardens,--
always to Champlain an object of especial interest,--seemed like the
comforts and repose of home.

The chief Durantal found entertainment worthy of his high estate. The
fort, the ship, the armor, the plumes, the cannon, the marvellous
architecture of the houses and barracks, the splendors of the chapel,
and above all the good cheer outran the boldest excursion of his fancy;
and he paddled back at last to his lodge in the woods, bewildered with
astonishment and admiration.




At Quebec the signs of growth were faint and few. By the water-side,
under the cliff, the so-called "habitation," built in haste eight years
before, was already tottering, and Champlain was forced to rebuild it.
On the verge of the rock above, where now are seen the buttresses of the
demolished castle of St. Louis, he began, in 1620, a fort, behind which
were fields and a few buildings. A mile or more distant, by the bank of
the St. Charles, where the General Hospital now stands, the Recollets,
in the same year, built for themselves a small stone house, with ditches
and outworks for defence; and here they began a farm, the stock
consisting of several hogs, a pair of asses, a pair of geese, seven
pairs of fowls, and four pairs of ducks. The only other agriculturist in
the colony was Louis Hebert, who had come to Canada in 1617 with a wife
and three children, and who made a house for himself on the rock, at a
little distance from Champlain's fort.

Besides Quebec, there were the three trading-stations of Montreal, Three
Rivers, and Tadoussac, occupied during a part of the year. Of these,
Tadoussac was still the most important. Landing here from France in
1617, the Recollet Paul Huet said mass for the first time in a chapel
built of branches, while two sailors standing beside him waved green
boughs to drive off the mosquitoes. Thither afterward came Brother
Gervais Mohier, newly arrived in Canada; and meeting a crowd of Indians
in festal attire, he was frightened at first, suspecting that they might
be demons. Being invited by them to a feast, and told that he must not
decline, he took his place among a party of two hundred, squatted about
four large kettles full of fish, bear's meat, pease, and plums, mixed
with figs, raisins, and biscuit procured at great cost from the traders,
the whole boiled together and well stirred with a canoe-paddle. As the
guest did no honor to the portion set before him, his entertainers tried
to tempt his appetite with a large lump of bear's fat, a supreme luxury
in their eyes. This only increased his embarrassment, and he took a
hasty leave, uttering the ejaculation, "ho, ho, ho!" which, as he had
been correctly informed, was the proper mode of acknowledgment to the
master of the feast.

A change had now begun in the life of Champlain. His forest rovings were
over. To battle with savages and the elements was more congenial with
his nature than to nurse a puny colony into growth and strength; yet to
each task he gave himself with the same strong devotion.

His difficulties were great. Quebec was half trading-factory, half
mission. Its permanent inmates did not exceed fifty or sixty persons,--
fur-traders, friars, and two or three wretched families, who had no
inducement, and little wish, to labor. The fort is facetiously
represented as having two old women for garrison, and a brace of hens
for sentinels. All was discord and disorder. Champlain was the nominal
commander; but the actual authority was with the merchants, who held,
excepting the friars, nearly everybody in their pay. Each was jealous of
the other, but all were united in a common jealousy of Champlain. The
few families whom they brought over were forbidden to trade with the
Indians, and compelled to sell the fruits of their labor to the agents
of the company at a low, fixed price, receiving goods in return at an
inordinate valuation. Some of the merchants were of Ronen, some of St.
Malo; some were Catholics, some were Huguenots. Hence unceasing
bickerings. All exercise of the Reformed religion, on land or water, was
prohibited within the limits of New France; but the Huguenots set the
prohibition at naught, roaring their heretical psalmody with such vigor
from their ships in the river that the unhallowed strains polluted the
ears of the Indians on shore. The merchants of Rochelle, who had refused
to join the company, carried on a bold illicit traffic along the borders
of the St. Lawrence, endangering the colony by selling fire-arms to the
Indians, eluding pursuit, or, if hard pressed, showing fight; and this
was a source of perpetual irritation to the incensed monopolists.

The colony could not increase. The company of merchants, though pledged
to promote its growth, did what they could to prevent it. They were
fur-traders, and the interests of the fur-trade are always opposed to
those of settlement and population. They feared, too, and with reason,
that their monopoly might be suddenly revoked, like that of De Monts,
and they thought only of making profit from it while it lasted. They had
no permanent stake in the country; nor had the men in their employ, who
formed nearly all the scanty population of Canada. Few, if any, of these
had brought wives to the colony, and none of them thought of cultivating
the soil. They formed a floating population, kept from starving by
yearly supplies from France.

Champlain, in his singularly trying position, displayed a mingled zeal
and fortitude. He went every year to France, laboring for the interests
of the colony. To throw open the trade to all competitors was a measure
beyond the wisdom of the times; and he hoped only to bind and regulate
the monopoly so as to make it subserve the generous purpose to which he
had given himself. The imprisonment of Conde was a source of fresh
embarrassment; but the young Duo de Montmorency assumed his place,
purchasing from him the profitable lieuteuancy of New France for eleven
thousand crowns, and continuing Champlain in command. Champlain had
succeeded in binding the company of merchants with new and more
stringent engagements; and, in the vain belief that these might not be
wholly broken, he began to conceive fresh hopes for the colony. In this
faith he embarked with his wife for Quebec in the spring of 1620; and,
as the boat drew near the landing, the cannon welcomed her to the rock
of her banishment. The buildings were falling to ruin; rain entered on
all sides; the courtyard, says Champlain, was as squalid and dilapidated
as a grange pillaged by soldiers. Madame de Champlain was still very
young. If the Ursuline tradition is to be trusted, the Indians, amazed
at her beauty and touched by her gentleness, would have worshipped her
as a divinity. Her husband had married her at the age of twelve when, to
his horror, he presently discovered that she was infected with the
heresies of her father, a disguised Huguenot. He addressed himself at
once to her conversion, and his pious efforts were something more than
successful. During the four years which she passed in Canada, her zeal,
it is true, was chiefly exercised in admonishing Indian squaws and
catechising their children; but, on her return to France, nothing would
content her but to become a nun. Champlain refused; but, as she was
childless, he at length consented to a virtual though not formal
separation. After his death she gained her wish, became an Ursuline nun,
founded a convent of that order at Meaux, and died with a reputation
almost saintly.

At Quebec, matters grew from bad to worse. The few emigrants, with no
inducement to labor, fell into a lazy apathy, lounging about the
trading-houses, gaming, drinking when drink could be had, or roving into
the woods on vagabond hunting excursions. The Indians could not be
trusted. In the year 1617 they had murdered two men near the end of the
Island of Orleans. Frightened at what they had done, and incited perhaps
by other causes, the Montagnais and their kindred bands mustered at
Three Rivers to the number of eight hundred, resolved to destroy the
French. The secret was betrayed; and the childish multitude, naked and
famishing, became suppliants to their intended victims for the means of
life. The French, themselves at the point of starvation, could give
little or nothing. An enemy far more formidable awaited them; and now
were seen the fruits of Champlain's intermeddling in Indian wars. In the
summer of 1622, the Iroquois descended upon the settlement. A strong
party of their warriors hovered about Quebec, but, still fearful of the
arquebuse, forbore to attack it, and assailed the Recollet convent on
the St. Charles. The prudent friars had fortified themselves. While some
prayed in the chapel, the rest, with their Indian converts, manned the
walls. The Iroquois respected their palisades and demi-lunes, and
withdrew, after burning two Huron prisoners.

Yielding at length to reiterated complaints, the Viceroy Montmorency
suppressed the company of St. Malo and Rouen, and conferred the trade of
New France, burdened with similar conditions destined to be similarly
broken, on two Huguenots, William and emery de Caen. The change was a
signal for fresh disorders. The enraged monopolists refused to yield.
The rival traders filled Quebec with their quarrels; and Champlain,
seeing his authority set at naught, was forced to occupy his newly built
fort with a band of armed followers. The evil rose to such a pitch that
he joined with the Recollets and the better-disposed among the colonists
in sending one of the friars to lay their grievances before the King.
The dispute was compromised by a temporary union of the two companies,
together with a variety of arrets and regulations, suited, it was
thought, to restore tranquillity.

A new change was at hand. Montmorency, tired of his viceroyalty, which
gave him ceaseless annoyance, sold it to his nephew, Henri de Levis, Duc
de Ventadour. It was no worldly motive which prompted this young
nobleman to assume the burden of fostering the infancy of New France. He
had retired from the court, and entered into holy orders. For trade and
colonization he cared nothing; the conversion of infidels was his sole
care. The Jesuits had the keeping of his conscience, and in his eyes
they were the most fitting instruments for his purpose. The Recollets,
it is true, had labored with an unflagging devotion. The six friars of
their Order--for this was the number which the Calvinist Caen had bound
himself to support--had established five distinct missions, extending
from Acadia to the borders of Lake Huron; but the field was too vast for
their powers. Ostensibly by a spontaneous movement of their own, but in
reality, it is probable, under influences brought to bear on them from
without, the Recollets applied for the assistance of the Jesuits, who,
strong in resources as in energy, would not be compelled to rest on the
reluctant support of Huguenots. Three of their brotherhood--Charles
Lalemant, Enemond Masse, and Jean de Brebeuf--accordingly embarked;
and, fourteen years after Biard and Masse had landed in Acadia, Canada
beheld for the first time those whose names stand so prominent in her
annals,--the mysterious followers of Loyola. Their reception was most
inauspicious. Champlain was absent. Caen would not lodge them in the
fort; the traders would not admit them to their houses. Nothing seemed
left for them but to return as they came; when a boat, bearing several
Recollets, approached the ship to proffer them the hospitalities of the
convent on the St. Charles. They accepted the proffer, and became guests
of the charitable friars, who nevertheless entertained a lurking
jealousy of these formidable co-workers.

The Jesuits soon unearthed and publicly burnt a libel against their
Order belonging to some of the traders. Their strength was soon
increased. The Fathers Noirot and De la Noue landed, with twenty
laborers, and the Jesuits were no longer houseless. Brebeuf set forth
for the arduous mission of the Hurons; but on arriving at Trois Rivieres
he learned that one of his Franciscan predecessors, Nicolas Viel, had
recently been drowned by Indians of that tribe, in the rapid behind
Montreal, known to this day as the Saut au Recollet. Less ambitious for
martyrdom than he afterwards approved himself, he postponed his voyage
to a more auspicious season. In the following spring he renewed the
attempt, in company with De la Noue and one of the friars. The Indians,
however, refused to receive him into their canoes, alleging that his
tall and portly frame would overset them; and it was only by dint of
many presents that their pretended scruples could be conquered. Brebeuf
embarked with his companions, and, after months of toil, reached the
barbarous scene of his labors, his sufferings, and his death.

Meanwhile the Viceroy had been deeply scandalized by the contumacious
heresy of Emery de Caen, who not only assembled his Huguenot sailors at
prayers, but forced Catholics to join them. He was ordered thenceforth
to prohibit his crews from all praying and psalm-singing on the river
St. Lawrence. The crews revolted, and a compromise was made. It was
agreed that for the present they might pray, but not sing. "A bad
bargain," says the pious Champlain, "but we made the best of it we
could." Caen, enraged at the Viceroy's reproofs, lost no opportunity to
vent his spleen against the Jesuits, whom he cordially hated.

Eighteen years had passed since the founding of Quebec, and still the
colony could scarcely be said to exist but in the founder's brain. Those
who should have been its support were engrossed by trade or
propagandism. Champlain might look back on fruitless toils, hopes
deferred, a life spent seemingly in vain. The population of Quebec had
risen to a hundred and five persons, men, women, and children. Of these,
one or two families only had learned to support themselves from the
products of the soil. All withered under the monopoly of the Caens.
Champlain had long desired to rebuild the fort, which was weak and
ruinous; but the merchants would not grant the men and means which, by
their charter, they were bound to furnish. At length, however, his
urgency in part prevailed, and the work began to advance. Meanwhile the
Caens and their associates had greatly prospered, paying, it is said, an
annual dividend of forty per cent. In a single year they brought from
Canada twenty-two thousand beaver skins, though the usual number did not
exceed twelve or fifteen thousand.

While infant Canada was thus struggling into a half-stifled being, the
foundation of a commonwealth destined to a marvellous vigor of
development had been laid on the Rock of Plymouth. In their character,
as in their destiny, the rivals were widely different; yet, at the
outset, New England was unfaithful to the principle of freedom. New
England Protestantism appealed to Liberty, then closed the door against
her; for all Protestantism is an appeal from priestly authority to the
right of private judgment, and the New England Puritan, after claiming
this right for himself, denied it to all who differed with him. On a
stock of freedom he grafted a scion of despotism; yet the vital juices
of the root penetrated at last to the uttermost branches, and nourished
them to an irrepressible strength and expansion. With New France it was
otherwise. She was consistent to the last. Root, stem, and branch, she
was the nursling of authority. Deadly absolutism blighted her early and
her later growth. Friars and Jesuits, a Ventadour and a Richelieu,
shaped her destinies. All that conflicted against advancing liberty--
the centralized power of the crown and the tiara, the ultramontane in
religion, the despotic in policy--found their fullest expression and
most fatal exercise. Her records shine with glorious deeds, the
self-devotion of heroes and of martyrs; and the result of all is
disorder, imbecility, ruin.

The great champion of absolutism, Richelieu, was now supreme in France.
His thin frame, pale cheek, and cold, calm eye, concealed an inexorable
will and a mind of vast capacity, armed with all the resources of
boldness and of craft. Under his potent agency, the royal power, in the
weak hands of Louis the Thirteenth, waxed and strengthened daily,
triumphing over the factions of the court, the turbulence of the
Huguenots, the ambitious independence of the nobles, and all the
elements of anarchy which, since the death of Henry the Fourth, had
risen into fresh life. With no friends and a thousand enemies, disliked
and feared by the pitiful King whom he served, making his tool by turns
of every party and of every principle, he advanced by countless crooked
paths towards his object,--the greatness of France under a concentrated
and undivided authority.

In the midst of more urgent cares, he addressed himself to fostering the
commercial and naval power. Montmorency then held the ancient charge of
Admiral of France. Richelieu bought it, suppressed it, and, in its
stead, constituted himself Grand Master and Superintendent of Navigation
and Commerce. In this new capacity, the mismanaged affairs of New France
were not long concealed from him; and he applied a prompt and powerful
remedy. The privileges of the Caens were annulled. A company was formed,
to consist of a hundred associates, and to be called the Company of New
France. Richelieu himself was the head, and the Marechal Deffiat and
other men of rank, besides many merchants and burghers of condition,
were members. The whole of New France, from Florida to the Arctic
Circle, and from Newfoundland to the sources of the--St. Lawrence and
its tributary waters, was conferred on them forever, with the attributes
of sovereign power. A perpetual monopoly of the fur-trade was granted
them, with a monopoly of all other commerce within the limits of their
government for fifteen years. The trade of the colony was declared free,
for the same period, from all duties and imposts. Nobles, officers, and
ecclesiastics, members of the Company, might engage in commercial
pursuits without derogating from the privileges of their order; and, in
evidence of his good-will, the King gave them two ships of war, armed
and equipped.

On their part, the Company were bound to convey to New France during the
next year, 1628, two or three hundred men of all trades, and before the
year 1643 to increase the number to four thousand persons, of both
sexes; to lodge and support them for three years; and, this time
expired, to give them cleared lands for their maintenance. Every settler
must be a Frenchman and a Catholic; and for every new settlement at
least three ecclesiastics must be provided. Thus was New France to be
forever free from the taint of heresy. The stain of her infancy was to
be wiped away. Against the foreigner and the Huguenot the door was
closed and barred. England threw open her colonies to all who wished to
enter,--to the suffering and oppressed, the bold, active, and
enterprising. France shut out those who wished to come, and admitted
only those who did not,--the favored class who clung to the old faith
and had no motive or disposition to leave their homes. English
colonization obeyed a natural law, and sailed with wind and tide; French
colonization spent its whole struggling existence in futile efforts to
make head against them. The English colonist developed inherited freedom
on a virgin soil; the French colonist was pursued across the Atlantic by
a paternal despotism better in intention and more withering in effect
than that which he left behind. If, instead of excluding Huguenots,
France had given them an asylum in the west, and left them there to work
out their own destinies, Canada would never have been a British
province, and the United States would have shared their vast domain with
a vigorous population of self-governing Frenchmen.

A trading company was now feudal proprietor of all domains in North
America within the claim of France. Fealty and homage on its part, and
on the part of the Crown the appointment of supreme judicial officers,
and the confirmation of the titles of dukes, marquises, counts, and
barons, were the only reservations. The King heaped favors on the new
corporation. Twelve of the bourgeois members were ennobled; while
artisans and even manufacturers were tempted, by extraordinary
privileges, to emigrate to the New World. The associates, of whom
Champlain was one, entered upon their functions with a capital of three
hundred thousand livres.


1628, 1629.


The first care of the new Company was to succor Quebec, whose inmates
were on the verge of starvation. Four armed vessels, with a fleet of
transports commanded by Roquemont, one of the associates, sailed from
Dieppe with colonists and supplies in April, 1628; but nearly at the
same time another squadron, destined also for Quebec, was sailing from
an English port. War had at length broken out in France. The Huguenot
revolt had come to a head. Rochelle was in arms against the King; and
Richelieu, with his royal ward, was beleaguering it with the whole
strength of the kingdom. Charles the First of England, urged by the
heated passions of Buckingham, had declared himself for the rebels, and
sent a fleet to their aid. At home, Charles detested the followers of
Calvin as dangerous to his own authority; abroad, he befriended them as
dangerous to the authority of a rival. In France, Richelieu crushed
Protestantism as a curb to the house of Bourbon; in Germany, he nursed
and strengthened it as a curb to the house of Austria.

The attempts of Sir William Alexander to colonize Acadia had of late
turned attention in England towards the New World; and on the breaking
out of the war an expedition was set on foot, under the auspices of that
singular personage, to seize on the French possessions in North America.
It was a private enterprise, undertaken by London merchants, prominent
among whom was Gervase Kirke, an Englishman of Derbyshire, who had long
lived at Dieppe, and had there married a Frenchwoman. Gervase Kirke and
his associates fitted out three small armed ships, commanded
respectively by his sons David, Lewis, and Thomas. Letters of marque
were obtained from the King, and the adventurers were authorized to
drive out the French from Acadia and Canada. Many Huguenot refugees were
among the crews. Having been expelled from New France as settlers, the
persecuted sect were returning as enemies. One Captain Michel, who had
been in the service of the Caens, "a furious Calvinist," is said to have
instigated the attempt, acting, it is affirmed, under the influence of
one of his former employers.

Meanwhile the famished tenants of Quebec were eagerly waiting the
expected succor. Daily they gazed beyond Point Levi and along the
channels of Orleans, in the vain hope of seeing the approaching sails.
At length, on the ninth of July, two men, worn with struggling through
forests and over torrents, crossed the St. Charles and mounted the rock.
They were from Cape Tourmente, where Champlain had some time before
established an outpost, and they brought news that, according to the
report of Indians, six large vessels lay in the harbor of Tadoussac. The
friar Le Caron was at Quebec, and, with a brother Recollet, he went in a
canoe to gain further intelligence. As the missionary scouts were
paddling along the borders of the Island of Orleans, they met two canoes
advancing in hot haste, manned by Indians, who with shouts and gestures
warned them to turn back.

The friars, however, waited till the canoes came up, when they saw a man
lying disabled at the bottom of one of them, his moustaches burned by
the flash of the musket which had wounded him. He proved to be Foucher,
who commanded at Cape Tourmente. On that morning,--such was the story
of the fugitives,--twenty men had landed at that post from a small
fishing-vessel. Being to all appearance French, they were hospitably
received; but no sooner had they entered the houses than they began to
pillage and burn all before them, killing the cattle, wounding the
commandant, and making several prisoners.

The character of the fleet at Tadoussac was now sufficiently clear.
Quebec was incapable of defence. Only fifty pounds of gunpowder were
left in the magazine; and the fort, owing to the neglect and ill-will of
the Caens, was so wretchedly constructed, that, a few days before, two
towers of the main building had fallen. Champlain, however, assigned to
each man his post, and waited the result. On the next afternoon, a boat
was seen issuing from behind the Point of Orleans and hovering
hesitatingly about the mouth of the St. Charles. On being challenged,
the men on board proved to be Basque fishermen, lately captured by the
English, and now sent by Kirke unwilling messengers to Champlain.
Climbing the steep pathway to the fort, they delivered their letter,--a
summons, couched in terms of great courtesy, to surrender Quebec. There
was no hope but in courage. A bold front must supply the lack of
batteries and ramparts; and Champlain dismissed the Basques with a
reply, in which, with equal courtesy, he expressed his determination to
hold his position to the last.

All now stood on the watch, hourly expecting the enemy; when, instead of
the hostile squadron, a small boat crept into sight, and one Desdames,
with ten Frenchmen, landed at the storehouses. He brought stirring news.
The French commander, Roquemont, had despatched him to tell Champlain
that the ships of the Hundred Associates were ascending the St.
Lawrence, with reinforcements and supplies of all kinds. But on his way
Desdames had seen an ominous sight,--the English squadron standing
under full sail out of Tadoussac, and steering downwards as if to
intercept the advancing succor. He had only escaped them by dragging his
boat up the beach and hiding it; and scarcely were they out of sight
when the booming of cannon told him that the fight was begun.

Racked with suspense, the starving tenants of Quebec waited the result;
but they waited in vain. No white sail moved athwart the green solitudes
of Orleans. Neither friend nor foe appeared; and it was not till long
afterward that Indians brought them the tidings that Roquemont's crowded
transports had been overpowered, and all the supplies destined to
relieve their miseries sunk in the St. Lawrence or seized by the
victorious English. Kirke, however, deceived by the bold attitude of
Champlain, had been too discreet to attack Quebec, and after his victory
employed himself in cruising for French fishing-vessels along the
borders of the Gulf.

Meanwhile, the suffering at Quebec increased daily. Somewhat less than a
hundred men, women, and children were cooped up in the fort, subsisting
on a meagre pittance of pease and Indian corn. The garden of the
Heberts, the only thrifty settlers, was ransacked for every root or seed
that could afford nutriment. Months wore on, and in the spring the
distress had risen to such a pitch that Champlain had wellnigh resolved
to leave to the women, children, and sick the little food that remained,
and with the able-bodied men invade the Iroquois, seize one of their
villages, fortify himself in it, and sustain his followers on the buried
stores of maize with which the strongholds of these provident savages
were always furnished.

Seven ounces of pounded pease were now the daily food of each; and, at
the end of May, even this failed. Men, women, and children betook
themselves to the woods, gathering acorns and grubbing up roots. Those
of the plant called Solomon's seal were most in request. Some joined the
Hurons or the Algonquins; some wandered towards the Abenakis of Maine;
some descended in a boat to Gaspe, trusting to meet a French
fishing-vessel. There was scarcely one who would not have hailed the
English as deliverers. But the English had sailed home with their booty,
and the season was so late that there was little prospect of their
return. Forgotten alike by friends and foes, Quebec was on the verge of

On the morning of the nineteenth of July, an Indian, renowned as a
fisher of eels, who had built his hut on the St. Charles, hard by the
new dwelling of the Jesuits, came, with his usual imperturbability of
visage, to Champlain. He had just discovered three ships sailing up the
south channel of Orleans. Champlain was alone. All his followers were
absent, fishing or searching for roots. At about ten o'clock his servant
appeared with four small bags of roots, and the tidings that he had seen
the three ships a league off, behind Point Levi. As man after man
hastened in, Champlain ordered the starved and ragged band, sixteen in
all, to their posts, whence with hungry eyes, they watched the English
vessels anchoring in the basin below, and a boat with a white flag
moving towards the shore. A young officer landed with a summons to
surrender. The terms of capitulation were at length settled. The French
were to be conveyed to their own country, and each soldier was allowed
to take with him his clothes, and, in addition, a coat of beaver-skin.
On this some murmuring rose, several of those who had gone to the Hurons
having lately returned with peltry of no small value. Their complaints
were vain; and on the twentieth of July, amid the roar of cannon from
the ships, Lewis Kirke, the Admiral's brother, landed at the head of his
soldiers, and planted the cross of St. George where the followers of
Wolfe again planted it a hundred and thirty years later. After
inspecting the worthless fort, he repaired to the houses of the
Recollets and Jesuits on the St. Charles. He treated the former with
great courtesy, but displayed against the latter a violent aversion,
expressing his regret that he could not have begun his operations by
battering their house about their ears. The inhabitants had no cause to
complain of him. He urged the widow and family of the settler Hebert,
the patriarch, as he has been styled, of New France, to remain and enjoy
the fruits of their industry under English allegiance; and, as beggary
in France was the alternative, his offer was accepted.

Champlain, bereft of his command, grew restless, and begged to be sent
to Tadoussac, where the Admiral, David Kirke, lay with his main
squadron, having sent his brothers Lewis and Thomas to seize Quebec.
Accordingly, Champlain, with the Jesuits, embarking with Thomas Kirke,
descended the river. Off Mal Bay a strange sail was seen. As she
approached, she proved to be a French ship. in fact. she was on her way
to Quebec with supplies, which, if earlier sent, would have saved the
place. She had passed the Admiral's squadron in a fog; but here her good
fortune ceased. Thomas Kirke bore down on her, and the cannonade began.
The fight was hot and doubtful; but at length the French struck, and
Kirke sailed into Tadoussac with his prize. here lay his brother, the
Admiral, with five armed ships.

The Admiral's two voyages to Canada were private ventures; and though he
had captured nineteen fishing-vessels, besides Roquemont's eighteen
transports and other prizes, the result had not answered his hopes. His
mood, therefore, was far from benign, especially as he feared, that,
owing to the declaration of peace, he would be forced to disgorge a part
of his booty; yet, excepting the Jesuits, he treated his captives with
courtesy, and often amused himself with shooting larks on shore in
company with Champlain. The Huguenots, however, of whom there were many
in his ships, showed an exceeding bitterness against the Catholics.
Chief among them was Michel, who had instigated and conducted the
enterprise, the merchant admiral being but an indifferent seaman.
Michel, whose skill was great, held a high command and the title of
Rear-Admiral. He was a man of a sensitive temperament, easily piqued on
the point of honor. His morbid and irritable nerves were wrought to the
pitch of frenzy by the reproaches of treachery and perfidy with which
the French prisoners assailed him, while, on the other hand, he was in a
state of continual rage at the fancied neglect and contumely of his
English associates. He raved against Kirke, who, as he declared, treated
him with an insupportable arrogance. "I have left my country," he
exclaimed, "for the service of foreigners; and they give me nothing but
ingratitude and scorn." His fevered mind, acting on his diseased body,
often excited him to transports of fury, in which he cursed
indiscriminately the people of St. Malo, against whom he had a grudge,
and the Jesuits, whom he detested. On one occasion, Kirke was conversing
with some of the latter.

"Gentlemen," he said, "your business in Canada was to enjoy what
belonged to M. de Caen, whom you dispossessed."

"Pardon me, sir," answered Brebeuf, "we came purely for the glory of
God, and exposed ourselves to every kind of danger to convert the

Here Michel broke in: "Ay, ay, convert the Indians! You mean, convert
the beaver!"

"That is false!" retorted Brebeuf.

Michel raised his fist, exclaiming, "But for the respect I owe the
General, I would strike you for giving me the lie."

Brebeuf, a man of powerful frame and vehement passions, nevertheless
regained his practised self-command, and replied: "You must excuse me. I
did not mean to give you the lie. I should be very sorry to do so. The
words I used are those we use in the schools when a doubtful question is
advanced, and they mean no offence. Therefore I ask you to pardon me."

Despite the apology, Michel's frenzied brain harped the presumed insult,
and he raved about it without ceasing.

"Bon Dieu!" said Champlain, "you swear well for a Reformer!"

"I know it," returned Michel; "I should be content if I had but struck
that Jesuit who gave me the lie before my General."

At length, one of his transports of rage ended in a lethargy from which
he never awoke. His funeral was conducted with a pomp suited to his
rank; and, amid discharges of cannon whose dreary roar was echoed from
the yawning gulf of the Saguenay, his body was borne to its rest under
the rocks of Tadoussac. Good Catholics and good Frenchmen saw in his
fate the immediate finger of Providence. "I do not doubt that his soul
is in perdition," remarks Champlain, who, however, had endeavored to
befriend the unfortunate man during the access of his frenzy.

Having finished their carousings, which were profuse, and their trade
with the Indians, which was not lucrative, the English steered down the
St. Lawrence. Kirke feared greatly a meeting with Razilly, a naval
officer of distinction, who was to have sailed from France with a strong
force to succor Quebec; but, peace having been proclaimed, the
expedition had been limited to two ships under Captain Daniel. Thus
Kirke, wilfully ignoring the treaty of peace, was left to pursue his
depredations unmolested. Daniel, however, though too weak to cope with
him, achieved a signal exploit. On the island of Cape Breton, near the
site of Louisburg, he found an English fort, built two months before,
under the auspices, doubtless, of Sir William Alexander. Daniel,
regarding it as a bold encroachment on French territory, stormed it at
the head of his pike-men, entered sword in hand, and took it with all
its defenders.

Meanwhile, Kirke with his prisoners was crossing the Atlantic. His
squadron at length reached Plymouth, whence Champlain set out for
London. Here he had an interview with the French ambassador, who, at his
instance, gained from the King a promise, that, in pursuance of the
terms of the treaty concluded in the previous April, New France should
be restored to the French Crown.

It long remained a mystery why Charles consented to a stipulation which
pledged him to resign so important a conquest. The mystery is explained
by the recent discovery of a letter from the King to Sir Isaac Wake, his
ambassador at Paris. The promised dowry of Queen Henrietta Maria,
amounting to eight hundred thousand crowns, had been but half paid by
the French government, and Charles, then at issue with his Parliament,
and in desperate need of money, instructs his ambassador, that, when he
receives the balance due, and not before, he is to give up to the French
both Quebec and Port Royal, which had also been captured by Kirke. The
letter was accompanied by "solemn instruments under our hand and seal"
to make good the transfer on fulfillment of the condition. It was for a
sum equal to about two hundred and forty thousand dollars that Charles
entailed on Great Britain and her colonies a century of bloody wars. The
Kirkes and their associates, who had made the conquest at their own
cost, under the royal authority, were never reimbursed, though David
Kirke received the honor of knighthood, which cost the King nothing.




On Monday, the fifth of July, 1632, Emery de Caen anchored before
Quebec. He was commissioned by the French Crown to reclaim the place
from the English; to hold for one year a monopoly of the fur-trade, as
an indemnity for his losses in the war; and, when this time had expired,
to give place to the Hundred Associates of New France.

By the convention of Suza, New France was to be restored to the French
Crown; yet it had been matter of debate whether a fulfillment of this
engagement was worth the demanding. That wilderness of woods and savages
had been ruinous to nearly all connected with it. The Caens, successful
at first, had suffered heavily in the end. The Associates were on the
verge of bankruptcy. These deserts were useless unless peopled; and to
people them would depopulate France. Thus argued the inexperienced
reasoners of the time, judging from the wretched precedents of Spanish
and Portuguese colonization. The world had not as yet the example of an
island kingdom, which, vitalized by a stable and regulated liberty, has
peopled a continent and spread colonies over all the earth, gaining
constantly new vigor with the matchless growth of its offspring.

On the other hand, honor, it was urged, demanded that France should be
reinstated in the land which she had discovered and explored. Should
she, the centre of civilization, remain cooped up within her own narrow
limits, while rivals and enemies were sharing the vast regions of the
West? The commerce and fisheries of New France would in time become a
school for French sailors. Mines even now might be discovered; arid the
fur-trade, well conducted, could not but be a source of wealth.
Disbanded soldiers and women from the streets might be shipped to
Canada. Thus New France would be peopled and old France purified. A
power more potent than reason reinforced such arguments. Richelieu seems
to have regarded it as an act of personal encroachment that the subjects
of a foreign crown should seize on the domain of a company of which he
was the head; and it could not be supposed, that, with power to eject
them, the arrogant minister would suffer them to remain in undisturbed

A spirit far purer and more generous was active in the same behalf. The
character of Champlain belonged rather to the Middle Age than to the
seventeenth century. Long toil and endurance had calmed the adventurous
enthusiasm of his youth into a steadfast earnestness of purpose; and he
gave himself with a loyal zeal and devotedness to the profoundly
mistaken principles which he had espoused. In his mind, patriotism and
religion were inseparably linked. France was the champion of
Christianity, and her honor, her greatness, were involved in her
fidelity to this high function. Should she abandon to perdition the
darkened nations among whom she had cast the first faint rays of hope?
Among the members of the Company were those who shared his zeal; and
though its capital was exhausted, and many of the merchants were
withdrawing in despair, these enthusiasts formed a subordinate
association, raised a new fund, and embarked on the venture afresh.

England, then, resigned her prize, and Caen was despatched to reclaim
Quebec from the reluctant hands of Thomas Kirke. The latter, obedient to
an order from the King of England, struck his flag, embarked his
followers, and abandoned the scene of his conquest. Caen landed with the
Jesuits, Paul le Jeune and Anne de la Noue. They climbed the steep
stairway which led up the rock, and, as they reached the top, the
dilapidated fort lay on their left, while farther on was the stone
cottage of the Heberts, surrounded with its vegetable gardens,--the
only thrifty spot amid a scene of neglect. But few Indians could be
seen. True to their native instincts, they had, at first, left the
defeated French and welcomed the conquerors. Their English partialities
were, however, but short-lived. Their intrusion into houses and
store-rooms, the stench of their tobacco, and their importunate begging,
though before borne patiently, were rewarded by the newcomers with oaths
and sometimes with blows. The Indians soon shunned Quebec, seldom
approaching it except when drawn by necessity or a craving for brandy.
This was now the case; and several Algonquin families, maddened with
drink, were howling, screeching, and fighting within their bark lodges.
The women were frenzied like the men. it was dangerous to approach the
place unarmed.

In the following spring, 1633, on the twenty-third of May, Champlain,
commissioned anew by Richelieu, resumed command at Quebec in behalf of
the Company. Father le Jeune, Superior of the mission, was wakened from
his morning sleep by the boom of the saluting cannon. Before he could
sally forth, the convent door was darkened by the stately form of his
brother Jesuit, Brebeuf, newly arrived; and the Indians who stood by
uttered ejaculations of astonishment at the raptures of their greeting.
The father hastened to the fort, and arrived in time to see a file of
musketeers and pikemen mounting the pathway of the cliff below, and the
heretic Caen resigning the keys of the citadel into the Catholic hands
of Champlain. Le Jeune's delight exudes in praises of one not always a
theme of Jesuit eulogy, but on whom, in the hope of a continuance of his
favors, no praise could now be ill bestowed. "I sometimes think that
this great man [Richelieu], who by his admirable wisdom and matchless
conduct of affairs is so renowned on earth, is preparing for himself a
dazzling crown of glory in heaven by the care he evinces for the
conversion of so many lost infidel souls in this savage land. I pray
affectionately for him every day," etc.

For Champlain, too, he has praises which, if more measured, are at least
as sincere. Indeed, the Father Superior had the best reason to be
pleased with the temporal head of the colony. In his youth, Champlain
had fought on the side of that; more liberal and national form of
Romanism of which the Jesuits were the most emphatic antagonists. Now,
as Le Jeune tells us, with evident contentment, he chose him, the
Jesuit, as director of his conscience. In truth, there were none but
Jesuits to confess and absolve him; for the Recollets, prevented, to
their deep chagrin, from returning to the missions they had founded,
were seen no more in Canada, and the followers of Loyola were sole
masters of the field. The manly heart of the commandant, earnest,
zealous, and direct, was seldom chary of its confidence, or apt to stand
too warily on its guard in presence of a profound art mingled with a no
less profound sincerity.

A stranger visiting the fort of Quebec would have been astonished at its
air of conventual decorum. Black Jesuits and scarfed officers mingled at
Champlain's table. There was little conversation, but, in its place,
histories and the lives of saints were read aloud, as in a monastic
refectory. Prayers, masses, and confessions followed one another with an
edifying regularity, and the bell of the adjacent chapel, built by
Champlain, rang morning, noon, and night. Godless soldiers caught the
infection, and whipped themselves in penance for their sins. Debauched
artisans outdid each other in the fury of their contrition. Quebec was
become a mission. Indians gathered thither as of old, not from the
baneful lure of brandy, for the traffic in it was no longer tolerated,
but from the less pernicious attractions of gifts, kind words, and
politic blandishments. To the vital principle of propagandism both the
commercial and the military character were subordinated; or, to speak
more justly, trade, policy, and military power leaned on the missions as
their main support, the grand instrument of their extension. The
missions were to explore the interior; the missions were to win over the
savage hordes at once to Heaven and to France. Peaceful, benign,
beneficent, were the weapons of this conquest. France aimed to subdue,
not by the sword, but by the cross; not to overwhelm and crush the
nations she invaded, but to convert, civilize, and embrace them among
her children.

And who were the instruments and the promoters of this proselytism, at
once so devout and so politic? Who can answer? Who can trace out the
crossing and mingling currents of wisdom and folly, ignorance and
knowledge, truth and falsehood, weakness and force, the noble and the
base, can analyze a systematized contradiction, and follow through its
secret wheels, springs, and levers a phenomenon of moral mechanism? Who
can define the Jesuits? The story of their missions is marvellous as a
tale of chivalry, or legends of the lives of saints. For many years, it
was the history of New France and of the wild communities of her desert

Two years passed. The mission of the Hurons was established, and here
the indomitable Breheuf, with a band worthy of him, toiled amid miseries
and perils as fearful as ever shook the constancy of man; while
Champlain at Quebec, in a life uneventful, yet harassing and laborious,
was busied in the round of cares which his post involved.

Christmas day, 1635, was a dark day in the annals of New France. In a
chamber of the fort, breathless and cold, lay the hardy frame which war,
the wilderness, and the sea had buffeted so long in vain. After two
months and a half of illness, Champlain, stricken with paralysis, at the
age of sixty-eight, was dead. His last cares were for his colony and the
succor of its suffering families. Jesuits, officers, soldiers, traders,
and the few settlers of Quebec followed his remains to the church; Le
Jeune pronounced his eulogy, and the feeble community built a tomb to
his honor.

The colony could ill spare him. For twenty-seven years he had labored
hard and ceaselessly for its welfare, sacrificing fortune, repose, and
domestic peace to a cause embraced with enthusiasm and pursued with
intrepid persistency. His character belonged partly to the past, partly
to the present. The preux chevalier, the crusader, the romance-loving
explorer, the curious, knowledge-seeking traveler, the practical
navigator, all claimed their share in him. His views, though far beyond
those of the mean spirits around him, belonged to his age and his creed.
He was less statesman than soldier. He leaned to the most direct and
boldest policy, and one of his last acts was to petition Richelieu for
men and munitions for repressing that standing menace to the colony, the
Iroquois. His dauntless courage was matched by an unwearied patience,
proved by life-long vexations, and not wholly subdued even by the
saintly follies of his wife. He is charged with credulity, from which
few of his age were free, and which in all ages has been the foible of
earnest and generous natures, too ardent to criticise, and too honorable
to doubt the honor of others. Perhaps the heretic might have liked him
more if the Jesuit had liked him less. The adventurous explorer of Lake
Huron, the bold invader of the Iroquois, befits but indifferently the
monastic sobrieties of the fort of Quebec, and his sombre environment of
priests. Yet Champlain was no formalist, nor was his an empty zeal. A
soldier from his youth, in an age of unbridled license, his life had
answered to his maxims; and when a generation had passed after his visit
to the Hurons, their elders remembered with astonishment the continence
of the great French war-chief.

His books mark the man,--all for his theme and his purpose, nothing for
himself. Crude in style, full of the superficial errors of carelessness
and haste, rarely diffuse, often brief to a fault, they bear on every
page the palpable impress of truth.

With the life of the faithful soldier closes the opening period of New
France. Heroes of another stamp succeed; and it remains to tell the
story of their devoted lives, their faults, follies, and virtues.


[FN#1] Herrera, Hist. General, Dec. I. Lib. LX. c. 11; De Laet, Novus
Orbis, Lib. I. C. 16 Garcilaso, Just. de la Florida, Part I. Lib. I. C.
3; Gomara, Ilist. Gin. des Indes Occidentales, Lib. II. c. 10. Compare
Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, Dec. VII. c. 7, who says that the
fountain was in Florida.

The story has an explanation sufficiently characteristic, having been
suggested, it is said, by the beauty of the native women, which none
could resist, and which kindled the fires of youth in the veins of age.

The terms of Ponce de Leon's bargain with the King are set forth in the
MS. Gapitnincion con Juan Ponce sobre Biminy. He was to have exclusive
right to the island, settle it at his own cost, and be called Adelantado
of Bimini; but the King was to build and hold forts there, send agents
to divide the Indians among the settlers, and receive first a tenth,
afterwards a fifth, of the gold.

[FN#2] Fontanedo in Ternaux-Compans, Recueil sur la Floride, 18, 19, 42.
Compare Herrera, Dec. I. Lib. IX. c. 12. In allusion to this belief, the
name Jordan was given eight years afterwards by Ayllon to a river of
South Carolina.

[FN#3] Hakinyt, Voyaqes, V. 838; Barcia, Ensayo Cronologico, 5.

[FN#4] Peter Martyr in Hakinyt. V. 333; De Laet, Lib. IV. c. 2.

[FN#5] Their own exaggerated reckoning. The journey was prohably from
Tampa Bay to the Appalachicola, by a circuitous route.

[FN#6] Narrative of Alvar Nunez Caheca de Vaca, second in command to
Narvaez, translated by Buckingham Smith. Cabeca do Vaca was one of the
four who escaped, and, after living for years among the tribes of
Mississippi, crossed the river Mississippi near Memphis, journeyed
westward by the waters of the Arkansas and Red River to New Mexico and
Chihuahua, thence to Cinaloa on the Gulf of California, and thence to
Mexico. The narrative is one of the most remarkable of the early
relations. See also Ramusin, III. 310, and Purchas, IV. 1499, where a
portion of Cabeca de Vaca is given. Also, Garcilaso, Part I. Lib. I. C.
3; Gomara, Lih. II. a. 11; De Laet, Lib. IV. c. 3; Barcia, Ensayo
Crenolegico, 19.

[FN#7] I have followed the accounts of Biedma and the Portuguese of
Elvas, rejecting the romantic narrative of Garcilaso, in which fiction
is hopelessly mingled with truth.

[FN#8] The spirit of this and other Spanish enterprises may be gathered
from the following passage in an address to the King, signed by Dr.
Pedro do Santander, and dated 15 July, 1557:-

"It is lawful that your Majesty, like a good shepherd, appointed by the
hand of the Eternal Father, should tend and lead out your sheep, since
the Holy Spirit has shown spreading pastures whereon are feeding lost
sheep which have been snatched away by the dragon, the Demon. These
pastures are the New World, wherein is comprised Florida, now in
possession of the Demon, and here he makes himself adored and revered.
This is the Land of Promise, possessed by idolaters, the Amorite,
Ainalekite, Moabite, Cauaauite. This is the land promised by the Eternal
Father to the faithful, since we are commanded by God in the Holy
Scriptures to take it from them, being idolaters, and, by reason of
their idolatry and sin, to put them all to the knife, leaving no living
thing save maidens and children, their cities robbed and sacked, their
walls and houses levelled to the earth."

The writer then goes into detail, proposing to occupy Florida at various
points with from one thousand to fifteen hundred colonists, found a city
to be called Philippina, also another at Tuscaloosa, to be called
Cxsarea, another at Tallahassee, and another at Tampa Bay, where he
thinks many slaves can be had. Carta del Doctor Pedro de Santander.

[PFN#9] The True and Last Discoverie of Florida, made by Captian John
Ribault, in the Yeere 1692, dedicated to a great Nobleman in Fraunce,
and translated into Englishe by one Thomas Haclcit, This is Ribaut's
journal, which seems not to exist in the original. The translation is
contained in the rare black-letter tract of Hakinyt called Divers
Voyages (London, 1582), a copy of which is in the library of Harvard
College. It has been reprinted by the Hakluyt Society. The journal first
appeared in 1563, under the title of The Whole and True Discoverie of
Terra Florida (Englished The Florishing Land). This edition is of
extreme rarity.

[FN#10] Ribaut thinks that the Broad River of Port Royal is the Jordan
of the Spanish navigator Yasquez de Ayllon, who was here in 1520, and
gave the name of St. Helena to a neighboring cape (Garcilaso, Florida
del Inca). The adjacent district, now called St. Helena, is the Chicora
of the old Spanish maps.

[FN#11] No trace of this fort has been found. The old fort of which the
remains may be seen a little below Beaufort is of later date.

[FN#12] For all the latter part of the chapter, the authority is the
first of the three long letters of Rena de Laudonniere, Companion of
Ribaut and his successor in command. They are contained in the Histoire
Notable de la Floride, compiled by Basanier (Paris, 1586), and are also
to he found, quaintly "done into English," in the third volume of
Hakluyt's great collection. In the main, they are entitled to much

[FN#13] Above St. John's Bluff the shore curves in a semicircle, along
which the water runs in a deep, strong current, which has half cut away
the flat knoll above mentioned, and encroached greatly on the bluff
itself. The formation of the ground, joined to the indicatons furnished
by Laudonniere and Le Moyne, leave little doubt that the fort was built
on the knoll.

[FN#14] I La Caille, as before mentioned, was Laudonniere's sergeant.

The feudal rank of sergeant, it will be remembered, was widely different
from the modern grade so named, and was held by men of noble birth.

Le Moyne calls La Caille "Captain."

[FN#15] Laudonniere in Hakinyt, III. 406. Brinton, Floridian Peninsula,
thinks there is truth in the story, and that Lake Weir, in Marion
County, is the Lake of Sarrope. I give these romantic tales as I find

[FN#16] This scene is the subject of Plate XII. of Le Moyne.

[FN#17] Le Moyne drew a picture of the fight (Plate XIII.). In the
foreground Ottigny is engaged in single combat with a gigantic savage,
who, with club upheaved, aims a deadly stroke at the plumed helmet of
his foe; but the latter, with target raised to guard his head, darts
under the arms of the naked Goliath, and transfixes him with his sword.

[FN#18] For Hawkins, see the three narratives in Hakinyt, III. 594;
Purchas, IV. 1177 ; Stow, Chron., 807; Biog. Briton., Art. Hawkins;
Anderson, History of Commerce, I. 400.

He was not knighted until after the voyage of 1564-65; hence there is an
anachronism in the text. As he was held "to have opened a new trade," he
was entitled to bear as his crest a "Moor" or negro, bound with a cord.
In Fairhairn's Crests of Great Britain and Ireland, where it is figured,
it is described, not as a negro, but as a "naked man." In Burke's Landed
Gentry, it is said that Sir John obtained it in honor of a great victory
over the Moors! His only African victories were in kidnapping raids on
negro villages. In Letters on Certain Passages in the Life of Sir John
Hawkins, the coat is engraved in detail. The "demi-Moor" has the thick
lips, the flat nose, and the wool of the unequivocal negro.

Sir John became Treasurer of the Royal Navy and Rear-Admiral, and
founded a marine hospital at Chatham.

[FN#19] "Better a ruined kingdom, true to itself and its king, than one
left unharmed to the profit of the Devil and the heretics."--
Correspondance de Philippe II., cited by Prescott, Philip IL, Book III.
c. 2, note 36.

"A prince can do nothing more shameful, or more hurtful to himself, than
to permit his people to live according to their conscience."
The Duke of Alva, in Davila, Lib. III. p. 341.

[FN#20] Cartas escritas al Rep per el General Pero Menendez de Aeilgs.
These are the official despatches of Menendez, of which the originals
are preserved in the archives of Seville. They are very voluminous and
minute in detail. Copies of them were ohtained by the aid of Buckiugham
Smith, Esq., to whom the writer is also indebted for various other
documents from the same source, throwing new light on the events
descrihed. Menendez calls Port Royal St. Elena, "a name afterwards
applied to the sound which still retains it." Compare Historical
Magazine, IV. 320.

[FN#21] This was not so remarkable as it may appear. Charnock, History
of Marine Architecture gives the tonnage of the ships of the Invincible
Armada. The flag-ship of the Andalusian squadron was of fifteen hundred
and fifty tons; several were of about twelve hundred.

[FN#22] Barcia, 69. The following passage in one of the unpublished
letters of Menendez seems to indicate that the above is exaggerated:
"Your Majesty may he assured by me, that, had I a million, more or less,
I would employ and spend the whole in this undertaking, it being so
greatly to the glory of the God our Lord, and the increase of our Holy
Catholic Faith, and the service and authority of your Majesty and thus I
have offered to our Lord whatever He shall give me in this world, [and
whatever] I shall possess, gain, or acquire shall he devoted to the
planting of the Gospel in this land, and the enlightenment of the
natives thereof, and this I do promise to your Majesty." This letter is
dated 11 Septemher, 1565.

[FN#23] I have examined the country on the line of march of Menendez.
In many places it retains its original features.

[FN#24] Amid all the confusion of his geographical statements, it seems
clear that Menendez believed that Cheeapeake Bay communicated with the
St. Lawrence, and thence with Newfoundland on the one hand, and the
South Sea on the other. The notion that the St. Lawrence would give
access to China survived till the time of La Salle, or more than a
century. In the map of Gastaldi, made, according to Kohl, about 1550, a
belt of water connecting the St. Lawrence and the Atlantic is laid down.
So also in the map of Ruscelli, 1561, and that of Mactines, 1578, as
well as in that of Michael Lok, 1582. In Munster's map, 1545, the St.
Lawrence is rudely indicated, with the words, "Per hoc fretfl iter ad

[FN#25] The "black drink" was, till a recent period, in use among the
Creeks. It is a strong decoctiun of the plant popularly called eassina,
or nupon tea. Major Swan, deputy agent for the Creeks in 1791, thus
describes their belief in its properties: "that it purifies them from
all sin, and leaves them in a state of perfect innocence; that it
inspires them with an invincible prowess in war; and that it is the only
solid cement of friendship, benevolence, and hospitality." Swan's
account of their mode of drinking and ejecting it corresponds perfectly
with Le Moyne's picture in De Bry. See the United States government
publication, History, Condition, and Prospects of Indian Tribes, V. 266.

[FN#27] The earliest maps and narratives indicate a city, also called
Norembega, on the banks of the Penobseot. The pilot, Jean Alphonse, of
Saintonge, says that this fabulous city is fifteen or twenty leagues
from the sea, and that its inhabitants are of small stature and dark
complexion. As late as 1607 the fable was repeated in the Histoire
Unicerselle des Indes Occidentales.

[FN#28] Such extempore works of defence are still used among some tribes
of the remote west. The author has twice seen them, made of trees piled
together as described by Champlain, probably by war parties of the Crow
or Snake Indians.

Champlain, usually too concise, is very minute in his description of the
march and encampment.

[FN#29] According to Lafitan, hoth bucklers and breastplates were in
frequent use among the Iroquois. The former were very large and made of
cedar wood covered with interwoven thongs of hide. The kindred nation of
the Hurons, says Sagard (Voyage des hlurens, 126-206), carried large
shields, and wore greaves for the legs and enirasses made of twigs
interwoven with cords. His account corresponds with that of Champlain,
who gives a wood-cut of a warrior thus armed.

[FN#30] It has been erroneously asserted that the practice of scalping
did not prevail among the Indians before the advent of Europeans. In
1535, Cartier saw five scalps at Quebec, dried and stretched on hoops.
In 1564, Laudonniere saw them among the Indians of Florida. The
Algonquins of New England and Nova Scotia were accustomed to cut off and
carry away the head, which they afterwards scalped. Those of Canada, it
seems, sometimes scalped dead bodies on the field. Thu Algonquin
practice of carrying off heads as trophies is mentioned by Lalemant,
Roger Williams, Lescarbot, and Champlain. Compare Historical Magazine,
First Series, V. 233.

[FN#31] Traces of cannibalism may be found among most of the North
American tribes, though they are rarely very conspicuous. Sometimes the
practice arose, as in the present instance, from revenge or ferocity
sometimes it bore a religious character, as with the Miamis, among whom
there existed a secret religions fraternity of man-eaters sometimes the
heart of a brave enemy was devoured in the idea that it made the eater
brave. This last practice was common. The ferocious threat, used in
speaking of an enemy, "I will eat his heart," is by no means a mere
figure of speech. The roving hunter-tribes, in their winter wanderings,
were not infrequently impelled to cannibalism by famine.

[FN#32] 1 The first white man to descend the rapids of St. Louis was a
youth named Louis, who, on the 10th of June, 1611, went with two Indians
to shoot herons on an island, and was drowned on the way down; the
second was a young man who in the summer before had gone with the Hurons
to their country, and who returned with them on the 18th of June; the
third was Champlain himself.

[FN#33] Wampum was a sort of beads, of several colors, made originally
by the Indians from the inner portion of certain shells, and afterwards
by the French of porcelain and glass. It served a treble purpose,--that
of currency, decoration, and record, wrought into belts of various
devices, each having its significance, it preserved the substance of
treaties and compacts from generation to generation.

Copyright 1998, -- 2005. Berry Enterprises. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site by copying it, or downloading it; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.