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The Mariner of St Malo: A Chronicle of the Voyages of by Stephen Leacock

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This etext was produced by Gardner Buchanan

Edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton
In thirty-two volumes

Volume 2

A Chronicle of the Voyages of Jacques Cartier




In the town hall of the seaport of St Malo there hangs
a portrait of Jacques Cartier, the great sea-captain of
that place, whose name is associated for all time with
the proud title of 'Discoverer of Canada.' The picture
is that of a bearded man in the prime of life, standing
on the deck of a ship, his bent elbow resting upon the
gunwale, his chin supported by his hand, while his eyes
gaze outward upon the western ocean as if seeking to
penetrate its mysteries. The face is firm and strong,
with tight-set jaw, prominent brow, and the full, inquiring
eye of the man accustomed both to think and to act. The
costume marks the sea-captain of four centuries ago. A
thick cloak, gathered by a belt at the waist, enwraps
the stalwart figure. On his head is the tufted Breton
cap familiar in the pictures of the days of the great
navigators. At the waist, on the left side, hangs a sword,
and, on the right, close to the belt, the dirk or poniard
of the period.

How like or unlike the features of Cartier this picture
in the town hall may be, we have no means of telling.
Painted probably in 1839, it has hung there for more than
seventy years, and the record of the earlier prints or
drawings from which its artist drew his inspiration no
longer survives. We know, indeed, that an ancient map of
the eastern coast of America, made some ten years after
the first of Cartier's voyages, has pictured upon it a
group of figures that represent the landing of the
navigator and his followers among the Indians of Gaspe.
It was the fashion of the time to attempt by such
decorations to make maps vivid. Demons, deities,
mythological figures and naked savages disported themselves
along the borders of the maps and helped to decorate
unexplored spaces of earth and ocean. Of this sort is
the illustration on the map in question. But it is
generally agreed that we have no right to identify Cartier
with any of the figures in the scene, although the group
as a whole undoubtedly typifies his landing upon the
seacoast of Canada.

There is rumour, also, that the National Library at Paris
contains an old print of Cartier, who appears therein as
a bearded man passing from the prime of life to its
decline. The head is slightly bowed with the weight of
years, and the face is wanting in that suggestion of
unconquerable will which is the dominating feature of
the portrait of St Malo. This is the picture that appears
in the form of a medallion, or ring-shaped illustration,
in more than one of the modern works upon the great
adventurer. But here again we have no proofs of identity,
for we know nothing of the origin of the portrait.

Curiously enough an accidental discovery of recent years
seems to confirm in some degree the genuineness of the
St Malo portrait. There stood until the autumn of 1908,
in the French-Canadian fishing village of Cap-des-Rosiers,
near the mouth of the St Lawrence, a house of very ancient
date. Precisely how old it was no one could say, but it
was said to be the oldest existing habitation of the
settlement. Ravaged by perhaps two centuries of wind and
weather, the old house afforded but little shelter against
the boisterous gales and the bitter cold of the rude
climate of the Gulf. Its owner decided to tear it down,
and in doing so he stumbled upon a startling discovery.
He found a dummy window that, generations before, had
evidently been built over and concealed. From the cavity
thus disclosed he drew forth a large wooden medallion,
about twenty inches across, with the portrait of a man
carved in relief. Here again are the tufted hat, the
bearded face, and the features of the picture of St Malo.
On the back of the wood, the deeply graven initials J.
C. seemed to prove that the image which had lain hidden
for generations behind the woodwork of the old Canadian
house is indeed that of the great discoverer. Beside the
initials is carved the date 1704.. This wooden medallion
would appear to have once figured as the stern shield of
some French vessel, wrecked probably upon the Gaspe coast.
As it must have been made long before the St Malo portrait
was painted, the resemblance of the two faces perhaps
indicates the existence of some definite and genuine
portrait of Jacques Cartier, of which the record has been

It appears, therefore, that we have the right to be
content with the picture which hangs in the town hall of
the seaport of St Malo. If it does not show us Cartier
as he was,--and we have no absolute proof in the one or
the other direction,--at least it shows us Cartier as he
might well have been, with precisely the face and bearing
which the hero-worshipper would read into the character
of such a discoverer.

The port of St Malo, the birthplace and the home of
Cartier, is situated in the old province of Brittany, in
the present department of Ille-et-Vilaine. It is thus
near the lower end of the English Channel. To the north,
about forty miles away, lies Jersey, the nearest of the
Channel Islands, while on the west surges the restless
tide of the broad Atlantic. The situation of the port
has made it a nursery of hardy seamen. The town stands
upon a little promontory that juts out as a peninsula
into the ocean. The tide pours in and out of the harbour
thus formed, and rises within the harbour to a height of
thirty or forty feet. The rude gales of the western ocean
spend themselves upon the rocky shores of this Breton
coast. Here for centuries has dwelt a race of adventurous
fishermen and navigators, whose daring is unsurpassed by
any other seafaring people in the world.

The history, or at least the legend, of the town goes
back ten centuries before the time of Cartier. It was
founded, tradition tells us, by a certain Aaron, a pilgrim
who landed there with his disciples in the year 507 A.D.,
and sought shelter upon the sea-girt promontory which
has since borne the name of Aaron's Rock. Aaron founded
a settlement. To the same place came, about twenty years
later, a bishop of Castle Gwent, with a small band of
followers. The leader of this flock was known as St Malo,
and he gave his name to the seaport.

But the religious character of the first settlement soon
passed away. St Malo became famous as the headquarters
of the corsairs of the northern coast. These had succeeded
the Vikings of an earlier day, and they showed a hardihood
and a reckless daring equal to that of their predecessors.
Later on, in more settled times, the place fell into the
hands of the fishermen and traders of northern France.
When hardy sailors pushed out into the Atlantic ocean to
reach the distant shores of America, St Malo became a
natural port and place of outfit for the passage of the
western sea.

Jacques Cartier first saw the light in the year 1491.
The family has been traced back to a grandfather who
lived in the middle of the fifteenth century. This Jean
Cartier, or Quartier, who was born in St Malo in 1428,
took to wife in 1457 Guillemette Baudoin. Of the four
sons that she bore him, Jamet, the eldest, married Geseline
Jansart, and of their five children the second one,
Jacques, rose to greatness as the discoverer of Canada.
There is little to chronicle that is worth while of the
later descendants of the original stock. Jacques Cartier
himself was married in 1519 to Marie Katherine des
Granches. Her father was the Chevalier Honore des Granches,
high constable of St Malo. In all probability he stood
a few degrees higher in the social scale of the period
than such plain seafaring folk as the Cartier family.
From this, biographers have sought to prove that, early
in life, young Jacques Cartier must have made himself a
notable person among his townsmen. But the plain truth
is that we know nothing of the circumstances that preceded
the marriage, and have only the record of 15199 on the
civil register of St Malo: 'The nuptial benediction was
received by Jacques Cartier, master-pilot of the port of
Saincte-Malo, son of Jamet Cartier and of Geseline Jansart,
and Marie Katherine des Granches, daughter of Messire
Honore des Granches, chevalier of our lord the king, and
constable of the town and city of Saint-Malo.'

Cartier's marriage was childless, so that he left no
direct descendants. But the branches of the family
descended from the original Jean Cartier appear on the
registers of St Malo, Saint Briac, and other places in
some profusion during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. The family seems to have died out, although
not many years ago direct descendants of Pierre Cartier,
the uncle of Jacques, were still surviving in France.

It is perhaps no great loss to the world that we have so
little knowledge of the ancestors and relatives of the
famous mariner. It is, however, deeply to be deplored
that, beyond the record of his voyages, we know so little
of Jacques Cartier himself. We may take it for granted
that he early became a sailor. Brought up at such a time
and place, he could hardly have failed to do so. Within
a few years after the great discovery of Columbus, the
Channel ports of St Malo and Dieppe were sending forth
adventurous fishermen to ply their trade among the fogs
of the Great Banks of the New Land. The Breton boy, whom
we may imagine wandering about the crowded wharves of
the little harbour, must have heard strange tales from
the sailors of the new discoveries. Doubtless he grew
up, as did all the seafarers of his generation, with the
expectation that at any time some fortunate adventurer
might find behind the coasts and islands now revealed to
Europe in the western sea the half-fabled empires of
Cipango and Cathay. That, when a boy, he came into actual
contact with sailors who had made the Atlantic voyage is
not to be questioned. We know that in 1507 the Pensee of
Dieppe had crossed to the coast of Newfoundland and that
this adventure was soon followed by the sailing of other
Norman ships for the same goal.

We have, however, no record of Cartier and his actual
doings until we find his name in an entry on the baptismal
register of St Malo. He stood as godfather to his nephew,
Etienne Nouel, the son of his sister Jehanne. Strangely
enough, this proved to be only the first of a great many
sacred ceremonies of this sort in which he took part.
There is a record of more than fifty baptisms at St Malo
in the next forty-five years in which the illustrious
mariner had some share; in twenty-seven of them he appeared
as a godfather.

What voyages Cartier actually made before he suddenly
appears in history as a pilot of the king of France and
the protege of the high admiral of France we do not know.
This position in itself, and the fact that at the time
of his marriage in 1519 he had already the rank of
master-pilot, would show that he had made the Atlantic
voyage. There is some faint evidence that he had even
been to Brazil, for in the account of his first recorded
voyage he makes a comparison between the maize of Canada
and that of South America; and in those days this would
scarcely have occurred to a writer who had not seen both
plants of which he spoke. 'There groweth likewise,' so
runs the quaint translation that appears in Hakluyt's
'Voyages,' 'a kind of Millet as big as peason [i.e. peas]
like unto that which groweth in Bresil.' And later on,
in the account of his second voyage, he repeats the
reference to Brazil; then 'goodly and large fields' which
he saw on the present site of Montreal recall to him the
millet fields of Brazil. It is possible, indeed, that
not only had he been in Brazil, but that he had carried
a native of that country to France. In a baptismal register
of St Malo is recorded the christening, in 1528, of a
certain 'Catherine of Brezil,' to whom Cartier's wife
stood godmother. We may, in fancy at least, suppose that
this forlorn little savage with the regal title was a
little girl whom the navigator, after the fashion of his
day, had brought home as living evidence of the existence
of the strange lands that he had seen.

Out of this background, then, of uncertainty and conjecture
emerges, in 1534, Jacques Cartier, a master-pilot in the
prime of life, now sworn to the service of His Most
Christian Majesty Francis I of France, and about to
undertake on behalf of his illustrious master a voyage
to the New Land.



It was on April 20, 1534, that Jacques Cartier sailed
out of the port of St Malo on his first voyage in the
service of Francis I. Before leaving their anchorage the
commander, the sailing-masters, and the men took an oath,
administered by Charles de Mouy, vice-admiral of France,
that they would behave themselves truly and faithfully
in the service of the Most Christian King. The company
were borne in two ships, each of about sixty tons burden,
and numbered in all sixty-one souls.

The passage across the ocean was pleasant. Fair winds,
blowing fresh and strong from the east, carried the clumsy
caravels westward on the foaming crests of the Atlantic
surges. Within twenty days of their departure the icebound
shores of Newfoundland rose before their eyes. Straight
in front of them was Cape Bonavista, the 'Cape of Happy
Vision,' already known and named by the fishermen-explorers,
who had welcomed the sight of its projecting headlands
after the weary leagues of unbroken sea. But approach to
the shore was impossible. The whole coastline was blocked
with the 'great store of ice' that lay against it. The
ships ran southward and took shelter in a little haven
about five leagues south of the cape, to which Cartier
gave the name St Catherine's Haven, either in fond
remembrance of his wife, or, as is more probable, in
recognition of the help and guidance of St Catherine,
whose natal day, April 30, had fallen midway in his
voyage. The harbourage is known to-day as Catalina, and
lies distant, as the crow flies, about eighty miles
north-westward of the present city of St John's in
Newfoundland. Here the mariners remained ten days, 'looking
for fair weather,' and engaged in mending and 'dressing'
their boats.

At this time, it must be remembered, the coast of
Newfoundland was, in some degree, already known. Ships
had frequently passed through the narrow passage of Belle
Isle that separates Newfoundland from the coast of
Labrador. Of the waters, however, that seemed to open up
beyond, or of the exact relation of the Newfoundland
coastline to the rest of the great continent nothing
accurate was known. It might well be that the inner waters
behind the inhospitable headlands of Belle Isle would
prove the gateway to the great empires of the East.
Cartier's business at any rate was to explore, to see
all that could be seen, and to bring news of it to his
royal master. This he set himself to do, with the
persevering thoroughness that was the secret of his final
success. He coasted along the shore from cape to cape
and from island to island, sounding and charting as he
went, noting the shelter for ships that might be found,
and laying down the bearing of the compass from point to
point. It was his intent, good pilot as he was, that
those who sailed after him should find it easy to sail
on these coasts.

From St Catherine's Harbour the ships sailed on May 21
with a fine off-shore wind that made it easy to run on
a course almost due north. As they advanced on this course
the mainland sank again from sight, but presently they
came to an island. It lay far out in the sea, and was
surrounded by a great upheaval of jagged and broken ice.
On it and around it they saw so dense a mass of birds
that no one, declares Cartier, could have believed it
who had not seen it for himself. The birds were as large
as jays, they were coloured black and white, and they
could scarcely fly because of their small wings and their
exceeding fatness. The modern enquirer will recognize,
perhaps, the great auk which once abounded on the coast,
but which is now extinct. The sailors killed large numbers
of the birds, and filled two boats with them. Then the
ships sailed on rejoicing from the Island of Birds with
six barrels full of salted provisions added to their
stores. Cartier's Island of Birds is the Funk Island of
our present maps.

The ships now headed west and north to come into touch
with land again. To the great surprise of the company
they presently met a huge polar bear swimming in the open
sea, and evidently heading for the tempting shores of
the Island of Birds. The bear was 'as great as any cow
and as white as a swan.' The sailors lowered boats in
pursuit, and captured 'by main force' the bear, which
supplied a noble supper for the captors. 'Its flesh,'
wrote Cartier, 'was as good to eat as any heifer of two

The explorers sailed on westward, changing their course
gradually to the north to follow the broad curve of the
Atlantic coast of Newfoundland. Jutting headlands and
outlying capes must have alternately appeared and
disappeared on the western horizon. May 24, found the
navigators off the entrance of Belle Isle. After four
hundred years of maritime progress, the passage of the
narrow strait that separates Newfoundland from Labrador
remains still rough and dangerous, even for the great
steel ships of to-day. We can imagine how forbidding it
must have looked to Cartier and his companions from the
decks of their small storm-tossed caravels. Heavy gales
from the west came roaring through the strait. Great
quantities of floating ice ground to and fro under the
wind and current. So stormy was the outlook that for the
time being the passage seemed impossible. But Cartier
was not to be baulked in his design. He cast anchor at
the eastern mouth of the strait, in what is now the little
harbour of Kirpon (Carpunt), and there day after day,
stormbound by the inclement weather, he waited until June
9. Then at last he was able to depart, hoping, as he
wrote, 'with the help of God to sail farther.'

Having passed through the Strait of Belle Isle, Cartier
crossed over to the northern coast. Two days of prosperous
sailing with fair winds carried him far along the shore
to a distance of more than a hundred miles west of the
entrance of the Strait of Belle Isle. Whether he actually
touched on his way at the island now known as Belle Isle
is a matter of doubt. He passed an island which he named
St Catherine, and which he warned all mariners to avoid
because of dangerous shoals that lay about it. We find
his track again with certainty when he reaches the shelter
of the Port of Castles. The name was given to the anchorage
by reason of the striking cliffs of basaltic rock, which
here give to the shore something of the appearance of a
fortress. The place still bears the name of Castle Bay.

Sailing on to the west, Cartier noted the glittering
expanse of Blanc Sablon (White Sands), still known by
the name received from these first explorers. On June 10
the ships dropped anchor in the harbour of Brest, which
lies on the northern coast of the Gulf of St Lawrence
among many little islands lining the shore. This anchorage
seems to have been known already in Cartier's time, and
it became afterwards a famous place of gathering for the
French fishermen. Later on in the sixteenth century a
fort was erected there, and the winter settlement about
it is said to have contained at one time as many as a
thousand people. But its prosperity vanished later, and
the fort had been abandoned before the great conflict
had. begun between France and Great Britain for the
possession of North America. Cartier secured wood and
water at Brest. Leaving his ships there for the time
being, he continued his westward exploration in his boats.

The careful pilot marked every striking feature of the
coast, the bearing of the headlands and the configuration
of the many islands which stud these rock-bound and
inhospitable shores. He spent a night on one of these
islands, and the men found great quantities of ducks'
eggs. The next day, still sailing to the west, he reached
so fine an anchorage that he was induced to land and
plant a cross there in honour of St Servan. Beyond this
again was an island 'round like an oven.' Still farther
on he found a great river, as he thought it, which came
sweeping down from the highlands of the interior.

As the boats lay in the mouth of the river, there came
bearing down upon them a great fishing ship which had
sailed from the French port of La Rochelle, and was now
seeking vainly for the anchorage of Brest. Cartier's
careful observations now bore fruit. He and his men went
in their small boats to the fishing ship and gave the
information needed for the navigation of the coast. The
explorers still pressed on towards the west, till they
reached a place which Cartier declared to be one of the
finest harbours of the world, and which he called Jacques
Cartier Harbour. This is probably the water now known as
Cumberland Harbour. The forbidding aspect of the northern
shore and the adverse winds induced Cartier to direct
his course again towards the south, to the mainland, as
he thought, but really to the island of Newfoundland;
and so he now turned back with his boats to rejoin the
ships. The company gathered safely again at Brest on
Sunday, June 14, and Cartier caused a mass to be sung.

During the week spent in exploring the north shore,
Cartier had not been very favourably impressed by the
country. It seemed barren and inhospitable. It should
not, he thought, be Called the New Land, but rather stones
and wild crags and a place fit for wild beasts. The soil
seemed worthless. 'In all the north land,' said he, 'I
did not see a cartload of good earth. To be short, I
believe that this was the land that God allotted to Cain.'
From time to time the explorers had caught sight of
painted savages, with heads adorned with bright feathers
and with bodies clad in the skins of wild beasts. They
were roving upon the shore or passing in light boats made
of bark among the island channels of the coast. 'They
are men,' wrote Cartier, 'of an indifferent good stature
and bigness, but wild and unruly. They wear their hair
tied on the top like a wreath of hay and put a wooden
pin within it, or any other such thing instead of a nail,
and with them they bind certain birds' feathers. They
are clothed with beasts' skins as well the men as women,
but that the women go somewhat straighter and closer in
their garments than the men do, with their waists girded.
They paint themselves with certain roan colours. Their
boats are made with the bark of birch trees, with the
which they fish and take great store of seals, and, as
far as we could understand since our coming thither, that
is not their habitation, but they come from the mainland
out of hotter countries to catch the said seals and other
necessaries for their living.'

There has been much discussion as to these savages. It
has been thought by some that they were a southern branch
of the Eskimos, by others that they were Algonquin Indians
who had wandered eastward from the St Lawrence region.
But the evidence goes to show that they belonged to the
lost tribe of the 'Red Indians' of Newfoundland, the race
which met its melancholy fate by deliberate and ruthless
destruction at the hands of the whites. Cabot had already
seen these people on his voyage to the coast, and described
them as painted with 'red ochre.' Three of them he had
captured and taken to England as an exhibit. For two
hundred years after the English settlement of Newfoundland,
these 'Red Indians' were hunted down till they were
destroyed. 'It was considered meritorious,' says a
historian of the island, 'to shoot a Red Indian. To "go
to look for Indians" came to be as much a phrase as to
"look for partridges." They were harassed from post to
post, from island to island: their hunting and fishing
stations were unscrupulously seized by the invading
English. They were shot down without the least provocation,
or captured to be exposed as curiosities to the rabble
at fairs in the western towns of Christian England at
twopence apiece.' So much for the ill-fated savages among
whom Cartier planted his first cross.

On June 15, Cartier, disappointed, as we have seen, with
the rugged country that he found on the northern shore,
turned south again to pick up the mainland, as he called
it, of Newfoundland. Sailing south from Brest to a distance
of about sixty miles, he found himself on the same day
off Point Rich on the west coast of Newfoundland, to
which, from its appearance, he gave the name of the Double
Cape. For three days the course lay to the south-west
along the shore. The panorama that was unfolded to the
eye of the explorer was cheerless. The wind blew cold
and hard from the north-east. The weather was dark and
gloomy, while through the rifts of the mist and fog that
lay heavy on the face of the waters there appeared only
a forbidding and scarcely habitable coast. Low lands with
islands fringed the shore. Behind them great mountains,
hacked and furrowed in their outline, offered an uninviting
prospect. There was here no Eldorado such as, farther
south, met the covetous gaze of a Cortez or a Pizarro,
no land of promise luxuriant with the vegetation of the
tropics such as had greeted the eyes of Columbus at his
first vision of the Indies. A storm-bound coast, a
relentless climate and a reluctant soil-these were the
treasures of the New World as first known to the discoverer
of Canada.

For a week Cartier and his men lay off the coast. The
headland of Cape Anguille marks the approximate southward
limit of their exploration. Great gales drove the water
in a swirl of milk-white foam among the rocks that line
the foot of this promontory. Beyond this point they saw
nothing of the Newfoundland shore, except that, as the
little vessels vainly tried to beat their way to the
south against the fierce storms, the explorers caught
sight of a second great promontory that appeared before
them through the mist. This headland Cartier called Cape
St John. In spite of the difficulty of tracing the
storm-set path of the navigators, it is commonly thought
that the point may be identified as Cape Anguille, which
lies about twenty-five miles north of Cape Ray, the
south-west 'corner' of Newfoundland.

Had Cartier been able to go forward in the direction that
he had been following, he would have passed out between
Newfoundland and Cape Breton island into the open Atlantic,
and would have realized that his New Land was, after all,
an island and not the mainland of the continent. But this
discovery was reserved for his later voyage. He seems,
indeed, when he presently came to the islands that lie
in the mouth of the Gulf of St Lawrence, to have suspected
that a passage here lay to the open sea. Doubtless the
set of the wind and current revealed it to the trained
instinct of the pilot. 'If it were so,' he wrote, 'it
would be a great shortening as well of the time as of
the way, if any perfection could be found in it.' But it
was just as well that he did not seek further the opening
into the Atlantic. By turning westward from the 'heel'
of Newfoundland he was led to discover the milder waters
and the more fortunate lands which awaited him on the
further side of the Gulf.



On June 25 Cartier turned his course away from Newfoundland
and sailed westward into what appeared to be open sea.
But it was not long before he came in sight of land again.
About sixty miles from the Newfoundland shore and thirty
miles east from the Magdalen Islands, two abrupt rocks
rise side by side from the sea; through one of them the
beating surf has bored a passage, so that to Cartier's
eye, as his ships hove in sight of them, the rocks appeared
as three. At the present time a lighthouse of the Canadian
government casts its rays from the top of one of these
rocky islets, across the tossing waters of the Gulf.
Innumerable sea-fowl encircled the isolated spot and
built their nests so densely upon the rocks as to cover
the whole of the upper surface. At the base of one of
these Bird Rocks Cartier stopped his ships in their
westward course, and his men killed great numbers of the
birds so easily that he declared he could have filled
thirty boats with them in an hour.

The explorers continued on their way, and a sail of a
few hours brought them to an island like to none that
they had yet seen. After the rock-bound coast of the
north it seemed, indeed, a veritable paradise. Thick
groves of splendid trees alternated with beautiful glades
and meadow-land, while the fertile soil of the island,
through its entire length of about six miles, was carpeted
with bright flowers, blossoming peas, and the soft colours
of the wild rose. 'One acre of this land,' said Cartier,
'is worth more than all the New Land.' The ships lay off
the shore of the island all night and replenished the
stores of wood and water. The land abounded with game;
the men of St Malo saw bears and foxes, and, to their
surprise they saw also great beasts that basked upon the
shore, with 'two great teeth in their mouths like
elephants.' One of these walruses,--for such they doubtless
were,--was chased by the sailors, but cast itself into
the sea and disappeared. We can imagine how, through the
long twilight of the June evening, the lovely scene was
loud with the voices of the exultant explorers. It was
fitting that Cartier should name this island of good omen
after his patron, the Seigneur de Brion, admiral of
France. To this day the name Brion Island,--corrupted
sometimes to Byron Island,--recalls the landing of Jacques

From this temporary halting-place the ships sailed on
down the west coast of the Magdalen Islands. The night
of June 28 found them at anchor off Entry Island at the
southern end of the group. From here a course laid to
the south-west brought the explorers into sight of Prince
Edward Island. This they supposed to be, of course, the
mainland of the great American continent. Turning towards
the north-west, the ships followed the outline of the
coast. They sailed within easy sight of the shore, and
from their decks the explorer and his companions were
able to admire the luxuriant beauty of the scene. Here
again was a land of delight: 'It is the fairest land,'
wrote Cartier, 'that may possibly be seen, full of goodly
meadows and trees.' All that it lacked was a suitable
harbour, which the explorers sought in vain. At one point
a shallow river ran rippling to the sea, and here they
saw savages crossing the stream in their canoes, but they
found no place where the ships could be brought to anchor.

July 1 found the vessels lying off the northern end of
Prince Edward Island. Here they lowered the boats, and
searched the shore-line for a suitable anchorage. As they
rowed along a savage was seen running upon the beach and
making signs. The boats were turned towards him, but,
seized with a sudden panic, he ran away. Cartier landed
a boat and set up a little staff in the sand with a
woollen girdle and a knife, as a present for the fugitive
and a mark of good-will.

It has been asserted that this landing on a point called
Cap-des-Sauvages by Cartier, in memory of the incident,
took place on the New Brunswick shore. But the weight of
evidence is in favour of considering that North Cape in
Prince Edward Island deserves the honour. As the event
occurred on July 1, some writers have tried to find a
fortunate coincidence in the landing of the discoverer
of Canada on its soil on the day that became, three
hundred and thirty-three years later, Dominion Day. But
the coincidence is not striking. Cartier had already
touched Canadian soil at Brest, which is at the extreme
end of the Quebec coast, and on the Magdalen Islands.

Cartier's boats explored the northern end of prince Edward
Island for many miles. All that he saw delighted him.
'We went that day on shore,' he wrote in his narrative,
'in four places, to see the goodly sweet and smelling
trees that were there. We found them to be cedars, yews,
pines, white elms, ash, willows, With many other sorts
of trees to us unknown, but without any fruit. The grounds
where no wood is are very fair, and all full of peason
[peas], white and red gooseberries, strawberries,
blackberries, and wild corn, even like unto rye, which
seemed to have been sowed and ploughed. This country is
of better temperature than any other land that can be
seen, and very hot. There are many thrushes, stock-doves,
and other birds. To be short, there wanteth nothing but
good harbours.'

On July 2, the ships, sailing on westward from the head
of Prince Edward Island, came in sight of the New Brunswick
coast. They had thus crossed Northumberland Strait, which
separates the island from the mainland. Cartier, however,
supposed this to be merely a deep bay, extending inland
on his left, and named it the Bay of St Lunario. Before
him on the northern horizon was another headland, and to
the left the deep triangular bay known now as Miramichi.
The shallowness of the water and the low sunken aspect
of the shore led him to decide, rightly, that there was
to be found here no passage to the west. It was his hope,
of course, that at some point on his path the shore might
fold back and disclose to him the westward passage to
the fabled empires of the East. The deep opening of the
Chaleur Bay, which extended on the left hand as the ships
proceeded north, looked like such an opening. Hopes ran
high, and Cartier named the projecting horn which marks
the southern side of the mouth of the bay the Cape of
Good Hope. Like Vasco da Gama, when he rounded South
Africa, Cartier now thought that he had found the gateway
of a new world. The cheery name has, however, vanished
from the map in favour of the less striking one of Point

Cartier sailed across the broad mouth of the bay to a
point on the north shore, now known as Port Daniel. Here
his ships lay at anchor till July 12, in order that he
might carry on, in boats, the exploration of the shore.

On July 6, after hearing mass, the first boat with an
exploring party set forth and almost immediately fell in
with a great number of savages coming in canoes from the
southern shore. In all there were some forty or fifty
canoes. The Indians, as they leaped ashore, shouted and
made signs to the French, and held up skins on sticks as
if anxious to enter into trade. But Cartier was in no
mind to run the risk of closer contact with so numerous
a company of savages. The French would not approach the
fleet of canoes, and the savages, seeing this, began to
press in on the strangers. For a moment affairs looked
threatening. Cartier's boat was surrounded by seven canoes
filled with painted, gibbering savages. But the French
had a formidable defence. A volley of musket shots fired
by the sailors over the heads of the Indians dispersed
the canoes in rapid flight. Finding, however, that no
harm was done by the strange thunder of the weapons, the
canoes came flocking back again, their occupants making
a great noise and gesticulating wildly. They were, however,
nervous, and when, as they came near, Cartier's men let
off two muskets they were terrified; 'with great haste
they began to flee, and would no more follow us.' But
the next day after the boat had returned to the ships,
the savages came near to the anchorage, and some parties
landed and traded together. The Indians had with them
furs which they offered gladly in exchange for the knives
and iron tools given them by the sailors. Cartier presented
them also with 'a red hat to give unto their captain.'
The Indians seemed delighted with the exchange. They
danced about on the shore, went through strange ceremonies
in pantomime and threw seawater over their heads. 'They
gave us,' wrote Cartier, 'whatsoever they had, not keeping
anything, so that they were constrained to go back again
naked, and made us signs that the next day they would
come again and bring more skins with them.'

Four more days Cartier lingered in the bay. Again he sent
boats from the ships in the hope of finding the westward
passage, but to his great disappointment and grief the
search was fruitless. The waters were evidently landlocked,
and there was here, as he sadly chronicled, no thoroughfare
to the westward sea. He met natives in large numbers.
Hundreds of them--men, women, and children--came in their
canoes to see the French explorers. They brought cooked
meat, laid it on little pieces of wood, and, retreating
a short distance, invited the French to eat. Their manner
was as of those offering food to the gods who have
descended from above. The women among them, coming
fearlessly up to the explorers, stroked them with their
hands, and then lifted these hands clasped to the sky,
with every sign of joy and exultation. The Indians, as
Cartier saw them, seemed to have no settled home, but to
wander to and fro in their canoes, taking fish and game
as they went. Their land appeared to him the fairest that
could be seen, level as a pond; in every opening of the
forest he saw wild grains and berries, roses and fragrant
herbs. It was, indeed, a land of promise that lay basking
in the sunshine of a Canadian summer. The warmth led
Cartier to give to the bay the name it still bears--Chaleur.

On July 12 the ships went north again. Their progress
was slow. Boisterous gales drove in great seas from the
outer Gulf. At times the wind, blowing hard from the
north, checked their advance and they had, as best they
could, to ride out the storm. The sky was lowering and
overcast, and thick mist and fog frequently enwrapped
the ships. The 16th saw them driven by stress of weather
into Gaspe Bay, where they lay until the 25th, with so
dark a sky and so violent a storm raging over the Gulf
that not even the daring seamen of St Malo thought it
wise to venture out.

Here again they saw savages in great numbers, but belonging,
so Cartier concluded, to a different tribe from those
seen on the bay below. 'We gave them knives,' he wrote,
'combs, beads of glass, and other trifles of small value,
for which they made many signs of gladness, lifting their
hands up to heaven, dancing and singing in their boats.'
They appeared to be a miserable people, in the lowest
stage of savagery, going about practically naked, and
owning nothing of any value except their boats and their
fishing-nets. He noted that their heads were shaved except
for a tuft 'on the top of the crown as long as a horse's
tail.' This, of course, was the 'scalp lock,' so suggestive
now of the horrors of Indian warfare, but meaning nothing
to the explorer. From its presence it is supposed that
the savages were Indians of the Huron-Iroquois tribe.
Cartier thought, from their destitute state, that there
could be no poorer people in the world.

Before leaving the Bay of Gaspe, Cartier planted a great
wooden cross at the entrance of the harbour. The cross
stood thirty feet high, and at the centre of it he hung
a shield with three fleurs-de-lis. At the top was carved
in ancient lettering the legend, 'VIVE LE ROY DE FRANCE.'
A large concourse of savages stood about the French
explorers as they raised the cross to its place. 'So soon
as it was up,' writes Cartier, 'we altogether kneeled
down before them, with our hands towards heaven yielding
God thanks: and we made signs unto them, showing them
the heavens, and that all our salvation depended only on
Him which in them dwelleth; whereat they showed a great
admiration, looking first at one another and then at the

The little group of sailors kneeling about the cross
newly reared upon the soil of Canada as a symbol of the
Gospel of Christ and of the sovereignty of France, the
wondering savages turning their faces in awe towards the
summer sky, serene again after the passing storms,--all
this formed an impressive picture, and one that appears
and reappears in the literature of Canada. But the first
effect of the ceremony was not fortunate. By a sound
instinct the savages took fright; they rightly saw in
the erection of the cross the advancing shadow of the
rule of the white man. After the French had withdrawn to
their ships, the chief of the Indians came out with his
brother and his sons to make protest against what had
been done. He made a long oration, which the French could
not, of course, understand. Pointing shoreward to the
cross and making signs, the chief gave it to be understood
that the country belonged to him and his people. He and
his followers were, however, easily pacified by a few
gifts and with the explanation, conveyed by signs, that
the cross was erected to mark the entrance of the bay.
The French entertained their guests bountifully with food
and drink, and, having gaily decked out two sons of the
chief in French shirts and red caps, they invited these
young savages to remain on the ship and to sail with
Cartier. They did so, and the chief and the others departed
rejoicing. The next day the ships weighed anchor, surrounded
by boat-loads of savages who shouted and gesticulated
their farewells to those on board.

Cartier now turned his ships to the north-east. Westward
on his left hand, had he known it, was the opening of
the St Lawrence. From the trend of the land he supposed,
however, that, by sailing in an easterly direction, he
was again crossing one of the great bays of the coast.
This conjecture seemed to be correct, as the coastline
of the island of Anticosti presently appeared on the
horizon. From July 27 until August 5 the explorers made
their way along the shores of Anticosti, which they almost
circumnavigated. Sailing first to the east they passed
a low-lying country, almost bare of forests, but with
verdant and inviting meadows. The shore ended at East
Cape, named by Cartier Cape St Louis, and at this point
the ships turned and made their way north-westward, along
the upper shore of the island. On August 1, as they
advanced, they came in sight of the mainland of the
northern shore of the Gulf of St Lawrence, a low, flat
country, heavily wooded, with great mountains forming a
jagged sky-line. Cartier had now, evidently enough, come
back again to the side of the great Gulf from which he
had started, but, judging rightly that the way to the
west might lie beyond the Anticosti coast, he continued
on his voyage along that shore. Yet with every day progress
became more difficult. As the ships approached the narrower
waters between the west end of Anticosti and the mainland
they met powerful tides and baffling currents. The wind,
too, had turned against them and blew fiercely from the

For five days the intrepid mariners fought against the
storms and currents that checked their advance. They were
already in sight of what seemed after long searching to
be the opening of the westward passage. But the fierce
wind from the west so beat against them that the clumsy
vessels could make no progress against it. Cartier lowered
a boat, and during two hours the men rowed desperately
into the wind. For a while the tide favoured them, but
even then it ran so hard as to upset one of the boats.
When the tide turned matters grew worse. There came
rushing down with the wind and the current of the St
Lawrence such a turmoil of the waters that the united
strength of the thirteen men at the oars could not advance
the boats by a stone's-throw. The whole company landed
on the island of Anticosti, and Cartier, with ten or
twelve men, made his way on foot to the west end. Standing
there and looking westward over the foaming waters lashed
by the August storm, he was able to realize that the goal
of his search for the coast of Asia, or at least for an
open passage to the west, might lie before him, but that,
for the time being, it was beyond his reach.

Turning back, the party rejoined the ships which had
drifted helplessly before the wind some twelve miles down
the shore. Arrived on board, Cartier called together his
sailing-master, pilots, and mates to discuss what was to
be done. They agreed that the contrary winds forbade
further exploration. The season was already late; the
coast of France was far away; within a few weeks the
great gales of the equinox would be upon them. Accordingly
the company decided to turn back. Soon the ships were
heading along the northern shore of the Gulf, and with
the boisterous wind behind them were running rapidly
towards the east. They sailed towards the Newfoundland
shore, caught sight of the Double Cape and then, heading
north again, came to Blanc Sablon on August 9. Here they
lay for a few days to prepare for the homeward voyage,
and on August 15 they were under way once more for the
passage of Belle Isle and the open sea.

'And after that, upon August 15,' so ends Cartier's
narrative, 'being the feast of the Assumption of our
Lady, after that we had heard service, we altogether
departed from the port of Blanc Sablon, and with a happy
and prosperous weather we came into the middle of the
sea that is between Newfoundland and Brittany, in which
place we were tossed and turmoiled three days long with
great storms and windy tempests coming from the east,
which with the aid and assistance of God we suffered:
then had we fair weather, and upon the fifth of September,
in the said year, we came to the port of St Malo whence
we departed.'



The second voyage of Jacques Cartier, undertaken in the
years 1535 and 1536, is the exploit on which his title
to fame chiefly rests. In this voyage he discovered the
river St Lawrence, visited the site of the present city
of Quebec, and, ascending the river as far as Hochelaga,
was enabled to view from the summit of Mount Royal the
imposing panorama of plain and river and mountain which
marks the junction of the St Lawrence and the Ottawa. He
brought back to the king of France the rumour of great
countries still to be discovered to the west, of vast
lakes and rivers reaching so far inland that no man could
say from what source they sprang, and the legend of a
region rich with gold and silver that should rival the
territory laid at the feet of Spain by the conquests of
Cortez. If he did not find the long-sought passage to
the Western Sea, at least he added to the dominions of
France a territory the potential wealth of which, as we
now see, was not surpassed even by the riches of Cathay.

The report of Cartier's first voyage, written by himself,
brought to him the immediate favour of the king. A
commission, issued under the seal of Philippe Chabot,
admiral of France, on October 30, 1534, granted to him
wide powers for employing ships and men, and for the
further prosecution of his discoveries. He was entitled
to engage at the king's charge three ships, equipped and
provisioned for fifteen months, so that he might be able
to spend, at least, an entire year in actual exploration.
Cartier spent the winter in making his preparations, and
in the springtime of the next year (1535) all was ready
for the voyage.

By the middle of May the ships, duly manned and provisioned,
lay at anchor in the harbour of St Malo, waiting only a
fair wind to sail. They were three in number--the Grande
Hermine of 120 tons burden; a ship of 60 tons which was
rechristened the Petite Hermine, and which was destined
to leave its timbers in the bed of a little rivulet beside
Quebec, and a small vessel of 40 tons known as the
Emerillon or Sparrow Hawk. On the largest of the ships
Cartier himself sailed, with Claude de Pont Briand,
Charles de la Pommeraye, and other gentlemen of France,
lured now by a spirit of adventure to voyage to the New
World. Mace Jalobert, who had married the sister of
Cartier's wife, commanded the second ship. Of the sailors
the greater part were trained seamen of St Malo.
Seventy-four of their names are still preserved upon a
roll of the crew. The company numbered in all one hundred
and twelve persons, including the two savages who had
been brought from Gaspe in the preceding voyage, and who
were now to return as guides and interpreters of the

Whether or not there were any priests on board the ships
is a matter that is not clear. The titles of two persons
in the roll--Dom Guillaume and Dom Antoine--seem to
suggest a priestly calling. But the fact that Cartier
made no attempt to baptize the Indians to whom he narrated
the truths of the Gospel, and that he makes no mention
of priests in connection with any of the sacred ceremonies
which he carried out, seem to show that none were included
in the expedition. There is, indeed, reference in the
narrative to the hearing of mass, but it relates probably
to the mere reading of prayers by the explorer himself.
On one occasion, also, as will appear, Cartier spoke to
the Indians of what his priests had told him, but the
meaning of the phrase is doubtful.

Before sailing, every man of the company repaired to the
Cathedral Church of St Malo, where all confessed their
sins and received the benediction of the good bishop of
the town. This was on the day and feast of Pentecost in
1535, and three days later, on May 19, the ships sailed
out from the little harbour and were borne with a fair
wind beyond the horizon of the west. But the voyage was
by no means as prosperous as that of the year before.
The ships kept happily together until May 26. Then they
were assailed in mid-Atlantic by furious gales from the
west, and were enveloped in dense banks of fog. During
a month of buffeting against adverse seas, they were
driven apart and lost sight of one another.

Cartier in the Grande Hermine reached the coast of
Newfoundland safely on July coming again to the Island
of Birds. 'So full of birds it was,' he writes, 'that
all the ships of France might be loaded with them, and
yet it would not seem that any were taken away.' On the
next day the Grande Hermine sailed on through the Strait
of Belle Isle for Blanc Sablon, and there, by agreement,
waited in the hope that her consorts might arrive. In
the end, on the 26th, the two missing ships sailed into
the harbour together. Three days more were spent in making
necessary repairs and in obtaining water and other
supplies, and on the 29th at sunrise the reunited expedition
set out on its exploration of the northern shore. During
the first half of August their way lay over the course
already traversed from the Strait of Belle Isle to the
western end of Anticosti. The voyage along this coast
was marked by no event of especial interest. Cartier, as
before, noted carefully the bearing of the land as he
went along, took soundings, and, in the interest of future
pilots of the coast, named and described the chief
headlands and landmarks as he passed. He found the coast
for the most part dangerous and full of shoals. Here and
there vast forests extended to the shore, but otherwise
the country seemed barren and uninviting.

From the north shore Cartier sailed across to Anticosti,
touching near what is now called Charleton Point; but,
meeting with head winds, which, as in the preceding year,
hindered his progress along the island, he turned to the
north again and took shelter in what he called a 'goodly
great gulf full of islands, passages, and entrances
towards what wind soever you please to bend.' It might
be recognized, he said, by a great island that runs out
beyond the rest and on which is 'an hill fashioned as it
were an heap of corn.' The 'goodly gulf' is Pillage Bay
in the district of Saguenay, and the hill is Mount Ste

From this point the ships sailed again to Anticosti and
reached the extreme western cape of that island. The two
Indian guides were now in a familiar country. The land
in sight, they told Cartier, was a great island; south
of it was Gaspe, from which country Cartier had taken
them in the preceding summer; two days' journey beyond
the island towards the west lay the kingdom of Saguenay,
a part of the northern coast that stretches westwards
towards the land of Canada. The use of this name, destined
to mean so much to later generations, here appears for
the first time in Cartier's narrative. The word was
evidently taken from the lips of the savages, but its
exact significance has remained a matter of dispute. The
most fantastic derivations have been suggested. Charlevoix,
writing two hundred years later, even tells us that the
name originated from the fact that the Spaniards had been
upon the coast before Cartier, looking for mines. Their
search proving fruitless, they kept repeating 'aca nada'
(that is 'nothing here') in the hearing of the savages,
who repeated the words to the French, thus causing them
to suppose this to be the name of the country. There
seems no doubt, however, that the word is Indian, though
whether it is from the Iroquois Kannata, a settlement,
or from some term meaning a narrow strait or passage, it
is impossible to say.

From Anticosti, which Cartier named the Island of the
Assumption, the ships sailed across to the Gaspe side of
the Gulf, which they saw on August 16, and which was
noted to be a land 'full of very great and high hills.'
According to the information of his Indian guides, he
had now reached the point beyond which extended the great
kingdom of Saguenay. The northern and southern coasts
were evidently drawing more closely together, and between
them, so the savages averred, lay a great river.

'There is,' wrote Cartier in his narrative, 'between the
southerly lands and the northerly about thirty leagues
distance and more than two hundred fathoms depth. The
said men did, moreover, certify unto us that there was
the way and beginning of the great river of Hochelaga,
and ready way to Canada, which river the farther it went
the narrower it came, even unto Canada, and that then
there was fresh water which went so far upwards that they
had never heard of any man who had gone to the head of
it, and that there is no other passage but with small

The announcement that the waters in which he was sailing
led inward to a fresh-water river brought to Cartier not
the sense of elation that should have accompanied so
great a discovery, but a feeling of disappointment. A
fresh-water river could not be the westward passage to
Asia that he had hoped to find, and, interested though
he might be in the rumoured kingdom of Saguenay, it was
with reluctance that he turned from the waters of the
Gulf to the ascent of the great river. Indeed, he decided
not to do this until he had tried by every means to find
the wished-for opening on the coast of the Gulf.
Accordingly, he sailed to the northern shore and came to
the land among the Seven Islands, which lie near the
mouth of the Ste Marguerite river, about eighty-five
miles west of Anticosti,--the Round Islands, Cartier
called them. Here, having brought the ships to a safe
anchorage, riding in twenty fathoms of water, he sent
the boats eastward to explore the portion of the coast
towards Anticosti which he had not yet seen. He cherished
a last hope that here, perhaps, the westward passage
might open before him. But the boats returned from the
expedition with no news other than that of a river flowing
into the Gulf, in such volume that its water was still
fresh three miles from the shore. The men declared, too,
that they had seen 'fishes shaped like horses,' which,
so the Indians said, retired to shore at night, and spent
the day in the sea. The creatures, no doubt, were walruses.

It was on August 15 that Cartier had left Anticosti for
the Gaspe shore: it was not until the 24th that, delayed
by the exploring expeditions of the boats and by heavy
fogs and contrary winds, he moved out from the anchorage
at the Seven Islands to ascend the St Lawrence. The season
was now far advanced. By this time, doubtless, Cartier
had realized that the voyage would not result in the
discovery of the passage to the East. But, anxious not
to return home without having some success to report, he
was in any case prepared to winter in the New Land. Even
though he did not find the passage, it was better to
remain long enough to explore the lands in the basin of
the great river than to return home without adding anything
to the exploits of the previous voyage.

The expedition moved westward up the St Lawrence, the
first week's sail bringing them as far as the Saguenay.
On the way Cartier put in at Bic Islands, and christened
them in honour of St John. Finding here but scanty
shelter and a poor anchorage, he went on without further
delay to the Saguenay, the mouth of which he reached on
September 1. Here this great tributary river, fed from
the streams and springs of the distant north, pours its
mighty waters between majestic cliffs into the St
Lawrence--truly an impressive sight. So vast is the
flood that the great stream in its wider reaches shows
a breadth of three miles, and in places the waters are
charted as being more than eight hundred and seventy
feet deep. Narrowing at its mouth, it enters the St
Lawrence in an angry flood, shortly after passing the
vast and frowning rocks of Cape Eternity and Cape
Trinity, rising to a height of fifteen hundred feet.
High up on the face of the cliffs, Cartier saw growing
huge pine-trees that clung, earthless, to the naked
rock. Four canoes danced in the foaming water at the
river mouth: one of them made bold to approach the
ships, and the words of Cartier's Indian interpreters so
encouraged its occupants that they came on board. The
canoes, so these Indians explained to Cartier, had come
down from Canada to fish.

Cartier did not remain long at the Saguenay. On the next
day, September 2, the ships resumed their ascent of the
St Lawrence. The navigation at this point was by no means
easy. The river here feels the full force of the tide,
whose current twists and eddies among the great rocks
that lie near the surface of the water. The ships lay at
anchor that night off Hare Island. As they left their
moorings, at dawn of the following day, they fell in with
a great school of white whales disporting themselves in
the river. Strange fish, indeed, these seemed to Cartier.
'They were headed like greyhounds,' he wrote, 'and were
as white as snow, and were never before of any man seen
or known.'

Four days more brought the voyagers to an island, a
'goodly and fertile spot covered with fine trees,' and
among them so many filbert-trees that Cartier gave it
the name Isle-aux-Coudres (the Isle of Filberts), which
it still bears. On September 7 the vessels sailed about
thirty miles beyond Isle-aux-Coudres, and came to a group
of islands, one of which, extending for about twenty
miles up the river, appeared so fertile and so densely
covered with wild grapes hanging to the river's edge,
that Cartier named it the Isle of Bacchus. He himself,
however, afterwards altered the name to the Island of
Orleans. These islands, so the savages said, marked the
beginning of the country known as Canada.



At the time when Cartier ascended the St Lawrence, a
great settlement of the Huron-Iroquois Indians existed
at Quebec. Their village was situated below the heights,
close to the banks of the St Charles, a small tributary
of the St Lawrence. Here the lodges of the tribe gave
shelter to many hundred people. Beautiful trees--elm and
ash and maple and birch, as fair as the trees of
France--adorned the banks of the river, and the open
spaces of the woods waved with the luxuriant growth of
Indian corn. Here were the winter home of the tribe and
the wigwam of the chief. From this spot hunting and
fishing parties of the savages descended the great river
and wandered as far as the pleasant country of Chaleur
Bay. Sixty-four years later, when Champlain ascended the
St Lawrence, the settlement and the tribe that formerly
occupied the spot had vanished. But in the time of Cartier
the Quebec village, under its native name of Stadacona,
seems to have been, next to Hochelaga, the most important
lodgment of the Huron-Iroquois Indians of the St Lawrence

As the French navigators wandered on the shores of the
Island of Orleans, they fell in with a party of the
Stadacona Indians. These, frightened at the strange faces
and unwonted dress of the French, would have taken to
flight, but Cartier's two Indians, whose names are recorded
as Taignoagny and Domagaya, called after them in their
own language. Great was the surprise of the natives not
only to hear their own speech, but also to recognize in
Taignoagny and Domagaya two members of their own tribe.
The two guides, so far as we can judge from Cartier's
narrative, had come down from the Huron-Iroquois settlements
on the St Lawrence to the Gaspe country, whence Cartier
had carried them to France. Their friends now surrounded
them with tumultuous expressions of joy, leaping and
shouting as if to perform a ceremonial of welcome. Without
fear now of the French they followed them down to their
boats, and brought them a plentiful supply of corn and
of the great pumpkins that were ripening in their fields.

The news of the arrival of the strangers spread at once
through the settlement. To see the ships, canoe after
canoe came floating down the river. They were filled with
men and women eager to welcome their returned kinsmen
and to share in the trinkets which Cartier distributed
with a liberal hand. On the next day the chief of the
tribe, the lord of Canada, as Cartier calls him, Donnacona
by name, visited the French ships. The ceremonial was
appropriate to his rank. Twelve canoes filled with Indian
warriors appeared upon the stream. As they neared the
ships, at a command from Donnacona, all fell back except
two, which came close alongside the Emerillon. Donnacona
then delivered a powerful and lengthy harangue, accompanied
by wondrous gesticulations of body and limbs. The canoes
then moved down to the side of the Grande Hermine, where
Donnacona spoke with Cartier's guides. As these savages
told him of the wonders they had seen in France, he was
apparently moved to very transports of joy. Nothing would
satisfy him but that Cartier should step down into the
canoe, that the chief might put his arms about his neck
in sign of welcome. Cartier, unable to rival Donnacona's
oratory, made up for it by causing the sailors hand down
food and wine, to the keen delight of the Indians. This
being done, the visitors departed with every expression
of good-will.

Waiting only for a favourable tide, the ships left their
anchorage, and, sailing past the Island of Orleans, cast
anchor in the St Charles river, where it flows into the
St Lawrence near Quebec. The Emerillon was left at anchor
out in the St Lawrence, in readiness for the continuance
of the journey, but the two larger vessels were moored
at the point where a rivulet, the Lairet, runs into the
St Charles. It was on the left bank of the Lairet that
Cartier's fort was presently constructed for his winter
occupancy. Some distance across from it, on the other
side of the St Charles, was Stadacona itself. Its site
cannot be determined with exactitude, but it is generally
agreed that it was most likely situated in the space
between the present Rue de la Fabrique and the Cote

The Indians were most friendly. When, on September 14,
the French had sailed into the St Charles, Donnacona had
again met them, accompanied by twenty-five canoes filled
with his followers. The savages, by their noisy conduct
and strange antics, gave every sign of joy over the
arrival of the French. But from the first Cartier seems
to have had his misgivings as to their good faith. He
was struck by the fact that his two Indian interpreters,
who had rejoined the ranks of their countrymen, seemed
now to receive him with a sullen distrust, and refused
his repeated invitations to re-enter his ships. He asked
them whether they were still willing to go on with him
to Hochelaga, of which they had told him, and which it
was his purpose to visit. The two Indians assented, but
their manner was equivocal and inspired Cartier with

The day after this a great concourse of Indians came
again to the river bank to see the strangers, but Donnacona
and his immediate followers, including Taignoagny and
Domagaya, stood apart under a point of land on the river
bank sullenly watching the movements of the French, who
were busied in setting out buoys and harbour-marks for
their anchorage. Cartier, noticing this, took a few of
his sailors, fully armed, and marched straight to where
the chief stood. Taignoagny, the interpreter, came forward
and entered upon a voluble harangue, telling the French
captain that Donnacona was grieved to see him and his
men so fully armed, while he and his people bore no
weapons in their hands. Cartier told Taignoagny, who had
been in France, that to carry arms was the custom of his
country, and that he knew it. Indeed, since Donnacona
continued to make gestures of pleasure and friendship,
the explorer concluded that the interpreter only and not
the Indian chief was the cause of the distrust. Yet he
narrates that before Donnacona left them, 'all his people
at once with a loud voice cast out three great cries, a
horrible thing to hear.' The Indian war-whoop, if such
it was, is certainly not a reassuring sound, but Cartier
and Donnacona took leave of one another with repeated
assurances of good-will.

The following day, September 16, the Indians came again.
About five hundred of them, so Cartier tells us, gathered
about the ships. Donnacona, with 'ten or twelve of the
chiefest men of the country,' came on board the ships,
where Cartier held a great feast for them and gave them
presents in accordance with their rank. Taignoagny
explained to Cartier that Donnacona was grieved that he
was going up to Hochelaga. The river, said the guide,
was of no importance, and the journey was not worth while.
Cartier's reply to this protest was that he had been
commanded by his king to go as far as he could go, but
that, after seeing Hochelaga, he would come back again.
On this Taignoagny flatly refused to act as guide, and
the Indians abruptly left the ship and went ashore.

Cartier must, indeed, have been perplexed, and perhaps
alarmed, at the conduct of the Stadacona natives. It was
his policy throughout his voyages to deal with the Indians
fairly and generously, to avoid all violence towards
them, and to content himself with bringing to them the
news of the Gospel and the visible signs of the greatness
of the king of France. The cruelties of the Spanish
conquerors of the south were foreign to his nature. The
few acts of injustice with which his memory has been
charged may easily be excused in the light of the
circumstances of his age. But he could not have failed
to realize the possibilities of a sudden and murderous
onslaught on the part of savages who thus combined a
greedy readiness for feasting and presents with a sullen
and brooding distrust.

Donnacona and his people were back again on the morrow,
still vainly endeavouring to dissuade the French from
their enterprise. They brought with them a great quantity
of eels and fish as presents, and danced and sang upon
the shore opposite the ships in token of their friendship.
When Cartier and his men came ashore, Donnacona made all
his people stand back from the beach. He drew in the sand
a huge ring, and into this he led the French. Then,
selecting from the ranks of his followers, who stood in
a great circle watching the ceremony, a little girl of
ten years old, he led her into the ring and presented
her to Cartier. After her, two little boys were handed
over in the same fashion, the assembled Indians rending
the air with shouts of exultation. Donnacona, in true
Indian fashion, improved the occasion with a long harangue,
which Taignoagny interpreted to mean that the little girl
was the niece of the chief and one of the boys the brother
of the interpreter himself, and that the explorer might
keep all these children as a gift if he would promise
not to go to Hochelaga.

Cartier at once, by signs and speech, offered the children
back again, whereupon the other interpreter, Domagaya,
broke in and said that the children were given in good-will,
and that Donnacona was well content that Cartier should
go to Hochelaga. The three poor little savages were
carried to the boats, the two interpreters wrangling and
fighting the while as to what had really been said. But
Cartier felt assured that the treachery, if any were
contemplated, came only from one of them, Taignoagny. As
a great mark of trust he gave to Donnacona two swords,
a basin of plain brass and a ewer--gifts which called
forth renewed shouts of joy. Before the assemblage broke
up, the chief asked Cartier to cause the ships' cannons
to be fired, as he had learned from the two guides that
they made such a marvellous noise as was never heard

'Our captain answered,' writes Cartier in his narrative,
'that he was content: and by and by he commanded his men
to shoot off twelve cannons into the wood that was hard
by the people and the ships, at which noise they were
greatly astonished and amazed, for they thought the heaven
had fallen upon them, and put themselves to flight,
howling, crying and shrieking, so that it seemed hell
was broken loose.'

Next day the Indians made one more attempt to dissuade
Cartier from his journey. Finding that persuasion and
oratory were of no avail, they decided to fall back upon
the supernatural and to frighten the French from their
design. Their artifice was transparent enough, but to
the minds of the simple savages was calculated to strike
awe into the hearts of their visitors. Instead of coming
near the ships, as they had done on each preceding day,
the Indians secreted themselves in the woods along the
shore. There they lay hid for many hours, while the French
were busied with their preparations for departure. But
later in the day, when the tide was running swiftly
outward, the Indians in their canoes came paddling down
the stream towards the ships, not, however, trying to
approach them, but keeping some little distance away as
if in expectation of something unusual.

The mystery soon revealed itself. From beneath the foliage
of the river bank a canoe shot into the stream, the
hideous appearance of its occupants contrasting with the
bright autumn tints that were lending their glory to the
Canadian woods. The three Indians in the canoe had been
carefully made up by their fellows as 'stage devils' to
strike horror into Cartier and his companions. They were
'dressed like devils, being wrapped in dog skins, white
and black, their faces besmeared as black as any coals,
with horns on their heads more than a yard long.' The
canoe came rushing swiftly down the stream, and floated
past the ships, the 'devils' who occupied the craft making
no attempt to stop, not even turning towards the ships,
but counterfeiting, as it were, the sacred frenzy of
angry deities. The devil in the centre shouted a fierce
harangue into the air. No sooner did the canoe pass the
ships than Donnacona and his braves in their light barques
set after it, paddling so swiftly as to overtake the
canoe of the 'devils' and seize the gunwale of it in
their hands.

The whole thing was a piece of characteristic Indian
acting, viewed by the French with interest, but apparently
without the faintest alarm. The 'devils,' as soon as
their boat was seized by the profane touch of the savages,
fell back as if lifeless in their canoe. The assembled
flotilla was directed to the shore. The 'devils' were
lifted out rigid and lifeless and carried solemnly into
the forest. The leaves of the underbrush closed behind
them and they were concealed from sight, but from the
deck of the ship the French could still hear the noise
of cries and incantations that broke the stillness of
the woods. After half an hour Taignoagny and Domagaya
issued from among the trees. Their walk and their actions
were solemnity itself, while their faces simulated the
religious ecstasy of men who have spoken with the gods.
The caps that they had worn were now placed beneath the
folds of their Indian blankets, and their clasped hands
were uplifted to the autumn sky. Taignoagny cried out
three times upon the name of Jesus, while his fellow
imitated and kept shouting, 'Jesus! the Virgin Mary!
Jacques Cartier!'

Cartier very naturally called to them to know what was
the matter; whereupon Taignoagny in doleful tones called
out, 'Ill news!' Cartier urged the Indian to explain,
and the guide, still acting the part of one who bears
tidings from heaven, said that the great god, Cudragny,
had spoken at Hochelaga and had sent down three 'spirits'
in the canoe to warn Cartier that he must not try to come
to Hochelaga, because there was so much ice and snow in
that country that whoever went there should die. In the
face of this awful revelation, Cartier showed a cheerful
and contemptuous scepticism. 'Their god, Cudragny,' he
said, must be 'a fool and a noodle,' and that, as for
the cold, Christ would protect his followers from that,
if they would but believe in Him. Taignoagny asked Cartier
if he had spoken with Jesus. Cartier answered no, but
said that his priests had done so and that Jesus had told
them that the weather would be fine. Taignoagny, hypocrite
still, professed a great joy at hearing this, and set
off into the woods, whence he emerged presently with the
whole band of Indians, singing and dancing. Their plan
had failed, but they evidently thought it wiser to offer
no further opposition to Cartier's journey, though all
refused to go with him.

The strange conduct of Donnacona and his Indians is not
easy to explain. It is quite possible that they meditated
some treachery towards the French: indeed, Cartier from
first to last was suspicious of their intentions, and,
as we shall see, was careful after his return to Stadacona
never to put himself within their power. To the very end
of his voyage he seems to have been of the opinion that
if he and his men were caught off their guard, Donnacona
and his braves would destroy the whole of them for the
sake of their coveted possessions. The stories that he
heard now and later from his guides of the horrors of
Indian war and of a great massacre at the Bic Islands
certainly gave him just grounds for suspicion and counselled
prudence. Some writers are agreed, however, that the
Indians had no hostile intentions whatever. The new-comers
seemed to them wondrous beings, floating on the surface
of the water in great winged houses, causing the thunder
to roll forth from their abode at will and, more than
all, feasting their friends and giving to them such gifts
as could only come from heaven. Such guests were too
valuable to lose. The Indians knew well of the settlement
at Hochelaga, and of the fair country where it lay. They
feared that if Cartier once sailed to it, he and his
presents--the red caps and the brass bowls sent direct
from heaven--would be lost to them for ever.

Be this as it may, no further opposition was offered to
the departure of the French. The two larger ships, with
a part of the company as guard, were left at their
moorings. Cartier in the Emerillon, with Mace Jalobert,
Claude de Pont Briand, and the other gentlemen of the
expedition, a company of fifty in all, set out for



Nine days of prosperous sailing carried Cartier in his
pinnace from Stadacona to the broad expansion of the St
Lawrence, afterwards named Lake St Peter. The autumn
scene as the little vessel ascended the stream was one
of extreme beauty. The banks of the river were covered
with glorious forests resplendent now with the red and
gold of the turning leaves. Grape-vines grew thickly on
every hand, laden with their clustered fruit. The shore
and forest abounded with animal life. The woods were loud
with the chirruping of thrushes, goldfinches, canaries,
and other birds. Countless flocks of wild geese and ducks
passed overhead, while from the marshes of the back waters
great cranes rose in their heavy flight over the bright
surface of the river that reflected the cloudless blue
of the autumn sky.

Cartier was enraptured with the land which he had
discovered,--'as goodly a country,' he wrote, 'as possibly
can with eye be seen, and all replenished with very goodly
trees.' Here and there the wigwams of the savages dotted
the openings of the forest. Often the inhabitants put
off from shore in canoes, bringing fish and food, and
accepting, with every sign of friendship, the little
presents which Cartier distributed among them. At one
place an Indian chief--'one of the chief lords of the
country,' says Cartier--brought two of his children as
a gift to the miraculous strangers. One of the children,
a little girl of eight, was kept upon the ship and went
on with Cartier to Hochelaga and back to Stadacona, where
her parents came to see her later on. The other child
Cartier refused to keep because 'it was too young, for
it was but two or three years old.'

At the head of Lake St Peter, Cartier, ignorant of the
channels, found his progress in the pinnace barred by
the sand bars and shallows among the group of islands
which here break the flow of the great river. The Indians
whom he met told him by signs that Hochelaga lay still
farther up-stream, at a distance of three days' journey.
Cartier decided to leave the Emerillon and to continue
on his way in the two boats which he had brought with
him. Claude de Pont Briand and some of the gentlemen,
together with twenty mariners, accompanied the leader,
while the others remained in charge of the pinnace.

Three days of easy and prosperous navigation was sufficient
for the journey, and on October 2, Cartier's boats, having
rowed along the shores of Montreal island, landed in full
sight of Mount Royal, at some point about three or four
miles from the heart of the present city. The precise
location of the landing has been lost to history. It has
been thought by some that the boats advanced until the
foaming waters of the Lachine rapids forbade all further
progress. Others have it that the boats were halted at
the foot of St Mary's current, and others again that Nun
Island was the probable place of landing. What is certain
is that the French brought their boats to shore among a
great crowd of assembled savages,--a thousand persons,
Cartier says,--and that they were received with tumultuous
joy. The Indians leaped and sang, their familiar mode of
celebrating welcome. They offered to the explorers great
quantities of fish and of the bread which they baked from
the ripened corn. They brought little children in their
arms, making signs for Cartier and his companions to
touch them.

As the twilight gathered, the French withdrew to their
boats, while the savages, who were loath to leave the
spot, lighted huge bonfires on the shore. A striking and
weird picture it conjures up before our eyes,--the French
sailors with their bronzed and bearded faces, their
strange dress and accoutrements, the glare of the great
bonfires on the edge of the dark waters, the wild dances
of the exultant savages. The romance and inspiration of
the history of Canada are suggested by this riotous
welcome of the Old World by the New. It meant that mighty
changes were pending; the eye of imagination may see in
the background the shadowed outline of the spires and
steeples of the great city of to-day.

On the next day, October 3, the French were astir with
the first light of the morning. A few of their number
were left to guard the boats; the others, accompanied by
some of the Indians, set out on foot for Hochelaga. Their
way lay over a beaten path through the woods. It brought
them presently to the tall palisades that surrounded the
group of long wooden houses forming the Indian settlement.
It stood just below the slope of the mountain, and covered
a space of almost two acres. On the map of the modern
city this village of Hochelaga would be bounded by the
four streets, Metcalfe, Mansfield, Burnside, and Sherbrooke,
just below the site of McGill University. But the visit
of Cartier is an event of such historic interest that it
can best be narrated in the words of his own narrative.
We may follow here as elsewhere the translation of Hakluyt,
which is itself three hundred years old, and seems in
its quaint and picturesque form more fitting than the
commoner garb of modern prose.

Our captain [so runs the narrative], the next day very
early in the morning, having very gorgeously attired
himself, caused all his company to be set in order to
go to see the town and habitation of these people, and
a certain mountain that is somewhere near the city; with
whom went also five gentlemen and twenty mariners,
leaving the rest to keep and look to our boats. We took
with us three men of Hochelaga to bring us to the place.
All along as we went we found the way as well beaten
and frequented as can be, the fairest and best country
that can possibly be seen, full of as goodly great oaks
as are in any wood in France, under which the ground
was all covered over with fair acorns.

After we had gone about four or five miles, we met by
the way one of the chiefest lords of the city, accompanied
with many more, who, as soon as he saw us, beckoned and
made signs upon us, that we must rest in that place
where they had made a great fire and so we did. After
that we rested ourselves there awhile, the said lord
began to make a long discourse, even as we have said
above they are accustomed to do in sign of mirth and
friendship, showing our captain and all his company a
joyful countenance and good will, who gave him two
hatchets, a pair of knives and a cross which he made
him to kiss, and then put it about his neck, for which
he gave our captain hearty thanks. This done, we went
along, and about a mile and a half farther, we began to
find goodly and large fields full of such corn as the
country yieldeth. It is even as the millet of Brazil as
great and somewhat bigger than small peason [peas],
wherewith they live as we do with ours.

In the midst of those fields is the city of Hochelaga,
placed near and, as it were, joined to a very great
mountain, that is tilled round about, very fertile, on
the top of which you may see very far. We named it Mount
Royal. The city of Hochelaga is round compassed about
with timber, with three courses of rampires [stockades],
one within another, framed like a sharp spire, but laid
across above. The middlemost of them is made and built
as a direct line but perpendicular. The rampires are
framed and fashioned with pieces of timber laid along
on the ground, very well and cunningly joined together
after their fashion. This enclosure is in height about
two rods. It hath but one gate of entry thereat, which
is shut with piles, stakes, and bars. Over it and also
in many places of the wall there be places to run along
and ladders to get up, all full of stones, for the
defence of it.

There are in the town about fifty houses, about fifty
paces long, and twelve or fifteen broad, built all of
wood, covered over with the bark of the wood as broad
as any board, very finely and cunningly joined together.
Within the said houses there are many rooms, lodgings
and chambers. In the midst of every one there is a great
court in the middle whereof they make their fire.

Such is the picture of Hochelaga as Cartier has drawn it
for us. Arrived at the palisade, the savages conducted
Cartier and his followers within. In the central space
of the stockade was a large square, bordered by the lodges
of the Indians. In this the French were halted, and the
natives gathered about them, the women, many of whom bore
children in their, arms, pressing close up to the visitors,
stroking their faces and arms, and making entreaties by
signs that the French should touch their children.

Then presently [writes Cartier] came the women again,
every one bringing a four-square mat in the manner of
carpets, and spreading them abroad in that place, they
caused us to sit upon them. This done the lord and king
of the country was brought upon nine or ten men's
shoulders (whom in their tongue they call Agouhanna),
sitting upon a great stag's skin, and they laid him down
upon the foresaid mats near to the captain, every one
beckoning unto us that he was their lord and king. This
Agouhanna was a man about fifty pears old. He was no
whit better apparelled than any of the rest, only excepted
that he had a certain thing made of hedgehogs [porcupines],
like a red wreath, and that was instead of his crown.
He was full of the palsy, and his members shrunk together.
After he had with certain signs saluted our captain and
all his company, and by manifest tokens bid all welcome,
he showed his legs and arms to our captain, and with
signs desired him to touch them, and so we did, rubbing
them with his own hands; then did Agouhanna take the
wreath or crown he had about his head, and gave it unto
our captain That done, they brought before him divers
diseased men, some blind, some crippled, some lame, and
some so old that the hair of their eyelids came down
and covered their cheeks, and laid them all along before
our captain to the end that they might of him be touched.
For it seemed unto them that God was descended and come
down from heaven to heal them.

Our captain, seeing the misery and devotion of this poor
people, recited the Gospel of St John, that is to say,
'IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD,' touching every one that
were [sic] diseased, praying to God that it would please
Him to open the hearts of the poor people and to make
them know His Holy Word, and that they might receive
baptism and christendom. That done, he took a service-book
in his hand, and with a loud voice read all the passion
of Christ, word by word, that all the standers-by might
hear him; all which while this poor people kept silence
and were marvellously attentive, looking up to heaven
and imitating us in gestures. Then he caused the men
all orderly to be set on one side, the women on another,
and likewise the children on another, and to the chiefest
of them he gave hatchets, to the others knives, and to
the women beads and such other small trifles. Then where
the children were he cast rings, counters and brooches
made of tin, whereat they seemed to be very glad.

Before Cartier and his men returned to their boats, some
of the Indians took them up to the top of Mount Royal.
Here a magnificent prospect offered itself, then, as now,
to the eye. The broad level of the island swept towards
the west, luxuriant with yellow corn and autumn foliage.
In the distance the eye discerned the foaming waters of
Lachine, and the silver bosom of the Lake of the Two
Mountains: 'as fair and level a country,' said Cartier,
'as possibly can be seen, being level, smooth, and very
plain, fit to be husbanded and tilled.'

The Indians, pointing to the west, explained by signs
that beyond the rapids were three other great falls of
water, and that when these were passed a man might travel
for three months up the waters of the great river. Such
at least Cartier understood to be the meaning of the
Indians. They showed him a second stream, the Ottawa, as
great, they said, as the St Lawrence, whose north-westward
course Cartier supposed must run through the kingdom of
Saguenay. As the savages pointed to the Ottawa, they took
hold of a silver chain on which hung the whistle that
Cartier carried, and then touched the dagger of one of
the sailors, which had a handle of copper, yellow as
gold, as if to show that these metals, or rather silver
and gold, came from the country beyond that river. This,
at least, was the way that Cartier interpreted the simple
and evident signs that the Indians made. The commentators
on Cartier's voyages have ever since sought some other
explanation, supposing that no such metals existed in
the country. The discovery of the gold and silver deposits
of the basin of the Ottawa in the district of New Ontario
shows that Cartier had truly understood the signs of the
Indians. If they had ever seen silver before, it is
precisely from this country that it would have come.
Cartier was given to understand, also, that in this same
region there dwelt another race of savages, very fierce,
and continually at war.

The party descended from the mountain and pursued their
way towards the boats. Their Indian friends hung upon
their footsteps, showing evidences of admiration and
affection, and even carried in their arms any of the
French who showed indications of weariness. They stood
about with every sign of grief and regret as the sails
were hoisted and the boats bearing the wonderful beings
dropped swiftly down the river. On October 4, the boats
safely rejoined the Emerillon that lay anchored near the
mouth of the Richelieu. On the 11th of the same month,
the pinnace was back at her anchorage beside Stadacona,
and the whole company was safely reunited. The expedition
to Hochelaga had been accomplished in twenty-two days.



On returning to his anchorage before Quebec, Cartier
found that his companions whom he had left there had not
been idle. The ships, it will be remembered, lay moored
close to the shore at the mouth of the little river
Lairet, a branch of the St Charles. On the bank of the
river, during their leader's absence, the men had erected
a solid fortification or rampart. Heavy sticks of lumber
had been set up on end and joined firmly together, while
at intervals cannon, taken from the ships, had been placed
in such a way as to command the approach in all directions.
The sequel showed that it was well, indeed, for the French
that they placed so little reliance on the friendship of
the savages.

Donnacona was not long in putting in an appearance.
Whatever may have been his real feelings, the crafty old
chief feigned a great delight at the safe return of
Cartier. At his solicitation Cartier paid a ceremonial
visit to the settlement of Stadacona, on October 13, ten
days after his return. The gentlemen of the expedition,
together with fifty sailors, all well armed and appointed,
accompanied the leader. The meeting between the Indians
and their white visitors was similar to those already
described. Indian harangues and wild dancing and shouting
were the order of the day, while Cartier, as usual,
distributed knives and trinkets. The French were taken
into the Indian lodges and shown the stores of food laid
up against the coming winter. Other objects, too, of a
new and peculiar interest were displayed: there were the
'scalp locks' of five men--'the skin of five men's heads,'
says Cartier,--which were spread out on a board like
parchments. The Indians explained that these had been
taken from the heads of five of their deadly enemies,
the Toudamani, a fierce people living to the south, with
whom the natives of Stadacona were perpetually at war.

A gruesome story was also told of a great massacre of a
war party of Donnacona's people who had been on their
way down to the Gaspe country. The party, so the story
ran, had encamped upon an island near the Saguenay. They
numbered in all two hundred people, women and children
being also among the warriors, and were gathered within
the shelter of a rude stockade. In the dead of night
their enemies broke upon the sleeping Indians in wild
assault; they fired the stockade, and those who did not
perish in the flames fell beneath the tomahawk. Five only
escaped to bring the story to Stadacona. The truth of
the story was proved, long after the writing of Cartier's
narrative, by the finding of a great pile of human bones
in a cave on an island near Bic, not far from the mouth
of the Saguenay. The place is called L'Isle au Massacre

The French now settled down into their winter quarters.
They seem for some time to have mingled freely with the
Indians of the Stadacona settlement, especially during
the month which yet remained before the rigour of winter
locked their ships in snow and ice. Cartier, being of an
observing and accurate turn of mind, has left in his
narrative some interesting notes upon the life and ideas
of the savages. They had, he said, no belief in a true
God. Their deity, Cudragny, was supposed to tell them
the weather, and, if angry, to throw dust into their
eyes. They thought that, when they died, they would go
to the stars, and after that, little by little, sink with
the stars to earth again, to where the happy hunting
grounds lie on the far horizon of the world. To correct
their ignorance, Cartier told them of the true God and
of the verities of the Christian faith. In the end the
savages begged that he would baptize them, and on at
least one occasion a great flock of them came to him,
hoping to be received into the faith. But Cartier, as he
says, having nobody with him 'who could teach them our
belief and religion,' and doubting, also, the sincerity
of their sudden conversion, put them off with the promise
that at his next coming he would bring priests and holy
oil and cause them to be baptized.

The Stadacona Indians seem to have lived on terms of
something like community of goods. Their stock of
food--including great quantities of pumpkins, peas, and
corn--was more or less in common. But, beyond this and
their lodges, their earthly possessions were few. They
dressed somewhat scantily in skins, and even in the depth
of winter were so little protected from the cold as to
excite the wonder of their observers. Women whose husbands
died never remarried, but went about with their faces
smeared thick with mingled grease and soot.

One peculiar custom of the natives especially attracted
the attention of their visitors, and for the oddity of
the thing may best be recorded in Cartier's manner. It
is an early account of the use of tobacco. 'There groweth
also,' he wrote, 'a certain kind of herb, whereof in
summer they make a great provision for all the year,
making great account of it, and only men use it, and
first they cause it to be dried in the sun, then wear it
about their necks, wrapped in a little beast's skin made
like a little bag, with a hollow piece of wood or stone
like a pipe. Then when they please they make powder of
it, and then put it in one of the ends of the said cornet
or pipe, and laying a coal of fire upon it, at the other
end suck so long that they fill their bodies full of
smoke till that it cometh out of their mouth and nostrils,
even as out of the funnel of a chimney. They say that it
doth keep them warm and in health: they never go without
some of it about them. We ourselves have tried the same
smoke, and, having put it in our mouths, it seemed almost
as hot as pepper.'

In spite of the going and coming of the Indians, Cartier
from first to last was doubtful of their intentions.
Almost every day in the autumn and early winter some of
them appeared with eels and fish, glad to exchange them
for little trinkets. But the two interpreters endeavoured
to make the Indians believe that the things given them
by the French were of no value, and Donnacona did his
best to get the Indian children out of the hands of the
French. Indeed, the eldest of the children, an Indian
girl, escaped from the ships and rejoined her people,
and it was only with difficulty that Cartier succeeded
in getting her back again. Meanwhile a visiting chief,
from the country farther inland, gave the French captain
to understand that Donnacona and his braves were waiting
only an opportunity to overwhelm the ships' company.
Cartier kept on his guard. He strengthened the fort with
a great moat that ran all round the stockade. The only
entry was now by a lifting bridge; and pointed stakes
were driven in beside the upright palisade. Fifty men,
divided into watches, were kept on guard all night, and,
at every change of the watch, the Indians, across the
river in their lodges of the Stadacona settlement, could
hear the loud sounds of the trumpets break the clear
silence of the winter night.

We have no record of the life of Cartier and his followers
during the winter of their isolation among the snows and
the savages of Quebec. It must, indeed, have been a season
of dread. The northern cold was soon upon them in all
its rigour. The ships were frozen in at their moorings
from the middle of November till April 15. The ice lay
two fathoms thick in the river, and the driving snows
and great drifts blotted out under the frozen mantle of
winter all sight of land and water. The French could
scarcely stir from their quarters. Their fear of Indian
treachery and their ignorance of the trackless country
about them held them imprisoned in their ships. A worse
peril was soon added. The scourge of scurvy was laid upon
them--an awful disease, hideous in its form and deadly
in its effect. Originating in the Indian camp, it spread
to the ships. In December fifty of the Stadacona Indians
died, and by the middle of February, of the hundred and
ten men that made up Cartier's expedition, only three or
four remained in health. Eight were already dead, and
their bodies, for want of burial, lay frozen stark beneath
the snowdrifts of the river, hidden from the prying eyes
of the savages. Fifty more lay at the point of death,
and the others, crippled and staggering with the onslaught
of disease, moved to and fro at their tasks, their fingers
numbed with cold, their hearts frozen with despair.

The plague that had fallen upon them was such as none of
them had ever before seen. The legs of the sufferers
swelled to huge, unsightly, and livid masses of flesh.
Their sinews shrivelled to blackened strings, pimpled
with purple clots of blood. The awful disease worked its
way upwards. The arms hung hideous and useless at the
side, the mouth rotted till the teeth fell from the putrid
flesh. Chilled with the cold, huddled in the narrow holds
of the little ships fast frozen in the endless desolation
of the snow, the agonized sufferers breathed their last,
remote from aid, far from the love of women, and deprived
of the consolations of the Church. Let those who realize
the full horror of the picture think well upon what stout
deeds the commonwealth of Canada has been founded.

Without the courage and resource of their leader, whose
iron constitution kept him in full health, all would have
been lost. Cartier spared no efforts. The knowledge of
his situation was concealed from the Indians. None were
allowed aboard the ships, and, as far as might be, a
great clatter of hammering was kept up whenever the
Indians appeared in sight, so that they might suppose
that Cartier's men were forced by the urgency of their
tasks to remain on the ships. Nor was spiritual aid
neglected. An image of the Virgin Mary was placed against
a tree about a bow-shot from the fort, and to this all
who could walk betook themselves in procession on the
Sunday when the sickness was at its height. They moved
in solemn order, singing as they went the penitential
psalms and the Litany, and imploring the intercession of
the Virgin. Thus passed the days until twenty-five of
the French had been laid beneath the snow. For the others
there seemed only the prospect of death from disease or
of destruction at the hands of the savages.

It happened one day that Cartier was walking up and down
by himself upon the ice when he saw a band of Indians
coming over to him from Stadacona. Among them was the
interpreter Domagaya, whom Cartier had known to be stricken
by the illness only ten days before, but who now appeared
in abundant health. On being asked the manner of his
cure, the interpreter told Cartier that he had been healed
by a beverage made from the leaves and bark of a tree.
Cartier, as we have seen, had kept from the Indians the
knowledge of his troubles, for he dared not disclose the
real weakness of the French. Now, feigning that only a
servant was ill, he asked for details of the remedy, and,
when he did so, the Indians sent their women to fetch
branches of the tree in question. The bark and leaves
were to be boiled, and the drink thus made was to be
taken twice a day. The potion was duly administered, and
the cure that it effected was so rapid and so complete
that the pious Cartier declared it a real and evident
miracle. 'If all the doctors of Lorraine and Montpellier
had been there with all the drugs of Alexandria,' he
wrote, 'they could not have done as much in a year as
the said tree did in six days.' An entire tree--probably
a white spruce--was used up in less than eight days. The
scourge passed and the sailors, now restored to health,
eagerly awaited the coming of the spring.

Meanwhile the cold lessened; the ice about the ships
relaxed its hold, and by the middle of April they once
more floated free. But a new anxiety had been added.
About the time when the fortunes of Cartier's company
were at their lowest, Donnacona had left his camp with
certain of his followers, ostensibly to spend a fortnight
in hunting deer in the forest. For two months he did not
return. When he came back, he was accompanied not only
by Taignoagny and his own braves, but by a great number
of savages, fierce and strong, whom the French had never
before seen. Cartier was assured that treachery was
brewing, and he determined to forestall it. He took care
that his men should keep away from the settlement of
Stadacona, but he sent over his servant, Charles Guyot,
who had endeared himself to the Indians during the winter.
Guyot reported that the lodges were filled with strange
faces, that Donnacona had pretended to be sick and would
not show himself, and that he himself had been received
with suspicion, Taignoagny having forbidden him to enter
into some of the houses.

Cartier's plan was soon made. The river was now open and
all was ready for departure. Rather than allow himself
and his men to be overwhelmed by an attack of the great
concourse of warriors who surrounded the settlement of
Stadacona, he determined to take his leave in his own
way and at his own time, and to carry off with him the
leaders of the savages themselves. Following the custom
of his age, he did not wish to return without the
visible signs of his achievements. Donnacona had freely
boasted to him of the wonders of the great country far
up beyond Hochelaga, of lands where gold and silver
existed in abundance, where the people dressed like the
French in woollen clothes, and of even greater wonders
still,--of men with no stomachs, and of a race of beings
with only one leg. These things were of such import,
Cartier thought, that they merited narration to the king
of France himself. If Donnacona had actually seen them,
it was fitting that he should describe them in the
august presence of Francis I.

The result was a plot which succeeded. The two ships,
the Grande Hermine and the Emerillon, lay at anchor ready
to sail. Owing to the diminished numbers of his company,
Cartier had decided to abandon the third ship. He announced
a final ceremony to signalize the approaching departure.
On May 3, 1536, a tall cross, thirty-five feet high was
planted on the river bank. Beneath the cross-bar it
carried the arms of France, and on the upper part a scroll
in ancient lettering that read, 'FRANCISCUS PRIMUS DEI
GRATIA FRANCORUM REX REGNAT' Which means, freely translated,
'Francis I, by the grace of God King of the French, is
sovereign.' Donnacona, Taignoagny, Domagaya and a few
others, who had been invited to come on board the ships,
found themselves the prisoners of the French. At first
rage and consternation seized upon the savages, deprived
by this stratagem of their chief. They gathered in great
numbers on the bank, and their terrifying howls and
war-cries resounded throughout the night. But Donnacona,
whether from simplicity or craft, let himself be pacified
with new presents and with the promise of a speedy return
in the year following. He showed himself on the deck of
the captain's ship, and his delighted followers gathered
about in their canoes and swore renewed friendship with
the white men, whom they had, in all likelihood, plotted
to betray. Gifts were exchanged, and the French bestowed
a last shower of presents on the assembled Indians.
Finally, on May 6, the caravels dropped down the river,
and the homeward voyage began.

The voyage passed without incident. The ships were some
time in descending the St Lawrence. At Isle-aux-Coudres
they waited for the swollen tide of the river to abate.
The Indians still flocked about them in canoes, talking
with Donnacona and his men, but powerless to effect a
rescue of the chief. Contrary winds held the vessels
until, at last, on May 21, fair winds set in from the
west that carried them in an easy run to the familiar
coast of Gaspe, past Brion Island, through the passage
between Newfoundland and the Cape Breton shore, and so
outward into the open Atlantic.

'On July 6, 1536,' so ends Cartier's chronicle of this
voyage, 'we reached the harbour of St Malo, by the Grace
of our Creator, whom we pray, making an end of our
navigation, to grant us His Grace, and Paradise at the
end. Amen.'



Nearly five years elapsed after Cartier's return to St
Malo before he again set sail for the New World. His
royal master, indeed, had received him most graciously.
Francis had deigned to listen with pleasure to the recital
of his pilot's adventures, and had ordered him to set
them down in writing. Moreover, he had seen and conversed
with Donnacona and the other captive Indians, who had
told of the wonders of their distant country. The Indians
had learned the language of their captors and spoke with
the king in French. Francis gave orders that they should
be received into the faith, and the registers of St Malo
show that on March 25, 1538, or 1539 (the year is a little
uncertain), there were baptized three savages from Canada
brought from the said country by 'honnete homme [honest
man], Jacques Cartier, captain of our Lord the King.'

But the moment was unsuited for further endeavour in the
New World. Francis had enough to do to save his own soil
from the invading Spaniard. Nor was it until the king of
France on June 15, 1538, made a truce with his inveterate
foe, Charles V, that he was able to turn again to American
discovery. Profoundly impressed with the vast extent and
unbounded resources of the countries described in Cartier's
narrative, the king decided to assume the sovereignty of
this new land, and to send out for further discovery an
expedition of some magnitude. At the head of it he placed
Jean Francois de la Roque, Sieur de Roberval, whom, on
January 15, 1540, he created Lord of Norumbega, viceroy
and lieutenant-general of Canada, Hochelaga, Saguenay,
Newfoundland, Belle Isle, Carpunt, Labrador, the Great
Bay, and Baccalaos. The name Norumbega is an Indian word,
and was used by early explorers as a general term for
the territory that is now Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova
Scotia. Baccalaos is the name often given by the French
to Newfoundland, the word itself being of Basque origin
and meaning 'codfish,' while Carpunt will be remembered
as a harbour beside Belle Isle, where Cartier had been
stormbound on his first voyage.

The king made every effort to further Roberval's expedition.
The Lord of Norumbega was given 45,000 livres and full
authority to enlist sailors and colonists for his
expedition. The latter appears to have been a difficult
task, and, after the custom of the day, recourse was
presently had to the prisons to recruit the ranks of the
prospective settlers. Letters were issued to Roberval
authorizing him to search the jails of Paris, Toulouse,
Bordeaux, Rouen, and Dijon and to draw from them any
convicts lying under sentence of death. Exception was
made of heretics, traitors, and counterfeiters, as unfitted
for the pious purpose of the voyage. The gangs of these
miscreants, chained together and under guard, came
presently trooping into St Malo. Among them, it is
recorded, walked a young girl of eighteen, unconvicted
of any crime, who of her own will had herself chained to
a malefactor, as hideous physically as morally, whose
lot she was determined to share.

To Roberval, as commander of the enterprise, was attached
Cartier in the capacity of captain-general and master-pilot.
The letters patent which contain the appointment speak
of him as our 'dear and well-beloved Jacques Cartier,
who has discovered the large countries of Canada and
Hochelaga which lie at the end of Asia.' Cartier received
from Roberval about 31,300 livres. The king gave to him
for this voyage the little ship Emerillon and commanded
him to obtain four others and to arm and equip the five.
The preparations for the voyage seem to have lasted
throughout the winter and spring of the years 1540-41.
The king had urged Cartier to start by the middle of
April, but it was not until May 23, 1541, that the ships
were actually able to set sail. Even then Roberval was
not ready to leave. Cannon, powder, and a varied equipment
that had been purchased for the voyage were still lying
at various points in Normandy and Champagne. Cartier,
anxious to follow the king's wishes, could wait no longer
and, at length, he set out with his five ships, leaving
Roberval to prepare other ships at Honfleur and follow
as he might. From first to last the relations of Cartier
and Roberval appear to need further explanation than that
which we possess. Roberval was evidently the nominal head
of the enterprise and the feudal lord of the countries
to be claimed, but Cartier seems to have been restless
under any attempt to dictate the actual plan to be adopted,
and his final desertion of Roberval may be ascribed to
the position in which he was placed by the divided command
of the expedition.

The expedition left St Malo on May 23, 1541, bearing in
the ships food and victuals for two years. The voyage
was unprosperous. Contrary winds and great gales raged
over the Atlantic. The ships were separated at sea, and
before they reached the shores of Newfoundland were so
hard put to it for fresh water that it was necessary to
broach the cider casks to give drink to the goats and
the cattle which they carried. But the ships came together
presently in safety in the harbour of Carpunt beside
Belle Isle, refitted there, and waited vainly for Roberval.
They finally reached the harbour of the Holy Cross at
Stadacona on August 23.

The savages flocked to meet the ships with a great display
of joy, looking eagerly for the return of their vanished
Donnacona. Their new chief, Agouhanna, with six canoes
filled with men, women, and children, put off from the
shore. The moment was a difficult one. Donnacona and all
his fellow-captives, except only one little girl, had
died in France. Cartier dared not tell the whole truth
to the natives, and he contented himself with saying that
Donnacona was dead, but that the other Indians had become
great lords in France, had married there and did not wish
to return. Whatever may have been the feeling of the
tribe at this tale, the new chief at least was well
pleased. 'I think,' wrote Cartier, in his narrative of
this voyage, 'he took it so well because he remained lord
and governor of the country by the death of the said
Donnacona.' Agouhanna certainly made a great show of
friendliness. He took from his own head the ornament of
hide and wampum that he wore and bound it round the brows
of the French leader. At the same time he put his arms
about his neck with every sign of affection.

When the customary ceremonies of eating and drinking,
speech-making, and presentations had ended, Cartier,
after first exploring with his boats, sailed with his
ships a few miles above Stadacona to a little river where
good anchorage was found, now known as the Cap Rouge
river. It enters the St Lawrence a little above Quebec.
Here preparations were at once made for the winter's
sojourn. Cannon were brought ashore from three of the
ships. A strong fort was constructed, and the little
settlement received the pretentious name Charlesbourg
Royal. The remaining part of the month of August 1541
was spent in making fortifications and in unloading the
ships. On September 2 two of the ships, commanded by Mace
Jalobert, Cartier's brother-in-law and companion of the
preceding voyage, and Etienne Nouel, his nephew, were
sent back to France to tell the king of what had been
done, and to let him know that Roberval had not yet

As on his preceding voyages, Cartier was greatly impressed
by the aspect of the country about him. All round were
splendid forests of oak and maple and cedar and beech,
which surpassed even the beautiful woodlands of France.
Grape vines loaded with ripe fruit hung like garlands
from the trees. Nor was the forest thick and tangled,
but rather like an open park, so that among the trees
were great stretches of ground wanting only to be tilled.
Twenty of Cartier's men were set to turn the soil, and
in one day had prepared and sown about an acre and a half
of ground. The cabbage, lettuce, and turnip seed that
they planted showed green shoots within a week.

At the mouth of the Cap Rouge river there is a high point,
now called Redclyffe. On this Cartier constructed a second
fort, which commanded the fortification and the ships
below. A little spring supplied fresh water, and the
natural situation afforded a protection against attack
by water or by land. While the French laboured in building
the stockades and in hauling provisions and equipments
from the ships to the forts, they made other discoveries
that impressed them more than the forest wealth of this
new land. Close beside the upper fort they found in the
soil a good store of stones which they 'esteemed to be
diamonds.' At the foot of the slope along the St Lawrence
lay iron deposits, and the sand of the shore needed only,
Cartier said, to be put into the furnace to get the iron
from it. At the water's edge they found 'certain leaves
of fine gold as thick as a man's nail,' and in the slabs
of black slate-stone which ribbed the open glades of the
wood there were veins of mineral matter which shone like
gold and silver. Cartier's mineral discoveries have
unfortunately not resulted in anything. We know now that
his diamonds, still to be seen about Cap Rouge, are rock
crystals. The gold which he later on showed to Roberval,
and which was tested, proved genuine enough, but the
quantity of such deposits in the region has proved
insignificant. It is very likely that Cartier would make
the most of his mineral discoveries as the readiest means
of exciting his master's interest.

When everything was in order at the settlement, the
provisions landed, and the building well under way, the
leader decided to make a brief journey to Hochelaga, in
order to view more narrowly the rapids that he had seen,
and to be the better able to plan an expedition into the
interior for the coming spring. The account of this
journey is the last of Cartier's exploits of which we
have any detailed account, and even here the closing
pages of his narrative are unsatisfactory and inconclusive.
What is most strange is that, although he expressly says
that he intended to 'go as far as Hochelaga, of purpose
to view and understand the fashion of the saults [falls]
of water,' he makes no mention of the settlement of
Hochelaga itself, and does not seem to have visited it.

The Hochelaga expedition, in which two boats were used,
left the camp at Cap Rouge on September 7, 1541. A number
of Cartier's gentlemen accompanied him on the journey,
while the Viscount Beaupre was left behind in command of
the fort. On their way up the river Cartier visited the
chief who had entrusted his little daughter to the case
of the French at Stadacona at the time of Cartier's
wintering there. He left two young French boys in charge
of this Indian chief that they might learn the language
of the country. No further episode of the journey is
chronicled until on September 11 the boats arrived at
the foot of the rapids now called Lachine. Cartier tells
us that two leagues from the foot of the bottom fall was
an Indian village called Tutonaguy, but he does not say
whether or not this was the same place as the Hochelaga
of his previous voyage. The French left their boats and,
conducted by the Indians, walked along the portage path
that led past the rapids. There were large encampments
of natives beside the second fall, and they received the
French with every expression of good-will. By placing
little sticks upon the ground they gave Cartier to
understand that a third rapid was to be passed, and that
the river was not navigable to the country of Saguenay.

Convinced that further exploration was not possible for
the time being, the French returned to their boats. As
usual, a great concourse of Indians had come to the spot.
Cartier says that he 'understood afterwards' that the
Indians would have made an end of the French, but judged
them too strong for the attempt. The expedition started
at once for the winter quarters at Cap Rouge. As they
passed Hochelay--the abode of the supposed friendly chief
near Portneuf--they learned that he had gone down the
river ahead of them to devise means with Agouhanna for
the destruction of the expedition.

Cartier's narrative ends at this most dramatic moment of
his adventures. He seems to have reached the encampment
at Cap Rouge at the very moment when an Indian assault
was imminent. We know, indeed, that the attack, which,
from certain allusions in the narrative, seems presently
to have been made, was warded off, and that Cartier's
ships and a part at least of his company sailed home to
France, falling in with Roberval on the way. But the
story of the long months of anxiety and privation, and
probably of disease and hostilities with the Indians, is
not recorded. The narrative of the great explorer, as it
is translated by Hakluyt, closes with the following
ominous sentences:

'And when we were arrived at our fort, we understood by
our people that the savages of the country came not any
more about our fort, as they were accustomed, to bring
us fish, and that they were in a wonderful doubt and fear
of us. Wherefore our captain, having been advised by some
of our men which had been at Stadacona to visit them that
there was a wonderful number of the country people
assembled together, caused all things in our fortress to
be set in good order.' And beyond these words, Cartier's
story was never written, or, if written, it has been



Great doubt and uncertainty surround the ultimate fate
of Roberval's attempted colony, of which Cartier's
expedition was to form the advance guard. Roberval, as
already seen, had stayed behind in France when Cartier
sailed in 1541, because his equipment was not yet ready
for the voyage. Nor does he seem to have finally started
on his expedition for nearly a year after the departure
of Cartier. It has been suggested that Roberval did set
sail at some time in the summer of 1541, and that he
reached Cape Breton island and built a fort there. So,
at least, a tradition ran that was repeated many years
later by Lescarbot in his Histoire de la Nouvelle France.
If this statement is true, it must mean that Roberval
sailed home again at the close of 1541, without having
succeeded in finding Cartier, and that he prepared for
a renewed expedition in the spring of the coming year.
But the evidence for any such voyage is not conclusive.

What we know is that on April 16, 1542, Roberval sailed
out of the port of Rochelle with three tall ships and a
company of two hundred persons, men and women, and that
with him were divers gentlemen of quality. On June 8,
1542, his ships entered the harbour of St John's in
Newfoundland. They found there seventeen fishing vessels,
clear proof that by this time the cod fisheries of the
Newfoundland Banks were well known. They were, indeed,
visited by the French, the Portuguese, and other nations.
Here Roberval paused to refit his ships and to replenish
his stores. While he was still in the harbour, one day,
to his amazement, Cartier sailed in with the five ships
that he was bringing away from his abandoned settlement
at Charlesbourg Royal. Cartier showed to his superior
the 'diamonds' and the gold that he was bringing home
from Canada. He gave to Roberval a glowing account of
the country that he had seen, but, according to the meagre
details that appear in the fragment in Hakluyt's Voyages,
he made clear that he had been compelled to abandon his
attempt at settlement. 'He could not with his small
company withstand the savages, which went about daily to
annoy him, which was the cause of his return into France.'

Except what is contained in the few sentences of this
record we know nothing of what took place between Roberval
and Cartier. But it was quite clear that the latter
considered the whole enterprise as doomed to failure. It
is more than likely that Cartier was dissatisfied with
Roberval's delay, and did not care to continue under the
orders of a leader inferior to himself in capacity. Be
this as it may, their final parting stands recorded in
the following terms, and no historical document has as
yet come to light which can make the exact situation
known to us. 'When our general [Roberval], being furnished
with sufficient forces, commanded him [Cartier] to go
back with him, he and his company, moved as it seems with
ambition, because they would have all the glory of the
discovery of those parts themselves, stole privily away
the next night from us, and, without taking their leaves,
departed home for Brittany.' The story, it must be
remembered, comes from the pen of either Roberval or one
of his associates.

The subsequent history of Roberval's colony, as far as
it is known, can be briefly told. His ships reached the
site of Charlesbourg Royal late in July 1542. He landed
stores and munitions and erected houses, apparently on
a scale of some magnitude, with towers and fortifications
and with great kitchens, halls, and living rooms. Two
ships were sent home in the autumn with news of the
expedition, their leader being especially charged to find
out whether the rock crystals carried back by Cartier
had turned out to be diamonds. All the other colonists
remained and spent the winter in this place. In spite of
their long preparation and of their commodious buildings,
they seem to have endured sufferings as great as, or even
greater than, those of Cartier's men at Stadacona seven
years before. Supplies of food ran short, and even in
the autumn before the stern winter had begun it was
necessary to put the whole company on carefully measured
rations. Disease broke out among the French, as it had
broken out under Cartier, and about fifty of their number
perished before the coming of the spring. Their lot was
rendered more dreadful still by quarrelling and crime.
Roberval could keep his colonists in subjection only by
the use of irons and by the application of the lash. The
gibbet, reared beside the fort, claimed its toll of their

The winter of their misery drew slowly to its close. The
ice of the river began to break in April. On June 5,
1543, their leader, Roberval, embarked on an expedition
to explore the Saguenay, 'leaving thirty persons behind
in the fort, with orders that if Roberval had not returned
by the first of July, they were to depart for France.'
Whither he went and what he found we do not know. We read
that on June 14. certain of his company came back with
messages to the fort: that five days later still others
came back with instructions that the company at the fort
were to delay their departure for France until July 19.
And here the narrative of the colony breaks off.

Of Roberval's subsequent fate we can learn hardly anything.
There is some evidence to show that Cartier was dispatched
from France to Canada to bring him back. Certain it is
that in April 1544 orders were issued for the summons of
both Cartier and Roberval to appear before a commission
for the settling of their accounts. The report of the
royal auditors credits Cartier apparently with a service
of eight months spent in returning to Canada to bring
Roberval home. On the strength of this, it is thought
likely that Cartier, returning safely to France in the
summer of 1542, was sent back again at the king's command
to aid in the return of the colonists, whose enterprise
was recognized as a failure. After this, Roberval is lost
to sight in the history of France. Certain chroniclers
have said that he made another voyage to the New World
and perished at sea. Others have it that he was assassinated
in Paris near the church of the Holy Innocents. But
nothing is known.

Cartier also is practically lost from sight during the
last fifteen years of his life. His name appears at
intervals in the local records, notably on the register
of baptisms as a godfather. As far as can be judged, he
spent the remainder of his days in comfortable retirement
in his native town of St Malo. Besides his house in the
seaport he had a country residence some miles distant at
Limoilou. This old house of solid and substantial stone,
with a courtyard and stone walls surrounding it, is still
standing. There can be no doubt that the famous pilot
enjoyed during his closing years a universal esteem. It
is just possible that in recognition of his services he
was elevated in rank by the king of France, for in certain
records of St Malo in 1549, he is spoken of as the Sieur
de Limoilou. But this may have been merely the sort of
courtesy title often given in those days to the proprietors
of small landed estates.

It was sometimes the custom of the officials of the port
of St Malo to mark down in the records of the day the
death of any townsman of especial note. Such an entry as
this is the last record of the great pilot. In the margins
of certain documents of September 1, 1557, there is
written in the quaint, almost unreadable penmanship of
the time: 'This said Wednesday about five in the morning
died Jacques Cartier.'

There is no need to enlarge upon the greatness of Cartier's
achievements. It was only the beginning of a far-reaching
work, the completion of which fell to other hands. But
it is Cartier's proud place in history to bear the title
of discoverer of a country whose annals were later to be
illumined by the exploits of a Champlain and a La Salle,
and the martyrdom of a Brebeuf; which was to witness,
for more than half a century, a conflict in arms between
Great Britain and France, and from that conflict to draw
the finest pages of its history and the noblest inspiration
of its future; a country upon whose soil, majestic in
its expanse of river, lake, and forest, was to be reared
a commonwealth built upon the union and harmony of the
two great races who had fought for its dominion.

Jacques Cartier, as much perhaps as any man of his time,
embodied in himself what was highest in the spirit of
his age. He shows us the daring of the adventurer with
nothing of the dark cruelty by which such daring was
often disfigured. He brought to his task the simple faith
of the Christian whose devout fear of God renders him
fearless of the perils of sea and storm. The darkest hour
of his adversity in that grim winter at Stadacona found
him still undismayed. He came to these coasts to find a
pathway to the empire of the East. He found instead a
country vast and beautiful beyond his dreams. The enthusiasm
of it entered into his soul. Asia was forgotten before
the reality of Canada. Since Cartier's day four centuries
of history have hallowed the soil of Canada with memories
and associations never to be forgotten. But patriotism
can find no finer example than the instinctive admiration
and love called forth in the heart of Jacques Cartier by
the majestic beauty of the land of which he was the


Adapted from Baxter's 'Memoir of Jacques Cartier'


April 20 Monday Cartier leaves St Malo.
May 10 Sunday Arrives at Bonavista.
'' 21 Thursday Reaches Isle of Birds.
'' 24 Sunday Enters the harbour of Kirpon.
June 9 Tuesday Leaves Kirpon.
'' 10 Wednesday Enters the harbour of Brest.
'' 11 Thursday St Barnabas Day. Hears Mass and explores
coast in boats.
'' 12 Friday Names St Anthoine, Servan; plants cross and
names river St Jacques, and harbour Jacques
'' 13 Saturday Returns to ships.
'' 14 Sunday Hears Mass.
'' 15 Monday Sails toward north coast of Newfoundland.
'' 16 Tuesday Follows the west coast of Newfoundland and
names the Monts des Granches.
June 17 Wednesday Names the Colombiers, Bay St Julien, and Capes
Royal and Milk.
'' 18 Thursday Stormy weather to 24th; explores coast between
Capes Royal and Milk.
'' 24 Wednesday Festival of St John the Baptist. Names Cape St John.
'' 25 Thursday Weather bad; sails toward the west and
and south-west; discovers Isles Margaux, Brion, and
'' 26 Friday Cape Dauphin.
'' 27 Saturday Coasts toward west-south-west.
'' 28 Sunday Reaches Cape Rouge.
'' 29 Monday Festival of St Peter. Names Alezay and Cape
St Peter, and continues course west-south-west.
'' 30 Tuesday Towards evening describes land appearing like
two islands.
July 1 Wednesday Names Capes Orleans and Savages.
'' 2 Thursday Names Bay St Leonarius.
'' 3 Friday Continues northerly course and names Cape Hope.
'' 4 Saturday Arrives at Port Daniel; remains there until 12th.
July 16 Thursday Enters Gaspe Bay, and remains until 25th on
account of storm.
'' 22 Wednesday Lands and meets savages.
'' 24 Friday Plants a cross.
'' 25 Saturday Sets sail with good wind toward Anticosti.
'' 27 Monday Approaches coast.
'' 28 Tuesday Names Cape St Louis.
'' 29 Wednesday Names Cape Montmorency and doubles East Cape
of Anticosti.
Aug. 1 Saturday Sights northern shore of the Gulf of
St Lawrence.
'' 8 Saturday Approaches west coast of Newfoundland.
'' 9 Sunday Arrives at Blanc Sablon, and makes preparations
to return home.
'' 15 Saturday Festival of the Assumption. Hears Mass and sets
sail for France.
Sept. 5 Saturday Arrives at St Malo.


May 16 Sunday First Pentecost. The crew commune at Cathedral
and receive Episcopal Benediction.
'' 19 Wednesday Departure from St Malo.
'' 26 Wednesday Contrary winds.
June 25 Friday Ships separated by storm.
July 7 Wednesday Cartier reaches the Isle of Birds.
'' 8 Thursday Enters Strait of Belle Isle.
'' 15 Thursday Reaches the rendezvous at Blanc Sablon.
'' 26 Monday Ships meet.
'' 29 Thursday Follows north coast and names Isles St William.
'' 30 Friday Names Isles St Marthy.
'' 31 Saturday Names Cape St Germain.
Aug. 1 Sunday Contrary winds; enters St Nicholas Harbour.
'' 8 Sunday Sails toward the southern coast.
'' 9 Monday Contrary wind; turns toward north and stops
in Bay St Lawrence.
'' 13 Friday Leaves Bay St Lawrence, approaches Anticosti,
and doubles the western point.
'' 15 Sunday Festival of the Assumption. Names Anticosti,
Isle of the Assumption.
'' 16 Monday Continues along coast.
'' 17 Tuesday Turns toward the north.
'' 19 Thursday Arrives at the Seven Islands.
'' 20 Friday Ranges coast with his boats.
'' 21 Saturday Sails west, but obliged to return to the Seven
Islands owing to head winds.
Aug. 24 Tuesday Leaves the Seven Islands and sets sail
toward south.
'' 29 Sunday Martyrdom of St John Baptist. Reaches harbour
of Isles St John.
Sept. 1 Wednesday Quits the harbour and directs his course
toward the Saguenay.
'' 2 Thursday Leaves the Saguenay and reaches the
Bic Islands.
'' 6 Monday Arrives at Isle-aux-Coudres.
'' 7 Tuesday Reaches Island of Orleans.
'' 9 Thursday Donnacona visits Cartier.
'' 13 Monday Sails toward the River St Charles.
'' 14 Tuesday Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Reaches entrance
of St Charles River.
'' 15 Wednesday Plants buoys to guide his ships.
'' 16 Thursday Two ships are laid up for the winter.
'' 17 Friday Donnacona tries to dissuade Cartier from
going to Hochelaga.
'' 18 Saturday Donnacona's stratagem to deter Cartier
from going to Stadacona.
'' 19 Sunday Cartier starts for Hochelaga with his
pinnace and two boats.
Sept. 28 Tuesday Enters Lake St Peter.
'' 29 Wednesday Leaves his pinnace, and proceeds with
his boats.
Oct. 2 Saturday Arrives at Hochelaga.
'' 3 Sunday Lands and visits town and mountain, which he
named Mount Royal, and leaves Sunday.
'' 4 Monday Regains his pinnace.
'' 5 Tuesday Takes his way back to Stadacona.
'' 7 Thursday Stops at Three Rivers, and plants cross
upon an island.
'' 11 Monday Arrives at the anchorage beside Stadacona.
'' 12 Tuesday Donnacona visits Cartier.
'' 13 Wednesday Cartier and some of his men visit Stadacona.


April 16 Sunday Easter Sunday. The river clear of ice.
'' 22 Saturday Donnacona visits Cartier with large number
of savages.
'' 28 Friday Cartier sends Guyot to Stadacona.
May 3 Wednesday Festival of the Holy Cross. A cross planted;
Cartier seizes Donnacona.
May 5 Friday The people of Stadacona, bring provisions for
Cartier's captives.
'' 6 Saturday Cartier sails.
'' 7 Sunday Arrives at Isle-aux-Coudres.
'' 15 Monday Exchanges presents with the savages.
'' 22 Monday Reaches Isle Brion.
'' 25 Thursday Festival of the Ascension. Reaches a low,
sandy island.
'' 26 Friday Returns to Isle Brion.
June 1 Thursday Names Capes Lorraine and St Paul.
'' 4 Sunday Fourth of Pentecost. Names harbour
of St Esprit.
'' 6 Tuesday Departs from the harbour of St Esprit.
'' 11 Sunday St Barnabas Day. At Isles St Pierre.
'' 16 Friday Departs from Isles St Pierre and makes
harbour at Rougenouse.
'' 19 Monday Leaves Rougenouse and sails for home.
July 6 Friday Reaches St Malo.


May 23 Monday Cartier leaves St Malo with five ships.
Aug. 23 Tuesday Arrives before Stadacona.
'' 25 Thursday Lands artillery.
Sept. 2 Friday Sends two of his ships home.
'' 7 Wednesday Sets out for Hochelaga.
'' 11 Sunday Arrives at Lachine Rapids.

(The rest of the voyage is unknown.)


A Great many accounts of the voyages of Jacques Cartier
have been written both in French and in English; but the
fountain source of information for all of these is found
in the narratives written by Cartier himself. The story
of the first voyage was written under the name of 'Relation
Originale du Voyage de Jacques Cartier au Canada en 1534.'
The original manuscript was lost from sight for over
three hundred years, but about half a century ago it was
discovered in the Imperial Library (now the National
Library) at Paris. Its contents, however, had long been
familiar to English readers through the translation which
appears in Hakluyt's 'Voyages,' published in 1600. In
the same collection is also found the narrative of the
second voyage, as translated from the 'Bref Recit' written
by Cartier and published in 1545, and the fragment of
the account of the third voyage of which the rest is
lost. For an exhaustive bibliography of Cartier's voyages
see Baxter, 'A Memoir of Jacques Cartier' (New York,
1906). An exceedingly interesting little book is Sir
Joseph Pope's 'Jacques Cartier: his Life and Voyages'
(Ottawa, 1890). The student is also recommended to read
'The Saint Lawrence Basin and its Borderlands,' by Samuel
Edward Dawson; papers by the Abbe Verreau, John Reade,
Bishop Howley and W. F. Ganong in the 'Transactions of
the Royal Society of Canada;' the chapter, 'Jacques
Cartier and his Successors,' by B. F. de Costa, in Winsor's
'Narrative and Critical History of America,' and the
chapter 'The Beginnings of Canada,' by Arthur G. Doughty,
in the first volume of 'Canada and its Provinces' (Toronto,

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