Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, Vol. 2 by Samuel de Champlain

Part 5 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Fifteen or sixteen were wounded on our side with arrow-shots; but they were
soon healed.

After gaining the victory, our men amused themselves by taking a great
quantity of Indian corn and some meal from their enemies, also their armor,
which they had left behind that they might run better. After feasting
sumptuously, dancing and singing, we returned three hours after, with the
prisoners. The spot where this attack took place is in latitude 43° and
some minutes, [348] and the lake was called Lake Champlain. [349]


337. The River of the Iroquois, so called by Champlain, was long known by
that name, says Charlevoix, because these Indians generally descended
it, in order to make their inroads into the colony. Fort Richelieu, at
the mouth of the river, erected in 1641, was named after the
celebrated Cardinal, the river having already taken his name. This
fort having been demolished, another was built by M. de Sorel, a
French officer in command, which took his name, as likewise did the
river. A fort was built on the same river at the present village of
Chambly in 1664, and called Fort St. Louis. This wooden structure was
replaced by another of stone, erected prior to 1721, to which the name
of Chambly was given, as likewise by some writers to the river. The
river has likewise sometimes been called the St. Johns, but the
prevailing name is the Richelieu.

338. Read the 12th of July.

339. This fall is now avoided, and the navigation of the Richelieu secured
by a canal connecting Chambly Basin and St. Johns, a distance of about
ten miles.

340. It is not entirely certain what island is here referred to. It has
been supposed to be the Island of St. Thérèse. But, taking all of
Champlain's statements into consideration, the logical inference would
be that it is the Isle aux Noix.

341. "These two words were used in Acadie to indicate the _jongleur_, or
sorcerer. The word _pilotois_, according to P. Biard, Rel. 1611,
p. 17, came from the Basques, the Souriquois using the word _autmoin_,
which Lescarbot writes _aoutmoin_, and Champlain _ostemoy_.
P. Lejeune, in the Relation of 1636, p. 13, informs us that the
Montagnais called their Sorcerers _manitousiouekbi_: and according to
P. Brébeuf. Rel. 1635. p.35. the Hurons designated theirs by the name
_arendiouane_."--_Laverdière, in loco_.

342. The distances are here overstated by more than threefold, both in
reference to the lake and the islands. This arose, perhaps, from the
slow progress made in the birch canoes with a party of sixty
undisciplined savages, a method of travelling to which Champlain was
unaccustomed; and he may likewise have been misled by the
exaggerations of the Indians, or he may have sailed to comprehend
their representation of distances.

343. Of the meaning of _chaousarou_, the name given by the Indians to this
fish, we have no knowledge. It is now known as the bony-scaled pike,
or gar pike, _Lepidosteus osseus_. It is referred to by several early
writers after Champlain.

"I saw," says Sagard, "in the cabin of a Montagnais Indian a certain
fish, which some call Chaousarou, as big as a large pike. It was only
an ordinary sized one, for many larger ones are seen, eight, nine, and
ten feet long, as is said. It had a snout about a foot and a half
long, of about the same shape as that of the snipe, except that the
extremity is blunt and not so pointed, and of a large size in
proportion to the body. It has a double row of teeth, which are very
sharp and dangerous;... and the form of the body is like that of a
pike, but it is armed with very stout and hard scales, of silver gray
color, and difficult to be pierced."--_Sagard's History of Canada_,
Bk. _iii_. p. 765; _Laverdière_. Sagard's work was published in 1636.
He had undoubtedly seen this singular fish; but his description is so
nearly in the words of Champlain as to suggest that he had taken it
from our author.

Creuxius, in his History of Canada, published at Paris in 1664,
describes this fish nearly in the words of Champlain, with an
engraving sufficiently accurate for identification, but greatly
wanting in scientific exactness. He adds, "It is not described by
ancient authors, probably because it is only found in the Lake of the
Iroquois;" that is, in Lake Champlain. From which it may be inferred
that at that time it had not been discovered in other waters. By the
French, he says, it is called _piscis armatus_. This is in evident
allusion to its bony scales, in which it is protected as in a coat of

It is described by Dr. Kay in the Natural History of New York,
Zoölogy, Part I. p 271. On Plate XLIII. Fig. 139, of the same work,
the reader will observe that the head of the fish there represented
strikingly resembles that of the chaousarou of Champlain as depicted
on his map of 1612. The drawing by Champlain is very accurate, and
clearly identifies the Gar Pike. This singular fish has been found in
Lake Champlain, the river St. Lawrence, and in the northern lakes,
likewise in the Mississippi River, where is to be found also a closely
related species commonly called the alligator gar. In the Museum of
the Boston Society of Natural History are several specimens, one of
them from St. John's River, Florida, four feet and nine inches in
length, of which the head is seventeen and a half inches. If the body
of those seen by Champlain was five feet, the head two and a half feet
would be in about the usual proportion.

344. The Green Mountain range in Vermont, generally not more than twenty or
twenty-five miles distant. Champlain was probably deceived as to the
snow on their summits in July. What he saw was doubtless white
limestone, which might naturally enough be taken for snow in the
absence of any positive knowledge. The names of the summits visible
from the lake are the following, with their respective heights. The
Chin, 4,348 feet; The Nose, 4,044; Camel's Hump, 4,083; Jay's Peak,
4,018; Killington Peak, 3,924. This region was at an early period
called _Irocosia_.

345. This is not an inaccurate description of the beautiful as well as rich
and fertile valleys to be found among the hills of Vermont.

346. On entering the lake, they saw the Adirondack Mountains, which would
appear very nearly in the south. The points visible from the lake were
Mt. Marcy, 5,467 feet high above tide-water; Dix's Peak, 5,200; Nipple
Top, 4,900; Whiteface, 4,900; Raven Hill, 2,100; Bald Peak, 2,065.--
_Vide Palmer's Lake Champlain_, p. 12.

347. The river here referred to is the Hudson. By passing from Lake
Champlain through the small stream that connects it with Lake George,
over this latter lake and a short carrying place, the upper waters of
the Hudson are reached. The coast of Norumbegue and that of Florida
were both indefinite regions, not well defined by geographers of that
day. These terms were supplied by Champlain, and not by his
informants. He could not of course tell precisely where this unknown
river reached the sea, but naturally inferred that it was on the
southern limit of Norumbegue, which extended from the Penobscot
towards Florida, which latter at that time was supposed to extend from
the Gulf of Mexico indefinitely to the north.

348. This battle, or Skirmish, clearly took place at Ticonderoga, or
_Cheonderoga_, as the Indians called it, where a cape juts out into
the lake, as described by Champlain. This is the logical inference to
be drawn from the whole narrative. It is to be observed that the
purpose of the Indians, whom Champlain was accompanying, was to find
their enemies, the Iroquois, and give them battle. The journey, or
warpath, had been clearly marked out and described by the Indians to
Champlain, as may be seen in the text. It led them along the western
shore of the lake to the outlet of Lake George, over the fall in the
little stream connecting the two lakes, through Lake George, and
thence to the mountains beyond, where the Iroquois resided. They found
the Iroquois, however, on the lake; gave them battle on the little
cape alluded to; and after the victory and pursuit for some distance
into the forest, and the gathering up of the spoils, Champlain and his
allies commenced their journey homeward. But Champlain says he saw the
fall in the stream that connects the two lakes. Now this little stream
flows into Lake Champlain at Ticonderoga, and he would naturally have
seen the fall, if the battle took place there, while in pursuit of the
Iroquois into the forest, as described in the text. The fall was in
the line of the retreat of the Iroquois towards their home, and is
only a mile and three-quarters from the cape jutting out into the lake
at Ticonderoga. If the battle had occurred at any point north of
Ticonderoga, he could not have seen the fall, as they retreated
immediately after the battle: if it had taken place south of that
point, it would have been off the war-path which they had determined
to pursue. We must conclude, therefore, that the battle took place at
Ticonderoga, a little north of the ruins of the old Fort Carillon,
directly on the shore of the lake. If the reader will examine the plan
of the battle as given by Champlain's engraving, he will see that it
conforms with great exactness to the known topography of the place.
The Iroquois, who had their choice of positions are on the north, in
the direction of Willow Point, where they can most easily retreat, and
where Champlain and his allies can be more easily hemmed in near the
point of the cape. The Iroquois are on lower ground, and we know that
the surface there shelves to the north. The well-known sandy bottom of
the lake at this place would furnish the means of fastening the
canoes, by forcing poles into it, a little out from the shore during
the night, as they actually did. On Champlain's map of 1632, this
point is referred to as the location of the battle; and in his note on
the map. No. 65, he says this is the place where the Iroquois were
defeated by Champlain. All the facts of the narrative thus point to
Ticonderoga, and render it indisputable that this was the scene of the
first of the many recorded conflicts on this memorable lake. We should
not have entered into this discussion so fully, had not several
writers, not well informed, expressed views wholly inconsistent with
known facts.

349. The Indian name of Lake Champlain is _Caniaderiguaronte_, the lake
that is the gate of the country.--_Vide Administration of the
Colonies_, by Thomas Pownall. 1768, p. 267. This name was very
significant, since the lake and valley of Champlain was the "gate," or
war-path, by which the hostile tribes of Iroquois approached their
enemies on the north of the St. Lawrence, and _vice-versa_.



After going some eight leagues, towards evening they took one of the
prisoners, to whom they made a harangue, enumerating the cruelties which he
and his men had already practised towards them without any mercy, and that,
in like manner, he ought to make up his mind to receive as much. They
commanded him to sing, if he had courage, which he did; but it was a very
sad song.

Meanwhile, our men kindled a fire; and, when it was well burning, they each
took a brand, and burned this poor creature gradually, so as to make him
suffer greater torment. Sometimes they stopped, and threw water on his
back. Then they tore out his nails, and applied fire to the extremities of
his fingers and private member. Afterwards, they flayed the top of his
head, and had a kind of gum poured all hot upon it; then they pierced his
arms near the wrists, and, drawing up the sinews with sticks, they tore
them out by force; but, seeing that they could not get them, they cut
them. This poor wretch uttered terrible cries, and it excited my pity to
see him treated in this manner, and yet showing such firmness that one
would have said, at times, that he suffered hardly any pain at all. They
urged me strongly to take some fire, and do as they did. I remonstrated
with them, saying that we practised no such cruelties, but killed them at
once; and that, if they wished me to fire a musket-shot at him, I should be
willing to do so. They refused, saying that he would not in that case
suffer any pain. I went away from them, pained to see such cruelties as
they practised upon his body. When they saw that I was displeased, they
called me, and told me to fire a musket-shot at him. This I did without his
feeing it, and thus put an end, by a single shot, to all the torments he
would have suffered, rather than see him tyrannized over. After his death,
they were not yet satisfied, but opened him, and threw his entrails into
the lake. Then they cut off his head, arms, and legs, which they scattered
in different directions; keeping the scalp which they had flayed off, as
they had done in the case of all the rest whom they had killed in the
contest. They were guilty also of another monstrosity in taking his heart,
cutting it into several pieces, and giving it to a brother of his to eat,
as also to others of his companions, who were prisoners: they took it into
their mouths, but would not swallow it. Some Algonquin savages, who were
guarding them, made some of them spit it out, when they threw it into the
water. This is the manner in which these people behave towards those whom
they capture in war, for whom it would be better to die fighting, or to
kill themselves on the spur of the moment, as many do, rather than fall
into the hands of their enemies. After this execution, we set out on our
return with the rest of the prisoners, who kept singing as they went along,
with no better hopes for the future than he had had who was so wretchedly

Having arrived at the falls of the Iroquois, the Algonquins returned to
their own country; so also the Ochateguins, [350] with a part of the
prisoners: well satisfied with the results of the war, and that I had
accompanied them so readily. We separated accordingly with loud
protestations of mutual friendship; and they asked me whether I would not
like to go into their country, to assist them with continued fraternal
relations; and I promised that I would do so.

I returned with the Montagnais. After informing myself from the prisoners
in regard to their country, and of its probable extent, we packed up the
baggage for the return, which was accomplished with such despatch that we
went every day in their canoes twenty-five or thirty leagues, which was
their usual rate of travelling. When we arrived at the mouth of the river
Iroquois, some of the savages dreamed that their enemies were pursuing
them. This dream led them to move their camp forthwith, although the night
was very inclement on account of the wind and rain; and they went and
passed the remainder of the night, from fear of their enemies, amid high
reeds on Lake St. Peter. Two days after, we arrived at our settlement,
where I gave them some bread and peas; also some beads, which they asked me
for, in order to ornament the heads of their enemies, for the purpose of
merry-making upon their return. The next day, I went with them in their
canoes as far as Tadoussac, in order to witness their ceremonies. On
approaching the shore, they each took a stick, to the end of which they
hung the heads of their enemies, who had been killed, together with some
beads, all of them singing. When they were through with this, the women
undressed themselves, so as to be in a state of entire nudity, when they
jumped into the water, and swam to the prows, of the canoes to take the
heads of their enemies, which were on the ends of long poles before their
boats: then they hung them about their necks, as if it had been some costly
chain, singing and dancing meanwhile. Some days after, they presented me
with one of these heads, as if it were something very precious; and also
with a pair of arms taken from their enemies, to keep and show to the
king. This, for the sake of gratifying them, I promised to do.

After some days, I went to Quebec, whither some Algonquin savages came,
expressing their regret at not being present at the defeat of their
enemies, and presenting me with some furs, in consideration of my having
gone there and assisted their friends.

Some days after they had set out for their country, distant about a hundred
and twenty leagues from our settlement, I went to Tadoussac to see whether
Pont Gravé had returned from Gaspé, whither he had gone. He did not arrive
until the next day, when he told me that he had decided to return to
France. We concluded to leave an upright man, Captain Pierre Chavin of
Dieppe, to command at Quebec, until Sieur de Monts should arrange matters


350. The Indian allies on this expedition were the Algonquins
(_Algoumequins_), the Hurons (_Ochatequins_), and the Montagnais
(_Montagnets_). The two former, on their way to Quebec, had met
Champlain near the river St. Anne, and joined him and the Montagnais,
who belonged in the neighborhood of Tadoussac, or farther east.--_Vide
antea_, p. 202. They now, at the falls near the Basin of Chambly,
departed to their homes, perhaps on the Ottawa River and the shores of
Lake Huron.



After forming this resolution, we went to Quebec to establish him in
authority, and leave him every thing requisite and necessary for the
settlement, together with fifteen men. Every thing being arranged, we set
out on the first day of September [351] for Tadoussac, in order to fit out
our vessel for returning to France.

We set out accordingly from the latter place on the 5th of the month, and
on the 8th anchored at Isle Percée. On Thursday the 10th, we set out from
there, and on the 18th, the Tuesday following, we arrived at the Grand
Bank. On the 2d of October, we got soundings. On the 8th, we anchored at
Conquet [352] in Lower Brittany. On Saturday the 10th, we set out from
there, arriving at Honfleur on the 13th.

After disembarking, I did not wait long before taking post to go to Sieur
de Monts, who was then at Fontainebleau, where His Majesty was. Here I
reported to him in detail all that had transpired in regard to the winter
quarters and our new explorations, and my hopes for the future in view of
the promises of the savages called Ochateguins, who are good Iroquois.
[353] The other Iroquois, their enemies, dwell more to the south. The
language of the former does not differ much from that of the people
recently discovered and hitherto unknown to us, which they understand when

I at once waited upon His Majesty, and gave him an account of my voyage,
which afforded him pleasure and satisfaction. I had a girdle made of
porcupine quills, very well worked, after the manner of the country where
it was made, and which His Majesty thought very pretty. I had also two
little birds, of the size of blackbirds and of a carnation color; [354]
also, the head of a fish caught in the great lake of the Iroquois, having a
very long snout and two or three rows of very sharp teeth. A representation
of this fish may be found on the great lake, on my geographical map. [355]

After I had concluded my interview with His Majesty, Sieur de Monts
determined to go to Rouen to meet his associates, the Sieurs Collier and Le
Gendre, merchants of Rouen, to consider what should be done the coming
year. They resolved to continue the settlement, and finish the explorations
up the great river St. Lawrence, in accordance with the promises of the
Ochateguins, made on condition that we should assist them in their wars, as
I had given them to understand.

Pont Gravé was appointed to go to Tadoussac, not only for traffic, but to
engage in any thing else that might realize means for defraying the

Sieur Lucas Le Gendre, of Rouen, one of the partners, was ordered to see to
the purchase of merchandise and supplies, the repair of the vessels,
obtaining crews, and other things necessary for the voyage.

After these matters were arranged, Sieur de Monts returned to Paris, I
accompanying him, where I stayed until the end of February. During this
time, Sieur de Monts endeavored to obtain a new commission for trading in
the newly discovered regions, and where no one had traded before. This he
was unable to accomplish, although his requests and proposals were just and

But, finding that there was no hope of obtaining this commission, he did
not cease to prosecute his plan, from his desire that every thing might
turn out to the profit and honor of France.

During this time, Sieur de Monts did not express to me his pleasure in
regard to me personally, until I told him it had been reported to me that
he did not wish to have me winter in Canada, which, however, was not true,
for he referred the whole matter to my pleasure.

I provided myself with whatever was desirable and necessary for spending
the winter at our settlement in Quebec. For this purpose I set out from
Paris the last day of February following, [356] and proceeded to Honfleur,
where the embarkation was to be made. I went by way of Rouen, where I
stayed two days. Thence I went to Honfleur, where I found Pont Gravé and Le
Gendre, who told me they had embarked what was necessary for the
settlement. I was very glad to find that we were ready to set sail, but
uncertain whether the supplies were good and adequate for our sojourn and
for spending the winter.


351. September, 1609.

352. A small seaport town in the department of Finisterre, twelve miles
west of Brest.

353. The Ochateguins, called by the French Hurons, were a branch of the
Iroquois. Their real name was Yendots. They were at this time allied
with the Algonquins, in a deadly war with their Iroquois cousins, the
Five Nations.--_Vide Gallatins Synopsis_, Transactions of Am. Antiq.
Society, Cambridge, 1836, Vol. II. p. 69, _et passim_.

354. The Scarlet tanager, _Pyranga rubra_, of a scarlet color, with black
wings and tail. It ranges from Texas to Lake Huron.

355. _Vide antea_, p. 216; and map. 1612.

356. Anno Domini 1610.




The weather having become favorable, I embarked at Honfleur with a number
of artisans on the 7th of the month of March. [357] But, encountering bad
weather in the Channel, we were obliged to put in on the English coast at a
place called Porlan, [358] in the roadstead of which we stayed some days,
when we weighed anchor for the Isle d'Huy, [359] near the English coast,
since we found the roadstead of Porlan very bad. When near this island, so
dense a fog arose, that we were obliged to put in at the Hougue. [360]

Ever since the departure from Honfleur, I had been afflicted with a very
severe illness, which took away my hopes of being able to make the voyage;
so that I embarked in a boat to return to Havre in France, to be treated
there, being very ill on board the vessel. My expectation was, on
recovering my health, to embark again in another vessel, which had not yet
left Honfleur, in which Des Marais, son-in-law of Pont Gravé, was to
embark; but I had myself carried, still very ill, to Honfleur, where the
vessel on which I had set out put in on the 15th of March, for some
ballast, which it needed in order to be properly trimmed. Here it remained
until the 8th of April. During this time, I recovered in a great degree;
and, though still feeble and weak, I nevertheless embarked again.

We set out anew on the 18th of April, arriving at the Grand Bank on the
19th, and fighting the Islands of St. Pierre on the 22nd. [361] When off
Menthane, we met a vessel from St. Malo, on which was a young man, who,
while drinking to the health of Pont Gravé, lost control of himself and was
thrown into the Sea by the motion of the vessel and drowned, it being
impossible to render him assistance on account of the violence of the wind.

On the 26th of the month, we arrived at Tadoussac, where there were vessels
which had arrived on the 18th, a thing which had not been seen for more
than sixty years, as the old mariners said who sail regularly to this
country. [362] This was owing to the mild winter and the small amount of
ice, which did not prevent the entrance of these vessels. We learned from a
young nobleman, named Sieur du Parc, who had spent the winter at our
settlement, that all his companions were in good health, only a few having
been ill, and they but slightly. He also informed us that there had been
scarcely any winter, and that they had usually had fresh meat the entire
season, and that their hardest task had been to keep up good cheer.

This winter shows how those undertaking in future such enterprises ought to
proceed, it being very difficult to make a new settlement without labor;
and without encountering adverse fortune the first year, as has been the
case in all our first settlements. But, in fact, by avoiding salt food and
using fresh meat, the health is as good here as in France.

The savages had been waiting from day to day for us to go to the war with
them. When they learned that Pont Gravé and I had arrived together, they
rejoiced greatly, and came to speak with us.

I went on shore to assure them that we would go with them, in conformity
with the promises they had made me, namely, that upon our return from the
war they would show me the Trois Rivières, and take me to a sea so large
that the end of it cannot be seen, whence we should return by way of the
Saguenay to Tadoussac. I asked them if they still had this intention, to
which they replied that they had, but that it could not be carried out
before the next year, which pleased me. But I had promised the Algonquins
and Ochateguins that I would assist them also in their wars, they having
promised to show me their country, the great lake, some copper mines, and
other things, which they had indicated to me. I accordingly had two strings
to my bow, so that, in case one should break, the other might hold.

On the 28th of the month, I set out from Tadoussac for Quebec, where I
found Captain Pierre, [363] who commanded there, and all his companions in
good health. There was also a savage captain with them, named Batiscan,
with some of his companions, who were awaiting us, and who were greatly
pleased at my arrival, singing and dancing the entire evening. I provided a
banquet for them, which gratified them very much. They had a good meal, for
which they were very thankful, and invited me with seven others to an
entertainment of theirs, not a small mark of respect with them. We each
one carried a porringer, according to custom, and brought it home full of
meat, which we gave to whomsoever we pleased.

Some days after I had set out from Tadoussac, the Montagnais arrived at
Quebec, to the number of sixty able-bodied men, en route for the war. They
tarried here some days, enjoying themselves, and not omitting to ply me
frequently with questions, to assure themselves that I would not fail in my
promises to them. I assured them, and again made promises to them, asking
them if they had found me breaking my word in the past. They were greatly
pleased when I renewed my promises to them.

They said to me: "Here are numerous Basques and Mistigoches" (this is the
name they give to the Normans and people of St. Malo), "who say they will
go to the war with us. What do you think of it? Do they speak the truth?"
I answered no, and that I knew very well what they really meant; that they
said this only to get possession of their commodities. They replied to me:
"You have spoken the truth. They are women, and want to make war only upon
our beavers." They went on talking still farther in a facetious mood, and
in regard to the manner and order of going to the war.

They determined to set out, and await me at the Trois Rivières, thirty
leagues above Quebec, where I had promised to join them, together with four
barques loaded with merchandise, in order to traffic in peltries, among
others with the Ochateguins, who were to await me at the mouth of the river
of the Iroquois, as they had promised the year before, and to bring there
as many as four hundred men to go to the war.


357. In the title above, Champlain calls this his SECOND VOYAGE, by which
he means doubtless to say that this is the second voyage which he had
undertaken as lieutenant. The first and second voyages, of 1603 and of
1604, were not made under his direction.

358. Portland in Dorsetshire, England.

359. _Isle d'Huy_. This plainly refers to the Isle of Wight. On Ortelius's
carte of 1603. it is spelled Vigt: and the orthography, obtained
probably through the ear and not the eye, might easily have been
mistaken by Champlain.

360. _La Hougue_. There are two small islands laid down on the carte of
Ortelius. 1603, under the name _Les Hougueaux_, and a hamlet nearby
called Hougo, which is that, doubtless, to which Chaimplain here

361. Comparing this statement with the context, it will be clear that the
passage should read the 8th, and not the 18th of April. The "Islands
of St. Pierre," _Isles S. Pierre_, includes the Island of St. Peter
and the cluster surrounding it.

362. M. Ferland infers from this statement that the Basques, Normans, and
Bretons had been accustomed for the last sixty years, from the last
voyage of Roberval in 1549, to extend their fishing and fur-trading
voyages as far as Tadoussac.--_Vide Cours d'Hist. du Canada_, as cited
by Laverdière.

363. Captain Pierre Chavin, of Dieppe. _Vide antea_, p. 227.



I set out from Quebec on the 14th of June, to meet the Montagnais,
Algonquins, and Ochateguins, who were to be at the mouth of the river of
the Iroquois. When I was eight leagues from Quebec, I met a canoe,
containing two savages, one an Algonquin, and the other a Montagnais, who
entreated me to advance as rapidly as possible, saying that the Algonquins
and Ochateguins would in two days be at the rendezvous, to the number of
two hundred, with two hundred others to come a little later, together with
Yroquet, one of their chiefs. They asked me if I was satisfied with the
coming of these savages. I told them I could not be displeased at it, since
they had kept their word. They came on board my barque, where I gave them a
good entertainment. Shortly after conferring with them about many matters
concerning their wars, the Algonquin savage, one of their chiefs, drew from
a sack a piece of copper a foot long, which he gave me. This was very
handsome and quite pure. He gave me to understand that there were large
quantities where he had taken this, which was on the bank of a river, near
a great lake. He said that they gathered it in lumps, and, having melted
it, spread it in sheets, smoothing it with stones. I was very glad of this
present, although of small value. [364]

Arriving at Trois Rivières, I found all the Montagnais awaiting me, and the
four barques as I stated above, which had gone to trade with them.

The savages were delighted to see me, and I went on shore to speak with
them. They entreated me, together with my companions, to embark on their
canoes and no others, when we went to the war, saying that they were our
old friends. This I promised them, telling them that I desired to set out
at once, since the wind was favorable; and that my barque was not so swift
as their canoes, for which reason I desired to go on in advance. They
earnestly entreated me to wait until the morning of the next day, when we
would all go together, adding that they would not go faster than I should.
Finally, to satisfy them, I promised to do this, at which they were greatly

On the following day, we all set out together, and continued our route
until the morning of the next day, the 19th of the month, when we arrived
at an island [365] off the river of the Iroquois, and waited for the
Algonquins, who were to be there the same day. While the Montagnais were
felling trees to clear a place for dancing, and for arranging themselves
for the arrival of the Algonquins, an Algonquin canoe was suddenly seen
coming in haste, to bring word that the Algonquins had fallen in with a
hundred Iroquois, who were strongly barricaded, and that it would be
difficult to conquer them, unless they should come speedily, together with
the Matigoches, as they call us.

The alarm at once sounded among them, and each one got into his canoe with
his arms. They were quickly in readiness, but with confusion; for they were
so precipitous that, instead of making haste, they hindered one another.
They came to our barque and the others, begging me, together with my
companions, to go with them in their canoes, and they were so urgent that I
embarked with four others. I requested our pilot, La Routte, to stay in the
barque, and send me some four or five more of my companions, if the other
barques would send some shallops with men to aid us; for none of the
barques were inclined to go with the savages, except Captain Thibaut, who,
having a barque there, went with me. The savages cried out to those who
remained, saying that they were woman-hearted, and that all they could do
was to make war upon their peltry.

Meanwhile, after going some half a league, all the savages crossing the
river landed, and, leaving their canoes, took their bucklers, bows, arrows,
clubs, and swords, which they attach to the end of large sticks, and
proceeded to make their way in the woods, so fast that we soon lost sight
of them, they leaving us, five in number, without guides. This displeased
us; but, keeping their tracks constantly in sight, we followed them,
although we were often deceived. We went through dense woods, and over
swamps and marshes, with the water always up to our knees, greatly
encumbered by a pike-man's corselet, with which each one was armed. We were
also tormented in a grievous and unheard-of manner by quantities of
mosquitoes, which were so thick that they scarcely permitted us to draw
breath. After going about half a league under these circumstances, and no
longer knowing where we were, we perceived two savages passing through the
woods, to whom we called and told them to stay with us, and guide us to the
whereabouts of the Iroquois, otherwise we could not go there, and should
get lost in the woods. They stayed to guide us. After proceeding a short
distance, we saw a savage coming in haste to us, to induce us to advance as
rapidly as possible, giving me to understand that the Algonquins and
Montagnais had tried to force the barricade of the Iroquois but had been
repulsed, that some of the best men of the Montagnais had been killed in
the attempt, and several wounded, and that they had retired to wait for us,
in whom was their only hope. We had not gone an eighth of a league with
this savage, who was an Algonquin captain, before we heard the yells and
cries on both sides, as they jeered at each other, and were skirmishing
slightly while awaiting us. As soon as the savages perceived us, they began
to shout, so that one could not have heard it thunder. I gave orders to my
companions to follow me steadily, and not to leave me on any account. I
approached the barricade of the enemy, in order to reconnoitre it. It was
constructed of large trees placed one upon an other, and of a circular
shape, the usual form of their fortifications. All the Montagnais and
Algonquins approached likewise the barricade. Then we commenced firing
numerous musket-shots through the brush-wood, since we could not see them,
as they could us. I was wounded while firing my first shot at the side of
their barricade by an arrow, which pierced the end of my ear and entered my
neck. I seized the arrow, and tore it from my neck. The end of it was armed
with a very sharp stone. One of my companions also was wounded at the same
time in the arm by an arrow, which I tore out for him. Yet my wound did
not prevent me from doing my duty: our savages also, on their part, as well
as the enemy, did their duty, so that you could see the arrows fly on all
sides as thick as hail. The Iroquois were astonished at the noise of our
muskets, and especially that the balls penetrated better than their
arrows. They were so frightened at the effect produced that, seeing
several, of their companions fall wounded and dead, they threw themselves
on the ground whenever they heard a discharge, supposing that the shots
were sure. We scarcely ever missed firing two or three balls at one shot,
resting our muskets most of the time on the side of their barricade. But,
seeing that our ammunition began to fail, I said to all the savages that it
was necessary to break down their barricades and capture them by storm; and
that, in order to accomplish this, they must take their shields, cover
themselves with them, and thus approach so near as to be able to fasten
stout ropes to the posts that supported the barricades, and pull them down
by main strength, in that way making an opening large enough to permit them
to enter the fort. I told them that we would meanwhile, by our
musketry-fire, keep off the enemy, as they endeavored to prevent them from
accomplishing this; also that a number of them should get behind some large
trees, which were near the barricade, in order to throw them down upon the
enemy, and that others should protect these with their shields, in order to
keep the enemy from injuring them. All this they did very promptly. And, as
they were about finishing the work, the barques, distant a league and a
half, hearing the reports of our muskets, knew that we were engaged in
conflict; and a young man from St. Malo, full of courage, Des Prairies by
name, who like the rest had come with his barque to engage in peltry
traffic, said to his companions that it was a great shame to let me fight
in this way with the savages without coming to my assistance; that for his
part he had too high a sense of honor to permit him to do so, and that he
did not wish to expose himself to this reproach; Accordingly, he determined
to come to me in a shallop with some of his companions, together with some
of mine whom he took with him. Immediately upon his arrival, he went
towards the fort of the Iroquois, situated on the bank of the river. Here
he landed, and came to find me. Upon seeing him, I ordered our savages who
were breaking down the fortress to stop, so that the new-comers might have
their share of the sport. I requested Sieur des Prairies and his companions
to fire some salvos of musketry, before our savages should carry by storm
the enemy, as they had decided to do. This they did, each one firing
several shots, in which all did their duty well. After they had fired
enough, I addressed myself to our savages, urging them to finish the
work. Straightway, they approached the barricade, as they had previously
done, while we on the flank were to fire at those who should endeavor to
keep them from breaking it down. They behaved so well and bravely that,
with the help of our muskets, they made an opening, which, however, was
difficult to go through, as there was still left a portion as high as a
man, there being also branches of trees there which had been beaten down,
forming a serious obstacle. But, when I saw that the entrance was quite
practicable, I gave orders not to fire any more, which they obeyed. At the
same instant, some twenty or thirty, both of savages and of our own men,
entered, sword in hand, without finding much resistance. Immediately, all
who were unharmed took to flight. But they did not proceed far; for they
were brought down by those around the barricade, and those who escaped were
drowned in the river. We captured some fifteen prisoners, the rest being
killed by musket-shots, arrows, and the sword. When the fight was over,
there came another shallop, containing some of my companions. This although
behind time, was yet in season for the booty, which, however, was not of
much account. There were only robes of beaver-skin, and dead bodies,
covered with blood, which the savages would not take the trouble to
plunder, laughing at those in the last shallop, who did so; for the others
did not engage in such low business. This, then, is the victory obtained by
God's grace, for gaining which they gave us much praise.

* * * * *



_A_. The fort of the Iroquois.
_B_. The Iroquois throwing themselves into the river to escape the pursuit
of the Montagnais and Algonquins who followed for the purpose of
killing them.
_D_. Sieur de Champlain and five of his men.
_E_. The savages friendly to us.
_F_. Sieur des Prairies of St. Malo with his comrades.
_G_. Shallop of Sieur des Prairies.
_H_. Great trees cut down for the purpose of destroying the fort of the

* * * * *

The savages scalped the dead, and took the heads as a trophy of victory,
according to their custom. They returned with fifty wounded Montagnais and
Algonquins and three dead, singing and leading their prisoners with them.
They attached to sticks in the prows of their canoes the heads and a dead
body cut into quarters, to eat in revenge, as they said. In this way, they
went to our barques off the River of the Iroquois.

My companions and I embarked in a shallop, where I had my wound dressed by
the surgeon, De Boyer, of Rouen, who likewise had come here for the purpose
of traffic. The savages spent all this day in dancing and singing.

The next day, Sieur de Pont Gravé arrived with another shallop, loaded with
merchandise. Moreover, there was also a barque containing Captain Pierre,
which he had left behind, it being able to come only with difficulty, as it
was rather heavy and a poor sailer.

The same day there was some trading in peltry, but the other barques
carried off the better part of the booty. It was doing them a great favor
to search out a strange people for them, that they might afterwards carry
off the profit without any risk or danger.

That day, I asked the savages for an Iroquois prisoner which they had, and
they gave him to me. What I did for him was not a little; for I saved him
from many tortures which he must have suffered in company with his
fellow-prisoners, whole nails they tore out, also cutting off their
fingers, and burning them in several places. They put to death on the same
day two or three, and, in order to increase their torture, treated them in
the following manner.

They took the prisoners to the border of the water, and fastened them
perfectly upright to a stake. Then each came with a torch of birch bark,
and burned them, now in this place, now in that. The poor wretches, feeling
the fire, raised so loud a cry that it was something frightful to hear; and
frightful indeed are the cruelties which these barbarians practise towards
each other. After making them suffer greatly in this manner and burning
them with the above-mentioned bark, taking some water, they threw it on
their bodies to increase their suffering. Then they applied the fire anew,
so that the skin fell from their bodies, they continuing to utter loud
cries and exclamations, and dancing until the poor wretches fell dead on
the spot.

As soon as a body fell to the ground dead, they struck it violent blows
with sticks, when they cut off the arms, legs, and other parts; and he was
not regarded by them as manly, who did not cut off a piece of the flesh,
and give it to the dogs. Such are the courtesies prisoners receive. But
still they endure all the tortures inflicted upon them with such constancy
that the spectator is astonished.

As to the other prisoners, which remained in possession of the Algonquins
and Montagnais, it was left to their wives and daughters to put them to
death with their own hands; and, in such a matter, they do not show
themselves less inhuman than the men, but even surpass them by far in
cruelty; for they devise by their cunning more cruel punishments, in which
they take pleasure, putting an end to their lives by the most extreme

The next day there arrived the Captain Yroquet, also another Ochateguin,
with some eighty men, who regretted greatly not having been present at the
defeat. Among all these tribes there were present nearly two hundred men,
who had never before seen Christians, for whom they conceived a great

We were some three days together on an island off the river of the
Iroquois, when each tribe returned to its own country.

I had a young lad, who had already spent two winters at Quebec, and who was
desirous of going with the Algonquins to learn their language. Pont Gravé
and I concluded that, if he entertained this desire, it would be better to
send him to this place than elsewhere, that he might ascertain the nature
of their country, see the great lake, observe the rivers and tribes there,
and also explore the mines and objects of special interest in the
localities occupied by these tribes, in order that he might inform us upon
his return, of the facts of the case. We asked him if it was his desire to
go, for I did not wish to force him. But he answered the question at once
by consenting to the journey with great pleasure.

Going to Captain Yroquet, who was strongly attached to me, I asked him if
he would like to take this young boy to his country to spend the winter
with him, and bring him back in the spring. He promised to do so, and treat
him as his own son, saying that he was greatly pleased with the idea. He
communicated the plan to all the Algonquins, who were not greatly pleased
with it, from fear that some accident might happen to the boy, which would
cause us to make war upon them. This hesitation cooled the desire of
Yroquet, who came and told me that all his companions failed to find the
plan a good one. Meanwhile, all the barques had left, excepting that of
Pont Gravé, who, having some pressing business on hand, as he told me, went
away too. But I stayed with my barque to see how the matter of the journey
of this boy, which I was desirous should take place, would result. I
accordingly went on shore, and asked to speak with the captains, who came
to me, and we sat down for a conference, together with many other savages
of age and distinction in their troops. Then I asked them why Captain
Yroquet, whom I regarded as my friend, had refused to take my boy with
him. I said that it was not acting like a brother or friend to refuse me
what he had promised, and what could result in nothing but good to them;
taking the boy would be a means of increasing still more our friendship
with them and forming one with their neighbors; that their scruples at
doing so only gave me an unfavorable opinion of them; and that if they
would not take the boy, as Captain Yroquet had promised, I would never have
any friendship with them, for they were not children to break their
promises in this manner. They then told me that they were satisfied with
the arrangement, only they feared that, from change of diet to something
worse than he had been accustomed to, some harm might happen to the boy,
which would provoke my displeasure. This they said was the only cause of
their refusal.

I replied that the boy would be able to adapt himself without difficulty to
their manner of living and usual food, and that, if through sickness or the
fortunes of war any harm should befall him, this would not interrupt my
friendly feelings towards them, and that we were all exposed to accidents,
which we must submit to with patience. But I said that if they treated him
badly, and if any misfortune happened to him through their fault, I should
in truth be displeased, which, however, I did not expect from them, but
quite the contrary.

They said to me: "Since then, this is your desire, we will take him, and
treat him like ourselves. But you shall also take a young man in his place,
to go to France. We shall be greatly pleased to hear him report the fine
things he shall have seen." I accepted with pleasure the proposition, and
took the young man. He belonged to the tribe of the Ochateguins, and was
also glad to go with me. This presented an additional motive for treating
my boy still better than they might otherwise have done. I fitted him out
with what he needed, and we made a mutual promise to meet at the end of

We parted with many promises of friendship. Then they went away towards the
great fall of the River of Canada, while I returned to Quebec. On my way, I
met Pont Gravé on Lake St. Peter, who was waiting for me with a large
patache, which he had fallen in with on this lake, and which had not been
expeditious enough to reach the place where the savages were, on account of
its poor sailing qualities.

We all returned together to Quebec, when Pont Gravé went to Tadoussac, to
arrange some matters pertaining to our quarters there. But I stayed at
Quebec to see to the reconstruction of some palisades about our abode,
until Pont Gravé should return, when we could confer together as to what
was to be done.

On the 4th of June, Des Marais arrived at Quebec, greatly to our joy; for
we were afraid that some accident had happened to him at sea.

Some days after, an Iroquois prisoner, whom I had kept guarded, got away in
consequence of my giving him too much liberty, and made his escape, urged
to do so by fear, notwithstanding the assurances given him by a woman of
his tribe we had at our settlement.

A few days after, Pont Gravé wrote me that he was thinking of passing the
winter at the settlement, being moved to do so by many considerations. I
replied that, if he expected to fare better than I had done in the past, he
would do well.

He accordingly hastened to provide himself with the supplies necessary for
the settlement.

After I had finished the palisade about our habitation, and put every thing
in order, Captain Pierre returned in a barque in which he had gone to
Tadoussac to see his friends. I also went there to ascertain what would
result from the second trading, and to attend to some other special
business which I had there. Upon my arrival, I found there Pont Gravé, who
stated to me in detail his plans, and the reasons inducing him to spend the
winter. I told him frankly what I thought of the matter; namely, that I
believed he would not derive much profit from it, according to the
appearances that were plainly to be seen.

He determined accordingly to change his plan, and despatched a barque with
orders for Captain Pierre to return from Quebec on account of some business
he had with him; with the intelligence also that some vessels, which had
arrived from Brouage, brought the news that Monsieur de Saint Luc had come
by post from Paris, expelled those of the religion from Brouage,
re-enforced the garrison with soldiers, and then returned to Court; [366]
that the king had been killed, and two or three days after him the Duke of
Sully, together with two other lords, whose names they did not know. [367]

All these tidings gave great sorrow to the true French in these quarters.
As for myself, it was hard for me to believe it, on account of the
different reports about the matter, and which had not much appearance of
truth. Still, I was greatly troubled at hearing such mournful news.

Now, after having stayed three or four days longer at Tadoussac, I saw the
loss which many merchants must suffer, who had taken on board a large
quantity of merchandise, and fitted out a great number of vessels, in
expectation of doing a good business in the fur-trade, which was so poor on
account of the great number of vessels, that many will for a long time
remember the loss which they suffered this year.

Sieur de Pont Gravé and I embarked, each of us in a barque, leaving Captain
Pierre on the vessel. We took Du Parc to Quebec, where we finished what
remained to be done at the settlement. After every thing was in good
condition, we resolved that Du Parc, who had wintered there with Captain
Pierre, should remain again, and that Captain Pierre should return to
France with us, on account of some business that called him there.

We accordingly left Du Parc in command there, with sixteen men, all of whom
we enjoined to live soberly, and in the fear of God, and in strict
observance of the obedience due to the authority of Du Parc, who was left
as their chief and commander, just as if one of us had remained. This they
all promised to do, and to live in peace with each other.

As to the gardens, we left them all well supplied with kitchen vegetables
of all sorts, together with fine Indian corn, wheat, rye, and barley, which
had been already planted. There were also vines which I had set out when I
spent the winter there, but these they made no attempt to preserve; for,
upon my return, I found them all in ruins, and I was greatly displeased
that they had given so little attention to the preservation of so fine and
good a plot, from which I had anticipated a favorable result.

After seeing that every thing was in good order, we set out from Quebec on
the 8th of August for Tadoussac, in order to prepare our vessel, which was
speedily done.


364. This testimony of the Algonquin chief is interesting, and historically
important. We know of no earlier reference to the art of melting and
malleating copper in any of the reports of the navigators to our
northern coast. That the natives possessed this art is placed beyond
question by this passage, as well as by the recent discovery of copper
implements in Wisconsin, bearing the marks of mechanical fusion and
malleation. The specimens of copper in the possession of the natives
on the coast of New England, as referred to by Brereton and Archer,
can well be accounted for without supposing them to be of native
manufacture, though they may have been so. The Basques. Bretons,
English, and Portuguese had been annually on our northern coasts for
fishing and fur-trading for more than a century, and had distributed a
vast quantity of articles for savage ornament and use; and it would,
therefore, be difficult to prove that the copper chains and collars
and other trinkets mentioned by Brereton and Archer were not derived
from this source. But the testimony of the early navigators in the
less frequented region of the St. Lawrence is not open to this
interpretation. When Cartier advanced up the Gulf of Lawrence in 1535,
the savages pointed out the region of the Saguenay, which they
informed him was inhabited, and that from thence came the red copper
which they called _caignetdaze_.

"Et par les sauuaiges que auions, nous a essé dict que cestoit le
commencement du Saguenay & terre habitable. Et que de la ve noit le
cuyure rouge qu'ilz appellent caignetdaze."--_Brief Récit_, par
Jacques Cartier, 1545. D'Avezac ed., p. 9. _Vide idem_, p. 34.

When Cartier was at Isle Coudres, say fifty miles below Quebec, on his
return, the Indians from the Saguenay came on board his ship, and made
certain presents to their chief, Donnacona, whom Cartier had captured,
and was taking home with him to France. Among these gifts, they gave
him a great knife of red copper, which came from the Saguenay. The
words of Cartier are as follows:--

"Donnerent audict Donnaconan trois pacquetz de peaulx de byeures &
loups marins avec vng grand cousteau de cuyure rouge, qui vient du
Saguenay & autres choses."--_Idem_, p. 44.

This voyage of Cartier, made in 1535, was the earliest visit by any
navigator on record to this region. It was eighty years before the
Recollects or any other missionaries had approached the Gulf of
St. Lawrence. There was, therefore, no intercourse previous to this
that would be likely to furnish the natives with European utensils of
any kind, particularly knives of _red copper_. It is impossible to
suppose that this knife, seen by Cartier, and declared by the natives
to have come from the Saguenay, a term then covering an indefinite
region stretching we know not how far to the north and west, could be
otherwise than of Indian manufacture. In the text, Champlain
distinctly states on the testimony of an Algonquin chief that it was
the custom of the Indians to melt copper for the purpose of forming it
into sheets, and it is obvious that it would require scarcely greater
ingenuity to fabricate moulds in which to cast the various implements
which they needed in their simple arts. Some of these implements, with
indubitable marks of having been cast in moulds, have been recently
discovered, with a multitude of others, which may or may not have
passed through the same process. The testimony of Champlain in the
text, and the examples of moulded copper found in the lake region,
render the evidence, in our judgment, entirely conclusive that the art
of working copper both by fusion and malleation existed among the
Indians of America at the time of its first occupation by the French.

During the period of five years, beginning in 1871, an enthusiastic
antiquary, Mr. F. S. Perkins, of Wisconsin, collected, within the
borders of his own State, a hundred and forty-two copper implements,
of a great variety of forms, and designed for numerous uses, as axes,
hatchets, spear-heads, arrowheads, knives, gouges, chisels, adzes,
augers, gads, drills, and other articles of anomalous forms. These are
now deposited in the archives of the Historical Society of
Wisconsin. Other collections are gradually forming. The process is of
necessity slow, as they are not often found in groups, but singly,
here and there, as they are turned up by the plough or spade of other
implements of husbandry. The statement of Champlain in the text, and
the testimony of Carrier three-quarters of a century earlier, to which
we have referred, give a new historical significance to these recent
discoveries, and both together throw a fresh light upon the
prehistoric period.

365. This was the Island St. Ignace, which lies opposite the mouth of the
river Iroquois or Richelieu. Champlain's description is not
sufficiently definite to enable us to identify the exact location of
this conflict with the savages. It is, however, evident, from several
intimations found in the text, that it was about a league from the
mouth of the Richelieu, and was probably on the bank of that river.

366. For some account of Saint Luc, see Memoir, Vol. I. By those of the
religion, _ceux de la Religion_, are meant the Huguenots, or

367. The assassination of Henry IV. occurred on the 14th of May, 1610; but
the rumor of the death of the Duke of Sully was erroneous. Maximelien
de Béthune, the Duke of Sully, died on the 22d of December, 1641, at
the age of eighty-two years.



On the 13th of the month, we set out from Tadoussac, arriving at Île Percée
the next day, where we found a large number of vessels engaged in the
fishery, dry and green.

On the 18th of the month, we departed from Île Percée, passing in latitude
42°, without sighting the Grand Bank, where the green fishery is carried
on, as it is too narrow at this altitude.

When we were about half way across, we encountered a whale, which was
asleep. The vessel, passing over him, awakening him betimes, made a great
hole in him near the tail, without damaging our vessel; but he threw out an
abundance of blood.

It has seemed to me not out of place to give here a brief description of
the mode of catching whales, which many have not witnessed, and suppose
that they are shot, owing to the false assertions about the matter made to
them in their ignorance by impostors, and on account of which such ideas
have often been obstinately maintained in my presence.

Those, then, most skilful in this fishery are the Basques, who, for the
purpose of engaging in it, take their vessels to a place of security, and
near where they think whales are plenty. Then they equip several shallops
manned by competent men and provided with hawsers, small ropes made of the
best hemp to be found, at least a hundred and fifty fathoms long. They are
also provided with many halberds of the length of a short pike, whose iron
is six inches broad; others are from a foot and a half to two feet long,
and very sharp. Each shallop has a harpooner, the most agile and adroit man
they have, whose pay is next highest to that of the masters, his position
being the most dangerous one. This shallop being outside of the port, the
men look in all quarters for a whale, tacking about in all directions. But,
if they see nothing, they return to the shore, and ascend the highest point
they can find, and from which they can get the most extensive view. Here
they station a man on the look-out. They are aided in catching sight of a
whale both by his size and the water he spouts through his blow-holes,
which is more than a puncheon at a time, and two lances high. From the
amount of this water, they estimate how much oil he will yield. From some
they get as many as one hundred and twenty puncheons, from others less.
Having caught sight of this monstrous fish, they hasten to embark in their
shallops, and by rowing or sailing they advance until they are upon him.

Seeing him under water, the harpooner goes at once to the prow of the
shallop with his harpoon, an iron two feet long and half a foot wide at the
lower part, and attached to a stick as long as a small pike, in the middle
of which is a hole to which the hawser is made fast. The harpooner,
watching his time, throws his harpoon at the whale, which enters him well
forward. As soon as he finds himself wounded, the whale goes down. And if
by chance turning about, as he does sometimes, his tail strikes the
shallop, it breaks it like glass. This is the only risk they run of being
killed in harpooning. As soon as they have thrown the harpoon into him,
they let the hawser run until the whale reaches the bottom. But sometimes
he does not go straight to the bottom, when he drags the shallop eight or
nine leagues or more, going as swiftly as a horse. Very often they are
obliged to cut their hawser, for fear that the whale will take them
underwater. But, when he goes straight to the bottom, he rests there
awhile, and then returns quietly to the surface, the men taking aboard
again the hawser as he rises. When he comes to the top, two or three
shallops are stationed around with halberds, with which they give him
several blows. Finding himself struck, the whale goes down again, leaving a
trail of blood, and grows weak to such an extent that he has no longer any
strength nor energy, and returning to the surface is finally killed. When
dead, he does not go down again; fastening stout ropes to him, they drag
him ashore to their head-quarters, the place where they try out the fat of
the whale, to obtain his oil. This is the way whales are taken, and not by
cannon-shots, which many suppose, as I have stated above.

To resume the thread of my narrative: after wounding the whale, as
mentioned, we captured a great many porpoises, which our mate harpooned to
our pleasure and amusement. We also caught a great many fish having a
large ear, with a hook and line, attaching to the hook a little fish
resembling a herring, and letting it trail behind the vessel. The large
ear, thinking it in fact a living fish, comes up to swallow it, thus
finding himself at once caught by the hook, which is concealed in the body
of the little fish. This fish is very good, and has certain tufts which are
very handsome, and resemble those worn on plumes.

On the 22d of September, we arrived on soundings. Here we saw twenty
vessels some four leagues to the west of us, which, as they appeared from
our vessel, we judged to be Flemish.

On the 25th of the month, we sighted the Isle de Grenezé, [368] after
experiencing a strong blow, which lasted until noon.

On the 27th of the month, we arrived at Honfleur.


368. Guernsey, which lay directly before them as they advanced up the
English Channel, and was the first large island that met the eye on
their way to Honfleur.

Book of the day: