Page images

by neglecting to visit Cartier on his return with great numbers of natives not before seen, and by evading the attempts made to renew an intercourse, by feigning sickness as the cause of his neglect. Cartier felt his own weakness, from the death of so many of his crew and the sickness of others, and has recorded for his government on this occasion the proverb, that "he that takes heed and shields himself from all men, may hope to escape from some." He determined to abandon one of his vessels, that he might completely man and re-fit the others, and appears to have been diligent in making early preparations to return. While thus engaged, Donnacona (April 22,) appeared with a great number of men at Stadacona, and John Powlet, " who being best believed of those people," he sent to reconnoitre them in their principal villages, reported that he saw so many people, that "one could not stir for another, and such men as they were never wont to see." Taignoagny, whom he saw on this occasion, requested him to beseech Cartier to take off " a lord of the country," called Agonna, who probably stood in the way of his own advancement. Cartier availed himself of this request to bring on an interview with Taignoagny, and by flattering his hopes, finally succeeded in the execution of a project he appears to have previously entertained. This was nothing less than the seizure of Donnacona, Taignoagny, Domaigaia, (his previous captives,) and "two more of the chiefest men," whom, with the children before received, making ten persons in all, he conveyed to France.

This seizure was made on the 3d of May, being " Holyrood day," at a time when Cartier had completed his preparations for sailing. He took formal possession of the country, under the name of New France, by erecting a cross "thirty-five feet in height," bearing a shield with the arms of France, and the following inscription:

'' Franciscus primum dei gratia Francorum Rex regnat,"

a sentence upon which this unjustifiable outrage formed a practical comment. Three days afterwards he sailed from the port of the Holy Cross, leaving crowds of the natives to bewail the loss of their chiefs. And whose kindness led them to send on board a supply of provisions, when they found they could not effect their liberation. Finding the current of the St. Lawrence much swoln, he came to anchor at the isle of Filberds, near the entrance of the Sagnenay. where he was detained nine days. In the meantime many of the natives of Sagnenay visited the ships, and find ing Donnacona a prisoner, they presented him three packs of beaver. Or the 17th May, he made an unsuccessful attempt to proceed, but was forced back and detained four days longer, waiting "till the fierceness of the wa ters" were past. He entered and passed out of the gulph on the 21st, but encountering adverse winds, did not take his final departure from the Newfoundland coast till the 19th June. He then took advantage of a favorable wind, and performed the homeward voyage in 17 days. He entered the port of St Malo, July 6, 1536, naving been absent less than 14 months, 8 of which had been passed in the St. Lawrence.



The reports and discoveries of Cartier were so well received by the King of France (Francis I.), that he determined to colonize the newly discovered country, and named John Francis de la Roche, Lord of Roberval, his "Lieutenant and Governor in the countries of Canada and Hochelaga." Cartier retained his former situation as " Captain General and leader of the ships," and to him was entrusted the further prosecution of discoveries. Five vessels were ordered to be prepared at St. Malo, and measures appear to have been taken to carry out settlers, cattle, seeds, and agricultural implements. Much delay, however, seems to have attended the preparations, and before they were completed, Donnacona and his companions, who had been baptized, paid the debt of nature. A little girl, ten years old, was the only person surviving out of the whole number of captives.

It is seldom that a perfect harmony has prevailed between the leaders of naval and land forces, in the execution of great enterprises. And though but little is said to guide the reader in forming a satisfactory opinion on the subject, the result in this instance proved that there was a settled dissatisfaction in the mind of Cartier respecting the general arrangements for the contemplated voyage. Whether he thought himself neglected in not being invested with the government of the country he had discovered, or felt unwilling that another should share in the honors of future discoveries, cannot now be determined. It should be recollected that the conquest of Mexico had then but recently been accomplished (1520), and it is not improbable that Cartier, who had taken some pains to exalt Donnacona into another Montezuma, thought himself entitled to receive from Francis, rewards and emoluments in some measure corresponding to those which his great rival, Charles, had finally bestowed upon Cortez.

Whatever were the causes, four years elapsed before the ships were prepared, and M. La Roche, on visiting the vessels in the road of St. Malo, ready for sea, then informed Cartier that his artillery, munitions, and " other necessary things" which he had prepared, were not yet arrived from Champaigne and Normandy. Cartier, in the meantime, had received positive orders from the King to set sail. In this exigency, it was determined that Cartier should proceed, while the King's Lieutenant should remain " to prepare a ship or two at Honfleur, whither he thought his things were come."

This arrangement concluded, La Roche invested Cartier with full iron, and at the water's edge " certain leaves of fine gold (mica) as thick is ti man's nail."


The ground was so favorable for tillage, that twenty men labored at an acre and a half in one day. Cabbage, turnip,and lettuce seed, sprung up the eighth day. A luxurious meadow was found along the river, and the woods were clustered with a species of the native grape. Such were the natural appearance and advantages of a spot which was destined to be the future site of the city and fortress of Quebec, "but to which he gave the name of' Charlesbourg Royal.'"

Cartier lost no time in despatching two of his vessels to France, under command of Mace Jollobert and Stephen Noel, his brother-in-law and nephew, with letters to the king, containing an account of his voyage and proceedings, accompanied with specimens of the mineral treasures he supposed himself to have discovered; and taking care to add "how Mons. Roberval had not yet come, and that he feared that by occasion of contrary winds and tempests, he was driven back again into France." These vessels left the newly discovered town and fort of " Charlesbourg Royal" on the 2d of September. And they were no sooner despatched, than Cartier determined to explore the "Saults" or rapids of the St. Lawrence, which had been described to him, and partly pointed out, during his ascent to the mountain of Montreal. Leaving the fort under the command of the Viscount Beaupre, he embarked in two boats on the 7th of September, accompanied by Martine de Painpont and other " gentlemen," with a suitable complement of mariners. The only incident recorded of the passage up, is his visit to " the Lord of Hochelay"—a chief who had presented him a little girl, on his former visit, and evinced a friendship during his stay in the river, which he was now anxious to show that he preserved the recollection of. He presented the chief a cloak " of Paris red," garnished with buttons and bells, with two basins of" Laton" (pewter), and some knives and hatchets. He also left with this chief two boys to acquire the Indian language.

Continuing the ascent, he reached the lower " Sault" on the 11th of the month, and, on trial, found it impossible to ascend it with the force of oars. He determined to proceed by land, and found a well-beaten path leading in the desired course. This path soon conducted him to an Indian village, where he was well received, and furnished with guides to visit the second " Sault." Here he was informed that there was another Sault at some distance, and that the river was not navigable—a piece of information that meant either that it was not navigable by the craft Cartier had entered the river with, or was intended to repress his further advance into the country. The day being far spent, he returned to his boats, where four hundred natives awaited his arrival. He ap

* Query—Is not the word Quebec a derivative from the Algonquin phrase Kebie— a term uttered in passing by a dangerous and rocky coast 1


peased their curiosity, by interchanging civilities, and distributing small presents, and made all speed to return to Charlesbourg Royal, where he learned that the natives, alarmed by the formidable defences going on, had intermitted their customary visits, and evinced signs of hostility This inference was confirmed by his own observations on the downward passage, and he determined to use the utmost diligence and precaution to sustain himself in his new position.

The rest of this voyage is wanting. Hackluyt has, however, preserved two letters of Jacques Noel, a relative of Cartier, written at St Malo in 1587, with the observations of latitude, courses, and distances, made by " John Alphonso of Xanctoigne," who carried out La Roche, Lord of Roberval, to Canada, in 1542, and a fragment of Roberval's narrative, which indicated the sequel of Cartier's third and last voyage. From the latter, it appears that Roberval entered the harbor of Belle Isle in Newfoundland, on the 8th of June, 1542, on his way to Canada; and while there, Cartier unexpectedly entered the same harbor, on his return to France. He reported that he was unable "with his small company" to maintain a footing in the country, owing to the incessant hostility of the natives, and had resolved to return to France. He presented the limpid quartz, and gold yellow mica, which he had carefully cherished, under a belief that he had discovered in these resplendent minerals, the repositories of gold and diamonds. An experiment was made the next day, upon what is denominated " gold ore," by which term the journalist does not probably refer to the " mica," considered, in an age in which mineralogy had not assumed the rank of a science, as "leaves of gold," but to pieces of yellow pyrites of iron, which it is mentioned in the description of the environs of«' Charlesbourg Royal" Cartier had discovered in the slate rock. And the ore was pronounced " good" —a proof either of gross deception, or gross ignorance in the experimenter. Cartier spoke highly of the advantages the country presented for settlement, in point of fertility. He had, however, determined to leave it. He disobeyed Roberval's order to return, and "both he and his company" secretly left the harbor, and made the best of their way to France, being "moved," as the journalist adds, "with ambition, because they would have all the glory of the discovery of these parts to themselves."

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »