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Title: Narrative and Critical History of America, Vol. 4 (of 8)

Editor: Justin Winsor

Release date: February 23, 2016 [eBook #51291]

Language: English



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and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
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Explorations and Settlements
In North America
The Portuguese, Dutch, and Swedes








The Riverside Press, Cambridge

Copyright, 1884,

All rights reserved.

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A.
Printed by H. O. Houghton & Company.




[The French arms on the title are those used by the Royal Printing-Office in Paris in the Seventeenth Century.]

Physiography of North America. Nathaniel S. Shaler i
Cortereal, Verrazano, Gomez, Thevet. George Dexter 1
Illustration: Early Fishing Stages, 3.
Critical Essay. 12
Illustration: The Verrazano map, 26.
Autographs: Francis I., 23; Janus Verrazanus, 25.
The Editor
Illustrations: The Admiral’s map, 34; Portuguese Chart (1503), 35; Map of Lazaro Luis, 37; of Verrazano (1529), 37; of Ribero (1529), 38; of Maiollo (1527), 39; of Agnese (1536), 40; of Münster (1540), 41; Ulpius Globe (1542), 42; Carta Marina (1548), 43; Lok’s Map (1582), 44; John White’s Map (1585), 45; Map of North America (1532-1540), 46.
Jacques Cartier and his Successors. Benjamin F. De Costa 47
Illustration: Jacques Cartier, 48.
Autographs: Jacques Cartier, 48; Henri the Dauphin, 56.
Critical Essay 62
Illustrations: Maps of Allefonsce, 74, 75, 76, 77; of Des Liens (1566), 78.
Illustrations: The Nancy Globe, 81; Ulpius Globe (1542), 82; Maps of Rotz (1542), 83, 83; Cabot Mappemonde (1544), 84; Münster’s Map (1545), 84; Map of Medina (1545), 85; of Henri II. (1546), 85; of Freire (1546), 86; in British Museum, 87; of Nic. Vallard, 87; of Gastaldi, 88; belonging to Jomard, 89; of Bellero, 89; of Baptista Agnese (1544), 90; of Volpellio, 90; of Gastaldi in Ramusio, 91; of Homem (1558), 92; of Ruscelli (1561), 92; of Zaltieri (1566), 93; of Mercator (1569), 94; of Ortelius (1570), 95; of Porcacchi (1572), 96; of Martines (1578), 97; of Judæis (1593), 97; of John Dee (1580), 98; of De Bry, (1596), 99; of Wytfliet, 100; of Quadus (1600), 101.
Champlain. Edmund F. Slafter 103
Illustrations: Map of Port St. Louis, 109; of Tadoussac, 114; of Quebec (1613), 115; of the St. Lawrence River (1609), 117; View of Quebec, 118; Champlain, 119; Defeat of the Iroquois, 120; Champlain’s Route (1615), 125; Taking of Quebec (1629), 128.
Autographs: Champlain, 119; Montmagny, 130.
Critical Essay 130
Acadia. Charles C. Smith 135
Illustrations: Sieur de Monts, 136; Isle de Sainte Croix, 137; Buildings on the same, 139; Lescarbot’s Map of Port Royal, 140; Champlain’s Map of Port Royal, 141; Map of Gulf of Maine (circum 1610), 143; Buildings at Port Royal, 144; Map of Pentagöet, 146; Sir William Phips, 147; Jesuit Map (1663), 148.
Autographs: Henry IV., 136; Razilly, 142; La Tour, 143; D’Aulnay, 143; Robert Sedgwick, 145; John Leverett, 145; St. Castine, 146.
Critical Essay 149
Illustrations: Lescarbot’s Map of Acadia, 152; La Hontan’s Map of Acadia, 153; Sir William Alexander, 156; Francis Parkman, 157.
Autograph: Francis Parkman, 157.
Notes. The Editor 159
Illustrations: Map of Fort Loyal, 159; Map of Pemaquid, 160.
Autographs: De Meneval, 160; De Villebon, 160; Le Moyne d’Iberville, 161.
Discovery along the Great Lakes. Edward D. Neill 163
Illustrations: The Soleil, 192; its bottom, 193.
Autographs: Argenson, 168; Mézy, 172; Courcelle, 177; Frontenac, 177; Henry de Tonty, 182.
Critical Essay[vii] 196
Editorial Note 198
Illustration: Map of early French explorations, 200.
Illustrations: Map of the Ottawa Route (1640-1650), 202; Dollier and Galinée’s Explorations, 203; Lakes and the Mississippi, 206; Joliet’s Map (1673-74), 208; Fac-simile of Joliet’s Letter, 210; Joliet’s Larger Map (1674), 212, 213; Joliet’s Smaller Map, 214; Basin of the Great Lakes, 215; Joliet’s Carte Générale, 218; Marquette’s Genuine Map, 220; Mississippi Valley (1672-73), 221; Fort Frontenac, 222; Map by Franquelin (1682), 227; (1684), 228; (1688), 230-231; by Coronelli et Tillemon (1688), 232; by Raffeix (1688), 233; Ontario and Erie, by Raffeix (1688), 234; by Raudin, 235; La Salle’s Camp, 236; Map by Minet (1685), 237; Murder of La Salle, 243; Portrait of La Salle, 244.
Autographs: Joliet, 204; Raffeix, 232; De Beaujeu, 234; Le Cavelier, 234.
Illustrations: Niagara Falls, 248; Hennepin’s Map (1683), 249; (1697), 251, 252-253; title of New Discovery, 256.
BARON LA HONTAN. The Editor 257
Illustrations: La Hontan’s Map (1709), 258, 259; (1703), 260; his Rivière Longue, 261.
The Jesuits, Recollects, and the Indians. John Gilmary Shea 263
Illustrations: Paul le Jeune, 272; Map of the Iroquois Country, 281.
Autographs: Trouvé, 266; Fremin, 268; Gabriel Druilletes, 270; Bailloquet, 270; Albanel, 271; Dalmas, 271; Buteux, 271; Bigot, 273; De Noue, 273; Sébastien Rale, 273; Belmont, 275; Garnier, 276; Garreau, 277; Chabanel, 277; Gabriel Lalemant, 278; Raymbault, 279; Claude Dablon, 280; Menard, 280; D’Ailleboust, 282; Lamberville, 285; Picquet, 285.
Critical Essay 290
Illustration: J. S. Clarke’s Map of the Mission Sites among the Iroquois, 293.
Illustrations: A Canadian (Creuxius), 297; Map of Indian Tribes in the Ohio Valley (1600), 298; Map of Montreal and its Vicinity, 303; Map of the Site of Montreal (Lescarbot), 304; Map of the Huron Country, 305; Brebeuf, 307; Titlepage of the Relation of 1662-63, 310; The Forts on the Sorel River (1662-63), 311; Map of Tracy’s Campaign (1666), 312; Jesuit Map of Lake Superior, 312; Plans of the Forts, 313; Madame de la Peltrie, 314.
Autographs: A. Carayon, 295; Lafitau, 298; Cadwallader Colden, 299; Bresani , 305; Gabriel Druilletes, 306; Ragueneau, 307; Brebeuf, 307; Josephus Poncet, 308; Simon Le Moyne, 308; Margaret Bourgeois, 309; Francois [viii]Evesque de Petrée, 309; Menard, 309; Vignal, 310; Tracy, 311; Allouez, 311; Courcelle, 311; Le Mercier, 311; De Salignac, 312; Jacques Marquette, 313; Claude Dablon, 313; L. Jolliet, 315; Bigot, 315; Chaumonot , 316; Jacques Gravier, 316; Marest, 316.
Frontenac and his Times. George Stewart, Jr. 317
Illustrations: Early View of Quebec, 320; Canadian on Snow Shoes, 331; Plan of Attack on Quebec (1690), 354.
Autographs: Louis XIV., 323; Frontenac, 326; Duchesneau, 334; Seignelay, 337; Le Fèbre de la Barre, 337; De Meules, 337; De Denonville, 343; Champigny, 346; Engelran, 348.
Critical Essay 356
Editorial Notes 361
Illustrations: Quebec Medal, 361; Plan of Attack on Quebec (1690), 362, 363; Canadian Soldier, 365.
Autographs: Monseignat, 364; Frontenac, 364; William Phips, 364; John Walley, 364; Thomas Savage, 364; S. Davis, 364; Fitz-John Winthrop, 364; Philip Schuyler, 365; Ben. Fletcher, 365; De Courtemanche, 365; Colbert, 366.
Illustrations: Title of Wytfliet’s Atlas, 370; Gerard Mercator, 371; Abraham Ortelius, 372; Mercator’s Mappemonde (1569), 373.
Autographs: Gerardus Mercator, 371; Abraham Ortelius, 372.
Illustrations: Map of Molineaux (1600), 377; of Botero (1603), 378; Lescarbot’s Newfoundland (1609), 379; Map by Champlain (1612), 380, 381; (1613), 382; by Jacobsz (1621), 383; by Briggs (1625), 383; by Speed (1626), 384; by De Laet, 384; by Jannson, 385; by Visscher, 385; by Champlain (1632), 386, 387; by Dudley (1647), 388; by Creuxius (1660), 389; by Covens and Mortier, 390; by Gottfried (1655), 390; by Sanson (1656), 391; by Blaeu (1662), 391; in Ogilby’s America (1670), 392, 393; in Campanius (1702), 394.
New Netherland, or the Dutch in North America. Berthold Fernow 395
Autographs: Peter Minuet, 398; Julian Van Rensselaer, 400; W. van Twiller, 401; P. Stuyvesant, 406; A. Colve, 409.
Critical Essay 409
Illustrations: Ribero’s Map (1529), 413; Dutch Vessels (1618), 415; The Figurative Map (1616), 433; De Laet’s Map (1630), 436; Visscher’s Map, 438; Van der Donck’s Map (1656), 438.
Autographs: Johan De Laet, 417; Adrian Van der Donck, 419; Johannes Megapolensis, 420; Isaac Jogues, 421; Cornelis Melyn, 425.
Editorial Notes[ix] 439
Illustration: Map of New York and Vicinity (1666), 440.
Autographs: Everhard Bogardus, 441; Willem Kieft, 441.
New Sweden, or the Swedes on the Delaware. Gregory B. Keen 443
Illustrations: Visscher’s Map (1651), 467; Trinity Fort, 473; Siege of Christina Fort, 480; Lindström’s Map (1654-55), 481; Map of Atlantic Colonies (Campanius), 485.
Autographs: Willem Usselinx, 443; Gustavus Adolphus, 444; Axel Oxenstjerna, 444; S. Blommaert, 445; Peter Spiring, 445; Peter Minuit, 446; Clas Fleming, 447; Queen Christina, 448; Hendrick Huygen, 448; J. Beier, 449; Peter Hollender, Ridder, 449; Johan Printz, 452; Sven Schute, 454; Gregorious Van Dyck, 454; Peter Brahe, 458; Johan Papegåja, 458; A. Hudde, 461; Laurentz, 464; Hans Amundson, 465; Hans Kramer, 469; Gustaf Printz, 470; Erik Oxenstjerna, 471; Johan Rising, 471; Christer Bonde, 471; Thijssen Anckerhelm, 472; Peter Lindström, 472; Sven Höök, 475; Henrich von Elswich, 475; King Carl Gastaff, 477; Jöran Fleming, 477.
Critical Essay 488
Illustrations: Title of Manifest und Vertragbrieff (1624), 489; Title of Campanius (1702), 492.






Professor of Palæontology in Harvard University.

Part I.


THE continents of the earth have two distinct types of form,—the one regular, symmetrical, triangular in outline; the other without these regularities of shape. To the first of these groups belong the continents of Africa and Australia of the Old World, and the two Americas of the New; to the second, the massive continent of Europe and Asia. Some have sought to reduce the continent of Asia to the same type as that of the other continents; but a glance at a map of the hemispheres will show how different is this Indo-European continent from the other land-masses.

These general features of the continents are not only of scientific interest; they are of the utmost importance to the history of man’s development upon these several lands. It is not without meaning, that, while man has existed for a great length of time upon all the continents, the only original civilizations that have been developed have been on the lands of the Indo-European continent. Working on several different lines of advance, several diverse races—Aryan, Semitic, Chinese, and perhaps others—have risen from the common plane of barbarism, and have created complicated social systems, languages, literatures, and arts; while on the four other continents, despite their great area, greater fertility, and wider range of physical conditions, no race has ever had a native development to be compared with that undergone by the several successful races of Asia and Europe.[1]

In this great Old-World continent there are many highly individualized areas, each separated from the rest of the continent by strong geographical barriers; it has a dozen[ii] or so of great peninsulas upon its seaboard, many great islands off its shores, and the interior of the land is divided into many separated regions by mountain ridges or by deserts. It is a land where man necessarily fell into variety, because of the isolation that the geography gave. If we look at the other continents,—namely, the Americas, Africa, and Australia,—we find that they want this varied and detailed structure. They each consist of a great triangular mass, with scanty subordinate divisions. In all of them put together there are not so many great peninsulas as there are in Europe. If we exclude those that are within the Arctic Circle, there are but few on the four regular continents, none of which compare in size or usefulness to man with the greater peninsulas of the Old World. The only one of value is that of Nova Scotia, in North America.

These regular continents are all in the form of triangles, with their apices pointing towards the southern pole. Near either long shore lie the principal mountain systems that give definition to the coast line. The middle portion of each continent is generally a region of plain, somewhat diversified by lesser mountain systems. Along either shore is a narrow fringe of plain land to the east and west of the main mountain chains. Near the northern part of the continent, and aiding to define the base of the triangle, there is another system of mountains having a general east and west course. With the exception of North America, none of these regular continents have seas inclosed within their areas,—such bodies of water as form so striking a feature in the Asiatic continent, which is indeed a land of mediterranean seas.

In a word, these continents are characteristically as simple as the Asiatic continent is varied. Their mass is undivided, and their organic or human histories are necessarily less diversified than in such a land-mass as Asia.

The continent of North America is, of all the triangular continents, the most nearly akin in its structure to the great Old-World land. In the first place, it is the only one of these continents that has the same general conditions of climate; then it has a far greater diversity of form than the similar masses of South America, Africa, and Australia. North America has several considerable seas inclosed within its limits or bordering upon its shores; its mountain systems are more varied in their disposition than in the other regular continents. So that in a way this continent in its structure lies intermediate between the Asiatic type and what is considered the normal form of continents.

Although this varied structure of the continent of North America makes it more fit for the uses of man than the continents of Africa, South America, and Australia, there are certain considerable disadvantages in its physical conditions. To show the relation of these evil and fortunate features, it will be necessary for us to consider the general geography of the continent somewhat in detail.

The point of first importance concerns the distribution of heat and moisture over the surface of the land; for on these features depends the fitness of the land for all forms of life. The influences which principally determine the climate of a continent come to it from the neighboring seas. The moisture arises there, and finds its way thence to the land; and the heat or coolness which modifies the land climate comes with it.


North America faces three oceans. On the north is the extremely cold Arctic Sea, mostly covered by enduring ice: it is the extreme coldness of this sea, and its ice-clad character near the continent of America, that in good part causes the great severity of its winters. Where the Arctic Sea lies against Europe and Asia it is partly warmed by the Gulf Stream, and so is not completely ice-bound even in winter; but that part of it which lies near the northern coast of America is ice-bound the whole year, and the winds that come from it are many degrees below those that come over open water.

Both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans send streams of warm water against the American coast. But the Gulf Stream has actually very little direct effect upon our climate; it only touches the coast about the Gulf of Mexico, where the temperature is naturally so high that its warming power is not felt. It then leaves our coast, to give its warmth to the shores of Europe and to the European part of the Arctic Ocean. The Pacific current corresponding to the Gulf Stream is feebler than the Atlantic current, and sends its tide of waters against the northwest shore of America. Its effects on that coast are very noticeable; but they are limited, by the geography of that shore, within narrow bounds. In the first place, the passage of Behring’s Strait is too small to permit its waters to have access to the Arctic Sea; then the high ranges of the Cordilleras fence off the interior of the continent, so that the warm winds that blow from the sea cannot penetrate far to the east. Confined to the shore, the heat of the Pacific Gulf Stream generates a large amount of fog; this fog shuts off the sun’s rays, and so lowers the temperature almost as much as the current itself serves to raise it.

The distribution of moisture over the surface of the continent is effected in much the same way as is the distribution of heat. The Gulf Stream gives an abundant rainfall to the States about the Gulf of Mexico lying to the north of that basin; its effects on the rainfall are seen even as far north as the New England States, but they have little effect to the west of the Mississippi River. The high mountains of the Cordilleras cut off the Pacific winds from the centre of the continent, so that very little of the water which flows down to the Gulf of Mexico or to the Atlantic is derived from the Pacific. From the general conditions thus rudely outlined the following arrangement of climates arises. The northern half of the continent is more completely under the dominion of the Arctic Sea than any part of Europe or Asia; the only parts of it fit for the use of civilized man are the northern watershed of the St. Lawrence, the valley of Lake Winnipeg and the Saskatchewan, and the west-coast region as far north as Alaska. The rest of the northern part of the continent is practically barred out from the life of the race by the intensity of the winter cold, and by the brevity of the summer season.

South of this domain of northern cold, North America divides itself, by its climate, soil, and topographical reliefs, into the following fairly distinct regions: (1) The eastern lowlands lying between the shore and the Appalachian range; these shade southwardly into (2) the lowlands of the Gulf States, which is the only part of North America in the immediate control of the Gulf Stream. These Gulf lowlands pass northwardly into (3) the great plain of the Mississippi Valley. Between these lowlands of the centre of the continent and the Atlantic sea-coast lie (4) the table-lands and mountains[iv] of the Appalachian system. West of the Mississippi Valley lie (5) the region of the Cordilleras of North America; and finally on the western shore we find (6) a narrow region of low mountains, forming a slender fringe of shorelands.

The mountains of the Appalachian system are composed of two parallel series of elevations, an old eastern range of peaks which are worn down to mere shreds; so that in place of being as high as the Alps, as they once were, they have no peaks that rise seven thousand feet above the sea. This outer range is traceable from Newfoundland to Alabama; but it only rises above six thousand feet in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Black Mountains of North Carolina. In form these mountains are steep and rugged. Their steep sides hold the little untillable land that exists east of the Mississippi; their actual area is small, for the chain is very narrow, not exceeding a score or so of miles in width, except in the Carolinas and in the White Mountains, where it is somewhat wider. The total untillable area in this chain does not exceed twelve thousand square miles. West of this, the old Appalachian mountain system, separated from it by a broad, elevated, somewhat mountainous valley, lies the newer Alleghany range. This valley intermediate is one of the most fertile and admirably situated in the world; it extends from New Jersey to Georgia, with an average width of about forty miles and a length of about six hundred, having an area of over twenty thousand square miles. The Alleghany Mountains on the west are composed principally of round, symmetrical ridges, often like gigantic works of art, so uniform are their arches; none of them rise to more than five thousand feet above the sea, and their surfaces are so little broken that they generally afford tillable though as yet generally untilled land. Practically no part of this great range, which extends from near Albany to Alabama, is completely unfit for the uses of man, and it includes some of the most fertile valleys of America. The most important feature connected with this double mountain system of the Appalachians is the great area of table-lands which it upholds; these bordering uplands are found all around the mountain system. The greater part of the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio owe the considerable elevation of their surfaces to the table-land elevations bordering the Appalachian mountain system. Taken altogether, this mountain system is perhaps the finest region for the uses of man that the world affords; its great length, of more than fifteen hundred miles from north to south, gives it a range of climate such as would be had in Europe by a mountain chain extending from Copenhagen to Rome. The total area of this Appalachian district, mountains as well as table-lands, is about three hundred thousand square miles. This is an area equal to near thrice the surface of Great Britain.

The Appalachian table-lands fade gradually into the Mississippi Valley. Their distinct character continues to near the borders of that stream where it unites with the Ohio. As we come upon the table-land system of the Cordilleras, soon after we pass west of the Mississippi, this great valley may be considered as made up of the table-lands of two great mountain systems, with only a relatively small area of alluvial matter between the mouth of the Ohio and the Gulf. Unlike the Ganges, the Amazon, and most other great rivers of the first class, the Mississippi River has a small[v] delta section: not over twenty to thirty thousand square miles has this character. By far the greater part of the basin is really table-land, and is thus free from the evil of low countries to a degree equalled by no other very great river basin. Its valley is characteristically a table-land valley, with a general surface of rolling plain, varying from three hundred to five thousand feet above the level of the sea. Outside of the Cordilleras and the Appalachians, this valley has few mountain folds within its ample space. The absence of included mountain systems is almost as noteworthy a feature as the small amount of delta. There are only two or three patches of mountains that lie far beyond the limits of the great mountain systems of the east and west; and only one of these, the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas, is at any distance from the main ranges. This is an insignificant group of low hills having considerable geological but no geographical importance.

On the western border of the Mississippi Valley rise the vast ridges of the Cordilleras. This great mountain region is, next after the mountainous area of Central Asia, the most extensive region of great altitude in the world. From Mexico northward this system of mountains widens, until, in the parallel of forty degrees, it has a width of about one thousand miles. This system is made up of many ridges lying upon an elevated table-land. The valleys of the lesser streams are generally over seven thousand feet above the sea; the main peaks, to the number of many hundred, rise over twelve thousand feet above the sea level; many of them attain to about fourteen thousand feet of altitude. Its table-land extends east to near the Mississippi River. The great height and width of this mountain system produce a very marked effect upon the climate of the vast area that it incloses, and upon the country which lies within a thousand miles to the east of its mountain walls. The winds from the Pacific are to a great extent drained of their moisture in the western or Sierra Nevada section of these mountains, and have little moisture to give to the central and eastern chains; and when these winds emerge on to the western plains, they are as dry as those that blow over the Sahara.

Although these Cordilleras of North America afford access by their dislocations to a great supply of mineral substances, they are on the whole a curse to the continent. By the cold and dryness which their height entails, they reduce one third of the continent to sterility. Though here and there in their valleys we find oases of fertile land, and many regions of limited area may be made fertile by the use of irrigation, at least nineteen-twentieths of their lands are irretrievably barren. When their resources of precious metals are exhausted, as is likely to be the case within a hundred years, they will probably be to a great extent abandoned by man. Only the extreme northern section and a part of the central and border lands afford any other attractions to settlers than is found in their mineral wealth.

West of the Cordilleras of North America we have a narrow and mountainous coast region that is abundantly watered by the moisture from the Pacific, which penetrates some distance into the land over the lower ridges that border on them. Although this belt of fertile country cannot be compared in populationsustaining power with the Atlantic coast region, it is of great fertility, and has a climate of surpassing excellence.


On the borders of Mexico, within the limits of the United States, the mountains sink down to much less extreme heights, and the climate becomes less strenuous. This region is better fitted for the permanent occupation of man; but only a small part of the land is arable,—probably not one-tenth of its surface is or ever will be fit for the plough.

In Mexico proper we have a country that retains the character of the Cordilleras so far as its general elevation is concerned, but loses the lofty ridges which we find farther to the north. The loss of these barriers, combined with the narrowing of the space between the Atlantic and the Pacific waters, and its more southern position, increases the temperature and the rainfall; so that the fertility of the country augments in a rapid way as we go southwards, until finally in the isthmic part of the continent we have a tropical luxuriance of life. The lowland borders of the country gain upon the width of the table-land, until south of the Tehuantepec Isthmus the whole region is essentially unfit for the uses of our race.

The climate of North America south of the divide which separates the streams flowing toward the Arctic Circle from those entering the Atlantic south of Labrador may be said to resemble that of Europe in all important respects. The winters are far colder; but the summer seasons, which determine the usefulness of the soil to man, are as warm and quickening to plants as are those of the Old World. The more considerable cold of winter is a disadvantage, inasmuch as it limits the work of agriculture to a smaller part of the year, and requires a greater expense in the keeping of livestock. This is a considerable evil, especially in the regions north of the parallel of forty degrees; but the cold is not greater than in Northern Germany or in Scotland. There can be no doubt that the body and the mind receive certain advantages from the tonic quality of the winters which compensate for this loss.

Nearly the whole of North America that is within the limits of the United States receives some share of frost. This secures it against the permanent occupation of contagious fevers, which from time to time find their way to it from the tropics.

North America, east of the 100th meridian (west of Greenwich) and north of thirty-five degrees, has a soil which is on the whole superior to that of Europe. Practically the whole of this vast area is tillable, and the variety of crops is very great, considerably greater than that of Europe. West of the 100th meridian the rainfall diminishes rapidly, being especially limited in the summer season. The winters become longer and more extreme throughout all the region within or under the climatic influence of the Cordilleras; the soil is thinner, and over vast regions almost wanting. In certain exceptional tracts as far westward as the Saskatchewan, and at points along the line between the United States and Canada to the south of that valley, there are considerable areas of good soil; but, considered in a general way, we may exclude all the region between the 100th meridian and the Sierra Nevada range from the hope of any great agricultural future. Even should the rainfall be increased by tree-planting in those regions where trees may grow, the quality of the soil in this district, even where soil exists, is often too poor for any use. Yet in some parts it is very good, and if tree-planting should increase the rainfall, some limited areas will be tillable.


Next to the quality of the soil, the forest covering of a country does the most to determine its uses to man. Although the Western prairies have the temporary advantage that they are more readily brought under cultivation than wooded regions, the forests of a land contribute so largely to man’s well-being, that without them he can hardly maintain the structure of his civilization. The distribution of American forests is peculiar. All the Appalachian mountain system and the shore region between that system and the sea, as well as the Gulf border as far west as the Mississippi, were originally covered by the finest forest that has existed in the historical period, outside of the tropics. In the highlands south of Pennsylvania and in the western table-land north to the Great Lakes, this forest was generally of hard-wood or deciduous trees; on the shore-land and north of Pennsylvania in the highlands, the pines and other conifers held a larger share of the surface. The parts of the land bordering the Mississippi on the west, as far as the central regions of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri, are forest clad. Michigan and portions of Wisconsin and Minnesota have broad areas of forests, but the cis-Mississippian States of Indiana and Illinois, and the trans-Mississippian country west to the Sierra Nevada, is only wooded, and that generally scantily, along the borders of the streams. Data for precise statements are yet wanting, but there is no doubt that this area is untimbered over about seven eighths of its surface, and the wood which exists has a relatively small value for constructive purposes. North of the regions described, except along the Pacific coast, where fine soft-wood forests extend from near San Francisco to Alaska, the forest growth rapidly diminishes in size, and therefore in value, the trees becoming short and gnarled, and the kinds of wood inferior. So that the region north of the St. Lawrence and of the Great Lakes is not to be regarded as having any very great value from the forest resources it affords. In estimating the value of North America to man, the limitation of good forests to the region east of the Mississippi must be regarded as a disadvantage which is likely to become more serious with the advance of time. Undoubtedly the timberless character of the prairie country for at least two hundred miles west of the Mississippi is in the main due to the constant burning over of the surface by the aborigines. It seems possible that these regions may yet be made to bear extensive woods. The elevated plains that lie farther to the west seem to have too little rainfall for the support of forests.

The rivers of a country are a result and a measure of its climate. The generally large rainfall of the eastern half of North America is shown by the number and size of its streams, which, area for area, are longer and more frequent than those of the Old World, except on the eastern coast of Asia. The heaviest rainfall and the greatest average of streams is found about the Gulf of Mexico and the southern part of the Appalachian district. Hence, northerly, westerly, and northwesterly, the rainfall decreases in amount. The average of the region east of the Mississippi and south of the Laurentian Mountains is probably about fifty inches per annum, somewhere near one-third more than that of Europe. North America, despite the very dry district of the Cordilleras, has an average rainfall about as great as that of Europe, and probably rather greater than Asia; indeed its water-supply is rather greater than the average for lands situated so far from the equator.


The rivers of America have been of very great importance in the settlement of the land. They afford more navigable waters than all the streams of Asia put together. Without the system of the Mississippi, which has more navigable waters than any river except the Amazons, it would not have been possible for America to have been brought under the control of colonies with such speed.

The elevation of the surface of North America, at least of its more habitable portions, is very favorable to man. A large part of its fertile soils lie from five hundred to fifteen hundred feet above the sea. It has a larger part of its surface within the limits of height that are best suited to the uses of man than Asia, but less than Europe has.

In considering the fitness of this continent for the use of European races, it will not do to overlook the mineral resources of the country. It may be stated in general terms that North America is richer in the mineral substances which have most contributed to the development of man than any other continent. The precious metals may be briefly dismissed. They occur constantly in two areas: the Cordilleran,—which, from Mexico, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, has doubtless furnished more gold and silver than any other one mountain district,—and the Appalachian region, which has given about sixty million dollars to the world’s store of gold. The precious mineral resources of the Cordilleran region are probably greater than those of any other continent. They have already exercised a very great influence on the commercial and political history of the continent, and are likely to become of more importance as time goes on, for at least half a century to come.

In the so-called baser, yet really more precious, metals this continent is even more fortunate. The supplies in the most important metal, iron, are very great,—certainly greater than in Europe. This metal is distributed with much uniformity over the country, there being scarcely a State except Florida that cannot claim some share of this metal. Especially rich in deposits of this metal are the States which share the Appalachian district, and the States of Missouri and Michigan. The Rocky Mountains also abound in iron ores, which there often contain a certain proportion of the precious metals; so that it is possible that the exploitation of the two metals may in time be carried on there together. There is probably no other continent that contains as large a share of iron,—the most important metal for the uses of man.

The other less used, but still commercially important, metals,—zinc, lead, and copper,—are found in considerable abundance in the Appalachian, the Laurentian, and the Cordilleran regions, especially in the last-named district. The only metal that is rarely found in North America, never yet in quantities of economic importance, is tin. Some specimens of bronze implements have been found in Mexico and Peru. They seem to afford the only evidence that the aboriginal peoples knew how to smelt any metals. Though the natives in the more northern districts used copper, they never discovered the art of smelting it.

Considering the useful metals as a whole, North America is proportionally richer than any other country that is well known to us.

The most considerable of the resources that the rocks of America offer, are found in the deposits of coal which they contain. These deposits are of vast extent, and[ix] are excellently fitted for the various uses of this fuel. While the other mineral resources of the country are most abundant in the region of the Cordilleras, the best of these deposits of coal are accumulated in and about the Appalachian district. At least nine tenths of the coal of America lies to the east of the Mississippi River. New England, New York, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana are the only States that are practically without coal; and even in New England, Rhode Island and the neighboring parts of Massachusetts have promising but essentially undeveloped fields. In the Cordilleran district coal deposits of small area occur; but the material is generally of poor quality, and is not likely to have a great utility.

As a whole, the resources in the way of subterranean fuel are far richer on this continent than in Europe. The area of coal-bearing rocks is at least eight times as great, and the deposits are much better disposed for working. No other continent save Asia is likely to develop anything like these coal resources; in China the coal area seems much larger than that of North America, but the richness of the field has not yet been fully proven: it is, however, undoubtedly great.

As the latent power of any modern society depends in an intimate way upon the buried stores of solar energy in coal-beds, the large area and good quality of the American coal-fields are very important advantages, and are full of promise for the economic future of its people.

Among the less important resources of the rocks in North America are the various classes of coal-oils which were first brought into commerce from its fields. Although these oils are not peculiar to North America, the small amount of disruption which its rocks have undergone have caused them to be retained in the subterranean store-houses; while in other countries, where the rocks have been more disturbed, these oils have been allowed to escape to the streams or the air. The areas where these oils occur on the continent are widely scattered. They are, however, principally confined to the Upper Ohio Valley; they are known to exist also in the Valley of the Cumberland River, in California, and in Western Canada north of Lake Erie. Besides these flowing oils there are immense areas of black shales, which yield large quantities of oil to distillation. These are not now of value, on account of the abundance of these flowing oils; but as in the immediate future these flowing wells are likely to cease their production, we may look to these shales for an almost indefinite supply of oil. In the Ohio Valley, extending eastward in Virginia into the valleys of the Atlantic streams, there is an area of over one hundred thousand square miles of this shale, which is on the average over one hundred and fifty feet thick, and yields about ten per cent of oil. In other words, it is equal to a lake of oil as large as New York and Pennsylvania, and fifteen feet deep,—a practically unlimited source of this material.

It is important to note that the sources of supply of phosphate and alkaline marls are very large. As these substances are subject to a constant waste in agriculture, and are the most important of all materials to the growth of the standard crops, the soil of America promises on the whole to be as enduring as is that of Europe, though, owing to the larger rainfall, it tends to waste away more rapidly.


The building stones of a country are of importance, inasmuch as they affect the constructions of a people; in such materials, suited for the purposes of simple strength and durability, the country is very well supplied, being quite as well off as Europe. On the other hand, the stones that lend themselves to the more decorative uses, the pure white or variegated marbles, are not nearly as rich as the countries about the Mediterranean, which is of all known regions the richest in decorative stones.

It is not possible within the limits of this chapter to support by sufficient details the foregoing statements concerning the physical conditions of America. The necessary brevity of the work has made it difficult to find place for all the points that should be presented; it may be fairly said, however, that the statements as made are to a very great extent matters of general information, which lie beyond the scope of debate, being well known to all students of American physiography.

Accepting the foregoing statements as true, it may be fairly owned that the general physical conditions of the American continent closely resemble those of Europe, and that in all the more important matters our race gained rather than lost by its transfer from the Old World to the New.

Part II.


In their organic life the continents of America have always stood somewhat apart from those of the Old World. This isolation is marked in every stage of their geological history. In each geological period they have many forms that never found their way to the other lands, and we fail to find there many species that are abundant in the continents of the Old World.

The same causes that kept the animal and vegetable life of the Americas distinct from Europe and Asia have served to keep those continents apart from the human history of the Old World. Something more than the relations that are patent on a map are necessary to a proper understanding of the long continued isolation of these continents.

In the first place, we may notice the fact that from the Old World the most approachable side of these continents lies on the west. Not only are the lands of the New and Old World there brought into close relations to each other, but the ocean streams of the North Pacific flow toward America. Moreover the North Pacific is a sea of a calmer temper than the North Atlantic, and the chance farers over its surface would be more likely to survive its perils. In the North Atlantic, over which alone the Aryan peoples could well have found their way to America, we have a wide sea,[xi] which is not only the stormiest in the world, but its currents set strongly against western-going ships, and the prevailing winds blow from the west.[2] If it had been intended that America should long remain unknown to the seafaring peoples of Semitic or Aryan race, it would not have been easy, within the compass of earthly conditions, to accomplish it in a more effective manner than it has been done by the present geography.

The result is that man, who doubtless originated in the Old World, early found his way to America by the Pacific; and all the so-called indigenous races known to us in the Americas seem to have closer relations to the peoples living in northern Asia than to those of any other country. It is pretty clear that none of the aboriginal American peoples have found their way to these continents by way of the Atlantic.

Although the access to the continent of North America is much more easily had upon its western side, and though all the early settlements were probably made that way, the configuration of the land is such that it is not possible to get easy access to the heart of the continent from the Pacific shore. So that although the Atlantic Ocean was most forbidding and difficult as a way to America, once passed, it gave the freest and best access to the body of the continent. In the west, the Cordilleras are a formidable bar to those who seek to enter the continent from the Pacific. None but a modern civilization would ever have forced its barriers of mountains and of deserts. An ancient civilization, if it had penetrated America from the west, would have recoiled from the labor of traversing this mountain system, that combines the difficulties of the Alps and the Sahara. If European emigration had found such a mountain system on the eastern face of the continent, the history of America would have been very different. Scarcely any other continent offers such easy ingress as does this continent to those who come to it from the Atlantic side. The valleys of the St. Lawrence, the Hudson, the Mississippi, in a fashion also of the Susquehanna and the James, break through or pass around the low-coast mountains, and afford free ways into the whole of the interior that is attractive to European peoples. No part of the Alleghanian system presents any insuperable obstacles to those who seek to penetrate the inner lands. The whole of its surface is fit for human uses; there are neither deserts of sand nor of snow. The axe alone would open ways readily passable to men and horses. So that when the early settlers had passed the sea, all their formidable geographical difficulties were at an end,—with but little further toil the wide land lay open to them. I propose in the subsequent pages to give a sketch of the physical conditions of this continent, with reference to the transplanted civilization that has developed upon its soil. It will be impossible, within the limits of this essay, to do more than indicate these conditions in a very general way, for the details of the subject would constitute a work in itself. It will be most profitable for us first to glance at the general relations of climate and soil that are found in North America, so far as these features bear upon the history of the immigration it has received from Europe.


The climate of North America south of the Laurentian Mountains and east of the Rocky Mountains is much more like that of Europe than of any we find in the other continents. Although there are many points of difference, these variations lie well within the climatic range of Europe itself. On the south, Mexico may well be compared to Italy and Spain; in the southern parts of the Mississippi Valley we have conditions in general comparable to those of Lombardy and Central France; and in the northern portions of that area and along the sea-border we can find fair parallels for the conditions of Great Britain, Germany, or Scandinavia. As is well known, the range of temperature during the year varies much more in America than in Europe, but these variations in themselves are of small importance. Man in a direct way is not much affected by temperature; his elastic body, helped by his arts, may within certain limits neglect this element of climate. The real question is how far these temperatures affect the products of the soil upon which his civilization depends. In the case of most plants and domestic animals, their development depends more upon the summer temperature, or that of the spring season, than upon the winter climate. Now the summer climates of America are more like those of Europe than are those of the winter. So the new-won continent offered to man a chance to rear all the plants and animals which he had brought to domesticity in the Old World.

The general character of the soil of North America is closely comparable with that of Europe, yet it has certain noteworthy peculiarities. In the first place, there is a larger part of America which has been subjected to glacial action than what we find in Europe. In Europe, only the northern half of Great Britain, the Scandinavian peninsulas, a part of Northern Germany, and the region of Switzerland were under the surface of the glaciers during the last glacial period. In America, practically all the country north of the Susquehanna, and more than half of the States north of the Ohio, had their soils influenced by this ice period. The effects of glaciation on the soils of the region where it has acted are important. In the first place, the soils thus produced are generally clayey and of a rather stubborn nature, demanding much care and labor to bring them into a shape for the plough. The surface is usually thickly covered with stones, which have to be removed before the plough can be driven. I have estimated that not less than an average of thirty days’ labor has been given to each acre of New England soil to put it into arable condition after the forest has been removed; nearly as much labor has to be given to removing the forest and undergrowth: so that each cultivated acre in this glacial region requires about two months’ labor before it is in shape for effective tillage.[3] When so prepared, the soils of glaciated districts are of a very even fertility. They hold the same character over wide areas, and their constitution is the same to great depths. Though never of the highest order of fertility, they remain for centuries constant in their power. I have never seen a worn-out field of this sort. Another peculiarity of the American soils is the relatively[xiii] large area of limestone lands which the country affords. America abounds in deposits of this nature, which produce soils of the first quality, extremely well fitted to the production of grass and grains. Although statistical information is not to be obtained on such a matter, I have no doubt, after a pretty close scrutiny of both America and Europe, that the original fertility of America was greater than that of Europe; but that, on the whole, the regions first settled by Europeans were much more difficult to subdue than the best lands of Central and Southern Europe had been.[4]

The foregoing statement needs the following qualification: Owing to the relative dryness and heat of the American summer, the forests are not so swampy as they are in Northern Europe, and morasses are generally absent. It required many centuries of continued labor to bring the surface of Northern Germany, Northern France, and of Britain into conditions fit for tillage.

Next to deserts and snowy mountains, swamps are the greatest barriers to the movements of man. If the reader will follow the interesting account of the Saxon Conquest given in Mr. Green’s volume on The Making of England, he will see how the tracts of marsh and marshy forest served for many centuries to limit the work of subjugation. In America there are no extensive bogs or wet forests in the upland district, south of the St. Lawrence, except in Maine and in the British Provinces. In all other districts fire or the axe can easily bring the surface into a shape fit for cultivation. In taking an account of the physical conditions which formed the subjugation of North America by European colonies, we must give a large place to this absence of upland swamps and the dryness of the forests, which prevented the growth of peaty matter within their bounds.

The success of the first settlements in America was also greatly aided by the fact that the continent afforded them a new and cheaper source of bread, in the maize or Indian corn which was everywhere used by the aborigines of America. It is difficult to convey an adequate impression of the importance of this grain in the early history of America. In the first place, it yields not less than twice the amount of food per acre of tilled land, with much less labor than is required for an acre of small grains; it is far less dependent on the changes of seasons; the yield is much more uniform than that of the old European grains; the harvest need not be made at such a particular season; the crops may with little loss be allowed to remain ungathered for weeks after the grain is ripe; the stalks of the grain need not be touched in the harvesting, the ears alone being gathered; these stalks are of greater value for forage than is the straw of wheat and other similar grains. Probably the greatest advantage of all that this beneficent plant afforded to the early settlers was the way in which it could be planted without ploughing, amid the standing forest trees which had only been deadened by having their bark stripped away by the axe. This rough method of tillage was unknown among the peoples of the Old World. None of their cultivated plants were[xiv] suited to it; but the maize admitted of such rude tillage. The aborigines, with no other implements than stone axes and a sort of spade armed also with stone, would kill the forest trees by girdling or cutting away a strip around the bark. This admitted the light to the soil. Then breaking up patches of earth, they planted the grains of maize among the standing trees; its strong roots readily penetrated deep into the soil, and the strong tops fought their way to the light with a vigor which few plants possess. The grain was ready for domestic use within three months from the time of planting, and in four months it was ready for the harvest.

The beginnings in civilization which the aborigines of this country had made, rested on this crop and on the pumpkin, which seems to have been cultivated with it by the savages, as it still is by those who inherited their lands and their methods of tillage. The European colonists almost everywhere and at once adopted this crop and the method of tillage which the Indians used. Maize-fields, with pumpkin-vines in the interspaces of the plants, became for many years the prevailing, indeed almost the only, crop throughout the northern part of America. It is hardly too much to say, that, but for these American plants and the American method of tilling them, it would have been decidedly more difficult to have fixed the early colonies on this shore.

Another American plant has had an important influence on the history of American commerce, though it did not aid in the settlement of the country,—tobacco. That singular gift of the New World to the Old quickly gave the basis of a great export to the colonies of Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina; it alone enabled the agriculture of the Southern colonies to outgrow in wealth those which were planted in more northern soil. To this crop, which demands much manual labor of an unskilled kind, and rewards it well, we owe the rapid development of African slavery. It is doubtful if this system of slavery would ever have flourished if America had been limited in its crops to those plants which the settlers brought from the Old World. Although African slavery existed for a time in the States north of the tobacco region, it died away in them even before the humanitarian sentiments of modern times could have aided in its destruction; it was the profitable nature of tobacco crops which fixed this institution on our soil, as it was the great extension of cotton culture which made this system take on its overpowering growth during the first decades of the nineteenth century.

Another interesting effect of the conditions of tillage which met the early settlers upon this soil depends upon the peculiar distribution of forests in North America. All those regions which were first occupied by European peoples were covered by very dense forests. To clear these woods away required not less than thirty days’ labor to each acre of land. In the glaciated districts, as before remarked, this labor of preparation was nearly doubled. The result was that the area of tillage only slowly expanded as the population grew denser, and the surplusage of grain for export was small during the first two centuries. When in the nineteenth century the progress westward suddenly brought the people upon the open lands of the prairies, the extension of tillage went on with far greater celerity. We are now in the midst of the great revolution that these easily won and very fertile lands are making in the affairs of the world.[xv] For the first time in human history, a highly skilled people have suddenly come into possession of a vast and fertile area which stands ready for tillage without the labor that is necessary to prepare forest lands for the plough. They are thus able to flood the grain-markets of the world with food derived from lands which represent no other labor beyond tillage except that involved in constructing railways for the exportation of their products. This enables the people of the Western plains to compete with countries where the land represents a great expenditure of labor in overcoming the natural barriers to the cultivation of the soil.

There are many lesser peculiarities connected with the soils of North America that have had considerable influence upon the history of the people; the most essential fact is, however, that the climatic conditions of this continent are such that all the important European products, except the olive, will flourish over a wide part of its surface. So that the peoples who come to it from any part of Europe find a climate not essentially different from their own, where the plants and animals on which their civilization rested would flourish as well as in their own home.[5]

We may note also that the climate of North America brought Europeans in contact with no new diseases. North of the Gulf of Mexico the maladies of man were not increased by the transportation from Europe. It is difficult to arrive at a satisfactory determination concerning the effect of American conditions upon the peoples who have come from Europe to live a life of many generations upon its soil. Much has been said in a desultory way upon this subject, but little that has any very clear scientific value. The problem is a very complicated one. In the first place it is very difficult, if not impossible, to separate the effects of climate from those brought about by a diversity of the social conditions, such as habits of labor, of food, etc. Moreover, the problem is further complicated by the fact that there has been a constant influx of folk into America from various parts of Europe, so that in most parts of the country there has been a constant admixture of the old blood and the new.

After reviewing the sources of information, I am convinced that the following facts may be regarded as established: The American people are no smaller in size than are the peoples in Europe from which they are derived; they are at least as long-lived; their capacity to withstand fatigue, wounds, etc. is at least as great as that of any European people; the average of physical beauty is probably quite as good as it is among an equal population in the Old World; the fecundity of the people is not diminished. The compass of this essay will not permit me to enter into the details necessary to defend these propositions as they might be defended. I will, however, show certain facts which seem to support them. First, as regards the physical proportions[xvi] of the American people. By far the largest collections of accurate measurements that have ever been made of men were made by the officers of the United States Sanitary Commission during the late Civil War. These statistics have been carefully tabulated by Dr. B. A. Gould, the distinguished astronomer. From the results reached by him, it is plain that the average dimensions of these troops were as good as those of any European army; while the men from those States where the population had been longest separated from the mother country were on the whole the best formed of all.[6]

The statistics of the life-insurance companies make it clear that the death-rate is not higher in America among the classes that insure than in England. I am credibly informed that American companies expect a longer life among their clients than the English tables of mortality assume.

The endurance of fatigue and wounds in armies has been proved by our Civil War to be as good as that of the best English or Continental troops. Such forced marches as that of Buell to the relief of the overwhelmed troops at Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh,—where the men marched thirty-five miles without rest, and at once entered upon a contest which checked a victorious army,—is proof enough of the physical and moral endurance of the people. The extraordinary percentage of seriously wounded men that recovered during this war,—a proportion without parallel in European armies,—can[xvii] only be attributed to the innate vigor of the men, and not to any superiority in the treatment they received. The distinguished physiologist, Dr. Brown-Séquard, assures me that the American body, be it that of man or beast, is more enduring of wounds than the European; that to make a given impression upon the body of a creature in America it is necessary to inflict severer wounds than it would be to produce the same effect on a creature of the same species in Europe. His opportunities for forming an opinion on this subject have been singularly great, so that the assertion seems to me very important. That the fecundity of the population is not on the whole diminishing, is sufficiently shown by the statistics of the country. In the matter of physical beauty, the condition of the American people cannot, of course, be made a matter of statistics. The testimony of all intelligent travellers is to the effect that the forms of the people have lost nothing of their distinguished inheritance of beauty from their ancestors. The face is certainly no less intellectual in its type than that of the Teutonic peoples of the Old World, while the body is, though perhaps of a less massive mould, without evident marks of less symmetry.

Perhaps the best assurance we obtain concerning the fitness of North America for the long-continued residence of Teutonic people may be derived from the consideration of the history of the two American settlements that have remained for about two hundred years without considerable admixture of new European blood. These are the English settlement in Virginia and the French in the region of the St. Lawrence; both these populations have been upon the soil for about two hundred years, with but little addition from their mother countries. In Virginia, essentially the whole of the white blood is English; the only mixture of any moment is from the Pennsylvania Germans, a people of kindred race, and equally long upon the soil. I believe that not less than ninety-five per cent of the white blood,—if I may be allowed this form of expression,—is derived from British soil. We have no statistics concerning the bodily condition of the Virginian people which will enable us to compare them with those of other States. The few recruits in the Federal army who were measured by the Sanitary Commission were mainly from the poorer classes, the oppressed “poor whites,” and are not a fair index of the physical condition of the people of this State. We have only the fact that the Confederate army of northern Virginia, composed in the main of the small farmers of the commonwealth, fought, under Lee and Jackson, a long, stubborn, losing fight, as well as any other men of the race have done. No other test of vigor is so perfect as that which such a struggle gives. Where a people make such men as Jackson, and such men as made Jackson’s career possible, we may be sure that they are not in their decadence.

In Kentucky and Tennessee we have little else than Virginia blood and that of northwestern Carolina, which was derived from Virginia, with the exception of the very localized German settlements along the Ohio River: practically the whole of the white agricultural population of these States is of British blood that has been on this soil for about two hundred years. I do not believe there is any other body of folk of as purely English stock as this white population of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee: it amounts to almost three millions of people, and there is scarcely any admixture of other blood. In Virginia, as before remarked, there are no statistics to show just[xviii] what the physical conditions of the population are; but in Kentucky and Tennessee a large number of men who were born upon the soil were measured by the Sanitary Commission. The results were as follows: the troops from Kentucky and Tennessee were larger than those from any other State; in height, girth of chest, and size of head, they were of remarkable proportions. The men of no European army exceed them in size, though some picked bodies of troops are equally large. We must remember also that these men were not selected from the body of the people, as European armies are, but that they represent the State in arms, very few being rejected for disability. We must also remember that the men from the most fertile parts of these States, those parts which have the reputation of breeding the largest men, went into the Confederate army; while the Union troops were principally recruited from the poorer districts, where the people suffer somewhat from the want of sufficient variety in their food. The fighting quality of these men is well shown by the history of a Kentucky brigade in the Confederate army in the campaign near Atlanta in 1864, in which the brigade, during four months of very active service, received more wounds than it had men, and not over ten men were unaccounted for at the end of the campaign.[7] The goodness of this service is probably not exceptional; it has for us, however, the especial interest that these men were the product of six generations of American life,—showing as well as possible that the physical and moral conditions of life upon this continent are not calculated to depreciate the important inheritances of the race.

Although it is only a part of the problem, it is well to notice that the death-rate in these States of old American blood is singularly low, and the number of very aged people who retain their faculties to an advanced age very great. The census of 1870 gave the death-rate of Kentucky at about eleven in a thousand,—a number small almost beyond belief. It should also be noticed that the emigration from Kentucky has for fifty years or more been very large, relatively almost as heavy as that from Massachusetts. It is a well-known fact, which is made most evident by the statistics of the Sanitary Commission above referred to, that the larger and stronger citizens of a State are more apt to emigrate than those of weaker frame, the result being that the population left behind is deprived of its most vigorous blood.

The Canadian-French population presents us with another instance in which a European people long upon the soil, and without recent additions of blood from the native country, have maintained themselves unharmed amid conditions of considerable difficulty. This French population has been upon the soil for about as long as that of Virginia; that is to say, for two centuries and more. I have been unable to find any statistics concerning the numbers brought as colonists to America. I have questioned various students on this matter, and have come to the conclusion that the original number[mxix] did not exceed twenty-five thousand souls. This people has not perceptibly intermingled with those of other blood, so that its separate career can be traced with less difficulty than that of any other people. Race-hatreds, differences of language, of religion, and of customs have kept them apart from their neighbors in a fashion that is more European than American. This has been a great disadvantage to the race, for they have remained in a state of subordination as great as that in which the Africans of the Southern States now are. No other folk of European origin within the British Empire have remained so burdened by disabilities of all kinds as this remarkable people. The soil with which they have to deal is much more difficult than the average of America; most of it lies beyond the limits where Indian corn will grow, and much of it will scarcely nourish the hardier small grains. Despite the material difficulties of their position, their general illiteracy and intensified provincialism, this people have shown some very vigorous qualities; they have more than doubled in numbers in each generation; they are vigorous, exceedingly industrious, and have much mechanical tact. In New England they hold their own in the struggle with the native, so that it seems likely that the States of that district may soon be in good part peopled by the folk of this race. As near as I can ascertain, these Canadian-French of pure blood in Canada and the United States amount to about two and a half millions; if this be the case, the population has more than doubled each thirty years since their arrival upon American soil,—which is about as rapid a rate of increase as can be found among any people in the world, perhaps only surpassed by the population of Virginia; which commonwealth, starting with an original English emigration which could not have exceeded one hundred thousand, counts at the present day not less than six million descendants, or about twice as many as there would be if each generation only doubled the numbers of the preceding.

There is yet another separate people on the American soil which has been here for about six generations without any addition from abroad: these are the so-called Pennsylvanian Germans. I shall not take time to do more than mention them, for they, without recent European admixture, show the same evidences of continued vigor that is presented by the Virginian British and the Canadian French blood. Their progeny are to be counted by millions; and though they, like the Canadian French, have shown as yet little evidence of intellectual capacity, this may be explained by the extreme isolation that their language and customs have forced upon them.

Imperfectly as I have been able to present this important series of facts, it is enough to make it clear that they are mistaken who think that the recent emigrations from Europe have helped to maintain the vigor of the American people. It seems more likely that, so far from adding to the strength of the older stocks, the newer comers, mostly of a lower kind of folk than the original settlers, have served rather to hinder than to help the progress of the population which came with the original colonies.

These considerations may be extended, by those who care to do so, by a study of several other isolated peoples in this country,—the German colonies of Texas, the Swiss of Tennessee, and several others; all of which have prospered, and all of which have gone to prove that the climate of North America is singularly well fitted for the[xx] use of Northern Europeans. No sufficiently large colonies of Italians, Spanish, or Portuguese have ever been planted within the limits of the present United States to determine the fitness of its conditions for the peoples of those States. There is no reason, however, to believe that they would not have succeeded on this soil if fortune had brought them here.

It is worth while to notice the fact that the European domesticated animals have without exception prospered on American soil. The seven really domesticated mammals and the half-dozen birds of our barnyards have remained essentially unchanged in their proportions, longevity, and fitness for the uses of man. As there can be no moral influences bearing upon these creatures, they afford a strong proof of the essential identity of the physical conditions of the two continents. Evidence of the same sort, though less complete, is afforded by the history of European domesticated plants on our soil. Speaking generally, we may say that with trifling exceptions they all do as well or better here than on their own ground. With the same care, wheat, rye, oats, barley, etc., give the same returns as in their native countries.

Imperfect as this résumé is, it will make it clear that we are justified in believing that the climate and other physical conditions of central North America is as favorable to the development of men and animals of European races as their own country. Those who would see how important this point is to the history of our race should consider the fact that the empire of India has proved utterly unfit for the uses of Europeans, though other branches of the Aryan race have attained a high degree of development within its limits.

I next propose to consider the especial physical features of the continent with reference to several settlements that were made upon it, the extent to which the geography and the local conditions of soil, climate, etc. have affected the fate of the several colonies planted on the eastern shore of North America north of Mexico.

Chance rather than choice determined the position of the several colonies that were planted on the American soil. So little was known of the natural conditions of the continent, or even of its shore geography, and the little that had been discovered was so unknown to navigators in general, that it was not possible to exercise much discretion in the placing of the first settlers in the New World. It happened that in this lottery the central parts of the American continent fell to the English people; while the French, by one chance and another, came into possession of two parts of the coast separated by over two thousand miles of shore. It will be plain from the map that these two positions were essentially the keys to the continent. The access to the interior of the continent by natural water-ways is by two lines,—on the north by the St. Lawrence system of lakes and rivers; on the south by the Mississippi system of rivers, which practically connects with the St. Lawrence system. Fortune, in giving France the control of these two great avenues, offered her the mastery of the whole of its vast domain. We have only to consider the part that the pathway of the Rhine played in the history of mediæval trade in Europe, to understand how valuable these lines would have been until railways and canals had come to compete with water-ways-.

The only long-continued and systematic effort that France made to perpetuate[xxi] her power in North America was made through the Valley of the St. Lawrence. Let us, therefore, consider the physical conditions of this valley, and their influence upon the colonies that were planted there. The St. Lawrence River system and the valley it drains is most peculiar. It is, indeed, without its like in all the world. At the mouth of the main river we have a set of rugged islands and peninsulas enclosing an estuarine sea, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which gradually narrows in the course of three hundred miles to the channel of the great river. Ascending this river, the early explorers found a wonderful set of rapids; then a lake larger than any sheet of fresh water that had been seen by Europeans; then the swift channel of the Niagara River with its great Falls; then, above, a series of four great lakes, giving a real Mediterranean of fresh water. On the north was a rude and unpromising country, rising upward into low but sterile and rugged mountains; but on the south the natural boundaries of the valley about the Great Lakes hardly exist: indeed, it was possible in the time of rains for small boats to pass directly from Lake Michigan to the waters of the Mississippi without a portage. It is this absence of the southern bounding wall which constitutes the most peculiar feature in this region of geographical surprises.

Viewed on the map, this system of waters seems to afford the natural avenue to the heart of the continent; and when its geography became known, we may well imagine that the French believed that they had here the way to secure their dominion over it. Not only did it afford a convenient water-way to the heart of the continent, but also, by way of Lake Champlain, an easy access to the rear of the New-England settlements and to the Hudson. Thus it not only flanked and turned the English settlements of the whole continent, but it made the New-England position appear almost untenable.

Experience, however, showed that there were certain grave disadvantages attending the navigation of these waters. The river itself is not readily accessible to large vessels beyond the tidal belt. Its rapids and the Falls of Niagara are very great obstacles to its use,—barriers which were never overcome during the French occupation of the country. The Great Lakes are stormy seas, with scarcely a natural harbor, requiring for their navigation even more seamanship than do the open waters of the Atlantic. Moreover, these channels are frozen for five months in the year, so that all movements made by them are limited to about half the year.

Despite these disadvantages, the St. Lawrence system doubtless gave the French a vast advantage in the race for empire on this continent. When we consider that for a long time they had the control of the Mississippi as well, it seems surprising that their power was ever broken. The facilities which this water system gave to military movements that took the whole of the English colonies in the rear was not the sole advantage it afforded its first European possessors; though, on the other hand, it must be remembered that the strategic movements of the English were on interior lines, if largely indeed without water-ways. It was the key to the best of the fur-trade country, and to the best fisheries in America. For the first hundred years after the settlement of this country, furs and fish were the only exports of value from the region north of Maryland. The French settlements gave them control of the best fishery grounds, as also the trade with the Indians, who occupied the best[xxii] country for peltries in the world. As soon as the English came to possess it, this trade was greatly developed. Along with these advantages, the country had many evils that made the beginnings of colonies a matter of great labor and difficulty. The soil is made up of drift, and requires a great amount of labor to fit it for tillage. The greater part of it is north of the maize belt, so that this cheap and highly nutritious food was denied to the people. I have already said something concerning the singular advantages that this grain had for the pioneer in the American forests. I am inclined to believe that the want of this plant in the French colonies was one cause of their slow development. Another hindrance lay in the very long and severe winters. This limited the time which could be given to the tillage of land, and made the keeping of domesticated animals a matter of great difficulty. Something, too, must be attributed to the character of the colonists and to the nature of the land-tenure in this region. Their system of immigration gave a smaller proportion of natural leaders to the people, so that the colony always remained in a closer dependence on the mother country. There was always an absence of the initiative power which so marked the English colonies. The seigniorial systems of Europe have never prospered in America, and the early experiments in founding colonies by the mere exportation of men to this soil were failures even when the men were of English blood. The efforts to colonize the seaboard region of North Carolina without giving the fee of the land to the people, and without care in the selection of the colonists, resulted in a failure even more complete than that of the Canadian colonies. The Pamlico-Sound settlements showed so little military power that they were incapable of protecting themselves against the savages of the country, and without the help of Virginia they would have been annihilated. The French-Canadian colonists have always showed this incapacity to act for themselves, which cannot be attributed to physical conditions. As compared with the New-England colonists, with whom they came most in contact, they represented a colonizing scheme based on trading-posts; while their neighbors established and fought for homes in the English sense. The struggle for existence was in the English settler met with a vigor which grew out of political and religious convictions; in the Frenchman it was endured for lucrative trade. Anything higher was left to the missionary, who, while he led the pioneer life, failed in turn to develop it.

We may sum up what is to be said of the St. Lawrence Valley, that it is the best inlet to the continent north of the Mississippi River, affording an easy way to the heart of the continent for six months of the year. The valley is peculiar in the fact that it has no distinct southern boundary, and that a large part of its area is occupied by a system of fresh-water lakes. These sheets of water and this absence of a strong ridge separating this basin from the water-sheds which lie to the south of it would, if the French had been strong in a military sense, have given them an advantage in the struggle for the continent; but as long as this valley was held by a less powerful people than their neighbors on the south, these geographical features would no longer be advantageous to its occupiers.

The soil and climate of the St. Lawrence Valley are both rather against the rapid development of agriculture, requiring far more labor to make them arable, and giving[xxiii] a more limited return than do the more southern soils; so that, despite the very great advantage which came from the peculiarly open nature of this path into the interior of the continent, the French did not succeed in maintaining themselves there until its great military advantages could be turned to profit.

At the present time the existence of railways has greatly lessened the value of geography as a factor in military movements, and the St. Lawrence, closed as it is for nearly half a year by ice, has no longer any military importance. As it is, we may be surprised that it has not played a more important part in the military history of the continent than it has done. We cannot avoid the conclusion that if the conditions had been reversed, and the English settlements had occupied the Valley of the St. Lawrence, and the French colonies the country to the southward, the English colonists would have made use of its advantages in a more effective way.

The settlements at the mouth of the Mississippi did not come into the hands of the French until a late day; but the use they made of this, the easiest navigated of all the great American rivers, was considerable. These settlements were pushed up the valley of the main stream and its greater tributaries, until they practically controlled the larger part of the shores of the main waters. The swift current of the Mississippi and its tributaries made ascending navigation difficult and costly. It was, in fact, only with small cargoes in little boats propelled by poles, or with the aid of sails when the winds favored, that the stream could be mounted. The effective navigation was downward towards the mouth. By way of the Mississippi the French power worked into the centre of the continent far more rapidly than by the St. Lawrence route; indeed, the advance was so rapid that if these Gallic settlements had not been overwhelmed by the stronger tide of the English people getting across the Alleghanies, a few years would have given them a chance to fix their institutions and population in this valley.

Throughout their efforts in North America, the French showed a capacity for understanding the large questions of political geography, a genius for exploration, and a talent for making use of its results, or guiding their way to dominion, that is in singular contrast with the blundering processes of their English rivals. They seem to have understood the possibilities of the Mississippi Valley a century and a half before the English began to understand them. They planted a system of posts and laid out lines for commerce through this region; they strove to organize the natives into civilized communities; they did all that the conditions permitted to achieve success. Their failure must be attributed to the want of colonists, to the essential irreclaimableness of the American savage, and to the want of a basis for extended commerce in this country. There were no precious metals to tempt men into this wilderness, and none of the fancy for life or for lands among the home people, that wandering instinct which has been the basis of all the imperial power of the English race. Thus a most cleverly devised scheme of continental occupation, which was admirably well adapted to the physical conditions of the country, never came near to success. It fell beneath the clumsy power of another race that had the capacity for fixing itself firmly in new lands, and that grew without distinct plan until it came to possess it altogether.

The British settlements on the American coast were not very well placed for other than the immediate needs that led to their planting. They did not hold any one of[xxiv] the three water-ways which led from the coast into the interior of the continent, as we have seen the French obtained control of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, and as is well known the Dutch possession of the Hudson, which constituted the third and least complete of the water-ways into the interior of the continent.

As regards their physical conditions, the original English colonies are divisible into three groups,—those of New England; those of the Chesapeake and Delaware district, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and the central part of North Carolina; and those on the coast region of the Carolinas. Each of these regions has its proper physical characters, which have had special effects upon their early history. In New England we have a shore-line that affords an excellent system of harbors for craft of all sizes, and a sea that abounds in fish. The land has a rugged surface made up of old mountain folds, which have been worn down to their roots by the sea and by the glaciers of many ice periods. There are no extended plains, and where small patches of level land occur, as along the sea, there they are mostly of a rather barren and sandy character. The remainder of the surface is very irregular, and nearly one half of it is either too steep for tillage or consists of exposed rocks. The soil is generally of clay, and was originally covered almost everywhere with closely sown boulders that had to be removed before the plough could do its work. The rivers are mostly small, and from their numerous rapids not navigable to any great distance from the sea, and none of their valleys afford natural ways to the interior of the continent. In general structure this region is an isolated mass separated from the body of the continent by the high ridges of the Green Mountains and the Berkshire Hills, as well as by the deep valley in which lie the Hudson and Lake Champlain. The climate is rigorous, only less so than that of Canada. There are not more than seven months for agricultural labor.

The New-England district, including therein what we may term the Acadian Peninsula of North America, or all east of Lake Champlain and the Hudson and south of the St. Lawrence, is more like Northern Europe than any other part of America.

Nature does not give with free hands in this region, yet it offered some advantages to the early settlers. The general stubbornness of the soil made the coast Indians few in number, while its isolation secured it from the more powerful tribes of the West. The swift rivers afforded abundant water-power, that was early turned to use, and in time became the most valuable possession that the land afforded. The climate, though strenuous, was not unwholesome, and its severity gave protection against the malarial fevers which have so hindered the growth of settlements in more southern regions. Maize and pumpkins could be raised over a large part of its surface, and afforded cheap and wholesome food with little labor. The rate of gain upon the primeval forest was at first very slow; none of the products of the soil, except in a few instances its timber, had at first any value for exportation. The only surplusage was found in the products of the sea. In time the demand for food from the West Indian Islands made it somewhat profitable to export grain. Practically, however, these colonies grew without important help from any foreign commerce awakened by the products of their soil. Their considerable foreign trade grew finally upon exchanges,[xxv] or on the products of the sea-fisheries and whaling. Even the trade in furs, which was so important a feature in the French possessions, never amounted to an important commerce in New England. The aborigines were not so generally engaged in hunting, nor were the rivers of New England ever very rich in valuable fur-bearing species. The most we can say of New England is, that it offered a chance for a vigorous race to found in safety colonies that should get their power out of their own toil, with little help from fortune. It was very badly placed for the occupancy of a people who were to use it as a vantage-ground whence to secure control over the inner parts of the continent. But for the modern improvement in commercial ways, the isolation of this section from the other parts of the continent would have kept it from ever attaining the importance in American life which now belongs to it.

The settlements that were made along the Hudson were, as regards their position, much better placed than were those in New England. The valley of this stream is, as is well known to geologists, a part of the great mountain trough separating from the newer Alleghanian system on the west the old mountain system of the Appalachians, which, known by the separate names of the Green Mountains, Berkshire Hills, South Mountains, Blue Ridge, and Black Mountains, stretches from the St. Lawrence to the northern part of Georgia. In the Hudson district the Appalachian or eastern wall of the valley is known as the Berkshire Hills and the Green Mountains, while the western or Alleghanian wall is formed by the Catskill Mountains and their northern continuation in the Hilderberg Hills. On the south the Appalachian wall falls away, allowing the stream a wide passage to the sea; on the northwestern side the Catskills decline, opening the wide passage through which flows the Mohawk out of the broad fertile upland valley which it drains. It appears likely that the Mohawk Valley for a while in recent geological times afforded a passage of the waters of Lake Ontario to the channel of the Hudson. This will serve to show how easy the passage is between the Hudson Valley and the heart of the continent. Save that it is not a water-way, this valley affords, through the plain of the Mohawk, the most perfect passage through the long mountain line of the Alleghanies. Before this passage could have any importance to its first European owners, it fell into the hands of the English settlers. The fertility of this valley of the Hudson and Mohawk is far greater than that of New England. A larger portion of the land is arable, and it is generally more fertile than that of the region to the east. The underlying rock of the country is generally charged with lime, which assures a better soil for grain crops than those derived from the more argillaceous formations of New England. The Mohawk is for its size perhaps the most fertile valley in America. The climate of this district is on the whole more severe than that of New England, but the summer temperature admits the cultivation of all the crops of the Northern States.

Though from Holland, the original settlers of the Hudson Valley were by race and motives so closely akin to the English settlers to the north and south of them that a perfect fusion has taken place. The Dutch language is dead save in the mouths of a few aged people, and of their institutions nothing has remained.[8]


The most striking contrast between the physical conditions of the New York colony and those of New England is its relative isolation from the sea. Staten Island and Long Island are strictly maritime; the rest is almost continental in its relations.

South of New York the conditions of the colonists as regards agriculture were very different from what they were north of that point. To the north the soil is altogether the work of the glacial period. It is on this account stony and hard to bring into cultivation, as before described; but when once rendered arable, it is very enduring, changing little with centuries of cropping. South of this point the soil is derived from the rocks which lie below it, save just along the sea and the streams. The decayed rock that happens to lie just beneath the surface produces a fertile or an infertile earth, varied in quality according as the rocks. On the whole it is less enduring than are the soils of New England, though it is much easier to bring it into an arable state. It also differs from glacial soil in the fact that there is an absolute dependence of the qualities it possesses upon the subjacent rock. When that changes, the soil at once undergoes a corresponding alteration. In certain regions it may be more fertile than any glacial soil ever is; again, its infertility may be extreme, as, for instance, when the underlying rocks are sandstones containing little organic matter.

In this southern belt the region near the shore is rather malarial. The soil there is sandy, and of a little enduring nature, and the drainage is generally bad. Next within this line we have the fringe of higher country which lies to the east of the Blue Ridge. This consists of a series of rolling plains, generally elevated four or five hundred feet above the sea. Near the Blue Ridge it is changed into a rather hilly district, with several ranges of detached mountains upon its surface; to the east it gradually declines into the plain which borders the sea. Within the Blue Ridge it has the steep walls of the old granite mountains, which, inconspicuous in New Jersey, increase in Pennsylvania to important hills, become low mountains of picturesque form in Virginia, and finally in North and South Carolina attain the highest elevation of any land in eastern North America. This mountain range widens as it increases in height, and the plains that border it on the east grow also in height and width as we go to the southward in Virginia. All this section is composed of granite and other ancient rocks, which by their decay afford a very good soil. Beyond the Blue Ridge, and below its summits, are the Alleghanies. Between them is a broad mountain valley, known to geologists as the great Appalachian valley. This is an elevated irregular table-land, generally a thousand feet or more above the sea, and mostly underlaid by limestone, which by its decay affords a very fertile soil. This singular valley is traceable all the way from Lake Champlain to Georgia. The whole course of the Hudson lies within it. As all the mountains rise to the southward, this valley has its floor constantly farther and farther above the sea, until in Southern Virginia much of its surface is about two thousand feet above that level. This southward increase of elevation secures it a somewhat similar climate throughout its whole length. This, the noblest valley in[xxvii] America, is a garden in fertility, and of exceeding beauty. Yet west of this valley the Alleghanies proper extend, a wide belt of mountains, far to the westward. Their surface is generally rugged, but not infertile; they, as well as the Blue Ridge, are clad with thick forests to their very summits.

The shore of this, the distinctly southern part of the North American coast, is deeply indented by estuaries, which have been cut out principally by the tides. These deep sounds and bays,—the Delaware, Chesapeake, Pamlico, Albemarle, and others,—with their very many ramifications, constitute a distinctive feature in North America. Although these indentations are probably not of glacial origin, except perhaps the Delaware, they much resemble the great fjords which the glaciers have produced along the shores of regions farther to the northward. By means of these deep and ramified bays all the country of Virginia and Maryland lying to the east of the Appalachians is easily accessible to ships of large size. This was a very advantageous feature in the development of the export trade of this country, as it enabled the planters to load their crops directly into the ships which conveyed them to Europe, and this spared the making of roads,—a difficult task in a new country. The principal advantage of this set of colonies lay in the fact that they were fitted to the cultivation of tobacco. The demand for this product laid the foundations of American commerce, and was full of good and evil consequences to this country. It undoubtedly gave the means whereby Virginia became strong enough to be, on the part of the South, the mainstay of the resistance of the colonies to the mother country. On the other hand, it made African slavery profitable, and so brought that formidable problem of a foreign and totally alien race to be for all time a trouble to this country. Although the cultivation of cotton gave the greatest extension to slavery, it is not responsible for its firm establishment on our soil. That was the peculiar work of tobacco.

The climate of this region is perhaps the best of the United States. The winters want the severity that characterizes them in the more northern States, and the considerable height of the most of the district relieves it of danger from fevers. I have elsewhere spoken of the evidences that this district has maintained the original energy of the race that founded its colonies.

The Carolinian colonies are somewhat differently conditioned from those of Virginia, and their history has been profoundly influenced by their physical circumstances. South of the James River the belt of low-lying ground near the sea-shore widens rapidly, until the nearest mountain ranges are one hundred and fifty miles or more from the shore. This shore belt is also much lower than it is north of the James; a large part of its surface is below the level where the drainage is effective, and so is unfit for tillage. Much of it is swamp. The rivers do not terminate in as deep and long bays, with steep clay banks for borders, as they do north of the James. They are generally swamp-bordered in their lower courses, and not very well suited for settlements.

The soil of these regions is generally rather infertile; it is especially unfitted for the cultivation of grains except near the shore, where the swamps can often be converted into good rice-fields. Maize can be tilled, but it, as well as wheat, barley, etc., gives not more than half the return that may be had from them in Virginia. Were it not for the cotton crop, the lowland South would have fared badly.


All the shore belt of country is unwholesome, being affected with pernicious fevers, which often cannot be endured by the whites, even after the longest acclimatization. The interior region, even when not much elevated above the sea, or away from the swamps, is a healthy country, and the district within sight of the Blue Ridge and the Black Mountains is a very salubrious district. This region was, however, not at once accessible to the colonists of the Carolinian shore, and was not extensively settled for some time after the country was first inhabited, and then was largely occupied by the descendants of the Virginian colonists.

The history of this country has served to show that much of the lowlands near the shore is not well fitted for the use of European peoples; they are likely to fall into the possession of the African folk, who do not suffer, but rather seem to prosper in the feverish lowlands. The interior districts beyond the swamp country are well suited to Europeans, and where the surface rises more than one thousand feet above the sea, as it does in western North and South Carolina, the climate is admirably well suited to the European race. It is probable that the English race has never been in a more favorable climate than these uplands afford.

This Carolinian section was originally settled by a far more diversified population than that which formed the colonies to the northward. This was especially the case in North Carolina. This colony was originally possessed by a land company, which proposed to find its profit in a peculiar fashion. This company paid contractors so much a head for human beings put ashore in the colony. One distinguished trader in population, a certain Baron de Graffenreid, settled several thousand folk at and about New Berne, on the swampy shores of the Eastern sounds. They were from a great variety of places,—a part from England, others from the banks of the Rhine, others again from Switzerland. There was a great mass of human driftwood in Europe at the close of the seventeenth century, the wreck of long-continued wars; so it was easy to bring immigrants by the shipload if they were paid for. But the material was unfit to be the foundation of a State. From this settlement of eastern North Carolina is descended the most unsatisfactory population in this country. The central and western parts of North Carolina had an admirable population, that principally came to the State through Virginia; but this population about Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, though its descendants are numerous, perhaps not numerically much inferior to that which came from the Virginia settlements, is vastly inferior to it in all the essential qualities of the citizen. From the Virginia people have come a great number of men of national and some of world-wide reputation. It is not likely that any other population, averaging in numbers about five hundred thousand souls, has in a century furnished as many able men. On the other hand, this eastern North Carolina people has given no men of great fame to the history of the country, while a large part of the so-called “poor white” population of the South appears to be descended from the mongrel folk who were turned ashore on the eastern border of North Carolina.

South Carolina was much more fortunate in its early settlers on its seaboard than the colony to the north. Its population was drawn from rather more varied sources than that of Virginia, New York, or New England, but it would be hard to say that[xxix] its quality was inferior; despite the considerable admixture of Irish and French blood, it was essentially an English colony.

On the whole, although the quality of the climate would lead some to expect a lowering of the quality of the English race in these southern colonies, it is not possible to trace any such effect in the people. Although the laboring classes of whites along the seaboard appear to occupy a physical level rather below that of the same class in Virginia and the more northern regions, they have great endurance,—as was sufficiently proven by the fact that they made good soldiers during the recent Civil War. In the upland districts of these States, in western North and South Carolina, and especially in northern Georgia, the physical constitution of the people is, I believe, the best in this country. In the district north of Pennsylvania, the elevation of the mountains, or the table-lands which lie about them, is not profitable to the dwellers in these districts; each added height scarcely gives any additional healthfulness, and the additional cold is hurtful to most crops. In this southern region, however, the greater height and width of the Appalachian mountain system, including its elevated valleys, is a very great advantage to this region in all that concerns its fitness for the use of man. The climate of one half of the country south of the James and Ohio Rivers and east of the Mississippi is purified and refreshed by the elevations of this noble mountain system. It is the opinion of all who have examined this country, that it is extremely well fitted for all the uses of the race: an admirable climate, much resembling that of the Apennines of Tuscany, a fertile soil admitting a wide diversity of products, and a great abundance of water-power characterize all this upland district of the South.

A few words will suffice for all that concerns the mineral resources of the original colonies. At the outset of the colonization of America we hear a good deal about the search for gold; fortunately there was a very uniform failure in the first efforts to find this metal, so that it ceased to play a part in the history of these colonies. Very little effort to develop the mineral resources of this region was made during the colonial period. A little iron was worked in Rhode Island, New York, and Virginia, some search of a rather fruitless sort was made for copper ore in Connecticut, but of mining industry, properly so called, there was nothing until the Revolutionary War stimulated the search for iron and lead ores. The discovery of the gold deposits in the Carolinas did not come about until after the close of the colonial period. These deposits were not sufficiently rich to excite an immigration of any moment to the fields where they occur.

Practically the mineral resources of what we may term the Appalachian settlements of North America never formed any part of the inducements which led immigrants to them. In this respect they differ widely from the other colonies which were planted in the Americas. The greater part of the Spanish and Portuguese settlements in America were made by gold-hunters. The state of morals which led to these settlements was not favorable to the formation of communities characterized by high motives. There were doubtless other influences at work to lower the moral quality of the settlements in Mexico and South America, but the nature of the motives which brought the first settlers upon the ground and gave the tone to society is[xxx] certainly not the least important of the influences which have affected the history of the American settlements.

To close this brief account of the physical conditions of the first European settlements in North America, we may say, that the English colonies were peculiarly fortunate in those physical conditions upon which they fell. There is no area in either of the Americas, or for that matter in the world outside of Europe, where it would have been possible to plant English colonies that would have been found so suitable for the purpose: climate, soil, contact with the sea, and a chance of dominion over the whole continent were given them by fortune. They had but the second choice in the division of the New World; yet to the English fell the control of those regions which experience has shown to hold its real treasures. Fortune has repeatedly blessed this race; but never has she bestowed richer gifts than in the chance that gave it the Appalachian district of America.







JOHN CABOT discovered the continent of North America June 24, 1497; and his son Sebastian the next year coasted its shores for a considerable distance,—perhaps even, as some accounts say, from Hudson’s Bay to North Carolina.[9] The reports of their voyages doubtless reached the Continental courts of Europe without delay. Spain was occupied with the attempts of Columbus to attain the Indies by a southern route promising success; while Portugal, always among the foremost maritime nations, had now an energetic ruler in her young King Emanuel, who had succeeded to the throne in 1495. He had already sent out Vasco da Gama and Cabral, who followed the route to the Indies by the way of the Cape of Good Hope;[10] and he was well disposed also for an attempt to pursue the indications given by the Cabots, that a short way to the Land of Spices might lie through a northwest passage among the islands, of which the New World was still supposed to consist. Such is at least generally thought to have been the reason for the expeditions of the Cortereals, although we have no official reports of their voyages or their aims.

The family of Cortereal was not without position in the Portuguese kingdom. Ioâo Vaz Cortereal had been appointed, some years before this time, hereditary governor of the Island of Terceira; and his sons had perhaps learned there the secrets of navigation. It has been even asserted by some Portuguese writers that this Ioâo Vaz had himself discovered some part of America nearly thirty years before the first voyage of Columbus, and had received his governorship as the reward of the discovery; but there is no evidence for this claim.


It is known, however, that in the year 1500 a son of Ioâo Vaz, Gaspar Cortereal, having obtained from the King a grant or license to discover new islands, fitted out one, or perhaps two, vessels, with the help of his brother Miguel, and sailed from Lisbon early in the summer for a voyage to the northwest. The accounts say that he touched at the family island of Terceira, and in due time returned to Portugal with a report of having landed in a country situated in a high degree of latitude, now supposed to have been Greenland, which name, indeed (or rather its equivalent, Terra Verde), he is said to have given to the country. The details of the voyage are scanty, and have been confused with those of the second expedition; but it was so far successful that the enterprise was renewed the next year. Miguel Cortereal again contributed to the expenses of this second voyage. It appears, indeed, from a letter of his dated August 6, and preserved in the State archives at Lisbon, that he had prepared a vessel with the expectation of sharing personally in the expedition, but was delayed by a royal order to increase the number of his crew, and afterward by contrary winds, until it was too late in the season to follow Gaspar with any hope of success. Gaspar had sailed with three ships, May 15, 1501, and had directed his course west-northwest. After sailing in this direction two thousand miles from Lisbon, he discovered a country quite unknown up to that time. This he coasted six or seven hundred miles without finding any end to the land; so he concluded that it must be connected with the country discovered to the north the year before, which country could not now be reached on account of the great quantity of ice and snow. The number of large rivers encountered, encouraged the navigators in their belief that the country was no island. They found it very populous, and brought away a number of the natives; and those savages who safely arrived in Portugal were described as “admirably calculated for labor, and the best slaves I have ever seen.” A piece of a broken sword, and two silver earrings, evidently of Italian manufacture, found in the possession of the natives, were probably relics of the visit of Cabot to the country three years earlier. One of the vessels reached Lisbon on its return, October 8, and brought seven of the kidnapped natives. It reported that another ship had fifty more of these. This vessel arrived three days later with its expected cargo; but the third, with Gaspar Cortereal, was never heard from. Her fate remained a mystery, although several efforts were made to ascertain it.

The next year, 1502, Miguel Cortereal started with three ships (one account says two) well equipped and found, having agreed with the King to make a search for the missing Gaspar. The expedition sailed May 10. Arriving on the American coast, they found so many entrances of rivers and havens, that it was agreed to divide the fleet, the better to search for the missing vessel. A rendezvous was arranged for the 20th of August. Two ships met at the appointed time and place; but Miguel Cortereal’s did not appear, and the others, after waiting some time, returned to Portugal.



[This cut is a fac-simile of one in the corner of A New and Correct Map of America, 1738, which belongs to Sir William Keith’s History of the British Plantations in America: Part I., Virginia, London, 1738. It presumably represents the fashion of these appliances of the fishermen which had prevailed perhaps for centuries.

It was suggested by Forster, Northern Voyages, book iii. chaps. iii. and iv., that Breton fishermen may have been on the Newfoundland coast before Columbus. Scholars are coming more and more to believe the possibility and even probability of it. Every third day in the calendar was then a fast-day, and the incentive to seeking fish on distant seas was great. That Cabot should find the natives of this region calling the cod baccalaos, a name applied by the seamen of the Bay of Biscay to that fish, has also been suggestive; but this story, deducible apparently from no earlier writer than Peter Martyr in 1516, is not altogether trustworthy, since there is doubt if the folk who called the fish by that name were the natives, as Martyr seems to think, or simply the common people, as would seem to be implied in other forms of the statement (see Vol. III. p. 45). Greenland, as we know from the pre-Columbian maps (Ptolemy of 1482, etc.), was considered a part of Europe. Its adjacent shores were in the common mind but further outposts of the same continent; so that the returned sailors’ reports of the distant parts—islands they thought them—might cause no awakening of the idea of a new world. Cf. Navarrete, Viages, iii. 41, 46, 176; Eusebius, Chronicon (1512), p. 172; Wytfliet, Histoire des Indes, p. 131; Lescarbot, Nouvelle France (1618), p. 228; Biard, Relation (1616), chap. i.; Champlain (1632), p. 9; Charlevoix, Nouvelle France, i. 4, 14, or Shea’s edition, i. 106; Estancelin, Navigateurs Normands; Kunstmann, Entdeckung Amerikas, pp. 69, 125; Peschel, Geschichte des Zeitalters, etc., p. 332; Vitet, Histoire de la Dieppe, p. 51; Harrisse, Cabots, p. 271; Kohl, Discovery of Maine, pp. 188, 201, 203, 205, 280; Parkman, Pioneers, p. 171; Mag. of Amer. Hist., 1882, April; N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1880, p. 229, etc.—Ed.]

Miguel also was never heard of again. Another expedition, sent out at the expense of the King, a year later, returned without having found a trace of either brother. And yet once more, the oldest of the family,[4] Vasqueanes Cortereal, then governor of Terceira, proposed to undertake the quest in person; but Emanuel refused the necessary permission, declining to risk the lives of more of his subjects.

The Cortereals had no successors among their countrymen in the attempt to reach the Indies by the Northwest Passage; but their voyages opened for Portugal a source of much trade. Individuals, and perhaps companies or associations, soon followed in their track in the pursuit of fish, until the Portuguese enterprises of this sort on the American coasts grew to large proportions, and produced considerable revenue for the State.

The consolidation of France into one great kingdom may be said to date from 1524, when the death of Claude, the wife of Francis I., vested the hereditary right to the succession of Brittany in the crown of France. The marriage of Charles VIII. with Anne, Claude’s mother, in 1491, had brought the last of the feudal fiefs into subjection; but it required many years to make the inhabitants of these provinces Frenchmen, and the rulers at Paris exercised little authority over the towns and principalities of the interior. The coasts of Normandy and Brittany were peopled by a race of adventurous mariners, some of them exercising considerable power; as, for instance, the Angos of Dieppe, one of whom (Jean) was ennobled, and created viscount and captain of that town. Such places as Dieppe, Honfleur, St. Malo, and others had already furnished men and leaders for voyages of exploration and discovery. These had made expeditions to the Canaries and the African coast, and the fishing population of the French provinces were not unused to voyages of considerable length. They were not slow, then, in seeking a share in the advantages offered by the new countries discovered by Cabot and Cortereal, and they speedily became skilful and powerful in the American fisheries. The fishermen of the ports of Brittany are known to have reached the Newfoundland shores as early as 1504. They have left there an enduring trace in the name of Cape Breton, which, in one form or another, is found upon very early maps. Two years afterward Jean Denys, who was from Honfleur, is said to have visited the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and to have made a chart of it; but what now passes for such a chart is clearly of later origin. Another two years elapse, and we read of the voyage, in 1508, of a Dieppe mariner, Thomas Aubert by name, who is said to have brought home the first specimens of the American natives. A contemporary chronicle relates the visit of seven of those[5] savages to Rouen in 1509. The frequency of the voyages of these fishermen and their skill in navigation are proved by the provision in Juan de Agramonte’s commission from the Spanish Crown, in 1511, that he might employ as pilots of his proposed expedition two mariners from Brittany.[11] In 1518, or (as M. d’Avezac thinks) perhaps a few years later, the Baron de Léry attempted a French settlement in the new country. But storms and unfavorable circumstances brought about the failure of this expedition.[12]

We have few particulars of the early life of Giovanni da Verrazano, who commanded the first French expedition sent out under royal auspices. The date of his birth is uncertain; but he is supposed to have been born shortly after 1480, in Florence,—where members of the family had attained high office at various times,—and to have been the son of Piero Andrea da Verrazano and Fiametta Capella. He is said to have travelled extensively, to have passed some years in Egypt and Syria, and to have visited the East Indies. It has also been stated, but on doubtful authority, that he commanded one of Aubert’s ships in that mariner’s expedition to America in 1508. With the year 1521 Verrazano begins to appear in Spanish history as a French corsair; in which character, and under the name of Juan Florin or Florentin, he preyed upon the commerce between Spain and her new-found possessions. It was, perhaps, while engaged in this occupation that he gained the notice and favor of Francis I. Indeed, his voyage of discovery was immediately preceded by, or even connected with, one of these predatory cruises. The Portuguese ambassador in France, Joâo da Silveira, wrote home, April 25, 1523: “Joâo Verezano, who is going on the discovery of Cathay, has not left up to this date, for want of opportunity, and because of differences, I understand, between himself and men.” And Verrazano himself says, in the cosmographical appendix to his letter, that the object of his expedition was to reach Cathay by a westward voyage, and that he expected to be able to penetrate any intervening land. But we know from Spanish sources that in May or June of this same year, 1523, Juan Florin captured the treasure sent home by Cortes to the Emperor, and brought it into La Rochelle; and Verrazano speaks in the beginning of his letter to the King of his success against the Spaniards.[13]


Later in the year, perhaps (but it seems impossible now to separate the voyage of discovery distinctly from the cruise against Spanish commerce), Verrazano started with four ships. Disabled by storms, he was forced to put back into some port of Brittany with two vessels, the “Normandy” and the “Dauphine.” After repairing these, he made a fresh start, but decided finally to proceed on the voyage to Cathay with the “Dauphine” alone.

In this vessel he sailed, Jan. 17, 1524, from the Desiertas Rocks, near the Island of Madeira, having fifty men and provisions for eight months. For twenty-five days he proceeded, with a pleasant breeze, toward the west, without any incident. Then on February 14 (20, according to another version of his letter) he encountered a very violent tempest. Escaping from this, he continued the voyage, changing the course of the vessel more to the north, and in another twenty-five days came within sight of land. This appeared low when first seen; and on a nearer approach it gave evidence, from the fires burning on the shore, that there were inhabitants. This landfall Verrazano places in 34° N., which would be not far from the latitude of Cape Fear, upon the coast of North Carolina; and most commentators upon his letter accept that as the probable point. He began his search for a harbor by coasting south about fifty leagues; but finding none, and observing that the land continued to extend in that direction, he turned and sailed along the shore to the north. Still finding no opportunity to land with the vessel, he decided to send a boat ashore. This was met on its approach to the land by a crowd of the natives, who at first turned to fly, but were recalled by friendly signs, and at last showed the strangers the best place for making a landing, and offered them food. These people were nearly black in color, of moderate stature and good proportions. They went naked except for their breech-cloths, and were, from the description, simple and of kind disposition. The coast is described as covered with small sand-hills, and as pierced by occasional inlets, behind which appeared a higher country, with fields and great forests giving out pleasant odors. There were noticed, also, lakes and ponds, with abundance of birds and beasts. The anchorage Verrazano thought a safe one; for though there was no harbor, he says that the water continued deep very close to the shore, and there was excellent holding-ground for the anchor.

Thence he proceeded along a shore trending east, seeing great fires, which gave him the impression that the country had many inhabitants. While at anchor (perhaps near Raleigh Bay), the boat was sent to the shore for water. There was no possibility of landing, on account of the high surf; so a young sailor undertook to swim to the land, and to give the natives some bells or other trinkets which the French had brought for the purposes of traffic, or for presents. He was overpowered by the waves, and, after a struggle, thrown upon the beach, where he lay almost stunned. The Indians ran down, picked him up, and carried him screaming with[7] fright up the shore. They reassured him by signs, stripped off his wet clothes, and dried him by one of their fires,—much to the horror, says the narrative, of his comrades in the boat, who supposed that the savages intended to roast and eat him. When he was refreshed and recovered from his fright, he made them understand that he wished to rejoin his friends, whereupon the natives accompanied him back to the water, and watched his safe return to the boat.

Following the shore, which here turned somewhat to the north, in fifty leagues more they reached a pleasant place, much wooded, near which they anchored. Here they landed twenty men to examine the country, and made a cruel return for the kindness which the natives had shown the French sailor a short time before. On landing, the men found that the Indians had taken refuge in the woods, with the exception of two women and some small children who had attempted to hide in the long grass. The Frenchmen offered food; but the younger woman refused it, and in great fright called for help to the natives who had fled into the forest. The French took the oldest of the children, a boy of eight, and carried him to their vessel, to take back with them to France. They attempted to kidnap also the young woman, who was handsome and tall, about eighteen years of age; but she succeeded in escaping. The people of this place are described as fairer than those first seen, and the country as fertile and beautiful, but colder than the other.

The vessel remained at anchor three days, and then it was decided to continue the voyage, but to sail only in the daytime, and to anchor each night. After coursing a hundred leagues to the northeast, they arrived at a beautiful spot where, between small steep hills, a great stream poured its waters into the sea. This river was of great depth at its mouth, and with the help of the tide a heavily loaded vessel could easily enter. As Verrazano had good anchorage for his ship, he sent his boat in. This, after going a half league, found that the entrance widened into a magnificent lake of three leagues circuit, upon which at least thirty of the natives’ boats were passing from shore to shore. These people received the strangers kindly, and showed them the best place to bring their boat to the land. A sudden squall from the sea frightened the French, and they returned in haste to the ship without exploring further this pleasant harbor,—which seems to have been that of New York.

Thence they sailed to the east about eighty leagues (fifty, by one account), keeping the land always in sight. They discovered an island of triangular shape, of about the size of that of Rhodes, and about ten leagues from the mainland, to which they gave the name of Louisa, the mother of Francis I.,—the only name mentioned in the narrative. This was covered with woods, and well peopled, as the number of fires showed. From this island, which has been generally identified with Block Island,[14] Verrazano, without[8] landing, as the weather was bad, steered for the coast again; and in fifteen leagues (perhaps retracing his course) came to a most beautiful harbor. Here the ship was met by many boats of the natives, who crowded close around it with cries of astonishment and pleasure. They were easily persuaded to come on board, and soon became very friendly. This harbor, which Verrazano places in the parallel of Rome, 41° 40´ N., and which has been identified as that of Newport, is described as opening toward the south, with an entrance a half league in breadth, and widening into a great bay twenty leagues in circuit. It contained five islands, among which any fleet might find refuge from storms or other dangers. The entrance could be easily guarded by a fort built upon a rock which seemed naturally placed in its centre for defence. The natives are described as fine-looking, the handsomest people seen in the voyage, of taller stature than Europeans, of light color, sharp faces, with long black hair and black eyes, but with a mild expression. The visits of their kings to the strange vessel are described, and the eagerness of these rulers to know the use of everything they saw is mentioned. The women are spoken of as modest in their behavior, and as jealously guarded by their husbands. The interior country was explored for a short distance, and found pleasant and adapted to cultivation, with many large open plains entirely free from trees, and with forests not so dense but that they could easily be penetrated.

In this agreeable harbor, where everything that he saw filled him with delight, and where the kindness of the inhabitants left him nothing to desire, Verrazano tarried fifteen days. Then having supplied himself with all necessaries, he departed on the 6th of May (Ramusio says the 5th), and sailed a hundred and fifty leagues without losing sight of the land, which showed small hills, and was a little higher than before, while the coast, after about fifty leagues, turned to the north. No stop was made, for the wind was favorable, and the nature of the country appeared much the same. The next landing was made in a colder country, full of thick woods, where the natives were rude, and showed no desire to communicate with the strangers. They were clothed in skins, and their land seemed barren. They would accept nothing in barter but knives, fish-hooks, and sharpened steel. When the French landed and attempted to explore the country, they were attacked. This landing has been placed somewhere north of Boston, possibly not far from Portsmouth, in New Hampshire.

The voyage was continued in a northeasterly direction. The coast appeared pleasanter, open, and free from woods, with a sight of high mountains far inland. Within a distance of fifty leagues thirty-two islands were discovered, all near the shore, which reminded the navigator of those in the Adriatic. He did not stop to explore the country, or to open communication with the natives, but continued another hundred and fifty leagues in the same general direction, when he arrived at about the latitude of 50° N. Here, having reached the country already discovered by the Bretons, and finding his provisions and naval stores nearly exhausted, he[9] took in a fresh supply of wood and water, and decided to return to France, having, he says, discovered more than seven hundred leagues of unknown territory. He arrived at Dieppe on his return early in July, for his letter to the King is dated from that port on the 8th of the month.

We lose trace of Verrazano after his return from this voyage. Francis I. was in no condition to profit from the opportunity offered him to colonize a new world. He had engaged in a struggle with the Emperor; was soon after the date of this letter busily occupied in fighting battles; and at that of Pavia, Feb. 24, 1525, was taken prisoner, and spent the next year in captivity in Spain. It has been suggested that Verrazano went to England, and there offered his services to Henry VIII., and there are contemporary allusions supporting the suggestion. Mr. Biddle, in his Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, advances the opinion that Verrazano was the Piedmontese pilot who was killed and eaten by the savages in Rut’s expedition of 1527, which would harmonize Ramusio’s statement that he made a second voyage to America and lost his life there. But this is extremely doubtful.[15] We know from French sources that in 1526 Verrazano joined with Admiral Chabot, Jean Ango, and others, in an agreement for a voyage to the Indies for spices, with a proviso inserted for the equitable division of any booty taken “from the Moors or others, enemies of the faith and the King our lord.” Spanish documents of official character show that Juan Florin, with other French pirates, was captured at sea in 1527, and hung at the small village of Colmenar, between Salamanca and Toledo, in November of that year. But it has been also lately stated that a letter has been found, dated at Paris, Nov. 14, 1527, which speaks of Verrazano as then preparing an expedition of five ships for America, expecting to sail the following spring. If this statement is accurate, and the date of the letter has been correctly read, grave doubts are thrown upon the Spanish story of his execution. Either Florin was not Verrazano, or he was not hanged at the time stated. I cannot undertake to reconcile all these statements, but must leave them as I find them.

The voyage of Estévan (Stephen) Gomez, although not made under the flag of France, should, perhaps, be studied in connection with that of Verrazano. Spain did not fail to take notice of the discoveries of the Cabots when the news of the return of Sebastian from the second voyage reached London in 1498. Her ambassador at that Court, Don Pedro de Ayala, in his despatch dated July 25 of that year, says that he has given notice to the English king that the countries discovered by Cabot belonged to his master. There are traces of voyages in a northwestern direction under Spanish auspices in subsequent years. Navarrete thinks that such[10] was the object of the Spanish king in sending for Juan Dornelos, or Dorvelos, in the spring of 1500. It is stated also that Hojeda had orders about the same time to follow the English tracks. The commission to Agramonte in 1511 (he having proposed a similar project previously) was for the purpose of planting a settlement in the tierra nueva at the northwest. Magellan’s discovery of the long-sought strait through the New World leading to the Land of Spices, although it brought no immediate advantages, as the voyage was long and perilous, revived and increased the interest in seeking for a shorter and more northern passage. The agreement made with De Ayllon, June 12, 1523, provided, among other things, for the search for another way through the continent to the Moluccas, to be found north of Florida. Hernando Cortes wrote home to the Emperor, Oct. 15, 1524, a letter on the probability of there being such a passage easier than the one already discovered, and proposed to seek for it. Gomez was of the same opinion, for his voyage was undertaken to find this northern strait.

Estévan Gomez was a Portuguese and an experienced navigator. He had entered the service of Spain a few years before this time, having received the appointment of pilot in 1518 at the same time that Sebastian Cabot was created “pilot major.” He had sailed with Magellan on his great voyage as pilot of the “San Antonio,” but had joined the crew of that vessel in their mutiny against her captain, Alvaro de Mesquita, at the strait. He thus deserted Magellan, and brought the ship home. In 1521 he was ordered to serve with the fleet which was then preparing to sail against the French corsairs. He obtained a concession from the Emperor, dated March 27, 1523, by which he was to have a small vessel for an expedition to the northwest, armed and provisioned for one year. Although this grant, like that made soon afterward to De Ayllon, contained a proviso that the expedition should carefully avoid trespassing upon the King of Portugal’s possessions in the New World, that Power seems to have raised objections to the voyage. The following year a council was convened at the small town of Badajos for the settlement of the rival claims of Spain and Portugal, and Gomez was sent with Cabot, Juan Vespucius, and others to this council,—not as members, but in the capacity of specialists or experts, to give opinions on questions of navigation and cosmography. The congress accomplished nothing in the way of an agreement between the rival Powers, and after its adjournment the Council for the Indies decided to allow the voyage proposed by Gomez.

Gomez sailed from Corunna, a port in the north of Spain, to which the “Casa de Contratacion,” or India House, had been removed from Seville, some time in February of the following year (1525), and was absent about ten months. We have unfortunately no detailed account of his voyage, and it does not now seem possible to say with certainty even in which direction he explored the American coast. The accounts given by the Spanish historians are very meagre. They seem to have paid little attention to the voyage, except to record its failure to discover the desired northern[11] strait. The Spanish maps, however, show plain traces of the voyage, in the Tierra de Estévan Gomez, the name applied by Ribero and others to the large tract of country between Cape Breton and Florida. Gomara, one of the earliest and best authorities on American matters, heads the chapter which he devotes to Gomez, “Rio de San Antonio,” which name is supposed to be the one given in Spanish maps to the Hudson River. Gomez is said to have visited the country at latitudes 40° and 41° north, and to have coasted a great extent of land never before explored by the Spaniards. It is related also that he visited the Island of Cuba, and refitted his vessel there. This would be presumably on the homeward voyage. Failing to obtain the rich cargo of spices which he had expected to bring home, he loaded his vessel with kidnapped savages of both sexes, and with this freight reached Corunna again in November, 1525.

All historians of the voyage made by Gomez have told the story about the mistake of a zealous newsmonger in reference to the nature of the cargo thus brought home. Peter Martyr is the first to tell it, in the final chapter of his last decade, inscribed to Pope Clement VII., written in 1526. In answer to a question as to what he had brought, Gomez was understood to reply “cloves” (clavos), when he really said “slaves” (esclavos). The eager friend hastened to Court with the news that the shorter strait had been discovered, thinking to obtain some reward for his intelligence. The favorers of Gomez’ project (in regard to which there appears to have been some difference of opinion) greeted the news with applause, but were covered with ridicule when the true story of the results of the voyage was published. Martyr quaintly says: “If they hadd learned that the influence of the heauens could bee noe where infused into terrestriall matters prepared to receiue that aromaticall spirit, saue from the Æquinoctiall sunne, or next vnto it, they woulde haue knowne that in the space of tenn moneths (wherein hee performed his voyage) aromaticall Cloues could not bee founde.”[16]

It does not fall within the limits of this chapter to relate the story of the early attempts of the French Huguenots to plant colonies in this country.[17] But I may refer very briefly to the first of these,—the expedition sent by Admiral Coligny to Brazil under the command of Villegagnon, in 1555; as a Franciscan monk, André Thevet, who accompanied it, claims to have coasted the continent of North America on his return voyage to France the next year.

Thevet says of himself that he had spent the early years of his life in travel, and that he had already made a voyage to the East, of which voyage, and of his skill in navigation, his friend Villegagnon was well aware when he asked him to join the proposed expedition to South America,—an offer which he (Thevet) was very ready to accept. The start, he says, was made from Havre, May 6, 1555, and the voyage across the ocean was long and tedious. It was not until the last day of October that, about nine[12] o’clock in the morning, their vessel came within sight of the high mountains of Croistmourou. These were within the limits of a country whose inhabitants were friends of the Portuguese, and the French therefore decided to avoid landing there. They continued the voyage, and seventeen days later cast anchor at the River Ganabara (Rio Janeiro), where they were received in a friendly manner by the natives, and decided to make their settlement.

Thevet remained with the colony only about ten weeks, leaving on his homeward voyage, Jan. 31, 1556. He says that the commander of the vessel decided to return by a more northern passage than that by which he had crossed from France; and goes on to describe at some length their voyage along the coast, and to give many particulars of the countries and natives, most of which he must have obtained from other travellers’ books and histories after his return. The progress was slow. At the Cape of St. Augustine the vessel was delayed, he says, two months in the attempt to round that promontory. The equinoctial line was not crossed until about the middle of April; and after leaving Espagnola a contrary wind blew them in toward the coast.

Thevet claims to have coasted the entire shore of the United States, and gives occasional accounts of what he saw, and of intercourse with the natives. But his details are always uncertain, and the places he professes to have visited cannot be identified. No satisfactory information can be obtained from his story; and indeed his reputation for truth-telling is so poor that many historians are inclined to reject altogether his recital of the voyage along our coast. It may well be that Thevet invented the whole of it as a thread upon which to hang the particulars about Florida, Norumbega, and other countries which he gathered from books. After his return to France he was made aumonier to Catherine de Medicis, and also royal historiographer and cosmographer.


THE earliest mention in print of the Cortereal voyages is found in a small collection of travels (one of the very earliest collections made), entitled Paesi novamente retrovati. This was published at Vicenza, in Italy, as the colophon states, Nov. 3, 1507, and is supposed to have been compiled by Fracanzio da Montalboddo, or by Alessandro Zorzi.[18] The account of Gaspar Cortereal is contained (book vi. chap. cxxv) in a letter[13] written from Lisbon, Oct. 19, 1501 (eleven days only after the return of the first vessel which succeeded in getting home from the second voyage), by the Venetian ambassador in Portugal, Pietro Pasqualigo, to his brothers. This is, of course, an authority of great value. The writer gives a brief account of the voyage, speaks of the customs of the inhabitants of the new country, and describes the captives which the ship had brought. He says that the other vessel is expected immediately. Pasqualigo mentions, however, only one voyage, and has apparently confused it with the earlier one; for he says that the expedition sailed “lāno passato” (that is 1500), and writes of the failure to reach a country discovered “lanno passato.” Perhaps he received some account of both voyages from the mariners, and in preparing his letter failed to preserve the distinction between them. French versions of the letter appeared in Paris in 1517 and 1522. An English translation of the interesting portions of this letter is given in Biddle’s Cabot, at pp. 239, 240.

Another contemporary account of this voyage of Gaspar Cortereal has lately been discovered. M. Harrisse has obtained from the archives of Modena a despatch sent to Hercules d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, by Alberto Cantino, his representative at Lisbon, in which the arrival of the second vessel (expected immediately in Pasqualigo’s letter) is reported. This despatch is dated Oct. 17, 1501. The vessel arrived on the 11th,—three days after the first one,—and brought the expected cargo of slaves. Cantino says that he saw, touched, and surveyed (li quali io ho visti, tochi et contemplati) these natives. He gives some account of the savages, and tells the story of the voyage as he heard the captain of the vessel relate it to the King, being present at their interview. The caravel had been a month on her return, and the distance was two thousand eight hundred miles,—“Questo naviglio è venuto di la a qua in un mese, et dicono esservi 2,800 milia de distantia.” Cantino makes no mention of the return of the first vessel, but speaks of a third, commanded by Cortereal in person, as having decided to remain in the new country, and to sail along its coast far enough to discover whether it were an island or terra firma,—“Laltro compagno ha deliberato andar tanto per quella costa, che vole intendere se quella è insula, o pur terra ferma.”

Harrisse prints this interesting letter of Cantino in his Jean et Sébastian Cabot (pp. 262-264). Cantino appears to have also sent his master a map showing the new discoveries. This map Harrisse has since reproduced with a commentary, in his work on the Cortereals, as explained in the second volume of the present history.

It should be noted that Harrisse counts three voyages of Gaspar Cortereal,—the first, without result, before May, 1500; the second, between May and December of that year; and a third, sailing in January, 1501,—the return of two of whose vessels in the following October is related by Pasqualigo and Cantino.[19]

The confusion of the voyages continued. The Spanish historians and those of Italy, knowing, perhaps, of only one, or getting their information from the Paesi and the maps, speak of but one expedition. Gomara, whose work was published at Saragossa in 1552-1553,[20] says that Cortereal was seeking a northwest passage, but failed to find it; that he gave his name to the islands at the mouth of the St. Lawrence in 50° N.; and that, dismayed at the snow and ice, he returned home with about sixty of the natives whom he had captured.[21] Herrera, who published his History early in the next century,[22] gets his information from Gomara. Peter Martyr does not mention the Cortereals. Turning to[14] Italy, we find in Ramusio an account of Cortereal in the third volume of his great collection of voyages,[23] published in 1556, at fol. 417. Here, in an introductory discourse, written by Ramusio himself, “sopra la terra ferme dell’ Indie Occidentali,” it is stated that Gaspar Cortereal was the first captain who went to that part of the New World which “runs to the north,” in 1500, with two ships, in search of a shorter passage to the Spice Islands; that he penetrated so far north as to get into a region of great cold, discovering at 60° a river filled with snow, which was called the “Rio Nevado;” that he found inhabited islands to which he gave names, etc.

Even down to modern times the distinction between the voyages has not been recognized. Biddle, Humboldt, and others speak of only one expedition. The Portuguese authorities, however, are explicit in the matter. In 1563 there was published at Lisbon a volume of navigations and discoveries written by Antonio Galvano, who had died a few years before.[24] Galvano was born at Lisbon in 1503. He went, a young man, to India, and distinguished himself there, having command of the expedition which reduced the Moluccas to Portuguese rule, and becoming the governor of Ternate,—the largest of these islands. He was recalled home, and coldly received by the King. Becoming indigent, he was forced to take refuge in a hospital, where he finally died in 1557. His papers were bequeathed to a friend, Don Francisco y Sousa Tavares, who prepared the volume for the press. Galvano gives a good account of the expedition of Gaspar Cortereal, clearly dividing it into two voyages; and he tells also of Miguel Cortereal’s attempt to discover his brother’s fate. The original Portuguese text is very rare. Hakluyt published a translation of it in 1601,[25] and states in his Dedication of that book to Sir Robert Cecil that he could not succeed in finding a copy of the original. The translation was made, he says, “by some honest and well-affected marchant of our nation, whose name by no meanes I could attaine unto, and that, as it seemeth, many yeeres ago. For it hath lien by me above these twelve yeeres.” In 1862 the Hakluyt Society of London reprinted this translation under the editorial supervision of Vice-Admiral Bethune. In this edition corrections of the English version are noted, and the whole Portuguese text is given, page for page, from a copy of the original in the Carter-Brown Library. The passage relating to the Cortereals is found at pages 96, 97, of this Hakluyt Society’s volume.[26]

The Chronicle of King Emanuel, by Damiano de Goes, appeared at Lisbon in 1565-1567.[27] Goes was born in 1501, and died about 1573. He was employed in the diplomatic service of Portugal in Flanders, Denmark, and other countries, and travelled extensively. Galvano considered him, as a traveller, worthy of mention in his work, and says that he visited England, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Muscovy, and Norway. “He did see, speake, and was conuersant with all the kings, princes, nobles, and chiefe cities of all Christendome in the space of 22 yeeres (occupied in the work); so that by reason of the greatnes of his trauell I thought him a man woorthie to be here remembred.”[28] He became[15] afterward historiographer of Portugal, and was placed in charge of the public archives. But he fell under the ban of the Inquisition, and died in obscurity. His account of the Cortereals, which is clear and of great value, from the learning of the writer and from his excellent opportunities to inform himself, is given in the sixty-seventh chapter of the first part of the Chronicle, at pp. 87, 88.[29]

Hieronymus Osorius (as his name is Latinized), the Bishop of Silves,—known sometimes as the Portuguese Cicero, from the elegance of his style,—published his De rebus Emmanuelis in 1571.[30] He was born in 1506, and lived until 1580. His writings include treatises on philosophy and theology, as well as works of history. In the Chronicle, under date of 1503, he gives a full account of the Cortereal voyages, including the search expedition sent out by the King that year, and the proposition of the eldest brother to equip a new exploration. The story may be found at p. 63 of the edition of 1586.

Oscar Peschel and Friedrich Kunstmann, in Germany, used these Portuguese authorities freely in their accounts of the Cortereals. Peschel’s book, an excellent one, Geschichte des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen, was published at Stuttgart in 1858, and went to a second edition in 1877. The discoveries of the Portuguese are treated in the ninth chapter of the second book.[31] Kunstmann’s work, of great learning and research, Die Entdeckung Amerikas, was published at Munich in 1859 by the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, as part of the centennial commemoration (March 28, 1859) of its foundation. In addition to the printed authorities, Kunstmann instituted searches among the manuscript archives at Lisbon. He had the pretended early voyage of Joâo Vaz Cortereal examined, and ascertained that there was no foundation for it.[32] He found the letter of Miguel Cortereal, written Aug. 6, 1501, to Christovâo Lopez, which has been used in the preceding narrative; and that brother’s agreement with the King, Jan. 15, 1502, by which the grant previously made to Gaspar was continued to Miguel.[33]

An excellent account of the Cortereal voyages, based largely upon Kunstmann’s researches, is given by Dr. Kohl in the fifth chapter of his Discovery of Maine.[34] At the first session of the International Congress of “Américanistes,” held at Nancy in July, 1875, M. Luciano Cordeiro, professor in the Institut at Coïmbre, presented, through M. Lucien Adam, an elaborate essay on the share of the Portuguese in the discovery of America. M. Cordeiro’s paper shows great industry and research, but it should be read with caution, as his patriotism sometimes exceeds his discretion. He looks at everything with the distorted vision of an enthusiastic lover of his native land.[35]

With Kunstmann’s Entdeckung, the Bavarian Academy published, under the care of that gentleman, Karl von Spruner, and Georg M. Thomas, an elegant atlas of thirteen maps in beautifully executed colored fac-similes. Portions of three of these maps relating to the Cortereals are given in a greatly reduced form, without the brilliant colors, by Dr. Kohl, in the Appendage to his chapter on these navigators. The first of these is a Portuguese chart, made about 1504 by an unknown hand. The southern part of Greenland is laid[16] down upon it without a name; and farther to the west appears a considerable extent of country, answering, perhaps, to parts of our Labrador and Newfoundland, which bears the name “Terra de cortte Reall.”[36] The second chart, made by Pedro Reinel at about the same period, shows only Portuguese names and gives the Portuguese flag on that part of America visited by the Cortereals. Reinel was a Portuguese pilot of eminence, who afterward entered the Spanish service. The third map, also of Portuguese origin, of about the year 1520, although its exact date and its author’s name are unknown, contains at Labrador these words: “terram istam portugalenses viderunt atamen non intraverunt” (“The Portuguese saw this country, but did not enter it”); and again at a place farther west occurs the legend: “Terram istam gaspar corte Regalis portugalensis primo invenit, et secum tulit hōīes silvestres et ursos albos. In ea est maxiā multitudo animalium et avium necnon et pescium. qui anno sequenti naufragium perpessus nunquam rediit: sic et fratri ejus micaeli anno sequenti contigit” (“This country was first discovered by Gaspar Cortereal, a Portuguese, and he brought from there wild and barbarous men and white bears. There are to be found in it plenty of animals, birds, and fish. In the following year he was shipwrecked, and did not return: the same happened to his brother Michael in the next year”).[37]

The original authorities for the early French expeditions have, unhappily, not been preserved, or they still lie hidden in some dusky receptacle, baffling all search for them. The Breton fishermen perhaps wrote no accounts of their voyages across the Atlantic; but we might hope for some authentic reports of the voyages of Denys, Aubert, and others, made under the auspices of the rich and powerful Angos. The archives of Dieppe, however, were destroyed at the bombardment of that town in 1694, and those of La Rochelle met a similar fate.

The earliest mention of these transatlantic voyages that we now find occurs in a discourse attributed to a great French captain of Dieppe, preserved in an Italian translation by Ramusio, in his collection of voyages.[38] This discourse gives a summary description of the new countries, and a very brief mention of their discoverers. From internal evidence it appears to have been written in 1539. Ramusio, in introducing it, expresses his regret that he could not ascertain the name of its author. M. Louis Estancelin published in 1832 a journal of the voyage made by Jean Parmentier to Sumatra in 1529, which corresponds so exactly with the details of a similar voyage in the great captain’s discourse as to make it evident that Parmentier was the person described by Ramusio under that title.[39] This discourse mentions the voyages of Denys and Aubert, and speaks of Verrazano as the discoverer of Norumbega. From this source other writers have generally drawn their authority for these early voyages. The Chronicle of Eusebius,[40] however, contains an account of the visit of American savages to Rouen in 1509; and there is a curious bas-relief[17] over a tomb in the Church of St. Jacques at Dieppe, in which American natives are represented.[41] Charlevoix speaks of the map which Jean Denys is said to have made.[42]

The authorities for the voyage of Verrazano are two copies of his letter, written to the King of France from Dieppe July 8, 1524, on his return from the voyage. Both of these are, however, Italian translations of the letter, the original of which does not exist. One was printed by Ramusio in 1556, in the third volume of his collection of voyages.[43] The other was found many years later in the Strozzi Library (the historical documents in which were afterward transferred to the Magliabechian, now merged in the National Library) in Florence, and was first published in 1841 by the New York Historical Society, with a translation made by Dr. J. G. Cogswell.[44] This contained a Cosmographical Appendix not in the copy printed by Ramusio. The earlier printed version was translated into English by Hakluyt for his Divers Voyages, which appeared in London in 1582, and was incorporated by him into his larger collection published in 1600.[45] Dr. Cogswell’s translation was reprinted in London by Dr. Asher in his Henry Hudson the Navigator, prepared for the Hakluyt Society in 1860.[46] Dr. Asher considers the Cosmographical Appendix a document of great importance. With this Strozzi copy there was found a letter written by one Fernando Carli from Lyons, Aug. 4, 1524, to his father in Florence, accounting for sending Verrazano’s letter, which Carli thought would interest his countrymen. This letter of Carli was first printed in 1844, with the essay of George W. Greene on Verrazano, in the Saggiatore (i. 257), a Roman journal of history and philology. Professor Greene, who was the American Consul at Rome, had been instrumental in obtaining the Verrazano letter for the New York Society, and had previously published his essay in the North American Review for October, 1837. He reprinted it in his Historical Studies. Carli’s letter may be consulted in English translations in Mr. Smith’s, Mr. Murphy’s, and Mr. Brevoort’s essays on Verrazano.


References to the voyage occur occasionally in French, English, and Spanish authors;[47] and it was not until within a few years that any doubt was thrown upon the authenticity of the narrative.

In October, 1864, Mr. Buckingham Smith, an accomplished scholar, who had been secretary of the American Legation at Madrid, read a paper upon this subject before the New York Historical Society, afterward published the same year under the title, An Inquiry into the Authenticity of Documents concerning a Discovery in North America claimed to have been made by Verrazzano. Mr. Smith’s death interrupted an enlarged and revised edition of this essay, which he was urged to prepare.[48] Mr. J. Carson Brevoort presented a paper on Verrazano, taking an opposite view, to the American Geographical Society, in 1871, which he printed three years later, entitled Verrazano the Navigator.[49] This was followed by the appearance, in 1875, of Mr. Henry C. Murphy’s The Voyage of Verrazzano, in which he makes an able plea against the genuineness of the accounts of the voyage. This book caused considerable discussion, and has been answered several times. It remains, I think, the last word on that side of the question,—except that Mr. Bancroft has omitted all notice of Verrazano in the revised edition of his History of the United States, and the editors of Appleton’s American Cyclopædia seem to adopt Mr. Murphy’s conclusions. Mr. Murphy’s book was reviewed by Harrisse in the Revue critique for Jan. 1, 1876, and his conclusions were accepted with some reserve. It was noticed unfavorably by Mr. Major in the London Geographical Magazine (iii. 186) for July, 1876 (copied from the Pall Mall Gazette of May 26, 1876), and by the Rev. B. F. De Costa in the American Church Review of the same date. In 1878-1879 papers on this subject by De Costa appeared in the Magazine of American History, which were afterward collected and revised by their author, and issued, with the title, Verrazano the Explorer, in 1881. This work contains an exhaustive bibliography of the subject, to which reference should be made.[50] In this same year, 1881, M. Cornelio Desimoni, vice-president of the “Società Ligure di Storia Patria,” printed in the fifteenth volume of the Atti of that Society a second Studio on Verrazano, in which he takes strong ground in favor of the genuineness of the voyage. This essay had been presented to the third congress of “Américanistes,” which met at Brussels in 1879. M. Desimoni had previously contributed to the Archivio Storico Italiano for August, 1877, an article upon this navigator,[51] but was able to review Mr. Murphy’s book only from notices he had seen of it. In a note at the end of his paper he states that he had procured a copy, and, so far from finding any reason to modify the views he had expressed, he thought that he could find in Mr. Murphy’s essay additional arguments for the authenticity of the voyage. The second Studio was followed by what M. Desimoni modestly calls a Third Appendix (the Studio having two Appendices printed with it). This is a paper of considerable importance, as it contains the reproduction of the map of which I shall speak later.[52]

Hieronimo da Verrazano, the brother of the navigator, made about 1529 a large mappamundi, on which the discoveries of Giovanni are laid down.[53] This map is preserved in the Borgiano Museum of the College “di Propaganda Fide” in Rome. It is not certain that the map is an original; and it was first mentioned by Von Murr in his Behaim, Gotha, 1801, p. 28, referring to a letter of Cardinal Borgia of Jan. 31, 1795, regarding it. It[19] was again referred to in Millin’s Magazin encyclopédique, vol. lxviii. (1807); but general attention was first directed to it by M. Thomassy in 1852, in a communication published in the Nouvelles Annales des Voyages.[54] Mr. Brevoort[55] has given a description of it, which he prepared from two photographs, much reduced in size, made for the American Geographical Society in 1871. These photographs were not large enough nor sufficiently distinct to allow the names of places on the American coast to be read. This North American section of the map was first given with the names by Dr. De Costa, who had made a careful examination of the original during a visit to Rome, in the Magazine of American History for August, 1878.[56]

This map is not dated; but the following legend, placed at the position of Verrazano’s discoveries, fixes the date for 1529: “Verrazana sive nova gallia quale discoprì 5 anni fa giovanni da verrazano fiorentino per ordine e Comandamento del Cristianissimo Re di Francia” (“Verrazana, or New Gaul, which was discovered five years ago by Giovanni di Verrazano, of Florence, by the order and command of the most Christian King of France”).

One of the most interesting of the maps which show the traces and influence of Verrazano’s voyage is the copper globe known as the globe of Ulpius, from its maker, Euphrosynus Ulpius, constructed (as appears by an inscription on it) in 1542. This was found in Spain by the late Buckingham Smith, and bought for the New York Historical Society in 1859 by Mr. John D. Wolfe. Mr. Smith prepared a paper on this globe, which was printed, with a map of the portion relating to North America, in the Historical Magazine in 1862.[57] Dr. De Costa published, in the Magazine of American History for January, 1879, an excellent account of the globe of Ulpius, with a representation of one hemisphere, which, he says, “without being a fac-simile, is nevertheless sufficiently correct for historical purposes, and may be relied upon.”[58] On this globe, between Florida and the “Regio Baccalearum,” we find this inscription, covering a large extent of territory: “Verrazana sive Nova Gallia a Verrazano Florentino comperta anno Sal MD.” (“Verrazana, or New Gaul, discovered by Verrazano the Florentine, in the year of Salvation MD.”). It will be observed that the date has been left incomplete.

Other maps showing traces of Verrazano’s voyage are enumerated by Kohl, Brevoort, and De Costa, the account by the last-named being the latest, and perhaps the most complete.[59]

The controversy about this letter and voyage of Verrazano has excited so much interest, that it is well to give a concise summary of Mr. Murphy’s objections to the genuineness of the voyage, and to consider with equal brevity some of the replies to these objections, and the additional evidence for the support of the narrative which has been discovered since the date of Mr. Murphy’s essay.

The conclusions which Mr. Murphy seeks to establish are set forth in the following brief:—

“That the letter, according to the evidence upon which its existence is predicated, could not have been written by Verrazzano; that the instrumentality of the King of France in any such expedition of discovery as therein described is unsupported by the history of that country, and is inconsistent with the acknowledged acts of Francis and his successors, and therefore incredible; and that its description of the coast and some of the physical characteristics of the people and of the country[20] are essentially false, and prove that the writer could not have made them from his own personal knowledge and experience, as pretended; and, in conclusion, it will be shown that its apparent knowledge of the direction and extent of the coast was derived from the exploration of Estévan Gomez, a Portuguese pilot in the service of the King of Spain; and that Verrazzano, at the time of his pretended discovery, was actually engaged in a corsairial expedition, sailing under the French flag, in a different part of the ocean.”[60]

Mr. Murphy argues, first, that the letter is not genuine, because no original has ever “been exhibited, or referred to in any contemporary or later historian as being in existence; and, although it falls within the era of modern history, not a single fact which it professes to describe relating to the fitting out of the expedition, the voyage, or the discovery, is corroborated by other testimony, whereby its genuineness might even be inferred.”[61] He considers it “highly improbable” that there could have been a French original of the letter, from which two translations were made, with an interval of twenty-seven years between them, “and yet no copy of it in French, or any memorial of its existence in that language, be known.”[62] As the Carli copy contains a Cosmographical Appendix not in the Ramusio text, Mr. Murphy assumes that Ramusio took his version from the Carli manuscript, revising it, and changing its language to suit his editorial taste. Later in his book he goes farther, and accuses Ramusio of suppressing a fact here and adding another there, to make the Verrazano narrative agree with other documents in his possession. As Carli’s letter to his father covered his copy of Verrazano’s letter, the inquiry is narrowed down to a question of the authenticity of the Carli letter. Mr. Murphy argues that this letter cannot be genuine, because it was written by an obscure person, at a great distance from the French Court, and from Dieppe (the port from which Verrazano wrote), only twenty-seven days after the date of the letter which it pretended to enclose.

Mr. Murphy, in the next division of his argument, asserts that no such voyage was made for the King of France:—

“Neither the letter, nor any document, chronicle, memoir, or history of any kind, public or private, printed or in manuscript, belonging to that period or the reign of Francis I., who then bore the crown, mentioning or in any manner referring to it, or to the voyage and discovery, has ever been found in France; and neither Francis himself, nor any of his successors, ever acknowledged or in any manner recognized such discovery, or asserted under it any right to the possession of the country; but, on the contrary, both he and they ignored it, in undertaking colonization in that region, by virtue of other discoveries made under their authority, or with their permission by their subjects.”[63]

He claims that the accounts of Verrazano’s voyage given by French historians all show internal evidence that the information was derived from Ramusio. The life of Francis I., he further says, is a complete denial of the assertion that Verrazano’s voyage was made by his direction. Francis sent out the expeditions of Cartier and of Roberval, and yet never recognized the discovery made by Verrazano. And the map, sometimes called that of Henry II. (the date of which, however, has been supposed to be some years earlier than the accession of that monarch in 1547), an official map displaying all the knowledge the French Court possessed of the American coast, is destitute of any trace of Verrazano.[64]

Mr. Murphy considers next what he calls the misrepresentations in the letter in regard to the geography of the coast. Only to one place, an island, is a name given. A very noticeable omission is that of the Chesapeake Bay, which could not have been overlooked by an explorer seeking a passage to Cathay; and not even the named island really exists: there is none on the coast answering its description.


He next undertakes to show that the letter claims the discovery of Cape Breton and the southerly coast of Newfoundland; and that Ramusio, knowing this claim to be false, “deliberately” interpolated into his text a clause to limit Verrazano’s discoveries to the point where those of the Bretons began.

Mr. Murphy argues next that “the description of the people and productions of the land [were] not made from the personal observation of the writer of the letter. What distinctively belonged to the natives is unnoticed, and what is originally mentioned of them is untrue.”[65] He thinks that all the details given of Indian manners and customs may have been copied from well-known narratives of other visits to other parts of America, and instances a source whence they may have been drawn. Fault is found with Verrazano’s letter because it neglects to mention such peculiarities of the Indians as wampum, tobacco, and, “most remarkable omission of all,” the bark canoe. The falsity of the narrative, made probable by these omissions, is rendered certain by the positive statement of a radical difference in complexion between the tribes found in different parts of the country.[66] And, again, the condition in which plants and vegetation are described is equally absurd and preposterous. And so both in the case of the color of the natives and in that of the conditions of the grapes, Ramusio, says Mr. Murphy, is obliged to alter the text of the narrative to make these stories probable.

The extrinsic evidence in support of the Verrazano discovery is next considered. As Mr. Murphy knew this evidence, it consisted of two pieces,—the Verrazano map, and the discourse of the great French sea-captain. The map was known, at the time of the printing of Mr. Murphy’s essay, only by description and by two inadequate photographs. Our present information about this map is so much greater, that Mr. Murphy’s account of it may be passed over until the map itself is described, later. The French captain’s discourse is known only in the Italian translation printed by Ramusio, and placed in his third volume, immediately after the Verrazano letter. Mr. Murphy dismisses this piece of evidence with few words. Finding in the discourse a clause relating to Verrazano, he at once concludes that Ramusio interpolated it, to make this document consistent with the letter.

A skilled advocate, after proving to his own satisfaction the falsity of a document, likes to find some genuine story which may have served the concocters of the falsehood as a model and storehouse for their lies. He wants also to complete his case by showing the motive for the forgery. This motive Mr. Murphy finds in the civic pride of Florence. All the evidence in favor of the story is traceable, he says, to Florence. As for the model and source of the letter, he discovers these in an attempt “to appropriate to a Florentine the glory which belonged to Estévan Gomez, a Portuguese pilot ... in the service of the Emperor.” He gives the voyage of Gomez in pretty full details. The landfall occurred on the coast of South Carolina. Thence he ran the coast northwardly to Cape Breton, where he turned and retraced his track as far as Florida, returning to Spain by way of Cuba. Mr. Murphy brings forward the map of Ribero, made in 1529, which he claims as an official exhibition of the discoveries of Gomez, and which he thinks was used in the construction of the Verrazano letter, because the several courses and distances run, as described in the letter, agree with similar divisions on the map.[67]

Mr. Murphy adds a concluding chapter, in which he gives the true history of the life of Verrazano, as he gathers it from authentic sources. Beyond his birth and parentage nothing is perhaps certainly known, except his career as a French corsair, under the name of Juan Florin or Florentin. In this capacity he made several rich captures from the Spanish and Portuguese, notably the treasure sent home by Cortes in 1523. Mr. Murphy thinks that a passage in a letter of the Portuguese ambassador in France, which appears to refer to preparations for a voyage of discovery about this time, is really an allusion to the proposed raid, the other being used by the French as a cloak or cover. At all events, he says, Verrazano cannot have been in two places at once,—on the coast of America, or[22] on his return from Newfoundland to France, and at the same time have taken a ship on her way from the Indies to Portugal. He cites, as authority for this alibi, a statement of the capture of a treasure ship brought by a courier from Portugal, and mentioned in a letter of Peter Martyr, dated August 3, 1524.[68] Mr. Murphy then closes with an account of the capture and execution of Florin, or Verrazano.

Mr. Murphy’s argument is an ingenious and able one; and the book, having never been published, is not within the reach of all.[69]

To the objections named in the first divisions of Mr. Murphy’s argument,—that the letter could not have been written by Verrazano, and that no such voyage or discovery was made for the King of France,—replies suggest themselves very easily. We have no originals of many important documents, and yet do not doubt their general accuracy,—the letters of Columbus and Vespucius, for instance; the original French of Ribault; and, to come closer to Mr. Murphy, where is the report of Gomez’ voyage? There is none; and its only supports are an occasional not too flattering reference in the historians, and a map made by another hand. The despised voyage of Verrazano rests upon both a personal narrative and a map, the work of a brother.[70]

Mr. Murphy himself furnishes corroborative testimony to the probable truth of Verrazano’s voyage. He cites a passage from Andrade’s Chronicle of John III., then King of Portugal. By this it appears that John learned that one “Joâo Varezano, a Florentine,” had offered to the King of France to “discover other kingdoms in the East which the Portuguese had not found, and that in the ports of Normandy a fleet was being made ready under the favor of the admirals of the coast and the dissimulation of Francis, to colonize the land of Santa Cruz, called Brazil,” etc. The Portuguese King lost no time in sending a special ambassador, João da Silveyra, to remonstrate; and Mr. Murphy prints a letter from him to his sovereign, dated April 25, 1523, in which he says: “By what I hear, Maestro Joâo Verazano, who is going on the discovery of Cathay, has not left up to this date for want of opportunity, and because of differences, I understand, between himself and men; and on this topic, though knowing nothing positively, I have written my doubts in accompanying letters. I shall continue to doubt, unless he take his departure.”[71]

His Appendix contains also the agreement made by Admiral Chabot with Verrazano and others to “equip, victual, and fit three vessels to make the voyage for spices to the Indies.” Of this expedition Verrazano was to be chief pilot. Chabot was created admiral in March, 1526, which settles the date of this agreement. All these documents Mr. Murphy is obliged to twist into attempts to cover attacks on Spanish or Portuguese commerce by pretended voyages to the West. Is it not easier to take the simple meaning which they carry on their face? This agreement with the Admiral is supported by two documents first printed by M. Harrisse.[72] In the first Giovanni appoints his brother Jerome his attorney during the voyage to the Indies; the second is an agreement with one Adam Godefroy, bourgeois of Rouen, in reference to some trading contemplated in the voyage.[73] Dr. De Costa brings forward also another document relating to Verrazano, dated “the last day of September, 1525,” found in the archives of Rouen; and M. Margry states that he has a letter written at Paris, Nov. 14, 1527, in which Verrazano is said to be preparing to visit America with five ships.[74] And here, too, a reference should be made to the visit of[23] Verrazano to England with some map or globe, as mentioned more than once by Hakluyt.[75]

There is yet hope that the original of the Verrazano letter may be discovered. Dr. De Costa thinks that he has evidence of its probable existence at one time in Spain; and also that it was used by Allefonsce in 1545,—eleven years before the publication by Ramusio.[76] There certainly seems no greater improbability in the supposition of two independent translations, Carli’s and Ramusio’s, from a single original, now lost, than in the assumption that Ramusio rewrote the Carli text and omitted the cosmographical appendix. Indeed Mr. Murphy’s charge, renewed at intervals in his essay as his theory of the fabrication of the letter requires,—that Ramusio was guilty of almost fraudulent editing,—has no foundation. The reputation of the Italian editor stands too high to be easily assailed; and as he was not a Florentine, motive for the deceit is lacking. A careful collation of the verbal differences between the versions is said to support the theory that they are separate translations of one original.[77] And M. Desimoni, presumably an exact scholar of his own language, asserts that a philological examination of the two texts shows that, if either is a rimaneggiato (worked over) copy, it is Carli’s, and not Ramusio’s.[78]

As to the genuineness of Carli’s letter to his father, the epistle contains a reference to the expected arrival of the King at Lyons, fixing its date, and giving thereby internal evidence of its reality. There is really no improbability in the statement that Verrazano had sent a copy of his letter to the Lyons merchants, and it is very easy to suppose Carli in the employ, or enjoying the friendship, of one or more of these merchants. The government of France had not been extended over the seaports long enough to make it any breach of privilege to communicate the results of a voyage to others than the King. And, as Mr. Major observes, in regard to the great distance between Dieppe and Lyons, “it would be a poor courier who could not compass that distance in twenty-seven days.”[79]


A reason for the failure of the Verrazano letter to make any impression on the French King, or to influence his subsequent action in reference to American discoveries and colonization, is found in the peculiar circumstances of Francis at this time. Engaged in constant wars, almost from the date of his accession to the throne, he was, in the summer of 1524, hurrying south to defend Provence from the attack of the Constable de Bourbon and the Marquis of Pescara, who had obtained permission of Charles V. to invade it. Many towns, the capital, Aix, among them, soon submitted to the Imperial forces; Marseilles was hotly besieged, and only relieved by the close approach of Francis with his army. Now the Queen-Mother was renamed Regent of France, and the war transferred to Italy, where, at the battle of Pavia, Feb. 24, 1525, Francis was defeated and taken prisoner. The following year was spent in captivity in Spain. On his release he at once broke his plighted faith, to renew the bitter struggle with the Emperor. For the time there could be thought or plans for nothing but war. Verrazano and his discovery were entirely forgotten at Court.


To Mr. Murphy’s objections founded on the misrepresentations of the coast geography, and the mistakes and omissions in the description of the people, contained in the letter, it is sufficient to answer that that gentleman mistakes the character of the letter, and demands more from it than he has a right to expect. “We do not quite see,” says Mr. Major, “why the first description of a country should be the only one expected to be free from imperfections.”[80] All the accounts of the early visits to this country have mixed with the general truth of the narrative more or less absurd and improbable statements. Dr. Kohl says: “It is well known that the old navigators in these western countries very often saw what they wished to see.”[81] As for the omission to notice the Chesapeake Bay, and to describe wampum, tobacco, and the bark-canoe, others besides Verrazano have been guilty of the same offence.[82]

The Verrazano letter should be regarded, not as an exact, well-digested report of the voyage (such as a modern explorer might make), but rather as the first hasty announcement to the King of his return and of the success of the voyage. It should be remembered also that mention is made in it of a “little book,” called by Dr. Kohl “the most precious part of what Verrazano wrote respecting his voyage,”[83] wherein were noted the observations of longitude and latitude, of the currents, ebb and flood of the sea, and of other matters which he hoped might be serviceable to navigators. These and other notes were doubtless used by the brother, Hieronimo, in making his map, and the abundance of names displayed on that map is a reply to Mr. Murphy’s objection that the letter contains but one name,—the Island of Louise.

I shall enumerate the authorities for the voyage of Gomez later in this essay; but as Mr. Murphy finds in it the source of the forged Verrazano letter, something must be said of it here. First, it is to be noticed that while Mr. Murphy refuses the narrative of Verrazano’s voyage utterly, he finds no difficulty in accepting one of Gomez’ which is to a great degree of his own (Murphy’s) construction. Dr. Kohl and other scholars have found it impossible to decide with any certainty as to the extent and direction of this voyage. Mr. Murphy presents us with full details,—a landfall in South Carolina; a coasting voyage to the north as far as Cape Breton, a careful observation on the return of rivers, capes, and bays; a temporary belief that he had found the strait he was seeking in the Penobscot, or “Rio de los Gamos,” on account of the great tide issuing from it, and a return to Spain by way of Cuba. The authorities cited in support of these statements are Peter Martyr’s Decades, Herrera, and Cespedes’ Yslario general,—the last in manuscript. The extracts from Martyr and Herrera I have reserved for another part of this chapter.[84] They do not support Mr. Murphy’s details. The Cespedes manuscript was the subject of some remarks by Mr. Buckingham Smith before the New York Historical Society, briefly reported in the Historical Magazine.[85] Mr. Smith had not been able to find this manuscript, but understood that it contained a full account of the voyage of Gomez. Mr. Murphy’s note shows that he knew of its existence in the National Library at Madrid. The director of that library has examined this manuscript at the request of Harrisse, and has not found in it any report of the voyage of Gomez by the navigator, nor does it contain any detailed account of the expedition. There is a reference which shows, perhaps, that Cespedes had seen one of Gomez’ writings.[86]

The attempt to derive the Verrazano letter from the voyage of Gomez is called by Mr. Major the “climax of the series of Mr. Murphy’s constructive imputations.”[87] His elaborate comparison of the courses of Verrazano with similar divisions on Ribero’s map is open to serious question. There are no such divisions on the map. He argues from a knowledge of the two extreme terms of Verrazano’s voyage, and neglects the intermediate term, the latitude of the harbor where the explorers spent fifteen days, doubtless the most accurate latitude taken. And even at the close of his comparison he allows that the latitudes of Ribero’s map are wrong, and says that the map does not give a faithful representation of the voyage of Gomez. It does not give by name the “Rio de los Gamos” which[25] Cespedes says Gomez discovered, although that estuary was already drawn, in the same form given to it by Ribero, on the earlier Weimar map of 1527, which map omits the name of Gomez altogether.[88]

The passage from one of Peter Martyr’s letters, which Mr. Murphy cites to prove that Verrazano was capturing a Portuguese vessel at the time when the letter claimed him as making discoveries, is not very conclusive. Mr. Major thinks that there was time for him to have run down from Dieppe, after his return to that port, to the coast of Portugal, attracted by so rich a game as one hundred and eighty thousand ducats. But Martyr’s statement is indefinite. There are no particulars of time or place, when or where the treasure was taken. It is not even certain that the news brought by the courier was more than a rumor. Martyr’s language is: “Ad aliud hac, iter fecit regis Portugalliæ cursor, quod Florinus pyrata Gallus nauim regi suo raptauerit ab Indis venientem, qua merces vehebãtur gemmarum et aromatum ad ducatorum centum octoginta millium summam conqueritur.”[89]

The map of Hieronimo da Verrazano is without doubt the strongest support of the letter and voyage of his brother Giovanni. That these persons were brothers appears from a document dated May 11, 1526, whereby the navigator constitutes “Jarosme de Varasenne, son frère et heritier,” his attorney to act for him during a proposed voyage to the Indies. This paper, first printed by M. Harrisse in 1876, is signed “Janus Verrazanus.” Dr. De Costa gives a fac-simile of this signature,—here reproduced,—the only known autograph of Verrazano.[90]

Mr. Brevoort gives perhaps the best description of the map, and I condense the following from his account of it. The map is on three sheets of parchment, pasted together, and is 260 centimetres long and 130 wide (about 102 inches by 51), its length being just double the width. It is well preserved, somewhat stained; but no part, except coast-names, is indistinct. Its projection is the simple cylindrical square one, in which all the degrees of latitude are made equal to each other and to the equatorial ones. Like other maps of its period, it has the equator drawn below the middle of the map, and shows 90° of latitude north, and 64° south of it. In breadth it represents about 320° of longitude. There is no graduation for longitude; but the meridians that cross the centres and sides of the two great circles of windroses appear to be drawn seventy degrees apart. There is the usual network of cross-lines radiating from windroses, with one great central rose in north latitude 16°. From the centre of each rose thirty-two lines are drawn to the points of the compass, and these lines are prolonged to the margin of the map. One meridian is divided into degrees of latitude of equal size, each one numbered. Close to the upper margin there is a small scale, with a legend explaining that from point to point there are twelve and a half leagues, each of four miles. The scale is equal to eighteen degrees of latitude in length, and is subdivided into six parts, each having four divisions or points.



A fac-simile of the engraving given by Brevoort, sufficient for a general outline.


Mr. Brevoort next gives a careful account of the representation of different parts of the world upon this map. Passing somewhat rapidly over the eastern hemisphere, which appears to be generally drawn from the most recent authorities, he takes up the western in some detail. The latitudes of the map are wrong; all the West India Islands are placed several degrees too high, thus forcing northward all other places. Verrazano’s landfall, for instance, is here indicated at about 42°, instead of 34°, as stated in the letter. With this correction the map shows the American coast with some approach to accuracy. Three French standards[91] are placed (according to Brevoort) on the territory claimed as Verrazano’s discovery,—one at the southern and one at the northern limit, with the third at the place where the explorers spent fifteen days. Over these three flags appears the inscription, in capital letters, “NOVA GALLIA SIVE IUCATANET,” and the legend, already cited, “VERRAZANA SIVE NOVA GALLIA,” etc.

Mr. Brevoort has industriously collected the scanty references to this map after it became the property of Cardinal Borgia, with whose collection it was bequeathed to the Propaganda in 1804; but he has been unable to discover the time when the Cardinal procured it, and the source whence it came to his collection. Nothing, indeed, is known of its early history.[92]

Dr. De Costa devotes a chapter of his book to the map of Hieronimo. After showing that the map-maker and the navigator were brothers, he proceeds to consider the genesis of the map, and finds the beginning of its North American portion in the Lorraine map, published in the Ptolemy of 1513. The latitudes of the Verrazano map are recognized as erroneous, and the observer is warned to disregard them. “When this is done, the student will have no difficulty in recognizing the outlines of the North Atlantic coast. For general correctness, the delineation is not equalled by any map of the sixteenth century.” Prominent places are identified and named.

The influence of this map upon subsequent ones is next considered, and a long list of maps showing this influence is cited. Dr. De Costa adds to the value of his discussion by giving tracings from several of these maps, with fac-similes of the Verrazano map, and an enlarged drawing of its coast-line.[93] But the strong point of his chapter, and that for which he deserves the greatest credit, is the publication of a sketch of Verrazano’s coast of the United States, with the names of places attached. These names he deciphered from the original map during a late visit to Rome. They are, of course, of the greatest value in any future study of the map. Dr. De Costa enters somewhat into a study of these names.[94]

M. Desimoni, while generally acknowledging his indebtedness to Dr. De Costa’s work, and praising that gentleman’s scholarship and research, could not accept all his inferences in the matter of the names, and doubted some of his readings. He therefore caused a fresh examination of the map to be made, through the kind and learned services of Dr. Giacomo Lumbroso and Canon Fabiani. He prints, in the Appendix to his Studio secondo on Verrazano, in parallel columns, the variations from De Costa’s readings. The great difficulty and doubt attending the deciphering words, particularly names, in old documents and maps, is well known to all who have attempted such work.[95]

A discovery made lately at Milan brings out a new map, and one of great value in the discussion of Verrazano’s voyage. M. Desimoni, on his return to Genoa from the Geographical Congress held at Venice in September, 1881, stopped at Milan, where he visited the Ambrosian Library to consult some maps. He was there told by the prefetto, the Abbé Ceriani, that a map by Vesconte Maggiolo, hitherto supposed to bear the date of 1587, and therefore to have been the work of one of the second generation of this family of map-makers, was really dated 1527. By comparing the legend on this map with[28] one of similar form and writing on a map of 1524, it could be seen that the numeral 2 in the first map had become an 8 by lengthening the curves of the figure until they were finally joined. This appeared to have been done with ink of a paler color. M. Desimoni reproduces the two legends, to show the process.[96] He finds also certain peculiarities in the map, supposed of 1587, which prove that it must belong to the first decades of the century, and therefore entertains no doubt of the correctness of the change in the date.

Fresh from studies of early American voyages, M. Desimoni examined the North American portion of this map, particularly the coast, with as great care as his limited time and the poor condition of the parchment permitted. He was not a little surprised to find that the coast bore names closely related both to the Verrazano and to other maps whose source is yet undiscovered. He made a copy of the names, and afterward submitted his work to Signor Carlo Prayer, of Milan, who verified it, and also furnished as perfect a copy as it was possible to make of the names, and a sketch of the whole coast. This was reproduced by M. Desimoni to illustrate a paper prepared for the Società Ligure di’ Storia Patria.

This map measures about seventy-five centimetres in length by about fifty in width,—about 29½ inches by 19½. Its legend reads: “Vesconte de Maiollo conposuy hanc cartam in Janua anno d̄ny. 1527, die xx Decenbris.” The place occupied in the Verrazano map by the title Nova Gallia, etc., and the legend about Verrazano’s discovery, bears in this map the name Francesca, to indicate exactly a name for the whole region.

There is no mention of Verrazano by name in this map, but there is ample evidence of a connection between Maggiolo’s map and that of Hieronimo da Verrazano; very probably, M. Desimoni thinks, through the intervention or medium of some chart or charts yet unknown. The Maggiolo map has a reference to Florence, Verrazano’s birthplace, in the names of “Valle unbrosa” (Vallambrosa), “Careggi,” etc.; references to France and Francis in such names as “Anguileme,” “Longavilla,” “Normanvilla,” “Diepa,” “San Germano,” and others, particularly “Luisa,” applied to an island. The map is connected with Verrazano’s, not only by this name, but by a great number which the two have in common. It is true that these names are not always applied to the same positions on the two maps: “Luisa” is a squarish island on the Maggiolo map, and a triangular one on the other, and in the letter. The latitudes of Maggiolo’s map are different. Florida is placed as far south as the tropic. There is naturally some diversity in the general direction of the coast, and in the distances from place to place. But the substantial points are equivalent, if not identical. We have the Nova Gallia in its equivalent, Francesca; the same allusions in the names to Tuscany, France, Dieppe; and an identity in the names of three very important places,—“Luisa,” the port of refuge, and the attempt to show Cape Cod.

M. Desimoni examines again the map of Gastoldo, first published in the Ptolemy of 1548, inserted later in Ramusio’s third volume, and the globe known as the globe of Ulpius, already mentioned here. Both contain names that appear on the Verrazano map; but an examination shows that both contain names not on that map, and each contains at least one name not on the other. All these names are found on the map of Maggiolo; and M. Desimoni concludes his paper with a table in four parallel columns, in which a careful comparison is given of the nomenclature of four maps,—the Maggiolo of 1527, the Verrazano of 1529, the Ulpius globe of 1542, and the Gastoldo of 1548.[97]

The earliest mention of the voyage of Gomez is found in Oviedo’s Sumario, which was published at Toledo in 1526.[98] It is there stated (folio xiv, verso) that Gomez returned in[29] November from a voyage begun the year before (1524, which we now know is an error); that he had found in the north “a greate parte of lande continuate from that which is caued Baccaleos, discoursynge towarde the West to the xl. and xli. degree [et puesta en quarenta grados y xli, et assi algo mas y algo menos], frō whense he brought certeyn Indians,” etc.[99]

Peter Martyr’s Decades were published in a complete edition at Alcala in 1530,[100] and his Letters appeared also that same year from the same press.[101] He speaks thus of Gomez in the Decades: “It is also decreed that one Stephanus Gomez, who also himselfe is a skillful navigator, shal goe another way, whereby, betweene the Baccalaos and Florida, long since our countries, he saith he will finde out a waye to Cataia: one onely shippe, called a Caruell, is furnished for him, and he shall haue no other thing in charge then to search out whether any passage to the great Chan, from out the diuers windings and vast compassings of this our Ocean, were to be founde.”[102]

And later he narrates the return of the expedition, its failure to find the strait (declaring his own opinion that Gomez’ “imaginations were vaine and frivolous”), and tells the story about the mistake of cloves and slaves.[103] In a letter written in August, 1524, he speaks also of the voyage of Gomez, but I find no mention of his return in that publication.[104]

Gomara devotes a short chapter to Gomez. He says that his purpose was to find a northern passage, but that he failed; and so, loading his ship with slaves, returned home. He also relates the clove anecdote.[105]

Herrera gives an account of Gomez and his voyage. He says: “Corriò por toda aquella costa hasta la Florida, gran trecho de Tierra lo que hasta entonces, por otros Navios Castellanos, no estaba navegado, aunque Sebastian Gaboto, Juan Verraçano, i otros lo havian navegado.... Desde la Florida, atravesò à la Isla de Cuba, i fue à dar al Puerto de Santiago, adonde se refrescò, i le regalò Andrès de Duero, por lo qual el Rei le mostrò agradecimiento, bolviò à Castilla i aportò à la Coruña diez meses despues que saliò de aquel Puerto,” etc.[106] “He ran along that whole coast as far as Florida,—a great stretch of land which, up to that time, had not been traversed by other Spanish ships, although Sebastian Cabot, John Verrazano, and others had sailed along it.... From Florida he passed to the island of Cuba, and entered the port of Santiago, where he refreshed, and Andrès de Duero regaled him, for which the King showed gratitude. He returned to Castille, and landed at Corunna ten months after he had sailed from that port,” etc.

Galvano, in his account of the voyage, appears to make Gomez sail along the American coast from south to north; while Herrera, it will have been observed, reverses this direction.[107] The testimony of Cespedes has already been considered.[108] Dr. Kohl, in his Discovery of Maine, gives a good account of Gomez’ voyage, based on careful study of the authorities.[109]


The mutinous conduct of Gomez in the fleet of Magellan is related by Pigafetta, who accompanied that expedition, and kept a diary, from which he afterward made up an account of the voyage. One of the copies of this, which existed only in manuscript, was given to Louisa, mother of Francis I. of France, who employed Jacques Antoine Fabre to translate it into French. He made in preference an abridgment of the account, and this was published at Paris in 1525.[110]

For the opinion that a northern passage through America could be discovered somewhere between Florida and the Baccalaos, Navarrete’s work may be consulted.[111] He gives among his documents the letter of the King commanding the attendance of Dornelos;[112] the agreement with Agramonte in 1511, and his commission as captain of the expedition,[113] and the grant to De Ayllon.[114] He has found also the appointment of Gomez as pilot just before the sailing of his expedition, Feb. 10, 1525.[115]

The Agreement of Gomez with the Emperor for the voyage is printed in full in the Documentos ineditos.[116] Hernando Cortes’ letter about the existence of the northern passage may be consulted in an English translation in Mr. Folsom’s Despatches of Cortes.[117]

The discoveries of Gomez are laid down upon a map[118] of the world made, at the command of the Emperor, in 1529 by Diego Ribero, a well-known cosmographer, who had been sent to the Congress of Badajos as one of the Spanish experts.

On a large section of this coast extending from Cape Breton westward about three hundred leagues to a point where the land bends to the south, is the legend: “Tierra de Estevan Gomez la qual descubrio por mandado de su magt nel anno de 1525 ay en ella muchos arboles y fructas de los de españa y muchos rodovallos y salmones y sollos: no han allado oro.” (“The Country of Stephen Gomez, which he discovered at the command of his Majesty, in the year 1525. There are here many trees and fruits similar to those in Spain, and many walruses and salmon, and fish of all sorts. Gold they have not found.”)[119] This is supposed to have been drawn from the reports of Gomez, and to contain his coast-lines and the names which he gave to places.

Oviedo wrote in 1537 a description of the American coast from a map made by Alonzo de Chaves the year before. He frequently cites Gomez as his authority for the names of places, etc. This part of Oviedo’s work remained in manuscript until its publication by the Academy of Madrid in 1852. Dr. Kohl enters into an elaborate commentary of this description by Oviedo, and the Chaves map, of which not even a copy has come down to our times.[120]

The books of André Thevet which contain the accounts of his visit to this country are the Singularitez de la France antarctique and the Cosmographie universelle.[121] Besides[31] these works Thevet published an account of his journey to the East, Cosmographie du Levant, at Lyons, in 1554, and a series of portraits and lives of great men, ancient and modern, in two volumes, at Paris, in 1584. He left also several manuscripts, which are now preserved in the National Library at Paris.

The Singularitez passed to a second edition,[122] and was translated into Italian by Giuseppe Horologgi,[123] and into English[124] by M. Hacket. A reprint of the original edition was published at Paris in 1878, with notes, and a biographical preface by M. Paul Gaffarel of Dijon.

The Cosmographie was not reprinted, nor was it, so far as I know, translated into any other language. In the Magazine of American History for February, 1882, however, Dr. De Costa published a translation of the part of the book which relates to New England.

It seems quite probable that Thevet never made the voyage along the American coast of which he pretends to give an account. He gives nothing at all from Florida to what he calls the River of Norumbega, and is generally very indefinite in all his statements. He may easily have taken his stories from other travellers’ books, and it is known he used Cartier and others; and indeed he is said to have been ill nearly all the time of his stay in Brazil, and to have scarcely stirred out of the island where the fort was, waiting for the ship to make ready for home.

Thevet’s reputation for veracity is poor, particularly among his contemporaries. Jean de Léry, who was one of the party which went out to Villegagnon, in response to his appeal for Protestant ministers in 1556, after Thevet’s return home, wrote an account of the Brazil enterprise. This, first published at La Rochelle in 1578, passed through several editions. The preface of the second edition is occupied with an exposure of the “errors and impostures” of Thevet, and that of the fifth edition contains more matter of the same kind. De Léry calls Thevet “impudent menteur,” and speaks of his books as “vieux haillons et fripperies.” Again he says, “Il fait des contes prophanes, ridicules, pueriles, et mensonges pour tous ses escrits.” Possibly some allowance may be made for the odium theologicum of the writer, a Calvinist, disputing with a monk; and it may be remembered that both had been disappointed in any hopes they had entertained of the conversion of the Indians, through the treachery of Villegagnon.

Belleforest and Fumée have also written in harsh terms about Thevet. De Thou, a historian of far more dignified and impartial character than these others, is nearly as abusive. He says: “Il s’appliqua par une ridicule vanité à écrire des livres, qu’il vendait[32] à des misérables libraires: après avoir compilé des extraits de différents auteurs, il y ajoutait tout ce qu’il trouvait dans les guides des chemins et autres livres semblables qui sont entre les mains du peuple. Ignorant au-delà de ce qu’on peut imaginer, il mettait dans ses livres l’incertain pour le certain, et le faux pour le vrai, avec une assurance étonnante.”[125]

Even Thevet’s latest editor, M. Gaffarel, is forced to begin his notice of the monk by allowing that he was not “un de ces écrivans de premier ordre, qui, par la sûreté de leur critique, le charme de leur style, ou l’intérét de leurs écrits commandent l’admiration à leurs contemporains, et s’imposent à la postérité. Il passait, au contraire, même de son temps, pour ne pas avoir un jugement très sur,” etc. M. Gaffarel claims for Thevet the credit of introducing tobacco into France, and hopes that this may balance the imperfections of his books.

Dr. Kohl gave some credence to Thevet’s narrative, but admits that he is “not esteemed as a very reliable author.” Still, he translated the account of his visit to Penobscot Bay, and inserted it entire in his Discovery of Maine.[126] Dr. De Costa in 1870 criticised this view of Dr. Kohl.[127]

Note.—Harrisse, in his recent Discovery of North America (p. 234), cites for the first time a long passage about Gomez’s voyage from the Islario of Alonso de Santa Cruz, preserved in the Imperial Library at Vienna, and finds it to be the source whence Cespedes (see ante, p. 24) drew his language; and in it he finds somewhat uncertain proof that Gomez went as far north as the entrance of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and corrected some cartographical notions respecting those waters. A map showing Gomez’s discoveries is attached to the Islario, and Harrisse gives this map in fac-simile.






THE Editor has elsewhere[128] referred to the great uncertainty attending the identification of minor coast localities in the earliest maps. The most trustworthy interpreters recognize two important canons,—namely, that cartographical names during a long series of years, and at an era of exploration forerunning settlements, are always suspicious and often delusive, as Professor Bache has pointed out in the Coast Survey Report for 1855 (p. 10); and that direction is likely to be right, and distance easily wrong, as Humboldt has explained. Nothing is more seductive than to let a spirit of dogmatism direct in the interpretation of the early maps, and there is no field of research in which predisposition to belief may lead one so wrongly. It was largely in the spirit of finding what they sought, that the early map-makers fashioned their charts; and their interpretation depends quite as much on geographical views current in those days as upon geographical facts patent in these days.

The study of early American cartography may be said to have begun with Humboldt; and in this restricted field no one has since rendered greater service than Dr. Kohl.[129] Mr. Brevoort, not without justice, calls him “the most able comparative geographer of our day.”[130] The labor which Dr. Kohl performed took expression not only in his publications, but also in the collection of copies of early maps which he formed and annotated for the United States Government twenty-five years ago. His later printed books, using necessarily much of the same material, may be riper from longer experience; but the Washington Collection, as he formed it, is still valuable, and deserves to be better known. It belongs to the Department of State, and consists of not far from four hundred maps, following printed and manuscript originals. They are carefully and handsomely executed, but with little attempt at reproduction in fac-simile. By favor of the Secretary of State, and through the interest of Theodore F. Dwight, Esq., the librarian of that department, the collection has been intrusted to the Editor for use in the present work and for the preparation of an annotated calendar of the maps which will be printed by Harvard University.



Besides this collection in the State Department (which cost the Government nearly $6,000), the Reports of the United States Coast-Survey[131] describe three other collections, accompanied by descriptive texts, which he made for that office, and which he proposed to call collectively “The Hydrographic Annals of the United States.” They repeat many of the maps belonging to the State Department Collection. These supplemental collections are,—

1. On the eastern coast of the United States, giving copies of 41 maps; the titles of 155 surveys of the coast between 1612 and 1851; a list of 291 works on the early explorations of the coast; and an historical memoir on such voyages, from the Northmen down.

2. On the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico falling within the United States, giving copies of 48 maps from 1500 to 1846; the titles of 58 surveys (exclusive of those of the United[35] States), between 1733 and 1851; a list of 221 books and manuscripts on the explorations since 1524; and an historical memoir of the explorations between 1492 and 1722.[132]

3. On the west coast of the United States, giving a bibliography of 230 titles.

There is another historical memoir by Dr. Kohl, with other copies of the maps of the west coast, in the Library of the American Antiquarian Society at Worcester, Mass.; and this also has been in the temporary custody of the Editor.[133] At the time of his death Dr. Kohl was occupied with the preparation of a history of the Search for a Northwest Passage, from Cortes to Franklin, of which only a fragment appeared in the Augsburg periodical, Ausland. It was a theme which would naturally have embraced the whole extent of his knowledge of early American discovery and cartography.[134]

The best printed enumeration of maps of the eastern coast of North America is given by Harrisse for the earlier period in his Cabots, and for a later period in his Notes sur la Nouvelle France.

PORTUGUESE CHART, 1503 (after Kohl).

The map of La Cosa (1500) still remains the earliest of these delineations, and a heliotype of it is given in another volume.[135] Harrisse has lately claimed the discovery in Italy of a Portuguese chart of 1502, showing the coast from the Gulf of Mexico to about the region of the Hudson River, which bears coast names in twenty-two places; but the full publication of the facts has not yet been made;[136] and there is no present means of ascertaining what relation it bears to a large manuscript map of the world, of Portuguese origin, preserved in the Archives at Munich, of which a part is herewith sketched from Dr. Kohl’s copy, and to which he gives the conjectural date of 1503.


Dr. Kohl also reproduces it in part in his Discovery of Maine, p. 174, where he dates it 1504. His two copies vary, in that the engraved one seems to make the east and west coast-line from “Cabo de Conception” the determinate one, while his manuscript copy gives the completed character to the other line. It is held to record the results of Cortereal’s voyage, and shows in Greenland a more correct outline than any earlier chart. The other coast seems to be Labrador and Newfoundland run into one. Peschel (Geschichte des Zeitalters der Entdeckungen, p. 331) puts the date 1502 or 1503. The present Cape Freels, on the Newfoundland coast, is thought to be a corruption of “Frey Luis,”—here given to an island. (Cf. Kunstmann, Die Entdeckung Amerikas, pp. 69, 128.) Harrisse (Cabots, p. 161) speaks of Kunstmann’s referring it to “Salvat de Pilestrina,” and thinks that the author may be “Salvat[ore] de Palastrina” of Majorca. Lelewel also gives in his Géographie du Moyen-Âge (plate 43) a map of importance in this connection, which he dates 1501-1504, and which seems to be very like a combination of the two Ptolemy maps of 1513. The Reinel Chart of 1505 has been referred to in the preceding text.[137]

The Catalogue of the Library of Parliament (Canada), 1858, p. 1614, gives what purports to be a copy of a “Carte de l’embouchure du St. Laurent faite et dressée sur une écorce de bois de Vouleau, envoyée du Canada par Jehan Denys, 1508.” Shea also mentions it in his Charlevoix, i. 106, with a reference to Ramusio’s third volume. Mr. Ben: Perley Poore, in his Documents collected in France, in the Massachusetts Archives, says he searched for the original of this map at Honfleur without success. Harrisse, Cabots, p. 250, says no such map is to be found in the Paris Archives; and a tracing being supplied from Canada, he pronounces it “absolument apocryphe,” with a nomenclature of the last century. Bancroft (United States, edition of 1883, i. 14) still, however, acknowledges a map of Denys of this date.

The question of the duration of the belief in the Asiatic connection of North America naturally falls into connection with the volume[138] of this work devoted to the Spanish discoveries. We may refer briefly to a type of map represented by the Lenox globe[139] (1510-1512), the Stobnicza map[140] (1512), the so-called Da Vinci sketch[141] (1512-1515), the Sylvanus map in the Ptolemy of 1511, the Ptolemy of 1513, the Schöner, or Frankfort, globe of 1515,[142] the Schöner globe of 1520,[143] the Münster map of 1532,[144] and even so late a representation as the Honter mappamundi of 1542, reproduced in 1552 and 1560. This type represents a solitary island, or a strip of an unknown shore, sometimes joined with the island, lying in the North Atlantic. The name given to this land is Baccalaos, or Corterealis, or some equivalent form of those words, and their coasts represent the views which the voyages of the Cabots and Cortereals had established. West and southwest of this the ocean flowed uninterruptedly, till you came to the region of Florida and its northern extension. The Portuguese seem to have been the first to surmise a continental connection to this region, in a portolano which is variously dated from 1514 to 1520, and whose legends have been quoted in the preceding text.[145]


The Portuguese claim of explorations in this region by Alvarez Fagundes in 1521, or later, is open to question. If a map which is brought forward by C. A. de Bettencourt, in his Descobrimentos dos Portuguezes em terras do ultramar nos seculos xv e xvi, published at Lisbon in 1881-1882, represents the knowledge of a time anterior to Cartier, it implies an acquaintance with this region more exact than we have other evidence of. The annexed sketch of that map follows a colored fac-simile entitled, “Fac-simile de uma das cartas do atlas de Lazaro Luiz,” which is given by Bettencourt. The atlas in which it occurs was made in 1563, though the map is supposed to record the explorations of João Alvarez Fagundes, under an authority from King Manoel, which was given in 1521. Harrisse in his Cabots (p. 277) indicates the very doubtful character of this Portuguese claim.



The information concerning the Baccalaos region, which was the basis of these Portuguese charts, seems also to have been known, in part at least, a few years later to Hieronymus Verrazano, and Ribero, though the former contracted and the latter closed up the passages by the north and south of Newfoundland. The chart usually ascribed to Fernando Columbus[146] closely resembles that of Ribero. Of the Verrazano map sufficient has been said in the preceding text; but it may not be amiss to trace more fully the indications there given of its effect upon subsequent cartography, so far as it established a prototype for a great western sea only[38] separated at one point from the Atlantic by a slender isthmus. Mr. Brevoort (Verrazano, p. 5) is of the opinion that the idea of the Western Sea originated with Oviedo’s Sumario of 1526.

RIBERO, 1529.

The key is as follows:—

1. Esta tierra descubrierô los Ingleses, Tiera del Labrador.

2. Tiera de los Bacallaos, la qual descubrieron los corte reales.

3. Tiera de Esteva Gomez la qual descubrio por mandado de su. mag. el año de 1525, etc.

There are several early copies of this map. Harrisse describes the Weimar copy as having on “Tiera del Labrador” the words, “Esta tierra descubrieron los Ingleses no ay en ella cosa de pronecho.” Thomassy says the Propagande copy indicates the discovery of Labrador by the English of Bristol. See Vol. III. pp. 16, 24, and a note in chap. ix. of the present volume. The Ribero contour of the eastern coast long prevailed as a type. We find it in the Venice map of 1534, of which there is a fac-simile in Stevens’s Notes, and in the popular Bellero map of 1554 (in use for many years), and, with little modification, in so late a chart as Hood’s in 1592. It was held to for the coast between Florida and Nova Scotia long after better knowledge prevailed of the more northern regions. It was evidently the model of the map published by the Spanish Government in 1877 in the Cartas de Indias.

Reference has already been made to the map of Maggiollo, or Maiollo (1527), which Desimoni has brought forward, and of which a fac-simile of his sketch is reproduced on page 39. The sea will be here observed with the designation, “Mare Indicum.” Dr. De Costa showed a large photograph of it at a meeting of the New York Historical Society, May, 1883, pointing out that the name “Francesca” gave Verrazano the credit of first bestowing that name in some form upon what was afterward known as New France.[147]

In 1870 there was published in the Jahrbuch des Vereins für Erdkunde in Dresden (tabula vii.) a fac-simile of a map of America from a manuscript atlas preserved in Turin which gives conjecturally this western sea, closely after the type shown below in a map of Baptista Agnese (1536); its date is put somewhere between 1530 and 1540.

An Italian mappamundi of the middle of the sixteenth century is described by Peschel in the Jahresbericht des Vereins für Erdkunde in Leipzig, 1871, where the map is given in colored fac-simile. Peschel places it between 1534 and 1550; and it also bears a close resemblance to the Agnese map, as does also a manuscript map of about 1536, preserved in the Bodleian, of which Kohl, in his manuscript collection, has a copy. This Agnese map is a part of a portolano in the Royal Library at Dresden; and similar ones by him are said to be in the Royal Library at Munich, in the British Museum, and in the Bodleian, dated a few months apart. Kohl, in his Discovery of Maine (pl. xiv.), sketches it from the Dresden copy, and his sketch is followed in the accompanying cut. An account of Agnese’s cartographical labors is given in another volume.[148]

Perhaps the most popular map of America issued in the sixteenth century was Münster’s of 1540, of which a fac-simile is annexed. Kohl, in his Discovery of Maine (pl. xvª), erring, as has been pointed out by Murphy,[149] in giving a date (1530) ten years too early to this map, and in ignorance of the Maiollo map, was led into the mistake of considering it the earliest which has been found showing this western sea. The map was frequently repeated, with changes of names, during that century, and is found in use in books as late as 1572.[150]



The two legends, with date, are explained on p. 28.


In the same year (1540) a similarly conjectural western sea was given in a map of the Portuguese Diego Homem, which is preserved in the British Museum. Kohl, in his Discovery of Maine (pl. xv.), gives this and other maps which support in his judgment the belief in the Verrazano Sea; but Murphy (Verrazzano, p. 106) denies that they contribute any evidence to that end. Of the Ulpius globe, mention has already been made.[151] A fac-simile of Dr. De Costa’s representation of the American portion is given herewith.


The key is as follows: 1. Terra de bacalaos. 2. (dotted line) El viage de france. 3. (dotted line) El viage de peru. 4. (dotted line) El viago a maluche. 5. Temistitan. 6. Iucatan. 7. Nombre de dios. 8. Panama. 9. La provintia de peru. 10. La provintia de chinagua. 11. S. paulo. 12. Mundus novus. 13. Brazil. 14. Rio de la plata. 15. El Streto de ferdinando de Magallanas.

Harrisse (Cabots, p. 191), referring to the dotted line of a route to India, which Agnese lays down on this map, crossing the Verrazano isthmus, thinks it is rather a reminiscence of Verrazano than of Cartier. Harrisse gives the legend, “el viazo de franza.”

There are two maps which connect this western sea, extending southerly from the north, with the idea that a belt of land surrounded the earth, there being a connection between Europe and Greenland, and between Greenland and Labrador, making America and Eastern Asia identical. This theory was represented in a map of 1544,—preserved in the British Museum and figured[152] by Kohl in his Discovery of Maine (pl. xv.), who assigns it to Ruscelli, the Italian geographer. Another support of the same theory is found in the “Carta Marina” of the 1548 edition of Ptolemy (map no. 60).

Jacobo Gastaldo, or Gastaldi, was the cartographer of this edition, and Lelewel[153] calls him “le coryphée des géographes de la peninsula italique.” Ruscelli, if he did not make this map for Gastaldo, included it in his own edition of Ptolemy in 1561, the maps of which have been pointed out by Thomassy as bearing “la plus grande analogie avec celles de la galerie géographique de Pie IV.,” while the same authority[154] refers to a planisphere of Ruscelli (1561) as “inédit, conservé au Musée de la Propagande.”[155]

This union of North America and Asia was a favorite theory of the Italians long after other nations had given it up.[156] Furlani in 1560 held to it in a map, and Ruscelli,[41] in another map of the 1561 edition of Ptolemy, leaves the question unsettled by a “littus incognitum.”

MÜNSTER, 1540.

Meanwhile Münster in the 1540 Ptolemy had given his idea of the western sea by making it a southern extension of the northwest passage. This is shown in a sketch of Münster’s 1540 map given above.





The key is as follows:—
1. Norvegia.
2. Laponia.
3. Gronlandia.
4. Tierra del Labrador.
5. Tierra del Bacalaos.
6. La Florida.
7. Nueva Hispania.
8. Mexico.
9. India Superior.
10. La China.
11. Ganges.
12. Samatra.
13. Java.
14. Panama.
15. Mar del Sur.
16. El Brasil.
17. El Peru.
18. Strecho de Fernande Magalhaes.
19. Tierra del Fuego

One of the most conspicuous instances of a belief in this sea was the Lok map of 1582, which Hakluyt published, as has been already stated, in his Divers Voyages of that year, which, being made “according to Verarzanus’s plot,” is reproduced here from the cut already given in the preceding volume.[157]

With Lok we may consider that the western sea vanishes, unless there be thought a curious relic of it in the map which John White, of the Roanoke Colony, made in 1585 of the coast from the Chesapeake to Florida, which is preserved among the De Bry drawings[44] in the British Museum. The history of these drawings has been already told.[158] There is a copy of this map in the Kohl Collection; but the annexed sketch is taken from a fac-simile engraving given by Dr. Edward Eggleston in The Century Magazine, November, 1882. It will be observed that at Port Royal there seems to be a passage to western water of uncertain extent,[159] which was interpreted later as an inland lake.




Other maps of this period have no trace of such western sea, like the protuberant “Terra del laboradore” of Bordone in 1521 and 1528;[160] the “Terra Francesca” of the Premontré globe, now in the National Library at Paris;[161] the northeasterly trend of the map of the monk Franciscus;[162] the “Nova Terra laboratorum dicta” of Robert Thorne’s map (1527);[163] Piero Coppo’s Portolano of 1528, in which America appears as a group of islands; and in the British Museum among the Sloane Manuscripts a treatise, De principiis astronomie, which has a map in which the eastern coast of America is made to consist of two huge peninsulas, one of them being marked “Terra Franciscana nuper lustrata,”[164] and the other, “Baccalear regio,” ending towards the east with a cape, “Rasu.”[165]

Kunstmann in his Atlas (pl. vi.) gives a map which he places between 1532 and 1540; it is of unknown authorship.

Wieser, in his Magalhâes-Strasse (p. 77), points to a globe of Schöner, the author of[46] the Opusculum geographicum, in which he claimed that “Bachalaos—called from a new kind of fish there—had been discovered to be continuous with Upper India.”

NORTH AMERICA, 1532-1540 (after Kunstmann).

There is a chart of Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence dated 1534, and of which Kohl gives a sketch in his Discovery of Maine (pl. xviiiª). It is signed by Gaspar Viegas, of whom nothing is known. A map, in what Harrisse[166] calls the Wolfenbüttel Manuscript, has the legend upon Labrador: “This land was discovered by the English from Bristol, and named Labrador because the one who saw it first was a laborer from the Azores.” Biddle, in his Sebastian Cabot, p. 246, had conjectured from a passage in a letter of Pasqualigo in the Paesi novamente retrovati of 1507 (lib. vi. cap. cxxvi.), that the name had come from Cortereal’s selling its natives in Lisbon as slaves.





JACQUES CARTIER, the Breton sailor, sometimes styled “the Corsair,” was born at St. Malo, probably in 1491. He began to follow the sea at an early age, and soon attained to prominence. In 1534 the discovery of a western route to the Indies being a subject that attracted great attention, Cartier undertook an expedition, for which preparations had been begun during the previous year.

The Treaty of Cambrai having given peace to France, the privateersmen, or “corsairs,” found that the best excuse for their occupation was gone; and they were ready to engage in the work of exploration opened by Francis I. in 1524, by sending out Verrazano. Accordingly the King appears to have accepted the plan of Cartier submitted by Chabot, Admiral of France, and the arrangements were perfected. Cartier’s commission for the voyage has not yet been produced, though in March, 1533, he was recognized by the Court of St. Malo as a person already authorized to undertake a voyage to the New Land.

Cartier sailed from the ancient port of St. Malo, April 20, 1534. With two ships of about sixty tons each, and a company, it would appear, of sixty-two chosen men, he laid his course in the track of the old navigators, with whom he must have been familiar. On May 10 he reached Cape Bonavista, one of the nearest headlands of Newfoundland. Forced by storms to seek refuge in the harbor of St. Catherine, about fifteen miles south-southeast of Bonavista, he spent ten days in making some needed repairs. With the return of favorable winds he resumed his voyage, and coasted northward to the Island of Birds, which he found surrounded by banks of broken ice and covered by an incredible number of fowl. With these the French loaded their boats in half an hour. There, also, they saw a large bear, “as white as any swan,” swimming thither “to eat of the said birds.” On May 27 the ships reached the entrance of the Straits of Belle Isle, but were obliged by the ice to enter the neighboring harbor of Carpunt,[48] 51° N. From Carpunt, Cartier sailed to the Labrador coast, and, June 10, reached a harbor which he called Port Brest. The next day being the festival of St. Barnabas, divine service was said by the priest serving as chaplain, after which several boats went along the coast to explore, when they reached and named the harbors of St. Anthony, St. Servans, and Jacques Cartier. At St. Servans the explorers set up a cross, and near by, at a place called St. John’s River, they found a ship from Rochelle, which had touched at Port Brest the previous night.

[The familiar portrait of Cartier, of which a sketch of the head is given in the accompanying vignette, is preserved at St. Malo, and engravings of it will be found in Shea’s editions of Le Clercq’s Etablissement de la Foy and of Charlevoix’s Histoire de la Nouvelle France, vol. i. p. 110, and in Faillon’s Histoire de la Colonie Française, vol. i.—Ed.]

The boats returned to the ships on the 13th, the leader reporting the appearance of Labrador as forbidding, saying that this must be the land that was allotted to Cain. In this region they found some savages who were “wild and unruly,” and who had come “from the mainland out of warmer regions” in bark canoes. They appear to have been the Red Indians, or Boeotics, of Newfoundland, who were renowned as hunters, and who excelled in the manufacture of instruments carved in ivory and bone. Professor Dawson says that the Breton sailor here stood in the presence of the precise equivalent of the Flint Folk of his own country.

From Port Brest the expedition crossed the Strait and “sailed toward the south, to view the lands that we had there seen, that appeared to us like two great islands; but when we were in the middle of the Gulf we knew it that it was terra firma, where there was a great double cape, one above the other, and on this account we called it Cape Double.” This was Point Rich, Newfoundland. Coasting the land, amid mists and storms, June 24 he reached a cape, which in honor of the day he called Cape St. John,—now known as Anguille. From Anguille Cartier sailed southwest into the Gulf, reaching the Isles aux Margoulx, the present Bird Rocks, two of which were “steep and upright as any wall,” where he was again impressed by[49] the fowl, “innumerable as the flowers on a meadow.” Twenty-five miles westward was another island, about six miles long and as many wide, being fertile, and full of beautiful trees, meadows, and flowers. There were sea-monsters on the shores, which had tusks like elephants. This he called Brion Island, and the name still remains.

At this point both Ramusio’s narrative of the voyage and the Discovrs dv voyage (1598) make Cartier say: “I think that there may be some passage between Newfoundland and Brion Island;” but the text of the Relation originale[167] reads, “between the New Land and the land of the Bretons.” This has been accepted as teaching that Cartier at that time did not know of the strait between Newfoundland and Cape Breton; and it is argued that, as it afforded a shorter route from France to Canada, he would have followed it, if he had known of its existence; yet in 1541, when he certainly knew that strait, he took the route by Belle Isle, as twice before. Again, on his second voyage, while passing through the southern strait on his way to France, the narrative does not speak of any discovery. The inference may be drawn that the passage quoted misrepresents Cartier. Indeed, the portion of the narrative covering the movements around Brion and Alezay Island is so confused that one with difficulty takes in the situation. Dr. Kohl, in his Discovery of Maine (p. 326), represents Brion’s Island as the present Prince Edward; though no map seems to bear out the statement.

Next Cartier passed to an island “very high and pointed at one end, which was named Alezay.” Its first cape was called St. Peter’s, in honor of the day. This, as it would appear, is the present Prince Edward Island;[168] but the account admits of large latitude of interpretation.

Cartier reached the mainland on the evening of the last day of June, and named a headland Cape Orleans; next he found Miramichi Bay, or the Bay of Boats, which he called St. Lunario. Here he had some hope of finding a passage through the continent. On July 4 Cartier was surrounded by a great fleet of canoes, and was obliged to fire his cannon to drive the natives away. The next day, however, he met them on the shore, and propitiated their chief with the present of a red hat. These were the Micmacs, a coast tribe wandering from place to place, fishing in the summer, and hunting in the interior during the winter. By July 8 he reached the bay which, on account of the heat, he called the Bay Chaleur, known by the Indians as Mowebaktabāāk, or the Biggest Bay. Here the Micmac country ended, and the natives were of another tribe, visitors from Canada, who had descended the St. Lawrence to prosecute[50] the summer fisheries.[169] They proved friendly, engaging in trade, and showing a disposition which Cartier thought would incline them to receive Christianity. The country was beautiful, but no passage was found extending through the land; and accordingly he sailed northward, reaching a place called St. Martin’s Creek, and saying that on this coast they have “figs, nuts, pears, and other fruits.” Leaving St. Martin’s Creek, the coast was followed to Cape Prato,—a name which appears like a reminiscence of Albert de Prato, who was at Newfoundland in 1527.[170] Forty natives were seen in canoes; but they were poor, and almost in a nude condition. They appeared to be catching mackerel in nets made of a kind of hemp. Reaching Gaspé, July 24, a large cross was set up, with a shield attached, bearing the fleur-de-lis and the motto: “Vive le Roi de France.” The natives, however, protested, understanding that by setting up this totem the strangers claimed a country to which they had no right. Afterward two of the natives, Taignoagny and Domagaya, were entrapped and made prisoners, while presents sent to the tribe seemingly afforded satisfaction. The next day the expedition left the land, and, sailing out once more into the Gulf, they saw the great Island of Anticosti, when, coasting its southern shore, they named its eastern cape St. Loys. Thence Cartier steered over to the coast of Labrador, searching for a passage to the west. On St. Peter’s day he was in the strait between Anticosti and Labrador, which forms one entrance to Canada. He called it St. Peter’s Channel; but he did not know whither it led, and accordingly called a council. As the result, the season being now far advanced, and the supplies running low, it was resolved to return to France, and defer the examination of the strait to some more favorable occasion. Cartier therefore left Anticosti, and reached White Sand Island, August 9; on the 15th, after hearing Mass, he passed through the Strait of Belle Isle into the ocean, and laid his course for France. He had a prosperous passage, and arrived at St. Malo early in September.

The main object of his voyage proved a failure, and a route to the Indies was not discovered. He had approached close to the mouth of the St. Lawrence, but was not aware of the fact. A correct knowledge of the situation would have filled him with chagrin. As it was, he determined to persevere; and upon reaching France he proceeded to prepare for another voyage.

The representations made by the intrepid sailor had the desired effect, and Admiral Chabot at once made known the condition of affairs to Francis I., who signed a commission for Cartier, Oct. 30, 1534, authorizing him to complete the exploration beyond Newfoundland. For this[51] purpose the King gave Cartier three ships,—the “Great Hermina,” of about one hundred and twenty tons, to be commanded by Cartier; the “Little Hermina,” of sixty tons, under Macé Jalobert; and a small galley, the “Emerilon,” in charge of Jacques Maingart. The men for his first expedition had been obtained with difficulty, the sailors of St. Malo preferring voyages with more certain and solid results than any to be gained in Cartier’s romantic quest. Accordingly the King authorized him to impress criminals. In a letter to the Most Christian King, Cartier advocated the enterprise as one destined to open new fields for the activity of the Church, which was now beginning to suffer from the effects of the Protestant Reformation.

On Whit-Sunday, 1535, the members of the expedition—which does not appear to have carried a priest, but included a number of prominent gentlemen—went, by direction of Cartier, to confession, and afterward received the benediction of the bishop as they knelt in the choir of the cathedral church of St. Malo. Three days later Cartier sailed. Head-winds and violent storms opposed the little fleet, rendering progress slow, and entailing much hardship. June 25 the ships separated in a storm; but on July 7 the “Great Hermina,” after much tossing, reached the Isle of Birds, on the northern coast of Newfoundland,—one of the scenes of the previous year’s visit. The port of White Sand, however, had been appointed the rendezvous, and thither, July 26, Cartier went, being joined there by the rest of the fleet. Next, crossing the strait to the Labrador coast, Cartier sailed westward, reaching St. John’s River, August 10. He named it the Bay of St. Lawrence,—a name afterward applied to the Gulf. August 12, he consulted the two Indians captured the previous year, who diminished his hope of finding a passage to the Indies, by showing that the channel before him, named in honor of St. Peter, led to a river whose banks rapidly contracted; while far within the interior the water was shallow, navigation being obstructed by rapids. This, they likewise said, was the entrance to the country of Canada. On August 18, sick at heart by the failure to discover any passage through the continent, Cartier sailed back to the northern shore. Three days later he named the great island lying in the mouth of the Gulf, Assumption,[171] in honor of the festival; and finally, disbelieving the Indians, and hoping that the channel between Labrador and Anticosti opened to salt water, he ordered the course to be laid toward the west, being led to this determination by seeing many whales. Soon, however, the water began to freshen; yet hoping, as did Champlain long after, that even the fresh water might afford a highway to the Indies, he entered the river, viewing the banks on either side, and making his way upward. Erelong he saw the wonderful Saguenay pouring through its gloomy gorge, scooped out of solid rock by ancient glaciers, and was tempted to sail in between the lofty walls which flung down their solemn shadows upon the[52] deep and resistless stream. Here he met some timid natives in canoes, engaged in hunting the seal. They fled, until they heard the voices of his two savages, Taignoagny and Domagaya, when they returned, and gave the French a hospitable reception. Without exploring the Saguenay, Cartier returned to the main river, passing up to the Isle aux Coudres, or Isle of Hazel-nuts, where he found the savages engaged in capturing a marine monster called the “adhothoys,”—in form, says the narrative, as shapely as a greyhound. This was the Beluga catadon, the well-known white whale, whose bones are found in the post-pliocene clay of the St. Lawrence. The manuscript of Allefonsce says: “In the Canadian Sea there is one sort of fish very much like a whale, almost as large, white as snow, and with a mouth like a horse.” Continuing his ascent, Cartier met more of the natives, and at last encountered the lord of the country, the well-known Donnacona, who dwelt at Stadaconna (Quebec). The chief addressed the French commander in a set oration, delivered in the native style with many gesticulations and contortions.

Finally Cartier reached a large island, which he called Bacchus Island, with reference to the abundance of vines; though afterward it was given the name it now bears, the Island of Orleans. Here he anchored his fleet, and went on in boats to find a convenient harbor. This he discovered near Stadaconna, at the mouth of the river now known as the St. Charles, calling it the harbor of the Holy Cross. On September 14 the ships were brought up. The French were received with great rejoicing by all except Donnacona and the two natives, Taignoagny and Domagaya; the latter had rejoined their old friends, and appeared “changed in mind and purpose,” refusing to come to the ships. Donnacona had discovered that Cartier wished to ascend the river to Hochelaga, and he regarded this step as opposed to his personal interests. Finally, however, a league of friendship was formed, when the two natives returned on board, attended by no less than five hundred of the inhabitants of Stadaconna. Still Donnacona persisted in his opposition to Cartier’s proposed exploration; and finally dressed several members of his tribe in the garb of devils, introducing them as delegates from the god Cudragny, supposed to dwell at Hochelaga. The antics of these performers did not intimidate Cartier, and accordingly, leaving a sufficient force to guard the ships, he started with a pinnace and two boats containing fifty men. It was now the middle of September, and the Canadian forests were putting on their robes of autumnal glory. The scenery was at its best, and the French were greatly impressed by the beauty of the country. On the 28th the river suddenly expanded, and it was called the Lake of Angoulême, in recognition of the birthplace of Francis I. In passing out of the lake, the strength of the rapids rendered it necessary to leave the pinnace behind; but with the two boats Cartier went on; and, October 2, after a journey of thirteen days, he landed on the alluvial ground close by the current now called St. Mary, about three miles from Hochelaga. He was received by throngs[53] of the natives, who brought presents of corn-bread and fish, showing every sign of friendship and joy. The next day Cartier went with five gentlemen and twenty sailors to visit the people at their houses, and to view “a certain mountain that is near the city.” They met a chief, who received them with an address of welcome, and led them to the town, situated among cultivated fields, and “joined to a great mountain that is tilled round about and very fertile,” which Cartier called Mount Royal, now contracted into Montreal. The town itself is described in the narrative of Cartier’s voyage as circular and cunningly built of wood, having a single gate, being fortified with a gallery extending around the top of the wall. This was supplied with ammunition, consisting of “stones and pebbles for the defence of it.” With the Hochelagans it was the Age of Stone. Their mode of life is well described in the narrative which, in the Italian version of Ramusio, is accompanied by a plan of the town. Cartier and his companions were freely brought into the public square, where the women and maidens suddenly assembled with children in their arms, kissing their visitors heartily, and “weeping for joy,” while they requested Cartier to “touch” the children. Next appeared Agouhanna, the palsied lord of Hochelaga, a man of fifty years, borne upon the shoulders of nine or ten men. The chief welcomed Cartier, and desired him to touch his shrunken limbs, evidently believing him to be a superior being. Taking the wreath of royalty from his own head, he placed it upon Cartier. Then the sick, the blind, the impotent, and the aged were brought to be “touched;” for it seemed to them that “God was descended and come down from heaven to heal them.” Moved with compassion, Cartier recited a portion of the Gospel of St. John, made the sign of the Cross, with prayer; afterward, service-book in hand, he “read all the Passion of Christ, word by word,” ending with a distribution of hatchets, knives, and trinkets, and a flourish of trumpets. The latter made them all “very merry.” Next he ascended the Mount, and viewed the distant prospect, being told of the extent of the river, the character of distant tribes, and the resources of the country. This done, he prepared for his return, and, amid the regrets of the natives, started on the downward voyage.

In 1603, when Champlain reached the site of ancient Hochelaga, the fortified city and its inhabitants had disappeared.[172] With a narrative of Cartier in hand, he doubtless sought the imposing town and its warlike and superior inhabitants, as later, on the banks of the Penobscot, he inquired for the ancient Norumbega, celebrated by so many navigators and historians.[54] But Hochelaga, like its contemporary capital on the great river of Maine, had disappeared, and the Hochelagans were extinct.

On October 11 Cartier reached the Harbor of Holy Cross, where, during his absence, the people had constructed a fort and had mounted artillery. Donnacona and the two natives reappeared, and Cartier visited the chief at Stadaconna, the people coming out in due form to receive him. He found the houses comfortable after their fashion, and well provided with food for the approaching winter. The scalps of five human heads were stretched upon boughs, and these, Cartier was told, were taken from their enemies, with whom they were in constant warfare, as it would appear from their defences and from other signs. The inhabitants of Stadaconna were nevertheless inclined to religion, and earnestly desired to be baptized; when Cartier, who appears to have been a good lay preacher, explained its importance,—though he could not accede to their request, as he had with him neither priest nor chrism. The next year he promised to provide both.

It would appear that at the outset Cartier had decided to winter in the country and upon his return from Hochelaga preparations were made. His experience, however, was somewhat sad, and nothing was gained by the decision to remain, except some traffic.

In the month of December a pestilence broke out among the natives, of whom finally the French came to see but little, as the Indians were charged not to come near the fort. Soon afterward the same disease attacked the French, proving to be a form of the scurvy, which at one time reduced all but ten of Cartier’s company to a frightful condition, while eventually no less than twenty-five died. In their distress an image of Christ was set up on the shore. They marched thither, and prostrated themselves upon the deep snow, chanting litanies and penitential psalms, while Cartier himself vowed a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Rocquemado. Nevertheless on that day Philip Rougemont died. Cartier, being determined to leave nothing undone, ordered a post-mortem examination of the remains of this young man from Amboise. This afforded no facts throwing light upon the disease, which continued its ravages with still greater virulence, until the French learned from the natives that they might be cured by a decoction made from a tree called ameda. The effect of this medicine proved so remarkable, that if “all the doctors of Montpelier and Louvain had been there with all the drugs of Alexandria, they would not have done so much in a year as that tree did in six days.” Winter finally wore away, and in May, on Holy-Rood Day, Cartier set up a fair cross and the arms of France, with the legend, “Franciscus Primus, Dei gratia Francorum Rex regnat,” concluding the act by entrapping the King Donnacona, and carrying him a prisoner on board his ship. The natives vainly offered a ransom, but were pacified on being told that Cartier would return the next year and bring back their king. Destroying one of his vessels, the “Little Hermina,” on May 6, Cartier bade the people adieu, and sailed[55] down to a little port near the Isle of Orleans, going thence to the Island of Hazel-Nuts, where he remained until the 16th, on account of the swiftness of the stream. He was followed by the amazed savages, who were still unwilling to part with their king. Receiving, however, assurances from Donnacona himself that he would return in a year, they affected a degree of satisfaction, thanked Cartier, gave him bundles of beaver-skins, a chain of esurguy,[173] or wampum, and a red copper knife from the Saguenay, while they obtained some hatchets in return. He then set sail;[174] but bad weather forced him to return. He took his final departure May 21, and soon reached Gaspé, next passing Cape Prato, “the beginning of the Port of Chaleur.” On Ascension Day he was at Brion Island. He sailed thence towards the main, but was beaten back by head-winds. He finally reached the southern coast of Newfoundland, giving names to the places he visited. At St. Peter’s Island he met “many ships from France and Britain.” On June 16 he left Cape Race, the southern point of Newfoundland, having on this voyage nearly circumnavigated the coast of the island, and thus passed to sea, making a prosperous voyage, and reached St. Malo July 6, 1536. Though, according to the narrative, Cartier gave the name of St. Paul to the north coast of Cape Breton, this appellation was on the map of Maijolla, 1527, and that of Viegas, drawn in the year 1533. Manifestly the narrative does Cartier some injustice.

Several years passed before anything more was done officially respecting the exploration of the New Lands. Champlain assumes that Cartier made bad representations of the country, and discouraged effort. This view has been repeated without much examination. It is clear that all were disappointed by finding no mines of precious metals, as well as by the failure to discover a passage to the Indies; yet for all this Cartier has been maligned. This appears to be so from the statement found in the narrative of the third voyage, which opens in a cheerful strain, the writer saying that “King Francis I. having heard the report of Captain Jacques Cartier, his[56] pilot-general, in his two former voyages of discovery, as well by writing as by word of mouth, respecting that which he had found and seen in the western parts discovered by him in the ports of Canada and Hochelaga; and having seen and talked with the people which the said Cartier had brought from those countries, of whom one was King of Canada,” resolved to “send Cartier, his pilot, thither again.” With the navigator he concluded to associate Jean François de la Roche, Lord of Roberval, invested with a commission as Lieutenant and Governor of Canada and Hochelaga. Roberval was a gentleman of Picardy, highly esteemed in his province; and, according to Charlevoix, he was sometimes styled by Francis I. the “petty King of Vimeu.” Roberval was commissioned by Francis I. at Fontainebleau, Jan. 15, 1540, and on February 6 took the oath in the presence of Cardinal de Tournon. His subordinate, Cartier, was not appointed until October 17 following, his papers being signed by Henry the Dauphin on the 20th.


The apparent object of this voyage is stated where the narrative recites that it was undertaken “that they might discover more than was done before in some voyages, and attain, if possible, to a knowledge of the country of the Saguenay, whereof the people brought by Cartier, as is declared, mentioned to the King that there were great riches and very good lands.” The first and second voyages of Cartier may not have attracted the attention of the Spaniards; but when the expedition of 1541 was in preparation Spain sought to interfere, as in the case of Verrazano in 1523.[175] Francis anticipated this, Alexander VI. having coolly given all America to Spain, as she eagerly claimed; and the explanation was that the fleet was simply going to the poor region of Baccalaos. The Spanish ambassador, knowing well that his master was too poor to support his pretensions by force of arms, finally came to the conclusion that the French could do no harm, while others prophesied a failure.[176]

To carry out the voyage, a sum of money was placed at the disposal of Roberval, who agreed with Cartier to build and equip five[177] vessels. Soon the shipyards of St. Malo resounded with the din of labor, and the Breton carpenters promptly fulfilled their task. Roberval, however, had not in the mean time completed his preparations, and yet, having express orders from the King not to delay, Cartier, with the approval of Roberval, set sail with three or more ships, May 23, 1541. He encountered a succession of storms for three months, having less than thirty hours of fair wind[57] in all that time. One ship, under the Viscount of Beaupré, kept company with Cartier, but the rest were scattered. The fleet assembled at Carpunt, in Newfoundland, waiting in vain for Roberval. Cartier accordingly went on, and reached the Harbor of Holy Cross, August 23. The savages hailed him with joy, and inquired for their chief, Donnacona, and the other captives. They were informed that Donnacona had died in France, where he had received the faith and been baptized, while the rest had married, and stayed there as great lords, whereas in fact all except a little girl had died.[178] Agona, who had ruled during the interregnum, was not at all dissatisfied, as it left him invested with kingship; yet, as a compliment, he took the crown of tanned leather and esurguy from his own head, and placed it upon Cartier’s, whose wrists he also adorned with his bracelets, showing signs of joy. This, however, was mere dissimulation. Next, Cartier took his fleet to a harbor four leagues nearer Quebec, where he built a fort called Charlesbourg Royal. On the 2d of September Macé Jalobert, his brother-in-law, and Etienne Noel, his nephew, were sent back to France with two of his ships, to report the non-arrival of Roberval. Leaving Beaupré in command at Charlesbourg Royal, Cartier ascended the St. Lawrence, visiting on the way a lord of Hochelay. In his previous voyage this chief had proved sincere, informing him of the meditated treachery of Taignoagny and Domagaya. He now bestowed upon him “a cloak of Paris red,” with yellow facings and tin buttons and bells. Going on, Cartier passed Hochelaga, and attempted to ascend the rapids, two of which he actually stemmed. Arriving at Hochelaga, he found that the chief had gone to Quebec to plot against him with Agona. Returning to Charlesbourg, he passed the winter, seeing little of the natives. In the spring, having gathered a quantity of quartz crystals, which he fancied were diamonds, and some thin scales of metal supposed to be gold, he sailed for France. In the Harbor of St. John, Newfoundland, Hakluyt says, he met Roberval, then on his way to Canada. The “gold” was tried in a furnace, and “found to be good.” Cartier reported the country rich and fruitful; but when ordered by Roberval to return, he pleaded his inability to stand against the savages with so small a number of men; while in Hakluyt we read that “hee and his company, moued as it seemeth with ambition, because they would haue all the glory of the discouerie of those partes themselues, stole privately away the next night from us, and, without taking their leaues, departed home for Bretainye.”


This, however, appears to be wrong; as at the time he is represented as meeting Roberval at Newfoundland his chief must have been in Canada, he having left France Aug. 22, 1541. Hakluyt’s informant was confused, and the ships met by Roberval at Newfoundland may have been those two despatched by Cartier to France under Jallobert and Noel during the previous autumn, or else Cartier on his way home in June met Sainterre.[179]

Jean François de la Roche, Lord of Roberval, in connection with Cartier, was commissioned for his expedition by a royal patent, Jan. 15, 1540. His fleet consisted of three tall ships and a company of two hundred persons, including women and gentlemen of quality. Sainterre was his lieutenant, and Jean Allefonsce his pilot-general. According to Hakluyt, he sailed from Rochelle, April 14, 1542,—more than a year after the time originally appointed,—reaching St. John’s, Newfoundland, June 8, where he found seventeen fishing-vessels. While delayed here, Hakluyt says, Cartier appeared in the harbor, and afterward left secretly, as already stated, to return to France. As a matter of fact, however, Roberval sailed from Honfleur, Aug. 22, 1541. We must not be misled, therefore, where Hakluyt says that on the last day of June, 1542, having composed a quarrel between the French and Portuguese fishermen, he sailed on his voyage through the Gulf. This he must have done during the preceding autumn. Yet, whenever he may have ascended the St. Lawrence, Roberval reached the Isle of Orleans in safety, and found a good harbor. Hakluyt says that at the end of July he landed his stores, and began to fortify above Quebec at France Royal;[180] if it was in July, it must have been July, 1542. Roberval, possibly, reached his winter-quarters in 1541, when it was too late to fortify. Hakluyt, having been misinformed on the expedition, supposed that Cartier and Roberval were not together in Canada; but there is much uncertainty in any conclusion.

A strong, elevated, and beautiful situation was selected by Roberval, with “two courtes of buildings, a great toure, and another of fourtie or fiftie foote long; wherein there were diuers chambers, an hall, a kitchine, houses of office, sellers high and lowe, and neere vnto were an oven and milles, and a stoue to warme men in, and a well before the house.”

Hakluyt says that, September 14, Roberval sent back to France two ships under Sainterre and Guincourt, bearing tidings to the King, and requesting information respecting the value of Cartier’s “diamonds.” It would appear, however, that these vessels were sent late in 1541, for the reason that Jan. 26, 1542, Francis I. ordered Sainterre to go to the rescue[59] of Roberval,—the language of the order indicating that he had already been out to Canada. On preparing for the winter, Roberval, according to Hakluyt, found his provisions scanty. Still, having fish and porpoises, he passed the season, though the bad food bred disease, and not less than fifty of the company died. The people were vicious and insubordinate; but the “Little King” was equal to the occasion, dealing out even and concise justice, laying John of Nantes in irons, whipping both men and women soundly, and hanging Michael Gaillon,—“by which means they lived in quiet.”

The account of Hakluyt ends abruptly; yet he states that June 5, 1543, Roberval went on an expedition to explore above Quebec, appointing July 1 as the time of his return. If he did not appear then, the thirty persons left behind were authorized to sail for France, while he would remain in the country. What followed is invested with more or less uncertainty, as we have no authority except Hakluyt, who says that in an expedition up the river eight men were drowned, and one “boate” lost; while, June 19, word came from Roberval to stay the departure from France Roy until July 22. To this statement Hakluyt adds, “the rest of the voyage is wanting.” His account of both Roberval and Cartier’s operations are hardly to be relied upon, since he was so badly informed. The circumstances under which Roberval returned to France may perhaps never be known; yet it is certain that Cartier went out to bring him home some time in the year 1543. He did not leave on this voyage until after March 25, as he was present at a baptism in St. Malo on that day, while he had returned before February 17, 1544, on which date, as Longrais has discovered recently among the documents, he was a witness in court at St. Malo. The subject will be referred to again.

At this point it will be proper to give some account of the personal operations of Jehan, or Jean, Allefonsce, the pilot of Roberval. He was born at Saintonge, a village of Cognac, and was mortally wounded in a naval combat which took place near the Harbor of Rochelle, having followed the sea during a period of forty-one years. He appears to have been engaged in two special explorations,—one carrying him to the north, and the other to the vicinity of Massachusetts Bay.

Of the first expedition—that connected with the Saguenay or vicinity—we have no account in the narrative which covers the voyage of Roberval. Father Le Clercq, however, says: “The Sire Roberval writes that he undertook some considerable voyages to the Saguenay and several other rivers. It was he who sent Allefonsce, a very expert pilot of Saintonge, to Labrador to find a passage to the Indies, as was hoped. But not being able to carry out his designs, on account of the heights of ice that stopped his passage, he was obliged to return to M. de Roberval with only this advantage, of having discovered the passage which is between the Isle of Newfoundland and the Great Land of the north by the fifty-second degree.”[181] Le Clercq[60] gives no authority for his statement, and one writer[182] discredits it, for the reason that Allefonsce is made to “discover” the passage between Newfoundland and Labrador. It is probable, however, that Le Clercq, or his authority, meant no more by the term “discover” than to explore, as the Strait of Belle Isle was at that period as well known as Cape Breton. Allefonsce’s narrative and maps do not show that he explored the Saguenay.

It can hardly be questioned that a voyage was made by Allefonsce along the Atlantic coast. The precise date, however, cannot be fixed. His Cosmographie proves that he had a personal knowledge of the country. The voyage might have been made on some one of the ships which returned to France while Roberval was in the country. Failing to discover any passage to the Indies, Allefonsce may have run down the Atlantic coast, hoping to find some hitherto neglected opening. At all events, when he visited the coast he found a great bay in latitude forty-two, apparently Massachusetts Bay. The original notice is found in his Cosmographie, now preserved in the Bibliothèque nationale, Paris. It runs: “These lands reach to Tartary; and I think that it is the end of Asia,[183] according to the roundness of the world. And for this purpose it would be well to have a small vessel of seventy tons, in order to discover the coast of Florida; for I have been at a bay as far as forty-two degrees, between Norumbega and Florida, but I have not seen the end, and do not know whether it extends any farther.”[184] The belief in a western passage was after all very hard to give up, and Champlain, in the next century, was consumed by the idea.

In closing this part of the subject, we have to inquire concerning the outcome of the costly and laborious efforts of Cartier and Roberval under Francis I. Some popular writers would lead us to suppose that subsequent to the return of the expedition of 1543 the region of the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence were deserted.[185] Gosselin, in his Documents relating to the Marine of Normandy, shows that the explorations of Cartier were attended and followed by active operations conducted by private individuals. During the first years of the sixteenth century, inspired by the example of Bethencourt, in connection with the Canaries, the seaport towns of France showed great enterprise. After the return of Verrazano, however, much discouragement was felt, nor did the voyages of 1534-1536 stimulate so large a degree of activity as might have been expected; but in 1540 all[61] the maritime towns were alive to the importance of the New Lands.[186] In that year, as we have already seen, such was the scarcity of sailors, owing to the prosecution of remunerative fisheries, that the authorities of St. Malo were obliged to order that no vessel should leave port until Cartier had secured a crew. In 1541 the prospect of the settlement of Canada under the French gave such a stimulus to merchants, that in the months of January and February, 1541, 1542, no less than sixty ships went “to fish for cod in the New Lands.”[187] Gosselin, who had examined a great number of the ancient records, says: “In 1543, 1544, and 1545, this ardor was sustained; and during the months of January and February, from Havre and Rouen, and from Dieppe and Honfleur, about two ships left every day.”[188]

In 1545 no ship of the King went to Canada, and a sense of insecurity prevailed, as the Spaniards and Portuguese at Newfoundland were ever ready to make trouble; but in 1560 no less than thirty ships left the little ports of Jumièges, Vatteville, and La Bouille, “to make the voyage to the New Lands;”[189] while at this period the tonnage of the vessels engaged rose from seventy to one hundred and fifty tons. In 1564 the French Government was engaged in New France, and April 18 of that year the King’s Receiver-General, Guillaume Le Beau, bought of Robert Gouel, as attested by the notaries of Rouen, a variety of material, “to be carried into New France, whither the King would presently send on his service.”[190]

On the seventh of the same month Le Beau paid four hundred livres for arms and accoutrements necessary for the “French infantry,” which “it pleased the King to send presently into his New France for its defence.”[191] This shows that the idea of colonization was not abandoned, and that the King asserted his rights there. He was no doubt accustomed to send cruisers to Canada to protect French interests, as the English at an early period sent ships of war to the coast of Iceland to protect fishermen and traders.[192]

In 1583 Stephen Bellinger, a friend of Hakluyt, being in the service of Cardinal Bourbon, of Rouen, visited Cape Breton and the coasts to the south.[193] In 1577 and 1578 commissions were issued by Henry III. to the Marquis de la Roche for a colony;[194] and Hakluyt says that in 1584 the[62] Marquis was cast away in an attempt to carry out his scheme.[195] In 1587 the grandnephew of Cartier was in Canada, evidently engaged in regular trade.[196] Beyond question communication was maintained with Canada until official colonization was again taken up in 1597.[197] The efforts of Francis I. in sending out Verrazano, Cartier, and Roberval were by no means thrown away, and we must take for what it is worth the statement of Alexander in his Encouragement to Colonies, where (p. 36) he says that the French in America effected more “by making a needless ostentation, that the World should know they had beene there, then that they did continue still to inhabit there.”


LITTLE is known of the personal history of Jacques Cartier, though Cunat discovered several points relating to his ancestry. It appears that one Jehan Cartier married Guillemette Baudoin; and that of their six children, Jamet, or Jacques, was the oldest, having been born Dec. 4, 1458. Marrying in turn Jeffeline Jansart, he had by her a son, Dec. 31, 1494. This son, up to a recent day, was held to be the great navigator; but Longrais has rendered it almost certain that he was not.

Like Verrazano, Allefonsce, and others, he appears to have done something as a privateer; and the Spanish ambassador in France, reporting the expedition of Cartier and Roberval, Dec. 17, 1541, spoke of “el corsario Jacques Cartier.”[198]

At an early age Cartier was wedded to Catharine des Granches, daughter of Jacques des Granches, the constable of St. Malo, this being considered a brilliant marriage. After retiring from the sea, he lived in the winter at his house in St. Malo, adjoining the Hospital of St. Thomas, and in the summer at his manor on the outskirts of the town at Limoilou.[199] The name of Des Granches appears in connection with the mountains on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Cartier, so far as known, had no children. At least Cunat’s researches, supported by the local tradition, show that Manat had no authority now recognized for saying that in 1665 he had a lineal descendant in one Harvée Cartier.[200]

Following Verrazano, we have the earliest notice of French visitations to the coast in the statement of Herrera,[201] that in 1526 the Breton, Nicolas Don, pursued the fisheries at Baccalaos. In 1527 Rut, as reported in Purchas,[202] says that eleven sail of Normans and[63] one of Bretons were at St. John, Newfoundland.[203] According to Lescarbot,[204] who gives no authority, the Baron de Léry landed cattle on the Isle of Sable in 1528.[205]

Next in the order of French voyages we reach those of Cartier. The narrative of his first voyage appeared originally in the Raccolta, etc., of Ramusio, printed at Venice in 1556.[206] It was translated from the Italian into English by John Florio, and appeared under the title, A Short and Briefe Narration of the Two Navigations and Discoveries to the Northweast Partes called Newe Fraunce, London, 1580.[207] This was adopted by Hakluyt, and printed in his Navigations, 1600.[208] Another account of this voyage appeared in French, printed at Rouen, 1598, having been written originally in a langue étrangere. It has been supposed very generally that the “strange language” was Italian, and that it was a translation from Ramusio;[209] but this opinion is questioned.[210] Another narrative of the voyage has been found and published as an original account by Cartier.[211] In the Preface to the volume the Editor sets forth his reasons for this opinion. It is noticeable that each of these three versions is characterized by an obscurity to which attention has been called.[212] Nearly all the facts of the first voyage, handled, like the rest of his voyages, by so many writers, come from one of these three versions.[213] The patent for the voyage, as in the case of the voyage of Verrazano, is not known.


The narrative of the second voyage was published at Paris in 1545.[214] Ramusio[215] accompanies the narrative of the first voyage with an account of the second, also in Italian. Three manuscript versions of the narrative are preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale, and are described by Harrisse in his Notes.[216] Hakluyt[217] appears to follow Ramusio.[218] The patents for the second voyage will be found in Lescarbot (Nouvelle France), who used in his account of Cartier what is known as the Roffet text, though he abridges and alters somewhat; and he in turn was followed by Charlevoix.

For the third voyage of Cartier, unfortunately, we have only a few facts in addition to the fragment preserved by Hakluyt,[219] which ends with events at the close of September, 1541. An account of the voyage of Roberval is added thereto.[220] The commission of Cartier is found in Lescarbot’s Nouvelle France.[221] All that was formerly known was taken from Hakluyt; but facts that somewhat recently have come to light, though few, are nevertheless important, proving that Hakluyt’s information respecting Roberval was poor, like that which he gives of the voyage of Rut (1527). Rut’s voyage was tolerably well understood by Purchas, who wrote after Hakluyt. Bancroft, in his History of[65] the United States,[222] writes on the subject of Cartier as he wrote forty-nine years earlier;[223] while nearly all historical writers, whether famous or obscure, have written in a similar way. They have been misled by Hakluyt. The statement that Cartier, on his way home in June, 1542, encountered Roberval at Newfoundland, and deserted him in the night, is not in keeping with his character, and is rendered improbable by the fact that in the previous autumn Roberval sailed for Canada. All things, so far as known, indicate that a good understanding existed between the two commanders, and that circumstances alone prevented the accomplishment of larger results. Certainly, if Cartier had failed in his duty, history would have given some record of the fact. Francis I. would not have employed any halting, half-hearted man who was trying to discourage exploration. Let us here, then, endeavor to epitomize the operations of Roberval and Cartier:—

Jan. 15, 1540, Roberval was appointed lieutenant-general and commander.[224] February 6 he took the oath,[225] followed the next day by letters-patent confirming those of January 15.[226] February 27 Roberval appointed Paul d’Angilhou, known as Sainterre, his lieutenant.[227] March 9 the Parliament of Rouen authorized Roberval to take certain classes of criminals for the voyage.[228] October 17 Francis I. appointed Jacques Cartier captain-general and chief pilot.[229] October 28 Prince Henry, the Dauphin, ordered certain prisoners to be sent to Cartier for the voyage.[230] November 3 additional criminals, to the number of fifty, were ordered for the expedition.[231] December 12 the King complained that the expedition was delayed.[232] May 23, 1541, Cartier sailed with five ships.[233] July 10 Chancellor Paget informs the Parliament of Rouen that “the King considers it very strange that Roberval has not departed.”[234] August 18 Roberval writes from Honfleur that he will leave in four days.[235] Aug. 22, 1541, Roberval sailed from Honfleur.[236] In the autumn of 1541, Roberval, on his way to Canada, meets at St. John’s,[237] Newfoundland, Jallobert and Noel, sailing[66] by order of Cartier to France. Immediately on his arrival at Quebec, autumn of 1541, Roberval sends Sainterre to France.[238] Jan. 26, 1542, Francis I. orders Sainterre, who has already “made the voyage,” to sail with two ships “to succour, support, and aid the said Lord Roberval with provisions and other things of which he has very great need and necessity.”[239] During the summer of 1542 Roberval explores and builds France Roy.[240] Sept. 9, 1542, Roberval pardons Sainterre at France Roy, in the presence of Jean Allefonsce, for mutiny.[241] Oct. 21, 1542, Cartier is in St. Malo and present at a baptism, having spent seventeen months on the voyage.[242] Roberval spends the winter of 1542-1543 at France Roy.[243] March 25, 1543, Cartier present at a baptism in St. Malo.[244] In the summer of 1543 Cartier sails on a voyage which occupies eight months,[245] and brings Roberval home, leaving Canada late in the season, and running unusual risk of his freight (péril de nauleaige).[246] April 3, 1544, Cartier and Roberval are summoned to appear before the King.[247]

This, so far as our present knowledge goes, formed the end of Cartier’s seafaring. Thereafter, without having derived any material financial benefit from his great undertakings, Cartier, as the Seigneur of Limoilou, dwelt at his plain manor-house on the outskirts of St. Malo, where he died, greatly honored and respected, about the year 1555.[248]

Charlevoix affirms that Roberval made another attempt to colonize Canada in 1549;[249] Thevet says that he was murdered in Paris: at all events he soon passed from sight.[250]

There is no evidence to prove that Cartier gave any name to the country which he explored. The statement found at the end of Hakluyt’s version of the second voyage,[251][67] to the effect that the Newfoundlands “were by him named New France,” originated with the translator. It is not given in connection with the text of Ramusio, nor in the French edition of 1545, though that Relation (p. 46) employs the language, “Appellée par nous la nouvelle France.” In the same folio we find the writer stating of Cape St. Paul, “Nous nommasmes le cap de Sainct Paul,” though the name had been given at an early period, appearing upon the Maijolla map of 1527.

“Canada” was the name which Cartier found attached to the land,[252] and there is no evidence that he attempted to displace it. It is indeed said, in Murphy’s Voyage of Verrazzano,[253] that the name “Francisca” was due to Cartier. He says, “This name Francisca, or the French Land,”—found on a map in the Ptolemy printed at Basle in 1540,—was “due to the French under Jacques Cartier, and which could properly belong to no other exploration of the French.” This statement was made in rebuttal of that by Brevoort in his Verrazano the Navigator (p. 141), where he says that “the first published map containing traces of Verrazano’s exploration is in the Ptolemy of Basle, 1530, which appeared four years before the French renewed their attempts at American exploration. It shows the western sea without a name, and the land north of it called Francisca.” As it appears, there is no edition of Ptolemy bearing date of 1530; yet the student is sufficiently correct in referring the name “Francisca” to the voyage of Verrazano, especially as the Maijollo map, 1527, applies “Francesca” to North America, this map having been made only three years after the voyage of Verrazano, performed in 1524. Evidently, however, Verrazano was not more anxious than Cartier about any name, since on the map of his brother Hieronymus da Verrazano (1529), this region is called “Nova Gallia, sive Yucatania.”

Nor did Roberval attempt to name the country, while the commission given him by the King does not associate the name of Francis or any new name therewith. The misunderstanding on this point is now cleared up.[254]

Cartier did not give any name to the Gulf, simply applying the name of St. Lawrence to what may have been the St. John’s River, on the Labrador coast, where he chanced to be on the festival of that saint in 1535. Gomara thus writes in 1555: “A great river, named San Lorenço, which some consider an arm of the sea. It has been navigated two[68] hundred leagues up, on which account many call it the Straits of the Three Brothers (los tres hermanos). Here the water forms a square gulf, which extends from San Lorenço to the point of Baccallaos, more than two hundred leagues.”[255]

Little is known at present of the personal history of Jean Allefonsce. D’Avezac, in the Bulletin de géographie,[256] attempted to give an account of the man and his work; and Margry, in his Navigations Françaises, added substantial information. At one time he was claimed by the Portuguese as of their nation, because he voyaged to Brazil; but his French origin is now abundantly proved out of the book published by Jean de Marnef in 1559, entitled Les voyages avantureux du Capitaine du Alfonce Saintongeois. It is a small volume in quarto, numbering sixty-eight leaves, the verso of the last one bearing the epilogue: “End of the present book, composed and ordered [?] by Jan Alphonce, an experienced pilot in things narrated in this book, a native of the country of Xaintonge, near the city of Cognac. Done at the request of Vincent Aymard, merchant of the country of Piedmont, Maugis Vumenot, merchant of Honfleur, writing for him.”

Allefonsce appears to have been of a brave, adventurous, and somewhat haughty spirit. We are even told that he was once imprisoned at Poitiers by royal orders.[257] He was considered a man of ability, and was trusted on account of his great skill. In Hakluyt[258] it is said, “There is a pardon to be seene for the pardoning of Monsieur de saine terre, Lieutenant of the sayd Monsieur de Roberval, giuen in Canada in presence of the sayde Iohn Alphonse.”

The sailor of Saintonge met his death in a naval engagement, though most writers appear to have overlooked the fact. It is indicated in a sonnet written by his eulogist, Melin Saint-Gelais, and prefixed to the first edition of the Voyages avantureux, 1559. The allusion was pointed out by Harrisse in his Notes sur la Nouvelle France, Paris, 1872 (p. 8), indicating that this event must have taken place before March 7, 1557,—the date of the imprimatur of the edition of 1559.[259] Mr. Brevoort, in his Verrazano the Navigator, quoting Barcia’s Ensayo, etc., Madrid, 1723, fol. 58, shows that he fought Menendez, the Spaniard, near the reef of Rochelle, and was mortally wounded.[260]

There is no true connection between the manuscript of Allefonsce, now preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, catalogued under Secalart, and the volume of Voyages avantureux which bears his name. This latter work we owe, in some not understood sense, to the enterprise of a publisher who brought it out after the old mariner’s death. The erroneous character of certain of its statements excited the criticism of Lescarbot;[261] yet several descriptions of our coast are recognizable, and very interesting. In this printed book the matter relating to the North Atlantic coast occupies only about three pages,—the[69] chief points for which were taken, it appears, from the manuscript of Allefonsce, though several particulars not found in his manuscript are given.

The manuscript itself must be judged leniently, as Secalart was concerned in the composition, and appears to have written some portions from the notes of Allefonsce.[262] The part of the Cosmographie applying to the North Atlantic coast begins with a description of the Island of St. John and Cape Breton. Three points south of Cape Breton, if not a fourth, are defined in connection with that cape. We read: “Turning to the Isle of St. John, called Cape Breton, the outermost part of which is in the ocean in 45° from the Arctic pole, I say Cape of St. John, called Cape Breton, and the Cape of the Franciscans, are northeast and southwest, and there is in the course one hundred and forty leagues; and here it makes a cape called the Cape of Norumbega. The said cape is by 41° from the height of the Arctic pole.” For the writer to call Cape Breton by another name is consistent with old usage.[263] Where, however, it is said, “here it makes a cape,” the language is obscure, as the writer seems to mean that on this coast there is a cape between the Franciscan Cape and Cape Breton, since on the map the Franciscan Cape is placed south of the Bay of the Isles, which the description places south of the Cape of Norumbega. The latter cape is not laid down on the map; but we have there the River of Norumbega, north of which is “Une partie de la Coste de la Norombegue,” while south of the river is “Terra de la Franciscaine.” The Cape of Norumbega should therefore have been marked on the map at the southern extremity of the Norumbega coast, near the Bay of the Isles. “Cap de la Franciscaine” would then stand for Cape Cod. If this interpretation is correct, the clause, “the said cape is by 41° from the height of the Arctic pole,” would denote the Franciscan cape.[264]

The next descriptive paragraph gives a clear idea of the region south of Cape Norumbega: “Beyond the Cape of Noroveregue descends the river of said Noroveregue, about twenty-five leagues from the cape. The said river is more than forty leagues wide at its[70] entrance, and continues inwardly thus wide full thirty or forty leagues, and is all full of islands that extend quite ten or twelve leagues into the sea, and is very dangerous on account of rocks and shoals.”[265] Here we have a clear representation of the Penobscot region, the writer taking the bay for the entrance to the river, as others did in later times. He also says that “fifteen leagues within this river is a city called Norombergue.” According to the old notion, he thought the Norumbega River extended to Canada, as in the map of Ramusio, which is substantially true. Taking up his account of the coast, the writer says: “From the River of Norombergue the coast runs to the west-southwest quite two hundred leagues, to a large bay which enters the land about twenty leagues, and is full twenty-nine leagues wide; and within this gulf there are four islands joined the one to the other. The entrance to the Gulf is 38° from the height of the Arctic pole, and the said isles are in 39 and a half degrees. And I have not seen the end of this Gulf, and I do not know whether it passes beyond.” Here he does not appear to be making an allusion to the great bay in 42° N. (ante, p. 60), but he has now reached the vicinity of the Franciscan Cape, or Cape Cod, and speaks of the mouth of Long Island Sound and contiguous openings, in connection with the great islands that stretch along the coast southwest of Cape Cod. He does not here mention the Franciscan Cape, before alluded to, distant from the “Cape of St. John, called the Cape of the Franciscans,” one hundred and forty leagues, but he indicates its situation by the islands and the Sound lying to the southward; while in its place it will be observed that the printed Cosmographie also identifies the region by means of the islands, and shows that the Franciscan Cape at one point was high land,—evidently what is now known as the Highland of Cape Cod, which, as the geological formation indicates, was even higher in the time of Allefonsce. He continues: “From this gulf the coast turns west-northwest about forty-six leagues, and makes here a great river of Fresh water, and there is at its entrance an island of sand. The said island is 39° from the height of the Arctic pole.” He is now speaking of the region of the Hudson and Sandy Hook, though the latitudes are incorrect, as was usual with writers of that time; while the courses and distances are equally confused. Nevertheless we have a general and recognizable description of the main features of the coast between Cape Breton and Sandy Hook, though in the printed Cosmographie, which is very brief, the island of sand is not mentioned. Therefore, feeling certain of the correctness of our position, minor errors and omissions may be left to take care of themselves. The principal points, Cape Breton, Cape Sable, Cape Cod, and the Hudson, are unmistakably indicated in the routier, though in the maps of Allefonsce, as in most of the maps of the day, essential features are not delineated with any approach to accuracy, the great peninsula of Nova Scotia, terminating in Cape Sable, for instance, having no recognizable definition. Yet he dwells upon the fierceness of the tides, and says that when the strong northeast winds blow, the seas “roar horribly.” This is precisely the case on the shoals of Georges and Nantucket, where the meeting of waves and tides, even in a dead calm, produces an uproar that is sometimes deafening.

At this point we may obtain a confirmation of the manuscript description from the printed work. The account says: “Having passed the Isle of Saint Jehan, the coast turns to the west and west-southwest as far as the River Norombergue, newly discovered[266] by the Portuguese, which is in the thirtieth degree.” After describing the river and its inhabitants, he says: “Thence the coast turns south-southwest more than two hundred leagues, as far as a cape which is high land (un cap qui est haute terre), and has a great island of low land and three or four little islands;”[267] after which he drops the subject and[71] hastens down the coast to the West Indies. Here, however, we have the same cape that we find in the manuscript, which is there called the Franciscan Cape, or our present Cape Cod, beyond which are the islands Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Elizabeth group, joined one to the other almost like beads on a string, as we see them on the modern map.

Here, however, it should be pointed out that, apparently in the lifetime of Francis I., the portion of Voyages avantureux which describes the North American coast was turned into metrical form by Jehan Maillard, “poet royal;” and thus, long before Morrell wrote his poetical description of New England, our coast from Newfoundland to Sandy Hook was described in French verse, Maillard being the first writer to pay a tribute of the kind.[268] This person was a contemporary of Allefonsce and Cartier, and possibly he was connected with Roberval, as Parmenius, the learned Hungarian of Buda, was connected with Sir Humphrey Gilbert in his expedition of 1585, who went for the express purpose of singing the praise of Norumbega in Latin verse.[269] In his dedication he refers to Cartier. These verses, like the printed book, contain the points which are not made in the manuscript of Allefonsce.[270]


Again, in our manuscript we find the writer going down the coast from Sandy Hook to Florida, describing, in a somewhat confused way, Cape Henlopen and Delaware Bay, with its white cliff (fallaise blanche), so conspicuous at the entrance to-day. Thus both the printed book and the manuscript make three divisions of the coast between Cape Breton and Florida, and show a general knowledge of essential features.

Hakluyt[271] gives a section from the original work of Allefonsce, to which he appears to have had access. The heading runs: “Here followeth the course from Belle Isle, Carpont, and the Grand Bay in Newfoundland, vp the riuer of Canada for the space of 230 leagues, obserued by Iohn Alphonse of Xanctoigne, chiefe Pilot to Monsieur Roberual, 1542.” This piece was translated from the French, and in one place Hakluyt makes Allefonsce say: “By the nature of the climate the lands toward Hockelaga are still better and better, and more fruitful; and this land is fit for figges and peares. I think that gold and silver will be found here.” This, however, is a mistranslation, or at least it does not agree with the manuscript in the Bibliothèque Nationale, which may be rendered, “These lands, extending to Hochelaga, are much better and warmer than those of Canada, and this land of Hochelaga extends to Figuier and Peru, in which silver and gold abound.”[272] Under the direction of the Quebec Literary and Historical Society, the English version found in Hakluyt was turned back into French, as the existence of the Paris manuscript was not known to the editors; and in the Voyages des déscouvertes au Canada (p. 86) we read: “Et cette terre peut produire des Figuee et des Poires.” In this, however, they were encouraged by the statement found in all three versions of the first voyage of Cartier, which say that at Gaspé the land produced figs.

Allefonsce confines his description chiefly to the route pursued by him in his voyage with Roberval, though he speaks of the neighborhood of Gaspé and Chaleur; while he calls the Island of Assumption “L’Ascentyon.” He also says of the Saguenay, “Two or three leagues within the entrance it begins to grow wider and wider, and it seems to be an arm of the sea; and I think that the same runs into the Sea of Cathay.”[273]

We turn finally to the cartology of the voyages under consideration, which, however, it is not proposed to treat here at much length, the subject being well-nigh inexhaustible.[274]

In the order of the Court of St. Malo, already referred to,[275] made on the remonstrance of Cartier, we find that in March, 1533, he was charged with the responsibility of a voyage to the New Lands, the route selected being that of “the strait of the Bay of the Castle,” now the Strait of Belle Isle. The existence of the Bay of St. Lawrence was evidently known to Cartier. He must have learned something of the region through the contemporary[73] fishing voyages of the French. He could have inferred nothing, however, from the map of Ruysch, 1508, which made Newfoundland a part of Asia; though the Reinel map, 1505, and the Portuguese map (1520), given by Kunstmann, show the Straits of Belle Isle and the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, between Cape Breton and Newfoundland. The anonymous map of 1527, published by Dr. Kohl, with the Ribero map (1529), show both straits; though when Ribero copied that map and made some additions, he substantially closed them up.[276] On the Verrazano map of 1529 the straits were indicated as open. The Maijolla map of 1527, though a Verrazano map, gives a deep indenture, but no indication of an opening beyond. It was, nevertheless, clear enough to Cartier at this time that the straits entering north and south of Newfoundland led either to another strait or to a large bay. Maps of the Gulf must have existed in Dieppe at the period of his voyage, though, owing to the desire of the various cities to gain a monopoly of the New World trade, he may not have obtained much information from that Norman port. Cartier seems to have made maps representing his explorations. There is a brief description of one map contained in the letter of Jacques Noel, his grandnephew, written from St. Malo in 1587 to Mr. John Grote, at Paris. In this map Canada was well delineated, but it has now disappeared.[277]

What may have been known popularly of Newfoundland at the time of Cartier’s first voyage is shown by the Maijolla map (1527), the map of Verrazano (1529), and the map of Gaspar Viegas (1534).[278] The latter shows a part of Newfoundland, and the Cape Breton entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence is simply the mouth of a cul-de-sac, into which empty two streams,—“R. dos Poblas” and “Rio pria,”—indicating that the Portuguese may have entered the Gulf. On the New Brunswick coast is “S. Paulo,”—a name that Cartier is erroneously represented as giving in 1535, at which time Cartier found the name in use, probably seeing it on some chart. The Island of Cape Breton is laid down distinctly, but we can hardly make “Rio pria” do duty for the St. Lawrence. The Maijolla map (1527) shows “C. Paulo.” A map now preserved in the Bodleian, given by Kohl,[279] and bearing date of “1536, die Martii,” shows a dotted line running from Europe to Cathay, and passing through an open strait north of Newfoundland. The map of Agnese (1536) makes no mention of Cartier.[280]

Oviedo,[281] in his description of the coast in 1537, shows no knowledge of the Gulf. He mentions an Island of St. John, but this lay out in the Atlantic near Cape Breton, close to the Straits of Canso. Nevertheless he gives a description of the four coasts of Cape Breton Island. Afterward describing Newfoundland out of Ribero, he puts an Island of St. John on the east coast near Belle Isle,[282] while in a corresponding position we see on Ribero’s map, as published by Kohl, the Island of “S. Juan.”[283] Mercator’s rare map of[74] 1538[284] exhibits Newfoundland as circumnavigated, the southern part being composed of broken islands, named “Insule Corterealis.” Canada is “Baccalearum regio,” and North America is “Americæ,” or “Hispania major, capta anno 1530.” A strait, “Fretum arcticum,” runs north of Labrador to the Pacific.

The Ptolemy published at Basle in 1540 shows a knowledge of Cartier’s second voyage, Canada being called “Francisca;” while in the gulf behind Newfoundland, called “Cortereali,” is a broad river like the St. Lawrence, extending into the continent.

Nevertheless, at this period many of the maps and globes bore no recognition of Cartier. A Spanish globe, for instance, of about 1540 shows no trace of Cartier, though behind Newfoundland—reduced to a collection of small islands—is a great gulf indented with deep bays, one being marked “Rio de Penico,” which may stand for the St. Lawrence, and thus represent the alleged Portuguese exploration of the Gulf by Alvarez Fagundes anterior to Cartier.[285]


The map of Mercator published at Louvain in 1541 indicates no new discovery of the French. Newfoundland appears as in the sketch of 1538, but in the Gulf, represented by a broad strait, we find, “C. das paras,” “R. compredo,” and “R. da Baia.” The island of Cape Breton bears the legend, “C. de teenedus bretoys.”

Next in order, perhaps, come the sketches of Jean Allefonsce, pilot of Roberval, who sailed with him for Canada, Aug. 22, 1541. Of his maps we have four examples relating to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the North. Like the rest of his sketches, they are intercalated in his manuscript. These particular sketches are found on folios 62, 179, 181, 183. Folio 62 represents Labrador and the regions to the north, with Iceland; folio 179 shows “La Terra Neufe,” the southern part being an island, and Labrador cut in two by a broad channel marked “La Bay d’au vennent les glaces,” which Allefonsce thought came out of a fresh-water sea. Folio 181 has the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with Assumption Island[75] marked “L’Ascention.” He invariably makes this mistake.


The Gulf is called the Sea of Canada (Mer de Canada). There are three inlets without names, representing Miramichi, Chaleur, and Gaspé. The Gaspé region is called “Terre Unguedor.” The mouth of the St. Lawrence is shown; and near the entrance, on the Labrador side, we find “La Terre de Sept Isles.” There is an opening intended for Cartier’s Bay of St. Lawrence; and farther eastward is “Cap de Thienot,” so named by Cartier on his first voyage, after the Indian chief found there. Folio 183 indicates the Gulf again, as part of the Sea of Canada (Partie de la Mer de Canada), together with a portion of the St. Lawrence, marked “Riviere du Canada.” Where the sketch of folio 181 properly shows “Unguedor,” we find “La Terre Franciscaine.” The Saguenay is represented as a broad strait leading into a great sea, “La Mer du Saguenay,” in which are three islands. These sketches, though rude, possess considerable interest, as being the first known delineations of the region made on the spot by an actual navigator; but the Saguenay region is sketched fancifully from hearsay.


In this connection we may mention Allefonsce’s sketches of the Atlantic coast on folios 184, 186, 187 of his Cosmographie. The first includes the entrance to the Gulf and the southern part of Newfoundland. The entrance is marked “Entree des Bretons.” The Island of Cape Breton bears its proper name, with the Straits of Canso clearly defined. Near its true locality in the Gulf, but on too small a scale, we discover the “Isla de Saint-Jean,” the “Isle Gazeas” of the map of Du Testu. The New Brunswick section is styled, “One part of the Land of the Laborer” (Une partje de la Coaste du Laboureur).[286] Cape Race, Newfoundland, is called “Cap de Rat.” Folio 186 shows the New England coast proper, with the River of Norumbega, south of which is “Cap de la Franciscaine” and “Terre de la Franciscaine.” The next section (187) includes the coast to Florida, with the West Indies and part of South America.

It would prove interesting if one could establish the priority of Allefonsce in his application of the name “Saint-Jean” to our present Prince Edward Island.[287] The Cosmographie[76] was finished in 1545, while the so-called Cabot map, which uses the same name, was published in 1544. Now did Allefonsce adopt the name from this map of 1544? Clearly the name was not given by Cartier, either on his first or second voyage. On his third voyage he does not appear to have sailed on that side of the Gulf, while we have no details of the fourth voyage. He, however, gave the name of St. John to a cape on the west coast of Newfoundland during his first voyage. Allefonsce called Prince Edward Island by that name. A full discussion of this subject might involve a fresh inquiry into the authenticity of the Cabot map, and expunge “Prima Vista.”


The globe of Ulpius, 1542, does not recognize the voyages of Cartier, showing Canada as the “Baccalearum Regio,” with openings in the coast north and south of Newfoundland, called “Terra Laboratores.” North America appears as a part of Asia.[288] The Nancy globe, which also shows North America as connected with Asia, indicates that the insular character of Newfoundland, called “Corterealis,” was well known at the time of its construction, about 1542. From the gulf behind the island—the southern part of which is much broken—two rivers extend some distance into the continent.[289] These globes are according to the prevailing French idea of the period, making New France, as Francis I. expressed it, a part of Asia. The map of Jean Rotz, 1542, shows the explorations of Cartier, but omits the names that belong on the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence.[290]

The Vallard map 1544 (?) shows very fully the discoveries of Cartier, his French names being corrupted by the Portuguese map-makers, who promptly obtained a report of all that Cartier had done. The Gulf and River of St. Lawrence appear simply as “Rio de Canada.”[291]

In 1544 we reach the famous Cabot map,[292] drawn from French material, fully illustrating[77] the French discoveries in Canada, and practically ignoring the claims of Spain, though the alleged author was in the service of that country. This appears to be the first publication, and in fact the first recognition in a printed form, of the voyages of Cartier and Roberval, the narrative of Cartier’s second voyage not appearing until the following year.


Next, we find in the map of the Dauphin, or Henri II. (1546), that Roberval is recognized standing with his soldiers in martial array on the bank of the Saguenay. Newfoundland is represented as a mass of islands,—an idea not dissipated by the voyages of Cartier; but the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence are well depicted, and show the explorations of the sailor of St. Malo. We see the Island of Assumption (our Anticosti), the Island of St. John (Alezay), Brion’s Island, and the Bird Rocks, with many of the names actually given to points of the coast by Cartier, which shows that he did his work with care, yet without attempting to affix names to either the gulf or the river, giving to the latter in his narrative the Indian name “Hochelaga.” On this map[293] the name of “St. Laurens” stands where Cartier put it on his first voyage, at the St. John’s River, though the name very soon—we cannot say when—was applied to the Gulf, as to-day. Gomara styles it San Lorenço in 1553. The Isolario of Bordone (1549) has no recognition of Roberval or Cartier, repeating the map found in the edition of 1527.


In this connection the map of Gastaldi (1550) is somewhat remarkable. Publishing it in 1556, in the third volume of his Raccolta in connection with the “Discorso d’vn Gran Capitano,” supposed to have been written in 1539, Ramusio says that he is aware of its deficiencies. This map, as well as the “Discorso,” makes no reference to Cartier, though the country is called “La Nvova Francia.” The map gives a lively picture of the region. Norumbega appears as an island, and Newfoundland as a collection of large islands, with evidences of what may stand for explorations in the Gulf lying behind; but, unlike the globe just mentioned, it shows no names on the coast of the Gulf.[294] The insular character of the Norumbega region is not purely imaginary, but is based upon the fact that the Penobscot region affords almost a continued watercourse to the St. Lawrence, which was travelled by the Maine Indians.

A map of Guillaume le Testu (1555),[295] preserved in the Department of the Marine[78] at Paris, exhibits very fully the work of Cartier. He uses both the names “Francica” and “Le Canada.” To the Island of Prince Edward, one cape of which Cartier called “Alezay,” he calls “Isle Gazees.” The map marked xi. in Kunstmann’s Atlas appears to apply “I: allezai” to the same island.

Diego Homem’s map (1558), in the British Museum, also shows the explorations of Cartier, though, in a poor and disjointed way, representing the Northern Ocean as extending down to the region of the St. Lawrence, and as being connected therewith by several broad passages. Mercator (given by Jomard) reveals the discoveries of Cartier in a more sober way, though he puts “Honguedo” at the Saguenay instead of at Gaspé.

Here some notice should perhaps be taken of a map drawn in the year 1559,—the year 967 of the Hegira,—by the Tunisian, Hagi Ahmed, who was addicted to the study of geography in his youth, and who, while temporarily a slave among Christians, acquired much knowledge which afterwards proved very serviceable. This map is cordiform, and engraved on wood. It is described in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie (1865, pp. 686-757). A delineation in outline is also given, though this representation affords only a faint idea of its contents. It was found in the archives of the Council of Ten, and was discussed by the Abbé Assemani in 1795. He was awarded a gold medal by the Prince of Venice, who caused it to be struck in his honor. His treatise was limited to twenty-four copies, which were accompanied by an equal number of copies of the map. The name “Hagi” indicates that Ahmed had made the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. The photograph[296] of it measures 16½ × 16 inches, the representation of the earth’s surface being bordered by descriptive text inclosed in scroll work. Only two and one half inches are devoted to the coast from Labrador to Florida; the work, accordingly, being very minute, is difficult to examine even under a lens. The coast is depicted according to Ribero; the Gulf of St. Lawrence not being shown, though deep indentations mark the two entrances. He does not appear to have had access to any good charts, and shows a poor knowledge of what Cartier had done.

The map of Nicholas des Liens, of Dieppe (1566), which is a map of the world, preserved under glass in the Geographical Department of the Bibliothèque Nationale, gives on a small scale a curious representation of Cartier’s exploration; the St. Lawrence as far as Quebec being a broad gulf, one arm of which extends southwest, nearly to what represents the New England coast. Along Lower Canada is spread out the name “Jacques Cartier.”

Mercator’s map of 1569 makes some improvement upon the Dauphin’s map of 1546, showing Cape Breton more in its true relation to the continent; while Newfoundland is comprised in fewer fragments. North America and the lands to the north are dominated by imagination; and in this map we find the source of much of that confusion which the power of Mercator’s name extended far into the seventeenth century.[297] Mercator does not give any additional facts respecting the explorations of Cartier.

The general map in the Ptolemy of 1574, by Ruscelli, shows North America connected with both Asia and Europe, Greenland being joined with the latter. Another map in this volume, showing the coast from Florida to Labrador, presents Newfoundland in the old way as a collection of islands, with three unnamed rivers extending into the main at the westward.[298]

Ortelius, in 1575, fashioned his map of the world after Mercator, and shows “Juan” out in the sea off Cape Breton; while in his special map of America, farther out, we find [79]“Juan de Sumpo” in the place of Mercator’s “Juan Estevan.”[299]

The map of Thevet, given in his Cosmographie Universelle, 1575, adds little to the interest of the discussion, as for the most part he follows Mercator, the master of the period. On reaching the year 1584, the map of Jacques de Vaulx is found to show no improvement over its immediate predecessors. The Gulf of St. Lawrence appears under its present name, and the river, which is very wide, extends to Chilaga. The Penobscot River runs through to the St. Lawrence, while a large island, called “L’Isle St. Jehan,” lies in the sea along the coast which occupies the region where we should look for a definition of the peninsula of Nova Scotia.[300] On Lower Canada we read, “Terre Neufe.” Newfoundland appears almost as a single island.

DES LIENS (1566).

[Sketched from a tracing furnished by Dr. De Costa.—Ed.]

Porcacchi’s work, L’Isole piv Famose del Mondo of 1590 (p. 161), goes backward in a hopeless manner. A river extends from the region of Nova Scotia into a great lake (Lago) near “Ochelaga,” the latter being nearly the only word on the map distinctly recalling the voyages of Cartier.[301]

The map of De Bry, 1596, gives no light; though out at sea, off Cape Breton, is the island “Fagundas.”[302] Wytfliet’s Descriptionis Ptolemaicæ, etc., of 1597, contains the same representations of the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence found in other editions, including the Douay edition of 1611.[303] This author is also dominated by Mercator.


The Molyneux map of 1600, among other points, shows Allefonsce’s Sea of Saguenay, saying, “The Lake of Tadenac [Tadousac?], the boundes whereof are unknown.”[304] On this map Newfoundland appears as one solid island, while the Penobscot extends through to the St. Lawrence, which itself flows westward into the great “Lake of Tadenac, the boundes whereof are unknoune.”[305]

Here we close our brief notice of a few of the representative maps produced prior to the opening of the seventeenth century. A careful examination of these maps would show, that, from the period of the Dauphin Map down to the first voyage of Champlain to Canada, in 1603, no substantial improvement was made by the cartographers of any nation in the geographical delineation of the region opened to France by the enterprise of Cartier and those who followed him. As we have shown (ante, p. 61), the connection with New France was maintained, vast profits being derived from the fisheries and from trade; but scientific exploration appears to have been neglected, while the maps in many cases became hopelessly confused. It was the work of Champlain to bring order out of confusion; and by his well-directed explorations to restore the knowledge which to the world at large had been lost, carrying out at the same time upon a larger scale the arduous enterprises projected by Jacques Cartier.







ALONZO DE CHAVES, who was made a royal cosmographer April 4, 1528, and still retained that title, at the age of ninety-two, in 1584,[306] is known to have made in 1536 a chart of the coast from Newfoundland south; and though it is no longer extant, Harrisse[307] thinks its essential parts are given in all probability in a chart of Diego Gutierrez, preserved in the French archives.[308] It is known that Oviedo based his description of the coast upon it; his full text was not generally accessible till the Academy of History at Madrid published its edition of the Historia general de las Indias[309] in 1852.


The key is as follows: 1. Gronlandia. 2. Corterealis. 3. Baccalearum regio. 4. Anorombega.

During the few years immediately following the explorations of Cartier we find little or no trace of his discoveries. There is scarcely any significance, for instance, in the Agnese map of 1536,[310] the Apianus map of 1540,[311] the Münster of the same year,[312] or in other maps mentioned in connection with the Sea of Verrazano on an earlier page.[313] A little more precision comes with the group of islands standing for the Newfoundland region, which appears in the early Mercator map of 1538 and in the gores of Mercator’s globe of 1541,[314] and in the Nancy globe of about the same date; but the Ulpius globe (1542) is uncertain enough, and has the names confused.


We first begin to trace a sensible effect of Cartier’s voyage in a manuscript in the British Museum[315] indorsed, This Boke of Idrography is made by me, Johne Rotz, Sarvant to the Kinges Mooste Excellent Majestie. The author was a Frenchman of Flemish name, and his treatise is dated 1542. Harrisse[316] thinks that he used the Portuguese-Dieppe authorities; and Kohl thinks that he must have had access to the maps, now lost, which Cartier brought home from his first voyage, while along the Gulf of Maine he depended upon the Spanish accounts.[317] Both of the sketches from Rotz here given follow copies in the Kohl Collection; one is a section from his map of the east coast of North America, and the other is from his Western Hemisphere,—which seems to indicate that he had in the interim between making the two maps got tidings of Cartier’s later voyage.[318]


The key is as follows: 1. Groestlandia. 2. Islandia. 3. Grovelat. 4. Terra Corterealis. 5. Baccalos. 6. Terra laboratoris. 7. Cavo de Brettoni. Cf. the fac-simile on an earlier page.

Baptista Agnese at Venice seems not to have been as fortunate in getting knowledge of Cartier’s voyages as Rotz in London was; and two or three of his charts, dated 1543, showing this region, are preserved. They give a pretty clear notion of the eastern coast of Newfoundland, with “C. Raso” and “Terra de los Bretones” to the west of it.[319] These Agnese maps are in London,[320] Paris, Florence,[321] and Coburg.[322] Other maps by Agnese of a year or two later date, but preserving much the same characteristics, are in the Royal Library at Dresden,[323] dated 1544, and in the Marciana Collection at Venice, dated 1545.[324]

We get at last, as has been said in the previous chapter, the first recognition in a printed map of the Cartier voyages in the great Cabot map of 1544, of which a section is here reproduced,[325] and a similar section is given by Harrisse in his Cabots, preserving the colors of the original. Harrisse, by collating the references and early descriptions, reaches the conclusion that there may have been three, and perhaps four, editions of this map, of which a single copy of one edition is now known. Of the maps accompanying the manuscript Cosmographie of Allefonsce, in the Paris Library, sufficient has been said in the preceding text.[326]

None of these explorations prevented Münster, however, from neglecting, if he was aware of, the newer views which the Cabot map had made public; and his eagerness for[83] the western passage dictated easily a way to the Moluccas in the “Typus universalis” of his edition of Ptolemy in 1545.

ROTZ, 1542 (East Coast).

In the same year (1545) a map of America appeared in the well-known nautical handbook of the Spaniards, the Arte de navegar of Pedro de Medina, which was repeated in his Libro de grandezas y cosas memorables de España of 1549. A sketch of this part of the coast is annexed, and it will be seen that it betrays no adequate conception of what Cartier had accomplished.

ROTZ, 1542 (Western Hemisphere).

To 1546 we may now assign the French map sometimes cited as that of the Dauphin, and sometimes as of Henri II. It is but a few years since Mr. Major first deciphered the legend: “Faictes a Arques par Pierre Desceliers, presbr, 1546.” Jomard, who gives a fac-simile of it, places it about the middle of the century;[327] D’Avezac put it under 1542;[328] Kohl thought it was finished in 1543.[329]



The annexed sketch will show that the Cartier discoveries are clearly recognized. The Spanish names along the coast seem to indicate that the maker used Spanish charts; and probably in part such as are not now known to exist.[330]


This sketch is reduced from a copy in Harvard College Library. This map was re-engraved in the edition of Ptolemy (1552), and on this last plate the names of “Islandia” and “Bacalhos” are omitted, and “Thyle” becomes “Island.”

A different engraving is also found in Münster’s Cosmographia (1554).

Harrisse (nos. 188, 189) refers to unpublished maps of this coast of about this date, which are preserved in the Musée Correr, and in the Biblioteca Marciana at Venice, and to accounts of these and others in Matkovic’s Schiffer-Karten in den Bibliotheken zu Venedig, 1863, and in Berchet’s Portolani esistenti nelle principali biblioteche di Venetia, 1866.]



This is sketched from the Harvard College copy. The map is repeated in the Seville edition of 1563,—the first edition (1545) having appeared at Valladolid. The Libro, etc., is also in Harvard College Library.

A map preserved in the British Museum belongs to this period. That library acquired it in 1790, and its Catalogue fixes it before 1536; but Harrisse, because it does not give the Saguenay, which Cartier explored in his third voyage, places it after October, 1546. Harrisse thinks it is based on Portuguese sources, with knowledge also of Cartier’s discoveries.[331]

Dr. Kohl, in his Washington Collection, has included a map by Joannes Freire, of which a sketch is annexed. It belonged to a manuscript portolano when Kohl copied it, in the possession of Santarem, which is described by Harrisse in his Cabots (p. 220). Freire was a Portuguese map-maker, who seems to have used Spanish and French sources, besides those of his own countrymen.

The New England coast belongs to a type well known at this time, and earlier; and if the position of the legend about Cortereal has any significance, it places his exploration farther south than is usually supposed. The names along the St. Lawrence are French, with a trace of Portuguese,—“Angoulesme,” for instance, becoming “Golesma.”

HENRI II. MAP, 1546.

The key is as follows: 1. Ochelaga. 2. R. du Saĝnay. 3. Assumption. 4. R. Cartier. 5. Bell isle. 6. Bacalliau. 7. C. de Raz. 8. C. aux Bretons. 9. Encorporada. 10. Ye du Breton. 11. Ye de Jhan estienne. 12. Sete citades. 13. C. des isles. 14. Arcipel de estienne Gomez.

Some of these names not in Ribero, nor in other earlier Spanish charts, indicate that Desceliers had access to maps not now known.

Kohl placed in the same Collection another map of this region from an undated portolano in the British Museum (no. 9,814), which in some parts closely resembles this of[86] Freire; but it is in others so curious as to deserve record in the annexed sketch. Kohl argues, from the absence of the St. Lawrence Gulf, that it records the observations of Denys, of Honfleur, and the early fishermen.

The precise date of the so-called Nicolas Vallard map is not certain; for that name and the date, 1547, may be the designation and time of ownership, rather than of its making. The atlas containing it was once owned by Prince Talleyrand, and belongs to the Sir Thomas Phillipps Collection. Kohl has conjectured that it is of Portuguese origin,[332] and includes it in his Collection, now in the State Department at Washington.

FREIRE, 1546.

Cesáreo Fernandez Duro, in his Arca de Noé; libro sexto de las disquisiciones náuticas, Madrid, 1881, gives a map of the St. Lawrence Gulf and River of the sixteenth century. It was found in a volume relating to the Jesuits in the Library of the Royal Academy of History at Madrid, and was produced in fac-simile in connection with Duro’s paper on the discovery of Newfoundland and the early whale and cod fisheries,—particularly by the Basques. The date of the chart is too indefinitely fixed to be of much use in reference to the progress of discovery. Harrisse[333] is inclined to put its date after the close of the century, even so late as 1603.

Intelligence of Cartier’s tracks had hardly spread as yet into Italy, judging from the map of Gastaldi in the Italian Ptolemy of 1548. Mr. Brevoort[334] says of the sketch,—which is annexed,—that it is a “draught entirely different from any previously published. The materials for it were probably derived from Ramusio, who had collected original maps to illustrate his Collection of Voyages, but who published very few of them. In this particular map we find indications of Portuguese and French tracings, with but little from Spanish ones.”

Gastaldi is thought to have made the general map which appears in Ramusio’s third volume (1556), five or six years earlier, or in 1550. All that it shows for the geography of the St. Lawrence Gulf and River is a depression in the coast nearly filled by a large island. In 1550, and again in 1553, the Abbé Desceliers, who has already been shown to[87] be the author of the Henri II. map, made portolanos which are of the same size, and bear similar inscriptions: (1) “Faicte a Arques par Pierres Desceliers, P. Bre: lan 1550; and (2) Faicte a Arques par Pierre Desceliers, Prebstre, 1553.”


No. 1 was in the possession of Professor Negri at Padua, when it was described in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, September, 1852, p. 235. It is now in the British Museum.[335] Harrisse[336] describes it, and says its names are essentially Portuguese. On Labrador we read: Terre de Jhan vaaz and G. de manuel pinho. The St. Lawrence is not named, but the Bay of Chaleur bears its present name.


No. 2, which is less richly adorned than the other, was intended for Henri II., as would appear from its bearing that monarch’s arms. Some inquiry into the life of its[88] maker is given in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, September, 1876, p. 295, by Malte-Brun. It is owned by the Abbé Sigismond de Bubics, of Vienna. Desceliers was born at Dieppe, and his services to hydrography have been much studied of late.[337]


A sketch of map no. 56 in the Italian edition of Ptolemy, 1548, entitled, “Della terra nova Bacalaos.” The following key explains it: 1. Orbellande. 2. Tierra del Labrador. 3. Tierra del Bacalaos. 4. Tierra de Nurumberg. 5. C: hermoso. 6. Buena Vista. 7. C: despoir. 8. C: de ras. 9. Breston. 10. C. Breton. 11. Tierra de los broton. 12. Le Paradis. 13. Flora. 14. Angoulesme. 15. Larcadia. 16. C: de. s. maia.

Paul Forlani, of Verona, had scarcely advanced beyond this plot of Gastaldi, when so late as 1565 he published at Venice his Universale descrittione (Thomassy, Les Papes géographes, p. 118).

Harrisse[338] thinks that the praise bestowed upon Desceliers as the creator of French hydrography is undeserved, as the excellence of the maps of his time presupposes a long line of tentative, and even good, work in cartography; and he holds that Portuguese influence is apparent from the early part of the sixteenth century.

Wuttke, in his “Geschichte der Erdkunde,”[339] describes and figures several manuscript American maps from the Collection in the Palazzo Riccardi at Florence, dated 1550 or thereabout; but they add nothing to our knowledge respecting the region we are considering. One makes a large gulf in the northeast of North America, and puts “Terra di la S. Berton” on its east side, and “Ispagna Nova” on the west. This gulf has a different shape in two other of the maps, and disappears in some. In one there is a gulf prolonged to the west in the far north.

At about this date we may place a curious French map, communicated by Jomard to Kohl, and included by the latter in his Washington Collection. A sketch of it is annexed.[340] It is manuscript, and bears neither name nor date. The extreme northeastern part resembles Rotz’s map of 1542, and the explorations of Cartier and Roberval seem to be embodied. The breaking-up of Newfoundland would connect it with Gastaldi’s maps, or the information upon which Gastaldi worked, while the names on its outer coast are of Portuguese origin, with now a Spanish and now a French guise. Farther south the coast seems borrowed from the Spanish maps. The large river emptying into the St. Lawrence from the south is something unusual on maps of a date previous to Champlain. If it is the[89] Sorel, Champlain’s discovery of the lake known by his name was nearly anticipated. If it is the Chaudière, it would seem to indicate at an early day the possibilities of the passage by the portage made famous by Arnold in 1775, and of which some inkling seems to have been had in the union of the St. Lawrence and the Gulf of Maine not infrequently shown in the early maps. The most marked feature of the map, however, is the insularity of the continent, with a connection of the Western Ocean somewhere apparently in the latitude of South Carolina, similar to that shown in John White’s map, as depicted in the preceding chapter. It may, of course, have grown out of a belief in the Sea of Verrazano; or it may have simply been a geographical gloss put upon Indian reports of great waters west of the limit of Cartier’s expedition.

THE JOMARD MAP, 155—(?).

Harrisse[341] puts circa 1553 a fine parchment planisphere, neither signed nor dated, which is preserved in the Archives of the Marine in Paris. It shows the English standard on Labrador (Greenland), the Portuguese on Nova Scotia, and the Spanish at Florida.


The whole map is reproduced in Vol. VIII.

Another popular American map by Bellero was used in the Antwerp Gomara of 1554, and in several other publications issuing from that city.[342] It was not more satisfactory, as the annexed sketch shows,—which indicates that even in Antwerp the full extent of Cartier’s explorations was not suspected. Nor had Baptista Agnese divined it in his atlas of the same year, preserved in the Biblioteca Marciana at Venice. Our sketch is taken from the fifth sheet as given in a photographic fac-simile[343] issued at Venice in 1881, under the editing of Professor Theodor Fischer, of Kiel.


An elaborate portolano Cosmographie universelle, par Guillaume Le Testu, and dated in 1555, is described by Harrisse[344] as an adaptation of a Portuguese atlas, with the addition of some French names. The northern regions of North America are called Francia.


In 1556, in the third volume of Ramusio’s Navigationi et viaggi,[345] Gastaldi, excelling a little his Ptolemy map of 1548,—a sketch of which is given on p. 88,—produced his Terra de Labrador et Nova Francia; while for the accounts which Ramusio now printed of Cartier’s voyage, Gastaldi added the Terra de Hochelaga nella Nova Francia,—which was simply a bird’s-eye view of an Indian camp.[346]

In the same year (1556) the map of Volpellio was not less deceptive. Two years later (1558) we find an atlas in the British Museum, the work of Diego Homem, a Portuguese cartographer, which seems to indicate other information than that afforded by Cartier’s voyages. It is not so accurate as regards the St. Lawrence as earlier maps are, but shows additional knowledge of the Bay of Fundy, which comes out for the first time, and is not again so correctly drawn till we get down to Lescarbot, half a century later.


Part of the northern portion of Vopellio’s cordiform mappemonde, which appeared in Girava’s Cosmographia, Milan, 1556; cf. Carter-Brown Catalogue, i. 200. The map is very rare; Stevens has issued a fac-simile of it from the British Museum copy.

Girolamo Ruscelli, in the Venice edition of Ptolemy, 1561, gave a map which was evidently derived from the same sources as the Gastaldi, as the annexed sketch will show.

A mere passing mention may be made of a large engraved map of America, of Spanish origin, “Auctore Diego Gutierro, Phillipi regis cosmographo,” dated 1562, because of its curious confusion of names and localities in its Canadian parts.[347]



Kohl, Discovery of Maine, p. 226 (who gives a modern rendering of this map), puts the making of it at about 1550,—two years later than the appearance of his Ptolemy map.

The atlas of Baptista Agnese of 1564, preserved in the British Museum,[348] and another of his of the same date in the Biblioteca Marciana, still retain some of the features of his earlier portolanos. He always identifies Greenland with Baccalaos, and still represents Newfoundland as a part of the main. Harrisse holds that he had not advanced beyond the Toreno (Venice) map of 1534, and in 1564 knew little more of the Newfoundland region than was known to Ribero and Chaves thirty-five years earlier.


HOMEM, 1558.

This sketch follows a reproduction in Kohl’s Discovery of Maine, p. 377; cf. British Museum Catalogue of Manuscript Maps (1844), i. 27; Harrisse, Cabots, p. 243. Various atlases of Homem are preserved in Europe. This 1558 map (giving both Americas) is included in Kohl’s Collection at Washington, as well as another map of 1568, following a manuscript preserved in the Royal Library at Dresden, purporting to have been made by “Diegus Cosmographus” at Venice. Kohl thinks him the Diego Homem of the 1558 map, which the 1568 map closely resembles, though it makes the northern coast of America more perfect than in the earlier draft.

The Catalogue of the King’s maps in the British Museum puts under 1562 a map entitled, Universale descrittione di tutta la terra cognosciuta da Paulo di Forlani.


A sketch of his Tierra Nueva. The key is as follows: 1. Lacadia. 2. Angouleme. 3. Flora. 4. Le Paradis. 5. P. Real. 6. Brisa I. 7. Tierra de los Breton. 8. C. Breton. 9. Breston. 10. C. de Ras. 11. C. de Spoir. 12. Buena Vista. 13. Monte de Trigo. 14. Das Chasteaulx. 15. Terra Nova. 16. C. Hermoso. 17. S. Juan. 18. Isola de Demoni. 19. Orbellanda. 20. Y. Verde. 21. Maida.

There are reproductions of this map in Kohl’s Discovery of Maine, p. 233, and Lelewel, Géographie du Moyen-Age, p. 170; cf. Harrisse, Cabots, p. 237; and his Notes, pour servir à l’histoire ... de la Nouvelle France, etc., no. 294.


Thomassy,[349] however, cites it as published in Venice in 1565, and says it strongly resembles Gastaldi’s map, and is, perhaps, the same one credited to Forlani under 1570, as showing the recent discoveries in Canada. It is contained in the so-called Roman atlas of Lafreri, Tavole moderne di geografia, Rome and Venice, 1554-1572.[350]


Next in chronological order comes an engraved map (15½ × 10½) with the following title: Il disegno del discoperto della Nova Franza ... Venetijs aeneis formis Bolognini Zalterij, Anno M.D. LXVI.[351] It gives the whole breadth of the continent, and is very erroneous in the eastern parts. The “R. S. Lorenzo” runs southeast from a large lake into the ocean between Lacadia and Baccalaos, while Ochelaga and Stadaconi[352] are on a river running east farther to the north, whose headwaters are in a region called “Canada.” The island C. Berton, as well as Sable Island (Y. Darena), would seem to indicate that the coast to the north of them is intended for the modern Nova Scotia, which would make the river running from the lake the Penobscot, and the group of islands east of Baccalaos a disjointed Newfoundland, compelling the river rising near Canada to do duty for the St. Lawrence. The large island, “Gamas,” is perhaps a reminiscence of Gomez.[353] The map in these parts is so confused, however, that its chief interest is to illustrate the strange commingling of error and truth, “which we have received lately,” as the inscription reads, “from the latest explorations of the French,”—which must, if it means anything, refer to Roberval. The map has signs neither of latitude nor longitude. In general contour it[94] resembles other Italian maps of this time, like those of Forlani, Porcacchi, etc. Zaltieri differs from Forlani, however, in separating America from Asia.

The great mappemonde of Gerard Mercator, introducing his well-known projection, followed in 1569. The annexed sketch indicates its important bearing on a portion of North American cartography. The St. Lawrence is extended much farther inland than ever before, with no signs of the Great Lakes, and it is made to rise in the southerly part of the region, put in modern maps west of the Mississippi, among mountains which also form a watershed westerly to the Gulf of California and southerly to the Gulf of Mexico.


The key is as follows: 1. Hic mare est dulcium aquarum, cujus terminum ignorari Canadenses ex relatu Saguenaiesium aiunt. 2. Hoc fluvio facilior est navigatio in Saguenai. 3. Hochelaga. 4. Po de Jacques Cartier. 5. Belle ysle. 6. C. de Razo. 7. C. de Breton. 8. Y. della Assumptione. 9. G. de Chaleur.

A fac-simile of this map is given on a later page.

Kohl[354] sums up his essay on this map as follows: “It is a remarkable fact, that while the icy seas and coasts of Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Canada were depicted on the maps of the sixteenth century with a high degree of truth, our coasts of New England and New York were badly drawn so late as 1569; and their cartography remained very defective through nearly the whole of the sixteenth century.”

A close resemblance to Mercator is seen in the rendering of Ortelius in the first (1570) edition of his Theatrum orbis terrarum.[355] The contour and general details of North[95] America, as established by Mercator and Ortelius, became a type much copied in the later years of the sixteenth century. The woodcut map in Thevet’s Cosmographie universelle (1575), for instance, is chiefly based on Ortelius, though Thevet claimed to have based it on personal observation in 1556.[356]


The maps in De la Popellinière’s Les trois mondes (1582), that of Cornelius Judæus (1589), those in Maffeius’s Historiarum Indicarum libri xvi. (1593), in Magninus’s Geographia (1597), and in Münster’s Cosmographia (1598),—all follow this type. Reference may also be made to a Spanish mappemonde of 1573 which is figured in Lelewel,[357] an engraved Spanish map in the British Museum, evidently based on Ortelius, and assigned by the Museum authorities to 1600; but Kohl, who has a copy in his Washington Collection, thinks it is probably earlier. A similar westward prolongation of the St. Lawrence River is found in a “Typus orbis terrarum,” dated 1574, which, with a smaller map of similar character, appeared in the Enchiridion Philippi Gallæi, per Hugonem Favolium, Antwerp, 1585. Quite another view prevailed at the same time with other geographers, and also became a type, as seen in the map given by Porcacchi as “Mondo nuovo” in his L’ isole piu famose del mondo, published at Venice in 1572, in which he mixes geographical traits and names in a curious manner. It is not easy to trace the origin of some of this cartographer’s points.

A theory of connecting the Atlantic and the St. Lawrence on the line of what is apparently the Hudson River, which had been advanced by Ruscelli in the general map of the world in the 1561 edition of Ptolemy, was developed in 1578 by Martines in his map of[96] the world in the British Museum, from a copy of which in the Kohl Collection the accompanied sketch is taken.[358]

What is known as Dr. Dee’s map was presented by him to Queen Elizabeth in 1580, and was made for him, if not by him. It is preserved in the British Museum, and the sketch here given follows Dr. Kohl’s copy in his Washington Collection. Dee used mainly Spanish authorities, as many of his names signify; and though he was a little too early to recognize Drake’s New Albion, he was able to depict Frobisher’s Straits.[359]


This is sketched from the copy in the Harvard College Library. The book has a somewhat similar delineation in an elliptical mappemonde, of which a fac-simile is given in Stevens’s Historical and Geographical Notes. The bibliography of Porcacchi is examined in another volume.

The peculiarities of three engraved English maps of about this time are not easy to trace. The first map is that in Sir Humphrey Gilbert’s Discourse;[360] the second is the rude drawing which accompanied Beste’s True Discourse relating to Frobisher;[361] the third, that of Michael Lok,[362] in Hakluyt’s Divers Voyages. Hakluyt, in the map which he added to the edition of Peter Martyr published in Paris in 1587, conformed much more nearly to the latest knowledge.[363]

We find what is perhaps the latest instance of New France being made to constitute the eastern part of Asia, in the map (1587) given in Myritius’s Opusculum geographicum rarum, published at Ingoldstadt in 1590.[364] A group of small islands stands in a depression[97] of the coast, and they are marked “Insulæ Corterealis.” It carries back the geographical views more than half a century.

Illustration: MARTINES, 1578.

In the Molineaux globe of 1592,[365] preserved in London, we find a small rudimentary lake, which seems to be the beginning of the cartographical history of the great inland seas,—a germ expanded in his map of 1600[366] into his large “Lacke of Tadenac.” Meanwhile Peter Plancius embodied current knowledge in his well-known map of the world. So far as the St. Lawrence Valley goes, it was not much different from the type which Ortelius had established in 1570. Blundeville, in his Exercises (1622, p. 523), describing Plancius’ map, speaks of it as “lately put forth in the yeere of our Lord 1592;” but in the Dutch edition of Linschoten in 1596 it is inscribed: Orbis terrarum ... auctore Petro Plancio, 1594.

JUDÆIS, 1593.

It appeared re-engraved in the Latin Linschoten of 1599; but in this plate it is not credited to Plancius. The map which took its place in the English Linschoten, edited by Wolfe, in 1598, was the same recut Ortelius map which Hakluyt had used in his 1589 edition. This was the work of Arnoldus Florentius à Langren, though Wolfe omits the author’s name.[367]


JOHN DEE, 1580.


In the map, “Americæ pars borealis, Florida, Baccalaos, Canada, Corterealis, a Cornelio de Judæis in lucem edita, 1593,” which appeared in that year in his Speculum orbis terrarum, Mercator and Ortelius seem to be the source of much of its Arctic geography; but its Lake Conibas, with its fresh water, records very likely some Indian story of the Great Lakes lying away up the Ottawa,—which is presumably the river rising in the Saguenay country. A legend on the map says that its fresh water is of an extent unknown to the Canadians, who are, as another legend says, the nations filling up the country from Baccalaos to Florida.

DE BRY, 1596.

It will be observed that to the northwest the Zeno map[368] has been made tributary, while one name, “Golfo quarré,” is not in the place usually given to it, since it is generally the alternative name of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The nomenclature of the coast from Cape Breton south follows the Spanish names; and though Virginia is recognized by name, there is no indication of the new geography of that region.[369]




De Bry in 1596 added little that was new; and much the same may be said of the maps in the edition of Ptolemy published at Cologne in 1597, and numbered 2, 29, 34, and 35.[370]

New France is also shown in the “Nova Francia et Canada, 1597,” which is no. 18 of the series of maps in Wytfliet’s Continuation of Ptolemy. Others in the same work show contiguous regions:—

No. 15. “Conibas regio cum vicinis gentibus,”—Hudson’s Bay and the region south of it.

No. 17. “Norumbega et Virginia,”—from 37° to 47° north latitude.

No. 19. “Estotilandia et Laboratoris,”—Labrador and Greenland, mixed with the Zeni geography.

QUADUS, 1600.

The map by Mathias Quaden, or Quadus, in the Geographisches Handbuch, was published at Cologne in 1600, bearing the title, “Novi orbis pars borealis.” The northeastern parts seem to be based on Mercator and Ortelius. A marginal note at “Corterealis” defines that navigator’s explorations as extending north to the point of what is called Estotilant. In its Lake Conibas it follows the 1593 map of Judæis.

In this enumeration of the maps showing the Gulf and River St. Lawrence down to the close of the seventeenth century, by no means all of the reduplications have been mentioned; but enough has been indicated to trace the somewhat unstable development of hydrographical knowledge in this part of North America. Most interesting, among the maps of the latter part of the century which have been omitted, are, perhaps, the Erdglobus of Philip Apian (1576), given in Wieser, Magalhâes-Strasse, p. 72; the mappemonde in Cellarius’ Speculum orbis terrarum (Antwerp, 1578); the map of the world in Apian’s Cosmographie augmentée, par Gemma Frison (Antwerp, 1581, 1584, and the Dutch edition of 1598); the map of the world by A. Millo (1582), as noted in the British Museum Manuscripts, no. 27,470; that in the Relationi universali di Giovanni Botero,[102] Venice (1595, 1597, 1598, 1603); the earliest English copperplate map in Broughton’s Concent of Scripture (1596); the Caert-Thresoor of Langennes, Amsterdam, 1598; and, in addition, the early editions of the atlases of Mercator, Hondius, Jannsen, and Conrad Loew, with the globes of Blaeuw.

The maps in Langenes were engraved by Kærius, and they were repeated in the French editions of 1602 and 1610 (?). They were also reproduced in the Tabularum geographicarum contractarum libri of Bertius, Amsterdam, 1606, whose text was used, with the same maps, in Langenes’ Handboek van alle landen, edited by Viverius, published at Amsterdam in 1609. In 1618 a French edition of Bertius was issued by Hondius at Amsterdam with an entirely new set of maps, including a general map of America and one of “Nova Francia et Virginia.”





FROM 1603 to 1635 the ruling spirit and prominent figure in French exploration and colonization in America was Samuel de Champlain. His temperament and character, as well as his education and early associations, fitted him for his destined career. His home in the little town of Brouage, in Saintonge, offered to his early years more or less acquaintance with military and commercial life. He acquired a mastery of the science of navigation and cartography according to the best methods of that period. His knowledge of the art of pictorial representation was imperfect, but nevertheless useful to him in the construction of his numerous maps and topographical illustrations. He wrote the French language with clearness, and without provincial disfigurement. Several years in the army as quartermaster gave him valuable lessons and rich experience in many departments of business. Two years in the West Indies, visiting not only its numerous Spanish settlements, including the City of Mexico on the northern and New Grenada on the southern continent, gave him an intimate and thorough knowledge of Spanish colonization.

With such a preparation as this, at the age of thirty-five or thirty-six, Champlain entered, in a subordinate position, upon his earliest voyage to the Atlantic coast of North America. During the preceding sixty years the French had taken little interest in discovery, and had made no progress in colonization, though their trade on the coast may have been kept up.[371]

In 1603, Amyar de Chastes, a venerable governor of Dieppe, conceived the idea of planting a colony in the New World, of removing thither his family, and of finishing there his earthly career. He accordingly obtained from Henry IV. a commission; and, associating with himself in the enterprise several merchants, he sent out an expedition to make a general survey, to fix upon a suitable place for a settlement, and to determine what provision would be necessary for the accommodation of his colony. De Chastes invited Champlain to accompany this expedition. No proposition[104] could have been more agreeable to his tastes. He accepted it with alacrity, provided, however, the assent of the King should first be obtained. This permission was readily accorded by Henry IV., but was coupled with the command that he should bring back a careful and detailed report of his explorations. Champlain was thus made the geographer of the King. It is doubtless from this appointment, unsought, unexpected, and almost accidental, that we are favored with Champlain’s unparalleled journals, which have come down to us rich in incident, prolific in important information, and covering nearly the whole period of his subsequent career.

The expedition set on foot by Amyar de Chastes left Honfleur on the 15th of March, 1603. It consisted of two vessels, one commanded by Pont Gravé, a distinguished fur-trader and merchant, who had previously made several voyages to the New World, and the other by Sieur Prevert, both of them from the city of St. Malo. Two Indians, who had been brought to France by Pont Gravé on a former voyage, accompanied the expedition, and made themselves useful in the investigation which ensued. Delayed by gales lasting many days, and by floating fields of ice sometimes fifteen or twenty miles in extent, the company were forty days in reaching the harbor of Tadoussac. Here, a short distance from their anchorage, they found encamped a large number of savages, estimated at a thousand, who were celebrating a recent victory. These savages were representatives from the three great allied northern families or tribes,—the Etechemins of New Brunswick and Maine, the Montagnais of the northern banks of the St. Lawrence about Tadoussac, and the Algonquins, coming from the vast region watered by the Ottawa and its tributaries. They had just returned from a conflict with the Iroquois near the mouth of the Richelieu. War between these tribes was of long standing. All traditions as to its beginning are shadowy and obscure; but it had clearly been in progress several generations, and probably several centuries, renewing its horrors in unceasing revenge and in constantly recurring cruelties. For the thirty years which Champlain was yet to spend as the neighbor of these tribes such hostile encounters were, as we shall see, a continual obstacle to his plans and a steady source of anxiety.

On the arrival at Tadoussac, preparations were at once made for an exploration of the St. Lawrence. While these were in progress, Champlain explored the Saguenay for the distance of thirty or forty miles, noting its extraordinary character, its profound depth, its rapid current, and impressed with the lofty and sterile mountains between whose perpendicular walls its pent-up waters had forced their way, moving down to the ocean with a heavy and irresistible flood. This survey of the Saguenay was probably the first ever made by a European explorer. At all events, Champlain’s description is the earliest which has come down to us.

On the 18th of June, leaving Tadoussac in a barque, and taking with them a skiff made expressly for ascending rapids and penetrating shallow streams, Champlain, Pont Gravé, and a complement of sailors, with several[105] Indians as guides and assistants, proceeded up the St. Lawrence. From Tadoussac to Montreal they explored the bays and tributary rivers, observing the character of the soil, the forests, the animal and vegetable products, including all the elements of present and prospective wealth. On reaching the Lachine Rapids above Montreal, their progress was abruptly terminated. Neither their barque nor their skiff could stem the current. They continued on foot along the shore for several miles, but soon found it inexpedient with their present equipment to proceed farther. Having obtained from the Indians important, if not very definite, information concerning the country, rivers, and lakes above the falls, and having likewise learned from them that in the lake region far to the north native copper existed and had been fabricated into articles of ornament, they returned to Tadoussac.

Champlain immediately organized another party to examine the southern shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Skirting along the coast, they touched at Gaspé, Mal-Bay, and Isle Percée, which were at that time (1603) important stations, annually visited by fishermen of different nations. Soon after reaching the southern coast they met a troop of savages who were transporting arrows and moose-meat to exchange for the skins of the beaver and marten with the more northern tribes whom they expected to find at Tadoussac. Having obtained such information as they desired of the country still farther south, and of the copper mines in the region about the Bay of Fundy, Champlain’s party passed directly from Gaspé to the northern side of the Gulf, touching somewhere near the Seven Islands, and thence coasted along the inhospitable shores of the northern side till they reached the harbor of Tadoussac. Having completed their explorations and secured a valuable cargo of furs, which was a subordinate purpose of the expedition, they returned to France, arriving at Havre de Grâce on the 20th of September, 1603.

On their arrival Champlain received the painful news of the death of Amyar de Chastes, under whose auspices the expedition had been sent out. This put an end to the present scheme of a colonial plantation.

Champlain applied himself immediately to the preparation of an elaborate report of his explorations, and in a few months it was printed under the sanction of the King and given to the public. This book proved of importance at that early stage of French colonization in America; it covered, indeed, nearly the same ground which had been gone over by Cartier sixty years before. But the survey had been more exact and thorough; for he had observed more of the harbors and penetrated more of the tributaries both of the river and of the gulf. The pictures which he presented were more completely drawn, and detailed more accurately the sources of wealth, while they conveyed the practical information which was needed by those who were about to embark in the colonization of the New World. This fresh statement of Champlain, virtually with the royal commendation, awakened in the public mind, as might well be expected, a[106] new interest, and enterprising merchants in different cities of France were not wanting who were ready to invest their means in the new undertaking.

This union of colonization and mercantile adventure was incongruous in itself, and proved a constant impediment to settlements. The merchant made his investments for no reason but to obtain immediate returns in large dividends. On such conditions of profit, money for the necessary outlays could be obtained, but upon no other. This put into the hand of the merchant or adventurer a power which he exercised almost entirely for his own advantage. What was necessary for the prosperity of the colony which he seemed to be founding, he absorbed in frequent and excessive dividends. The avarice of the merchant thus hampered the true colonial spirit, and his demands consumed the profits which should have given solid strength and expansion to the colony. This condition was a constant source of annoyance and discouragement to Champlain, and against it he found it necessary to contend throughout his whole career, but with not very satisfactory results.[372]

It was two months after the return of this first Canadian voyage of Champlain when the commission was granted to the Sieur de Monts of which an account is given in the following chapter. De Monts had succeeded in forming an association of merchants, who were lured by the prospects of the profits of the fur-trade. Taking himself the charge of one of his vessels, of one hundred and fifty tons, and putting Pont Gravé over the other, of one hundred and twenty tons, accompanied by several noblemen, among whom was Poutrincourt, and with Champlain still in the capacity of geographer of the King, they led forth their company of one hundred and twenty men,—laborers, artisans, and soldiers,—of whom about two thirds were to remain as colonists.

De Monts, who had been in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with De Chauvin several years before, decided to seek out a suitable location for his colony in a milder climate, which he could well do without going beyond the limits of his grant. The expedition reached the shores of Nova Scotia early in May, where they captured and confiscated several vessels engaged in a contraband fur-trade. Pont Gravé proceeded through the Strait of Canseau to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in order to prosecute more successfully the fur-trade, by which the expenses of the outfit were to be met.

Champlain’s duties as an explorer and geographer began at once. He proceeded in a barque of about eight tons, accompanied by several gentlemen, sailing in advance of the vessel, exploring the southern coast of the peninsula of Nova Scotia, touching at numerous points, visiting the harbors and headlands, giving them names, and making drawings, until he reached St. Mary’s Bay, within the opening of the Bay of Fundy, where he discovered several mines of silver and iron. Subsequently having been joined by De Monts, continuing his examinations, he entered Annapolis Harbor,[107] crept along the western shore of Nova Scotia, and passing over to New Brunswick, skirted the whole of its southern coast, and entered the Harbor of St. John; then exploring Passamaquoddy Bay as far as the mouth of the River St. Croix, he finally reached the island which the patentee selected as the seat of his new colony.

Champlain—undoubtedly the best engineer in the party—was immediately directed to lay out the grounds and fix upon the situation and arrangement of the buildings, which were forthwith erected.[373]

This settlement, here and at Port Royal,[374] under the charter of De Monts, continued for three years, making, as might well be expected, but little progress as a colony, the principal achievement being the cultivation of some small patches of ground, the raising of a few specimens of European grains, and of garden vegetables for its own use. It has consequently very little historical significance in itself. But it served in the mean time a very important purpose as a base, necessary and convenient, for the extensive explorations made by Champlain on the Atlantic coast, stretching from Canseau, at the eastern extremity of Nova Scotia, to the Vineyard Sound, on the southern shores of Massachusetts. These geographical surveys occupied him three summers, while the intervening winters were employed in executing a general chart of the whole region, together with many local maps of the numerous bays, harbors, and rivers along the coast.[375]

The first of these surveys was made during the month of September, 1604. This expedition was under the sole direction of Champlain, and was made in a barque of seventeen or eighteen tons, manned by twelve sailors, and with two Indians as guides. He examined the coast from the mouth of the St. Croix to the Penobscot. He was especially interested in the beautiful islands which fringe the coast, particularly in Mount Desert and Isle Haute, to which he gave the names which they still bear. Sailing up the Penobscot, called by the Indians the Pentegöet, and by Europeans who had passed along the coast the Norumbegue, he explored this river to the head of tide-water, at the site of the present city of Bangor, where a fall in the river intercepted his progress. In the interior, along the shores of the river, he saw scarcely any inhabitants; and by a very careful examination he was satisfied beyond a doubt that the story, which had gained currency from a period as far back as the time of Alfonse, about a large native town in the vicinity, whose inhabitants had attained to some of the higher arts of civilization, was wholly without foundation. He not only saw no such town, but could find no remains or other evidence that one had ever existed. Having spent nearly a month in his explorations, he[108] obtained a good knowledge of the country and much information as to the inhabitants, when having exhausted his provisions, he returned to his winter quarters at De Monts’ Island.

The next expedition was made early in the following summer, after it had been decided to abandon the island. Accordingly, on the 18th of June, 1605, De Monts himself, with Champlain as geographer, several gentlemen and twenty sailors, together with an Indian and his wife, necessary guides and interpreters, set sail for the purpose of finding a more eligible situation somewhere on the shores of the present New England. Passing along the coast which had been explored the preceding autumn, they soon came to the mouth of the Kennebec. Entering this river, and bearing to the easterly side, they sailed through a tidal creek, now called Back River, into the waters of the Sheepscot, and passing round the southern point of Westport Island, skirting its eastern shore, they came to the site of the present town of Wiscasset. Lingering a short time, exchanging courtesies with a band of Indians assembled there, and entering into a friendly alliance with them, they proceeded down the western shores of Westport, and passing through the Sasanoa, again entered the Kennebec, and sailed up as far as Merrymeeting Bay, where, by their conference with the Indians whom they met in the Sheepscot, they were led to believe they should meet Marchin and Sasinou, two famous chiefs of that region, whose friendship it was good policy to secure. Failing of this interview, they returned by a direct course to the mouth of the Kennebec.

Champlain having made a sketch of the mouth of the river, the islands and sandbars, with the course and depth of the main channel, the party moved on towards the west. Examining the coast as they proceeded, they passed without observing the excellent harbor of Portland, concealed as it is by the beautiful islands clustering about it, and next entered the bay of the Saco, which stretches from Cape Elizabeth to Fletcher’s Neck. Here they observed strong contrasts between the natives and those of the coast farther east. Their habits, mode of life, and language were all different. Hitherto the Indians whom they had seen were nomadic, living wholly by fishing and the chase. Here they were sedentary, and subsisted mainly on the products of the soil. Their settlement was surrounded by fine fields of Indian corn, gardens of squashes, beans, and pumpkins, and ample patches of tobacco. They observed also on the bank of the river a fort, which was made of lofty palisades. After tarrying two days in this bay, making ample sketches of the whole, including the islands, the place now known as Old Orchard Beach, and the dwellings on the shore, and having bestowed on the natives some small presents as tokens of gratitude for cordial and friendly entertainment, the French, on the 12th July, once more weighed anchor. Keeping close in, following the sinuosities of the shore, and lingering here and there, they observed everything as they passed, and on the morning of the 16th arrived at Cape Anne.



[From the edition of 1613. Key: A, anchoring-place. B, channel. C, two islands (the left-hand one seems to be what is now known as Saquish, a peninsula connected at present with the Gurnet Head, here marked H; the right-hand one is the present Clark’s Island). D, sand-hills (apparently the low sand-hills of Duxbury beach). E, shoals. F, cabins and tillage ground of the natives. G, beaching-place of our barque (apparently the present Powder Point). H, land like an island, covered with wood (the present Gurnet Head). I, high promontory, seen four or five leagues at sea. This promontory has usually been called Manomet, and if the right-hand of the map is north, it has the correct bearing from the Gurnet; but it is in that case very strange that so marked a feature as the sand-spit known as Plymouth Beach is not indicated, and no sign is given of the conspicuous eminence known as Captain’s Hill. If, however, we consider the top of the map north (and the engraver may be accountable for the erroneous fashioning of the points of the compass), it becomes at once perfectly comprehensible as a sketch of that part of the bay known as Duxbury Harbor, and would not, accordingly, show that part of the shore on which the Pilgrims landed. In this view the hill I becomes Captain’s Hill, and the rest of the plan, though but rudely conforming to the lines of Duxbury Harbor, is much more satisfactory in its topographical correspondences than the other theory would allow. See the modern map of the harbor in Vol. III. chap. viii. Cf. further Davis’s Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth, p. 35, and the papers in the Mag. of Amer. Hist., December, 1882.

It will be remembered that the French found in all this region populous communities, which had been greatly reduced or destroyed by a plague in 1616 and 1617, before the English made their settlements. Mr. Adams has grouped the authorities on this point in his Morton’s New English Canaan, p. 133.

The French accounts of these Massachusetts Indians may be compared with the later English descriptions of Smith, Winslow, Wood, Morton, Williams, Lechford, Josselyn, and Gookin.

The French continued to frequent the Massachusetts coast for some years. We have accounts of two of their ships, at least, which were lost there between 1614 and 1619,—one on Cape Cod, two of whose crew were reclaimed by Dermer (Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation, 98), and the other in Boston Harbor, whose crew were killed. Cf. 4 Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., iv. 479, 489, in Phinehas Pratt’s narrative; Morton’s New English Canaan, Adams’s edition, p. 131; Mather’s Magnalia, book i. chap. ii.—Ed.]

Their stay here was brief, its chief feature being an interview with the natives, whom they found cordial and highly intelligent. The Indians made an accurate drawing, with a crayon furnished by Champlain, of the outline of Massachusetts Bay, and indicated correctly their six tribes and chiefs by as many pebbles, which they skilfully arranged for the purpose.


Holding short interviews with the natives at different points, threading their way among the islands which besprinkle the bay, many of which, as well as ample fields on the mainland, were covered with waving corn, they sailed into Boston Harbor. The next day they proceeded along the south shore, and on the 19th entered and made such survey as they could of the little bay of Plymouth, destined a few years later to become the seat of the first permanent English settlement in New England. Besides a description of the Indian methods and implements of fishing, in which vocation he found them engaged, and of the harbor and its surroundings, Champlain has left us a sketch of the bay, to which he gave the name of Port St. Louis. This sketch is certainly creditable, when we bear in mind that it was made without surveys or measurements of any kind, and during a hasty visit of a few hours. Leaving Plymouth Harbor, and keeping along the coast, they made the complete circuit of the bay, and rounding the point of Cape Cod they sailed in a southerly direction, and entered an insignificant tidal inlet now known as Nauset Harbor. Here they lingered several days, making inland excursions, gathering much valuable information relating to the Indians, their mode of dress, ornamentation, the structure of their dwellings, the preparation of their food, and the cultivation of the soil. These particulars did not differ essentially from what they had observed at Saco, on the coast of Maine, and indicated clearly that the people belonged to the same great family.

Their provisions being nearly exhausted, it now became necessary to turn back. On reaching the mouth of the Kennebec, they learned that an English ship had been anchored at the island of Monhegan, which proved to be the “Archangel,” in command of Captain George Weymouth, who was making an exploration on the coast at that time, under the patronage of the Earl of Southampton. The conflicting claims of the French and English to the territory which Champlain was now exploring will come into[111] prominence later in our story. On arriving at De Monts Island, it became necessary to hasten arrangements for the removal of the colony to a situation less exposed; but in all the explorations thus far made they had found no location which was in all respects satisfactory for a permanent settlement. They determined, therefore, to transfer the colony at once to Annapolis Basin, where the climate was milder and the situation better protected. The buildings were forthwith taken down and transported to the new site. De Monts, the governor, soon after departed for France, in order to obtain from the King assistance in establishing and enlarging the domain of his colony. The command in his absence was placed in the hands of Pont Gravé. Champlain determined also to remain, in the hope of “making new explorations towards Florida.”

During the early autumn Champlain made an excursion across the bay to St. John, whence, piloted by an Indian chief of that place, he visited Advocate’s Harbor, near the head of the Bay of Fundy, in search of a copper mine. A few small bits of that metal, which was all he found, offered little inducement for further search.

The colony, in their new quarters at Port Royal, suffered less from the severity of the climate during the winter than they had done on the preceding one at De Monts Island. Nevertheless the dreaded mal de la terre, or scurvy, made its appearance, and twelve out of the forty-five settlers died of that disease. Early in the spring several attempts were made to continue their explorations along the southern coast; but, much to their disappointment, they were as often driven back by disastrous storms. The supplies needed for the succeeding winter were much delayed, and did not come till late in July, when De Poutrincourt arrived as lieutenant of De Monts, and took command at Port Royal.

On the 5th of September an expedition under De Poutrincourt, together with Champlain as geographer, departed to continue their explorations.[376] It was Champlain’s opinion that they should sail directly for Nauset Harbor, where their previous examinations had terminated, and from that point make a careful survey of the coast farther south. Had his counsels prevailed, they might, during the season, have completed the exploration of the whole New England coast. But De Poutrincourt desired to examine personally what had already been explored by previous expeditions. In this re-survey they discovered Gloucester Harbor, which they had not seen before. They found it spacious, well protected, with good depth of water, surrounded by attractive scenery, and therefore named it Le Beauport, the beautiful harbor. It was fringed with the dwellings and gardens of two hundred natives. In their mode of life they were sedentary, like those at Saco and at Boston, and they gave their guests a friendly welcome, offering them the products of the soil,—grapes just from the[112] vines, squashes of different varieties, the trailing-bean which is still cultivated in New England, and the Jerusalem artichoke, fresh and crisp, the product of their industry and care. After several days at Gloucester, the voyagers proceeded on their course, and finally rounded Cape Cod, touched again at Nauset, and after infinite trouble and no less danger crept round Monomoy Point and entered Chatham Harbor, where they found it necessary to remain some days for the repair of their disabled barque. From Chatham as a base they made numerous inland excursions, and also sailed along the shore as far as the Vineyard Sound, which was the southern terminus of Champlain’s explorations on the coast of New England. The work of exploration having thus been completed, spreading their sails for the homeward voyage, touching at many points on their way, they reached Annapolis Harbor on the 14th of November.

The winter that followed was employed by the colonists in such minor enterprises as might seem to bear on their future prospects. Near the end of the following May a ship arrived from France bringing a letter from De Monts, the patentee, stating that by order of the King his monopoly of the fur-trade had been abolished, and directing the immediate return of the colony to France. The cause of this sudden reverse of fortune to De Monts, of this withdrawal of his exclusive right to the fur-trade, is easily explained. The seizure and confiscation of several ships and their valuable cargoes on the coast of Nova Scotia had awakened a personal hostility in influential circles, and they easily represented that the monopoly of De Monts was destroying an important branch of national commerce, and diverting to the emolument of a private gentleman revenues which belonged to the State.

Preparations for the return to France were undertaken without delay. Meanwhile two excursions were made, one, accompanied by Lescarbot the historian, to St. John and to the seat of the first settlement at De Monts Island; another, under De Poutrincourt, accompanied by Champlain, to the head of the Bay of Fundy. The bulk of the colonists left near the end of July, in several barques, to rendezvous at Canseau, while De Poutrincourt and Champlain remained till the 11th of August, when they followed in a shallop, keeping close to the shore, which gave Champlain an opportunity to examine the coast from La Hève to Canseau,—the last of his explorations on the Atlantic coast.

As the geographer of the King, Champlain had been engaged in his specific duties three years and nearly four months. His was altogether pioneer work. At this time there was not a European settlement of any kind on the eastern borders of North America, from Newfoundland on the north to Mexico on the south. No exploration of any significance of the vast region traversed by him had then been made. Gosnold and Pring had touched the coast; but their brief stay and imperfect and shadowy notes are to the historian tantalizing and only faintly instructive.[377] Other navigators[113] had indeed passed along the shore, sighting the headlands of Cape Anne and Cape Cod, and had observed some of the wide-stretching bays and the outflow of the larger rivers;[378] but none of them had attempted even a hasty exploration. Champlain’s surveys, stretching over more than a thousand miles of sea-coast, are ample, and approximately accurate. It would seem that his local as well as his general maps depended simply on the observations of a careful eye; of necessity they lacked the measurements of an elaborate survey. Of their kind they are creditable examples, and evince a certain ready skill. The nature and products of the soil, the wild, teeming life of forest and field, are pictured in his text with minuteness and conscientious care. His descriptions of the natives, their mode of life, their dress, their occupations, their homes, their intercourse with each other, their domestic and civil institutions as far as they had any, are clear and well defined, and as the earliest on record, having been made before Indian life became modified by intercourse with Europeans, will always be regarded by the historian as of the highest importance.

On the 3d of September, 1607, the colonists, having assembled by agreement at Canseau, embarked for France, and arrived at St. Malo early in October. Champlain hastened to lay before De Monts the results of his explorations, together with his maps and drawings. The zeal of De Monts was rekindled by the recital, notwithstanding the losses he had sustained and the disappointments he had encountered. Specimens of grain, corn, wheat, rye, barley, and oats, together with two or three braces of the beautiful brant goose, which had been bred from the shell, were presented to the King as products of New France and as an earnest of its future wealth. Henry IV. was not insensible to the merits of the faithful De Monts, and he granted him a renewal of his monopoly of the fur-trade, but only for a single year. With this limitation of his privilege, stimulated by the futile hope of getting it extended at its expiration, De Monts fitted out two vessels,—one to be commanded by Pont Gravé, and devoted exclusively to the fur-trade, while the other was to be employed in transporting men and material for a settlement or plantation on the River St. Lawrence. Of this expedition Champlain was constituted lieutenant-governor,—an office which he subsequently continued to hold in New France, with little interruption, till his death in 1635.

On the 13th of April, 1608, he left Honfleur, and arrived at Tadoussac on the 3d of June. Here he found Pont Gravé, who had preceded him, in serious trouble. A Basque fur-trader and whale-fisherman, who did not choose to be restrained in his trade, had attacked him, killed one of his men, severely wounded Pont Gravé himself, and taken possession of his armament. The illegal character of this proceeding and its utter disregard of the King’s commission clearly merited immediate and severe punishment. While the Governor was greatly annoyed, he did not, however, allow passion to warp his judgment or overcome the dictates of[114] reason. The punishment, so richly deserved, could not be administered without the sacrifice of all his plans for the present year. With a characteristic prudence he therefore decided, “in order not to make a bad cause out of a just one,” to use his own expression, upon a compromise, by referring the final settlement to the authorities in France, with the assurance, in the mean time, that there should be no further interference by either party with the other.


Champlain’s plan in the edition of 1613. Key: A, Round Mountain. B, harbor. C, fresh-water brook. D, camp of natives coming to traffic. E, peninsula. F, Point of all Devils. G, Saguenay River. H, Point aux Alouettes. I, very rough mountain covered with firs and beeches. L, the mill Bode. M, roadstead. N, pond. O, brook. P, grass-land.

Having constructed a small barque of about fourteen tons, and taken on board a complement of men and such material as was needed for his settlement, he proceeded up the River St. Lawrence. On the fourth day the French approached the lofty headland jutting out upon the river and forcing it into a narrow channel, to which, on account of this narrowing, the Algonquins had given the significant name of Quebec.[379] Here on a belt of land at the base of a lofty precipice, along the water’s edge, on the 3d day of July, 1608, Champlain laid the foundations of the city which still bears the name of Quebec.


QUEBEC, 1613.

[A fac-simile of Champlain’s plan in the edition of 1613. Key: A, Our habitation, now the Point; B, cleared ground for grain, later, the Esplanade, or Grande Place; C, gardens; D, small brook; E, river where Cartier wintered, called by him St. Croix, now the St. Charles; F, river of the marshes; G, grass-land; H, Montmorency Falls, twenty-five fathoms high (really forty fathoms high); I, end of Falls of Montmorency, now Lake of the Snows; R, Bear Brook, now La Rivière de Beauport; S, Brook du Gendre, now Rivière des Fons; T, meadows overflowed; V, Mont du Gas, very high, now the bastion Roi à la Citadelle; X, swift mill-brooks; Y, gravelly shore, where diamonds are found; Z, Point of Diamonds; 9, sites of Isle d’Orléans; L, very narrow point, afterward known as Cap de Lévis; M, Roaring River, which extends to the Etechemins; N, St. Lawrence River; O, lake in the Roaring River; P, mountains and “bay which I named New Biscay;” Q, lake of the natives’ cabins. Cf. Slafter’s edition, ii. 175. This map is often wanting in copies of this edition; cf. Menzies Catalogue, no. 368. There is another fac-simile of it in the Voyages de Découverte au Canada, published by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec in 1843.—Ed.]

The remaining part of the season was employed in establishing his colony, in felling the forest trees, in excavating cellars, erecting buildings, in laying out and preparing gardens, and in the necessary preparations for the coming winter. Among the events to occupy the attention of the Governor early after their arrival was the suppression of a conspiracy among his men which aimed at his assassination, the[116] seizure of the property of the settlement, and the conversion of it to their own use. Proceeding cautiously in eliciting all the facts, Champlain got the approbation of the officers of the vessels and others, and condemned four of the men to be hanged. The sentence was executed upon the leader at once, while the other three were sent back to France for a review and confirmation of their sentence in the courts. This prompt exercise of authority had a salutary effect, and good order was permanently established. The winter was severe and trying, especially to the constitutions of men unaccustomed to the intense cold of that region, and disease setting in, twenty of the twenty-eight which comprised their whole number died before the middle of April. The suffering of the sick, the mortality which followed, the starving savages who dragged their famishing and feeble bodies about the settlement, and whose wants could be but partially supplied, produced a depression and gloom which can hardly be adequately pictured.

Early in June, 1609, Pont Gravé returned from France with supplies and men for the settlement. The colony, even thus augmented, was small; and under the system on which it was established and was to be maintained, there was little assurance that it would be greatly enlarged. During the first twenty-five years its whole number did not probably at any time much exceed one hundred persons. While there was a constant struggle to enlarge its borders and increase its numbers, it was in fact only a respectable trading-post, maintained at a limited expense for the economical and successful conduct of the fur-trade. The responsibility of the Lieutenant-Governor was mostly confined to maintaining order in this little community, and in giving the men occupation in the gardens and small fields which were put under cultivation, and in packing and shipping peltry during the season of trade. For a man of the character, capacity, and practical sense of Champlain, this was a mere bagatelle. He naturally and properly looked forward to the time when New France should become a strong and populous nation. Its territorial extent was at present unknown. The channel only of the St. Lawrence, including the narrow margin that could be seen from the prow of the barque as it sailed along its shore from Tadoussac to the Lachine Rapids, had been explored. A vast continent stretched away in the distance, shrouded in dark forests, diversified with deep rivers and broad lakes, concerning which nothing whatever was known, except that which might be gathered from the shadowy representations of the wild men roaming in its solitudes. To know the capabilities of this[117] mysterious, unmeasured domain; to learn the history, character, and relations of the differing tribes by whom it was inhabited,—was the day-dream of Champlain’s vigorous and active mind. But to attain this was not an easy task. It required patience, discretion, endurance of hardship and danger, a brave spirit, and an indomitable will. With these qualities Champlain was richly endowed, and from his natural love of useful adventure, and his experience in exploration, he was at all times ready and eager to push his investigations into these new regions and among these pre-historic tribes.


[From Lescarbot’s map, showing Quebec (Kebec) and Tadoussac at the mouth of the Saguenay.—Ed.]

During the winter Champlain had learned from the Indians who came to the settlement that far to the southwest there existed a large lake, whose waters were dotted with beautiful islands, and whose shores were surrounded by lofty mountains and fertile valleys. An opportunity to explore this lake and the river by which its waters were drained into the St. Lawrence was eagerly coveted by Champlain. This region occupied a peculiar relation to the hostile tribes on the north and those on the[118] south of the St. Lawrence. It was the battle-field, or war-path, where they had for many generations, on each returning summer, met in bloody conflict. The territory between these contending tribes was neutral ground. Mutual fear had kept it open and uninhabited. The Montagnais in the neighborhood of Quebec were quite ready to conduct Champlain on this exploration, but it was nevertheless on the condition that he should assist them in an attack upon these enemies if encountered on the lake. To this he acceded without hesitation. It is possible that he did not appreciate the consequences of assuming such a hostile attitude toward the Iroquois; but it is probable that he was influenced by a broad national policy, to which we shall revert in the sequel.


[Champlain’s, in his edition of 1613. Key: A, storehouse; B, dovecote; C, armory and workmen’s lodging; D, workmen’s lodging; E, dial; F, blacksmith shop and mechanics’ lodging; G, galleries all about the dwellings; H, Champlain’s house; I, gate and drawbridge; L, promenade, ten feet wide; M, moat; N, platform for cannon; O, Champlain’s garden; P, kitchen; Q, open space; R, St. Lawrence River. This print is also reproduced in Lemoine’s Quebec Past and Present, Quebec, 1876, and in Voyages de Découverte au Canada, published by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec in 1843.—Ed.]

On the 18th day of June Champlain left Quebec for this exploration. His escort of Montagnais was subsequently augmented by delegations from their allies, the Hurons and the Algonquins.


[This follows the Hamel painting after the Moncornet portrait, as given in Dr. Shea’s _Charlevoix_, vol. ii., and _Le Clercq_, i. 65. Cf. Slafter’s _Champlain_, vol. i., for a statement regarding the portraits of Champlain. Mr. Slafter prefers a woodcut by Roujat, and thinks that Hamel worked upon a sketch made from the Moncornet picture, which failed to preserve the strength of the original. The autograph of Champlain is rare. Dufossé in 1883 advertised a manuscript contract signed by him and his wife for 190 francs.—Ed.]

After numerous delays and adjustments and readjustments of plans, when the expedition was fairly afloat on the River Richelieu it consisted of sixty warriors in bark canoes, clad in their usual armor, accompanied by Champlain and two French arquebusiers. Proceeding up the river, they entered the lake, coursed its western shore, and moved tardily along. At the expiration of nearly three weeks,—on the 29th of July, 1609,—in the shade of the evening, they discovered a flotilla of bark canoes containing about two hundred Iroquois warriors of the Mohawk tribe, who were searching for their enemies, the tribes of the north, whom they hoped to find on this old war-path. Early the next morning, on the present site of Ticonderoga, near where the French subsequently erected Fort Carillon, whose ruins are still visible, the two parties met.[380]



[A fac-simile of Champlain’s engraving in his edition of 1613. Key: A (wanting), the fort; B, enemy; C, oak-bark canoes of the enemy, holding ten, fifteen, or eighteen men each; D, two chiefs, who were killed; E, an enemy wounded by Champlain’s musket; F (wanting), Champlain; G (wanting), two musketeers; H, canoes of the allies, Montagnais, Ochastaiguins, and Algonquins, who are above; I (also on the), birch-bark canoes of our allies; K (wanting), woods.—Ed.]

It was the first exhibition of firearms which the savages had ever witnessed. Champlain, moving at the head of his allies, discharged his[121] arquebus, and by it two chiefs were instantly killed, and another savage fell mortally wounded. The two French arquebusiers, attacking in flank, poured also a deadly fire upon the astonished Mohawks. The strange noise of the musketry, their comrades falling dead or wounded, and the deafening shout of the victors, carried dismay into the Mohawk ranks. In utter consternation they fled into the forest, abandoning their canoes, arms, provisions, and implements of every sort. The joy of the victors was unbounded. In three hours after the fight they had gathered up their booty, placed the ten captives whom they had taken in their canoes, performed the customary dance of victory, and were sailing down the lake on their homeward voyage. They soon reached their destination, having lingered here and there to inflict the usual inhuman punishments upon their poor prisoners of war. The cruelties which they practised in the presence of Champlain were abhorrent to his generous nature, and he used his utmost influence to mitigate and soften the sufferings which he could not wholly avert.

The exploration which Champlain had thus conducted was interesting and geographically important. He had made a hurried survey of the lake extending nearly its whole length, and had observed its beautiful islands, with its wooded shores flanked by the Adirondacks on the west and by the Green Mountains on the east. From the mouth of the Richelieu he had penetrated inland a hundred and fifty miles, and as the discoverer he might justly claim that the whole domain, of which this line was the radius, had by him been added to French dominion. To this exquisitely fine expanse of water he gave his own name; and now, after the lapse of two hundred and seventy-five years, it still bears the appellation of Lake Champlain.

Soon after arriving at Quebec, Champlain made preparations to return to France. Leaving the settlement in charge of a deputy, he arrived at Honfleur on the 13th of October. He immediately laid before De Monts and the King a full report of his discoveries and observations during the past year, and to both of them it was gratifying and satisfactory. The monopoly of the fur-trade which had been granted to De Monts had expired by limitation, and he now sought for its renewal. The opposition, however, was too powerful, and his efforts were fruitless. Nevertheless, De Monts did not abandon his undertaking, but with a commendable resolution and courage he renewed his contracts with the merchants of Rouen, and in the spring of 1610 sent out two vessels to transport artisans and supplies for the settlement, and to carry on the fur-trade. Champlain was again appointed lieutenant for the government of the colony at Quebec.

During this summer he was unable to undertake any explorations, although two important ones had been projected the year before. One of them was in the direction of Lake St. John and the headwaters of the Saguenay, the other up the Ottawa and to the region of Lake Superior. The importance of an early survey of these distant regions was obvious; but the[122] Indians were not ready for the undertaking, and without their friendly guidance and assistance it was plainly impracticable. Early in the season the Montagnais were on their way to the mouth of the Richelieu, where they were to meet their allies, the Hurons and Algonquins, and proceed up the river to Lake Champlain, and engage in their usual summer’s entertainment of war with the Mohawks. Sending forward several barques for trading purposes, Champlain repaired to the rendezvous, where he learned that the Iroquois or Mohawks, nothing daunted by the experiences of the previous year, had already arrived, and had thrown up a hasty intrenchment on the shore, and were impatiently awaiting the fight. There was no delay; the conflict was terrific. By the aid and advice of Champlain the rude fort was demolished. Fifteen of the Mohawks were taken prisoners, others plunged into the river and were drowned, and the rest perished by the arquebus and the savage implements of war. Not one of the Mohawks escaped to tell the story of their disaster.

Before the Algonquins from the Ottawa returned to their homes, Champlain began a practice which proved of great value in after years. He placed in the custody of the Indians a young man to accompany them to their homes, pass the winter, learn their language, their mode of life, and the numberless other things which can only be fully understood and appreciated by an actual residence. On the other hand, a young savage was taken to France and made familiar with the forms of civilized life. These delegates of both parties became interpreters, and thus intercourse between the French and Indians became easy and intelligent.

During the summer information was received of the assassination of Henry IV. This was regarded as a great calamity. He had from the first been friendly to those engaged in colonial enterprise, and they could fully rely upon his sympathy, although his impoverished treasury did not permit him to give that substantial aid which was really needed.

Champlain returned to France in the autumn of 1610, but again visited Quebec in 1611, though only for the summer, which was devoted almost exclusively to the management of the fur-trade. This trade was at best limited and desultory. The French did not obtain their peltry by trapping, snaring, or the chase, but by traffic with the savage tribes, who every summer visited the St. Lawrence for this purpose. A small number of them appeared each spring at Tadoussac, and a much larger number at Montreal, with their bark canoes loaded with skins of the beaver and of other valuable fur-bearing animals. Having no use for money or for such fabrics as are useful and necessary in civilized life, the savages gladly exchanged the accumulations of the winter, sometimes not reserving enough for their own clothing, for such glittering trifles as were offered to their choice. To facilitate these exchanges a rendezvous was established at Montreal, and when the flotilla of canoes appeared in the river, the trade was completed in an incredibly short time. As it was absolutely free and unrestricted, the competition became excessive, and the balance-sheet of the merchants usually presented[123] an exceedingly small net profit, if not a considerable loss. This competition was so disastrous, that the associates of De Monts decided to withdraw from the enterprise, and sold to him their interest in the establishment at Quebec. The formation of a new company was forthwith committed to Champlain. He accordingly drew up a scheme, embracing, besides others, these two important features: First, that the association should be presided over by a viceroy of high position and commanding influence; this was supposed to be important in settling any complications that might arise in France. Second, that membership should be open to all merchants who might desire to engage in trade in New France, sharing equally all profits and losses. This was supposed to remove all objections to the association as a monopoly, since membership was free to all. The Count de Soissons was appointed viceroy. He died, however, a few weeks later, in the autumn of 1612, and the Prince de Condé, Henry de Bourbon II., was chosen his successor. The organization of the Company, under many embarrassments, notwithstanding the precautions which had been taken by Champlain, occupied him during the whole of the year 1612. Having been appointed lieutenant, he returned to New France in 1613, arriving at Quebec on the 7th of May of that year.

It had been from the beginning an ulterior object of the French in making a settlement in North America to discover a northwest passage by water to the Pacific Ocean. Whoever should make this discovery would, by diminishing the distance to the markets of the East Indies, confer a boon of untold commercial value upon his country, and earn for himself an imperishable fame. This day-dream of all the old navigators had haunted the mind of Champlain from the first. Every indication which pointed in that direction was carefully considered. Nicholas de Vignau, one of the interpreters who had passed a winter with the Algonquins on the upper waters of the Ottawa, returned to France in 1613. Having heard doubtless something of the disastrous voyage of Henry Hudson to the bay which bears his name, he manufactured a fine story, all of which was spun from his own brain, but was nevertheless well adapted to make a strong impression on the mind of Champlain and others interested in this question. This bold impostor stated that while with the Algonquins he had made an excursion to the north, and had discovered a sea of salt water; that he had seen on its shores the wreck of an English ship from which eighty men had been taken and slain by the savages, and that the Indians had retained an English boy to present to Champlain when he should visit them. Although the story was plausible, Vignau was cross-examined, and put to various tests, and finally made to certify to the truth of his statement before notaries at La Rochelle. Champlain laid the statement before the Chancellor de Sillery, the President Jeannin, and the Marshal de Brissac, and by them was strongly advised to ascertain the truth of the story by a personal exploration. He therefore resolved to make this a prominent feature of the summer’s work.


Accordingly, with two bark canoes, provisions and arms, an Indian guide and four Frenchmen, including De Vignau, Champlain proceeded up the Ottawa. This river is distinguished by its numerous rapids and falls, many of them impassable even by the light canoe;[381] and at that time the shores were lined with dense and tangled forests, which could only be penetrated with the utmost difficulty. After incredible fatigue and hunger, the party at length arrived at Alumet Island, where they were kindly received by the chief of the Indian settlement. Here De Vignau had passed a previous winter, and was now obliged to confess his base and shameless falsehood. The indignation of Champlain, as well as his disappointment, can well be comprehended. He bore himself, however, with calmness, and restrained the savages from taking the life of De Vignau, which they were anxious to do for his audacious mendacity.

Although Champlain did not attain the object for which the journey was undertaken, he had nevertheless explored an important river for more than two hundred miles, and had made a favorable impression upon the savages. On his return he was accompanied by a large number of them, with eighty canoes loaded with valuable peltry for exchanges at the rendezvous near Montreal. Having placed everything in order at Quebec, he returned to France, where he remained during the whole of the year 1614, occupied largely in adding new members to his company of associates, and in perfecting such plans as were necessary for the success of the colony. Among the rest he secured several missionaries to accompany him to New France, with the purpose of converting the Indians to the Christian faith. These were Denis Jamay, Jean d’Olbeau, Joseph le Caron, and the lay brother Pacifique du Plessis, Recollects of the Franciscan order.

On his return in 1615, Champlain immediately erected a chapel at Quebec, which was placed in charge of Denis Jamay and Pacifique du Plessis, while Jean d’Olbeau assumed the mission of the Montagnais, and Joseph le Caron that of the Hurons. Hastening to the rendezvous for trade at Montreal, Champlain found the allied tribes awaiting him, and anxious to engage him in a grand campaign against the Iroquois. It was to be on a much more comprehensive scale than anything that had preceded it, and was to be an attack on a large fort situated in the heart of the present State of New York. This was distant not less than eight hundred or a thousand miles by the circuitous journey which it was necessary to make in reaching it. The warriors were to be collected and marshalled from the various tribes whose homes were along the route. The undertaking[125] was not a small one. A journey, including the return, of fifteen hundred or two thousand miles, by river and lake, through swamps and tangled forests, with the incumbrance of necessary baggage and a motley crowd of several hundred savages to be daily fed by the chance of fishing and hunting, demanded a brave heart and a strong will.


[This sketch-map follows one given by Mr. O. H. Marshall in connection with a paper on “Champlain’s Expedition of 1615” in the Mag. of Amer. Hist., August, 1878. It shows the route believed by Mr. Marshall to be that of Champlain from Quinté Bay, and the route suggested by General John S. Clark, which is in the main accepted by Dr. Shea.

The route of Champlain and the site of the fort attacked by him has occasioned a diversity of views. Champlain’s own narrative, besides making part of the English translation of his works, is also translated in the Doc. Hist. of New York, vol. iii., and in the Mag. of Amer. Hist., September, 1877, p. 561. Fac-similes of the print of the fort, besides being in the works, are also in the Doc. Hist. of New York, iii. 9; Shea’s Le Clercq, i. 104; Mag. of Amer. Hist., September, 1877; Watson’s History of Essex County, N. Y., p. 22.

Mr. Marshall began the discussion of these questions as early as 1849 in the New York Hist. Soc. Proc. for March of the same year, p. 96; but gave the riper results of his study in the Mag. of Amer. Hist., vol. i., January, 1877, with a fac-simile of Champlain’s 1632 map. His views here were controverted in the same, September, 1877, by George Geddes, who placed the fort on Onondaga Creek, and by Dr. J. G. Shea in the Pennsylvania Magazine of History, ii. 103, who substantially agreed with an address by General J. S. Clark, which has not yet been printed, but whose views are shared by Mr. L. W. Ledyard, who in an address, Jan. 9, 1883, at Cazenovia, N. Y., tells the story of his own and General Clark’s investigation of the site of the fort, and places it near Perryville, N. Y. Dr. Shea, in his Le Clercq, i. 100, has since gone over the authorities. It was in reply to Geddes, Shea, and Clark that Mr. Marshall wrote the paper from which the above sketch-map is taken. Dr. O’Callaghan, in his Documentary History of New York, iii. 16, had advanced the theory that the fort was on Lake Canandaigua: and to this view Mr. Parkman guardedly assented in his Pioneers, and so marked the fort on his map. Brodhead, History of New York, i. 69, and Clark in his History of Onondaga, placed it on Onondaga Lake. Cf. the Transactions of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, New Series, part ii., and the notes in the Quebec and Prince Society editions of Champlain’s Voyages.—Ed.]

But it offered an opportunity for exploring unknown regions which Champlain could not bring himself to decline. Accordingly, on the 9th of July, 1615, Champlain embarked with an interpreter, a French servant, and ten savages, in two birch-bark canoes. They ascended the Ottawa, entered the Mattawan, and by other waters reached Lake Nipissing. Crossing this lake and following the channel of French River, they entered Lake Huron, or the Georgian Bay, and coasted along until they reached the present county of Simcoe. Here they found the missionary Le Caron, who had preceded them. Eight Frenchmen belonging to his company joined that of Champlain. The mustering hosts of the savage warriors came in from every direction. At[126] length, crossing Lake Simcoe, by rivers and lakes and frequent portages they reached Lake Ontario just as it merges into the River St. Lawrence, and passing over to the New York side, they concealed their canoes in a thicket near the shore, and proceeded by land; striking inland, crossing the stream now known as Oneida River, they finally, on the 10th of October, reached the great Iroquois fortress, situated a few miles south of the eastern end of Oneida Lake. This fort was hexagonal in form, constructed of four rows of palisades thirty feet in height, with a gallery near the top, and water-spouts for the extinguishing of fire. It inclosed several acres, and was a strong work of its kind. The attack of the allies was fierce and desultory, without plan or system, notwithstanding Champlain’s efforts to direct it. A considerable number of the Iroquois were killed by the French firearms, and many were wounded; but no effective impression was made upon the fortress. After lingering before the fort some days, the allies began their retreat. Champlain, having been wounded, was transported in a basket made for the purpose. Returning to the other side of Lake Ontario, to a famous hunting-ground,—probably north of the present town of Kingston,—they remained several weeks, capturing a large number of deer. When the frosts of December had sealed up the ground, the streams, and lakes, they returned to the home of the Hurons in Simcoe, dragging with incredible labor their stores of venison through bog and fen and pathless forest. Here Champlain passed the winter, making excursions to neighboring Indian tribes, and studying their habits and character from his personal observation, and writing out the results with great minuteness and detail. As soon as the season was sufficiently advanced, Champlain began his journey homeward by the circuitous route of his advance, and arrived safely after an absence of nearly a year. Having put in execution plans for the repair and enlargement of the buildings at Quebec, he returned to France.

For several years the trade in furs was conducted as usual, with occasional changes both in the Company in France and in local management. These, however, were of no very essential importance, and the details must be passed by in this brief narrative. The ceaseless struggle for large dividends and small expenditures on the part of the company of merchants did not permit any considerable enlargement of the colony, or any improvements which did not promise immediate returns. Repairs upon the buildings and a new fort constructed on the brow of the precipice in the rear of the settlement were carried forward tardily and grudgingly.[382] As a mere[127] trading-post it had undoubtedly been successful. The average number of beaver skins annually purchased of the Indians and transported to France was probably not far from fifteen or twenty thousand, and it sometimes reached twenty-two thousand. The annual dividend of forty per cent on the investment, as intimated by Champlain, must have been highly satisfactory to the Company. The settlement maintained the character of a trading-post, but hardly that of a colonial plantation. After the lapse of nearly twenty years, the average number of colonists did not exceed much more than fifty. This progress was not satisfactory to Champlain, to the Viceroy, or to the Council of State. In 1627 a change became inevitable. Cardinal de Richelieu had become grand master and chief of the navigation and commerce of France. He saw the importance of rendering this colony worthy of the fame and greatness of the nation under whose authority it had been planted. Acting with characteristic promptness and decision, he dissolved the old Company and instituted a new one, denominated La Compagnie de la Nouvelle France, consisting of a hundred or more members, and commonly known as the Company of the Hundred Associates. The constitution of this society possessed several important features, which seemed to assure the solid growth of the colony. Richelieu was its constituted head. Its authority was to extend over the whole territory of New France and Florida. Its capital was three hundred thousand livres. It proposed to send to Canada in 1628 from two hundred to three hundred artisans of all classes, and within the space of fifteen years to transport four thousand colonists to New France. These were to be wholly supported by the Company for three years, and after that they were to have assigned to them as much land as was needed for cultivation. The settlers were to be natives of France and exclusively of the Catholic faith, and no Huguenot was to be allowed to enter the country. The Company was to have exclusive control of trade, and all goods manufactured in New France were to be free of imposts on exportation. Such were the more general and prominent features of the association. In the spring of 1628 the Company, thus organized, despatched four armed vessels to convoy a fleet of eighteen transports, laden with emigrants and stores, together with one hundred and thirty-five pieces of ordnance to fortify the settlement at Quebec.

War existing at that time between England and France, an English fleet was already on its way to destroy the French colony at Quebec. The transports and convoy sent out by the Company of the Hundred Associates were intercepted on their way, carried into England, and confiscated. On the arrival of the English at Tadoussac, David Kirke, the commander, sent up a summons to Champlain at Quebec, demanding the surrender of the town; this Champlain declined to do with such an air of assurance that the English commander did not attempt to enforce his demand. The supplies for the settlement having thus been cut off by the English, before the next spring the colony was on the point of perishing by starvation. Half of them had been billeted on Indian tribes to escape impending death. On the 19th of July, 1629, three English vessels appeared before Quebec, and again demanded its surrender. Destitute of provisions and of all means of defence, with only a handful of famishing men, Champlain delivered up the post without hesitation. All the movable property belonging to the Company at Quebec was surrendered. The whole colony, with the exception of such as preferred to remain, were transported to France by way of England. On their arrival at Plymouth, it was ascertained that the war between the two countries had come to an end, and that the articles of peace provided that all conquests made subsequent to the 24th of April, 1629, were to be restored; and consequently Quebec, and the peltry and other property taken after that date, must be remanded to their former owners. Notwithstanding this, Champlain was taken to London and held as a prisoner of war for several weeks, during which time the base attempt was made to compel him to pay a ransom for his freedom. Such illegal and unjust artifices practised upon a man like Champlain of course came to nothing, except to place upon the pages of history a fresh example of what the avarice of men will lead them to do. After having been detained a month, Champlain was permitted to depart for France.



Fac-simile of the engraving in Hennepin’s New Discovery, 1698, p. 161. Of this capture (during which not a gun was fired, notwithstanding Hennepin’s dramatic picture) see an enumeration of contemporary authorities in the notes to Shea’s Charlevoix, ii. 44, et seq., principally Champlain, Sagard, and Creuxius. It is the subject of special treatment in H. Kirke’s Conquest of Canada, with help from papers in the English Record Office. In the same year (1629) there was a seizure on the part of the French of James Stuart’s post at Cape Breton, commemorated in La Prise d’un Seigneur Écossois, etc. Par Monsieur Daniel de Dieppe. Rouen, 1630. Cf. Champlain, 1632 ed., p. 272; and Harrisse, no. 45.


The breaking-up of the settlement at Quebec just on the eve of the new arrangement under the administration of the Hundred Associates, and with greater prospect of success than had existed at any former period, involved a loss which can hardly be estimated, and retarded for several years the progress of the colony. The return of the property which had been illegally seized and carried away gave infinite trouble and anxiety to Champlain; and it was not until 1633 that he left France again, with a large number of colonists, re-commissioned as governor, to join his little colony at Quebec.[383] He was accompanied by the Jesuit Fathers Enemond Massé and Jean de Brébeuf. The Governor and his associates received at Quebec from the remnant of the colony a most hearty welcome. The memory of what good he had done in the past awakened in them fresh gratitude and a new zeal in his service. He addressed himself with his old energy, but nevertheless with declining strength, to the duties of the hour,—to the renovation and improvement of the habitation and fort, to the holding of numerous councils with the Indians in the neighborhood, and to the execution of plans for winning back the traffic of allied tribes. The building of a chapel, named, in memory of the recovery of Quebec,[130] Notre Dame de Recouvrance, and such other kindred duties as sprang out of the responsibilities of his charge, engaged his attention. In these occupations two years soon passed.

During the summer of 1635 Champlain addressed a letter to Cardinal de Richelieu, soliciting the means, and setting forth the importance of subduing the hostile tribes known as the Five Nations, and bringing them into sympathy and friendship with the French.[384] This in his opinion was necessary for the proper enlargement of the French domain and for the opening of the whole continent to the influence of the Christian faith,—two objects which seemed to him of paramount importance. This was probably the last letter written by Champlain, and contains the key to the motives which had influenced him from the beginning in joining the northern tribes in their wars with the Iroquois.[385] On Christmas Day, the 25th of December, 1635, Champlain died in the little fort which he had erected on the rocky promontory at Quebec, amid the tears and sorrows of the colony to which for twenty-seven years he had devoted his strength and thought with rare generosity and devotion.[386] In the following June, Montmagny, a Knight of Malta, arrived as the successor of Champlain.


THE richest source of information relating to Champlain’s achievements as a navigator, explorer, and the founder of the French settlement in Canada is found in his own writings. It was his habit to keep a journal of his observations, which he began even on his voyage to the West Indies in 1599. Of his first voyage to Canada, in 1603, his Journal appears to have been put to press in the last part of the same year. This little book of eighty pages is entitled: Des Savvages; ov, Voyage de Samvel Champlain, de Brovage, faict en la France Nouuelle, l’an mil six cens trois. A Paris, chez Clavde de Monstr’oeil, tenant sa boutique en la Cour du Palais, au nom de Jesus, 1604. Auec priuilege du Roy. This Journal contains a valuable narrative of the incidents of the voyage across the Atlantic, and likewise a description of the Gulf and River St. Lawrence,[131] and enters fully into details touching the tributaries of the great river, the bays, harbors, forests, and scenery along the shore, as well as the animals and birds with which the islands and borders of the river were swarming at that period. It contains a discriminating account of the character and habits of the savages as he saw them.[387]

In 1613 Champlain published a second volume, embracing the events which had occurred from 1603 to that date. The following is its title: Les Voyages dv Sievr de Champlain Xaintongeois, Capitaine ordinaire pour le Roy, en la marine, divisez en devx livres; ou, jovrnal tres-fidele des observations faites és descouuertures de la Nouuelle France: tant en la descriptiô des terres, costes, riuieres, ports, haures, leurs hauteurs, et plusieurs delinaisons de la guide-aymant; qu’en la creâce des peuples, leur superstition, façon de viure et de guerroyer: enrichi de quantité de figures. A Paris, chez Jean Berjon, rue S. Jean de Beauuais, au Cheual volant, et en sa boutique au Palais, à la gallerie des prisonniers, M.DC.XIII. Avec privilege dv Roy. 4to.[388] It contains a full description of the coast-line westerly from Canseau, including Nova Scotia, the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, and New England as far as the Vineyard Sound. It deals not only with the natural history, the fauna and flora, but with the character of the soil, its numerous products, as well as the sinuosities and conformation of the shore, and is unusually minute in details touching the natives. In this last respect it is especially valuable, as at that period neither their manners, customs, nor mode of life had been modified by intercourse with Europeans. The volume is illustrated by twenty-two local maps and drawings, and a large map representing the territory which he had personally surveyed, and concerning which he had obtained information from the natives and from other sources. This is the first map to delineate the coast-line of New England with approximate correctness. The volume contains likewise what he calls a “geographical map,” constructed with the degrees of latitude and longitude numerically indicated. In this respect it is, of course, inexact, as the instruments then in use were very imperfect, and it is doubtful whether his surveys had been sufficiently extensive to furnish the proper and adequate data for these complicated calculations. It was the first attempt to lay down the latitude and longitude on any map of the coast.[389]


In 1619 Champlain published a third work, describing the events from 1615 to that date. It was reissued in 1620 and in 1627. The following is its title, as given in the issue of 1627:[390] Voyages et Descovvertvres faites en la Novvelle France, depuis l’année 1615 iusques à la fin de l’année 1618. Par le Sieur de Champlain, Cappitaine ordinaire pour le Roy en la Mer du Ponant. Seconde Edition. A Paris, chez Clavde Collet, au Palais, en la gallerie des Prisonniers, M.D.C. XXVII. Avec privilege dv Roy. The previous issue contained the occurrences of 1613. The year 1614 he passed in France. The present volume continues his observations in New France from his return in 1615. It describes his introduction of the Recollect Fathers as missionaries to the Indians, his exploration of the Ottawa, Lake Nipissing, Lake Huron, and Ontario; the attack on the Iroquois fort in the State of New York; his winter among the Hurons; and it contains his incomparable essay on the Hurons and other neighboring tribes. It has Brûlé’s narrative of his experiences among the savages on the southern borders of the State of New York, near the Pennsylvania line, and that of the events which occurred in the settlement at Quebec; it contains illustrations of the dress of the savages in their wars and feasts, of their monuments for the dead, their funeral processions, of the famous fort of the Iroquois in the State of New York, and of the deer-trap.

In 1632 Champlain published his last work, under the following title: Les Voyages de la Novvelle France occidentale, dicte Canada, faits par le Sr de Champlain Xainctongeois, Capitaine pour le Roy en la Marine du Ponant, et toutes les Descouuertes qu’il a faites en ce pais depuis l’an 1603 iusques en l’an 1629. Où se voit comme ce pays a esté premierement descouuert par les François, sous l’authorité de nos Roys tres-Chrestiens, iusques au regne de sa Majesté à present regnante Lovis XIII. Roy de France et de Navarre. A Paris, chez Clavde Collet, au Palais, en la Gallerie des Prisonniers, à l’ Estoille d’Or, M.DC.XXXII. Auec Priuilege du Roy.[391] A sub-title accompanies this and the other[133] works, which we have omitted as unnecessary for our present purpose. This volume is divided into two parts. The first part is an abridgment of what had already been published up to this date, and omits much that is valuable in the preceding publications. It preserves the general outline and narrative, but drops many personal details and descriptions which are of great historical importance, and can be supplied only by reference to his earlier publications. The second part is a continuation of his journals from 1620 to 1631 inclusive. Champlain’s personal explorations were completed in 1615-1616, and consequently this second part relates mostly to affairs transacted at Quebec and on the River St. Lawrence. It contains an ample and authentic account of the taking of Quebec by the English in 1629. The volume is supplemented by Champlain’s treatise on navigation, a brief work on Christian doctrine translated into the language of the Montagnais by Brebeuf, and the Lord’s Prayer, Apostles’ Creed, etc., rendered into the same language by Masse.

Reprints.—In 1830 the first reprint of any of Champlain’s works was made at Paris, where the issue of 1632 was printed in two volumes. It was done by order of the French Government, to give work to the printers thrown out of employment by the Revolution of July, and is without note or comment.[392] In 1870 a complete edition of Champlain’s works was issued at Quebec, under the editorial supervision of the Abbé Laverdière, who gave a summary of Champlain’s career with luminous annotations. It was called Œuvres de Champlain, publiées sous le Patronage de l’Université Laval. Par l’Abbé C. H. Laverdière, M. A. Seconde Édition.[393] 6 tomes, 4to. Québec: Imprimé au Séminaire par Geo. E. Desbarats, 1870. This edition includes the Brief Discourse or Voyage to the West Indies in 1599, which had never before been printed in the original French. The manuscript had been almost miraculously preserved, and at the time it was used by Laverdière it belonged to M. Féret of Dieppe.[394] The edition of Laverdière is an[134] exact reprint, most carefully done, and entirely trustworthy, while its notes are full and exceedingly accurate.[395]

Translations.—The “Savages” was printed in an English translation by Samuel Purchas in his Pilgrimes, London, 1625, vol. iv. pp. 1605-1619.

In 1859 the Brief Discourse, or Voyage to the West Indies, translated by Alice Wilmere and edited by Norton Shaw, was published at London by the Hakluyt Society.

In 1878, 1880, and 1882, an English translation of the Voyages was printed by the Prince Society, in three volumes, comprising the Journals issued in 1604, 1613, and 1619, as Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, translated from the French by Charles Pomeroy Otis, Ph.D., with Historical Illustrations, and a Memoir by the Rev. Edmund F. Slafter, A. M. The Memoir occupies the greater part of vol. i., and both the Memoir and the Voyages are heavily annotated. It contains heliotype copies of all the local and general maps and drawings in the early French editions,—in all thirty-one illustrations; besides a new outline map showing the explorations and journeyings of Champlain, together with two portraits,—one engraved by Ronjat after an old engraving by Moncornet; the other is from a painting by Th. Hamel, likewise after the engraving by Moncornet.[396]

The Mercure François, a journal of current events, contains several narratives relating to New France during the administration of Champlain.[397]

In vol. xiii. pp. 12-34, is a letter of Charles Lalemant, a Jesuit missionary (Aug. 1, 1626), about the extent of the country, method of travelling, character, manners, and customs of the natives, and the work of the mission.[398] In vol. xiv. pp. 232-267, for 1628, is a full narrative of the Compagnie de la Nouvelle France, or the Company of the Hundred Associates, which was under the direction of Cardinal Richelieu, setting forth its origin, design, and constitution.[399] In vol. xviii., for 1632, pp. 56-74, there is again much about the Indians, and the delivery in that year of Quebec to the French by the English. In vol. xix., for 1633, pp. 771-867, are further accounts of the savages, and of the return of Champlain as governor in 1633, with the events which followed, particularly his dealings with the Indian tribes.





Treasurer of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

ACADIA is the designation of a territory of uncertain and disputed extent. Though its sovereignty passed more than once from France to England, and from England to France, its limits were never exactly defined. But in this chapter it will be used to denote that part of America claimed by Great Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, as bounded on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by a line drawn due north from the mouth of the Penobscot River, on the north by the River St. Lawrence, and on the east by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Strait of Canso. Within these bounds were minor divisions vaguely designated by French or Indian names; and the larger part of this region was also called by the English Nova Scotia, or New Scotland.


[This follows a copy of a water-color drawing in the Massachusetts Archives; Documents Collected in France, i. 441, called a portrait of De Monts from an original at Versailles. Mr. Parkman tells me that he was misled by this reference of Mr. Poore in stating that a portrait of De Monts existed at Versailles (Pioneers, p. 222); since a later examination has not revealed such a canvas, and the picture may be considered as displaying the costume of the gentleman of the period, if there is doubt concerning its connection with De Monts. There is another engraving of it in Drake’s Nooks and Corners of the New England Coast.—Ed.]

So large a tract of country naturally presents great varieties of soil and climate and of other physical characteristics; but for the most part it is fertile, and it abounds in mineral resources, the extent and value of which were long unsuspected even by such eager seekers for mines as the early voyagers. It was often the theatre of sanguinary conflicts on a small scale, and its early history, which is closely connected with that of the New England colonies, includes more than one episode of tragic interest. Yet it has never filled an important place in the history of civilization in America, and it was a mere make-weight in adjusting the balance of losses and acquisitions by the two great European powers which for a century and a half contended here for colonial supremacy.

Acadia seems to have been known to the French very soon after the voyages of Cabot, and to have been visited occasionally by Breton fishermen almost from the beginning of the sixteenth century. For nearly a hundred years these adventurous toilers of the sea prosecuted their dangerous calling on the Banks of Newfoundland and the near shores before any effective attempt at colonization was made. It was not until 1540 that a Picard gentleman, Jean François de Roberval, was appointed[136] viceroy of Canada, and attempted to establish a colony within the St. Lawrence.[400]

Owing to the unexpected severity of the climate and the want of support from France, the enterprise failed, and, with the exception of the abortive efforts of De la Roche in 1584 and in 1598,[401] no new attempt at French colonization was made for more than half a century afterward, when the accession of Henry IV. gave a new impulse to the latent spirit of adventure. In 1603 Pierre de Guast, Sieur de Monts, was named lieutenant-general of Acadia, with powers extending over all the inhabitable shores of America north of the latitude of Philadelphia.[402] Vast as was this domain, his real authority was confined to very narrow limits. Setting sail from France in the early part of April, 1604, De Monts, accompanied by Champlain, came in sight of Sable Island on the 1st of May, and a week later made the mainland at Cape La Hêve.



[This is a fac-simile of Champlain’s engraving in his edition of 1613. The key is as follows: A, Habitation. B, Gardens. C, Isles with cannon. D, Platform for cannon. E, Burial-place. F, Chapel. G, Rocky shoals. H, Islet. I, De Mont’s water-mill begun here. L, Place for making coal. M and N, Gardens. O, Mountains (Chamcook Hill, 627 feet high). P, River of the Etechemins (called later Schoodic River, till the name St. Croix was restored). Slafter describes the island as about 540 feet wide at the broadest part, and it contains now six or seven acres. Five small cannon-balls, two and one-quarter inches in diameter, were dug up at the southern end some years ago. Slafter’s edition, ii. 33.—Ed.]

Subsequently he doubled the southwestern point of the peninsula of Nova Scotia, and coasting along the shore of what is now known as the Bay of Fundy, he finally determined to effect a settlement on a little island[403] just within the mouth of the St. Croix River. Here several small[138] buildings were erected, and the little company of seventy-nine in all prepared to pass the winter. Before spring nearly one half of their number died; and in the following summer, after the arrival of a small reinforcement, it was decided to abandon the place. The coast was carefully explored as far south as Cape Cod, but without finding any spot which satisfied their fastidious tastes;[404] and the settlement was then transferred to the other side of the bay, to what is now called Annapolis Basin, but which De Monts had designated the year before as Port Royal. Here a portion of the company was left to pass a second winter, while De Monts returned to France, to prevent, if possible, the withdrawal of any part of the monopoly granted him by the Crown.

Nearly a year elapsed before he again reached his settlement,—only to find it reduced to two individuals. After a winter of great suffering, Pontgravé, who had been left in command during the absence of De Monts, weary with waiting for succor, had determined to sail for France, leaving these two brave men to guard the buildings and other property. He had but just sailed when Jean de Poutrincourt, the lieutenant of De Monts, arrived with the long-expected help. Measures were immediately taken to recall Pontgravé, if he could be found on the coast, and these were fortunately successful. He was discovered at Cape Sable, and at once returned; but soon afterward he sailed again for France.[405] Another winter was passed at Port Royal, pleasantly enough according to the accounts of Champlain and Lescarbot; but in the early summer, orders to abandon the settlement were received from De Monts, whose monopoly of the trade with the Indians had been rescinded. The settlers reluctantly left their new home, and the greater part of them reached St. Malo, in Brittany, in October, 1607. The first attempt at French colonization in Acadia was as abortive as Popham’s English colony at the mouth of the Sagadahock in the following year.[406]



[This cut follows Champlain’s in the 1613 edition. It represents,—A, De Monts’s house. B, Common building, for rainy days. C, Storehouse. D, Building for the guard. E, Blacksmith’s shop. F, Carpenter’s house. G, Well. H, Oven. I, Kitchen. L and M, Gardens. N, Open square. O, Palisade. P, Houses of D’Orville, Champlain, and Champdoré. Q, Houses of Boulay and artisans. R, houses of Genestou, Sourin, and artisans. T, Houses of Beaumont, la Motte Bourioli, and Fougeray. V, Curate’s house. X, Gardens. Y, River.—Ed.]

Three years later, Poutrincourt, to whom De Monts had granted Port Royal, set sail from Dieppe to found a new colony on the site of the abandoned settlement. The deserted houses were again occupied, and a brighter future seemed to await the new enterprise. But this expectation was doomed to a speedy disappointment.




After a few years of struggling existence, the English colonists determined to expel the French as intruders on the territory belonging to them. In 1613 an English ship, under the command of Captain Samuel Argall, appeared off Mount Desert, where a little company of the French, under the patronage of the Comtesse de Guercheville,[407] had established themselves for the conversion of the Indians.

PORT ROYAL (after Champlain).

[This is Champlain’s plan (edition of 1613) a little reduced. The letters can be thus interpreted: A, Our habitation. B, Champlain’s garden. C, Road made by Poutrincourt. D, Island. E, Entrance. F, Shoals, dry at low water. G, St. Antoine river. H, Wheat-field (Annapolis). I, Poutrincourt’s mill. L, Meadows under water at highest tides. M, Equille River. N, Coast (Bay of Fundy). O, Mountains. P, Island. Q, Rocky Brook. R, Brook. S, Mill River. T, Lake. V, Herring-fishing by the natives. X, Trout-brook. Y, Passage made by Champlain. Harrisse (nos. 245-246) cites two plans of Port Royal in the French Archives.—Ed.]

The French were too few to offer even a show of resistance, and[142] the landing of the English was not disputed. By an unworthy trick, and without the knowledge of the French, Argall obtained possession of the royal commission; and then, dismissing half of his prisoners to seek in an open boat for succor from any fishing vessel of their own country they might chance to meet, he carried the others with him to Virginia. The same year Argall was sent back by the governor of Virginia, Sir Thomas Dale, to finish the work of expelling the French. With three vessels he visited successively Mount Desert and St. Croix, where he destroyed the French buildings, and then, crossing to Port Royal, seized whatever he could carry away, killed the cattle, and burned the houses to the ground. Having done this, he sailed for Virginia, leaving the colonists to support themselves as they best could. Port Royal was not, however, abandoned by them, and it continued to drag out a precarious existence. Seventy-five years later, its entire population did not exceed six hundred, and in the whole peninsula there were not more than nine hundred inhabitants.[408]

Meanwhile, in 1621, Sir William Alexander, a Scotchman of some literary pretensions, had obtained from King James a charter (dated Sept. 10, 1621) for the lordship and barony of New Scotland, comprising the territory now known as the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Under this grant he made several unsuccessful attempts at colonization; and in 1625 he undertook to infuse fresh life into his enterprise by parcelling out the territory into baronetcies.[409] Nothing came of the scheme, and by the treaty of St. Germains, in 1632, Great Britain surrendered to France all the places occupied by the English within these limits. Two years before this, however, Alexander’s rights in a part of the territory had been purchased by Claude and Charles de la Tour;[410] and shortly after the peace, the Chevalier Razilly was appointed by Louis XIII. governor of the[143] whole of Acadia.[411] He designated as his lieutenants Charles de la Tour for the portion east of the St. Croix, and Charles de Menou, Sieur d’Aulnay-Charnisé, for the portion west of that river.

The former established himself on the River St. John where the city of St. John now stands, and the latter at Castine, on the eastern shore of Penobscot Bay. Shortly after his appointment, La Tour attacked and drove away a small party of Plymouth men who had set up a trading-post at Machias; and in 1635 D’Aulnay treated another party of the Plymouth colonists in a similar way.[412]


[This follows a fac-simile in the Massachusetts Archives; Documents Collected in France, i. 345, where it is called “Carte pour servir à l’intelligence du mémoire sur la Pesche de moluës, par Jean Michel, en 1510. Copie de l’original (Dépôt des Cartes).” The date is clearly wrong, as copied. It cannot be earlier than Champlain’s time, a hundred years later than the date given.—Ed.]

In retaliation for this attack, Plymouth hired and despatched a vessel commanded by one Girling, in company with their own barque, with twenty men under Miles Standish, to dispossess the French; but the expedition failed to accomplish anything.



[This is Champlain’s drawing in his edition of 1613. Key: A, House of artisans. B, Platform for cannon. C, Storehouse. D, Pontgravé and Champlain. E, Blacksmith. F, Palisade. G, Bakery. H, Kitchen. I, Gardens. K, Burial-place. L, River. M, Moat. N, Dwelling, probably of De Monts and others. O, Storehouse for ships’ equipments, rebuilt and used as a dwelling by Boulay later. P, Gate. These buildings were at the present Lower Granville.—Ed.]

Subsequently the two French commanders quarrelled, and, engaging in active hostilities, made efforts (not altogether unsuccessful) to enlist Massachusetts in their quarrel. For this purpose La Tour visited Boston in person in the summer[145] of 1643, and was hospitably entertained.[413] He was not able to secure the direct co-operation of Massachusetts, but he was permitted to hire four vessels and a pinnace to aid him in his attack on D’Aulnay.[414] The expedition was so far successful as to destroy a mill and some standing corn, belonging to his rival. In the following year La Tour made a second visit to Boston for further help; but he was able only to procure the writing of threatening letters from the Massachusetts authorities to D’Aulnay. Not long after La Tour’s departure from Boston, envoys from D’Aulnay arrived here; and after considerable delay a treaty was signed pledging the colonists to neutrality, which was ratified by the Commissioners of the United Colonies in the following year; but it was not until two years later that it was ratified by new envoys from the crafty Frenchman.[415]

In this interval D’Aulnay captured by assault La Tour’s fort at St. John, securing booty to a large amount; and a few weeks afterward Madame la Tour, who seems to have been of a not less warlike turn than her husband, and who had bravely defended the fort, died of shame and mortification. La Tour was reduced to the last extremities; but he finally made good his losses, and in 1653 he married the widow of his rival, who had died two or three years before.[416]


[The site of the old fort was on the shore, at a point just below the letter i in the name Castine on the peninsula. Harrisse (no. 198) cites a plan of 1670 in the French Archives.—Ed.]

In 1654, in accordance with secret instructions from Cromwell, the whole of Acadia was subjugated by an English force from Boston under the command of Major Robert Sedgwick, of Charlestown, and Captain John Leverett, of Boston. To the latter the temporary government of the country was intrusted. Ineffectual complaints of this aggression were made to the British Government; but by the treaty of Westminster in the following year England was left in possession, and the question of title was referred to commissioners. In 1656 it was made a province by Cromwell, who appointed Sir Thomas Temple governor, and granted the whole territory to Temple and to one William Crown and Stephen de la Tour, son of the late governor. The rights of the latter were purchased by the other two proprietors, and[146] Acadia remained in possession of the English until the treaty of Breda, in 1667, when it was ceded to France with undefined limits.[417]

Very little was done by the French to settle and improve the country; and on the breaking out of war between France and England after the accession of William III., it was again conquered by an expedition fitted out at Boston under Sir William Phips. He sailed from Boston on the 28th of April, 1690, with a frigate of forty guns, two sloops, one of sixteen guns and the other of eight guns, and with four smaller vessels; and after reducing St. John, Port Royal, and other French settlements, and appointing an English governor, he returned, with a booty sufficient, it was thought, to defray the whole cost of the expedition.[418]



[This likeness is accepted, but lacks undoubted verification; cf. Mem. Hist. of Boston, ii. 36.—Ed.]

This result was a signal triumph for the New England colonies, and when Phips became, in 1692, the first royal governor of Massachusetts under the provincial charter, Acadia was made a part of the domain included in it. At a later day it was with no little indignation and mortification that New England saw the conquered territory relinquished to the French by the Treaty of Ryswick, in 1697; but the story of the later period belongs to a subsequent volume.


ACADIE, 1663.

[In the Massachusetts Archives; Documents Collected in France, ii. 147, is a fac-simile of a map, “Tabula Novæ Franciæ,” which is thus described by Mr. Poore: “A fac-simile of one in a manuscript atlas purchased by M. Estancelin at a book-stall in Paris soon after the destruction of the archbishop’s palace in 183-, the library of which contained several boxes of manuscripts labelled Canada, and probably sent from the missionaries there. The signs [church symbol] undoubtedly were used to denote Jesuit churches or missions; the [dotted lines] the English boundary; and the marks + the English settlements. The atlas is dated 1663.”—Ed.]


Acadia had been the home of civilized men for nearly a hundred years; but there was almost nothing to show as the fruits of this long occupation of a virgin soil. It had produced no men of marked character, and its history was little more than the record of feuds between petty chiefs, and of feeble resistance to the attacks of more powerful neighbors. Madame la Tour alone exhibits the courage and energy naturally to be looked for under the circumstances in which three generations of settlers were placed. At the end of a century there were only a few scattered settlements spread along the coast, passing tranquilly from allegiance to one European sovereign to allegiance to another of different speech and religion. A few hundred miles away, another colony founded sixteen years after the first venture of De Monts, and with scarcely a larger number of settlers, waged a successful war with sickness, poverty, and neglect, and made a slow and steady progress, until, with its own consent, it was united with a still more prosperous colony founded twenty-three years after the first settlement at Port Royal. There are few more suggestive contrasts than that which the history of Acadia presents when set side by side with the history of Plymouth and Massachusetts; and what is true of its early is not less true of its later history.


THE original authorities for the early history of the French settlements in Acadia[419] are the contemporaneous narratives of Samuel de Champlain and Marc Lescarbot. Though Champlain comes within our observation as a companion of De Monts, a separate chapter in this volume is given to his personal history and his writings.

Of the personal history of Marc Lescarbot we know much less than of that of Champlain. He was born at Vervins, probably between 1580 and 1590, and was a lawyer in Paris, where he had an extensive practice, and was the author of several works; only one, or rather a part of one, concerns our present inquiry.[420]

This was an account of the[150] settlement of De Monts in Acadia, which was translated into English by a Protestant clergyman named Pierre Erondelle, and which gives a very vivid picture of the life at Port[151] Royal.[421] He appears to have been a man of more than ordinary ability, with not a little of the French vivacity, and altogether well suited to be a pioneer in Western civilization. His narrative covers only a brief period, and after the failure of the colony under De Monts, he ceased to have any relations with Acadia. He is supposed to have died about 1630.

The advent of the Jesuits in 1611 introduces the Relations of their order as a source of the first importance; but a detailed account of these documents belongs to another chapter.[422] From the first of the series, by Father Biard, and from his letters in Carayon’s Première Mission des Jésuites au Canada, a collection published in Paris in 1864, and drawn from the archives of the Order at Rome, we have the sufferers’ side of the story of Argall’s incursion; while from the English marauder’s letters, published in Purchas, vol. iv., we get the other side.[423]



There is a modern reproduction of Lescarbot’s entire map in Faillon, Colonie Française, i. 85.



[This is a section of La Hontan’s map, Carte Generale de Canada, which appeared in his La Haye edition, 1709, vol. ii. p. 5; and was re-engraved in the Mémoires, vol. iii. Amsterdam, 1741. La Hontan was in the country from 1683 till after 1690. The double-dotted line indicates the southern limits of the French claim.—Ed.]

Another of these early adventurers who has left a personal account of his long-continued but fruitless attempts at American colonization is Nicolas Denys, a native of Tours. So early as 1632 he was appointed by the French king governor of the territory between Cape Canso and Cape Rosier. Forty years later, when he must have been well advanced in life, though he had lost none of his early enthusiasm, he published an historical and geographical description of this part of North America.[424] The work shows that he was a careful and observant navigator; but in its historical part it is confused and perplexing. The second volume is largely devoted to an account of the cod-fishery, and treats generally of the natural history of the places with which he was familiar, and of the manners and life of the Indians. It has a different titlepage from the first volume.

Abundant details as to the quarrels of D’Aulnay and La Tour are in Winthrop’s History of New England; and many of the original documents, most of them in contemporaneous translations, are in the seventh volume of the third series of the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. From the first of[154] these sources Hutchinson, in his History of Massachusetts Bay, drew largely, as did Williamson in his History of Maine, both of whom devoted considerable space to Acadian affairs. For some of the later transactions Hutchinson is an original authority of unimpeachable weight.[425] The Massachusetts writers are also naturally the sources of most of our information regarding the expedition of 1654, though Denys and Charlevoix touch upon it, and the modern historians of Nova Scotia treat it in an episodical way. The articles of capitulation of Port Royal are in Massachusetts Archives; Documents Collected in France, ii. 107.

Among the later French writers the pre-eminence belongs to the Jesuit Father, Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, who had access to contemporaneous materials, of which he made careful use; and his statements have great weight, though he wrote many years after the events he describes. His Histoire de la Nouvelle France follows the course of the French throughout the continent, and scattered through it are many notices of the course of events in Acadia, but its more particular characterization belongs to another chapter.

The papers drawn up by the French and English commissioners to determine the intent of the treaty of Utrecht have a controversial purpose, and on each side are colored and distorted to make out a case. In them are many statements of facts which need only to be disentangled from the arguments by which they are obscured to have a high value. No one, indeed, can have a thorough and accurate knowledge of Acadian history who does not make constant reference to these memorials and to the justificatory pieces cited on the one side or the other. They stand, when properly sifted and weighed, among the most important sources for tracing the history of the province.[426]


The episode of Sir William Alexander and his futile schemes of colonization is treated exhaustively by Mr. Slafter in a monograph on Sir William Alexander and American Colonization, which reproduces all the original charters and other documents bearing on his inquiry, and apparently leaves nothing for any future gleaner in that field.[427] But, like many other persons who have conducted similar investigations, it must be conceded that Mr. Slafter attaches more importance to Sir William Alexander’s somewhat visionary plans than they really merit. They were ill adapted to promote the great object of western colonization, and they left no permanent trace behind them.

Whipple’s brief account of Nova Scotia in his Geographical View of the District of Maine should not be overlooked; but it was written at a time when historical students were less exacting than they now are, and its details are meagre and unsatisfactory.[428]

Haliburton’s History of Nova Scotia is a work of conscientious and faithful labor, but in its preparation the author was under serious disadvantages from his inability to consult many of the books on which such a history must be based; and as he was not able to[156] correct the proofs, his volumes are disfigured by the grossest typographical blunders. No one without some previous familiarity with the subject can safely read it; but such a reader will find in it much of value.[429]


[Slafter, p. 124, gives an account of the engraving by Marshall, published in 1635, of which the above is a reproduction following Richardson’s engraving of 1795. It represents Alexander at fifty-seven.—Ed.]

A work of far higher authority, much fuller on the earlier periods, and one which is generally marked by great thoroughness and accuracy, is Murdoch’s History of Nova Scotia. Written in the form of annals, it lacks every grace of style; and in a few instances the author has overlooked important sources of information,—such as Winthrop’s History of New England,[430] which is not named in his list of authorities (p. 533), and which he seems to have known only at second-hand through the citations of Hutchinson and of Ferland; and the original papers connected with La Tour and D’Aulnay in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. On the other hand, he had access for the first time[157] to very valuable manuscript materials, which greatly enlarge our knowledge on not a few points previously obscure.[431]

The Cours d’Histoire du Canada of the Abbé Ferland is mainly devoted to what is now known as Canada; but there are several chapters in it on Acadian affairs. By birth and choice a Canadian, “and above all a Catholic,” as he himself avows, his statements and inferences need to be scrutinized carefully. He had, however, gathered considerable new material, his narrative is clearly and compactly written, and his work must rank among the best of the modern compilations.[432]


The same, or nearly the same, may be said of Garneau’s Histoire du Canada. The chapters on Acadia are based on materials easily accessible, and they add no new facts to those given by the earlier writers; but his narrative is clear and exact, and not much colored by the writer’s point of view. He had not, however, so firm a grasp of his subject as had Ferland; and for the period covered by this inquiry the latter may be read with much greater pleasure and profit.[433]

An English translation of Garneau’s work was published some years after its first appearance, with omissions and alterations by the translator, who regarded the subject from an entirely different point of view, and who did not hesitate to modify occasionally the statements of the author, besides adding a great body of valuable notes.[434]

Another recent work which may be profitably consulted on the early history of Acadia is Henry Kirke’s First English Conquest of Canada.[435] This work deals mainly with the lives of Sir David Kirke and his brothers, and its chief value is biographical; but it comprises some hitherto unpublished documents from the Record Office, and throws considerable light on obscure portions of the early history of Canada and Acadia.

Among these more recent writers the highest place belongs to Francis Parkman. In his Pioneers of France in the New World[436] he has given an account of the first settlement of the French in Acadia which is not less accurate in its minutest details than it is picturesque in style and comprehensive in its grasp of the subject. Mr. Parkman needed only a story of wider relations and more continuous influence to secure for his book a foremost place among American histories. In his Frontenac[437] he has told with equal vividness the story of the marauding warfare which devastated the coast of Acadia and the contiguous English settlements from 1689 to 1697. No one of our historians has been more unwearied in research, as no one has been more skilful in handling his materials. Based in great part on original manuscripts from the French archives and on contemporaneous narratives, his volumes leave nothing to be desired for the period which they cover.



A. A Commissioner of Public Records of Nova Scotia was appointed in 1857, and by his list, printed in 1864, it appears that but one of the two hundred and four volumes in which the archives were arranged had papers of a date earlier than 1700, and that this volume contained copies of copies from the archives in Paris made for the Canadian Government, and covered the years 1632-1699. The Library of Parliament Catalogue, p. 1538, shows that vol. i. of the third series of manuscripts (1654-1699) is devoted to Acadia. A Nova Scotia Historical Society, instituted a few years ago, has as yet published but one volume of Reports and Collections for 1878, but it contains contributions to a later period in the history of Acadia than that now under consideration.

B. The War in Maine and Acadia.—The revolution which deposed Andros in Boston was also the occasion of withdrawing the garrisons from the English posts toward Acadia; and this invited in turn the onsets of the enemy. It was calculated in 1690 that there were between Boston and Canso four thousand two hundred and ten Indians,—a census destined to be diminished, indeed, so that in 1726 the savages were only rated for the same territory at five hundred and six (N. E. Hist. and Geneal. Reg., 1866, p. 9). But this diminution meant a process of appalling war. In the spring of 1689 came the catastrophe at Choceco (now Dover). Belknap, in his New Hampshire, gives a sufficient narrative; and Dr. Quint, in his notes to Pike’s Journal (Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., xiv. 124), indicates the manuscript sources. For the capture of the stockade at Pemaquid, which quickly followed, we have the French side in the Relation of Father Thury, the priest of the mission to the Penobscot Indians, who was in the action, and La Motte-Cadillac’s Mémoire sur l’Acadie, 1692. Cf. the references in Shea’s Charlevoix, iv. 42. The English side can be gathered from Mather’s Magnalia; Andros Tracts, vol. iii.; 3 Mass. Hist. Coll. vol. i.; Hough’s “Pemaquid Papers,” in Maine Hist. Soc. Coll., vol. v.; Hubbard’s Indian Wars, and John Gyles’s Memoirs, Boston, 1736 (see Mem. Hist. Boston, ii. 336). The story, more or less colored, under new lights or local associations, is told in Hutchinson’s Massachusetts, Thornton’s Ancient Pemaquid, Johnston’s Bristol, Bremen, and Pemaquid (p. 170), and of course in Williamson and Parkman.

The Relation of Monseignat (N. Y. Col. Doc., vol. ix.) and La Potherie are the chief French accounts on the surprise at Salmon Falls, in March, 1690, and according to Parkman, “Charlevoix adds various embellishments not to be found in the original sources.” On the English side, it is still Mather’s Magnalia upon which we must depend, and, as a secondary authority, upon Belknap’s New Hampshire and Williamson’s Maine. Parkman points out the help which sundry papers in the Massachusetts Archives afford; and Dr. Quint, in his notes to Pike’s Journal (Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., xiv. 125), has indicated other similar sources.


The attack on Fort Loyal (Portland), in May, 1690, is studied likewise from Monseignat, La Potherie, Mather, with some fresh light out of the “Declaration” of Sylvanus Davis, in 3 Mass. Hist. Coll., i. 101, and Bradstreet’s letter to Governor Leisler, in Doc. Hist. N. Y., ii. 259. Le Clercq gives the French view; cf. Shea’s Charlevoix, iv. 133, and Le Clercq, ii. 295; Willis’s Portland, p. 284, and N. Y. Col. Doc., ix. 472.

Meanwhile Phips had sailed from Boston in April to attack Port Royal. He anchored before its defences on the 10th of May. The place was quickly surrendered to Phips, on the[160] 11th of May, by De Meneval, its governor, who did not escape the imputation of treachery at the time. Parkman (Frontenac, pp. 237,) and Shea (Charlevoix, iv. 155) give the authorities. Parkman says Charlevoix’s own narrative is erroneous; but on the French side we still have Monseignat and Potherie, though both are brief; the Relation de la prise du Port Royal par les Anglois de Baston, May 27, 1690; the official Lettre au Ministre of Meneval, and the Rapport de Champigny, of October, 1690. Cf. N. Y. Col. Doc., iii. 720; ix. 474, 475.

On the English side we have Governor Bradstreet’s instructions to Phips and an invoice of the plunder, in the Mass. Archives; a Journal of the Expedition from Boston to Port Royal, among George Chalmers’ papers in the Sparks Manuscripts at Harvard College, perhaps the document referred to by Hutchinson, in speaking of Phips, as “his Journal;” the unhistoric overflow of Cotton Mather’s Life of Phips, and sundry extracts embodied in Bowen’s Life of Phips. Murdoch, in his Nova Scotia, ch. xxii., gives a summarized account.

During Phips’s ill-starred expedition to Quebec in the autumn of the same year, Colonel Benjamin Church was ineffectually employed in creating diversions in Phips’s favor in this lower region. See Dr. Henry M. Dexter’s edition of Church’s History of the Expedition to the East, and additional letters of Church in Drake’s additions to Baylies’ Old Colony, pt. v.; and in 4 Mass. Hist. Coll., v. 271. Williamson (Maine, i. 624) summarizes the authorities.

Two years later the rapine began afresh. York in Maine was captured and burned in 1692 by the Abenakis, one of whose chiefs gave to Champigny the narrative which he sent to the Minister, Oct. 5, 1692, which Parkman calls the best French account. The Indians also gave Villebon the exaggerated story which he gives in his Journal de ce qui s’est passé à l’Acadie, 1691-1692. On the English side, we have the account in Mather’s Magnalia, and the later summaries of Williamson and of the general historians.

In June, Portneuf and St. Castin, with their savage followers, left Pentagöet to attack the frontier post of Wells, but they were foiled, and retreated. Villebon is here the principal French authority; and on the English side, to the more general accounts of Mather, Hutchinson, Williamson, and to the eclectic summary of Niles’s Indian and French Wars, we must add the local historian Bourne’s History of Wells.


The reader can best follow Parkman (Frontenac, p. 357, etc.), who carefully notes the authorities for the way in which Frontenac was foiled in 1693 in an attempt to capture the English post at Pemaquid; and for the attack on Oyster River the next year (1694), Parkman’s references may be collated with Shea’s (Charlevoix, iv. 256). The expedition was under the conduct of Villieu and the Jesuit Thury, and what was then known as Oyster River is now Durham, about twenty miles from Portsmouth. Villieu’s own Journal is preserved: Relation du Voyage fait par le Sieur de Villieu ... pour faire la Guerre aux Anglois au printemps de l’an 1694, and Parkman says Champigny, Frontenac, and Callières in their reports adopt Villieu’s statements. Belknap’s New Hampshire has the best English account, which may be supplemented by[161] various papers in the Provincial Records of New Hampshire, and the Journal of Pike in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., xiv. 128, with Dr. Quint’s notes. The Mass. Archives have depositions and letters.

In 1696 Iberville, in charge of two war-ships which had come from France, uniting with such forces and savage allies as Villebon, Villieu, St. Castin, and Thury could gather, appeared on the 14th of August before the English fort at Pemaquid, which quickly surrendered. Pemaquid is a peninsula on the Maine coast between the mouths of the Kennebec and Penobscot, and the fort was situated as shown in the accompanying sketch. It was the most easterly of the English posts in this debatable territory, as the French fort at Biguyduce (Pentagöet or Castine) was the most westerly of the enemy’s. The fort at Pemaquid had been rebuilt of stone by Phips in 1692. (Mather’s Magnalia, Johnston’s Bristol and Bremen.) Baudoin, an Acadian priest, accompanied the expedition, and wrote a Journal d’une voyage fait avec M. d’Iberville, and Parkman also cites as contemporary French authorities the Relation de ce qui s’est passé, etc., of 1695-1696, and Des Goutin’s letter to the Minister of Sept. 23, 1696; cf. N. Y. Col. Docs., vol. ix.

Mather and Hutchinson are still the chief writers on the English side, while everything of local interest is gathered in Johnston’s History of Bristol and Bremen, in Maine, including Pemaquid, Albany, 1873.

The immediate result of the capture of Pemaquid was to release D’Iberville for an attempt to drive the English from the east coast of Newfoundland in 1697. Parkman tells the story in his Frontenac, p. 391, and by him and by Shea in his Charlevoix, v. 46, the original sources are traced.

Mr. Parkman (Frontenac, p. 408) has an important note on the military insufficiency of the English colonies at this time.

C. Threatened French Attacks upon Boston.—Ever after the surrender of the region east of the Penobscot to the French in 1670, there were recurrent hopes of the French to make reprisals on the English by an attack on Boston, and emissaries of the French occasionally reported upon the condition of that town. Grandfontaine, on being empowered to receive the posts of Acadia from the English (Massachusetts Archives: Documents Collected in France, ii. 209, 211), had been instructed, March 5, 1670, to make Pentagöet his seat of government; and it was at Boston, July 7, 1670, that he and Temple concluded terms of peace; and we have (Ibid., ii. 227) a statement of the condition of the fort at Pentagöet when it was turned over. Talon (Ibid., ii. 247) shortly after informed the King of his intention to go to Acadia (Nov. 2, 1671), hoping for a conference with Temple, whom he reports as disgusted with the government at Boston, “which is more republican than monarchical;” and the Minister, in response, June 4, 1672 (Ibid., ii. 265), intimates that it might do to give naturalization papers and other favors to Temple, if he could be induced to come over to the French side. In 1678 new hopes were entertained, and under date of March 21, we find (Ibid., ii. 359) the French had procured a description of Boston and its shipping. Frontenac and Duchesneau were each representing to the Court the disadvantages Canada was under in relation to the trade of the eastern Indians, with Boston offering such rivalry (Ibid., ii. 363; iii. 12); and Duchesneau, Nov. 14, 1679, enlarges upon a description of Boston and its defenceless condition (Ibid., ii. 371). When the English made peace with the Abenakis in 1681, Frontenac reported it to the Court, with his grievances at the aggressions of the Boston people, to whom he had sent De la Vallière to demand redress (Ibid., iii. 29, 31); and to end the matter, Duchesneau, Nov. 13, 1681, proposed to the Minister the purchase of the English colonies. “It is true,” he says, “that Boston, which is an English town, does not acknowledge the sovereignty of the Duke of York at all, and very little the authority of the English King” (Ibid., iii. 35). The French meanwhile had assumed a right to Pemaquid, and Governor Dongan of New York had ordered them to withdraw (Ibid., iii. 81), while complications with the “Bastonnais” increased rapidly (Ibid., iii. 49). De Grosellier sent to the Minister new accounts of the Puritan town and its situation (Ibid., iii. 450); and the Bishop of Quebec remonstrated with the King for his permitting Huguenots to settle in Acadie, since they held communication with the people of Boston, and increased the danger (Ibid., iii. 95). The King in turn addressed himself rather to demanding of the Duke of York that he should see the English at Boston did not aid the savages of Acadia. In 1690 more active measures were proposed. On the day before Phips anchored at Port Royal, a “Projet” was drawn up at Versailles for an attack on Boston, in which its defenceless state was described:—

“La costé de Baston est peuplée, mais il n’y à aucun poste qui veille. Baston mesme est sans palissades à moins qu’on n’en ait mis depuis six mois. Il y a bien du peuple en cette colonie, mais assez difficile à rassembler. Monsieur Perrot connoist cette coste, et le Sieur de Villebon qui est à la Rochelle à present,[162] avec le nommé La Motte,—tous le trois ont souvent esté à Baston et à Manat.... Par la carte suivante, on peut voir comme ce pays se trouve situé,” etc.

The capture of Pemaquid in 1696 revived hopes in the French of making a successful descent upon Boston, and even upon New York.

Several documents in reference to the scheme, and respecting in part Franquelin’s map of Boston, are in the Mass. Archives; Documents Collected in France, iv. 467, etc. This map is given in the Memorial History of Boston, vol. ii. p. li, from a copy made by Mr. Poore, and in Mr. Parkman’s manuscript collections. In the same place will be found accounts of earlier French maps of Boston (1692-1693), one of them by Franquelin, but both very inexact. The references on this projected inroad of the French are given by Parkman (Frontenac, p. 384), Shea (Charlevoix, v. 70), and Barry (Massachusetts, ii. 89, etc.).





Corresponding Member Massachusetts Historical Society; Hon. Vice-President New England Historic Genealogical Society.

PURCHAS in his Pilgrimage quaintly writes, that “the great river Canada hath, like an insatiable merchant, engrossed all these water commodities, so that other streames are in a manner but meere pedlers.”[438]

This river of Canada, the Hochelaga of the natives, now known as the St. Lawrence, is the most wonderful of all the streams of North America which find their way into the Atlantic Ocean. Its extreme headwaters are on the elevated plateau of the continent, near the birthplace of the Mississippi, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico, and the Red River of the North, which empties into Hudson’s Bay. Expanding into the interior sea, Lake Superior, after rippling and foaming over the rocks at Sault Ste. Marie it divides into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron; and passing through the latter and Lake St. Claire[439] and Lake Erie, with the energy of an infuriated Titan it dashes itself into foam and mist at Niagara. After recovering composure, it becomes Ontario, the “beautiful lake,”[440] and then, hedged in by scenery varied, sublime, and picturesque, and winding through a thousand isles, it becomes the wide and noble river which admits vessels of large burden to the wharves of the cities of Montreal and Quebec; and until lost in the Atlantic, “many islands are before it, offering their good-nature to be mediators between this haughty stream and the angry ocean.”[441] The aborigines, who dwelt in rude lodges near its banks, chiefly belonged to the Huron or Algonquin family; and although there were variations in dialect, they found no difficulty in understanding one another, and in their light canoes they made long journeys, on which they exchanged the copper implements and agate arrow-heads of the far West for the shells and commodities of the sea-shore.[442]


Cartier, born at the time that the discoveries of Columbus were being discussed throughout Europe, who had toughened into a daring navigator, sailed in 1535 up the St. Lawrence, giving the river its present name, and on the 2d of October he reached the site now occupied by the city of Montreal. Escorted by wondering and excited savages, he went to the top of the hill behind the Indian village, and listened to descriptions of the country from whence they obtained caignetdaze, or red copper, which was reached by the River Utawas, which then glittered like a silver thread amid the scarlet leaves of the autumnal forest.[443] The explorations of the French and English in the western world led the merchants of both countries to seek for its furs, and to hope for a shorter passage through it to “the wealth of Ormus and of Ind.” Apsley, a London dealer in beads, playing-cards, and gewgaws in the days of Queen Elizabeth, wrote that he expected to live long enough to see a letter in three months carried to China by a route that would be discovered across the American continent, between the forty-third and forty-sixth parallel of north latitude.[444] The explorations of Champlain have been sketched in an earlier chapter.[445] To the incentive of the fur-trade a new impulse was added when, in the spring of 1609, some Algonquins visited the trading-post, and one of the chiefs brought from his sack a piece of copper a foot in length, a fine and pure specimen. He said that it came from the banks of a tributary of a great lake, and that it was their custom to melt the copper lumps which they found, and roll them into sheets with stones.

It was in 1611, when returning from one of his visits to France, where he had become betrothed to a twelve-year-old maiden, Helen, the daughter of a Huguenot, Nicholas Boullé, secretary of the King’s Chamber, that Champlain pushed forward his western occupation by establishing a frontier trading-post where now is the city of Montreal, and arranging for trade with the distant Hurons, who were assembled at Sault St. Louis.

Again in 1615, as we have seen, he extended his observations to Lake Huron, while on his expedition against the Iroquois. With the Hurons he passed the following winter, and visited neighboring tribes, but in the spring of 1616 returned to Quebec; and although nearly twenty years elapsed before his remains were placed in a grave in that city, he appears to have been contented as the discoverer of Lakes Champlain, Huron, and Ontario, and relinquished farther westward exploration to his subordinates.

The fur-trade of Canada produced a class of men hardy, agile, fearless, and in habits approximating to the savage.[446] Inured to toil, the voyageurs arose in the morning, “when it was yet dark,” and pushing their birch-bark canoes into the water, swiftly glided away, “like the shade of a cloud on the prairie,” and often did not break fast until the sun had been for hours above[165] the horizon. Halting for a short period, they partook of their coarse fare, then re-embarking they pursued their voyage to the land of the beaver and buffalo, the woods echoing their chansons until the “shades of night began to fall,” when,

“Worn with the long day’s march and the chase of the deer and the bison,
Stretched themselves on the ground, and slept where the quivering firelight
Flashed on their swarthy cheeks, and their forms wrapped up in their blankets.”

Among the pioneers of these wanderers in the American forests was Étienne (Anglicized, Stephen) Brulé, of Champigny.[447] It has been mentioned that he went with Champlain to the Huron villages near Georgian Bay, but did not with his Superior cross Lake Ontario. After three years of roaming, he came back to Montreal, and told Champlain that he had found a river which he descended until it flowed into a sea,—the river by some supposed to be the Susquehanna, and the sea Chesapeake Bay.[448] While in this declaration he may have depended upon his imagination, yet to him belongs the undisputed honor of being the first white man to give the world a knowledge of the region beyond Lake Huron.

Sagard[449] mentions that this bold voyageur, with a Frenchman named Grenolle, made a long journey, and returned with a “lingot” of red copper and with a description of Lake Superior which defined it as very large, requiring nine days to reach its upper extremity, and discharging itself into Lake Huron by a fall, first called Saut de Gaston, afterward Sault Ste. Marie. Upon the surrender of Quebec, in 1629, to the English, Étienne Brulé chose to cast in his lot with the conquerors.[450] During the occupation of nearly three years the English heard many stories of the region of the Great Lakes, and they encouraged the aborigines of the Hudson and Susquehanna to purchase English wares.

The very year that the English occupied Quebec, Ferdinando Gorges and associates, who had employed men to search for a great lake, received a patent for the province of Laconia, and the governor thereof arrived in June, 1630, in the ship “Warwick,” at Piscataway, New Hampshire.[451] Early in June, 1632, Captain Henry Fleet, in the “Warwick,” visited the Anacostans, whose village stood on the shores of the Potomac where now is seen the lofty dome of the Capitol of the Republic. These Indians told Fleet that they traded with the Canada Indians; and on the 27th of the month, at the Great Falls of the Potomac, he saw two axes of the pattern brought over by the brothers Kyrcke to Quebec.[452]

About the time Quebec was restored to the French, on the 23d of September, 1633,[453] Captain Thomas Young received a commission from the King[166] of England to make certain explorations in America.[454] The next spring he sailed, and among his officers was a “cosmographer, skilful in mines and trying of metals.” Entering Delaware Bay on the 24th of July, 1634, he sailed up the river, which he named Charles, in honor of the King, and by the 1st of September had reached the vicinity of the falls, above Trenton, the capital of New Jersey. In a report from this river, dated the 20th of October, he writes: “I passed up this great river, with purpose to have pursued the discovery thereof till I had found the great lake[455] from which the great river issues, and from thence I have particular reason to believe there doth also issue some branches, one or more, by which I might have passed into that Mediterranean Sea which the Indian relateth to be four days’ journey beyond the mountains; but having passed near fifty leagues up the river, I was stopped from further proceedings by a ledge of rocks which crosseth the river.”

He then expresses a determination the next summer to build a vessel above the falls, from whence he hoped to find “a way that leadeth into that mediterranean sea,” and from the lake. He continues: “I judge that it cannot be less than one hundred and fifty or two hundred leagues in length to our North Ocean; and from thence I purpose to discover the mouths thereof, which discharge both into the North and South Sea.”[456] The same month that Captain Young was exploring the Valley of the Delaware, an expedition left Quebec which was not so barren of results.

The year that Étienne Brulé came back from his wandering in the far West, in 1618, Jean Nicolet, the son of poor parents at Cherbourg, came from France, and entered the service of the fur company known as the “Hundred Associates,” under Champlain. For several years he lived among the Algonquins of the Ottawa Valley, and traded with the Hurons; and because of his knowledge of the language of these people, he was valued as an interpreter by the trading company. On the 4th day of July, 1634, on his eventful journey to distant nations, he was at Three Rivers, a trading post just begun. Threading his way in a frail canoe among the isles which extend from Georgian Bay to the extremity of Lake Huron, he, through the Straits of Mackinaw, discovered Lake Michigan, and turning southward found its Grand Bay, an inlet of the western shore, and impressive by its length and vastness.

Here were the Gens de Mer,[457] or Ochunkgraw, called by the Algonquins[167] Ouinipegous or Ouinipegouek,—people of the salt or bad-smelling water; and the traders gave them the name of Puants.

Calling a council of these Winnebagoes and the neighboring tribes, and knowing the power of display upon the savage, he appeared before them in a grand robe of the damask of China, on which was worked flowers and birds of different colors, and holding a pistol in each hand,—a somewhat amusing reminder of the Jove of mythology, with his variegated mantle and thunderbolts. To many he seemed a messenger from the spirit-land; and the women and children, on account of his pistols, called him the man who bore thunder in his hands.[458]

Nicolet announced that he was a peacemaker, and that he desired that they should settle their quarrels and be on friendly terms with the French at Quebec. His words were well received, and one chief, at the conclusion of the conference, invited him to a feast, at which one hundred and twenty beaver were served. He came back to Three Rivers during the next summer, and renewed the interest in the discovery of a route to the Western Ocean, by the declaration that if he had paddled three days more on a large river (probably the Wisconsin), he would have found the sea. There was no design to deceive; but the great water at that distance was what has been called “the father of waters,” the Mississippi. Before December, 1635, he was appointed interpreter at the new trading-post of Three Rivers, and was there when, on Christmas Day, at the age of sixty-eight years, one who had been the life of the fur-trade and the Governor of New France, Samuel de Champlain, expired at Quebec. After the death of the fearless and enterprising Champlain, there was a lull in the zest for discovery, and then difficulties arose which for a time led to the abandonment of all the French trading-posts on the shores of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

The Iroquois had for years longed to be revenged upon those who, with the aid of French arquebuses, had defeated them in battle. Friendly relations were established between them and the Dutch traders on the banks of the Hudson River; and for beaver skins, powder and firearms were received. With these they gratified their desire for revenge. They became a terror to the savage and civilized in Canada; and traders and missionaries, women and infants, fled from their scalping-knives.

The following graphic description of affairs was penned in 1653:—

“The war with the Iroquois has dried up all sources of prosperity. The beaver are allowed to build their dams in peace, none being able or willing to molest them. Crowds of Hurons no longer descend from their country with furs for trading. The Algonquin country is depopulated, and the nations beyond it are retiring farther away, fearing the musketry of the Iroquois. The keeper of the Company’s store here in[168] Montreal has not bought a single beaver-skin for a year. At Three Rivers, the small means in hand have been used in fortifying the place, from fear of an inroad upon it. In the Quebec storehouse all is emptiness.”

At length, in the year 1654, peace was effected between the French and Iroquois, and traders again appeared on the upper lakes, and Indians from thence appeared at Montreal. In August, two Frenchmen accompanied some Ottawas to the region of the upper lakes; and in the latter part of August, 1656, these traders came back to Quebec with a party of Ottawas,[459] whose canoes were loaded with peltries; and about this time a trader told a Jesuit missionary that “he had seen three thousand men together, for the purpose of making a treaty of peace, in the country of the Gens de Mer.”

In 1659, while the new governor Argenson was experiencing the perplexities of administration at Quebec, the extremity of Lake Superior was reached by two energetic and intelligent traders,—Medard Chouart, known in history as Sieur des Groseilliers, and Pierre d’Esprit or Sieur Radisson. Chouart was born a few miles east of Meaux, and left France when he was about sixteen years of age, and became a trader among the Hurons. In 1647 he married the widow Étienne, of Quebec, the father of whom was the pilot Abraham Martin, whose baptismal name was given to the suburb of that city, the Plains of Abraham. She gave birth to a son in 1651, named after his father, and soon after died. Chouart, the Sieur des Groseilliers, then married Marguérite Hayet Radisson, and through her he became a sympathizer with the Huguenots.[460] His brother-in-law, Sieur Radisson, was born at St. Malo, France, and in 1656 married at Three Rivers, Canada, Elizabeth Herault; and after her death he espoused a daughter of the zealous Protestant, Sir David Kyrcke, to whose brothers Champlain had surrendered Quebec.

Pushing beyond Lake Superior, after travelling six days in a southwesterly direction, these traders found the Tionnotantés, a band incorporated with the Hurons, called by the French Petuns, because they had raised tobacco. These people dwelt in the country between the sources of the Black and Chippeway Rivers in Wisconsin, where they had been wanderers for several years. Driven from their homes by the Iroquois,[169] they migrated with the Ottawas to the isles of Lake Michigan, at the entrance of Green Bay. Hearing that the Iroquois had learned where they had retreated, they descended the Wisconsin River until they found the Mississippi, and, ascending this twelve leagues, they came to the Ayoes (Ioway) River, now known as the Upper Iowa, and followed it to its source, being kindly treated by the tribes. Although buffaloes were in abundance, they were disappointed when they found no forests, and retracing their steps to the Mississippi, ascended to a prairie island above Lake Pepin, about nine miles below the mouth of the River St. Croix, and here they often received friendly visits from the Sioux. Confident through the possession of firearms, the Ottawas and Hurons conspired to drive the Sioux away, and occupy their country. The attack was unsuccessful, and they were forced to look for another residence. Going down the Mississippi, they entered one of the mouths of the Black River, near the modern city La Crosse, and the Hurons established themselves about its sources, while their allies, the Ottawas, continued their journey to Lake Superior, and stopped at a point jutting out like a bone needle,—hence called Chagouamikon.

Groseilliers and Radisson, while sojourning with the Hurons, learned much of the deep, wide, and beautiful river, comparable in its grandeur to the St. Lawrence,[461] on an isle of which they had for a time resided. Proceeding northward, these explorers wintered with the Nadouechiouec, who hunted and fished among the “Mille Lacs” of Minnesota, between the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. The Sioux, as these people were called by traders, were found to speak a language different from the Huron and Algonquin, and to have many strange customs. Women, for instance, were seen whose noses had been cut off as a penalty for adultery, giving them a ghastly look. Beyond, upon the northwest shore of Lake Superior, about the Grand Portage, and at the mouth of a river which upon early maps was called Groseilliers, there was met a separated warlike band of Sioux, called Poualak, who, as wood was scarce in the prairie region, made fire with coal (charbon de terre), and lived in skin lodges, although some of the more industrious built cabins of mud (terre grasse), as the swallows build their nests. The Assinepoualacs, or Assineboines, were feared by the Upper, as the Iroquois were dreaded by the Lower, Algonquins.

After an absence of about a year, these traders, about the 19th of August, 1660, returned to Montreal with three hundred Indians and sixty canoes laden with a “wealth of skins,”—

“Furs of bison and of beaver,
Furs of sable and of ermine.”

The settlers there, and at Three Rivers, and at Quebec, were deeply interested by the tales of the vastness and richness of the new-found land[170] and the peculiarities of the wild Sioux. As soon as the furs were sold and a new outfit obtained, Groseilliers, on the 28th of August, again took his way to the westward, accompanied by six Frenchmen, besides the aged Jesuit missionary René Menard and his servant Guérin.

Just beyond the Huron Isles and Huron Bay, which still retain their name, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, is Keweenaw Bay; and on the 15th of October, Saint Theresa’s Day in the calendar of the Church of Rome, the traders and René Menard, with the returning Indians, stopped, and here some traders and the missionary passed the winter among the Outaouaks.[462] Father Menard, discouraged by the indifference of these Indians, resolved to go to the retreat of the Hurons among the marshes of what is now the State of Wisconsin. He sent three Frenchmen who had been engaged in the fur-trade to inform them of his intention; but after journeying for some days they were appalled by the bogs, rapids, and long portages, and returned. Undaunted by their tale of the difficulties of the way, and some Hurons having come to visit the Outaouaks, he resolved to return with them. On the 13th of June, 1661, Menard and his servant, Jean Guérin, by trade a gunsmith, followed in the footsteps of their Indian guides, who, however, soon forsook them in the wilderness. For fifteen days they remained by a lake, and finding a small canoe in the bushes, they embarked with their packs; and week after week in midsummer, annoyed by myriads of mosquitoes, and suffering from heat, hunger, and bruised feet, they advanced toward their destination, and about the 7th of August, while Guérin was making a portage around a rapid in a river, Menard lost the trail. His servant, becoming anxious, called for him, yet there was no answer; and then he five times fired his gun, in the hope of directing him to the right path, but it was of no avail. Two days after, Guérin reached the Huron village, and endeavored without success to employ some of the tribe to go in search of the aged missionary.

Afterward Guérin met a Sauk Indian with Menard’s kettle, which he said he found in the woods, near footprints going in the direction of the Sioux country.[463] His breviary and cassock were said to have been found among the Sioux, and it is supposed that he was either killed, or died from exposure, and that his effects were taken by wandering Indians.[464] Perrot writes: “The Father followed the Ottawas to the Lake of the Illinois [Michigan], and in their flight to Louisiana [Mississippi] as far as the upper part of Black River.” Upon a map prepared by Franquelin, in 1688,[465] for Louis[171] XIV., there is a route marked by a dotted line from the vicinity of Keweenaw Bay to the upper part of Green Bay. If Perrot’s statement is correct, Menard and his devoted attendant Guérin saw the Mississippi twelve years before Joliet and his companion looked upon the great river. The reports of Nicolet and Groseilliers led to a correction and enlargement of the charts of New France. On a map[466] accompanying the Historia Canadensis, by Creuxius, Lake Michigan is marked as “Magnus Lacus Algonquinorum, seu Lacus Fœtetium,” and a lake intended for Nepigon is called “Assineboines,” near which appear the nations Kilistinus and Alimibegôecus. The lake of the Assineboines is connected by a river with an arm of Hudson’s Bay called “Kilistonum Sinus;” and west of this is Jametus Sinus, or James’s Bay.

Pierre Boucher, an estimable man, sent by the inhabitants of Canada to present their grievances to the King of France, in a little book which in 1663 he published at Paris,[467] wrote: “In Lake Superior there is a great island which is fifty leagues in circumference, in which there is a very beautiful mine of copper.” He also stated that he had heard of other mines from five Frenchmen lately returned, who had been absent three years, and that they had seen an ingot of copper which they thought weighed more than eight hundred pounds, and that Indians after making a fire thereon would cut off pieces with their axes.

Groseilliers[468] returned to Canada, and on the 2d of May, 1662, again left Quebec, with ten men, for the North Sea, or Hudson’s Bay. His journey satisfied him that it was easy to secure the trade of the North by way of Lake Superior; but the Company of Canada, which had the monopoly of the fur traffic, looked upon Groseilliers’ plans for securing the peltries of distant tribes as chimerical. Thus disappointed and chagrined, Groseilliers next went to Boston, and presented his schemes to its merchants.

The Reverend Mother of the Incarnation, Superior of the Ursulines at Quebec, in allusion to him, wrote: “As he had not been successful in making a fortune, he was seized with a fancy to go to New England to better his condition. He excited a hope among the English that he had found a passage to the Sea of the North.” Passing from Boston to France, and securing the influence of the English ambassador at Paris, he went to London, and became acquainted with Prince Rupert, nephew of Charles I., who led the cavalry charge against Fairfax and Cromwell at Naseby. This brilliant man was now devoted to study and to the exhibition of the philosophical toy known to chemists as “Rupert’s drops;” but he was ready to indorse the project for extending the fur-trade, and seeking a northwestern passage to Asia. Men of science also showed interest in explorations which would enlarge the sphere of[172] knowledge. The Secretary of the Royal Society wrote a too sanguine letter to Robert Boyle, the distinguished philosopher, and friend of the apostle Eliot. His words were: “Surely I need not tell you, from hence, what is said here with great joy of the discovery of a northwest passage, and by two Englishmen and one Frenchman, lately represented by them to his Majesty at Oxford, and answered by the grant of a vessel to sail into Hudson’s Bay and channel into the South Sea.” The ship “Nonsuch” was fitted out in charge of Captain Zachary Gillam, a son of one of the early settlers of Boston, and in this vessel Groseilliers and Radisson left the Thames in June, 1668, and the next September reached a tributary of Hudson’s Bay, which in honor of their chief patron was called Rupert’s River. The next year, by way of Boston, they returned to England, where their success was applauded; and in 1670 the trading company was chartered,—still in existence, and among the most venerable of English corporations,—known as “The Hudson’s Bay Company.”

While the Canadian Fur Company did not respond to the proposals of Groseilliers for the extension of commerce, the French Government, in view of the fact that the Dutch on the south side of the St. Lawrence and in the valley of the Hudson River had acknowledged allegiance to England, determined to show more interest in the administration of Canadian affairs, and Mézy having been recalled, hardly before his death, Daniel de Remi, Seigneur de Courcelles, was sent as provincial governor. They also created the new office of Intendant of Justice, Police, and Finance, and made Talon—a person of talent, experience, and great energy—the first incumbent. Arriving at Quebec in 1665, Talon took decided steps for the promotion of agriculture, tanneries, and fisheries, and was enthusiastic in the desire to see the white banner of France, with its fleur-de-lis, floating in the far West.[469]

In the autumn of 1668 he took with him to France one of the hardy voyageurs who had lived in the region of the lakes, and on the 24th of the next February he writes to Colbert, the Colonial Minister, that this man “had penetrated among the western nations farther than any other Frenchman,[173] and had seen the copper mine on Lake Huron. The man offers to go to that mine and explore, either by sea, or by the lake and river, the communication supposed to exist between Canada and the South Sea, or to the region of Hudson’s Bay.”

During the summer of 1669 the active and intelligent Louis Joliet, with an outfit of four hundred livres, and one Peré, perhaps the same person who gave his name to a river leading from Lake Nepigon to Hudson’s Bay,[470] with an outfit of one thousand livres, went to search for copper on the shores of Lake Superior, and to discover a more direct route from the upper lakes to Montreal. Joliet went as far as Sault Ste. Marie, where he did not long remain; but in the place of a mine found an Iroquois prisoner among the Ottawas at that point, and obtained permission to take him back to Canada. In company with another Frenchman, he was led by the Iroquois from Lake Erie through the valley of the Grand River to Lake Ontario, and on the 24th of September, at an Iroquois village between this river and the head of Burlington Bay, he met La Salle with four canoes and fifteen men, and the Sulpitian priests, Galinée and De Casson, who on the 6th of July had left the post at La Chine.

La Salle, alleging ill health, at this point separated from the missionaries, and Joliet, before proceeding toward Montreal, drew a chart of the upper lakes for the guidance of the Sulpitians. By the aid of this the priests reached Lake Erie through a direct river, and near the lake they erected a hut and passed the winter. On the 23d of March, 1670, they resumed their voyage, and on the 25th of May reached Sault Ste. Marie, where there were about twenty-five Frenchmen trading with the Indians. Here was also the mission of the Jesuits among the Ottawas,—a square enclosure defended by cedar pickets twelve feet high, and within were a small house and chapel which had recently been built. Remaining but three days, they returned to Montreal by the old route along the French River of Lake Huron to Lake Nipissing, and thence by portage to the Ottawa River.

About the time of their arrival Talon had learned from some Algonquins that two European vessels had been seen in Hudson’s Bay, and he wrote to Colbert,—


“After reflecting on all the nations that might have penetrated as far north as that, I can fall back only on the English, who under the conduct of one named Desgrozeliers, in former times an inhabitant of Canada, might possibly have attempted that navigation, of itself not much known, and not less dangerous. I design to send by land some men of resolution to invite the Kilistinons, who are in great numbers in the vicinity of that bay, to come down to see us as the Ottawas do, in order that we may have the first handling of what the latter savages bring us, who, acting as retail dealers between us and those natives, make us pay for the roundabout way of three or four hundred leagues.”

To draw the trade from the English, it was determined to make an alliance of friendship with all the nations around Lake Superior. One of the Frenchmen[471] who roved among the tribes west of Lake Michigan, and in the valley of the Fox River, was Nicholas Perrot. Accustomed from boyhood to the scenes and excitements of frontier life, quick-witted, with some education, a leading spirit among coureurs des bois, and looked upon with respect by the Indians, he was an intelligent explorer of the interior of the continent. In the spring of 1670, when twenty-six years of age, Perrot left Green Bay with a flotilla of canoes filled with peltries and paddled by Indians. By way of Lake Nipissing he reached the Ottawa River, and descended to Montreal, and in July he visited Quebec. By the Intendant Talon he was invited to act as guide and interpreter to his deputy, Simon François Daumont, the Sieur Saint Lusson, who on the 3d of September was commissioned to go to Lake Superior to search for copper mines and confer with the tribes.

It was not until October that Perrot and Saint Lusson left Montreal. When Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron was reached, it was decided that Saint Lusson should here remain for the winter hunting and trading, while Perrot went on and visited the tribes of the Green Bay region. On the 5th of May, 1671, he met Saint Lusson at Sault Ste. Marie, accompanied by the principal chiefs of the Sauks, Menomonees, Pottawattamies, and Winnebagoes. After the delegates of fourteen tribes had arrived, a council was held, on the 14th of June, by Saint Lusson, in the presence of the Jesuits André, Claude Allouez, Gabriel Dreuilletes, and the head of the mission Claude d’Ablon, Nicholas Perrot the interpreter, Louis Joliet, and some fur-traders;[472] and a treaty of friendship was formed, and the countries around Lakes Huron and Superior were taken possession of in the name of Louis XIV., King of France. Talon announces the result of the expedition in these words:—


“Sieur de Saint Lusson is returned, after having advanced as far as five hundred leagues from here, and planted the cross and set up the King’s arms in presence of seventeen Indian nations,[473] assembled on this occasion from all parts, all of whom voluntarily submitted themselves to the dominion of his Majesty, whom alone they regard as their sovereign protector. This was effected, according to the account of the Jesuit Fathers, who assisted at the ceremony, with all the formality and display the country could afford. I shall carry with me the record of taking possession prepared by Sieur de Saint Lusson for securing those countries to his Majesty.

“The place to which the said Sieur de Saint Lusson has penetrated is supposed to be no more than three hundred leagues from the extremities of the countries bordering on the Vermillion or South Sea. Those bordering on the West Sea appear to be no farther from those discovered by the French. According to the calculation made from the reports of the Indians and from maps, there seems to remain not more than fifteen hundred leagues of navigation to Tartary, China, and Japan. Such discoveries must be the work of either time or of the King. It can be said that the Spaniards have hardly penetrated farther into the interior of South, than the French have done up to the present time into the interior of North, America.

“Sieur de Lusson’s voyage to discover the South Sea and the copper mine will not cost the King anything. I make no account of it in my statements, because, having made presents to the savages of the countries of which he took possession, he has reciprocally received from them in beaver that which replaces his outlay.”

The Hurons and Ottawas did not arrive in time to witness the formal taking possession of the country by the representative of France, having been detained by difficulty with the Sioux. About the year 1662, the Hurons, who had lingered about the sources of the Black River of Wisconsin, joined again their old allies, the Ottawas, who were clustered at the end of the beautiful Chegoimegon Bay of Lake Superior. The Ottawas lived in one village, made up of three bands,—the Sinagos, Kenonché, and Kiskakon. After this union, a party of Saulteurs, Ottawas, Nipissings, and Amikoués were securing white-fish not far from Sault Ste. Marie, when they discovered the smoke of an encampment of about one hundred Iroquois. Cautiously approaching, they surprised and defeated their dreaded foes, at a place to this day known as Iroquois Point, just above the entrance of Lake Superior.

After this, the Hurons, Ottawas, and Saulteurs returned in triumph to Keweenaw and Chegoimegon, and remained in quietness until a number of Hurons went to hunt west of Lake Superior, and were captured by some of the Sioux. While in captivity they were treated with kindness, asked to come again, and sent away with presents. Accepting the invitation, the Sinagos chief, with some warriors and four French traders, visited the Sioux,[176] and were received with honor and cordiality. Again, a few Hurons went into the Sioux country, and some of the young warriors made them prisoners; but the Sioux chief, who had smoked the calumet with the Sinagos chief, insisted upon their release, and journeyed to Chegoimegon Bay to make an apology. Upon his arrival, the Hurons proved tricky, and persuaded the Ottawas to put to death their visitor. It was not strange that the Sioux were surprised and enraged when they received the intelligence, and panted for revenge. Marquette, who had succeeded Allouez at the mission which was between the Huron and Ottawa villages, in allusion to this disturbance, wrote:—

“Our Outaouacs and Hurons, of the Point of the Holy Ghost, had to the present time kept up a kind of peace with them [the Sioux], but matters having become embroiled during last winter, and some murders having been committed on both sides, our savages had reason to apprehend that the storm would soon burst on them, and they deemed it was safer for them to leave the place, which they did in the spring.”

The Jesuits retired with the Hurons and Ottawas, and more than one hundred and fifty years elapsed before another Christian mission was attempted in this vicinity, under the “American Board of Foreign Missions.” The retreating Ottawas did not halt until they reached an old hunting-ground, the Manitoulin Island of Lake Huron, and the Hurons stopped at Mackinaw. From time to time they formed war-parties with other tribes, against the Sioux. In 1674 some Sioux warriors arrived at Sault Ste. Marie to smoke the pipe of peace with adjacent tribes. At a grand council the Sioux sent twelve delegates, and the others forty. During the conference one of the opposite side drew near and brandished his knife in the face of a Sioux, and called him a coward. The Sioux replied he was not afraid, when the knife was plunged into his heart, and he died. A fight immediately began, and the Sioux bravely defended themselves, although nine were killed. The two survivors fled to the rude log chapel of the Jesuit mission, and closed the door, and finding there some weapons they opened fire upon their enemies. Their assailants wished to burn down the chapel, which the Jesuits would not allow, as they had beaver skins stored in the loft. In the extremity a lay brother of the mission, named Louis Le Boeme, advised the firing of a cannon shot at the cabin’s door. The discharge killed the last two of the Sioux.[474] Governor Frontenac made complaint against Le Boeme for this conduct, in a letter to Colbert.[475]

After the Iroquois had made a treaty of peace with the French, they did not cease to lurk and watch for the Ottawas as they descended to trade at Montreal, Three Rivers, or Quebec, and, as occasion offered, rob them of[177] their peltries and tear their scalps from their heads. Governor Courcelles, in 1671, determined to establish a post on Lake Ontario which would act as a barrier between the Ottawas and Iroquois, and at the same time draw off the trade from the Hudson River.

Before entering upon his journey he had constructed a large plank flat-boat to ascend the streams,—a novelty which was a surprise. It was of two or three tons burden, and provided with a strong rope to haul it over the rapids and shoal places. On the morning of the 3d of June the expedition left Montreal, consisting of the flat-boat, filled with supplies and manned by a sergeant and eight soldiers, and thirteen bark canoes. The party numbered fifty-six persons, who were active and willing to endure the hardships of the journey. At night, with axe in hand, the men cut poles for a lodge frame, which they covered with bark stripped from the trees. The Governor, to protect himself from mosquitoes, had a little arbor made on the ground, about two feet high, and covered with a sheet, which touched the ground on all sides, and prevented the approach of the insects which disturb sleep and irritate the flesh. The second day of the voyage the flat-boat found difficulty in passing the first rapids, and Courcelles plunged into the water, and with the aid of the hardy voyageurs pushed the boat into smooth water. On the 10th of June the first flat-boat reached the vicinity of Lake Ontario, and the Governor two days after, in a canoe, reached the entrance of the lake. Here he found a stream with sufficient water to float a large boat, and bordered by fine land, which would serve as a site for a post. On the 14th, at the time that the deputy Saint Lusson, at Sault Ste. Marie, was taking possession of the region of Lake Superior, Courcelles was descending the rapids of the St. Lawrence on his return to Montreal.[476]

The report of this expedition was sent to Louis XIV., and it met with his approval; but for the benefit of his health Courcelles was permitted to return to France, and on the 9th of April, 1672, Louis de Buade, Count de Frontenac, was appointed Governor and Lieutenant-General in Canada and other parts belonging to New France. It was not until the leaves began to grow old that Frontenac arrived in Quebec, and, full of energy, was ready to push on the work of exploration which had been initiated by his predecessor. Upon the advice of the Intendant Talon, he soon despatched Louis Joliet to go to the Grand River, which the Indians alleged flowed southward to the sea. Joliet (often spelled[178] Jolliet) was born in Canada, the son of a wagon-maker. In boyhood he had been a promising scholar in the Jesuits’ school at Quebec, but, imbibing the spirit of the times, while a young man he became a rover in the wilderness and a trader among Indians. Three years before his appointment to explore the great river beyond the lakes, he had been sent with Peré to search for a copper-mine on Lake Superior, and the year before he stood by the side of Saint Lusson as he planted the arms of France at Sault Ste. Marie.

It was not until Dec. 8, 1672, that he reached the Straits of Mackinaw, and as the rivers between that point and the Mississippi were by this time frozen, he remained there during the winter and following spring, busy in questioning the Indians who had seen the great river as to its course, and as to the nations on its shores. On May 17, 1673, he began his journey toward a distant sea. At Mackinaw he found Marquette, who became his companion, but had no official connection with the expedition, as erroneously mentioned by Charlevoix. With five voyageurs and two birch-bark canoes, Joliet and Marquette, by the 7th of June, had reached a settlement of Kikapous, Miamis, and Mascoutens, in the valley of the Fox River, and three leagues beyond they found a short portage by which they reached the Wisconsin River, and following its tortuous course amid sandbars and islands dense with bushes, on the 17th of June they entered the broad great river called the Mississippi, walled in by picturesque bluffs, with lofty limestone escarpment, whose irregular outline looked like a succession of the ruined castles and towers of the Rhine. In honor of his patron, Governor Frontenac, Joliet called it Buade, the Governor’s family name. Passing one great river flowing from the west, he learned that through its valley there was a route to the Vermeille Sea [Gulf of California], and he saw a village (which was about five days’ journey from another) which traded with the people of California.[477]

This river is without name on his map,[478] but on its banks he places villages of the Missouri, Kansa, Osages, and Pawnee tribes. The River Ohio he marked with the Indian name Ouabouskigou; and the Arkansas, beyond which he did not descend, and which was reached about the middle of July, he named Bazire, after a prominent merchant of Quebec interested in the fur-trade. After ascending the stream, he entered the Illinois River, which he designated as the Divine, or Outrelaise, in compliment, it is supposed, to Frontenac’s wife, a daughter of Lagrange Trianon, noted for her beauty, and Mademoiselle Outrelaise, her fascinating friend, who were called in Court circles “les divines.”[479] Upon the west bank of one of its tributaries, the Des Plaine River, there stands above the prairie a remarkable elevation of clay, sand, and gravel, a lonely monument which has withstood the erosion of a former geologic age. It was a noted landmark to the Indians in their hunting, and to the French voyageurs on their trading expeditions.[179] By this Joliet was impressed, and he gave the elevation his own name, Mont Joliet, which it has retained, while all the others he marked on his map have been forgotten.[480] It was not until about the middle of August, 1674, that he returned to Quebec, and Governor Frontenac, on the 14th of November, writes to the French Government,—

“Sieur Joliet, whom Monsieur Talon advised me, on my arrival from France, to despatch for the discovery of the South Sea, returned three months ago, and found some very fine countries, and a navigation so easy through the beautiful rivers, that a person can go from Lake Ontario and Fort Frontenac in a bark to the Gulf of Mexico, there being only one carrying place, half a league in length, where Lake Ontario communicates with Lake Erie. A settlement could be made at this post, and another bark built on Lake Erie.... He has been within ten days’ journey of the Gulf of Mexico, and believes that water communication could be found leading to the Vermillion and California Seas, by means of the river that flows from the west, with the Grand River that he discovered, which rises from north to south, and is as large as the St. Lawrence opposite Quebec.

“I send you, by my secretary, the map[481] he has made of it, and the observations he has been able to recollect, as he lost all his minutes and journals in the wreck he suffered within sight of Montreal, where, after having completed a voyage of twelve hundred leagues, he was near being drowned, and lost all his papers, and a little Indian whom he brought from those countries.”

Governor Frontenac was satisfied with the importance of establishing a post on Lake Ontario, as Courcelles had suggested, and in the summer of 1673 visited the region. On the 3d of June he departed from Quebec, and at five o’clock in the afternoon of the 15th was received at Montreal amid the roar of cannon and the discharge of musketry. On the 9th of July he had reached a point supposed to be in the present town of Lisbon, in St. Lawrence County, New York, at the head of all the rapids of the St. Lawrence; and while sojourning there, at six o’clock in the evening two Iroquois canoes arrived with letters from La Salle, who two months before went into their country.


After exchanging civilities with the Iroquois, and guided by them, Frontenac was led into a beautiful bay about a cannon-shot from the River Katarakoui, which so pleased him as a site for a post, that he stayed until sunset examining the situation. The next day his engineer, Sieur Raudin, was ordered to trace out the plan of a fort, and on the morning of the 14th, at daybreak, soldiers and officers with alacrity began to clear the ground, and in four days the fort was finished, with the exception of the abatis. After designating the garrison and workmen who were to remain at the post, and making La Salle the commandant, on the 27th Frontenac began his homeward voyage, about the time that Joliet began to ascend the Mississippi from the mouth of the Arkansas.[482]

The reports of Joliet led to the formation of plans for the occupation of the valley of the Mississippi by the leading merchants and officers of Canada; and the application of Joliet, its first explorer, to go with twenty persons and establish a post among the Illinois, was refused by the French Government.[483]

Frontenac, in the fall of 1674,[484] sent La Salle to France. Under the date of the 14th of November, he wrote to Minister Colbert that La Salle was a man of character and intelligence, adapted to exploration, and asking him to listen to his plans. A few weeks before La Salle’s arrival in Paris, the Prince of Condé had fought a battle at Seneffe, and obtained a victory over the Prince of Orange and the allied generals, and every one was full of the praise of the King’s household guards, who without flinching remained eight hours under the fire of the enemy. La Salle could hardly have thought at that moment that the future was yet to reveal as his associates in the exploration of the distant valley of the Mississippi a gend’arme of his Majesty’s guard and a field chaplain of that bloody day.[485] In a memorial to the King, he asked for the grant of Fort Frontenac and lands adjacent, agreeing to repay Frontenac the money he had expended in establishing the post, to repair it, and keep a garrison therein at his own expense. He further asked, in consideration of the voyages he had made at his own expense during the seven years of his residence in Canada, that he might receive letters of nobility.[486] The King, upon the report of Colbert, accepted the offer, and on the 13th of May, 1675, conferred upon La Salle the rank of esquire, with power to attain all grades of knighthood and gendarmerie.[487] This year he came back to Canada in the same ship with Louis Hennepin, and going to Fort Frontenac in August, 1676, he increased the buildings, erected a strong wall on the land side, and strengthened the palisades toward the water. From time to time he had cattle brought thither from Montreal, and constructed barks to navigate the lake, keep the Iroquois in check, and deter the English from trading in the region of the upper lakes.[488] In November, 1677, he[181] made another visit to France,[489] and obtained a permit, dated the 12th of May, 1678, allowing him to explore the western part of New France, with the prospect of penetrating as far as Mexico.[490] The expedition was to be at the expense of himself and associates, with the privilege of trade in buffalo skins, but with the express condition that he should not trade with the Ottawas and other Indians who brought their beavers to Montreal.

Frontenac was not only in full sympathy with La Salle, but with other enterprising adventurers, and there is but little doubt that he shared the profits of the fur-traders. About the time that La Salle was improving Fort Frontenac as a trading-post, Raudin,[491] the engineer who had laid out the plan of that fort, was sent by Frontenac with presents to the Ojibways and Sioux, at the extremity of Lake Superior.[492] A nephew of Patron, named Daniel Greysolon du Lhut,[493] and who had made two voyages from France before 1674, had then entered the army as squire of Marquis de Lassay, was in the campaign of Franche-Comté and at Seneffe, having now returned to Quebec was permitted to go on a voyage of discovery in the then unknown region where dwelt the Sioux and Assineboines.

On the 1st of September, 1678, with three Indians and three Frenchmen, Du Lhut left Montreal for Lake Superior, and wintered at some point on the shore of, or in the vicinity of, Lake Huron. On the 5th of April, 1679, he was in the woods, three leagues from Sault Ste. Marie, when he wrote in the third person to Governor Frontenac: “He will not stir from the Nadoussioux until further orders; and peace being concluded he will set up the King’s arms, lest the English and other Europeans settled toward California take possession of the country.”[494] On the 2d of July, 1679, Du Lhut planted the arms of France beyond Lake Superior, among the Isanti Sioux,[495] who dwelt at Mille Lacs, in what is now the State of Minnesota, and then visited the Songaskitons (Sissetons) and Houetbatons, bands of the Sioux, whose villages were one hundred and twenty leagues beyond. Entering by way of the St. Louis River, it would be easy, by a slight portage, to reach the Sioux village, which was at that time on the shores of the Sandy Lake of the Upper Mississippi.

Among those who went to the Lake Superior region at the same time as Du Lhut, were Dupuy, Lamonde, and Pierre Moreau, alias La Taupine, who had been with Saint Lusson at the planting of the French arms in 1671 at Sault Ste. Marie, and was trading among the Illinois when Joliet was in that country. In the summer of 1679 La Taupine returned, and it was rumored that he had obtained among the Ottawas in two days nine hundred beavers. Duchesneau, Intendant of Justice, feeling that Moreau had violated the law forbidding coureurs des bois to trade with the Indians, had him, in September,[182] arrested at Quebec; but Moreau produced a license from Governor Frontenac, permitting him, with his two comrades, to go to the Ottawas, to execute his secret orders, and so was liberated. He had not left the prison but a short time when an officer and some soldiers came with an order from Frontenac to force the prison, in case he were still there. In a letter to Seignelay he writes: “It is certain, my Lord, that the said La Taupine carried goods to the Ottawas, that his two comrades remained in the country, apparently near Du Lhut, and that he traded there.”[496]

On the 15th of September Du Lhut had returned to Lake Superior, and at Camanistigoya, or the Three Rivers, the site of Fort William of the old Northwest Company, he held a conference with the Assineboines, an alienated band of the Sioux, and other northern tribes, and persuaded them to be at peace, and to intermarry with the Sioux. The next winter he remained in the region near the northern boundary of Minnesota; but in June, 1680, he determined to visit the Issati Sioux by water, as he had before gone to their villages by land.[497] With two canoes, an Indian as an interpreter, and four Frenchmen,—one of whom was Faffart, who had been in the employ of La Salle at Fort Frontenac,[498]—he entered a river eight leagues from the extremity of Lake Superior, now called Bois Brulé, a narrow, rapid stream, then much obstructed by fallen trees and beaver-dams. After reaching its upper waters a short portage was made to Upper Lake St. Croix, the outlet of which was a river, which, descending, led him to the Mississippi.

Two weeks after Du Lhut left Montreal to explore the extremity of Lake Superior, La Salle returned from France, accompanied by the brave officer Henry Tonty, who had lost one hand in battle, but who, with an iron substitute for the lost member, could still be efficient in case of a conflict. He also brought with him, beside thirty persons, a supply of cordage, anchors, and other material to be used at Fort Frontenac and on his proposed journey toward the Gulf of Mexico.

After reaching Frontenac, La Motte, who had been a captain in a French regiment, was sent in advance, with the Franciscan Hennepin and sixteen men, to select a site for building a vessel to navigate the upper lakes. On the 8th of January, 1679, La Salle and Tonty, late at night, reached La Motte’s encampment at the rapids below the Falls of Niagara, only to find him absent on a visit to the Senecas. The next day La Salle climbed the heights, and following the portage road round the cataract he found at the entrance of Cayuga Creek an admirable place for a ship-yard. La Motte having returned to his encampment, with La Salle and Tonty he[183] visited the selected site, and Tonty was charged with the supervision of the ship-builders.

Four days later, the keel of the projected vessel was laid, and in May it was launched with appropriate ceremonies, and named after the fabulous animal—the symbol of strength and swiftness,—the “Griffin,” two of which were the supporters of the escutcheon of Count Frontenac. Tonty, on the 22d of July, was sent forward with five men to join fourteen others who had been ordered by La Salle to stop at the mouth of the Detroit River. On the 7th day of August the “Griffin” spread her sails upon her voyage to unknown waters whose depths had never been sounded, and early on the morning of the 10th reached Tonty and his party, who had anxiously awaited its coming, and received them on board. On the 10th of August, the day in the calendar of the Church of Rome devoted to the memory of the virgin Saint Clare, foundress of the Franciscan Order of Poor Clares, the vessel entered the lake called by the Franciscan priests after her, although now written St. Clair. On the 27th they reached the harbor of Mackinaw,—a point on the mainland south of the straits; and upon his landing La Salle was greatly surprised to find there a number of those whom he had sent, at the close of the last year, to trade for his benefit with the Illinois. Their excuse for their unfaithfulness was credence in a report that La Salle was a visionary, and that his vessel would never arrive at Mackinaw. Four of the deserters were arrested. La Salle, learning that two more—Hemant and Roussel, or Roussellière—were at Sault Ste. Marie, sent Tonty on the 29th with six men to take them into custody. While the lieutenant was absent on this errand, La Salle lifted his anchor and set sail for the Grand Bay, now Green Bay, where he found among the Pottawattamies still others of those whom he had sent to the Illinois, and who had collected furs to the value of twelve thousand livres. From this point he determined to pursue his journey southward in a canoe, and to send back the “Griffin” with the peltries here collected. On the 18th of September the ship—in charge of the pilot, a supercargo, and five sailors—sailed for the magazine at the end of Lake Erie, but it never came to Mackinaw. Some Indians said it had been wrecked, but there was never any certain information obtained. A Pawnee lad, fourteen or fifteen years of age, who was a prisoner among the Indians near a post established among the Illinois, reported that the pilot of the “Griffin” had been seen among the Missouri tribes, and that he had ascended the Mississippi, with four others, in two canoes, with goods stolen from the ship, and some hand-grenades. It was the intention of this party to join Du Lhut, and if they could not find him, to push on to the English on Hudson’s Bay. Meeting some hostile Indians, a fight occurred, and all the Frenchmen were killed but the pilot and another, who were sold as prisoners to the Missouri Indians. In the chapter on the exploration of the lakes, it is only necessary to allude to that portion of La Salle’s expedition which pertains to this region.


After La Salle had established Fort Crèvecœur among the Illinois, on the 29th of February, 1680, he sent Michel Accault (often spelt Ako) on a trading and exploring expedition to the Upper Mississippi. He took with him Anthony Augelle, called the Picard, and the Franciscan priest Louis Hennepin, in a canoe, with goods valued at about a thousand livres. In ascending the Mississippi the party was hindered by ice near the mouth of the Illinois River until the 12th of March, when they resumed their voyage. Following the windings of the Mississippi, La Salle mentions in a letter written on the 22d of August, 1682, at Fort Frontenac,[499] that they passed a tributary from the east called by the Sioux Meschetz Odéba,[500] now called Wisconsin, and twenty-three or twenty-four leagues above they saw the Black River, called by the Sioux Chabadeba.[501] About the 11th of April, at three o’clock in the afternoon, a war-party of Sioux going south was met, and Accault, as the leader, presented the calumet,[502] and gave them some tobacco and twenty knives. The Sioux gave up their expedition, and conducted Accault and his companions to their villages. On the 22d of April the isles in the Mississippi were reached, where two Sioux had been killed by the Maskoutens, and they stopped to weep over their death, while Accault, to assuage their grief, gave them in trade a box of goods and twenty-four hatchets. Arriving at an enlargement of the river, about three miles below the modern city of St. Paul, the canoes were hidden in the marshes, and the rest of the journey to the villages of Mille Lacs was made by land. Six weeks after they reached the villages, the Sioux determined to descend the Mississippi on a buffalo hunt, and Hennepin and Augelle went with the party.

When Du Lhut reached the Mississippi from Lake Superior, he found eight cabins of Sioux, and learned that some Frenchmen were with the party hunting below the St. Croix River. Surprised by the intelligence, leaving two Frenchmen to guard his goods, he descended in a canoe with his interpreter and his other two men, and on the morning of the third day he found the hunting camp and the Franciscan Hennepin. In a letter to Seignelay, written while on a visit in France, Du Lhut writes:—

“The want of respect which they showed to the said Reverend Father provoked me, and this I showed them, telling them he was my brother. And I had him placed in my canoe to come with me into the villages of the said Nadouecioux, whither I took him; and a week after our arrival I caused a council to be convened, exposing the ill treatment which they had been guilty of, both to the said Reverend Father and to the other two Frenchmen who were with him, having robbed them and carried them off as slaves,[503] and even taken the priestly vestments of said Reverend Father.[185]

“I had two calumets, which they had danced to, returned, on account of the insults which they had offered, being what they hold most in esteem to appease matters, telling them I did not take calumets from the people who, after they had seen me and received my peace presents, and had been for a year always with Frenchmen, robbed them when they went to visit them. Each one in the council endeavored to throw the blame from himself, but their excuses did not prevent my telling the Reverend Father Louis that he would have to come with me towards the Outagamys [Foxes], as he did; showing him that it would strike a blow at the French nation, in a new discovery, to suffer an insult of this nature without manifesting resentment, although my design was to push on to the sea in a west-northwesterly direction, which is that which is believed to be the Red Sea [Gulf of California], whence the Indians who had gone to war on that side gave salt to three Frenchmen whom I had sent exploring, and who brought me said salt, having reported to me that the Indians had told them that it was only twenty days’ journey from where they were to find the great lake, whose waters were worthless to drink. They had made me believe that it would not be absolutely difficult to find it, if permission were given to go there.

“However, I preferred to retrace my steps, exhibiting the just indignation I felt, rather than to remain, after the violence which they had done to the Reverend Father and the other two Frenchmen who were with him, whom I put in my canoes and brought back to Michelimakinak.”

It was not until some time in May, 1681, that Du Lhut arrived at Montreal, and although he protested that his journey had only been in the interest of discovery and of peace-making with the tribes, the Intendant of Justice accused him of violating the King’s edict against trading with the Indians, and Frontenac held him for a time in the castle at Quebec, more as a friend than as a prisoner. It was but a little while before an amnesty came from the King of France to all suspected of being “coureurs des Bois,” and authorizing Governor Frontenac to issue yearly twenty-five licenses to twenty-five canoes, each having three men, to trade among the savages.

Duchesneau, the Intendant of Justice, still complained that the Governor winked at illicit trade, and on the 13th of November, 1681, he wrote to Seignelay, who had succeeded his father as Minister for the Colonies:—

“But not content with the profits to be derived within the countries under the King’s dominion, the desire of making money everywhere has led the Governor, Sieurs Perrot, Boisseau, Du Lhut, and Patron, his uncle, to send canoes loaded with peltries to the English. It is said that sixty thousand livres’ worth has been sent thither; and though proof of this assertion cannot be adduced, it is a notorious report.... Trade with the English is justified every day, and all those who have pursued it agree that beaver carried to them sells for double what it does here, for that worth fifty-two sous, six deniers, the pound, duty paid, brings eight livres there, and the beaver for Russia sells there at ten livres the pound in goods.”

On grounds of public policy Frontenac in 1682 was recalled, and De la Barre, his successor, in October of this year held a conference with the most influential persons, among whom was Du Lhut, who afterward sailed for[186] France, and early in 1683[504] there wrote the letter to Seignelay from which extracts have been made.

The Iroquois having found it profitable to carry the beavers of the northwest to the English at Albany, determined to wage war against the tribes of the upper Lakes, seize Mackinaw, and drive away the French. Governor de la Barre, to thwart this scheme, in May, 1683, sent Oliver Morrel, the Sieur de la Durantaye, with six canoes and thirty good men, to Mackinaw, and the Chevalier de Baugy was ordered to the fort established by La Salle on the Illinois River, in charge of Tonty. As soon as Durantaye reached Mackinaw, he immediately sent parties to Green Bay to take steps to humble the Pottawattamies for the hostility exhibited toward the French. He afterward went down the west side of Lake Michigan, and Chevalier de Baugy proceeded on the other side, hoping to meet La Salle, who was expected to go to Mackinaw by following the eastern shore.

Du Lhut, upon his return from France, obtained a license to trade, and in August arrived at Mackinaw with men and goods for trading in the Sioux country[505] by way of Green Bay. Upon the 8th of the month he left Mackinaw with about thirty persons; and after leaving their goods at the extremity of the Bay, they proceeded, armed for war, to the village of the Pottawattamies, and rebuked them for the bad feelings which they had exhibited. Some Cayuga Iroquois in the vicinity captured five of the Wyandot Hurons that Du Lhut had sent out to reconnoitre, but avoided the French post. “The Sieur du Lhut,” writes the Governor to Seignelay, “who had the honor to see you at Versailles, happening to be at that post when my people arrived, placed himself at their head, and issued such good orders that I do not think it can be seized, as he has employed his forces and some Indians in fortifying and placing himself in a condition of determined defence.” Having been advised of the retreat of the Iroquois, Du Lhut proceeded toward the north to execute his design of stopping English trade in that direction. The project is referred to in a despatch of the Canadian to the Home Government in these words: “The English of Hudson’s Bay have this year attracted many of our northern Indians, who for this reason have not come to trade to Montreal. When they learned by expresses sent them by Du Lhut, on his arrival at Messilimakinak, that he was coming, they sent him word to come quickly, and they would unite with him to prevent all others going thither any more. The English of the Bay excite us against the savages, whom Sieur du Lhut alone can quiet.”

Departing from his first post at Kaministigouia, the site of which is in view of Prince Arthur’s Landing, he found his way between many isles, varied and picturesque, to a river on the north shore of Lake Superior leading to[187] Lake Nepigon (Alepimigon). Passing to the northeastern extremity, he built a post on a stream connecting with the waters of the Hudson’s Bay, called after a family name, La Tourette. He returned the next year, if not to Montreal, certainly to Mackinaw. Keweenaw by this time had become a well-known resort of traders; and in its vicinity, in the summer of 1683, two Frenchmen, Colin Berthot and Jacques Le Maire, had been surprised by Indians, robbed and murdered. While Du Lhut was at Mackinaw, on the 24th of October, he was told that an accomplice, named Folle Avoine, had arrived at Sault Ste. Marie with fifteen Ojibway families who had fled from Chagouamigon Bay, fearing retaliation for an attack which they had made upon the Sioux during the last spring. There were only twelve Frenchmen at the Sault at the time, and they felt too weak, without aid, to make an arrest of Folle Avoine.

At the dawn of the next day after the information was received, Du Lhut embarked with six Frenchmen to seize the murderer, and he also gave a seat in his canoe to the Jesuit missionary, Engelran. When within a league of the post at the Sault, he left the canoe, and with Engelran and the Chevalier de Fourcille, on foot, went through the woods to the mission-house, and the remaining four—Baribaud, Le Mere, La Fortune, and Maçons—proceeded with the canoe.

Du Lhut, upon his arrival, immediately ordered the arrest of the accused, and placed him under a guard of six men; then calling a council, he told the Indians that those guilty of the murder must be punished. But they, hoping to exculpate the prisoner, said that the murder had been committed by one Achiganaga and his sons. Peré had been sent to Keweenaw to find Achiganaga and his children, and when he arrested them they acknowledged their guilt, and told him that the goods they had stolen were hidden in certain places. The powder and tobacco were found soaked in water and useless, and the bodies of the murdered were found in holes in marshy ground, covered with branches of trees to prevent them from floating. The goods not damaged were sold at Keweenaw, to the highest bidder among the traders, for eleven hundred livres, to be paid in beavers to M. de la Chesnaye. On the 24th of November Peré, at ten o’clock at night, came and told Du Lhut that he had found eighteen Frenchmen at Keweenaw, and that he had brought down as prisoners Achiganaga and sons, and had left them under a guard of twelve Frenchmen at a point twelve leagues from the Sault. The next day, at dawn, he went back, and at two o’clock in the afternoon returned with the prisoners, who were placed in a room in the house where Du Lhut was, and watched by a strong guard, and not allowed to converse with each other.

On the 26th a council was held. Folle Avoine was allowed two of his relatives to defend him, and the same privilege was accorded to the others. He was interrogated, and his answers taken in writing, when they were read to him, and inquiry made whether the record was correct. He being removed, Achiganaga was introduced, and in like manner questioned; and[188] then his sons. The Indians watched the judicial examination with silent interest, and the chiefs at length said to the prisoners: “It is enough! You accuse yourselves; the French are masters of your bodies.”

On the 29th all the French at the place were called together. The answers to the interrogatories by the prisoners were read, and then by vote it was unanimously decided that they were guilty and ought to die. As the traders at Keweenaw desired all possible leniency to be shown, Du Lhut decided to execute only two,—man for man, for those murdered; and in this opinion he was sustained by De la Tour, the Superior of the Jesuit missionaries at the Sault. Folle Avoine and the eldest of Achiganaga’s sons were selected. Du Lhut writes: “I then returned to the cabin of Brochet [a chief], with Mess’rs Boisguillot, Peré, De Repentigny, De Manthet, De la Ferte, and Maçons, where were all the chiefs of the Outawas du Sable, Outawas Sinagos, Sauteurs, D’Achiliny, a part of the Hurons, and Oumamens, chief of the Amikoys. I informed them of our decision; ... that the Frenchmen having been killed by the different tribes, one of each must die; and that the same death they had caused the French to suffer they must also suffer.” The Jesuit Fathers then proceeded to baptize the prisoners, in the belief of the Church of Rome that by the external application of water they might become citizens of the kingdom of heaven. One hour later, a procession was formed of forty-two Frenchmen, with Du Lhut at their head, and the prisoners were taken to a hill, and in the sight of four hundred Indians the two murderers were shot.

To Du Lhut must always be given the credit of being the first in the distant West, at the outlet of Lake Superior, to exhibit the majesty of law, under the forms of the French code. While some of the timid and prejudiced, in Canada and France, condemned his course as harsh and impolitic, yet, as the enforcer of a respect for life, he was upheld by the more thoughtful and reasonable.[506]

During the summer of 1683 (Aug. 10), René Le Gardeur, Sieur de Beauvais, with thirteen others who had a permit to trade among the Illinois, departed from Mackinaw, and early in December reached the lower end of Lake Michigan, and wintered in the valley of the Theakiki or Kankakee River. About the 10th of March, 1684, while on their way to Fort St. Louis, on the Illinois River, they were robbed by the Seneca Iroquois of their seven canoes of merchandise, and after nine days sent back to the Chicago River with only two canoes and some powder and lead. The Indians, on the 21st, approached and besieged Fort St. Louis,[507] which was gallantly defended by the Chevalier de Baugy and the brave Henry Tonty, the Bras Coupé (Cut Arm), as he was called by them, because he had lost his hand in battle.[508]


Upon the receipt of the news of this incursion, Governor de la Barre, under a pressure from the merchants of Quebec, whose goods were imperilled, determined to attack the Iroquois in their own country. Orders were sent to the posts of the upper lakes for the commandants to bring down allies to Niagara. While on his way, Du Lhut wrote to De la Barre:—

“As I was leaving Lake Alemepigon [Nepigon], I made in June all the presents necessary to prevent the savages carrying their beavers to the English. I have met the Sieur de la Croix, with his two comrades, who gave me your despatches, in which you demand that I omit no step for the delivery of your letters to the Sieur Chouart at the River Nelson. To carry out your instructions Monsieur Péré will have to go himself,[509] the savages having all at that time gone into the wilderness to gather their blueberries. The Sieur Péré will have left in August, and during that month will have delivered your letters to the said Sieur Chouart.[510]

“It remains for me to assure you that all the savages of the north have great confidence in me, and this makes me promise you that before two years have passed not a single savage will visit the English at Hudson’s Bay. This they have all promised, and have bound themselves thereto by the presents which I have given or caused to be given.

“The Klistinos, Assenepoualacs, Sapiniere, Opemens Dacheliny, Outouloubys, and Tabitibis, who comprise the nations who are west of the Sea of the North, having promised next spring to be at the fort which I have constructed near the River à la Maune, at the end of Lake Alemepigon,[511] and next summer I shall construct one in the country of the Klistinos, which will be an effectual barrier.... It is necessary, to carry out my promises, that my brother[512] should, in the early spring [of 1685], go up again, with two canoes loaded with powder, lead, fusils, hatchets, tobacco, and necessary presents.”

Durantaye, Du Lhut, and Nicholas Perrot left Mackinaw with one hundred and fifty Frenchmen and about five hundred Indians[513] to join De la Barre’s army; and they had not been six hours at Niagara, on the 6th of September, before orders were received that their services were not needed, as the French troops were suffering from sickness, and a truce had been made with the Iroquois.[514] Du Lhut and the other Frenchmen slowly returned to their posts, and when the new governor (Denonville) arrived, he wrote to De la Durantaye at Mackinaw, and sent orders to Du Lhut, who was at a great distance beyond, to inform him of the number of allies he could furnish in case of a war against the Iroquois.

Nicholas Perrot, in the spring of 1685, was commissioned to go to Green Bay and have chief command there, and of any countries he might[190] discover.[515] He left Montreal with twenty men, and arriving at Green Bay, some Indians told him that they had visited countries toward the setting sun, where they obtained the blue and green stones suspended from their ears and noses, and that they saw horses and men like Frenchmen,—probably the Spaniards of New Mexico; and others said that they had obtained hatchets from persons who lived in a house that walked on the water in the Assineboine region,—alluding to the English established at Hudson’s Bay. At the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers thirteen Hurons were met, who were bitterly opposed to the establishment of a post near the Sioux. After reaching the Mississippi, Perrot sent a few Winnebagoes to notify the Aiouez (Ioways) who roamed on the prairies beyond, that the French had ascended the river, and that they would indicate their stopping-place by kindling a fire. A place was found suitable for a post,[516] where there was wood, at the foot of a high hill (au pied d’une montagne), behind which there was a large prairie.[517] In eleven days a number of Ioways arrived at the Mississippi, about twenty-five miles above, and Perrot ascended to meet them; but as he and his men drew near, the Indian women ran up the bluffs and hid in the woods. But twenty of the braves met him and bore him to the chief’s lodge, and he, bending over Perrot, began to weep, and allowed the tears to fall upon his guest. After he had exhausted himself, the principal men continued this wetting process. Buffalo tongues were then boiled in an earthen pot, and after being cut into small pieces, the chief took a piece, and, as a mark of respect, placed it in Perrot’s mouth. During the winter Perrot traded with the Sioux; and by 1686 a post was established on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Pepin, just above its entrance, called “Fort St. Antoine.”[518]

Denonville discovered upon his arrival at Quebec that the policy which De la Barre had pursued in making peace had rendered the Iroquois more insolent, and had made the allies of the French upon the upper lakes discontented, on account of their long and fruitless voyage to Niagara. He therefore determined, as soon as he could gather a sufficient force, to march into the Iroquois country[519] “and not chastise them by halves, but if possible annihilate them.” Orders were again sent to the posts at Mackinaw and Green Bay to prepare for another expedition against the Seneca Iroquois. Perrot at the time he received the order to return was among the Sioux, and his canoes had been broken by the ice. During the summer of 1686 he visited the Miamis, sixty leagues distant. Upon his return he perceived a great smoke, and at first thought it was a war-party going against the Sioux. Fortunately he met a Maskouten chief, who had been at the post to visit him, and from him he learned that the Foxes, Kickapoos,[191] Maskouten, and others had determined to pillage the post, kill its inmates, and then go forward and attack the Sioux. Hurrying on, he reached the post, and was told that on that very day three spies had been there and discovered that there were only six men in charge. The next day two more appeared, but Perrot had taken the precaution to put loaded guns at the door of each hut, and made his men frequently change their clothes. To the query of the savage spies, “How many French were there?” the reply was, “Forty, and that more were daily expected, who had been on a buffalo hunt, and that the guns were loaded and the knives well sharpened.” They were then told to go back to their camp and bring a chief of each tribe; and that if Indians in large numbers came they would be fired at.

In accordance with this message, six chiefs presented themselves, and after their bows and arrows had been taken from them, they were invited to Perrot’s cabin, where he gave them something to eat and tobacco to smoke. Looking at Perrot’s loaded guns, they asked “if he were afraid of his children?” He answered, “No.” They continued, “Are you displeased?” To this he said, “I have good reason to be. The Spirit has warned me of your designs; you will take my things away and put me in the kettle, and proceed against the Nadouaissioux. The Spirit told me to be on my guard, and he would help me.” Astonished at these words, they confessed he had spoken the truth. That night the chiefs slept within the stockade, and early the next morning a part of the hostile force came and wished to trade. Perrot had now only fifteen men, and arresting the chiefs, he told them he would break their heads if they did not make the Indians go away. One of the chiefs, therefore, stood on the gate of the fort and said to the warriors: “Do not advance, young men, the Spirit has warned Metaminens of your designs.” The advice was followed, and the chiefs, receiving some presents, also retired.

A few days after, Perrot returned to Green Bay in accordance with the order of the Governor of Canada. His position toward the Jesuits at this point was different from that of La Salle. This latter explorer had declared that the missionaries were more anxious to convert, at their blacksmith shop, iron into implements, to be exchanged for beaver, than to convert souls.

After being buried in the earth for years, there has been discovered a silver soleil or ostensorium, fifteen inches high, and weighing twenty ounces, intended for the consecrated wafer;[520] around the oval base of the rim is the following inscription in French: “This soleil was given by Mr Nicholas Perrot, to the mission of St. Francis Xavier, at the Bay of Puans, 1686.”[521]

Governor Dongan of New York, although an Irishman and Roman[192] Catholic, was aggressive in the interests of England, and asserted the right of traders from Albany to go among the Indians of the Northwest. As early as 1685 he licensed several persons, among whom was La Fontaine Marion, a Canadian, to trade for beaver in the Ottawas country; and their journey was successful, and created consternation at Quebec. Governor Denonville wrote to Seignelay of the pretences of the English, who claimed the lakes to the South Sea. His language was terse and emphatic: “Missilimakinak is theirs. They have taken its latitude, have been to trade there with our Outawas and Huron Indians, who received them cordially on account of the bargains they gave by selling them merchandise for beaver at a much higher price than we. Unfortunately we had but very few Frenchmen there at that time.”


A despatch on the 6th of June, 1686, was sent to Du Lhut, that he should go and establish a post at some point on the shore of St. Clair River, between Lake Erie and Lake Huron, which would serve as a protection for friendly Indians, and a barrier to the English traders. After he had built the post he was ordered to leave it in command of a lieutenant and twenty-eight men, return to Mackinaw, and then take thirty men more to the post, which was called Fort St. Joseph. A party of English, under Captain Thomas Roseboome, of Albany, consisting of twenty-nine whites and five Indians, and La Fontaine as interpreter, in the spring of 1687 were arrested by Durantaye on Lake Huron, twenty leagues from Mackinaw, and their eau de vie (brandy) given to the Indians.


In June, Durantaye left Mackinaw with allies for Denonville, and was afterward followed by Perrot; and at Fort St. Joseph he met Du Lhut and Henry Tonty, who had arrived from Fort St. Louis with a few Illinois Indians.[522] After the united company had left this post, they met in St. Clair River a second party of Englishmen, consisting of twenty-one whites, six Indians, and eight prisoners, in charge of Major Patrick Macgregory, of Albany, a native of Scotland. These were also arrested, making about sixty then in the hands of the French.

On the 27th of June, Durantaye and associates, to the number of one hundred and seventy Frenchmen, and about four hundred Indians, arrived at Niagara. Sieur de la Foret, who had been with Tonty at Fort St. Louis, on the 1st of July reported their arrival to Denonville, then at Fort Frontenac. The Governor was pleased to hear of the capture of the English, and in a subsequent despatch wrote: “It is certain that had the two English detachments not been stopped and pillaged, had their brandy and other goods entered Michillimaquina, all our Frenchmen would have had their throats cut by a revolt of all the Hurons and Outaouas, whose example would have been followed by all the other far nations, in consequence of the presents which had been secretly sent to the Indians.”


On the 10th of July, as the Canadian and French troops entered Irondequoit Bay, they were elated by the approach, under sail, of the Indian allies from Mackinaw who on the 6th had left Niagara. On the 12th, the march to the Seneca village was begun; but the story of it has been told elsewhere.[523]

The officers who came from the posts of the upper lakes were well spoken of by Denonville. In one of his despatches he writes: “A half-pay captaincy being vacant, I gave it to Sieur de la Durantaye, who since I have been in this country has done good service among the Outawas, and has been very economical in labor and expense in executing the orders he received from me. He is a man of rank, unfortunate in his affairs, and who,[194] by his great assiduity at Missillimakinak, efficiently carried out the instructions to seize the English; he arrested one of the parties within two days’ journey of Missillimakinak. Sieurs de Tonty and Du Lhut have acquitted themselves very well; all would richly deserve some reward.”

After the allies had left Niagara for the scene of battle, Greysolon de la Tourette, a brother of Du Lhut, described as “an intelligent lad,” arrived there from Lake Nepigon, north of Lake Superior, in a canoe, without an escort. Denonville a few weeks after wrote: “Du Lhut’s brother, who has recently arrived from the rivers above the Lake of the Allemepigons, assures me that he saw more than fifteen hundred persons come to trade with him, and they were very sorry he had not sufficient goods to satisfy them. They are of the tribes accustomed to resort to the English at Port Nelson and River Bourbon.”[524]

The destruction of the Seneca villages having been completed, Du Lhut, with his brave cousin Henry Tonty, returned in September to Fort St. Joseph,[525] near the entrance of Lake Huron, garrisoned at his own charges by coureurs des bois, who had in the spring sown some bushels of Turkey wheat. The next year, to allay the irritation of the Iroquois, Governor Denonville issued an order to abandon the fort, and on the 27th of August the buildings were destroyed by fire.

Perrot, in 1688, was ordered to return to his post on the Upper Mississippi, and take formal possession of the country in the King’s name. With a party of forty men, he left Montreal to trade with the Sioux, who, according to La Potherie, “were very distant, and could not trade with us easily, as the other tribes and the Outagamis [Foxes] boasted of having cut off the passage thereto.” Reaching Green Bay in the fall of the year, Perrot was met by a deputation of Foxes, and afterward visited their village. In the chief’s lodge there was placed before him broiled venison, and for the rest of the French raw meat was served; but he refused to eat, because, he said, “meat did not give him any spirit. But he would take some when they were more reasonable.” He then chided them for not having gone, as requested by the Governor of Canada, on the expedition against the Senecas. Urging them to proceed on the beaver hunt, and to fight only the Iroquois, and leaving a few Frenchmen to trade, he proceeded toward the Sioux country. Arriving at the portage, the ice formed some impediment, but, aided by Pottawattamies, his men transported their goods to the Wisconsin River, which was not frozen. Ascending the Mississippi, he proceeded to the post which he occupied before he was summoned to fight the Senecas.

As soon as the ice left the river, in the spring of 1689, the Sioux came down and escorted Perrot to one of their villages, where he was received[195] with much enthusiasm. He was carried around upon a beaver robe, followed by a long line of warriors, each bearing a pipe and singing. Then, taking him to the chief’s lodge, several wept over his head, as the Ioways had done when he first visited the Upper Mississippi. After he had left, in 1686, a Sioux chief, knowing that few Frenchmen were at the fort, had come down with one hundred warriors to pillage it. Of this, complaint was made by Perrot, and the guilty leader came near being put to death by his tribe. As they were about to leave the Sioux village, one of his men told Perrot that a box of goods had been stolen, and he ordered a cup of water to be brought, into which he poured some brandy. He then addressed the Indians, and told them he would dry up their marshes if the goods were not restored, at the same time setting on fire the brandy in the cup. The savages, astonished, and supposing that he possessed supernatural powers, soon detected the thief, and the goods were returned.

On the 8th of May, 1689, at the post St. Antoine, on the Wisconsin side of Lake Pepin, a short distance above the Chippewa River, in the presence of the Jesuit missionary, Joseph J. Marest, Boisguillot,[526] a trader near the mouth of the Wisconsin River, Pierre Le Sueur, whose name was afterward identified with the exploration of the Minnesota, and a few others, Perrot took possession of the country of the rivers St. Croix, St. Pierre, and the region of Mille Lacs, in the name of the King of France.

When he returned to Montreal, he found a great change had occurred in political affairs. It had become evident that the Iroquois were mere agents of the English. The Albany traders had searched the land between the Hudson River and Lake Erie, and had made a report that the Valley of the Genesee was fertile and beautiful to behold, and every year an increasing number of pale-faces wandered among the Indian villages toward Lake Ontario. Old officers in Canada saw that their only hope was to destroy the source of supply to the Iroquois. The question to be determined was whether the King of France or the King of England should control the region of the Great Lakes. Chevalier de Callières, who had seen much service in Europe, and was in command of the troops in Canada, insisted that decisive steps should be taken. The crisis was hastened by the arrival of the intelligence that a revolution had occurred in England, and that William and Mary had been acknowledged. Callières wrote to Seignelay relative to the condition of affairs: “It would be idle to flatter ourselves with the hope to find them improved since the usurpation of the Prince of Orange, who will be assuredly acknowledged by Sir Andros,[527] who is a Protestant, born in the Island of Jersey, and by New York, the inhabitants[196] whereof are mostly Dutch, who planted this colony under the name of New Netherland, all of whom are Protestant.”

He urged that the war should be carried into New York, and that a force be sent strong enough to seize Albany, and then to move down and capture Manhattan. “It will give his Majesty,” he said, “one of the finest harbors in America, accessible at almost all seasons, and it will give one of the finest countries of America, in a milder and more fertile climate than that of Canada.” The sequel was a conflict of drilled troops under European officers upon the borders of New England and New York.


1609-1640.—The Voyages of Champlain, as published in 1632 at Paris, are valuable in facts pertaining to discovery along the shores of Lake Champlain and Lake Huron; but the book is the subject of special treatment in another chapter.[528] The Grand Voyage of Sagard[529] contains little more than what may be found in Champlain and the Relations of the Jesuit missionaries. Charlevoix mentions that Sagard passed “some time among the Hurons, but had not time to see things well enough, still less to verify all that was told him.”

1640-1660.—Benjamin Sulté, in his “Notes on Jean Nicolet,” printed in the Wisconsin Historical Society Collections, viii. 188-194,[530] shows that Nicolet, the trader, must have visited Green Bay between July, 1634, and July, 1635, because this interval is the only period of his life when he cannot be found on the shores of the St. Lawrence. The recently published History of the Discovery of the Northwest in 1634 by Jean Nicolet, with a Sketch of his Life by C. W. Butterfield, Cincinnati, 1881, is a useful book, and gives evidence that Nicolet did not descend the Wisconsin River.

The Relations des Jésuites (of which a full bibliographical account is appended to the following chapter) are important sources for the tracing of these western explorations.

The Relation of 1640 has an extract from a letter of Paul Le Jeune, in which, after giving the names of the tribes of the region of the Lakes, he adds that “the Sieur Nicolet, interpreter of the Algonquin and Huron languages for Messieurs de la Nouvelle France, has given me the names of these natives he has visited, for the most part in their country.” This Relation shows how near an approach Nicolet made to discovering the Mississippi. See in this connection Margry’s “Les Normands dans l’Ohio et le Mississippi,” in the Journal général de l’Instruction publique, 30 Juillet, 1862. Shea, Mississippi Valley, p. xx, contends that Nicolet reached the river or its affluents. The Relation of 1643 records the death of Nicolet, with some particulars of his life.

For slight notices of the period, with dates of the departure and arrival of traders and missionaries, there is serviceable aid to be had from Le Journal des Jésuites publié d’après le Manuscrit original conservé aux Archives du Séminaire de Québec. Par MM. les Abbés Laverdière et Casgrain. Quebec, 1871.[531] Under date of Aug. 21, 1660, is noted the arrival of a party of Ottawas at Montreal, who departed the next day, and arrived at Three[197] Rivers on the 24th, and on the 27th left. It adds: “They were in number three hundred. Des Grosilleres was in their company, who had gone to them the year before. They had departed from Lake Superior with one hundred canoes; forty turned back, and sixty arrived, loaded with peltry to the value of 200,000 livres. At Montreal they left to the value of 50,000 livres, and brought the rest to Three Rivers. They come in twenty-six days, but are two months in going back. Des Grosillers wintered with the Bœuf tribe, who were about four thousand, and belonged to the sedentary Nadouesseronons [Dakotahs]. The Father Menar, the Father Albanel, and six other Frenchmen went back with them.”

There appears to be no uniformity in the spelling of the name of Groseilliers. Under May, 1662, is this entry: “I departed from Quebek on the 3d for Three Rivers; there met Des Grosillers, who was going to the Sea of the North. He left Quebek the night before with ten men.” Under August, 1663, is the following: “The 5th returned those who had been three years among the Outaoouac; nine Frenchmen went, and seven returned. The Father Menar and his man, Jean Guerin, one of our donnés, had died,—the Father Menar the 7th or 8th of August, 1661, and Jean Guerin in September, 1662. The party arrived at Montreal on the 25th of July, with thirty-five canoes and one hundred and fifty men.” Of Creuxius’ Historia and its relations to the missionaries’ reports, there is an account in the next chapter.

1660-1680.—The documents from the French archives in the Parliament Library at Ottawa, Canada (copies in manuscript), and those translated and printed in the New York Col. Docs., vol. ix., give much information on this period; and so do the Jesuit Relations, and the first volume of the Collections edited by Margry and published at Paris in 1875.[532]

The Mémoire sur les Mœurs, Coustumes, et Réligion des Sauvages de l’Amérique septentrionale, par Nicolas Perrot, publié pour la première fois par le R. P. J. Tailhan, de la Compagnie de Jésus, Leipsic and Paris, 1864,[533] was examined by Charlevoix one hundred and fifty years ago, when it was in manuscript, and afforded him useful information. It is the only work referring to the traders at the extremity of Lake Superior between 1660 and 1670, and to the migrations of the Hurons from the Mississippi to the Black River, and from thence to Lake Superior. Much of interest is also derived from the Histoire de l’Amérique septentrionale. Par M. de Bacqueville de la Potherie, Paris, 1722, 4 vols.[534]

1680-1690.—There are differences of statements regarding the Upper Mississippi Valley, but nevertheless much information of importance, in the letter of La Salle from Fort Frontenac, in August, 1682,[535] in Du Lhut’s Mémoire of 1683, as printed by Harrisse,[536] and in Hennepin’s Description de la Louisiane.[537]

Perrot, in the work already quoted, gives the best account of this region from 1683 to 1690.

For the whole period of the exploration of the Great Lakes, the works among the secondary authorities of the chief value are Charlevoix in the last century, and Parkman in the present; but their labors are commemorated elsewhere.



THE local historical work of the Northwest has been done in part under the auspices of various State and sectional historical societies. The Ohio Society, organized in 1831, became later inanimate, but was revived in 1868, and ought to hold a more important position among kindred bodies than it does. Mr. Baldwin has given an account of the historical and pioneer societies of Ohio in the Western Reserve and Northern Ohio Historical Society’s Tracts, no. 27; and this latter Society, organized in 1867, with the Licking County Pioneer Historical Society, organized the same year, and the Firelands Historical Society, organized in 1857, have increased the historical literature of the State by various publications elucidating in the main the settlements of the last century. The youngest of the kindred associations, the Historical and Geographical Society of Toledo, was begun in 1871. The State, however, is fortunate in having an excellent Bibliography of Ohio (1880), embracing fourteen hundred titles, exclusive of public documents, which was compiled by Peter G. Thomson; while the Americana Catalogues of Robert Clarke & Co., of Cincinnati, are the completest booksellers’ lists of that kind which are published in America. The Ohio Valley Historical Series, published by the same house, has not as yet included any publication relating to the period of the French claims to its territory. The earliest History of Ohio is by Caleb Atwater, published in 1838; but the History by James W. Taylor—“First Period, 1650-1787”—is wholly confined to the Jesuits’ missions, the wars of the Eries and Iroquois, and the later border warfare. (Field, Indian Bibliography, no. 1,535.) Henry Howe’s Historical Collections of Ohio, originally issued in 1848, and again in 1875, is a repository of facts pertaining for the most part to later times.

The Historical Society of Indiana, founded in 1831, hardly justifies its name, so far as appears from any publications. The chief History of Indiana is that by John B. Dillon, which, as originally issued in 1843, came down to 1816; but the edition of 1859 continues the record to 1856. The first three chapters are given to the French missionaries and the natives. (Field, Indian Bibliography, nos. 429, 430; Sabin, vol. v. no. 20,172.) A popular conglomerate work is The Illustrated History of Indiana, 1876, by Goodrich and Tuttle. A few local histories touch the early period, like John Law’s Colonial History of Vincennes, 1858; Wallace A. Brice’s History of Fort Wayne, 1868; H. L. Hosmer’s Early History of the Maumee Valley, Toledo, 1858; and H. S. Knapp’s History of the Maumee Valley from 1680, Toledo, 1872, which is, however, very scant on the early history.

In Illinois there is no historical association to represent the State; but the Historical Society of Chicago (begun in 1856), though suffering the loss of its collections of seventeen thousand volumes in the great fire of 1871, still survives.

The principal histories of the State touching the French occupation are Henry Brown’s History of Illinois, New York, 1844; John Reynolds’s Pioneer History of Illinois, Belleville, 1852, now become scarce; and Davidson and Stuvé’s Complete History of Illinois, 1673-1873, Springfield, 1874. The Historical Series issued by Robert Fergus pertain in large measure to Chicago, and, except J. D. Caton’s “Last of the Illinois, and Sketch of the Potawatomies,” has, so far as printed, little of interest earlier than the English occupation. H. H. Hurlbut’s Chicago Antiquities, 1881, has an account of the early discovery of the portage.

The Michigan Pioneer Society was founded in 1874, and has printed three volumes of Pioneer Collections, 1877-1880. The Houghton County Historical Society, devoting itself to the history of the region near Lake Superior,[538] dates from 1866. It has published nothing of importance. The State of Michigan secured, through General Cass, while he was the minister of the United States at Paris, transcripts of a large number of documents relating to its early history. The Historical Society of Michigan was begun in 1828, and during the few years following it printed several Annual Addresses and a volume of Transactions. Every trace of the Society had nearly vanished, when in 1857 it was revived. (Historical Magazine, i. 353.) The principal histories of the State are James H. Lanman’s History of Michigan, New York, 1839; Electra M. Sheldon’s Early History of Michigan, from the First Settlement to 1815, New York,[199] 1856, which is largely given to an account of the Jesuit missions;[539] Charles R. Tuttle’s General History of Michigan, Detroit, 1874; James Valentine Campbell’s Outlines of the Political History of Michigan, Detroit, 1876. (Cf. Clarke’s Bibliotheca Americana, 1878, p. 92; 1883, p. 169; Sabin, Dictionary, vol. xii. p. 141.) A few of the sectional histories, like W. P. Strickland’s Old Mackinaw, Philadelphia, 1860, touch slightly the French period. A brief sketch of Mackinaw Island by Lieutenant Dwight H. Kelton, U. S. A., includes extracts from the registers of the Catholic Church at Mackinaw, and a list of the French commanders at that post during the eighteenth century.

The Historical Society of Wisconsin was founded in 1849, and reorganized in 1854. It has devoted itself to forming a large library, and has published nine volumes of Collections, etc. (Joseph Sabin in American Bibliopolist, vi. 158; Field, Indian Bibliography, no. 1,688). Mr. D. S. Durrie published a bibliography of Wisconsin in Historical Magazine, xvi. 29, and a tract on the Early Outposts of Wisconsin in 1873. A paper on the “First Page of the History of Wisconsin” is in the American Antiquarian, April, 1878. The principal histories of the State are I. A. Lapham’s Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1846, which lightly touches the earliest period; William R. Smith’s Wisconsin (vol. i., historical; vol. ii., not published; vol. iii., documentary, translating in part the Jesuit Relations from the set in Harvard College Library), Madison, 1854; and Charles R. Tuttle’s Illustrated History of Wisconsin, Madison and Boston, 1875.

The Minnesota Historical Society was organized in 1849, and began the publication of its Annals in 1850, completing a volume in 1856. This volume was reissued in 1872 as vol. i. of its Collections, and includes papers on the origin of the name of Minnesota and the early nomenclature of the region, and papers by Mr. Neill on the French Voyageurs, the early Indian trade and traders,[540] and early notices of the Dakotas. In vol. ii. Mr. Neill has a paper on “The Early French Forts and Footprints in the Valley of the Upper Mississippi;”[541] and Mr. A. J. Hill has examined the geography of Perrot so far as it relates to Minnesota territory. In vol. iii. there is a bibliography of the State; in vol. iv., a History of St. Paul, by John Fletcher Williams, which but briefly touches the period of exploration. The State Historical Society of Minnesota lost a considerable part of its collections in the fire of March 11, 1881, which burned the State capitol,—as detailed in its Report for 1883.

The principal and sufficient account of the State’s history is Edward D. Neill’s History of Minnesota from the Earliest French Explorations, Philadelphia, 1858, which in 1883 reached an improved fifth edition, and is supplemented by his Minnesota Explorers and Pioneers, 1659-1858, published in 1881. In 1858 an edition was also issued, of one hundred copies, on large paper, illustrated with forty-five quarto steel plates, engraved from paintings chiefly by Captain Seth Eastman, U. S. Army.

The Historical Society of Iowa was founded in 1857, and began the publication of its Annals in 1863. The principal account of the State is C. R. Tuttle and D. S. Durrie’s Illustrated History of Iowa, Chicago, 1876.

There are a few more general works to be noted: John W. Monette’s History of the Discovery and Settlement of the Valley of the Mississippi, New York, 1846-1848;[542] S. P. Hildreth’s Pioneer History of the Ohio Valley, Cincinnati, 1848, which but cursorily touches the French period; James H. Perkins’s Annals of the West, Cincinnati, 1846, which brought ripe scholarship to the task at a time before the scholar could have the benefit of much information now accessible;[543] Adolphus M. Hart’s History of the Discovery of the Valley of the Mississippi, Cincinnati, 1852,—a slight sketch, as we now should deem it, but followed soon after by a more scholarly treatment in J. G. Shea’s Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley, New York, 1852, to which a sequel, Early Voyages up and down the Mississippi, was published in 1861, containing the voyages of Cavelier, Saint Cosme, Le Sueur, Gravier, and Guignas, during the last[200] years of the century; George Gale’s Upper Mississippi, Chicago, 1867,—a topical treatment of the subject; and Rufus Blanchard’s Discovery and Conquests of the Northwest, Chicago, 1880—the latest general survey of the subject. Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature, under the names of these several States, can often be usefully consulted.


This sketch follows a modern map given by Parkman. There is a similar route-map given in the Bulletin de la Soc. de Géog., November, 1880, accompanying a paper by M. J. Thoulet. In the above sketch the portages are marked by dotted lines.





THE principal sources for the cartographical part of this study are as follows: The collection of manuscript copies[544] of maps in the French Archives which was formed by Mr. Parkman, and which he has described in his La Salle (p. 449), and which is now in Harvard College Library; a collection of manuscript and printed maps called Cartographie du Canada, formed by Henry Harrisse in Paris, and which in 1872 passed into the hands of Samuel L. M. Barlow, Esq., of New York, by whose favor the Editor has had it in his possession for study; the collection of copies made by Dr. J. G. Kohl which is now in the Library of the State Department at Washington, and which through the kind offices of Theodore F. Dwight, Esq., of that department, and by permission of the Secretary of State, have been intrusted to the Editor’s temporary care; and the collection of printed maps now in Harvard College Library, formed mainly by Professor Ebeling nearly a hundred years ago, and which came to that library, with all of Ebeling’s books, as a gift from the late Colonel Israel Thorndike, in 1818.[545]

The completest printed enumeration of maps is in the section on “Cartographie” in Harrisse’s Notes pour servir à l’histoire ... de la Nouvelle France, 1545-1700, Paris, 1872, and this has served the Editor as a convenient check-list. A special paper on “Early Maps of Ohio and the West” constitutes no. 25 of the Tracts of the Western Reserve and Northern Ohio Historical Society. It was issued in 1875, and has been published separately, and is the work of Mr. C. C. Baldwin, secretary of that Society, whose own collection of maps is described by S. D. Peet in the American Antiquarian, i. 21. See also the Transactions (1879) of the Minnesota Historical Society.

The main guide for the historical portion of this essay has been the La Salle of Parkman.[546]

There are in the Dépôt de la Marine in Paris two copies of a rough sketch on parchment, showing the Great Lakes, which were apparently made between 1640 and 1650. They have neither maker’s name nor date, but clearly indicate a state of knowledge derived from the early discovery of the Upper Lakes by way of the Ottawa, and before the southern part[202] of Lake Huron had been explored, and found to connect with Lake Erie. The maker must have been ignorant of the knowledge, or discredited it, which Champlain possessed in 1632 when he connected Ontario and Huron. Indications of settlements at Montreal would place the date of this map after 1642; and it may have embodied the current traditions of the explorations of Brulé and Nicolet, though it omits all indications of Lake Michigan, which Nicolet had discovered. Though rude in many ways, it gives one of the earliest sketches of the Bras d’Or in Cape Breton. The channel connecting the Atlantic and the St. Lawrence, if standing for anything, must represent the Connecticut and the Chaudière. Dr. Kohl, in a marginal note on a copy of this map in his Washington Collection, while referring to the uninterrupted water-way by the Ottawa, remarks on a custom, not uncommon on the early maps, of leaving out the portages; and the same suspicion may attach to the New England water-way here given. A note on the map gives the distance as three hundred leagues from Gaspé to the extremity of Lake Ontario; two hundred more to the land of the buffaloes; two hundred additional to the region of apes and parrots; then four hundred to the Sea of New Spain; and thence fifteen or sixteen hundred more to the Indies. A legend in the neighborhood of Lake Superior confirms other mention of the early discovery of copper in that region: “In the little lake near the mountains are found pieces of copper of five and six hundred pounds’ weight.”

THE OTTAWA ROUTE, 1640-1650.

At a later day La Salle had learned, from some Senecas who visited his post at Lachine, of a great river, rising in their country and flowing to the sea; and, with many geographers of his day, captivated with a promised passage to India, he preferred to believe that it emptied into the Gulf of California.[547]



This is a reduced sketch of no. 1 of Mr. Parkman’s maps, which measures 30 × 50 inches. It has two titles: Carte du Lac Ontario et des habitations qui l’environne, ensemble les pays que Messrs Dolier et Galiné, missionnaires du séminaire de St. Sulpice, ont parcouru, and Carte du Canada et des terres decouvertes vers le lac Derié. Voir la lettre du M. Talon du 10 9bre, 1670. The figures stand for the following names and legends:—

1. C’est ici qu’ils ont un fort Bel Establissement, une belle maison, et de grands dezerts semés de bled francois et de bled d’inde, pois et autres graines [referring to 70].

2. Baye des Puteotamites. Il y a dix Journées de Chemin du Sault ou sont les RR. S. PP. JJ. aux puteotamites, c’est a dire environ 150 lieues. Je n’ay entré dans cette Baye que jusques a ces Iles que J’ay marquées.

3. Ce lac est le plus grand de tous ceux du pays.

4. C’est icy qu’estoit une pierre qu’avoit tres peu de figures d’hommes, qui les Iroquois tenoient pour un grand Capne, et a qui ils faisoient des sacrifices lorsqu’ils passoient par icy pour aller en guerre. Nous l’avons mis en pieces et jetté à l’eau.

5. Lac Derié, je non marque que ce que j’en ay veu en attendant que je voie le reste.

6. Grandes prairies.

7. Presqu’isle du lac D’Erie.

8. Prairies. Terres excellentes.

9. C’est icy que nous avons hyverne en le plus beau lieu que j’aye yen en Canada, pour l’abondance des arbres, fruittiers, aces, raisins, qui sy grande qu’on en pourroit vivre en faisant provision, grand chasse de serfs, Bisches, Ours, Schenontons, Chats, Sauvages, et Castors.

10. Grand chasse a ce petit misseau.

11. Toutes ces costes sont extremt pierreuses et ne laissent pas d’y avoir des bestes.

12. C’est dans cette Baye que estoit autrefois le pays de Hurons lorsqu’ils furent defaits par les Iroquois, et ou les RR. PP. Jesuites estoient fort bien establis.

13. Je n’ay point vu cette ance ou estoit autrefois le pays des Hurons, mais je vois qu’elle est encore plus profonde que je ne la desseins, et c’est icy apparamment qu’aboutit le chemin par ou Mr. Perray a passé.

14. L’embouchure de cette rivière fort difficile a trouver a neanmoins la petite isle qui la precede est fort remarquable par la grande quantité de ces isles de roche dont elle est composée qui deboutent fort loin au large.

17. Chasse d’originaux Bans ces isles.

18. Amikoue.

20. Portage trainage.

21. Sault. C’est dans cette Ance que les Nipissiriniens placent pour l’ordinaire leur village. Portage, 600 pas.

22. Lac des Nipissiriniens ou des Sorciers.

24. Rivier des vases.

24-25. In this space various portages are marked.

26. On entre icy dans la grande Riviere.

27. Mataouan.

28. C’est d’icy que Mr. Perray et sa Compagnie ont campé pour entrer dans le lac des Hurons, quand j’aurray vu le passage je le donneray mais toujours dit-on que le chemin est fort beau, et c’est icy que s’establiront les missionnaires de St. Sulpice.

29. Ganatse kiagourif.

30. Village de tanaouaoua.

31. C’est a ce village qu’estoit autrefois Neutre. Grand partie sesche par tout icy et tout le long de la R. rapide.

32. Bonne Terre.

33. Grand chasse. Prairies siches.

34. R. Rapide ou de Tinaatoua.

35. Il y a le long de ces ances quantité de petits lacs separés seulement du grand par des Chaussées de Sable. C’est dans ces lacs que les Sanountounans prennent quantité de poisson.

36. Sault qui tombe au rapport des Sauvages de plus de 200 pieds de haut.

37. Excellente terre.

38. Petit lac d’Erie.

39. Sault ou il y a grande pesche de barbues.

40. Gaskounchiakons.

41. Excellente terre. Village du R. P. Fremin. 4 villages des Sonountouans, les des grands sont chacun de 100 Cabannes et les autres d’environ 20 a 25 sans aucune fortification non pas mesme naturelle; il faut mesme qu’ils aillent chercher l’eau fort loing.

42. Il y a de l’alun au pied de cette montagne fortaine de bitume. Excellente terre.

43. R. des Amandes et doneiout. R. des Oiogouins.

44. Abondance de gibier dans cette riviere. Quoyqu’il ne paroisse icy que des Sables sur le bord du lac. Ces terres ne laissent pas d’etre bonnes dans la profondeur. R. Denon taché.

45. Kahengouetta. Kaouemounioun.

46. Otondiata.

47. Pesche d’anguille tout au travers de la riviere.

48. Islets de roches.

49. Depuis icy Jusques a Otondiata il y a de forts rapides a toutes les pointes, et des remouils dans toutes les ances.

50. Lac St. Francois.

51. Habitation des RR. PP. Jesuites.

52. La Madelaine.

53. Lac St. Louis.

54. Habitation du Montreal.

55. Lac des 2 montagnes.

56. Belle terre. Terres nayées. Bonnes terres. Il faut faire 5 portages du Costé du Nord portage pour monter au lac St. François, mais du costé du sud on n’en fait qu’un.

57. Long sault.

58. Ces 2 rivieres en tombant dans la grande font 2 belles nappes, portage 50 pas.

59. L’estoit icy qu’estoit autrefois la petite nation Algonquine.

60. Portage du sault de la Chaudiere 300 pas.

61. L’estoit icy ou estoit le fameus Borgne de l’isle dans les relations des RR. PP. Jesuites.

62. Le grand portage du sault des Calumets est de ce costé, pour l’eviter nous prismes de l’autre coste.

63. Il faut faire 5 portages de ce costé icy d’environ 100 pas chacun.

64. Portage apellé des alumettes 200 pas.

65. Tres grande chasse d’originaux autour de ce petit lac.

66. On dit que cette branche de la grande Riviere va aux trois rivières.

67. Grand rapides.

68. Portage 200 pas.

69. Lac Superieur.

70. Fort des S. RRnds PP. Jesuites. Sauteurs.

71. Anipich.

72. R. de Tessalon. Mississague.

There are in the Kohl Collection, in the Department of State, two maps of Lake Ontario, of 1666, the original of one of which is credited to the Dépôt de la Marine.


He was determined to track it; and gaining some money by selling his grant at Lachine, and procuring the encouragement of Talon and Courcelles, he formed an alliance for the journey with two priests of the Seminary at Montreal, Dollier de Casson and Galinée, who were about going westward on a missionary undertaking. La Salle started with them on the 6th of July, 1669, with some followers, and a party of Senecas as guides. The savages led them across Lake Ontario to a point on the southern shore nearest to their villages, which the party visited in the hope of securing other guides to the great river of which they were in search. Failing in this, they made their way to the western extremity of the lake, where they fell in with Joliet, as mentioned in the preceding chapter. La Salle now learned Joliet’s route; but he was not convinced that it opened to him the readiest way to the great river of the Indians, though the Sulpitians were resolved to take Joliet’s route north of Lake Erie. When these priests returned to Montreal, in June, 1670, they brought[205] back little of consequence, except the data to make the earliest map which we have of the Upper Lakes, and of which a sketch is given herewith.

This map of Galinée, says Parkman,[548] was the earliest attempt after Champlain to portray the great lakes. Faillon, who gives a reproduction of this map,[549] says it is preserved in the Archives of the Marine at Paris; but Harrisse[550] could not find it there. There is a copy of it, made in 1856 from the original at Paris, in the Library of Parliament at Ottawa.[551] Faillon[552] gives much detail of the journey, for the Sulpitians were his heroes; and Talon made a report;[553] but the main source of our information is Galinée’s Journal, which is printed, with other papers appertaining, by Margry,[554] and by the Abbé Verreau.[555]

The Michigan peninsula, which Galinée had failed to comprehend, is fully brought out in the map of Lake Superior which accompanies the Jesuit Relation of 1670-1671.[556] Mr. Parkman is inclined to consider a manuscript map without title or date, but called in the annexed sketch “The Lakes and the Mississippi” (from a copy in the Parkman Collection), as showing “the earliest representation of the upper Mississippi, based perhaps on the reports of the Indians.”[557] He calls it the work of the Jesuits, whose stations are marked[206] on it by crosses. It seems however to be posterior to the time when Joliet gave the name Colbert to the Mississippi.


This map bears legends or names corresponding to the following key: 1. Les Kilistinouk disent avoir veu un grand naviere qui hiverna à l’embouchure de ce fleuve; ils auroient fait une maison d’un coste et de l’autre un fort de bois. 2. Assinepouelak. 3. Oumounsounick. 4. Ounaouantagouk. 5. Chiligouek. 6. Outilibik. 7. Noupining-dachirinouek. 8. Ouchkioutoulibik. 9. Missisaking-dachiri-nouek. 10. Outaouak. 11. Michilimakinak. 12. Baye des Puans. 13. Oumalouminek. 14. Outagamik. 15. Nadouessi. 16. Icy mourut le P. Meynard. 17. Kikabou. 18. Ouenebegouk. 19. Pouteoutamic. 20. Ousakie. 21. Illinouek Kachkachki. 22. Mouingouea. 23. Ouchachai. 24. Ouemissirita. 25. Chaboussioua. 26. Pelissiak. 27. Monsoupale. 28. Paniassa. 29. Taaleousa. 30. Metchagamea. 31. Akenza. 32. Matorea. 33. Tamikoua. 34. Ganiassa. 35. Minou. 36. Kachkinouba.

What La Salle did after parting with the Sulpitians in 1669 is a question over which there has been much dispute. The absence of any definite knowledge of his movements for the next two years leaves ample room for conjecture, and Margry believes that maps which he made of his wanderings in this interval were in existence up to[207] the middle of the last century. It is from statements regarding such maps given in a letter of an aged niece of La Salle in 1756, as well as from other data, that Margry has endeavored to place within these two years what he supposes to have been a successful attempt on La Salle’s part to reach the Great River of the West. If an anonymous paper (“Histoire de Monsieur de la Salle”) published by Margry[558] is to be believed, La Salle told the writer of it in Paris,—seemingly in 1678,—that after leaving Galinée he went to Onondaga (?), where he got guides, and descending a stream, reached the Ohio (?), and went down that river. How far? Margry thinks that he reached the Mississippi: Parkman demurs, and claims that the story will not bear out the theory that he ever reached the mouth of the Ohio; but it seems probable that he reached the rapids at Louisville, and that from this point he retraced his steps alone, his men having abandoned him to seek the Dutch and English settlements. Parkman finds enough amid the geographical confusions of this “Histoire” to think that upon the whole the paper agrees with La Salle’s memorial to Frontenac in 1677, in which he claimed to have discovered the Ohio and to have coursed it to the rapids, and that it confirms the statements which Joliet has attached to the Ohio in his maps, to the effect that it was by this stream La Salle went, “pour aller dans le Mexique.”[559]

The same “Histoire” also represents that in the following year (1671) La Salle took the course in which he had refused to follow Galinée, and entering Lake Michigan, found the Chicago portage, and descending the Illinois, reached the Mississippi. This descent Parkman is constrained to reject, mainly for the reason that from 1673 to 1678 Joliet’s claim to the discovery of the Mississippi was a notorious one, believed by Frontenac and by all others, and that there was no reason why La Salle for eight years should have concealed any prior knowledge. The discrediting of this claim is made almost, if not quite, conclusive by no mention being made of such discovery in the memorial of La Salle’s kindred to the King for compensation for his services, and by the virtual admission of La Salle’s friends of the priority of Joliet’s discovery in a memorial to Seignelay, which Margry also prints.[560]

In 1672 some Indians from the West had told Marquette at the St. Esprit mission of a great river which they had crossed. Reports of it also came about the same time to Allouez and Dablon, who were at work establishing a mission at Green Bay; and in the Relation of 1672 the hope of being able to reach this Mississippi water is expressed.

Frontenac on his arrival felt that the plan of pushing the actual possession of France beyond the lakes was the first thing to be accomplished, and Talon, as we have seen, on leaving for France recommended Joliet[561] as the man best suited to do it. Jacques Marquette joined him at Point St. Ignace. The Jesuit was eight years the senior of the fur-trader, and of a good family from the North of France.


JOLIET’S MAP, 1673-1674.

Key: 1. Les sauvages habitent cette isle. 2. Sauvages de la mer. 3. Kilistinons. 4. Assiniboels. 5. Madouesseou. 6. Nations du nord. 7. Lac Supérieur. 8. Le Sault St. Marie. 9. Missilimakinak. 10. Kaintotan. 11. Lac Huron. 12. Nipissing. 13. Mataouan. 14. Tous les poincts sont des rapides. 15. Les trois rivieres. 16. Tadoussac. 17. Le Saguenay. 18. Le Fleuve de St. Laurent. 20. Montroyal. 21. Fort de Frontenac. 22. Lac Frontenac ou Ontario. 24. Sault, Portage de demi lieue. 25. Lac Erie. 26. Lac des Illinois ou Missihiganin. 27. Cuivre. 28. Kaure. 29. Baye des Puans. 30. Puans. 31. Maskoutins. 32. Portage. 33. Riviere Miskonsing. 34. Mines de fer. 35. Riviere de Buade. 36. Kitchigamin. 37. Ouaouiatanox. 38. Paoutet, Maha, Pana, Atontanka, Illinois, Peouarea, 300 Cabanes, 180 Canots de bois de 50 pieds de long. 39. Minongio, Pani, Ouchagé, Kansa, Messouni. 40. La Frontenacie. 41. Pierres Sanguines. 42. Kachkachkia. 43. Salpetre. 44. Riviere de la Divine ou l’Outrelaize. 45. Riv. Ouabouskigou. 46. Kaskinanka, Ouabanghihasla, Malohah. 47. Mines de fer; Chouanons, terres eiseléez, Aganatchi. 48. Akansea sauvages. 49. Mounsoupria. 50. Apistonga. 51. Tapensa sauvages. 52 and 53 (going up the stream which is called Riviere Basire). Atatiosi, Matora, Akowita, Imamoueta, Papikaha, Tanikoua, Aiahichi, Pauiassa. 54. Europeans. 55. Cap de la Floride. 56. Mer Vermeille, ou est la Califournie, par ou on peut aller au Perou, au Japon, et à la Chine.

Their course has been sketched in the preceding chapter. They seemed to have reached a conviction that the Great River flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. Their return was by the Illinois River and the Chicag[209] portage.[562] During the four months of their absence, says Parkman, they had paddled their canoes somewhat more than two thousand five hundred miles.

While Marquette remained at the mission Joliet returned to Quebec. What Joliet contributed to the history of this discovery can be found in a letter on his map, later to be given in fac-simile; a letter dated Oct. 10, 1674, given by Harrisse;[563] the letter of Frontenac announcing the discovery, which must have been derived from Joliet,[564] and the oral accounts which Joliet gave to the writer of the “Détails sur le voyage de Louis Joliet; and a Relation de la descouverte de plusieurs pays situez au midi de la Nouvelle France, faite en 1673,” both of which are printed by Margry.[565]

Within a few years there has been produced a map which seems to have been made by Joliet immediately after his return to Montreal. This would make it the earliest map of the Mississippi based on actual knowledge, and the first of a series accredited to Joliet. It is called Nouvelle découverte de plusieurs nations dans la Nouvelle France en l’année 1673 et 1674. Gabriel Gravier first made this map known through an Étude sur une carte inconnue; la première dressée par L. Joliet en 1674, après son exploration du Mississippi auec Jacques Marquette en 1673.[566] A sketch of it, with a key, is given herewith. The tablet in the sketch marks the position of Joliet’s letter to Frontenac, of which a reduced fac-simile is also annexed.

“In this epistle,” says Mr. Neill, “Joliet mentions that he had presented a map showing the situation of the Lakes upon which there is navigation for more than 1,200 leagues from east to west, and that he had given to the great river beyond the Lakes, which he had discovered in the years 1673-1674, the designation of Buade, the family name of Frontenac.[567] He adds a glowing description of the prairies, the groves, and the forests,” and writes of the quail (cailles) in the fields and the parrot (perroquet) in the woods. He concludes his communication as follows: “By one of the large rivers which comes from the west and empties into the River Buade, one will find a route to the Red Sea” [Mer vermeille, i. e. Gulf of California].



“I saw a village which was not more than five days’ journey from a tribe which traded with the tribes of California;[568] if I had arrived two days before, I could have conversed with those who had come from thence, and had brought four hatchets as a present. You would have seen a description of these things in my Journal, if the success which had accompanied me during the voyage had not failed me a quarter of an hour before arriving at the place from which I had departed. I had escaped the dangers from savages, I had passed forty-two rapids, and was about to land with complete joy at the success of so long and difficult an enterprise, when, after all dangers seemed past, my canoe turned over. I lost two men and my box in sight of the first French settlement, which I had left almost two years before. Nothing remains to me but my life, and the wish to employ it in any service you may please.” This Report was sent to France in November, 1674.

There is in Mr. Barlow’s Collection a large map (27 × 40 inches), which is held by Dr. Shea and General Clarke to be a copy of the original Joliet Map, with the Ohio marked in by a later and less skilful hand. A sketch of it is annexed as “Joliet’s Larger Map.”

A copy of what is known as “Joliet’s Smaller Map” is also in the Barlow Collection, and from it the annexed sketch has been made. This map is called Carte de la descouverte du Sr Jolliet, ou l’on voit la communication du Fleuve St. Laurens avec les Lacs Frontenac, Erie, Lac des Hurons, et Illinois ... au bout duquel on va joindre la Rivière divine par un portage de mille pas qui tombe dans la Rivière Colbert et se descharge dans le Sein Mexique. Though evidently founded in part on the Jesuits’ map of Lake Superior, it was an improvement upon it, and was inscribed with a letter addressed to Frontenac. The Valley of the Mississippi is called Colbertie; the Ohio is marked as the course of La Salle’s route to the Gulf;[569] the Wisconsin is made the route of Joliet.

Mr. Parkman describes another map, anonymous, but “indicating a greatly increased knowledge of the country.” It marks the Ohio as a river descended by La Salle, but it does not give the Mississippi.[570] Harrisse found in the Archives of the Marine a map which he thought to be a part of the same described by Parkman, and this was made by Joliet himself later than 1674.

There is in the Parkman Collection another map ascribed to Joliet, and called in the sketch given herewith “Joliet’s carte générale,” which Parkman thinks was an early work (in the drafting, at least) of the engineer Franquelin. It is signed Johannes Ludovicus Franquelin pinxit; but it is a question what this implies. Harrisse[571] thinks that Franquelin is the author, and places it under 1681. Gravier holds it to imply simply Franquelin’s drafting, and affirms that it corresponds closely with a map signed by Joliet, which has already been mentioned as his earliest. Mr. Neill says of this map that it “is the first attempt to fix the position of the nations north of the Wisconsin and west of Lake Superior. The Wisconsin is called Miskous, perhaps intended for Miskons; and the Ohio is marked ‘Ouaboustikou.’ On the upper Mississippi are the names of the following tribes: The ‘Siou,’ around what is now called the Mille Lacs region, the original home of the Sioux of the Lakes, or Eastern Sioux; the Ihanctoua, Pintoüa, Napapatou, Ouapikouti, Chaiena, Agatomitou, Ousilloua, Alimouspigoiak. The Ihanctoua and Ouapikouti are two divisions of the Sioux, now known as Yanktons and Wahpekootays. The Chaiena were allies of the Sioux, and hunted at that time in the valley of the Red River of the North. The word in the Sioux means ‘people of another language,’ and the voyageurs called them Cheyennes.”



A reduced sketch of the copy in the Barlow Collection. The river marked “Route du Sieur de la Salle” is seemingly drawn in by a later hand, and the stream is without the coloring given to the other rivers. In its course, too, it runs athwart the vignette surrounding the scale at the bottom of the map, as if added after that was made. It is Harrisse’s no. 203.



Mention may be made in passing of a small map within an ornamented border, and detailing the results of these explorations, which bears a Dutch title in the vignette, and another along the bottom in French, as follows: Pays et peuple decouverts en 1673 dans la partie septentrionale de l’Amerique par P. Marquette et Joliet, suivant la description qu’ils en ont faite, rectifiée sur diverses observations posterieures de nouveau mis en jour par Pierre Vander Aa à Leide.



This is Harrisse’s no. 204. The original is in the Archives of the Marine at Paris; cf. Library of Parliament Catalogue, 1858, p. 1615; Parkman’s La Salle, p. 453.



A reduced sketch of no. 3 of the Parkman maps, which measures 30 × 44 inches. It is without title or maker’s name, and the figures stand for the names and legends as given below:

1. Pays des Outaouacs qui habitent dans les forets.

2. Par cette riviere on va aus assinepoüalac a 150 lieues vers le Noreouest ou il y a beaucoup de Castor.

3. Isle Minong ou l’on croyoit que fust la mine de Cuivre.

4. Par cette riviere on va pays des nadouessien a 60 lieues au couchant. Ils ont 15 villages et sont fort belligueux et la terreur de ces contrées.

5. Pointe du St. Esprit.

6. R. Nantounagan.

7. Autrefois les restes de la Nation Huronne sestoient refugiez icy et les Jesuites y avoient une mission. Maintenant les Nadouessien ostants aus Hurons la liberté de chasser aus castors, ses sauvages ont quitté et les Jesuites les ont suivie.

8. Toutes ses nations qui se sont retirées en ces pays par terreur des Iroquois ont une tres grande quantité de Castors.

9. Nation et riviere des Oumalouminec, ou de la folle auoine.

10. Outagamis.

11. R. Mataban.

12. Isles ou les Hurons se refugierent apres la destruction de leur nation par les Iroquois.

13. Les pp. Jesuites ont icy une mission.

14. Kakaling rapide de trois lieues de longuerer.

15. Kitchigamenqué, ou lac St. Francois.

16. Pouteatamis.

17. Oumanis.

18. Maskoutens ou Nation du feu.

19. Riviere de la Divine.

20. Les plus grands navires peuvent venir de la decharge du lac Erie dans le lac frontenac jusques icy et de ce marais ou ils peuvent entrer il n y a que mille pas de distance jusqu’a la riviere de la Divine qui les peut porter jusqu’a la riviere Colbert et de la golfe de Mexique.

21. Riviere Ohio ainsy apellée par les Iroquois a cause de sa beauté par ou le Sr. de la Salle est descendu.

22. Les Illinois.

23. Raye des Kentayentoga.

24. Les Chaoüenons.

25. Cette riviere baigne un fort beau pays ou l’on trouvé des pommes, des grenades, des raisins et d’autres fruits sauvages. Le Pays est decouvert pour la plus part, y ayant seulement des bois d’espace en espace. Les Iroquois ont détruit la plus grande partie des habitans dont on voit encore quelques restes.

26. Tout ce pays est celuy qui est aus Environs du lac Teiochariontiong est decouvert. L’hiver y est moderé et court; les fruits y viennent en abondance; les bœufs sauvages, poules dinde et toute sorte de gibier s’y trouvent en quantité et il y a encore force castor.

27. Baye de Sikonam.

28. Les Tionontateronons.

29. Detroit de Missilimakinac.

30. Missilimakinac mission des Jesuites. Detroit par ou le lac des Illinois communique avec celuy des Hurons, par ou passent les sauvages du midy quand ils vont au Montreal chargez de Castors.

31. Sault de Ste. Marie. Ce sault est un Canal de demie lieue de largeur par lequel le lac Superieur se decharge dans le lac Huron.

32. Dans ce lac on trouve plusieurs morceaux de cuivre rouge de rozette tres pure. Outakouaminan.

33. Sauteurs. Sauvages qui habitent aus environs du Sault Ste. Marie.

34. Bagonache.

35. Gens des Torres. Toutes ces nations vivent de chasse dans les bois sans villages, et la plus part sans cultivee la terre, se trouvans seulement a de certains rendezvous de festes et de foire de temps en temps.

36. Kilistinons.

37. Les Alemepigon.

38. Ekaentoton Isle.

39. Lieu de l’assemblée de tous les sauvages allans en traitte a Montreal.

40. Les Kreiss.

41. Cette riviere vient du lac Nipissing. R. des Francois.

42. Les Amicoue.

43. Les Missisaghé.

44. Lac Skekoven ou Nipissing.

45. Sorciers.

46. A cet endroit il y a plusieurs petits marais par ou l’on va dans le lac Nipissing en portant plusieurs fois les canots.

47. Nipissiens.

48. Sault au talc Mataouan.

49. Sault au lieure. Sault aux Allumettes. Isle du Borgne.

50. Sault des Calumets.

51. Riviere des Outaouacs ou des Hurons.

52. Les Sauvages Loups et Iroquois tirent d’icy la plus grande partie du Castor qu’ils portent aus Anglois et aus Hollandois.

53. Cette rivière sort du lac Taronto et se jette dans le lac Huron.

54. Chemin par ou les Iroquois vont aus Outaoüacs, qu’ils auroient mené trafiquer a la Nouvelle Hollande si le fort de Frontenac n’eust ésté basti sur leur route.

55, 56. Villages des Iroquois dont quantité s’habituent de ce côté depuis peu. Teyoyagon, Ganatchekiagon, Ganevaské, Kentsio.

57. Canal par ou le lac des Hurons se decharge dans le lac Erie.

58. Tsiketo ou lac de la Chaudiere.

59. Atiragenrega, nation detruite.

60. Antouaronons, nation detruite.

61. Niagagarega, nation detruite. Chute haute de 120 toises par ou le lac Erie tombe dans le lac Frontenac.

62. Les Iroquois font leurs pesches dans tous les marais ou etangs qui bordent ce lac, d’ou ils tirent leur principale subsistance.

63. Ka Kouagoga, nation detruite.

64. Negateca fontaine.

65. Tsonontouaeronons.

66. Goyogouenronons.

67. Les environs de ce lac et l’extremité occidentale du lac Frontenac sont infestes de gantastogeronons, ce qui en eloigne les Iroquois.

68. Ce lac n’est pas le lac Erie, comme on le nomme ordinnairement. Erie est une partie de la Baye de Chesapeack dans la Virginie, ou les Eriechronons ont toujours demeuré.

69. Riviere Ohio, ainsy dite a cause de sa beauté.

70. Lac Onia-sont.

71. Les Oniasont-Keronons.

72. Riviere qui se rend dans la baye de Chesapeack.

73. Cahihonoüaghé, lieu on la plus part des Iroquois et des Loups debarquent pour aller en traitte du Castor a la Nouvelle York par les chemins marques de double rangs de points.

74. Les plus grands bastimens peuvent naviguer d’icy jusque au bout du lac Frontenac.

75. Korlar.

76. Albanie, ci-devant Fort d’Orange.

77. Riviere du nord, ou des traittes ou Maurice.

78. Otondiata.

79. Tout ce qui est depuis la Nouvelle Hollande jusques icy et le long du fleuve St. Laurent est convert de bois. La terre y est bonne pour la plus part et produit de fort beau blé.

80. Riviere Onondkouy.

81. Lac Tontiarenhé.

82. Ohaté.

83. Lac et riviere de Tanouate Kenté.

84. En cet endroit la grande riviere se précipite dans un puis dont on ne voit pas sortir.

85. Sault des chats.

86. Petite nation.

87. Long sault.

88. R. et I. Jesus, Montreal, etc.

89. Lac Champlain.

90. Lac du St. Sacrement.

91. Montagnes ou l’on trouve des veines de plomb, mais peu abondante.

92. St. Jean rapide.

93. Riviere de Richelieu.

94. Sorel.

95. Sauvages apelles Mahingans, ou Socoquis.

96. Socoquois, Goutsagans, Loups.

97. Vershe Riviere [Connecticut].

Dr. Shea places this map after La Salle’s descent of the Mississippi, “as the Ohio at its mouth was not recognized at that time as the Ohio of the Iroquois.” See Margry, ii. 191.


Something now needs to be said regarding Marquette’s contribution to our knowledge of this expedition of 1673. He seems to have prepared from memory a narrative for Frontenac, which is printed in two different forms in Margry.[572] Dablon used this account in his Relation, and sent a copy of the manuscript to Paris;[573] but he seems also to have prepared another copy, which was, with the original map, confided finally to the Archives of the Collége Ste. Marie at Montreal, where Shea found it, and translated it for his Discovery of the Mississippi,[574] in 1853, giving with it a fac-simile of the map.[575]


Mr. Neill, in comparing this map with the earliest of Joliet’s, as reproduced by Gravier says: “Joliet marks the large island toward the extremity of Lake Superior known as Isle Royale; but he gives no name, and he indicates four other islands on the north shore.”



“This is a sketch reduced from the Parkman copy of the map, which measures 36 × 30 inches, and is called Carte genlle de la France septle contenant la descouverte du Pays des Illinois, faite par le Sr Jolliet; and is dedicated “A Monseigneur, Monseigneur Colbert, Conseiller du Roy en son Conseil Royal, Ministre et Sécrétaire d’Estat, Commandeur et Grand Trésorier des Ordes de sa Majesté, par son tres humble, tres obeisst, et tres fidelle serviteur, Duchesnau, Intendant de la Nouvelle France.” The figures stand for the following names and legends: 1. Alimouspigoiak. 2. Oussiloua. 3. Agatomitou. 4. Chaiena. 5. Ouapikouti. 6. Napapatou. 7. Pintoüa. 8. Ihanctoua. 9. Paoutek. 10. Maha. 11. Oloutanta. 12. Moengouena. 13. Ouatoutatoüaoü. 14. Grand Village. 15. Tanikoüa. 16. Acahichi. 17. Minouk. 18. Emmamoüata. 19. Akoraa. 20. Ototehiahi. 21. Tahenfa. 22. Europeans [sic]. 23. Mine de fer, Sable doré, Terre rouge ou siselée, Gouza. 24. R. Ouaboustikou. 25. Mataholi et Apistanga, 18 villages. 26. Chaoüanone, 15 villages. 27. Chaboüafioüa. 28. Mine de cuivre rouge. 29. Ilinois. 30. Riviere Miskous. 31. Mine de fer. 32. Maskoutens. 33. Outagami. 34. Puans. 35. Chaoüamigon. 36. Siou. 37. Assinibouels. 38. Lac des Assinibouels. 39. Minonk I. 40. Miscillimakinac. 41. Saut. 42. Missaské. 43. Amikoue. 44. Nipissink. 45. Mataouan. 46. Riviere des Outaouacks. 47. Kinté. 48. Ganateliftiagon. 49. Ganerafké. 50. I. Caiu-toton. 51. Fort Frontenac. 52. Teiaiagon. 53. Saût. 54. Sonontouans. 55. Oioguens. 56. Noutahe. 57. Onéoioutes. 58. Agnez. 59. Orange. 60. Hope. 61. Manate. 62. Lac St. Sacrémt. 63. Lac Champlain. 64. Ste. Terese. 65. Sorel. 66. Montreal. 67. Trois Rivieres. 68. Quebec. 69. Tadoussac. 70. R. St. Jean. 71. Ketsicagouesse. 72. Baye des Espagnols. 73. Terre Neuve. 74. Cape de Raze. 75. Plaisance. 76. I. la Magdelaine. 77. I. Brion. 78. I. aux oiseaux. 79. Cap Breton. 80. Canceaux. 81. Acadie. 82. Port Royal. 83. Baye des Chaleurs. 84. I. Bonventure. 85. I. Percée. 86. R. St. Jean. 87. R. Ste. Croix. 88. R. Etchemins. 89. R. Pintagouete. 90. Baston. 91. Miskoutenagach. 92. Ouabakounagon.


Marquette shows the large island only, but without a name. Joliet on the north shore of Lake Huron has three large islands,—one marked Kaintoton; Marquette has the same number, but without names. Parallel columns will show some other names of the two maps; the last three of each column referring to tribes between Green Bay and the Mississippi:—

Joliet’s Map. Marquette’s Map.
1. Lac Superieur.
2. Lac des Illinois, ou Missihiganin.
3. Baye des Puans.
4. Puans.
5. Outagami.
6. Maskoutens.
07. Lac Superieur, ov De Tracy.
08. Lac des Illinois.
09. No name.
10. Pouteoutami.
11. Outagami.
12. Maskoutens.

Joliet gives the name Miskonsing to the river, and marks the portage; while Marquette gives no names. The country south of Lake Superior and west of Lake Michigan in Marquette is blank. In Joliet it is marked ‘La Frontenacie.’ West of Lake Superior in Marquette is a blank; in Joliet are several lakes and the tribe of Madouesseou. Joliet calls the Mississippi, Rivière de Buade, and Marquette names it R. de la Conception.”

The original French of the narrative as Shea found it at Montreal was printed for Mr. Lenox in 1855,[576] and bears the following title: Récit des voyages et des découvertes du P. J. Marquette en l’année 1673, et aux suivantes;[577] and the copy being defective in two leaves, this matter was supplied from the print of Thevenot, next to be mentioned.

The copy which Dablon sent to Paris was used by Thevenot, who gives it, with some curtailment, in his Recueil de voyages, published in Paris in 1681,[578] with the caption: “Voyage et découverte de quelques pays et nations de l’Amérique septentrionale par le P. Marquette et Sr. Joliet.”[579]


The Jesuits about this time made a map, which, from having been given in Thevenot as Marquette’s, passed as the work of that missionary till Shea found the genuine one in Canada. What was apparently the original of this in Thevenot is a manuscript which Harrisse[580] says was formerly in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris, but cannot now be found. Mr. Parkman has a copy of it, and calls it “so crude and careless, and based on information so inexact, that it is of little interest.”[581]


As engraved in Thevenot, this map differs a little, and bears the title: “Carte de la découverte faite l’an 1673, dans l’Amérique septentrionale. Liebaux fecit.” Sparks followed this engraving in the map in his Life of Marquette, and calls it, with the knowledge then current, “the first that was ever published of the Mississippi River.”[582]

Marquette’s later history is but brief. In the autumn of the next year (1674) he started to found a mission among the Illinois; but being detained by illness near Chicago, he did not reach the Indian town of Kaskaskia till the spring of 1675. His strength was ebbing, and he started with his companions to return to St. Ignace, but had only reached a point on the easterly shore of Lake Michigan, when he died, and his companions buried him beside their temporary hut. The next year some Ottawas who had been of his flock unearthed the bones and carried them to Michillimackinac, where they were buried beneath the floor of the little mission chapel.[583]



This is a reduction of a manuscript map placed by Mr. Parkman in Harvard College Library, no. 5 of the series, entitled: Carte de la nouvelle decouverte que les péres Jesuites ont fait en l’année 1672, et continnuée par le P. Iacques Marquette de la mesme compagnie, accompagné de quelques françois en l’année 1673, qu’on pourra nommer en françois La Manitoumie a cause de la statue qui s’est trouvée dans une belle vallée, et que les sauvages vont reconnoistre pour leur divinitè, qu’ils appellent Manitou qui signifie esprit ou génie. A rude figure of this statue is placed on the map at 4, with this legend: “Manitou statue ou les sauvages font faire leurs adorations.” The other longer legends are: 1. “Nations qui ont des chevaux et des chameaux.” 2. “On est venu jusques icy a la hauteur de 33 deg.” 3. “Monsoupena, ils ont des fusila.” It will be seen that the return route of Marquette and Joliet is incorrectly laid down. Parkman’s La Salle, p. 65.


Thirty years ago there were statements made by M. Noiseux, late vicar-general of Quebec, to the effect that Marquette was not the first priest to visit the Illinois; but the matter was set at rest by Dr. Shea.[584] A renewed interest came in 1873 with the bicentennial of the discovery. Dr. Shea delivered an address on the occasion of the celebration,[585] and he also made an Address on the same theme before the Missouri Historical Society, July 19, 1878.[586] At the Laval University in Quebec the anniversary was also observed on the 17th of June, 1873, when a discourse was delivered by the Abbé Verreau.[587]


This sketch follows a plan sent by Denonville in 1685 to Paris, which is engraved in Faillon, Histoire de la Colonie Française, iii. 467. The key is as follows: 1. Four à chaux. 2. Grange. 3. Etable. 4. Logis. 5. Corps de garde. 6. Guerite sur la porte. 7. Boulangerie. 8. Palissade. 9. Moulin. 10. Mortier sans chaux. 11. Fondement bâti. 12. Haut de 4 pieds. 13. Haut de 12 pis. 14. A chaux et sable. 15. Puits. 16. Magasin à poudre. The peninsula extended into Lake Ontario. It is the fort as rebuilt of stone by La Salle. Cf. the paper on La Salle’s expenses on this fort, etc., in 2 Pennsylvania Archives, vi. 14, of which the original and other papers are given in Margry (i. 291).

New complications were now forming. The new governor, Frontenac, was needy in purse, expedient in devices, and on terms of confidence with a man destined to gain a name in this western discovery.[588] This was La Salle. Parkman pictures him with having a certain robust ambition to conquer the great valley for France and himself, and to outdo the Jesuits. Shea sees in him little of the hero, and few traces of a powerful purpose.[589] Whatever his character, he was soon embarked with Frontenac on a far-reaching scheme. It has been explained in the preceding chapter how the erection of a fort had been begun by Frontenac near the present town of Kingston on Lake Ontario. By means of such a post he hoped to intercept the trafficking of the Dutch and English, and turn an uninterrupted peltry trade to the French. The Jesuits at least neglected the scheme, but[223] neither Frontenac nor La Salle cared much for them.[590] Fort Frontenac was the first stage in La Salle’s westward progress, and he was politic enough to espouse the Governor’s side in all things when disputes occasionally ran high. His becoming the proprietor of the seigniory, which included the new fort, meant the exclusion of others from the trade in furs, and such exclusion made enemies of the merchants. It meant also colonization and settlements; and that interfered with the labors of the Jesuits among the savages, and made them look to the great western valley, of which so much had been said; but La Salle was looking there too.[591]

In the first place he had strengthened his fort. He had pulled down the wooden structure, and built another of stones and palisades, of which a plan is preserved to us. He had drawn communities of French and natives about him, and maintained a mission, with which Louis Hennepin was connected. We have seen how in the autumn of 1677[592] he went once more to France, securing the right of seigniory over other posts as he might establish them south and west during the next five years. This was by a patent dated at St. Germain-en-Laye, May 12, 1678.[593] With dreams of Mexico and of a clime sunnier than that of Canada, La Salle returned to Quebec to make new leagues with the merchants, and to listen to Hennepin, who had come down from Fort Frontenac to meet him.[594] Mr. Neill (in the previous chapter) has followed his fortunes from this point, and we have seen him laying the keel of a vessel above the cataract.[595]

While this was going on La Salle returned below the Falls, and having begun two blockhouses on the site of the later Fort Niagara,[596] proceeded to Fort Frontenac. By spring Tonty had the “Griffin” ready for launching. She was of forty-five or fifty tons, and when she had her equipment on board, five cannon looked from her port-holes. The builders made all ready for a voyage in her, but grew weary in waiting for La Salle, who did not return till August, when he brought with him Membré the priest, whose Journal we are to depend on later, and the vessel departed on the voyage which Mr. Neill has sketched.[597]

After the “Griffin” had departed homeward from this region, La Salle and his canoes followed up the western shores of the lake, while Tonty and another party took the eastern. The two finally met at the Miamis, or St. Joseph River, near the southeastern corner of Lake Michigan.


They now together went up the St. Joseph, and crossing the portage[598] launched their canoes on the Kankakee, an upper tributary of the Illinois River, and passed on to the great town of the tribe of that name, where Marquette had been before them, near the present town of Utica.[599] They found the place deserted, for the people were on their winter hunt. They discovered, however, pits of corn, and got much-needed food. Passing on, a little distance below Peoria Lake they came upon some inhabited wigwams. Among these people La Salle learned how his enemies in Canada were inciting them to thwart his progress; and there were those under this incitement who pictured so vividly the terrors of the southern regions, that several of La Salle’s men deserted.

In January (1680) La Salle began a fortified camp near at hand, and called it Fort Crèvecœur,[600] and soon after he was at work building another vessel of forty tons. He also sent off Michel Accau, or Accault, and Hennepin on the expedition, of which some account is given by Mr. Neill, and also by the Editor in a subsequent note. Leaving Tonty in command of the fort, La Salle, in March, started to return to Fort Frontenac, his object being to get equipments for his vessel; for he had by this time made up his mind that nothing more would be seen of the “Griffin” and her return lading of anchors and supplies. For sixty-five days he coursed a wild country and braved floods. He made, however, the passage of a thousand miles in safety to Fort Frontenac, only to become aware of the disastrous state of his affairs,—the loss of supplies.[601] A little later the same sort of news followed him from Tonty, whose men had mutinied and scattered. His first thought was to succor Tonty and the faithful few who remained with him; and accordingly he started again for the Illinois country, which he found desolate and terrible with[225] the devastations of the Iroquois. He passed the ruins of Crèvecœur, and went even to the mouth of the Illinois; and under these distressing circumstances he saw the Mississippi for the first time. Then he retraced his way, and was once again at Fort Miami. Not a sign had been seen of Tonty, who had escaped from the feud of the Iroquois and Illinois, not knowing which side to trust, and had made his way down the western side of Lake Michigan toward Green Bay.

La Salle meanwhile at Fort Miami was making new plans and resolutions. He had an idea of banding together under his leadership all the western tribes, and by this means to keep the Iroquois in check while he perfected his explorations southward. So in the spring (1681) he returned to the Illinois country to try to form the league; and while there first heard from some wandering Outagamies of the safe arrival of Tonty at Green Bay, and of the passage through that region of Hennepin eastward. Among the Illinois and on the St. Joseph he was listened to, and everything promised well for his intended league. In May he went to Michillimackinac, where he found Tonty and Membré, and with them he proceeded to Fort Frontenac. Here once more his address got him new supplies, and in the autumn (1681) he was again on his westward way. In the latter part of December, with a company of fifty-four souls,—French and savage, including some squaws,—he crossed the Chicago portage; and sledding and floating down the Illinois, on the 6th of February he and his companions glided out upon the Mississippi among cakes of swimming ice. On they went.[602] Stopping at one of the Chickasaw bluffs, they built a small stockade and called it after Prudhomme, who was left in charge of it. Again they stopped for a conference of three days with a band of Indians near the mouth of the Arkansas, where, on the 14th of March, in due form, La Salle took possession of the neighboring country in the name of his King.[603] On still they went, stopping at various villages and towns, securing a welcome by the peace-pipe, and erecting crosses bearing the arms of France in the open squares of the Indian settlements. On the 6th of April La Salle divided his party into three, and each took one of the three arms which led to the Gulf. On the 9th they reunited, and erecting a column just within one of the mouths of the river, La Salle formally took possession of the great Mississippi basin in the name of the French monarch, whom he commemorated in applying the name of Louisiana to the valley.[604]

Up the stream their canoes were now turned. On reaching Fort Prudhomme La Salle was prostrated with a fever. Here he stayed, nursed by Membré,[605] while Tonty went on to carry the news of their success to Michillimackinac, whence to despatch messengers to the lower settlements. At St. Ignace La Salle joined his lieutenant.

For the events of these two years we have two main sources of information. First, the “Relation de la descouverte de l’embouchure de la Rivière Mississipi dans le Golfe de Mexique, faite par le Sieur de la Salle, l’année passée, 1682,” which was first published by Thomassy;[606] the original is preserved in the Archives Scientifiques de la Marine, and though written in the third person it is held to constitute La Salle’s Official Report, though perhaps written for him by Membré.[607] Second, the narrative ascribed to Membré which[226] is printed in Le Clercq’s Établissement de la Foi, ii. 214, and which seems to be based on the document already named.[608]

In addition to this there is the paper of Nicolas de la Salle (no kinsman of the explorer), who wrote for Iberville’s guidance, in 1699, his Récit de la découverte que M. de la Salle a faite de la Rivière de Mississipi en 1682.[609]

La Salle’s future plans were now clearly fixed in his own mind, which were to reach from Europe the Mississippi by sea, and to make it the avenue of approach to the destined colonies, which he now sent Tonty to establish on the Illinois. With as little delay as possible, he went himself to join his deputy. In December they selected the level summit of the scarped rock (Starved Rock), on the river near the great Illinois town, and there intrenched themselves, calling their fort “St. Louis.” Around it were the villages and lodges of near twenty thousand savages, including, it is estimated, about four thousand warriors. To this projected colony La Salle was under the necessity of trying to bring his supplies from Canada till the route by the Gulf could be secured,—that Canada in which he had many enemies, and whose new governor, De la Barre, was hostile to him, writing letters of disparagement respecting him to the Court in Paris,[610] and seizing his seigniory at Fort Frontenac on shallow pretexts. Thwarted in all efforts for succor from below, La Salle left Tonty in charge of the new fort,[611] and started for Quebec, meeting on the way an officer sent to supersede him in command. From Quebec La Salle sailed for France.[612]

At this time the young French engineer, Franquelin, was in Quebec making record as best he could, from such information as reached headquarters, of the progress of the various discoverers. There are maps of his as early as 1679 and 1681 which are enumerated by Harrisse.[613] Parkman is also inclined to ascribe to Franquelin a map with neither[227] date nor author, but of superior skill in drafting, which is called Carte de l’Amérique septentrionale et partie de la meridionale ... avec les nouvelles decouvertes de la Rivière Mississipi, ou Colbert. It records an event of 1679 in a legend, and omits the lower Mississippi; which would indicate that the record was made before the results of La Salle’s explorations were known.[614] A sketch of the Map of 1682 is given herewith from a copy in the Barlow Collection.

MAP OF 1682.

From La Salle, on his arrival in Quebec late in 1683, Franquelin undoubtedly got new and trustworthy information of that explorer’s expedition down the Mississippi; and this he embodied in what is usually known as Franquelin’s Great Map of 1684. It professed to have been made in Paris, and as Franquelin was not in that city in 1684, Harrisse contends that it was the work of De la Croix upon Franquelin’s material. It is called Carte de la Louisiane, ou des voyages du Sieur de la Salle et des pays qu’il a découverts depuis[228] la Nouvelle-France jusqu’au Golfe de Mexique, les années 1679-80-81 et 82, par Jean-Baptiste Louis Franquelin, l’an 1684, Paris. It was formerly in the Archives du Dépôt de la Marine; but Harrisse[615] reports it as missing from that repository, and describes it from the accounts given by Parkman and by Thomassy.[616] A manuscript copy of this map was made for Mr. Parkman, which is now in Harvard College Library, and from this copy another copy was made in 1856, which is now in the Library of Parliament at Ottawa. Mr. Parkman’s copy has been used in the annexed sketch.



Harrisse says that De la Croix made the Carte de l’Amérique septentle,[617] which also purports to be Franquelin’s, and shows the observations of “douze années.” Harrisse places this map also in 1684, for the reason that a third map by Franquelin, Carte de la Amérique septentrionale,[618] is dated 1688, and claims to embody the observations of “plus de 16 années,” giving names and legends not in the earlier ones.[619]

“It indicates,” says Mr. Neill, “the post which had been recently established by Du Lhut near the lower extremity of Lake Huron, and gives the present name, Manitoulin, to the large island of Lake Huron, and marks on the west shore a Baye de Saginnam. It places the mission on the south shore of Sault Ste. Marie, and names the rivers and points on the north and south shores of Lake Superior. A stream near the present northern boundary-line of the United States is called ‘R. des Grossillers,’ after the first explorer of Minnesota. The river entering Lake Superior at the present Fort William is ‘Kamanistigouian, ou Les Trois Rivières.’ Isle Royale is called ‘Minong;’ upon the northeast part of ‘Lac Alepimigon’ is Du Lhut’s post, ‘Fort La Tourette.’ At the portage between the sources of the St. Croix and a stream entering Lake Superior is ‘Fort St. Croix,’ which Bellin says was afterward abandoned. The St. Croix River is called ‘R. de la Magdelaine.’ At the lower extremity of Lake Pepin is ‘Fort St. Antoine;’ and the site of the present town of Prairie du Chien, near the mouth of the Wisconsin, appears as ‘Fort St. Nicolas,’ named in compliment to the baptismal name of Perrot. The Minnesota River is marked ‘Les Mascoutens Nadouescioux,’ indicating that it ran through the country of the Prairie Sioux. After Pierre Le Sueur had explored this river, De l’Isle, in his map of 1703, gives it the name of St. Pierre, as it is supposed in compliment to Le Sueur.”

A map of the next year (1689), also in the Archives, claims to be based on “Mémoires et relations qu’il a eu soin de recueillir pendant pres de 17 années.” Harrisse thinks this also a copy by De la Croix, and notes others of the probable dates of 1692 and 1699 respectively.[620] Harrisse also records[621] a manuscript map, “composée, corrigée, et augmentée sur les journaux, mémoires, et observations les plus justes qui en ont été ftes. en l’année 1685 et 1686,” which is also preserved in the French Archives; and a Carte Gēralle du voyage que Monsr De Meulles ... a fait; ... commencé le 9e Novembre et finy le 6e Juillet, 1686,[622] which was dedicated to Seignelay in the same year.

Parkman[623] says of the maps of Franquelin subsequent to his Great Map of 1684, that they all have more or less of its features, but that the 1684 map surpasses them all in interest and completeness.

It is convenient to complete here this enumeration of the maps of the western lakes and the Mississippi basin before we turn to La Salle’s explorations from the Gulf side.

One of the earliest of the printed maps is that called Partie occidentale du Canada, ou de la Nouvelle France, ou sont les nations des Ilinois, de Tracy, les Iroquois, et plusieurs autres peuples, avec la Louisiane nouvellement découverte, ... par le P. Coronelli, corrigée et augmentée par le Sr. Tillemon à Paris, 1688, of which the annexed sketch follows a copy in Harvard College Library. This was united with the Partie orientale in 1689 in a single smaller map.[624]







The routes of several of the early explorers, like those of Du Lhut, Joliet, and Marquette (1672), and La Salle (1679-1680), are laid down on a manuscript map, Carte des parties les plus occidentales du Canada, par le Père Pierre Raffeix, S. J.,[625] which is preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale, and of which a sketch as “Raffeix, 1688,” is given on the next page.

A map of Lakes Ontario and Erie, by the Père Raffeix, is in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris;[626] and from a copy in the Kohl Collection at Washington the sketch on page 234 is taken. It is called, Le Lac Ontario avec les lieux circonvoisins et particulierment les cinq Nations Iroquoises.

Another map, thought to be the work of Raudin, Frontenac’s engineer,[627] should be found in the Archives of the Marine, but according to Harrisse it is not there.[628] The Barlow Collection, however, has a map which Harrisse believes to be the lost original; a sketch of the western part is given herewith.[629] It also gives the eastern seaboard with approximate accuracy, but represents Lake Champlain as lying along the headwaters of[233] the Connecticut and the Hudson. Lake Erie is a squarish oblong, larger than Ontario, and of a shape rarely found in these early maps. In the upper lakes it resembles the map of 1672-1673, which Harrisse[630] also found missing from the Bibliothèque Nationale.

The maps which pertain to Hennepin and Lahontan are separately treated on a later page.

RAFFEIX, 1688.

This sketch is from a copy in the Kohl Washington Collection. There is another copy in the Barlow Collection. The original is in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. (Harrisse, Notes, etc., no. 238.) It is marked, Parties les plus occidentales du Canada, Pierre Raffeix, Jesuite. Harrisse puts it under 1688; Kohl says between 1681 and 1688. The lines of exploration, as indicated on it, are explained in the marginal inscriptions as follows:—

Voyage et premiere descouverte de la riviere de Mississipi faite par le P. Marquette, Jesuitte, et Mr. Jolliet, en 1672.

(—.—.) signifie l’allée.

(.....), le retour.

Ils furent jusques pres du 32 degré d’elevation. (.——.) Mr. du Lude, qui le premier a esté ches les Sious ou Nadouesiou en 1678, et qui a esté proche la source du Mississipi, et qui ensuitte vint retirer le p. Louis [Hennepin], qui avoit esté fait prisonnier ches les Sious au P., et sen reviendre finir leur descouverte par ou le P. Marquette et Mr. Jolliet commencer la leur.

(..—..—) Voyage de Mr. de la Salle en 1679, qui ariva au fond du lac des Illinois et qui voula commencer un petit fort, et une barque a Crevecoeur, d’ou le Pere Louis [Hennepin] partit pour aller en haut a la descouverte. Mr. de la Salle escrit qu’en 1681 il descendit sur le Mississipi, et qu’il a esté jusqua la mer.

(E) Voyage a faire et plus facile pour descouvrir tout le Missĩpi en venant du lac Ontario au bourg des Senontonans et de la en E.

(F) 1. De l’Embouchure de cette petite riviere jusqu’aux Assinipouals et aleurs lacs Ilne a que 100 lieues.

2. Le pais des Assinipouals qui est le plus a l’ouest est un pais de continuelles prairies cõme tout le long du Missĩpi, et l’on y voit quelque fois passer dans un jour plus de 2 a 3,000 beufs sauvages. Il faut remarquer que osté la forme exacte de lacs que le peu de temps na pas permis de rechercher et que l’on trouve dans d’autres cartes; les rivieres y sont marques avec beaucoup de soin.

Pierre Raffæix, Jesuitte.

La Salle once in Paris (1684) succeeded in obtaining an interview with the King, to whom he then and subsequently in Memorials,[631] which have been saved to us, presented an ambitious scheme of fortifying the Mississippi near its mouths, and of subjugating the neighboring Spanish colonies, of whose propinquity he had very confused notions, as Franquelin’s map showed.



Peñalosa was at the same time pressing on the Court a plan for establishing a French colony at the mouth of the Rio Bravo. La Salle’s personal address, too, turned the scales against La Barre.

Accordingly, La Forest, the rejected commander of Fort Frontenac, was sent back to Canada with letters from the King commanding the Governor to make restitution to La Salle’s lieutenant both of Fort Frontenac and of Fort St. Louis. La Salle’s shining promises so affected Louis, that the King gave him more vessels than he asked for; and of these one, the “Joly,” carried thirty-six guns, and another six.[632] Among his company were his brother Cavelier and two other Sulpitian priests, and three Recollects, Membré, Douay, and Le Clercq.

A captain of the royal navy, Beaujeu, was detailed to navigate the “Joly,” but under the direction of La Salle, who was to be supreme. La Salle’s distrust and vacillation, and Beaujeu’s jealousy and assumptions boded no good, and a dozen warm quarrels between them were patched up before they got to sea.[633]



Harrisse says: “This is the only map in which the name Bazire is given to the Arkansas River. Bazire was a merchant of Canada who in 1673 supported Frontenac in his design of building Fort Frontenac, with which Raudin had also a great deal to do.” This follows the Barlow original. There is in the Parkman Collection a copy of a part of it by Harrisse.

There was not a little in all this to point to a state of mental unsoundness in La Salle. At a late day Joutel, a fellow-townsman of La Salle, destined to become the expedition’s historian, joined the fleet at Rochelle, and on the 24th of July (1684) it sailed, only to put back, four days later, to repair a broken bowsprit of the “Joly.” Once again they put to sea.



This is a reduced sketch from a copy in the Barlow collection of a Plan de l’entrée du lac ou l’on a laissé Monr de la Salle, which is preserved in the Archives of the Marine. It is Harrisse’s no. 226. The key is as follows: 1. Le camp de M. de la Salle. 2. Endroit ou la flutte c’est perdue. 3. La frigatte la “Belle” mouillée. 4 and 5. Cabannes des sauvages.

Everything still went wrong. The leaders chafed and quarrelled as on land.[634] The Spaniards captured their smallest vessel.[635] At Santo Domingo the Governor of the island and his officers joined in the quarrel on the side of La Salle, who now fell prostrate with disease. When he recovered he set sail again with his three remaining ships on the 25th of November, coasted the southern shore of Cuba, and on New Year’s Day (1685) sighted land somewhere near the River Sabine. He supposed himself east of the Mississippi mouths, when in fact he was far to the west of them. He knew their latitude, for he had taken the sun when there on his canoe voyage in 1682; but he had at that time no means of ascertaining their longitude. The “Joly” next disappeared in a fog, and La Salle waited for her four or five days, but in vain. So he sailed on farther till he found the coast trending southerly, when he turned, and shortly after met the “Joly.” Passages of crimination and recrimination between the leaders of course followed.[636] La Salle all the while was trying to make out that the numerous lagoons along the coast were somehow connected with the mouths of the Mississippi, while Beaujeu, vexed at the confusion and indecision of La Salle’s mind, did little to make matters clearer. They were in reality at Matagorda Bay. Trying to make an anchorage within, one of the vessels struck a reef and became a total wreck, and only a small part of her cargo was saved.[637] La Salle suspected it was done to embarrass him; and landing his men, he barricaded himself on the unhealthy ground, amid a confusion of camp equipage, including what was saved from the wreck. A swarm of squalid savages looked on, and saw a half-dozen of the Frenchmen buried daily. The Indians contrived to pilfer some blankets, and when a force[237] was sent to punish them they killed several of the French. Beaujeu offered some good advice, but La Salle rejected it; and finally, on the 12th of March the “Joly” sailed, and La Salle was left with his forlorn colony.[638] Beaujeu steered, as he thought, for the Baye du St. Esprit (Mobile Bay [?]); but his belief that he was leaving the mouths of the Mississippi made him miss that harbor, and after various adventures he bore away for France, and reached Rochelle about the 1st of July. With him returned the engineer, Minet, who made on the voyage a map of the mouths of the Mississippi doubly interpreted,—one sketch being based on the Franquelin map of 1684, as La Salle had found it in 1682; and the other conformed to their recent observations about Matagorda, into whose lagoons he made this great river discharge.[639]


This is a reduced sketch from a copy (Barlow Collection) of the original in the Archives of the Marine, giving two plans of the mouth of the river,—the one in the body of the map as “La Salle le marque dans sa carte,” and the other (here put in the small square), “Comme nous les avons trouvez.” It is Harrisse’s no. 225.


It soon dawned upon La Salle that he was not at the Mississippi delta; and it was imperative that he should establish a base for future movements. So he projected a settlement on the Lavaca River, which flowed into the head of the bay; and thither all went, and essayed the rough beginnings of a post, which he called Fort St. Louis.[640] He was also constrained to lay out a graveyard, which received its tenants rapidly. As soon as housing and stockades were finished, La Salle, on the last day of October (1685), leaving Joutel in command, started with fifty men to search for the Mississippi.

The first tidings Joutel got of his absent chief was in January (1686), when a straggler from La Salle’s party appeared, and told a woeful story of his mishaps. By the end of March La Salle himself returned with some of his companions; others he had left in a palisaded fort which he had built on a great river somewhere away. While on his return he detached some of his men to find his little frigate, the “Belle,” which he had left at a certain place on the coast. These men also soon appeared, but they brought no tidings of the vessel. The loss of her and of what she had on board made matters very desperate, and La Salle determined on another expedition, this time to the Illinois country and to Canada, whence he could send word to France for succor. On the 22d of April they started,—La Salle, his brother Cavelier, the Friar Douay, and a score or so others.

Joutel was still left in command; and a few days later the appearance of six men, who alone had been saved from the wreck of the “Belle,” and reached the fort, confirmed the worst fears of that vessel’s fate. Meanwhile La Salle was experiencing dangers and evils of all kinds,—the desertion and death of his men, and delays by sickness, and the spending of ammunition. Once again there was nothing for him to do but to return to Joutel, and so with eight out of his twenty men he came back to the fort. The colony had dwindled from one hundred and eighty to forty-five souls, and another attempt to secure succor was imperative. So in January (1687) a new cheerless party set out, Joutel this time accompanying La Salle; and with the rest were Duhaut, a sinister man, and Liotot the surgeon. For two months it was the same story of suffering on the march and of danger in the camp. Then quarrels ensued; and the murder of La Salle’s nephew and two others who were devoted to him compelled the assassins to save themselves by killing La Salle himself; and from an ambuscade Duhaut and Liotot shot their chief. The party now succumbed to the rule of Duhaut. They ranged aimlessly among the Indians for a while, and fell in with some deserters of La Salle’s former expedition now living among the savages. One of these conspired with Hiens, one of those privy to La Salle’s death, and killed the assassins Duhaut and Liotot. Joutel with the few who were left now parted amicably with Hiens and the savage Frenchmen, and pushed their way to find the Great River. At a point on the Arkansas not far from its confluence with the Mississippi, they were rejoiced to find the abode of two of Tonty’s men. This sturdy adherent of La Salle’s fortunes had been reinstated, as we have seen, by the King’s order, in the command of the fortified rock on the Illinois, and had in due time, after the return of Beaujeu to Rochelle, got the news of La Salle’s landing on the Gulf. In February, 1686, he had started down the river with a band of French and Indians to join his old commander. He reached the Gulf,[641] but of course failed to find La Salle; and returning, had left several men in the villages of the Arkansas, of whom Couture and another now welcomed Joutel and his weary companions. After some delay the wanderers floated their wooden canoe down the Arkansas, and then began their weary journey up the Great River, and by the middle of September they reached the Fort St. Louis of the Illinois. They found Tonty absent, and Bellefontaine in command. They foolishly thought to increase their welcome by presenting themselves as the forerunners of La Salle, who was on the way,—tidings which kept all in good spirits except the Jesuit Allouez, who happened to be in the fort, and was ill, for he was conscious of his machinations against La Salle, and dreaded to encounter[239] him.[642] Cavelier and Joutel soon started for the Chicago portage. A storm on the lake impeded them subsequently, and they came back to the fort to find Tonty returned from Denonville’s campaign against the Senecas.[643] The same deceit regarding La Salle’s fate was practised on Tonty, and he gave them money and supplies as to La Salle’s representatives, only to learn a few months later, when Couture came up from the Arkansas, of La Salle’s murder. The wanderers, however, had now passed on, had reached Quebec in safety, still concealing what they knew, and not disclosing it till they reached France; and even in France there is a suspicion that Cavelier held his peace till he had secured some property against the seizure of La Salle’s creditors. Why Joutel connived at the deception is less comprehensible, for otherwise he bears a fair name. No representations of his, however, could induce the King to send succor to the hapless colony; and all the result, so far as known, of the tardy acknowledgment of La Salle’s death was an order sent to Canada for the arrest of his murderers.

The story which Couture told to Tonty in September inspired that hero with a determination to try to rescue La Salle’s colony on the Gulf. So in December he left his fortified rock, with five Frenchmen and three others. Late in March he was on the Red River, where all but two of his companions deserted him. He was himself finally, by the loss of his ammunition, compelled to turn back, but not till he had learned of the probable death of Heins.[644] In September he reached his fort on the Illinois; and here, with La Forest, he continued to live, holding the seigniory jointly under a royal patent, and trading in furs, till 1702, when the establishment was broken up.[645] Tonty now joined D’Iberville in Louisiana, and of his subsequent years nothing is known. The French again occupied his rocky fastness; but when Charlevoix saw it, in 1721, it was only a ruin.

The fate of the Texan colony is soon told. The Spaniards who had searched for it by sea had always missed it, though they had found the wrecked vessels.[646] A Frenchman, probably a deserter from La Salle, fell into the Spaniards’ hands in New Leon. From him they learned its position, and despatched under the Frenchman’s guidance a force to capture it. They found the fort deserted, and three dead bodies a little distance off. From the Indians they learned of two Frenchmen who were living with a distant tribe. They sent for them under a pledge of good treatment; and when they came, they proved to be L’Archevêque, one of Duhaut’s accomplices, and one of the stray deserters whom Joutel had discovered after the murder. They told a story of ravages from the small-pox and of slaughter by the savages. A few of the colonists had been saved by the Indian women; but these were subsequently given up to the Spaniards, and they added their testimony to the sad and ignominious end of the colony.

It is necessary to define the historical sources regarding this hapless Texan expedition, about the purpose of which there have been some diverse views lately expressed. It is clear that under cover of a grand plan of Spanish conquest, La Salle had dazed the imagination of the King in memorials,[647] which may possibly have been only meant to induce the royal espousal of his more personal schemes. Shea contends that La Salle’s real object was not to settle in Louisiana, but to conquer Santa Barbara and the mining regions in Mexico, and to pave the way for Peñalosa’s expedition.[648]


For the broader relations of the expedition to the earlier explorations of 1682, we must go to a source of the first importance preserved in the Archives of the Marine. It is entitled Mémoire envoyé en 1693 sur la découverte du Mississipi et des nations voisines par le Sieur de la Salle, en 1678, et depuis sa mort par le Sieur de Tonty, and is printed by Margry;[649] and Parkman calls it excellent authority. Out of this and an earlier paper, written in Quebec in 1684,[650] a book, disowned by Tonty, as Charlevoix tells us, was in part fabricated, and appeared at Paris in 1697 under the title of Dernières découvertes dans l’Amérique septentrionale de M. de la Salle, mises au jour par M. le Chevalier Tonti, gouverneur du Fort St. Louis, aux Islinois.[651] Parkman[652] calls it “a compilation full of errors,” and does not rely upon it. Shea says of it that, “although repudiated by Tonti, it must have been based on papers of his.” It has been held apocryphal by Iberville and Margry; but Falconer, La Harpe, Boimare, and Gravier put trust in it.

It is thought that a Journal by Joutel was written in part to counteract the statements of the Dernières découvertes. This Joutel paper was given first in full by Margry,[653] and Parkman[654] says of it that it seems to be “the work of an honest and intelligent man.”[655] It was printed in Paris in 1713, but abridged and changed in a way which Joutel complained of, and bore the title, Journal historique du dernier voyage que feu M. de la Salle fit dans le Golfe du Mexique, pour trouver l’embouchure du Mississipi. Par M. Joutel.[656]


To these there are various supplemental narratives, with their interest centring in the death of La Salle.[657] Joutel gives an account of the scene as he learned it at the time.[658] Tonty’s account was at second hand. Douay saw the deed, and what he reported is given in Le Clercq’s Établissement de la Foi.[659] A document in the Archives of the Marine—Relation de la mort du Sr. de la Salle, suivant le rapport d’un nommé Couture, à qui M. Cavelier l’apprit en passant au pays des Akansa—is given by Margry;[660] and Harrisse thinks that it merits little confidence.

Cavelier is known to have made a report to Seignelay; and his rough draft of this was recovered in 1854 by Parkman,[661] who calls it “confused and unsatisfactory in its statements, and all the latter part has been lost,” the fragment closing several weeks before the death of his brother.[662]

The character of Beaujeu has certainly been put in a more favorable light by the publication of Margry, and the old belief in his treachery has been somewhat modified.[663]

The Spanish account of the fate of the colony is translated from Barcia’s Ensayo cronologico de la Florida,[664] in Shea’s Discovery of the Mississippi;[665] and Margry[666] adds to our knowledge, as does Buckingham Smith in his Coleccion.[667]

It remains now to speak of the Collections which have been formed, and the theories regarding these Western explorations which have been maintained, by M. Pierre Margry, who has occupied till within a few years the office of archivist of the Marine and Colonies in Paris, having been for a long period assistant and principal. Margry may be said[242] to have discovered what that department contained in manuscripts relating to the explorations of the Mississippi Valley and River, particularly as regards La Salle’s agency. On more than one occasion he has done good service in helping to enrich the archives of New York[668] and Canada with copies of documents known to him,—so far, apparently, as they did not interfere with his own projects of publication. His position created relations for him with other departments of the French Government, and his eager discernment found an abundance of manuscript treasures even in private hands. These he assiduously gathered, and on a few occasions he published papers[669] which seemed to indicate more than he chose to disclose explicitly; for his fellow-students were not quite satisfied, and longed for the documents which had yielded so much. As the guardian of the public archives, he was by office the agent and servant of the public; but other investigators, it is feared, failed, through obstacles thrown in their way, to profit as they might by what that office contained. There is in the Sparks Collection of Manuscripts in Harvard College Library a volume of copies of such documents as could be found in the Paris Archives which that historian intended to use in another edition of his Life of La Salle. While Mr. Sparks was regretting that not a single document or letter in the hand of the great explorer had come down to us, enough to fill a large volume was immured in these Paris Archives. At a later day Mr. Parkman, in turn, failed of access to documents which were of the first importance to him, and he was obliged to make the best use he could of what it was possible to obtain. Environed by these disadvantages Mr. Parkman published, in 1869, his Discovery of the Great West. In his Preface, speaking of the obscurity which had enshrouded the whole subject, he referred to the “indefatigable research of M. Pierre Margry, Assistant-Custodian of the Archives of the Marine and Colonies at Paris, whose labors as an investigator of the maritime and colonial history of France can be appreciated only by those who have seen their results.”

Gravier about the same time referred to the twenty years of study which had made M. Margry the most learned of students of La Salle’s history.

It was evident that investigators could not profit by this accumulation of material, unless M. Margry’s hopes of publication were realized. He refused offers to purchase. In conjunction with M. Harrisse, an effort was made by him in 1870-1871 to enlist the aid of the United States Congress; but a vote which passed the Senate failed in the House. The great fire at Boston in 1872 stayed the progress which, under Mr. Parkman’s instigation, had been made to insure a private publication. At last, by Mr. Parkman’s assiduous labors in the East, and by those of Colonel Whittlesey, Mr. O. H. Marshall, and others in the West, and with the active sympathy of the Hon. George F. Hoar, a bill was passed Congress in 1873, making a subscription for five hundred copies of the intended work.[670]

With this guaranty M. Margry put to press the series of volumes entitled Mémoires et documents pour servir à l’histoire des origines Françaises de pays d’outre-mer: découvertes et établissements des Français dans l’ouest et dans le sud d’Amérique septentrionale. The first volume appeared in 1876. It contained an Introduction by M. Margry, and was prefixed by a very questionable likeness of La Salle,—the picture (of which nothing was said by the editor) having no better foundation than the improbable figure of the explorer in a copperplate, published some years after his death, representing the scene of his murder, and of which a fac-simile is annexed.[671] Of the intended volumes, three are devoted to La Salle, and appeared between 1876 and 1878: vol. i., Voyages des[243] Français sur les grands lacs, et découvertes de l’Ohio et du Mississippi, 1614-1684; vol. ii., Lettres de La Salle, et correspondance relative à ses entreprises, 1678-1685 (these include letters also preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale); vol. iii., Recherche des bouches du Mississipi et voyage à travers le continent depuis les côtes du Texas jusqu’à Québec.

The later volumes (the Editor has seen in Mr. Parkman’s hands the proofs of vols. iv. and v., and there is to be one more) pertain to Iberville and the following century; but a volume of the early cartography is promised as a completion of the publication. On the issue of these three volumes Mr. Parkman in considerable part rewrote his Discovery of[244] the Great West, and republished it in 1879 as La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West. In his Preface he speaks of the collection of documents in Margry’s keeping “to which he had not succeeded in gaining access,” and which, besides the papers in his official charge, included others added by him from other public archives and from private collections in France. “In the course of my inquiries,” says Mr. Parkman, “I owed much to [M. Margry’s] friendly aid; but his collections as a whole remained inaccessible, since he naturally wished to be the first to make known the results of his labors.”


This follows a design given in Gravier (pp. 1, 202), which is said to be based on an engraving preserved in the Bibliothèque de Rouen, entitled Cavilli de la Salle François,—and is the only picture meriting notice, except possibly a small vignette of which Gravier gives a fac-simile in his Cavelier de la Salle. Mr. Parkman has a photograph, given to him by Gravier, of a modern painting drawn from the first of these two pictures. In the Magazine of American History, May, 1882, there is an engraving, “after a photograph of the original painting,” leading the reader to suppose a veritable original likeness to have been followed, instead of this photograph of a made-up picture.

It was fortunate that in regard to one point only this deprivation had led Mr. Parkman astray in his earlier edition; and that was upon La Salle’s failure to find the mouth of the Mississippi in 1684, and the conduct therewith of Beaujeu. Mr. Parkman has testified to the authenticity of the La Salle letters in the North American Review, December, 1877, where (p. 428) he says: “The contents of these letters were in good measure known through a long narrative compiled from them by one of the writer’s friends, who[245] took excellent care to put nothing into it which could compromise him. All personalities are suppressed. These letters of La Salle have never been used by any historical writer.” Margry’s publication has been reviewed by J. Thoulet in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie, November and December, 1880, where a modern map enables the reader to track the explorer’s course. A sketch of this map is given on an earlier page.

The severest criticism of Margry’s publication has come from Dr. Shea, in a tract entitled The Bursting of Pierre Margry’s La Salle Bubble, New York, 1879,—a paper which first appeared in the New York Freeman’s Journal. Margry is judged by his critic to have unwarrantably extended the collection by repeating what had already elsewhere been printed, sometimes at greater length.[672] The “bubble” in question is the view long entertained by Margry that La Salle was the real discoverer of the Mississippi, and which he has set forth at different times in the following places:—

1. “Les Normands dans les vallées de l’Ohio et du Mississippi,” in the Journal general de l’instruction publique, July-September, 1862, placing the event in 1670-1671.

2. Revue maritime et colonial, Paris (1872), xxxiii. 555.

3. La priorité de La Salle sur le Mississipi, Paris, 1873,—a pamphlet.

4. The preface to his Découvertes, etc., 1876.

5. A letter in the American Antiquarian (Chicago, 1880), ii. 206, which was addressed to the Wisconsin Historical Society (Collections, ix. 108), and which first appeared in J. D. Butler’s translation in the State Journal, Madison, Wisconsin, July 30, 1879.

Margry, who has wavered somewhat, first claimed that La Salle reached the Mississippi by the Ohio in 1670; and later he has contended for the route by the Illinois in 1671. He bases his claim upon four grounds:—

First, upon a Récit d’un ami de l’Abbé de Galinée, 1666-1678 (printed in the Découvertes, etc., i. 342, 378),[673] which is without date, but which Margry holds to be the work of Abbé Renaudot, derived from La Salle in Paris in 1678, wherein it is stated that La Salle, after parting with Dollier and Galinée, made a first expedition to the Ohio, and a second by the Illinois to the Mississippi.

Second, upon a letter of La Salle’s niece, dated 1756 (i. 379), which affirms that the writer of it possessed maps which had belonged to La Salle in 1676, and that such maps showed that previous to that date he had made two voyages of discovery, and that upon these maps the Colbert (Mississippi) is put down.

Third, upon a letter of Frontenac in 1677 to Colbert (i. 324), which places, as is alleged, the voyage of Joliet after that of La Salle; but at the same time (ii. 285) he prints a paper of La Salle virtually admitting Joliet’s priority.

Fourth, upon the general antagonism between the Jesuits, who espoused Joliet’s claim, and the merchants, who were, with La Salle, the adherents of the Sulpitians and Recollects.

Sides have been taken among scholars in regard to the irrefragability of these evidences, but with a great preponderance of testimony against their validity.

The principal supporter of Margry’s view (though Henri Martin has adopted it) has been Gabriel Gravier in the following publications:—

1. Découvertes et établissements de la Cavelier de la Salle de Rouen dans l’Amérique du nord, Paris, 1870.

2. Cavelier de la Salle de Rouen, Paris, 1871, p. 23. This work is in good part a commentary on Parkman, to whom it is dedicated.


3. “La route du Mississipi,” in the Compte rendu, Congrès des Américanistes, Nancy, 1878, placing it in 1666.

4. In Magazine of American History, viii. 305 (May, 1882).

Views in support of the prior discovery of Joliet and Marquette, and opposed to the claim for La Salle, are given in the following places, without enumerating Charlevoix, Sparks, and the other upholders of the Joliet discovery, before Margry’s theory was advanced:—

1. Tailhan, as editor of Perrot’s Sauvages, Paris, 1864, p. 279.

2. Verreau, Voyage de MM. Dollier et Galinée, p. 59.

3. Parkman, La Salle.

4. Faillon, in his Colonie Française en Canada, iii. 312; while at the same time he testifies to Margry’s labors in vol i. p. 24.

5. Harrisse, Notes, etc., sur la Nouvelle France, 1872, p. 125, where he reviews the controversy; and again in the Revue maritime et coloniale (1872), xxxii. 642.

6. J. Brucker, Jacques Marquette et la découverte de la vallée du Mississipi, Lyons, 1880, taken from Les études réligieuses, vol. iv.

7. H. H. Hurlbut, in Magazine of American History, September, 1882.

8. John G. Shea, in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Collections, vii. 111; and in the Bursting of the La Salle Bubble, already referred to. In his edition of Le Clercq, ii. 89, he speaks of the theory as “utterly absurd.”





THE life of this Recollect missionary is derived in its particulars mainly from his own writings; and the details had never been set forth in an orderly way till Dr. J. G. Shea in 1880 prefixed to a new translation of Hennepin’s first book a satisfactory sketch. He seems to have been born in Hainault, though precisely when does not appear. Felix Van Hulst, in the title of his tract, gives the date approximately: Notice sur le Père Louis Hennepin, né à Ath (Belgique) vers 1640. Liege, 1845. He early joined the Franciscans, served the Order in various places, travelled as he could, was inspired with a desire to see the world, and felt the impulse strongest when, at Calais, he listened to the narratives of sea-captains who had returned from long voyages. This inclination prompted him to continued missionary expeditions, and to attendance upon armies in their campaigns. In 1675 Frontenac succeeded in his attempt to recall to Canada the Recollects, as a foil to the Jesuits; and among the first of that Order to go was Hennepin, who crossed the ocean in the same ship with La Salle, the ambitious explorer, and De Laval, the new Bishop of Quebec. According to his own account, Hennepin had his first quarrel with La Salle about some girls who were on their way to reinforce the family life of the new colony.[674]

La Salle enjoyed their dances, and Hennepin, as their spiritual guide, kept them under restraint. This, at least, is the Recollect story of the origin of La Salle’s enmity for the missionary.

From Quebec Hennepin continued his missionary wanderings, sometimes to remote stations, and at one time, in the spring of 1677, among the Iroquois,—not going, however, to Albany, as has been sometimes asserted. (Cf. Brodhead’s New York, ii. 307; Hist. Mag. x. 268.) Next he accompanied La Salle in his explorations west. Of Niagara he offers us the earliest picture in his 1697 publication,—of which a reduced fac-simile is here given. Others are in Gay’s Pop. Hist. U. S., ii. 511; Shea’s Hennepin, p. 379, and in his Le Clercq, ii. 112; and in the Carter-Brown Catalogue, vol. ii. no. 561. The original cut was repeated in the later editions and translations of Hennepin. These Falls had been indicated on Champlain’s map, in 1632, with the following note: “Sault d’eau au bout du Sault [Lac] Sainct Louis fort hault, où plusiers sortes de poissons descendans s’estourdissent.” This was from the natives’ accounts. Ragueneau, in the Relation of 1648, was the first to describe them, though they had been known by report to the Jesuits some years earlier (Parkman’s Jesuits, p. 142). Lalemant, in 1641, called them Onguiaahra. Ragueneau gave them no definite altitude, but called them of “frightful height.” Hennepin, in his 1683 book, calls them five hundred feet, and in 1697 six hundred feet high, and describes a side-shoot on their western verge which does not now exist. Sanson, in his map of 1657, had somewhat simplified Ragueneau’s name into Ongiara; but Hennepin gives the name in its present form. There is a great variety in the early spelling of the name. (See Canadian Journal, 1870, p. 385.) The word is of Iroquois origin, and its proper phonetic spelling is very like the form now in use (Parkman, La Salle, p. 126; O’Callaghan, Col. Doc., index, 465). Hennepin had also been anticipated in a brief notice by Gendron, in his Quelques Particularites, etc., 1659. Hennepin’s account is also translated[248] in the Mag. of Amer. Hist., v. 47. His engraving was reproduced, in 1702, in Campanius’ work on New Sweden.

Hennepin accompanied La Salle to the point where Fort Crèvecœur was built, on the Illinois, and parting from La Salle here in February, 1680, he pursued his further wandering down the Illinois to the Mississippi, and thence up to the Falls of St. Anthony, which were named by him in reference to his being a Recollect of the province of St. Anthony in Artois. On the 3d of July, 1880, the bi-centenary of the discovery of these Falls was observed, when C. K. Davis delivered an historical address. Thence, after being captured by the Sioux and rescued by a party under Du Lhut,[675] Hennepin made his way to the Wisconsin, passed by Green Bay, and reached Quebec. He soon after returned to France, where, on the 3d of September, 1682, he obtained the royal permission to print his first book, which was issued from the press Jan. 5, 1683.

From this point his story[676] can be best followed in connection with the history of his books, and as they are rare and curious, it has been thought worth while to point out a few of the repositories of copies, which are indicated by the following heavy-faced letters:—

BA. Boston Athenæum.
BPL. Boston Public Library.
C. Library of Congress.
CB. Carter-Brown Library, Providence.
HC. Harvard College Library.
HCM. Henry C. Murphy.
L. Lenox Library, New York.

For full titles, see the Bibliography in Shea’s edition of the Description of Louisiana, and the article “Hennepin,” in Sabin’s Dictionary. Cf. also Brunet, Supplément, 598.


This first book was entitled Description de la Louisiane nouvellement découverte au Sud-Oüest de la Nouvelle France. Les Mœurs des Sauvages. Par le R. P. Louis Hennepin, Paris, 1683. Pages 12, 312, 107. Some copies are dated 1684.

Copies: BA., C., CB., HC., L. (both dates).

References: Shea (ed. of Hennepin), nos. 1, 2; Sabin, Dictionary, no. 31,347; Ternaux, Bibliothèque Amér. no. 985; Harrisse, Notes sur la Nouv. France, nos. 150, 352; Carter-Brown Catalogue, vol. ii. no. 1,266, with fac-simile of title; Hist. Mag., vol. ii. no. 24 (by Mr. Lenox), 346; Dufossé, Americana, 70 francs, with genuine map, and 40 or 50 francs with fac-simile; Leclerc, Bibl. Americana, nos. 897, 898 at 90 and 150 francs; Rich, Catalogue (1832), no. 402, 12s.

The map, of which a section is herewith given in fac-simile, measures 10.2 X 17.2, “Guerard[249] inven. et fecit. Roussel sculpsit,” and is often wanting. Cf. Harrisse, no. 352; Hist. Mag., vol. ii. 24.

Harrisse (no. 219; also see no. 238) cites a map preserved in the Dépôt des Cartes de la Marine, which seems to embody the results of Hennepin’s discoveries.

The next edition (Paris, 1688) shows the same pagination, with some verbal changes in the text, and is accompanied by the same map.

Copies: B.A., CB., HC.

References: Shea, no. 3; Sabin, no. 31,348; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,354; Hist. Mag. vol. ii. p. 346; Harrisse, no. 160; O’Callaghan, Catalogue, no. 1,068; Beckford, Catalogue, no. 674, bought by Quaritch, who advertised it at £3 3s.


An extract from the Carte de la Nouvelle France et de la Louisiane, nouvellement découverte, dediée au Roy l’an 1683. Par le Révérend Père Louis Hennepin, Missionaire Recollect et Notaire Apostolique, belonging to the Description de la Louisiane, 1683. There is a full fac-simile in Shea’s translation of this book, and another one was made in 1876 by Pilinski, in Paris (36 copies). The letter A near a tree signifies “Armes du Roy telle qu’elle sont gravée sur l’escorce d’un chesne.” This map (Harrisse, no. 352) seems to resemble closely a map described by Harrisse (no. 219), as indicating the discoveries of Du Lhut, of which there is a copy in the Barlow Collection.


The following translations may be noted:—

English.—Some portions of Hennepin’s first work had been translated in Shea’s Discovery of the Mississippi, pp. 107-145; but no English translation of the whole work appeared till Dr. Shea edited a version in 1880, comparing Hennepin’s text with the second publication of that missionary (issued in 1697) with the La Salle documents, published by Margry, and with other contemporaneous papers.

Dutch.—The engraved title, Ontdekking van Louisania; the printed title, Beschryving van Louisania. It appeared at Amsterdam in 1688, under the same covers with a Dutch version of Denys’ Coast of North America, accompanied by a map which is a reduction of the map of the 1683 edition, and is called “Kaart van nieuw Vrankrijk en van Louisania;” together with four plates.

Copies: CB., HC., L.

References: Shea, no. 5; Sabin, no. 31,357; Harrisse, no. 161; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,355, with fac-simile of title; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 24; O’Callaghan, no. 1,069; Stevens, Historical Collections, vol. i. no. 1,433; Muller, Books on America, 1870, no. 908, and 1877, no. 1,395.

It is usually priced at from $8 to $10.

German.—There were two editions,—Beschreibung der Landschaft Louisiana, to which was appended a German version of Marquette’s and Joliet’s exploration, published at Nuremberg in 1689. It should have two maps.

Copies: CB., L.

References: Shea, no. 6; Ternaux, no. 1,041; Carter-Brown, vol. ii no. 1,379; O’Callaghan, no. 1,071; Muller, 1877, no. 1,399.

The other German edition of the same title appeared at Nuremberg in 1692.

Copies: CB., L.

References: Shea, no. 7; Harrisse, no. 163; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 24; Sabin, no. 31,364.

Italian.Descrizione della Luigiana. Rendered by Casimiro Freschot, and published at Bologna in 1686, with a map.

Copies: CB.

References: Shea, no. 4; Harrisse, no. 157; Sabin, no. 31,356; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 346; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,326; Ternaux, no. 1,012; Leclerc, no. 900; 60 francs.

An abridgment was printed in Il Genio Vagante, Parma, 1691, with a map, “Nuova Francia e Luigiana.” Cf. Harrisse, no. 365.

In this earliest work of Hennepin the Mississippi, it will be seen by the map, forms no certain connection with the Gulf of Mexico, but is connected by a dotted line, and there is no claim for explorations further south than the map indicates. Hennepin’s later publications have raised doubts as to the good faith of his narrative of discoveries on the Upper Mississippi. Harrisse (no. 150), for instance, says “Cette Relation de 1683 n’est en réalité qu’une pâle copie d’un des mémoires de Cavelier de la Salle;” and goes on to deny to Hennepin the priority of giving the name of Louisiana to the country. La Salle and others of his contemporaries threw out insinuations as to his veracity, or at least cautioned others against his tendency to exaggerate. (Cf. Neill, Writings of Hennepin.) The publication of an anonymous account of La Salle’s whole expedition in Margry’s Découvertes et Établissements des Français, has enabled Dr. Shea, in his edition of Hennepin, to contest Margry’s views of Hennepin’s plagiarism, and to compare the two narratives critically; and he comes to the conclusion that probably Hennepin was La Salle’s scribe before they parted, and that he certainly contributed directly or indirectly to La Salle’s despatches what pertains to Hennepin’s subsequent independent exploration,—thus making the borrowing to be on the part of the anonymous writer, who, if he were La Salle, did certainly no more than was becoming in the master of the expedition to combine the narratives of his subordinates. It is Shea’s opinion, however, that the Margry document was not written by La Salle, but by some compiler in Paris, who used Hennepin’s printed book rather than his notes or manuscript reports. Margry claims that this Relation officielle de l’enterprise de La Salle, de 1678 à 1681, was compiled by Bernou for presentation to Colbert. Parkman thinks, as opposed to Shea’s view, that Hennepin knew of the document, and incorporated many passages from it into his book (La Salle, pp. 150, 262). Dr. Shea sided with the detractors of Hennepin in his earlier Discovery of the Mississippi; but in this later book he makes fair amends for what he now considers his hasty conclusions then. Cf. further Sparks’s Life of La Salle, and the North American Review, January, 1845. Mr. Parkman’s conclusion is that this early book of Hennepin is “comparatively truthful.”


According to Hennepin’s own story, some time after his first book was published, he incurred the displeasure of the Provincial of his Order by refusing to return to America, and was in more ways than one so pursued by his superior that in the end he threw himself on the favor of William III. of England, whom he had met at the Hague. Hennepin searched Amsterdam for a publisher of his new venture, but had to take it to Utrecht, where it came out, in 1697, with a fulsome dedication to the English king. It is called in the printed title (the engraved title is abridged): Nouvelle Découverte d’un très[251] grand Pays, situé dans l’Amérique, entre le Nouveau Mexique et la Mer glaciale, Utrecht, 1797, pp. 70, 506, with two maps and two plates, one being the earliest view of Niagara Falls, as given on p. 86.


This is an extract from the second of Hennepin’s maps, Carte d’un très grand pays entre le Nouveau Mexique et la Mer glaciale, dediée à Guillaume III.... à Utreght. The same plate was used in later editions (1698, 1704, 1711, etc.), with additions of many names, and some topographical changes, and alterations of place of publication. Those of 1698 have à Utreght in some cases, and in others à Amsterdam.





Extract from Carte d’un très grand pais nouvellement découvert dans l’Amérique septentrionale, entre le Nouveau Mexique et la Mer glaciale, avec le Cours du Grand Fleuve Meschasipi ... à Utreght. The same plate was used for the editions, à Leiden, 1704, etc. The plate was re-engraved with English names for the English editions.


Copies: BA., CB., HC.

References: Shea, no. 1; Sabin, no. 31,349; Ternaux, no. 1,095; Harrisse, no. 175; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,513; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 346; Beckford, no. 675, bought by Quaritch, and advertised by him at £4 4s.; Stevens, vol. i. no. 1,434; Leclerc, no. 902, 80 francs; Harrassowitz, Catalogue, 1883, no. 58, 50 marks; Brinley, Catalogue, no. 4,491. It is usually priced in English catalogues at two or three guineas.

The portions repeated in this book from the Description de la Louisiane are enlarged, and the “Mœurs des Sauvages” is omitted.

It will be observed that in both of the maps of 1697, extracts from which are given herewith, the Mississippi River is marked as continuing its course to the Gulf. This change is made to illustrate an interpolation in the text (pp. 249-312), borrowed from Father Membré’s Journal of La Salle’s descent of the river, as given in Le Clercq’s Premier Établissement de la Foi, p. 153. Sparks, in his Life of La Salle, was the first to point out this correspondence. Mr. J. H. Perkins, reviewing Sparks’s book in the North American Review in January, 1839 (reprinted in his Memoir and Writings, vol. ii.), on the “Early French Travellers in the West,” referring to the partial statements of the distrust of Hennepin in Andrew Ellicott’s Journal, and in Stoddard’s Sketches of Louisiana, makes, for the first time, as he thinks, a thorough critical statement of the grounds “for thinking the Reverend Father so great a liar.” Further elucidation of the supposed theft was made by Dr. Shea in his Discovery of the Mississippi, etc., p. 105, where, p. 83, he translated for the first time into English Membré’s Journal. The Membré narrative is much the same as a Relation de la Découverte de l’Embouchure de la Rivière Mississippi, faite par le Sieur de la Salle, l’année passée, 1682, preserved in the Archives Scientifiques de la Marine, and printed in Thomassy’s Géologie pratique de la Louisiane. Gravier, p. 180, holds it to be the work of La Salle himself (Boimare, Text explicatif pour accompagner la première planche historique relative à la Louisiane, Paris, 1868; cf. Gravier’s Appendix, no. viii). That there was a fraud on Hennepin’s part has been generally held ever since Sparks made his representations. Bancroft calls Hennepin’s journal “a lie.” Brodhead calls it an audacious falsehood. Parkman (La Salle, p. 226) deems it a fabrication, and has critically examined Hennepin’s inconsistencies. Gravier classes his narrative with Gulliver’s.

The excuse given in the Nouvelle Découverte for the tardy appearance of this Journal is, that fear of the hostility of La Salle having prevented its appearance in the Description de la Louisiane, that explorer’s death rendered the suppression of it no longer necessary. It is, moreover, proved that passages from Le Clercq are also appropriated in describing the natives and the capture of Quebec in 1628. The reply to this was that Le Clercq stole from a copy of Hennepin’s Journal, which had been lent to Le Roux in Quebec. These revelations led Shea seriously to question in his Mississippi if Hennepin had ever seen the upper parts of that river, and to suspect that Hennepin may have learned what he wrote from Du Lhut. Harrisse, p. 176, brings forward some new particulars about Hennepin’s relations with Du Lhut.

Dr. Shea’s later views, as expressed in his English translation (1880) of the Description de la Louisiane (1683), is that Hennepin’s manuscript or revamped copy of his earlier book, as prepared for the printer by himself, was subjected to the manipulations of an ignorant and treacherous editor, who made these insertions to produce a more salable book, and that Hennepin was not responsible for it in the form in which it appeared. Shea’s arguments to prove this opposite of the generally received opinion are based on inherent evidence in the insertions that Hennepin could not have written them, and on the material evidences of these questionable portions of the book having been printed at a later time than the rest of it, and in different type. The only rejoinder yet made to this exculpation is by Mr. E. D. Neill, in a tract on The Writings of Louis Hennepin, read before the Minnesota Historical Society in November, 1880, in which the conclusion is reached that “nothing has been discovered to change the verdict of two centuries, that Louis Hennepin, Recollect Franciscan, was deficient in Christian manhood.”

The Nouvelle Découverte was reset and reissued in 1698 at Amsterdam, with the same maps and a new title.

Copies: CB., L.

References: Shea, no. 2; Sabin, no. 31,350; Harrisse, no. 176; Ternaux, no. 1,110; O’Callaghan, no. 1,073; Muller, 1877, no. 3,666; Sparks, Catalogue, no. 1,211; Rich, 1832, 12s.; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. 1,538; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. pp. 24,346.

There was another edition, Voyage ou Nouvelle Découverte, at Amsterdam in 1704, with the same maps and additional plates, to which was appended La Borde’s Voyage.

Copies: BA., CB.

References: Shea, no. 3; Sabin, no. 31,352; Rich, 1830, no. 8; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 347; Beckford, no. 676; Leclerc, no. 905, 60 francs; Stevens, vol. i. no. 1,436; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 52.

The Hague and Leyden editions of the same year (1704) had an engraved title, Voyage curieux [255]... qui contient une Nouvelle Découverte, but were evidently from the same type, and also have the La Borde appended.

Copies: CB., L., HCM.

References: Shea, nos. 4, 5; Sabin, no. 31,353; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. 25.

The Amsterdam edition of 1711 was called Voyages curieux et nouveaux de Messieurs Hennepin et de la Borde, with oblong title, folded in, which seems to be the only difference from the 1704 editions.

Copies: BA., CB., HC.

References: Shea, no. 6; Sabin, no. 31,354; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 153.

In 1712 another Amsterdam edition was called Voyage ou Nouvelle Découverte.

Copy: CB.

References: Shea, no. 7; Sabin, no. 31,355; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 347; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 168; Stevens, vol. i. no. 1,438.

Hennepin’s book also appeared in the third edition, at Amsterdam (1737), of Bernard’s Recueil de Voyages au Nord, vol. ix., with a map called “Le Cours du fleuve Mississipi, 1737.” Cf. Shea, no. 8; Sabin, no. 4,936; Historical Magazine, ii. 25. It also appeared at Amsterdam in 1720, in Relations de la Louisiane et du Fleuve Mississippi (Dufossé, 1878, no. 4,577), and again in 1737 in connection with a translation of Garcilasso de la Vega (Dr. O’Callaghan in Historical Magazine, ii. 24). An abridgment appeared in Paris, in 1720, under the title, Description de la Louisiane, par le Chevalier Bonrepos, pp. 45 (Lenox in Historical Magazine, ii. 25).

The following translations may be noted:—

Dutch.—1. Nieuwe Ontdekkinge, etc., Amsterdam, 1699.

Copy: CB.

References: Shea, no. 9; Sabin, no. 31,359; Harrisse, no. 183.

2. Nieuwe Entdekkinge, etc., Amsterdam, 1702. It follows the 1697 French edition, with the same maps and plates, and has Capiné’s book on the Spanish West Indies appended.

Copies: BA., CB., L.

References: Shea, no. 10; Sabin, no. 31,360; Lenox in Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 25; Muller, 1870, no. 912, and 1877, no. 1,397; Brinley, no. 4,493; O’Callaghan, no. 1,076; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 23.

3. Aenmerkelyke Voyagie, etc., Leyden, 1704.

Copy: CB.

References: Shea, no. 11; Sabin, no. 31,361; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. nos. 53, 54; Stevens, vol. i. no. 1,437; Muller, 1870, no. 913, and 1877, no. 1,398.

4. Aanmerkkelyke Voyagie, etc., Rotterdam, 1704. It is usually found with Benzoni’s West-Indise Voyagien, and also in Van der Aa’s Collection of Voyages, 1704.

Copies: C., CB., L.

References: Shea, nos. 12, 13; Sabin, no. 31,362; Lenox in Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 25.

5. Nieuwe Ontdekkinge, etc. Amsterdam, 1722.

Copy: CB.

References: Shea, no. 14; Sabin, no. 31,363.

English.Discovery of a Large, Rich, and Plentiful Country, etc., London, 1720.

Copies: BA., CB., HC.

References: Shea, no. 2; Sabin, nos. 20,247, 31,373; Historical Magazine, vol. i. p. 347; Rich, no. 12; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 267.

This is an abridgment.

German.—1. Neue Entdeckung, etc. Bremen, 1699.

Copies: CB., L.

References: Shea, no. 15; Historical Magazine, vol. i. p. 347, vol. ii. p. 25; Sabin, no. 31,367; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,572; Harrisse, no. 185; Stevens, vol. i. no. 1,435.

2. Beschreibung der Grosser Flusse Mississipi. Dritte Auflage, Leipzig, 1720.

Copy: L.

References: Lenox in Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 25.

3. Neue Reise Beschreibung, etc., Nürnberg, 1739.

Copy: CB.

References: Shea, no. 16; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 604.

4. Neue Entdeckung, etc., Bremen, 1742.

Copy: CB.

Reference: Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 708.

Spanish.Relaçion, etc., Brusselas, 1699.

Copies: HC., CB., L. An abridgment by Sebastian Fernandez de Medrano.

References: Shea, no. 1; Sabin, no. 31,374; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,573; Lenox in Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 25; Ternaux, no. 1,126.

It has the same map with the 1697 French edition, with an Italian label, “Carta geografica de un Pais,” etc., pasted over the French title.


It has been customary to bestow upon this volume a similar distrust as upon the preceding; but Dr. Shea contends that the luckless treatment of the Nouvelle Découverte by a presumptuous editor was also repeated with this. It was entitled, Nouveau Voyage d’un Pais plus grand que l’Europe, Utrecht, 1698. The work was made up from Le Clercq, and included the treatise on the Indians which had been omitted in the Nouvelle Découverte, of which this volume may be considered the supplement.

Copies: BA., CB.

References: Shea, no. 1; Sabin, no. 31,351; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,537; Harrisse, no. 177; Beckford,[256] no. 677, bought by Quaritch, who priced it at £4 4s.; Leclerc, no. 904, 70 francs; Rich, no. 455; Ternaux. no. 1,111.

The Nouveau Voyage was also included in an abridged form in the second (1720) and third (1734) editions of the Recueil de Voyages au Nord, published by Bernard at Amsterdam. Cf. Shea, 2 and 3.

It was also issued in the following translations:—

Dutch.—Engraved title, Reyse door nieuwe Ondekte Landen. Printed title, Aenmerckelycke Historische Reijs Beschryvinge, Utrecht, 1698. The map reads, “Carte d’un Nouveau Monde entre Le Nouveau Mexique et la Mer glaciale. Gasp. Bouttals fecit.”

Copies: BA., CB.

References: Shea, no. 4; Sabin, no. 31,358; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,539, with fac-simile of title; Historical Magazine, vol. ii. p. 347; Harrisse, no. 179; Trömel, no. 425; O’Callaghan, no. 1,075; Muller, 1877, no. 1,396.

English.—In the Archæologia Americana, vol. i.

German, I.Neue Reise Beschreibung, übersetzt durch M. J. G. Langen, Bremen, 1698.

Copy: CB.

References: Shea, no. 5.; Sabin, no. 31,365; Ternaux, no. 1,049, of doubtful date; Harrisse, no. 165; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,540.

2. Reisen und seltsehme Begebenheiten, etc., Bremen, 1742.

References: Shea, no. 6; Sabin, no. 31,369.


The Nouvelle Découverte and the Nouveau Voyage were combined in an English translation issued under the following title: A new Discovery of a Vast Country in America, extending above four thousand miles between New France and New Mexico, etc., London, 1698. It contains—part i., a translation of the Nouvelle Découverte; part ii., in smaller type and new paging, a version of the Nouveau Voyage; the rest of the volume in the type of part i. and continuing its paging, being an account of Marquette’s voyages. Another edition of the same year shows a slight change of title, with alterations in part i. and part ii. rewritten. Still another issue conforms in title to the earliest, but in body, with a slight correction, to the second edition. The engraved title of the first edition is given herewith. This picture is a re-engraving reversed of the one on the title of the Nouvelle Découverte of 1697.

Copies: BPL., CB., HC.

References: Shea, nos. 1, 2, 3; Sabin, nos. 31,370, 31,371; Ternaux, nos. 1,010, 1,119; Historical Magazine, vol. i. p. 347; Field, Indian Bibliography, no. 685; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. nos. 1,535, 1,536; Rich, no. 456; Brinley, no. 4,492; Harrisse, no. 181; Menzies Catalogue, no. 915.

In the next year (1699) there was a reprint of the second issue of the preceding year.

Copy: BA.

References: Shea, no. 4; Sabin, no. 31,372; O’Callaghan, no. 1,074; and Historical Magazine, vol. ii p. 74; Menzies, no. 916.




LA HONTAN, a young Gascon, born about 1667, had come to Canada in 1683, and from being a common soldier, had by his ability risen to an officer’s position. He became a favorite of Frontenac, and was selected by him to bear the despatch to Paris which conveyed an account of Phips’s failure before Quebec in 1690. He was not long after made deputy-governor of Placentia, where he quarrelled with his superior and fled to France; and here, fearing arrest, he was obliged to escape beyond its boundaries. After the Peace of Ryswick he sought reinstatement, but was not successful; and it is alleged that his book, which he now published, was in some measure the venting of his spleen. It appeared in 1703, at La Haye, as Nouveaux Voyages dans l’Amérique septentrionale, qui contiennent une Relation des différens Peuples que y habitent, in two volumes (the second entitled Mémoires de l’Amérique septentrionale, ou la suite des Voyages), with twenty-six maps and plates (Sabin, vol. x. nos. 38,635-38,638; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 36; Quaritch, 25 shillings; Leclerc, no. 737, 40 francs). Another edition, in somewhat larger type and better engravings, with a vignette in place of the sphere on the title, appeared the same year. Dr. Shea is inclined to think this the authorized edition, and the other a pirated one, with reversed cuts. La Hontan, being in London, superintended an edition published there the same year in English, called New Voyages to North America (in Harvard College Library; cf. Brinley Catalogue, no. 101; Field, Indian Bibliography, no. 852; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 39), likewise in two volumes, but containing in addition a Dialogue between La Hontan and a Huron Indian (the Rat), which had not been included in the Hague edition, and which was the vehicle of some religious scepticism. There were thirteen plates in vol. i., and eleven in vol. ii., and La Hontan speaks of them as being much better than those of the Holland edition (Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,644). This same Dialogue was issued separately the next year (1704) at Amsterdam in French,—Dialogue du Baron de La Hontan et d’un Sauvage dans l’Amérique; and also, with a changed title (Supplément aux Voyages du Baron La Hontan), as the third volume or “suite” of the Voyages, and sometimes with added pages devoted to travels in Portugal and Denmark (Sabin, vol. x. nos. 38,633, 38,634, 38,637; Field, no. 853; Leclerc, nos. 738, 739; Muller, Books on America, 1872, no. 864). These editions are found with the dates also of 1704 and 1705. What is called a “seconde Édition, revue, corrigée, et augmentée,” with twenty-seven plates (but not from the same coppers, however, with the earlier issues), and omitting the “Carte générale,” appeared likewise at La Haye in 1705 and 1706. This is professedly “almost recast, to make the style more pure, concise, and simple, with the Dialogues rewritten.” The Denmark and Portugal voyage being omitted, it is brought within two volumes, the second of which is still called Mémoires, etc. (Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 68). There were later French editions in 1707, 1709, and 1715, and at Amsterdam in 1721, with the “suite,” dated 1728, three volumes in all, and sometimes all three are dated 1728; and still other editions are dated 1731 and 1741 (Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,640, who says it is quite impossible to make a clear statement of all the varieties of these several editions; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 689). The English version appeared again at London in 1735 (Menzies, no. 1,178; Brinley, no. 101; Sabin, vol. x. nos. 38,645, 38,646, who says there are various imprints; and it is also included in Pinkerton’s Voyages, vol. xiii.). There are also a German edition, Des beruhmten Herrn Baron de La Hontan Neueste Reisen, 1709 (Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,647; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. no. 123; Stevens, Bibl. Hist., no. 2,505), and a Dutch, Reizen van den Baron van La Hontan, 1739 (Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,648; Stevens, no. 2,506).



This is the western part of the Carte Générale de Canada, which appeared in the Nouveaux Voyages, La Haye, 1709, vol. ii., and was re-engraved in his Mémoires, Amsterdam, 1741, vol. iii.



A middle section from his “Carte Générale de Canada,” in his Nouveaux Voyages, La Haye, 1709, vol. ii.; re-engraved in the Amsterdam, 1741, edition of the Mémoires, vol. iii.



A fac-simile of the frontispiece to La Hontan’s New Voyages, London, 1703. It was less carefully drawn in the re-engraving of smaller size for the Mémoires de l’Amérique, vol. ii., Amsterdam; and still another plate of the same map will be found in the 1709 and 1715 La Haye editions.

The book is thought to have been edited by Nicolas Gueudeville; or at least his hand is usually recognized in the customary third volume of some of the editions. Faribault (p. 76) says that a bookseller in Amsterdam knew that the Dialogue was added by Gueudeville, in whose Atlas, Amsterdam, 1719, as well as in Corneille’s Geographical Dictionary, the accounts given of La Hontan’s Rivière Longue are incorporated.



Fac-simile of the map in the Nouveaux Voyages, La Haye, 1709, i. 136. He reports that the river was called by some the Dead River, because of its sluggish current.


As early as 1715-1716 there was a general discrediting of the story of La Hontan, as will be seen by letters addressed by Bobé to De l’Isle, the French geographer, and printed in the Historical Magazine, iii. 231, 232; but the English geographer, Herman Moll, in his maps between 1710 and 1720, was under La Hontan’s influence. Another English cartographer, John Senex (1710), accepted the La Hontan story with considerable hesitation, and later rejected it. Daniel Coxe, in his Carolana (1727), quite unreservedly accepted it; and the Long River appears as Moingona in Popple’s Atlas, in 1733.

The German geographer, Homann, of Nuremberg, was in some degree influenced; and the French cartographer De l’Isle sometimes accepted these alleged discoveries, and again discarded them; but the careful work of Bellin, in Charlevoix’s Nouvelle France, did much to relegate La Hontan to oblivion. Charlevoix himself says: “The great liberty which La Hontan gives his pen has contributed greatly to make his book read by people not informed to separate truth from falsehood. It fails to teach the well-informed, and confuses others. The episode of the voyage up the Long River is as fabulous as the Barataria of Sancho Panza.” (Cf. Shea’s ed., i. 86, with Shea’s note, iii. 286.) The Long River some years later, however, figured in the map which illustrates Samuel Engel’s Extraits raisonnés des Voyages faits dans les parties septentrionales, published at Lausanne, and again in 1765, and again in 1779, and of which there is also a German translation. At a later date Carver accepted the accounts of this western river as genuine, and identified it with the St. Peter’s,—a belief which Long again, in his Expedition to St. Peter’s River, wholly rejected. (Cf. also J. H. Perkins in the North American Review (1839), vol. xlviii. no. 98, where it is thought possible; and the paper by H. Scadding in the Canadian Journal, 2d series, vol. xiii. pp. 240, 396.) Parkman expresses the present view of scholars when he says (La Salle, p. 458) that La Hontan’s account of the Long River is a sheer fabrication; but he did not, like Hennepin, add slander and plagiarism to mendacity. Again, in his Frontenac (p. 105), he calls La Hontan “a man in advance of his time, for he had the caustic, sceptical, and mocking spirit which a century later marked the approach of the great Revolution. He usually told the truth when he had no motive to do otherwise, and yet was capable at times of prodigious mendacity,” for his account of what “he saw in the colony is commonly in accord with the best contemporary evidence.” There are some exceptions to this view. Gravier speaks of La Hontan as “de bonne foi et de jugement sain”!





AT the time of the discovery of this portion of the northern continent, the missionary spirit was active in the Catholic Church. The labors of the earlier monks had been revived and continued in the East by the new zeal of the orders of friars, especially of the Franciscan and Dominican Fathers. The earlier voyages of explorations from Cabot’s day were accompanied by priests; and as soon as the condition and character of the inhabitants were known, projects were formed for their conversion. This work was looked upon as a duty by the kings of Spain, Portugal, and France, as well as by the hierarchy and religious orders. Coeval with the Spanish and French attempts to settle on the coast, were missionary efforts, often pushed with wonderful zeal and courage far into the interior by intrepid apostles, who, trusting their lives to Indian guides, sought fields of labor.

The mission lines on the map meet and cross, as, undeterred by the death of pioneers, others took up the task. In 1526, Dominicans reared a chapel on the banks of the James in Virginia; in 1539, the Italian Franciscan Mark, from Nice, penetrated to New Mexico; and soon after, Father Padilla, of the same order, died by the hands of the Indians near the waters of the Missouri. By 1559 Dominicans were traversing the territories of the Mobilian tribes from Pensacola to the Mississippi; and when Melendez founded St. Augustine, it became a mission centre whence the Jesuit missionaries threaded the Atlantic coast to Chesapeake Bay and the banks of the Rappahannock, before they left that field to the Franciscans, who dotted Florida and Georgia with their mission chapels.

The same spirit was seen pervading France, where the conversion of the Indians of the New World was regarded as a duty of the highest order. One of the first traces that we find of French voyages to the northern coast is the mention in an early edition of the Chronicle of Eusebius, in 1508, that Indians who had been brought from the new-found land received baptism within the walls of a cathedral in France.

Though the introduction of Calvinism led to the destruction of many a convent and shrine, and thinned by death the ranks of the mission orders,[264] the zeal for the conversion of the Indians survived the wars of religion. Soon after Poutrincourt began his settlement in Acadia, it was made a reproach to him that nothing had been done for the conversion of the natives. He addressed a letter to the Pope, as if to put the fact of his orthodoxy beyond all question; and when it was proposed to send out Jesuit missionaries to labor among the Indians, he caused twenty-five of the natives to be baptized in token of his zeal for their spiritual welfare.

The establishment of a Jesuit mission was, however, decided upon. On the 12th of June, 1611, Fathers Peter Biard and Enemond Masse reached Port Royal. Some difficulties had been thrown in their way, and others met them in the petty settlement. They turned at once to study the Micmac language, so as to begin their mission labors among that nation of Algonquins. The aged Membertou, who had acquired some French, was their interpreter and first convert. Biard visited all the coast as far as the Kennebec, and tried to give some ideas of Christianity to the Abenakis on that river. Finding that little could be done at Port Royal, where the settlers hampered rather than aided their efforts, the Jesuits projected an independent mission settlement elsewhere. Their protector, Madame de Guercheville, obtained from the French king a grant of all the coast from the St. Lawrence to Florida. A vessel was sent out, the missionaries were taken on board, and a settlement was begun on Mount Desert Island. There a cross was planted, and Mass said at a rustic altar. But the Jesuits were not to carry out their mission projects. English vessels under Argall, from Virginia, attacked the ship and settlement of St. Savior; a Jesuit laybrother was killed; the rest of the settlers were sent to France or carried prisoners to Virginia. Thus ended the first Jesuit mission begun under French auspices.[677]

Meanwhile Champlain had succeeded in establishing a settlement on the St. Lawrence, and had penetrated to Lake Champlain and the rapids of the Ottawa. On all sides were tribes “living like brute beasts, without law, without religion, without God.” His religious zeal was quickened; for Quebec itself was destitute of ministers of religion. The Recollects, a reformed branch of the Franciscan order, were invited to enter the field. They accepted the mission, and in May, 1615, four of the Gray Friars landed at Quebec. Father John Dolbeau at once began a mission among the Montagnais,—the tribe occupying that portion of the St. Lawrence valley,—and wintered with them in their wandering hunter life, enduring all its hardships, and learning their language and ideas. The friendly Wyandots, from the shores of a far distant lake, were the tribe assigned to Father Joseph le Caron, and to the palisaded towns of this more civilized race he boldly ventured, without waiting for Champlain. In the summer of 1615 he set up his altar in a new bark lodge in the Huron town of Caragouha, near Thunder Bay, and began to learn a new strange tongue, so as to teach the flock around him.


The Recollects had thus undertaken to evangelize two races, who, with their kindred, extended from the ocean to the Mississippi, from the Chesapeake and Ohio to the frozen lands of the Esquimaux. Their languages, differing from all known to European scholars in vocabulary, forms, and the construction of sentences, offered incredible difficulties. The ideas these Indians held of a future state were so obscure, that it was not easy to find enough of natural religion by which to lead them to the revealed. Progress was naturally slow,—there was more to discourage than to cheer. Still the Franciscans labored on; and though their number was limited to six, they had in 1625 five missions at Tadousac, Quebec, Three Rivers, among the Nipissings, and in the Huron country.

Finding that the mission field in New France required an order bound to less scrupulous poverty than their own, the Recollects of Paris invited the Jesuits to aid them. Enemond Masse, of the unfortunate Acadian mission, with Charles Lalemant and John de Brebeuf, came over in 1625. The old opposition to the order was renewed. The Jesuits were homeless, till the Recollects opened the doors of their convent to them. Commanding resources from influential friends, they soon began to build, and brought over men to swell the settlement and cultivate the ground. They joined the Recollects in the missions already founded, profiting by their experience. This enabled the Church to extend its missions. Father Joseph de la Roche d’Aillon, leaving the Hurons, struck southwesterly, and founded a mission among the Neutral Nation, apparently on the eastern bank of the Niagara, and urged his countrymen to open direct communication by way of Lake Ontario with that fertile part of the country.

The little colony at Quebec was, however, on the verge of starvation; and after once baffling the English, Champlain surrendered in 1629, and the missions of the Recollects and Jesuits came to a close. A mere handful of converts was all the reward of their long and zealous labors, and these they were compelled to leave exposed to the danger of lapsing back into their original heathendom.

We cannot trace very distinctly the system adopted by the Recollects and their Jesuit auxiliaries during this first period of mission labor in Canada. Their usual course was to remain during the pleasant months at the French posts,—Quebec, Three Rivers, and Tadousac,—attending to the spiritual wants of the French and of the Indians who encamped near by for trade, and then to follow an Indian band on its winter hunt. The Recollects spoke despondingly. Some young men were taken to France and instructed there,—one, Peter Anthony, having the Prince de Guimené as his sponsor in baptism. But they found it almost impossible to keep the young for any prolonged instruction, and they hesitated to baptize adults, except in case of danger of death.

In the Huron country Father Nicholas Viel succeeded Le Caron, and had his little chapel at Quieunonascaran, cultivating a small patch of ground[266] around his bark lodge. His success does not seem to have exceeded that of his fellow religious in the more nomadic tribes. While on his way to Quebec in 1625 he was treacherously hurled from his canoe by a Huron guide, and perished in the rapid waters near Montreal that still bear the name of Sault au Récollet.

Another Recollect, Father William Poullain, while on his way with some Frenchmen from Quebec to Sault St. Louis, fell into the hands of the Iroquois, who were about to torture him at the stake, when he was saved by an offer of an exchange made by his countrymen.

The Jesuits adopted the system of the Recollects, but we have no details of their labors,—one Huron boy taken to France, where he was baptized by the name of Louis de Sainte Foy, being the result of the joint labors to which most allusion is made.

The Court of France seems to have considered that both Recollect and Jesuit had failed to acquire the languages of the country sufficiently to do the work of God and of his most Christian Majesty. At all events, each order hastened to put in print evidence of its proficiency in American linguistics. The Recollect Sagard published a Huron Dictionary; the Jesuit Brebeuf, a translation of Ledesma’s Catechism into Huron, with the Lord’s Prayer and other devotions rendered into Montagnais by Father Enemond Masse.[678]

When England reluctantly yielded up her Canadian conquest, the all-powerful Cardinal Richelieu seems to have looked with no kindly eye on either of the bodies who had already labored to evangelize New France. He offered the mission to his favorite order, the Capuchins, and only when they declined it did he permit the Jesuits to return.

With the restoration of Canada to France by the treaty of Saint Germain in 1632, the history of the great Jesuit missions begins. For some years the Fathers of the Society of Jesus were, almost without exception, the only clergy in the colony in charge of all the churches of the settlers and the missions to the Indian tribes. When a pious association, under the inspiration of the Venerable Mr. Olier, founded Montreal, members of the Society of Priests which he had formed at Saint Sulpice became the clergy of that town; and they gathered near it a double-tongued Indian mission, which still continues to exist under their care. They made no attempt to extend their labors, except in the missionary voyage of Dollier de Casson and Galinée[267] in the mission of the Abbés Fénelon and Trouvé at Quinté Bay, and the later labors of the Abbé Picquet at Ogdensburg.

When Bishop Laval was appointed for Canada in 1658, he founded a seminary at Quebec, which was aggregated to the Seminary of the Foreign Missions in Paris. The Jesuits then resigned all the parishes which they had directed in the colony, and confined themselves to their college and their Indian missions. The priests of the Seminary of Quebec, beside their parish work, also undertook missions among the Indians in Acadia, Illinois, and on the lower Mississippi.

A collision between the Governor of Canada and the Bishop with his clergy and the Jesuits, in regard to the sale of liquor to the Indians, led the Government to send back the Recollects to resume their early labors. They did not, however, undertake any important missions among the Indian tribes. Their efforts were confined almost exclusively to the period and course of La Salle’s attempts at settlement and exploration, and to a mission at Gaspé and a shorter one on the Penobscot.

When the colony of Louisiana took form, the Indian missions there were confided to the Jesuits, who directed them till the suppression of the order terminated their existence in the dominions of France. Spain, in her colonies, sent other orders to continue the work of the Jesuits, and this was done successfully in some places; but there was no effort made to sustain those of the Jesuits in Canada and Louisiana, and amid the political changes which rapidly ensued the early French missions gradually dwindled away.

These Jesuit missions embraced the labors of the Fathers among the Micmacs, chiefly on Cape Breton Island and at Miscou; the missions among the Montagnais, Bersiamites, Oumamiwek, Porcupine Indians, Papinachois, and other tribes of the lower St. Lawrence and Saguenay, the centre being at Tadousac; the missions of which Quebec was the immediate centre, comprising the work among the Montagnais of that district and Algonquins from the west. Of this Algonquin mission, Sillery soon became the main mission; but as the Algonquins disappeared, Abenakis came to settle there, and remained till the chapel was removed to St. François de Sales. Then Three Rivers was a mission station for the Indians near it, and for the Attikamegues inland, till a separate mission was established for that tribe. Beyond Montreal was the mission to the Nipissings, and the great Huron mission, the scene of the most arduous and continued labors of the Fathers among the palisaded towns of the Wyandots and Dinondadies. After the ruin of these nations, the Jesuits led one part of the survivors to Isle Orleans, and subsequently gathered a remnant of them at Lorette, where their descendants still remain. The rest fled towards the Mississippi, and were zealously followed by the energetic missionaries, who gathered them at Mackinac, whence they removed in time to Detroit, and ultimately to Sandusky, the last point where the Jesuits ministered to them.


Beyond Lake Huron was the great Ottawa mission, embracing the attempts to christianize the Ottawas on Lake Superior, the Chippewas at Sault Ste. Marie, the Beaver Indians and Crees; at Green Bay was another post for the Menomonees, Pottawatamies, Foxes, and Mascoutens; while south of Lake Michigan came in time Jesuit labors among the Miamis and Illinois. The missions attempted among the Sioux beyond the Mississippi mark the western limit of the old Jesuit efforts to convert the native tribes.

With the establishment of Louisiana came the missions of the Society among the Yazoos, Arkansas, Choctaws, Alibamons, and other tribes.

The Micmac Mission.—The Jesuit missions among the Micmacs never attained any remarkable development, and most of the territory occupied by this branch of the Algonquin family was attended by other bodies of missionaries. Father Julian Perrault began his labors on Cape Breton in 1634; Charles Turgis, with others, was at Miscou in the following years. Most of the Jesuits, however, were compelled to withdraw with shattered health; and Turgis, devoting himself to the care of the sick, died at his post in 1637. Father John Dolebeau became paralyzed, and while returning to France was blown up at sea. At last, however, Father Andrew Richard and Martin de Lyonne succeeded in founding a mission; they learned the language, and extended their labors to Chaleurs Bay, Ile Percée, Miramichi, and Chédabuctou, finding one old woman who had been baptized by Biard at Port Royal. Lyonne died, devotedly attending the sick, in 1661; Richard continued his labors some years later, aided for a time by James Fremin, and cheered by visits from his superior, Jerome Lalemant. They made some converts, although they did not banish the old superstitions and savagery of the tribe; but when Bishop Laval visited Gaspé in 1659, the missionaries presented one hundred and forty Indian Christians for confirmation.

When Richard’s labors ceased, the Recollects took charge of the mission at Isle Percée, where French and Indians were attended from about 1673 by Fathers Hilarion Guesnin and Exuperius Dethune. They were succeeded in 1675 by Father Christian Le Clercq, who took up the Indian mission with zeal, and has left ineffaceable traces of his twelve years’ labor. He acquired the Micmac language; and finding that some Indians, to aid their memory in retaining his instructions, employed a system of hieroglyphics on bits of bark, he studied and improved it, till he had the daily prayers, mass, and catechism in this form. The Indians readily adopted these hieroglyphics, and taught them to their children and later converts. They have been retained in use till the present, and the Rev. Christian Kauder, a Redemptorist, had type cut in Austria, and published a catechism, hymn and prayer book, in them at Vienna in 1866. In 1685 land was given to the priests of the Seminary of Quebec; gentlemen of that[269] body, with some Recollects and occasionally a Jesuit Father, served the coast from Gaspé to Nova Scotia, and all the Micmacs became Catholics. They seem to have been attended with the French, and not as a distinct mission. The Micmac territory included not only the coast, but Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Of these missionaries, Messrs. Thury and Gaulin and the Recollect Felix Pain seem to have been the most prominent. The Abbé Anthony S. Maillard, who was missionary to the Micmacs in Cape Breton and Acadia till his death in 1768, exercised great influence; and his mastery of the language is shown in his Grammar of the Micmac, which was printed at New York in 1864.

The Montagnais Mission.—Tadousac was from the commencement of French settlement on the St. Lawrence an anchoring-place for vessels and a trading-station which attracted Indians from the west and north. Missionaries made visits to the spot from an early period, but the Jesuit mission there is regarded as having been founded in 1640. It received charitable aid from the Duchess d’Aiguillon, who maintained for a time the Fathers employed there. Father John de Quen may be said to have established the first permanent mission, from which gradually extended efforts for christianizing the tribes on the shores down to Labrador and on the upper waters of the Saguenay.

The first mission was the result of the effort of Charles Meiachkwat, a Montagnais who had visited Sillery and induced the Jesuit Fathers to send one of their number to Tadousac. Charles erected the first chapel; and may be regarded as the first native Christian of that district, and first native catechist, for he visited neighboring tribes to impart what religious knowledge he had learned.

The missionaries encountered the usual difficulties,—great laxity of morals, a deep-rooted belief in dreams, the influence of the medicine-men, and vices introduced by the traders, especially intoxication. Father Buteux, who replaced De Quen for a time, seems to have been the first to give his neophytes the kind of calendar still in use among the wandering Indians, with spaces for each day, to be marked off as it came, and Sundays and holidays so designated by symbols that they could recognize and observe them.

The missionaries at first went down from Quebec in the spring, and continued their labors till autumn, when the Indians scattered for the winter hunt; but as the neophytes felt the want of a regular ministry during the winter, they attempted, in 1645, to supply it by performing some of the priestly functions themselves. This led to fuller instruction; and to impress them, the missionaries left marked pieces of wood of different colors, called massinahigan, a word still in use in all the Catholic missions among Algonquin nations for a book of prayers.

In 1646 De Quen ascended the Saguenay, and penetrated, by way of the Chicoutimi, to Lake St. John, in order to preach to the Porcupine tribe, who[270] had already erected a cross in their village. Three years later, Father Gabriel Druillettes visited the same tribe and reared his bark chapel among them. In 1651 De Quen made another missionary excursion, reaching various villages on the lake, and subsequently, returning to Tadousac, sailed down the St. Lawrence till he reached bands of the Oumamiwek or Bersiamites, among whom he began mission work.

The mission of the Holy Cross at Tadousac was, however, the scene of the most assiduous labors, as often a thousand Indians of different tribes would be encamped there; and though nothing could be done to check the errant life of these Algonquins, ideas of Christian morality and faith were inculcated, and much reformation was effected. In 1660 Father Jerome Lalemant, superior of the missions, continued the labors of his predecessors on Lake St. John, and ascending the Mistassini, reached Nekouba, then a gathering-place for the Algonquin tribes of the interior. Here they hoped to reach several nations who had never seen a missionary, and especially the Ecureuil, or Squirrel tribe; but the Iroquois war-parties had penetrated farther than missionary zeal, and the Jesuits found the Algonquins of these remote cantons fleeing in all directions after sustaining a series of defeats from the fierce men-hunters from the Mohawk and Oswego. The great aim was to reach the Crees, but that nation was subsequently approached by way of the great lakes, when the route in that direction was opened by Menard.

Bailloquet and Nouvel wintered in successive years with bands of Montagnais, travelling in snow-shoes, and drawing their chapel requisites on a sled, as they followed the hunters, pitching their tents on encountering other parties, to enable them to fulfil their religious duties. Then, in the spring of 1664, while Druillettes visited the tribes on the upper waters of the Saguenay, Nouvel ascended the Manicouagan to the lake of that name in the country of the Papinachois, a part yet untrodden by the foot of the white man. Some of the tribe were already Christians, converted at the mission posts; but to most the missionary was an object of wonder, and his rude chapel a never-ceasing marvel to them and to a more northerly tribe, the Ouchestigouetch, who soon came to camp beside the mission cross.

Nouvel cultivated this tribe for several years, wintering among them, or pursuing them in their scattered cabins, till the spring of 1667, when all the Christians of these Montagnais bands gathered at Tadousac to meet Bishop Laval, who, visiting his diocese in his bark canoe, was coming to confer on those deemed sufficiently grounded in the faith the sacrament of confirmation. He reached Tadousac on the 24th of June, and was welcomed by four hundred Christian Indians, who escorted him to the temporary bark chapel, for the church had been totally destroyed by fire. The bishop confirmed one hundred and forty-nine.

Beaulieu, Albanel, and Druillettes labored there in the following years;[271] but small-pox and other diseases, with want caused by the Iroquois driving them from their hunting-grounds, had reduced the Indians, so that, as Albanel states, in 1670 Tadousac was almost deserted,—not more than one hundred Indians assembled there, whereas he remembered the time when one could count a thousand or twelve hundred encamped at the post at once; and of this petty band some were Micmacs from Gaspé, and Algonquins from Sillery.

In 1671, while Father de Crépieul remained in charge of the missions near Tadousac, with which he was for years identified, Albanel, with the Sieur Denys de St. Simon, ascended the Saguenay, and wintering near Lake St. John pushed on by Lake and River Nemiskau, till they reached the shores of Hudson’s Bay, where the Jesuit planted his cross and began a mission. On his way to revisit it in 1674, he was crippled by an accident, and Albanel found him helpless in mid-winter in the woods near Lake St. John. Crépieul then visited the Papinachois in their country, as Father Louis Nicolas did the Oumamis at the Seven Islands. Boucher, a few years later, aided Crépieul, and from their chapels at Chicoutimi and Metabetchouan as centres, missionary excursions were made in all directions.

Dalmas, a later auxiliary of Crépieul, after wintering at Chicoutimi, was killed in the spring of 1694 on the shores of Hudson’s Bay.

De Crépieul clung to his arduous mission till 1702, when, broken by his long and severe labors, he retired to Quebec, where he died soon after.

Peter Michael Laure, who occupied the same field from 1720 to 1737, drew up a Montagnais grammar and dictionary, greatly aided, as his manuscript tells us, by the pious Mary Outchiwanich.

Father John Baptist La Crosse was the last of the old Jesuit missionaries at Tadousac and Chicoutimi, dying at the former post in 1782, after the suppression of his order and the disasters of his countrymen. He taught many of his flock to read and write, and they handed down the knowledge from parent to child, clinging to the religious books and Bible selections made for them by this missionary, of whom they still recount wonderful works.

The Missions at Quebec, Three Rivers, and Sillery.—The Jesuit missionaries on returning to Canada in 1632 resumed the instruction of the wandering Montagnais near Quebec, Father Le Jeune taking the lead; and when a post was established at Three Rivers, Father Buteux began there the devoted labors which ended only with his life. The missionaries during the time of trade when Indians gathered at the French posts endeavored to gain their good-will, and instructed all who evinced any good disposition; during the rest[272] of the year they made visits to wandering bands, often wintering with them, sharing the dangers and privations of their hunting expeditions amid mountains, rapids, and forests.


From a photograph (lent by Mr. Parkman) of an old print.

It was soon evident that their precarious mode of life, the rapid diminution of game when they began to kill the animals for their furs and not merely for food, small-pox and other diseases introduced by the French, and the slaughters committed by the Iroquois, would soon sweep away the Upper Montagnais, unless they could be made sedentary. A few endeavored to settle near the French and maintain themselves by agriculture, but in 1637 the missionaries began a kind of reduction at a place above Quebec called at first St. Joseph, but soon known as Sillery, from the name of the pious and benevolent Commander de Sillery in France, who gave means for the good work. Two families, comprising twenty souls in all, settled here, in houses built for them, and began to cultivate the ground. Others soon joined them, and plots were allotted to the several families. Of this settlement Noel Negabamat may be regarded as the founder. Though Sillery was ravaged by disease, which soon broke out in the cabins, the project seemed full of promise; the Indians elected chiefs, and a form of government was adopted. The nuns sent out in 1639 to found a hospital, for which the Duchesse d’Aiguillon gave the necessary means, aided the missionaries greatly. From the day they landed, these self-sacrificing nuns opened wards for the reception of sick Indians, and they decided to establish their hospital at Sillery. They carried out this resolution, and opened it on the first of December, 1640, receiving both French and Indian patients. Their services impressed the natives more deeply than did the educational efforts of the Jesuit Fathers and of the Ursuline nuns, who had schools for Indian children of various tribes at Quebec.

This mission was an object of especial care, and great hopes were entertained of its effecting much in civilizing and converting the Montagnais and Algonquins, both of which nations were represented in the first settlers at St. Joseph’s. These Indians were induced to cultivate the ground, but they[273] still depended on their fishing, and the winter hunt carried them off to the woods. This the missionaries could not prevent, as the hunts supplied the furs for the trade of the company which controlled Canada.

The hopes of the Jesuits were not to be realized. Some progress was made, and converts like Noel Negabamat and Charles Meiachkwat exercised great influence; but the Iroquois war-parties soon drove the new agriculturists from their fields, the nuns removed their hospital to Quebec in 1646, and the neophytes were scattered. “We behold ourselves dying, exterminated every day,” wrote Negabamat in 1651. Some years after, an accidental fire destroyed St. Michael’s church with the mission house, and from that time the Indian settlement at Sillery languished. Disease and excess aided the work of war, and the Algonquins and Montagnais dwindled away.

As early as 1643 some Abenakis from the banks of the Kennebec had visited Sillery, and one chief was baptized. Father Druillettes soon after visited their towns, and founded a mission in their country. This was at first continued, but the Christians of the tribe and those seeking instruction visited Sillery from time to time. This was especially the case after 1657, when the Jesuits suspended their labors in Maine, for fear of giving umbrage to the Capuchin Fathers who had missions on the coast.

Sillery revived as an Abenaki mission, but the soil at last proved unfit for longer cultivation by Indians. By this time, Fathers James and Vincent Bigot had been assigned to this tribe. They looked out for a new mission site, and by the aid of the Marchioness de Bauche bought a tract on the Chaudière River, and in 1683 established near the beautiful falls the mission of St. Francis de Sales. Sillery was abandoned, and there was nothing to mark the famous old mission site, till a monument was erected a few years ago to the memory of Masse and De Noue, who lie there.

With the chapel of St. Francis as a base, a new series of missions gradually spread into Maine. The Jesuits resumed their ministry on the banks of the Kennebec; the Bigots, followed by Rale, Lauverjeat, Loyard, and Sirenne, keeping up their work amid great danger, their presence exciting the most fearful animosity in the minds of New Englanders, who ascribed all Indian hostilities to them. Rale was especially marked out. Though a man of cultivation and a scholar,—his Abenaki dictionary being a monument of his mastery of the language,—a price was set on his head, his chapel was pillaged by one expedition, which carried off his manuscript dictionary[679] (now one of the curiosities in[274] Harvard College Library), and in a later expedition he was slain at the foot of his mission cross, August 23, 1724. He knew his danger, and his superior would have withdrawn him, but the Canadian authorities insisted on his remaining.

Besides this Jesuit mission at Norridgewock, the priests of the seminary at Quebec, anxious to do their part in the mission-work of which their parent institution, the Seminary of the Foreign Missions at Paris, did so much, founded a mission on the Penobscot. This was long directed by the Rev. Peter Thury, who acquired great influence over the Indians, accompanying them in peace and war till his death in 1699. A Recollect, Father Simon, had a mission at Medoktek, on the St. John’s, which was subsequently directed by the Jesuits, as well as that on the Penobscot.

Meanwhile the mission on the Chaudière had been transferred to the site still known as St. François, and on the death of Rale bands of the Kennebec Indians emigrated to it, forming a strong Indian village, which sent many a vindictive war-party on the frontiers of New England. This drew on it fierce retaliation from Rogers and his partisan corps, who captured the village, killed many, and fired church and dwellings.[680]

The Missions at Three Rivers and Montreal.—Ascending the St. Lawrence, the next mission centre was Three Rivers, where the Jesuit missionaries Le Jeune and Buteux resumed, in 1633, the labors of the Recollect Brother Du Plessis and Fathers Huet and Poullain. It was a place of trade where Indians gathered, so that the missionaries found constant objects of their care. Many were instructed, and returned to impart to others their newly acquired knowledge of God’s way with man, and the consolations of Christianity.

Gradually the Indians who had settled near Three Rivers were almost entirely won; while the Attikamegues, or White Fish Indians, dwelling far inland, came to ask a missionary to reside among them. They were of the Montagnais tongue, and remarkable for their gentle character. Father Buteux, charmed with their docility, instructed them; and at last, in 1651, ascended the river, and after a toilsome journey of fifty-three days, reached their country. All who had not become Christians already were anxiously awaiting his arrival; a rude chapel was raised, and the neophytes in their fervor crowded to it to listen or to pray. The next year Buteux set out once more to make a missionary visit to this interesting race; but the Iroquois were on their track, and the missionary while making a portage received[275] two fatal wounds, and died amid his arduous duties. The tribe was soon nearly annihilated, the survivors seeking refuge among the remote lodges of the scattered Montagnais.

Among the converts at Three Rivers was Pieskaret, the most famous warrior of the Montagnais or Adirondacks, whose bravery was the terror of the Iroquois. But the Indians of that portion of the St. Lawrence valley were doomed,—nearly all were swept away by the Iroquois; and after the death of Buteux the Montagnais mission at Three Rivers seems to have numbered few Indians, nearly all the survivors having fled to their kindred tribes near Tadousac.

When the settlement at Montreal was formed in 1641 by Maisonneuve acting under the Society of Montreal, the Jesuits were the first clergymen of the new town, and began to labor among the Indians who gathered there from the St. Lawrence and Ottawa. This mission of the Jesuits was not, however, a permanent one. The Sulpitians,—a community of priests established in Paris by the Rev. John James Olier, one of the members of the Montreal society,—became the proprietors of the new settlement, and they continue still in charge of churches, institutions, and missions on or near Montreal island, after a lapse of more than two centuries. An Indian mission for Algonquins was begun on the mountain at a spot now known as the Priests’ Farm, chiefly by the liberality and zeal of the Rev. Mr. Belmont. Iroquois and Hurons also came, and the mission was removed to Sault au Récollet, and then to the Lake of the Two Mountains. Here it still exists, embracing an Iroquois village and one of Algonquin language, made up in no small part of Nipissings from the lake of that name. This is the oldest mission organization in Canada, the Sulpitians having been unmolested by the English Government, which put an end to the communities of the Jesuits and Recollects.

Above Montreal no permanent missions were attempted among the Algonquin bands dotted along the line of the Ottawa,—the Indians seeking instruction on their visits to the French posts and missions, or receiving missionaries from time to time, as their river was the great highway to the West.

The Huron Mission.—The Huron nation in Upper Canada, a confederacy of tribes allied in origin and language to the Iroquois, had been already the field of a mission conducted by Recollects, aided after a time by the Jesuits. When Canada was restored to France by the treaty of St. Germain, Brebeuf penetrated to his old mission, in 1634, accompanied by Fathers Daniel and Davost, and in September erected a log chapel in the town of Ihonatiria. Thus began the greatest of the Jesuit missions in Canada, which called forth the most intrepid courage of the heralds of[276] Christianity, and triumphed over the heathen hostility in the tribes, only to perish at last by the hands of the terrible Iroquois.

The Hurons lived in palisaded towns, their bark cabins clustering within, while the fields where they cultivated corn, beans, pumpkins, and tobacco lay near. Their hunting and fishing excursions were comparatively short, and they laid up stores of provisions for winter. The opportunity for instructing the people was accordingly much greater than among the nomadic tribes of the Algonquin family. Brebeuf, already versed in the language, extended his studies and initiated his associates into its intricate peculiarities. The young were the first care, and catechetical instructions were daily given to all whom they could gather. The Lord’s Prayer and other devotions were taught; but it was not easy to secure continuous attendance. This led to the project of a school at Quebec, to which some of the most promising boys were sent. There, with less to tempt them, more progress was made; yet the result was but temporary, for the pupils on returning to the upper country threw aside their slight civilization.

As other missionaries arrived, the labors of the Fathers in the Huron country extended; but they found that the medicine-men were bitter enemies, foreseeing a loss of all their influence. The march of Europeans through America always spread new diseases. In the Huron country the ravages were severe. The medicine-men ascribed all to the missionaries. Cabins were closed against them; their lives were in constant peril. Their house was set on fire, and a council of the three tribes met to decide whether they should all be put to death. The undaunted missionaries prepared to meet their fate, committing their chapel service and the fruit of their Indian studies to Peter Tsiwendeentaha, their first adult convert. Their fearless conduct at last triumphed. Adults came to solicit instruction; Ossossare and Teananstayae became mission stations, four Fathers laboring in each, while Garnier and Jogues proceeded to the towns of the Tionontates, a kindred tribe, who from their cultivation and sale of tobacco were generally called by the French the Petun, or Tobacco tribe. As new stations were formed and chapels built in the Huron towns, the missionaries in 1639 erected on the River Wye the mission-house of St. Mary’s, to serve as a centre from which priests could be sent to any of the towns, and where they could always find refuge. They extended their labors to the Neutral Nation and to the Algonquin tribes lying near the Huron country, reaching as far as Sault Ste. Marie. The missionaries endured great hardships and sufferings on these journeys from hunger, cold, and accident,—Brebeuf having broken his collar-bone by a fall, and reaching his lodge only by a long and weary progress on his hands and knees. Their efforts seemed almost vain. In 1640 they could claim only one hundred Christians out of sixteen thousand Hurons; a few prominent chiefs had joined them, but the young braves would not submit to the law of the gospel. Christian families, and still more Christians in heathen families,[277] were subjected to much persecution, till the number of catechumens in a town enabled them to take a firm stand.

Meanwhile the Five Nations, freely supplied with firearms by the Dutch, were annihilating the Huron tribes, already weakened by disease. The war interrupted intercourse between the Huron country and Quebec. Father Jogues, sent down in 1642 to obtain supplies for the mission, while journeying back, fell with many Hurons into the hands of the Mohawks, who killed most of the party, and led the rest with the missionary to their towns. The missionary and his attendant, René Goupil, were tortured and mutilated, reduced to the rude slavery of Indian life, and witnessed the execution of most of their Hurons. Full of missionary zeal, they endeavored to impart some ideas of Christianity; but the effort cost Goupil his life, and Jogues was with difficulty rescued by the Dutch, and sent to Europe.

The missionaries in the Huron country, by the loss of the supplies in the Huron flotilla, were reduced to great straits, till Brebeuf reached them with two assistants, Garreau and Chabanel, whom no dangers could deter. Father Bressani, returning to his western labors, was less fortunate; he too was captured, and endured all but death at the hands of the Mohawks. His sufferings led the charitable Dutch to effect his release. Yet neither Jogues nor Bressani faltered; both returned to Canada to continue their perilous work.

When a temporary peace gave the Huron mission a respite, there were five churches in as many towns, and one for Algonquins living in the Huron country. The voice of the missionary seemed to find more hearers, and converts increased; but the end was at hand.

In July, 1648, the Iroquois attacked Teananstayae. As the braves manned the palisades, Father Daniel was among them to give them the consolations of religion, to confess and baptize; then he hurried to the cabins to minister to the sick and aged. He found his chapel full, and urging them to flight from the rear, he closed the front portal behind him, and awaited the Iroquois braves, who had stormed the palisade and were swooping down on the cross-crowned church. Riddled by arrows and balls, he fell dead, and his body was flung into the burning church of St. Joseph.

The capture of this town seemed a death-blow to hope in the bosoms of the Hurons. They abandoned many of their towns, and fled to the islands of Lake Huron or the towns of the Petuns. They could not be aroused to any system of defence or precaution.

On the 16th of the ensuing March, a force of a thousand Iroquois stormed, at daybreak, the Huron town which the missionaries called St. Ignatius. So general and complete was the massacre, that only three escaped to the next large town, St. Louis. Here were stationed the veteran[278] Brebeuf, companion of the early Recollect missioners in the land, friend of Champlain, and with him as associate the young Gabriel Lalemant. The Hurons urged the missionaries to fly; but, like Daniel, they remained, exercising their ministry to the last, and attending to every call of zeal. The Hurons repelled the first assault; but their palisade was carried at last, and the victorious Iroquois fired the cabins. The missionaries, while ministering to the wounded and dying, were captured. They were taken, with other captives, to the ruined town of St. Ignatius, and there a horrible torture began. They were bound to the stake; Brebeuf’s hands were cut off; Lalemant’s body bristled with awls and iron barbs; red-hot hatchets were pressed under their arms and between their legs; and around the neck of Brebeuf a collar of these weapons was placed. But the heroic old missionary denounced God’s vengeance on the savages for their cruelty and hatred of Christianity, till they cut off his nose and lips, and thrust a firebrand into his mouth. They sliced off his flesh and devoured it, and, scalping him, poured boiling water on his head, in mockery of baptism; then they hacked off his feet, clove open his chest, and devoured his heart. Lalemant was wrapped in bark to which fire was applied, and underwent many of the same tortures as the older missionary; he too was baptized in mockery, his eyes torn out and coals forced into the sockets. After torturing him all the night, his tormenters clove his head asunder at dawn.

St Mary’s was menaced; but the Huron fugitives there sent out a party which repulsed the Iroquois, who then retired, sated with their vengeance. The Huron nation was destroyed. Fifteen towns were abandoned. One tribe, the Scanonaenrat, submitted to the Iroquois, and removed to the Seneca country in a body, with many Hurons of other tribes. Some bands fled to the Petuns, Neuters, Eries, or Susquehannas. A part, following the first fugitives to the islands in Lake Huron, roamed to Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. These were in time brought back by later missionaries to Mackinac.

The Huron mission was overthrown. A few of the Jesuit missionaries followed the fugitives to St. Joseph’s Island; others joined Garnier in the Petun mission. But that too was doomed. Echarita was attacked in December, the Iroquois avoiding the Petun braves who had sallied out to meet them. Garnier, a man of singularly attractive character, earnest and devoted, though mortally wounded, dragged himself along on the ground to minister to the wounded, and was tomahawked as he was in the act of absolving one. Another missionary, Chabanel, was killed by an apostate Huron. Their comrades accompanied the fugitive Petuns as they scattered and sought refuge in the islands. The number of the Hurons and Petuns was too great for the limited and hasty agriculture to maintain. Great misery ensued. In June, 1650, the missionaries abandoned the Huron country, and descended to Quebec with a number of[279] the Hurons. This remnant of a once powerful nation were placed on Isle Orleans; but the Iroquois swept many of them off, and the survivors found a home at Lorette, where their descendants still remain.

Thus ended the Huron mission in Upper Canada, which was begun by the Recollect Le Caron in 1615, and which had employed twenty-nine missionaries, seven of whom had yielded up their lives as the best earnest of their sincerity and devotion to the cause of Christian progress.

The Jesuit missions were by this time reduced to a most shadowy state. The Iroquois had almost entirely swept away the Montagnais tribes on the St. Lawrence above the Saguenay; they had cut to pieces most of the bands of Algonquins on the Ottawa, while the country of the Hurons, Petuns, and Neuters was a desert. The trading-posts of the French at Montreal, Three Rivers, and Quebec were almost forsaken; no longer did flotillas come laden with peltries to gladden the merchants, and give missionaries an opportunity to address distant tribes. Several missionaries returned to Europe, as there seemed no field to be reached in America.

Suddenly, however, such a field presented itself. The Iroquois, who had carried off a missionary—Father Poncet—from near Quebec, proposed peace. They were in a fierce war with the Eries and Susquehannas, and probably found that in their bloodthirsty march they were making the land a desert, cutting off all supplies of furs from Dutch and French alike. At all events, they restored Poncet, and, proposing peace, solicited missionaries.

The Iroquois Mission.—War with the Iroquois had been almost uninterrupted since the settlement of Canada. Champlain found the Canadian tribes of every origin arrayed against the fierce confederation which in their symbolic language “formed a cabin.” The founder of Canada had gone to the very heart of the Iroquois country, and at the head of his swarthy allies had given them battle on the shores of Lake Champlain and on the borders of Lake Oneida. But the war had brought the French colony to the brink of ruin, and swept its allies from the face of the earth.

Now peace was to open to missionary influence the castles of this all-conquering people, and a foothold was to be gained there; and not only this, but, relieved from war, Canada was to open intercourse with the great West, and new missions were to be attempted in the basin of the upper lakes and in the valley of the Mississippi. The missionaries of Canada were thus to extend their labors within the present limits of our republic on the north, as the Franciscans of Spain were doing along the southern part from Florida to New Mexico.

The Recollect Joseph de la Roche d’Allion had already in early days crossed the Niagara from the west; Jogues and Raymbault had planted the cross at Sault Ste. Marie; Father Jogues had attempted to found a mission[280] on the banks of the Mohawk; but his body, with the bodies of Goupil and Lalande, had mouldered to dust in our soil.

Father Simon le Moyne, who had succeeded to the Indian name of Jogues, and who inherited his spirit, was the interpreter in the recent negotiations, and had been invited to Onondaga and the Mohawk. For the former, the seat of the council-fire of the Iroquois league, he set out from Quebec July 2, 1654, and reached Onondaga by a route then new to the French, passing through the St. Lawrence, Lake Ontario, and the Oswego. He was favorably received at Onondaga, and the sachems, formally by a wampum belt, invited the French to build a house on Lake Ontario.

There was already a Christian element in the Iroquois cantons. Each of the cantons contained hundreds of Hurons, all instructed in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and not a few openly professing it; while in the Seneca country was a town made up of the Scanonaenrat Hurons, Petuns, and Neuters. Le Moyne found wherever he went Christians eager to enjoy his ministry.

His embassy filled all with hope; and the next year, as the Onondagas, through a Christian chief, solicited the establishment of a mission by the Jesuit Fathers, Peter Joseph Chaumonot and Claude Dablon were selected. They reached Onondaga, and after a formal reception by the sachems with harangues and exchange of wampum belts, the missionaries were escorted to the spot given to them for their house and chapel. Two springs, one salt and one of clear, sparkling fresh water, still known as the Jesuits’ well, mark the knoll where St. Mary’s of Ganentaa was speedily erected. The Canadian missionaries, from their resources and alms contributed in France, spent large amounts to make this new central mission adapted for all the fond hopes planned for its future work in diffusing the gospel.

The missionaries found the greatest encouragement in the interest manifested, and in the numbers who came to solicit instruction. They labored assiduously to gather the unexpected harvest; but mistrust soon came, with reports of hostile action by the French. Dablon returned to Canada, and a party of French under Captain Dupuis set out to begin a settlement at Onondaga, while Fathers Le Mercier and Menard went to extend the missions. They were welcomed with all the formalities of Indian courtesy; and while Dupuis and his men prepared to form the settlement, the missionaries erected a second chapel at the Onondaga castle, which was attended from Ganentaa. Then René Menard began a mission among the Cayugas, and Chaumonot, passing still farther, visited the Seneca town of Gandagare, and that occupied by the Scanonaenrat, many of whom were already Christians, and more ready to embrace the faith. The Senecas themselves showed a disposition to listen to Christian doctrines. Finding[281] the field thus full of promise, Chaumonot and Menard returned to Onondaga, whence they were despatched to Oneida. Here they found less promise, but there were captive Hurons to profit by their ministry.


[From the Jesuit Relation of 1662-1663, showing the relative positions of the Five Nations, and Fort d’Orange (Albany).

Cf. this with map Pays des Cinq Nations Iroquoises, preserved in the Archives of the Marine at Paris, and engraved in Faillon, Histoire de la Colonie Française, iii. 196; and with one cited by Harrisse (no. 239), Le Lac Ontario avec les Lieux circonuoisins, et particulierement les Cinq Nations Iroquoises, l’Année 1688, which he would assign to Franquelin.—Ed.]

Meanwhile Father Le Moyne had visited the Mohawk canton from Canada, and prepared the way for a mission in that tribe.

Thus at the close of 1656 missionaries had visited each of the Five Nations, and all seemed ready for the establishment of new and thriving missions. The next year signs of danger appeared. A party of Hurons compelled to remove to Onondaga were nearly all massacred on the way, the missionaries Ragueneau and Duperon in vain endeavoring to stay the work of[282] slaughter, which was coolly ascribed to them. The Mohawks, though they received Le Moyne, were openly hostile. They attacked a flotilla of Ottawas at Montreal, and slew the missionary Leonard Garreau, who was on his way to the far West, to establish missions on the upper lakes.

The missionaries in the cantons and the little French colony at Onondaga were soon evidently doomed to a like fate. So evident was the hostility of the Five Nations, that Governor d’Ailleboust arrested all the Iroquois in Canada to hold them as hostages. The missionaries at Ganentaa saw their danger, and through the winter formed plans for escape. At last, in March, they prepared for a secret flight, and to cover their design gave a banquet to the Onondagas, adopting the kind in which, according to Indian custom, all the food must be eaten. Dances and games were kept up till a late hour; and when the weary guests at last departed, the French, who had amid the din borne to the water’s edge boats and canoes secretly prepared in their house, embarked, and, plying oar and paddle all night long, reached Lake Ontario unseen and undiscovered even by a wandering hunter. It was not till the following evening that the Onondagas, finding the house at Ganentaa still and quiet, discovered that the French had vanished. But the mode of escape was long a mystery to them, so cautiously and adroitly had all the preparations for flight been made.

Le Moyne, in similar peril on the Mohawk, wrote a farewell letter, which he committed to the Dutch authorities; but the sachems of the tribe suddenly sent him to Montreal in the care of a party, so that in March, 1657, the Jesuit missionaries had all withdrawn from the territory of the Five Nations, after their short but laborious effort to open the eyes of the people to the truths of religion.

The Iroquois then dropped the mask, and war parties swept through the French colony, filling it with fire and blood. Yet the influence of the missionaries had not been in vain. One able man, Garakonthié, had listened and studied, though his unmoved countenance gave no token of interest or assent. He became the protector of the Indian Christians and of French prisoners, as well as an open advocate of peace. Saonchiogwa, the Cayuga sachem, embraced his views, and in the summer of 1660 appeared at Montreal as an envoy of peace, restoring some prisoners and demanding a missionary for Onondaga. The Governor of Canada hesitated to ask any of the Jesuit Fathers to undertake so perilous a duty; but as the lives of the French at Onondaga depended on it, Father Le Moyne intrepidly undertook the mission. He was waylaid by Oneidas, but escaped, and reached Oswego. Garakonthié came out to meet him. Once more peace was ratified. Nine prisoners accompanied Garakonthié to Montreal, Le Moyne remaining; but so frail was the newly established peace, that war parties from Mohawk and Onondaga slew, near Montreal, two zealous Sulpitians,[283] the Rev. Messrs. Vignal and Le Maître. Though aware that any moment might be his last, Le Moyne labored on at Onondaga and Cayuga among Huron captives and native Iroquois, many, especially women, having become Christians, and instructing others whom they brought to the missionary. His labors ended in the spring of 1661, when he returned to Canada with the rest of the French captives.

Again war was resumed, and though there were negotiations for peace, and even applications for missionaries, the French Government, weary of being the sport of Indian treachery, resolved to humble the Iroquois. Regular troops and a body of colonists were sent from Europe, and preparations made for a vigorous war. Forts were erected on the Sorel River and Lake Champlain to cover Canada and aid in operations against the Mohawks and Oneidas. The western cantons, influenced by Garakonthié, proposed peace, and their proposals were accepted. Then, in 1665, De Courcelles led a force, on snow-shoes, to the very castles of the Mohawks, and though the tribe was warned in time to escape, their flight had its effect on the other cantons. The Oneidas asked for peace, and the Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas renewed their request. De Tracy, the Viceroy of Canada, led in person a force of twelve hundred French and one hundred Indians to the Mohawk country, and laid it waste, burning all their towns and destroying all their stores of provisions.

This exhibition of strength compelled the Mohawks to sue for peace. All the cantons united in the treaty, and all solicited missionaries. Once more were the Jesuits to undertake to propagate Christianity in the towns of the Iroquois league, which had been so uniformly hostile to the French and their allies. In July, 1667, Fathers Fremin, Bruyas, and Pierron set out for the field of their mission work, trusting their lives to a Mohawk party. They reached Gandawagué, and there and elsewhere found Christians. A chapel in honor of St. Mary was raised, and Fremin, sending Bruyas to Oneida, began his labors seriously. Pierron, after visiting Albany, returned to Quebec, and in May, 1668, Onondaga was assigned to Father Julian Garnier. Then De Carheil began St. Joseph’s mission at Cayuga; and Fremin, leaving Pierron on the Mohawk, set out for the Seneca country to establish a mission there.

Missionaries were thus at their labors in all the cantons, reviving the faith of the captive Hurons, and winning the better disposed to the faith. At Onondaga, Garakonthié during his life was the great stay of the missions. He did not at once embrace Christianity; but after mature deliberation was baptized with great solemnity in the cathedral of Quebec in 1669, and persevered to his death, respected by English, Dutch, and French, and by the Indians of the Five Nations, as a man of remarkable ability and virtue. The Mohawk canton gave to the faith Catharine Ganneaktena, an Erie captive, who founded subsequently a mission village on the St. Lawrence; Catharine Tehgahkwita, a Mohawk girl whom Canada reveres to this day as a saint; the Chief Assendasé; and subsequently Kryn,[284] known as the Great Mohawk: Oneida gave the Chief Soenrese. Everywhere the missionaries found hearers, and among them many with courage enough to throw off the old ideas and accept Christianity with the strict obligations it imposed. The liquor which was sold without check at Albany made drunkenness prevalent throughout the castles of the Five Nations, brutalizing the braves; and these degraded men became tools of the medicine-men, who, clinging to the old belief, rallied around them the old Pagan party. But it is a remarkable fact that the Jesuit missionaries, while they did not succeed in making the Five Nations Christian, overthrew the worship of Agreskoué, or Tharonhiawagon, their old divinity, so completely that his name disappeared; and even those Iroquois who to this day refuse to accept Christianity, nevertheless worship Niio or Hawenniio, God or the Lord, who is no other than the God preached by the Jesuits in their almost hopeless struggle in the seventeenth century.

The Christians in the cantons were subjected to so many annoyances and petty persecutions, that gradually some sought homes with the Hurons at Lorette; but when, in 1669, the Jesuits offered La Prairie de la Magdelaine, a tract owned by them opposite Montreal, the Iroquois Christians began there the mission of St. Francis Xavier. The opportunity of being free from all molestation, of enjoying their religion in peace, led many to emigrate from the castles in New York, and a considerable village grew up, which the French fostered as a protection to Canada. This mission in time was moved up to Sault St. Louis, and became the present village of Caughnawaga, of which St. Regis is an offshoot. About the same time Iroquois Christians gathered at the Sulpitian Mission of the Mountain formed a village there beside that of the Algonquins, and this, removed to the Lake of the Two Mountains, still subsists, the same church serving for the flock divided in language.

These missions, continually recruited by accessions of converts from New York, afforded the missionaries the best opportunity for improving the Indians, and the spirit of religious fervor prevailed. The daily devotions, the zeal and piety of these new Christians, won encomiums from the bishop and clergy and from the civil authorities.

The sachems of the league saw with no favorable eye this emigration which was building up Iroquois settlements in Canada; for at Quinté Bay, Lake Ontario, was a third, chiefly of Cayugas, among whom the Sulpitians became missionaries. Finding their own efforts to recall the emigrants fruitless, the sachems complained to the English authorities. Dongan, the able governor of New York, whose great object was to exclude the French from the territory south of the great lakes, took up the matter in earnest. He brought over English Jesuits to replace those of France in the missions in the cantons from the Mohawk to Seneca Lake, and offered the Christian Iroquois in Canada a tract at Saratoga, promising them a missionary and special protection. The fall of James II. prevented the successful issue of this plan; but the opposition made manifest in the English policy roused[285] the old feeling in the Iroquois, and when De la Barre, and subsequently Denonville, marched to attack the Iroquois, the missionaries, no longer safe, abandoned their missions. John de Lamberville, at Onondaga, was the last of the missionaries, and he remained in his chapel till news arrived that Denonville had seized many of the Iroquois in order to send them to the galleys in France, and was advancing at the head of an army. His life was forfeited, but the magnanimous sachems would not punish him for the crime of another. They sent him safely back under an escort.

Thus the Jesuit missions in New York ended virtually in 1687. Father Milet, captured at Fort Frontenac, was a prisoner at Oneida from 1689 to 1694; and in spite of a severe law passed by New York in 1700, Bruyas, the very next year, endeavored to revive the Iroquois missions; but they never recovered any of their old importance, and were finally abandoned in 1708, when the last Jesuit missionary retired to Albany. Thenceforth the Jesuits devoted themselves to their mission at Sault St. Louis; though at a later period the Sulpitian Picquet gathered a new mission at the Presentation, now Ogdensburg, in 1748.

During the period of the main missions in the tribes from 1668 to 1687, the baptisms—chiefly of infants, and adults in danger of death—were about two hundred and fifty a year in the Five Nations; no permanent church or mission-house was erected, and the result of their teachings was the only monument. This was not slight: many were sincere Christians, frequenting Montreal and Philadelphia for the practice of their religion, while the Moravian and other later missionaries found these converts, from a knowledge of Christian thought and prayers, valuable auxiliaries in enabling them to reach the heathen Iroquois. Pennsylvania, which had English Jesuit missionaries in her borders, wisely employed their influence to attract Catholic Iroquois to the chapel in Philadelphia, in order to win through them the good-will of the cantons.

Towards the close of the Jesuit missions in New York, the Recollects appeared within the Iroquois limits at Quinté Bay and Niagara, during La Salle’s sway; but they made no serious effort to found a mission, though Father Hennepin obtained Bruyas’ works on the Mohawk language, in order to fit himself for the task. After the extinction of the Jesuits, secular priests continued the missions at Sault St. Louis and St. Regis, which still exist.

The Ottawa Missions.—In the geographical distribution of the country, the district around Lake Superior acquired at an early period the name of the country of the Ottawas, from the first tribe which opened intercourse with the French. The Jesuits, after establishing their missions[286] among the Hurons, soon extended their care to the neighboring Algonquin tribes, and in 1641 Father Jogues and Father Raymbault visited the Chippewas of Sault Ste. Marie. But the overthrow of the Wyandots and the desertion of their country interrupted for years all intercourse between the French on the St. Lawrence and the tribes on the upper lakes. Yet in 1656 an Ottawa flotilla reached the St. Lawrence, and the missionaries Garreau and Druillettes set out with them for the West; but near Montreal Island they were ambushed by the Iroquois, and Garreau was left weltering in his blood. Undeterred by his fate or by the hardships and perils of the long journey, the aged Menard, a veteran of the Huron and Cayuga missions, set out, encouraged by Bishop Laval, with another Ottawa flotilla, in July, 1660, expecting no fate but one that would appall most men. “Should we at last die of misery,” he wrote, “how great our happiness will be!” Paddling all day, compelled to bear heavy burdens, deprived of food, and even abandoned by his brutal Ottawa guides, Menard at last reached a bay on the southern shore of Lake Superior on the festival of St. Teresa, and named it in her honor. It was apparently Keweenaw Bay. “Here,” he wrote, “I had the consolation of saying mass, which repaid me with usury for all my past hardships. Here I began a mission, composed of a flying church of Christian Indians from the neighborhood of the settlements, and of such as God’s mercy has gathered in here.” A chief at first received him into his wigwam, but soon drove him out; and the aged priest made a rude shelter of fir branches piled up, and in this passed the winter laboring to instruct and console some as wretched as himself. In the spring his zeal led him to respond to a call from some fugitive Hurons who were far inland. He set out, but was lost at a portage, and in all probability was murdered by a Kickapoo, in August, 1661.

Claude Allouez was the next Jesuit assigned to this dangerous post. In the summer of 1665 he set out, and reaching Chegoimegon Bay on Lake Superior on the first of October, began the mission of La Pointe du St. Esprit, content to labor there alone with no mission station and no countrymen except a few fur-traders between his chapel and Montreal. For thirty years he went from tribe to tribe endeavoring to plant the faith of which he was the envoy. He founded the mission at Sault Ste. Marie, those in Green Bay, the Miami, and, with Marquette, the Illinois mission. He was the first of the missionaries to meet the Sioux and to announce the existence of the great river Mesipi. His first labors were among the Chippewas at Sault Ste. Marie, the Ottawas at La Pointe, and the Nipissings at Lake Alimpegon. When reinforced by Fathers Nicolas, Marquette, and Dablon, the last two took post at Sault Ste. Marie; and Allouez, leaving the Ottawa mission to Father Marquette, who soon had the Hurons also gather around him at La Pointe, proceeded to Green Bay, where he founded, in December, 1669, the mission of St. Francis Xavier and a motley village of Sacs and Foxes, Pottawatamies, and Winnebagoes. His visits soon extended to other towns on the bay and on Fox River.


At these missions the Jesuits, after their daily mass, remained for a time to instruct all who came; then they visited the cabins to comfort the sick, and to baptize infants in danger of death. Study of the dialects of the various tribes cost hours of patient toil; and reaching the western limit of the Algonquin tribes, they were already in contact with the Winnebagoes and Sioux of a radically different stock,—the Dakota.

Marquette was preparing the way to the lodges of the Sioux, when the folly of the Hurons and Ottawas provoked that tribe to war. The Hurons fled to Mackinac, the Ottawas to Manitouline, and Marquette was compelled to defer his projected Sioux and Illinois missions.

The field seemed full of promise, and other missionaries were sent out. They labored amid great hardships, and suffered much from the brutality of the Indians. With tribes that were constantly shifting their camping-grounds, it was difficult to maintain any regular system of instruction for adults, or to bring the young to frequent the chapel with any assiduity. Lay brothers, skilled as smiths and workers in metal, were powerful auxiliaries in winning the good-will of the Indians, as they repaired guns and other weapons and utensils. They were the first manufacturers of the West, visiting the copper deposits of Lake Superior, to obtain material for crucifixes, medals, and other similar objects, which the missionaries distributed among their converts. Yet even these lay brothers and their helpers, the volunteer donnés, were not free from danger, and tradition claims that one of them was killed by the brutal men whom they had so long served so well.

Of these missions, that at Mackinac, with its Hurons and Ottawas, became the largest and most fervent. The former were more easily recalled to their long-forgotten Christian duties, and the Ottawas benefited by their example. Between 1670 and 1680 this mission, then at Point St. Ignace, numbered five hundred Hurons and thirteen hundred Ottawas.

The missions at Green Bay could show much less progress among the Sacs and Foxes, Mascoutens, Pottawatamies, and Menomonees.

Father Marquette, setting out in June, 1673, from Mackinac with Louis Jolliet, ascended the Fox, and reaching the Wisconsin by a portage, entered the Mississippi, which they descended to the villages of the Quappas or Arkansas. Returning by way of the Illinois River, the Jesuit gave the Kaskaskias the first instructions, and was so encouraged that he returned to found a mission, but died before he could reach his chapel at Mackinac. This Illinois mission was continued by Allouez, who visited it regularly for several years from his headquarters among the Miamis.

There had arisen by this time a strong government opposition to the Jesuits, based partly on a hostility to the order which had always prevailed in France, but heightened in Canada by the fact that in the struggle between the civil authorities and the bishop with his clergy in regard to the selling of liquor to the Indians, the Jesuits were regarded as the most stanch and active adherents of the bishop. This feeling led to the recall of the[288] Recollects. They found, however, few avenues for their labors. Several were assigned to Cavelier de la Salle, to accompany him on his explorations. One was stationed at Fort Frontenac, and Father Hennepin made some attempt to acquire a knowledge of Iroquois; but no mission work is recorded there or at Niagara, where Father Watteau was left.

Father Gabriel de la Ribourde, with Hennepin and Zenobius Membré, proceeded westward, and when La Salle established his post on the Illinois, which he called Fort Crèvecœur, the three Franciscans attempted a mission. Then Father Zenobius took up his residence in an Illinois wigwam. He found great difficulty, and was not destined to continue the experiment long. Hennepin, sent off by La Salle, descended to the Mississippi, and fell into the hands of the Sioux, who carried him up to the falls which still bear the name he conferred, “St. Anthony’s.” He was rescued after a time by Du Lhut, but can scarcely be said to have founded a mission. The Iroquois drove the French from Fort Crèvecœur by their attack on the Illinois, Father Gabriel was killed on the march by wandering Indians, and the attempted Recollect mission closed. After La Salle’s descent of the Mississippi and departure from the west, Allouez resumed his labors in Illinois, and was followed by Gravier, who placed the mission on a solid basis, and reduced the language to grammatical rules. Binneteau, the Marests, Mermet, and Pinet came to join in the good work. The Illinois seemed to show greater docility than did the tribes on Lake Superior and Green Bay. The missionaries were stationed among the Kaskaskias, Cahokias, Peorias, and Tamaroas. French settlements grew up in the fertile district, and marriages with converted Indian women were not uncommon. These missions flourished for several years, and a monument of the zeal of the Jesuits exists in a very extensive and elaborate dictionary of the language, with catechism and prayers, apparently the work of Father le Boulanger.

When Iberville reached the mouth of the Mississippi he was accompanied by Jesuit Fathers; but at that time no regular mission was attempted at the mouth of the river.

The Seminary of Quebec resolved to enter the wide field opened by the discovery of the Mississippi. Under the authority of the Bishop of Quebec, the Rev. Francis de Montigny, the Rev. Messrs. St. Côme and Davion were sent to Louisiana in 1698. They took charge of the Tamaroa mission on the Illinois, and attempted missions among the Natchez, Taensas, and Tonicas; but the Rev. Mr. St. Côme, who was stationed at Natchez, and the Rev. Mr. Foncault were killed by roving Indians. Then the priests of the Quebec Seminary withdrew from the lower Mississippi, but continued to labor at Tamaroa, chiefly for the French, till the closing years of French rule.

The Indian missions of Louisiana were then assigned to the Jesuits, who were allowed to have a residence in New Orleans, but were excluded from all ministry among the colonists. Their principal missions, among the Arkansas, Yazoos, Choctaws, and Alibamons were continued till the suppression[289] of the order. At the time of the Natchez outbreak, the Jesuit Father du Poisson, who had stopped at the post to give the settlers the benefit of his ministry in the absence of their priest, was involved in the massacre; Father Souel was butchered by the Yazoos whom he was endeavoring to convert, and Father Doutreleau escaped in a most marvellous manner. In the subsequent operations of the French against the Chickasaws, Father Sénat, accompanying a force of French and Illinois as chaplain, was taken and put to death at the stake, heroically refusing to abandon the wounded and dying.

These Louisiana missions extended to the country of the Sioux, where several attempts were made by Father Guignas, who was long a prisoner, and by other Jesuit Fathers. Aubert died by the hands of the Indians while trying to reach and cross the Rocky Mountains with La Verenderye.

The increasing hostility to the Jesuits naturally weakened their missions, which received a death-blow from the suppression of the order in France,—a step carried out so vindictively in Louisiana, that all the churches at their Indian missions were ordered to be razed to the ground.

As Canada fell to England and Louisiana to Spain, the work of the Jesuit missionaries in French North America ended. Their record is a chapter of American history full of personal devotedness, energy, courage, and perseverance; none can withhold the homage of respect to men like Jogues, Brebeuf, Garnier, Buteux, Gravier, Allouez, and Marquette. Men of intelligence and education, they gave up all that civilized life can offer to share the precarious life of wandering savages, and were the first to reveal the character of the interior of the country, its soil and products, the life and ideas of the natives, and the system of American languages. They made known the existence of salt springs in New York, and of copper on Lake Superior; they identified the ginseng, and enabled France to open a lucrative trade in it with China; they planted the first wheat in Illinois and the first sugar in Louisiana. Their missions did not equal in results those of the Franciscans in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and California,—not from any lack of personal ability or devotion to their work, but because they were at the mercy of trading companies, which allowed them a stipend just sufficing for their moderate wants; but neither company nor government made any outlay for such mission-work as would have enabled the missionaries to carry out any general plan for civilizing the natives. The Spanish Government, on the contrary, dealt directly with the missionaries, and did all to insure the success of their teaching. When a mission was to be established in Texas, New Mexico, or California, with the missionaries went a party of soldiers to erect a presidio or garrison-house as the nucleus of a settlement. These soldiers took their families with them; civilized Indians from Mexico who had acquired some European arts and trades were also sent, as being able to understand the character of the Indians better. With the party went horses, cattle, sheep, swine, agricultural implements, grain and seeds for planting, looms, etc. Then a mission was established, and as converts were made in the neighboring tribes, they were brought into the mission,[290] and there taught to read and write in Spanish, instructed religiously, and trained to agriculture and trades. The mission was under discipline like a large factory, and each family shared in the profit.

The defect of the system was that no provision was made for the gradual settling apart from the mission of those who showed ability and judgment, allowing them to manage for themselves, and replacing them by others. They were kept too long in the degree of vassals, with no incentive to acquire manhood and independence. Accordingly, when the missions were suppressed, the Indians, who had never acted for themselves, were left in a state of helplessness.

Such a system in Canada would have saved the Indians of the St. Lawrence Valley and Upper Canada. What was accomplished, was effected by the indomitable energy of individuals,—the Jesuits, laboring most earnestly and continuously, effecting most; the Sulpitians ranking next; then the Priests of the Foreign Missions, and the Recollects. In our time the work of winning the Indians to the Catholic faith, or retaining them among its adherents, has devolved almost entirely on the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Canada and Oregon, the Jesuits and Benedictines in the United States.


THE works bearing directly or mainly on the history of the Catholic missions in Canada and the other parts of the northern continent once claimed by France embrace so large a collection, that, instead of the missions being an incident in the civil history, the civil history of French America for much of its first century has to be gleaned from the annals of its missionary work.

For the first Recollect mission,—1615-1629,—the main authority is Sagard, Le Grand Voyage du Pays des Hurons, situé en l’Amérique vers la Mer douce, és derniers confins de la Nouvelle France, dite Canada, Paris, Denys Moreau, 1632; enlarged a few years later, and published as Histoire du Canada et Voyages que les Frères Mineurs Recollects y ont faicts pour la conversion des infidelles, Paris, Claude Sonnius, 1636. To each of these works is appended a Dictionnaire de la Langve Hvronne, Paris, 1632. Sagard’s work is very diffuse, rich in details on Indian life and customs, but gives little as to the civil history of Canada.[681]


Le Clercq, Établissement de la Foi, 2 vols. 12mo, 1691, translated as Establishment of the Faith, 2 vols. 8vo, New York, 1881,[682] gives in the first volume a clearer and more definite account of the ecclesiastical history of Canada for the period embraced in the first Recollect mission.

The Voyages de Champlain, Paris, 1619, gives some account of the introduction of the Recollects into Canada.[683] In Margry, Découvertes et Établissements des Français, Paris,[292] 1875, there are two memoirs by the Recollects, drawn up to obtain permission to return to Canada,—one made in 1637 (vol. i. p. 3), the other in 1684 (p. 18),—both bearing on their earlier labors.

Le Clercq refers in two places[684] to “an ample Relation given to the public” by the Recollects of Aquitaine for an account of their labors in Acadia; but the work is still unknown to bibliographers and students.

For the later Recollect missions, the sources to be consulted are Father Christian Le Clercq, Nouvelle Relation de la Gaspésie, Paris, 1691, and the second volume of his Établissement de la Foi. Hennepin, in his Description de la Louisiane, Paris, 1683, 1688, translated as Description of Louisiana, New York, 1881, gives an account of his own missionary career; but his Nouvelle Découverte expands his former work, and introduces matter of doubtful authenticity, while his Nouveau Voyage is based on the second volume of Le Clercq.[685]

As bearing on the Recollect missions, cf. the Voyage au Nouveau Monde of Father Crespel, Amsterdam, 1757; in English in Perils of the Ocean and Wilderness, Boston.[686]

On the Jesuit missions, the works to be consulted are, for the first attempt in Acadia, Biard, Relation de la Nouvelle France, de ses Terres, Naturel des Terres, et de ses Habitans, Lyons, 1616, reprinted in the Relations des Jésuites, Quebec, 1858, and in fac-simile by Dr. O’Callaghan; the accounts in the Annuæ Litteræ Societatis Jesu for 1612, Lyons, 1618, and for 1611, Douay, 1618; Biard’s letter in Carayon’s Première Mission des Jésuites au Canada, pp. 1-105; and an adverse view in Lescarbot, Histoire de la Nouvelle France, 3d ed., Paris, 1618.

For the missions of Canada proper, the series of Jesuit Relations, as they are generally called, volumes issued in Paris, beginning with the “Lettre du Père Charles l’Allemant,” Paris, 1627 (also vol. xiii. of the Mercure Français), as Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France en l’année MDCXXVI, and continued annually from the Briève Relation du Voyage de la Nouvelle France, by Father Paul le Jeune, printed by Cramoisy at Paris in 1632, down to the year 1672, comprising in all a series of forty-one volumes. Besides the religious information which it was their main object to convey, in order to interest the pious in France in their mission work, the Jesuits in these Relations give much information as to the progress of geographical discovery, the resources and fauna of the country, the Indian nations, their language, manners, and customs, their wars and vicissitudes. The volumes have been much sought by collectors, and the whole series was reprinted by the Canadian Government at Quebec in 1858, in three large octavo volumes, under the title of Relations des Jésuites. Though some Relations were reprinted and translated into Latin, complete sets have never been common. In Le Clercq’s Établissement de la Foi there is a bitter and satirical review of these Jesuit Relations, but the writer evidently had only eight or nine of the volumes; and Arnauld, the great enemy of the Jesuits, having his attention drawn to them by Le Clercq’s work, found great difficulty in getting copies of any, but finally discovered fourteen in “a great library.” Dr. E. B. O’Callaghan drew attention to them in a paper before the New York Historical Society, and several collectors endeavored to complete sets. Mr. James Lenox obtained nearly all, reprinting two that exist in almost unique copies. Matter was prepared for subsequent volumes by the Superiors of the Canada missions, and the Relations for 1672-73, 1675, 1673-79, 1696, and separate Relations bearing on the Abenaki, Illinois, and Louisiana missions have been printed to correspond with the old Relations; and many of these were reprinted under the title of Relations Inédites de la Nouvelle France, 2 vols., 12mo, Paris, 1861. The autobiography of the missionary Chaumonot has also been issued (New York, 1858; Paris, 1869); and Lives of Father Isaac Jogues and Brebeuf, by Father Felix Martin (Paris, 1873, etc.). One work called forth by the Jesuit missions in Canada is the Mœurs des Sauvages Amériquains comparées dux mœurs des premiers Temps, by Father Lafitau, long a missionary at Sault St. Louis, and author also of a treatise on the Ginseng.[687]



1656-1684 (John S. Clark, 1879).


For the Louisiana mission there are some letters in the Lettres Édifiantes, which are also given in Rt. Rev. W. I. Kip, Early Jesuit Missions in North America, New York, 1847. The close of that mission is described in Carayon, Bannissement des Jésuites de la Louisiane, Paris, 1865. Besides the works in French, there is a Breve Relatione d’alcune Missione, by Father Joseph Bressani, a Huron missionary captured and tortured by the Mohawks. It appeared at Macerata in 1653, and a French translation of it by F. Félix Martin was issued in Montreal in 1852. The work of Du Creux, Historia Canadensis, Paris, 1664, gives a summary of the mission work of the Jesuits in Canada. Father Marquette’s account of his voyage down the Mississippi was first printed by Thevenot, Recueil de Voyages, Paris, 1681, and was translated into Dutch and issued by Vander Aa. It was printed from the original manuscript by Mr. James Lenox,—Récit des Voyages et des Descouvertes du R. Père Jacques Marquette,—and had been previously translated and published by J. G. Shea in his Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley, New York, 1852.

The history of the Sulpitian missions is to be found chiefly in recent works: Faillon, Histoire de la Colonie Française en Canada, 3 vols., Montreal, 1854; Vie de la Sœur Bourgeoys, 1853; Vie de Mlle. Mance, 2 vols., 1854. Belmont, Histoire du Canada, Quebec, 1840; Dollier de Casson, Histoire de Montreal, Montreal, 1869; and Voyage de MM. Dollier et Galinée, Montreal, 1875, are printed from manuscripts of early missionaries of that body.

Of the missions founded by the Seminary of Quebec nothing has been printed except the Relation de la Mission du Mississippi du Séminaire de Québec en 1700, New York, 1861. The vast and successful Spanish missions, extending from the Chesapeake to the Gulf of California, have a literature of their own, of which it is not our province to treat.

NOTE.—The map on the preceding page is a reproduction of a part of a map by Gen. John S. Clark, showing the missionary sites, 1656-1684, in the Iroquois country. It appeared in Dr. Charles Hawley’s Early Chapters of Cayuga History, Auburn, 1879, which had an Introduction on the Jesuit Relations by Dr. Shea.





THE main bibliographical sources for this study pertain to the Jesuit missions, as follows:—

Le Père Auguste Carayon: Bibliographie historique de la Compagnie de Jésus, ... depuis leur Origine jusqu’à nos jours, Paris, 1864, 4º.

Henry Harrisse: Notes sur la Nouvelle France, 1545-1700, Paris, 1872. He says, no. 49, that no library (1870-71) has a complete set of the Jesuit Relations; and adds that, including those of 1616 and 1627, a full set consists of fifty-four volumes, nine of which are second editions, and one a Latin translation. He had inspected all but one.

E. B. O’Callaghan: a catalogue raisonnée (1632-1672), in the N. Y. Hist. Soc. Proc., 1847, p. 140, also printed separately. Field (Indian Bibliography, no. 1,146), in noticing this essay, says that Dr. O’Callaghan enumerates only forty titles, of which the Carter-Brown Collection had thirty-six; Harvard College, thirty-five; Henry C. Murphy, twenty-nine. “Of the forty-eight now [1873] known to exist, Mr. Murphy has secured all but three.” Dr. O’Callaghan at that time named twenty libraries, public and private, in the United States which had sets more or less imperfect. The volumes of some years were not very scarce, those of 1648-1649 and 1653-1654 being known in ten copies in these libraries, while there were at that time no copies at all of the years 1655 and 1659; and these, marked by titles varying from the usual form, are still the rarest of the series.

The O’Callaghan pamphlet was reissued at Montreal in 1850 in a French translation by Father Martin, the superior of the Jesuits in Canada, who amended the text in places, and included the Biard Relation of 1613. He also gave an account of unprinted ones still preserved in Canada which were written subsequent to 1672, when the annual printing of them ceased.

Deriving help from this and other sources, Dr. O’Callaghan issued privately, in 1853, a broadside, with an amended list of the Relations and their several principal repositories,—State Library, Albany; Harvard College Library; the Parliamentary Library, Quebec; and the private libraries of Mr. Carter-Brown of Providence, Mr. Lenox of New York, Rev. Mr. Plante, Mr. O. H. Marshall of Buffalo, and Mr. George Bancroft.

In June, 1870, Dr. O’Callaghan issued a circular asking information of owners of the volumes for a second edition of his tract; but I cannot learn that the new edition was ever published. At the sale of Dr. O’Callaghan’s library December, 1882, his Catalogue, p. 105, showed 31 of the series; and they brought $1,068.45. Dr. O’Callaghan contributed a paper on the Relations to the International Magazine, iii. 185.

Carter-Brown Library: Catalogue, vol. ii. p. 164.

Lenox Library: Contributions, no. ii., The Jesuit Relation, etc., New York, 1879. The Relation of 1659, of which the copy in the Library of the Canadian Parliament was supposed to be unique, was reprinted in fac-simile by Mr. Lenox. In 1854, at the destruction of the Parliamentary Library at Montreal, its series of these Relations, forty-three in number (except eight), and including this unique volume, was destroyed. This Contribution shows the Lenox Library to possess forty-nine out of the series of fifty-five, counting different editions of the forty-one titles, from 1632 to 1672, making the fifty-five to include two translations and twelve second or later editions. The Lenox series lacks nos. 1, 28, and 35, as enumerated, and of no. 35 the Carter-Brown Library has the only copy known in America. The Lenox Library also lacks the first issue of no. 2, and the second issue of nos. 3 and 5. It has four duplicates, with slight variations.


These Relations will also be found entered under their respective authors in Sabin’s Dictionary and in Field’s Indian Bibliography.

The reason of the rarity of these books may lie in part in the smallness of the editions, but probably most in the avidity of readers, and consequent destruction; for Charlevoix says, “They were at the time extremely relished in France.” Of their character, the same authority says: “There is no other source to which we can apply for instruction as to the progress of religion among the savages, or for a knowledge of these people, all of whose languages the Jesuits spoke. The style of these Relations is extremely simple; but this simplicity itself has not contributed less to give them a great celebrity than the curious and edifying matter they contain.” Father Martin, in his translation of Bressani, speaks (p. 8) Of these Relations as the most precious monument, and sometimes the only source, of the history of Canada, and praises the impartial use made of them by Bancroft and Sparks. Parkman says of them: “Though the productions of men of scholastic training, they are simple and often crude in style, as might be expected of narratives hastily written in Indian lodges or rude mission-houses in the forest, amid annoyances and interruptions of all kinds. In respect to the value of their contents, they are exceedingly unequal.... The closest examination has left me no doubt that these missionaries wrote in perfect good faith, and that the Relations hold a high place as authentic and trustworthy historical documents. They are very scarce, and no complete collection of them exists in America.” Shea (Le Clercq, i. 381) has a note of the contemporary discrediting of the Relations by rival orders.

The series was reprinted by the Canadian Government in 1858 in three octavo volumes, with bibliographical notes and synopses, containing—vol. i. 1611, 1626, 1632 to 1641; ii. 1642 to 1655; iii. 1656 to 1672. These reprinted volumes are not now easy to find, and have been lately priced at £7 10s. and 100 francs. Field, Indian Bibliography, no. 1,177; Lenox, Jesuit Relations, p. 14.

There have been three supplemental and complemental issues of allied and later Relations; one was printed at the expense of Mr. Lenox, and the others had the editorial care of Dr. O’Callaghan and Dr. Shea, of which notice will be taken under their respective dates. See the lists of Shea’s “Cramoisy Series” (100 copies printed) in the Lenox Contributions, p. 15; Field, Indian Bibliography, nos. 129 and 1,397; and Menzies Catalogue, no. 1,811; and the O’Callaghan Catalogue for Dr. O’Callaghan’s series (25 copies printed). Dr. Shea’s acquaintance with the subject was first largely evinced by his History of the Catholic Missions among the Indian Tribes of the United States, 1529-1854, published, at the instance of Jared Sparks, in New York in 1855 (Field, no. 1,392); and he published a list of early missionaries among the Iroquois in the Documentary History of New York, iv. 189.

The earliest summarizing of these Relations or of those before 1656, was by the Père du Creux (or Creuxius, b. 1596, d. 1666) in his Historiæ Canadensis, sev Novæ Franciæ, libri decem, Paris, 1664 (pp. xxvi, 810, 4, map and thirteen plates). There are copies in Harvard College, Carter-Brown, Lenox, and New York Historical Society libraries. Cf. Rich (1832), no. 333, £1 16s.; Brinley, no. 82, $80; Carayon, no. 1,322; Harrisse, no. 120; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 945, with fac-simile of title; Leclerc, Bibl. Amér. no. 706, 500 fr.; Ternaux, no. 823; Lenox, p. 10; O’Callaghan, no. 699; Huth, i. 367; Sunderland, vol. ii. no. 3,561; Charlevoix (Shea’s edition), i. 81, who says: “This extremely diffuse work was composed almost exclusively from the Jesuit Relations. Father du Creux did not reflect that details read with pleasure in a letter become unsupportable in a continuous history.” “It contains, however,” says Dr. Shea, “some curious statements, showing that he had other material.” The map, Tabula Novæ Franciæ anno 1660, extends so as to include Hudson’s Bay, Newfoundland, the Chesapeake, and Lake Superior; and it has a corner-map, “Pars regionis Huronum hodie desertæ.” The map has been reproduced in Martin’s translation of Bressani’s Relation of 1653, and is given in part on another page of the present volume.

The Relations were not much noticed by writers at the time, and few allusions to them appear in contemporaneous works. One of the few books which drew largely from them is Le Nouveau Monde ou l’Amérique Chrestienne.... Par Me Charles Chavlmer, Historiographe de France. Paris, 1659.

The story of the missions of New France necessarily makes part of the general works of Charlevoix and the other Catholic historians, particularly the Histoire du Canada of Brasseur de Bourbourg, Paris, 1859, who depends largely upon Bancroft for his facts. Mr. Parkman, not bound by the same ties, gives a view of the Jesuits’ character, in his Jesuits in North America, which has been questioned by their adherents. His book, however, is of the first importance; and Dr. George E. Ellis, in the Atlantic Monthly, September, 1867, recounts, in a review of the book, the historian’s physical disability, which has from the beginning of his labor sadly impeded the progress of his work. Cf. also Dr. Ellis’s sustained estimate of Parkman, in his Red Man and White Man in North America, p. 259. The story of the Jesuits’ trials contained in the Lettres Edifiantes is translated in Bishop W. I. Kip’s Early Jesuit Missions in North America, 1846, and again, 1866. Cf. also Magazine of American History, iii. 767; M. J. Griffin in Canadian Monthly, i. 344; W. B. O. Peabody’s “Early Jesuit Missionaries in the Northwest,” in Democratic Review, May, 1844, reprinted in Beach’s Indian Miscellany; Judge Law on the same subject, in Wisconsin Historical Society’s Collections, iii. 89; and Thébaud on the natives and the missions, in The Month, June, 1877; Poole’s Index gives other references, p. 683. Dr. Shea, at the end of his Catholic Missions, p. 503, gives a list of his sources printed and in manuscript.


A CANADIAN (from Creuxius).

Of the tribes encountered by the Jesuits, there is no better compact account than Mr. Parkman gives in the Introduction to his Jesuits in North America, where he awards (p. liv) well-merited praise to Lewis H. Morgan’s League of the Iroquois, and qualified commendation to Schoolcraft’s Notes on the Iroquois, and gives (p. lxxx) a justly severe judgment on his Indian Tribes. Mr. Parkman’s Introduction first appeared in the North American Review, 1865 and 1866.



This sketch follows one by Mr. C. C. Baldwin, accompanying an article on “Early Indian Migrations in Ohio,” in the American Antiquarian, i. 228 (reprinted in Western Reserve Historical Society’s Tracts, no. 47), in which he conjecturally places the position of the tribes occupying that valley at the opening of the seventeenth century. The key is as follows: 1, Ottawas; 2, Wyandots and Hurons: 3, Neutrals; 4, Iroquois; 5, Eries; 6, Andastes, or Susquehannahs; 7, Algonquins; 8, Cherokees; 9, Shawnees; 10, Miamies; 11, Illinois; 12, Arkansas; 13, Cherokees. (On the Andastes see Hawley’s Cayuga History, p. 36.)

There is another map of the position of the Indians in 1600 in George Gale’s Upper Mississippi, Chicago, 1867, p. 49; and Dr. Edward Eggleston gives one of wider scope in the Century Magazine, May, 1883, p. 98. Cf. Henry Harvey’s History of the Shawnee Indians, 1681-1854, Cincinnati, 1855; and a paper by D. G. Brinton on the Shawnees and their migrations, in the Historical Magazine, x. 21. Judge M. F. Force, in Some Early Notices of the Indians of Ohio, Cincinnati, 1879, an address before the Philosophical and Historical Society of Ohio, has tracked the changing habitations of the tribes of that region. There is a paper by S. D. Peet on the location of the Indian tribes between the Ohio and the Lakes, in the American Antiquarian, i. 85. William H. Harrison controverted the view that the Iroquois ever conquered the valley of the Ohio, in his “Discourse on the Aborigines of the Valley of the Ohio,” which was printed at Cincinnati in 1838, at Boston in 1840, and in the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio’s Transactions, vol. i. part 2d, p. 217; but compare C. C. Baldwin’s “Iroquois in Ohio, and the Destruction of the Eries,” in Western Reserve Historical Society’s Tracts, no. 40. David Cusick (a Tuscarora) published Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations, at Tuscarora Village, 1825, and again at Lockport, N. Y., 1848. An historical sketch of the Wyandots will be found in the Historical Magazine, v. 263; and Peter Clarke (a Wyandot) has published the Origin and Traditional History of the Wyandots. See references in Poole’s Index under Hurons, Iroquois, Indians, etc.]

There is a rare book containing contemporary accounts of the savages, which was written at Three Rivers in 1663, by the governor of that place, the Sieur Pierre Boucher, and published in Paris in 1664, under the title, Histoire veritable et naturelle des Mœurs et Productions du Pays de la Nouvelle France, vulgairement dite le Canada. The author, says Charlevoix (Shea’s edition, i. p. 80), should not be confounded with the Jesuit of the same name; and he calls the book under consideration a “superficial but faithful account of Canada.” There are copies in the Harvard College, Lenox (Jesuit Relations, p. 10), and Carter-Brown (Catalogue ii. 941) libraries.[688]

Another early account is the Mémoire sur les Mœurs ... des Sauvages, by Nicholas Perrot, which remained in manuscript till it was edited by Father Tailhan, and printed in 1864.[689]

The Jesuit Lafitau published at Paris in 1724 his Mœurs des Sauvages Amériquains in two volumes, with various plates, which in the main is confined to the natives of Canada, where he had lived long with the Iroquois. Charlevoix said of his book, twenty years later, “We have nothing so exact upon the subject;” and Lafitau continues to hold high rank as an original[299] authority, though his book is overlaid with a theory of the Tartaric origin of the red race. Mr. Parkman calls him the most satisfactory of the elder writers. (Field, no. 850; Carter-Brown, vol. iii. nos. 344, 345, 472; Sabin, vol. x. p. 22.) There was a Dutch version, with the same plates, in 1731.

Bacqueville de la Potherie’s Histoire de l’Amérique Septentrionale, in four volumes, with a distinctive title to each (1722 and 1753), is mainly a history of the Indians with which the French came in contact. He wrote early in the last century, and his book saw several editions, evincing the interest it created. His information is at second hand for the early portions of the period covered (since Cartier); but of the later times he becomes a contemporary authority. (Field, no. 66,)

Of less interest in relation to the seventeenth century is Le Beau’s Voyage Curieux et Nouveau parmi les Sauvages de l’Amérique Septentrionale, published at Amsterdam in 1738,—a work, however, of a semi-historical character, (Field, no. 901.)

Cadwallader Colden’s History of the Five Indian Nations was printed by Bradford in New York in 1727, and is now very rare. Dr. Shea reprinted it in 1866, and in his introduction and notes its somewhat curious bibliographical history is learnedly traced. (Carter-Brown, vol. iii. nos. 393, 394; Field, Indian Bibliography, 341; Menzies, 429, $210; Sabin, vol. v. p. 222.) The three later London editions (1747, 1750, 1755) were altered somewhat by the English publishers, without indicating the variations they introduced. (Carter-Brown, vol. iii. nos. 847, 922, 1,049.) A portrait of Colden is given in the Historical Magazine, ix. 1. Sulte, in his Mélanges, p. 184, has an essay on the respective positions of the Iroquois and Algonquins previous to the coming of the Europeans.

D. G. Brinton, at the end of chap. i. of his Myths of the New World, characterizes the different writers on the mythologies of the Indians; and Mr. Parkman, Jesuits, etc., p. lxxxviii, notes some of the repositories of Iroquois legends.

A valuable paper on the origin of the Iroquois confederacy, by Horatio Hale, is printed in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., xix. 241; and Mr. C. C. Baldwin has a paper on the Iroquois in Ohio in the Western Reserve Historical Society, no. 40, and another paper on the early Indian migrations, in no. 47. Mr. Hale has further extended our knowledge by the curious learning of his Iroquois Book of Rites, Cincinnati, 1883; and he also printed in the American Antiquarian, January and April, 1883 (also separately Chicago, 1883), a scholarly paper on Indian Migrations as evidenced by Language.

So far as relates to the more easterly tribes coming within the range of the Jesuits’ influence, Parkman’s description can be compared with the plain matter-of-fact enumerations which make up the picture in Palfrey’s New England, which are derived from authorities enumerated in his notes. See various papers in the Canadian Journal.

The general historians of New France necessarily give more or less attention to the study of the Indians as the Jesuits found them; and such a study is an integral part of Dr. George E. Ellis’s learned monograph, The Red Man and the White Man in North America, whose account of the different methods of converting the natives, pursued by the French and the English, may be compared with that in Archbishop Spalding’s Miscellanea, i. 333.

[In the enumeration below the initials of the repositories of copies signify: C., Library of Congress; CB., Carter-Brown Library, Providence; F., Mrs. J. F. Fisher, Alverthorpe, Penn.; GB., Hon. George Bancroft, Washington; HC., Harvard College; J., Jesuits’ College, Georgetown, D.C.; K., Charles H. Kalbfleisch, New York; L., Lenox Library, N.Y.; M., the late Henry C. Murphy, Brooklyn, L.I.; OHM., O. H. Marshall, Buffalo; NY., New York State Library, Albany; SJ., St. John’s College, Fordham, N.Y.; V., Catholic Bishop of Vincennes, Indiana.

Space is not taken in these notes to give full titles nor exhaustive collations, which can be found in the authorities referred to, the figures following them being to numbers; but the references to the Lenox Contributions is necessarily to pages.]

1580.—The Lenox bibliography begins the series of allied works with A Shorte and briefe narration of the two Navigations and Discoveries to the northweast partes, called Newe France, London, 1580. Harrisse, Notes sur la Nouvelle France, no. 5.

1605.—De Monts’ Commission. See chapter iv.

1609.Coppie d’une lettre envoyée de la Nouvelle France, par le Sieur Cōbes, Lyons. (Harrisse, no. 20; Lenox, p. 3; Sabin, xiii. no. 56,083.) Dated “Brest-en-Canada, 13 Février, 1608.” The Carter-Brown Catalogue (vol. ii. no. 80) shows only a manuscript copy. Brunet speaks of a single copy, sold and bought for America.

1610.La Conversion des Savages ... baptizés en la Nouvelle France, Paris. Harrisse, no. 21; Lenox, p. 3; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 99.

1610.Lettre missive, touchant la conversion ... du grand Sagamos, Paris. Lenox, p. 3; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 103 (manuscript only.)


1611.Missio Canadensis. Epistola ex Porturegali in Acadia. This is a reprint, made for Dr. O’Callaghan at Albany in 1870 (25 copies), following the letter as given in the Annuæ litteræ Societatis Jesu, 1611 and 1612. (Cf. Lenox, p. 18; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 119.) Carayon says that this Annual extends from 1581 (imprint, 1583) to 1614; and then again, 1650-1654. There are incomplete sets in the Harvard College and Carter-Brown libraries. From the same source Dr. O’Callaghan also reprinted Relatio rerum gestarum in Nova Francia, 1613, which relates to Biard’s mission.

1613.Contract d’association des Jésuites au trafique de Canada, Lyons. (Harrisse, no. 28.) Tross’s reprint on vellum (12 copies only) is in the Lenox (p. 4) and Carter-Brown (vol. ii. no. 148) Collections.

1611-1613.Canadicæ Missionis Relatio ab anno 1611 usque ad annum 1613, auctore Josepho Juvencio. Dr. O’Callaghan’s reprint, no. 4. (O’Callaghan, no. 1,980; Lenox, p. 18.)

1612.Relation dernière de ce qui s’est passé au voyage du Sieur de Poutrincourt en la Nouvelle France, Paris. A description of the voyage of Biard and Masse from Dieppe, Jan. 26, 1611. (Cf. Harrisse, no. 26.)

Copy: HC.

Upon this early mission, see Carayon, Première mission des Jésuites au Canada, lettres et documents inédits, Paris, 1864. (Sabin, vol. iii. no. 10,792.) These letters and others are cited by Harrisse, nos. 397-400, 404-406. (Cf. Parkman’s Pioneers, p. 263.) Charlevoix (Shea’s ed., p. 87) cites Juvency’s Historiæ Societatis Jesu pars quinta, book xv., Rome, 1710, as elucidating events in Acadia in 1611. (Harrisse, no. 402.) For the trading relations of the Jesuits, see Lescarbot (1618), p. 665; Champlain (1632), p. 100, and references in Harrisse, no. 28, and Parkman’s Old Régime, p. 328. These early Acadian missions are treated in the Catholic World, xii. 628, 826; xxii. 666, and in Historical Magazine, xv. 313, 391; xvi. 41.

The subject of the Capuchins and other Catholics on the Maine coast at an early date is followed in Historical Magazine, viii. 301, and in Maine Historical Collections, i. 323. Cf. Poor’s Gorges, p. 98.

1613-1614.Relatio rerum gestarum in Nova-Francia Missione annis 1613 et 1614. Lugduni. No. 6 of Dr. O’Callaghan’s reprints, Albany, 1871. Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 170; O’Callaghan, no. 1,250; Lenox, p. 19.

1616.Relation de la Nouvelle France ... faicte par le P. Pierre Biard, Lyons. Chaps. i. to viii. are on the country and its inhabitants. Chap. xi. is on the arrival of the Jesuits in 1611; and in Harrisse’s opinion, it constitutes a reply to the Factum escrit et publié contre les Jésuites,—a publication of which we can find no other trace. It also describes the labors of the missionaries and the cruelties of Argall. See chap. iv.

See Harrisse, no. 30, on the question of an earlier edition in 1612. The Supplément of Brunet calls this 1612 edition spurious. (Carayon, p. 178; Lenox, p. 4, for a copy, with title in fac-simile by Pilinski, which yet cost 1,000 francs, as per Leclerc, no. 2,482.) A reprint, “presque en fac-simile,” was made at Albany in 1871 from a copy owned by Rufus King, of Jamaica, L. I. The Carter-Brown (vol. ii. no. 178) has only this fac-simile, and it is noted in O’Callaghan, nos. 1,207, 1,971, where it is stated only twenty-five were printed, at $25 per copy.

1626.Coppie de la lettre escripte par le R. P. Denys Jamet, Commissaire des PP. Recollestz de Canada. Dated Quebec, Aug. 15, 1626.

References: Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 315. Dr. Shea thinks the date should be 1620. It is from Sagard, p. 58.

1626.Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France, 1626. Envoyée au Père Hierosme L’Allemant par Charles L’Allemant. Paris, 1629. Reprinted (no. 7) in O’Callaghan’s series, from the text in Mercure François, vol. xiii.

References: Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 351; O’Callaghan, nos. 1,210, 1,250, 1,982; Lenox, p. 19. Le Clercq doubts L’Allemant’s authorship; but see Shea’s Le Clercq, i. 329.

1627.Lettre du Père Charles l’Allemant, Supérieur de la mission de Canadas, Paris, 1627. It bears date Aug. 1, 1626.

References: Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,680; Harrisse, no. 41; Faribault, no. 361; Ternaux, no. 496; Carayon, p. 179; Lenox, p. 4; O’Callaghan, no. 1,250.

It was reprinted in 1871 in O’Callaghan’s series. (Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 328; O’Callaghan, no. 1,208.) It first appeared in the Mercure François, xiii. 1. This last publication appeared in Paris, 1611-1646, in twenty-three volumes, and contains much illustrative of these early missions. There are sets of the Mercure in the Boston Athenæum, Harvard College, Carter-Brown, Boston Public libraries, etc. The reprint of L’Allemant’s Lettre in the Quebec edition of the Relations, follows the text of the Mercure, which corresponds, as is not always the case of these early Relations, with the contemporary separate text, as Mr. Lenox has pointed out in the Historical Magazine, iii. 19. Carayon, in his Première Mission, translates from another letter of L’Allemant, preserved at Rome, and of the[301] same date, another account of these early Jesuit labors, which he sent to Père Vitelleschi. L’Allemant’s name in the contemporary publications is spelled with a single or double l, indifferently.

Another of O’Callaghan’s series (Albany, 1870), was Copie de trois Lettres escrittes en 1625 et 1626 par le P. Charles Lallemand. O’Callaghan, nos. 1,209, 1,250; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 316.

1629.Lettre du Rev. Père l’Allemand au Rev. Père Supérieur du Collège des Jésuites à Paris, 22 Novembre, 1629. It is found in Champlain’s Voyages, and a reprint (no. 3) is in O’Callaghan’s series, Albany, 1870. O’Callaghan, nos. 1,250, 1,979; Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,681; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 390; Carayon, p. 179; Lenox, p. 18. It is translated in Shea’s Perils of the Ocean and Wilderness.

[The regular series of so-called Relations, addressed to the Provincial of the order in France, begins here.]

1632.Le Jeune. Brieve Relation du Voyage de la Nouvelle France, fait au mois d’Avril dernier, par le P. Paul le Jeune. Paris, 1632. Pages 68, one leaf for the Privilege.

Contents: The arrival and reinstatement of the order in Quebec, with notices of the natives.

References: Carayon, no. 1,260; Harrisse, no. 49; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,946. Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 381, with fac-simile of title.

Copies: CB., GB., M. Others in the Arsenal and National Libraries at Paris, etc.

It was reprinted in the Mercure François for 1633.

1633.Le Jeune. Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France en l’année 1633. Paris, 1634. Pages 216 and Privilege, with a cupid in the vignette, and errors of pagination. A second issue has a ram’s head for a vignette, and some typographical variations. These vignettes are at the top of p. 3; that with two storks is on the titlepage.

Contents: Champlain’s arrival, and that of Brebeuf and Masse; Le Jeune’s difficulties with the native language.

References: Carayon, no. 1,261; Harrisse, nos. 55, 56; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,947-48; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 417; O’Callaghan, no. 1,212. (2d issue).

Copies: CB., GB., HC. (3d issue), M.

There is an abridgment in the Mercure François for 1633.

1634.Le Jeune. Relation ... en l’année 1634. Paris, 1635. Pages 4, 342, with pp. 321-22 numbered 323-24. A second issue corrects p. 321, but makes 337 to be 339.

Contents: Champlain’s Domestic Life; Labors of Missionaries; Habits of Indians, and (chap. 9) Account of their Languages; Le Jeune’s Journal, August, 1633, to April, 1634, while he was living with the savages.

References: Carayon, no. 1,263. Harrisse, nos. 60, 61; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,949; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 307; Lenox, p. 4; O’Callaghan, no. 1,235; Harrassowitz (1882, 180 marks).

Copies: CB., F., GB., HC., K., L. (1st ed.), M.

1635.Le Jeune. Relation ... en l’année 1635. Paris, 1636. Pages 4, 246, 2.

Contents: Report, dated August 28, 1635, ending on p. 112; Report from the Huron country by Brebeuf, with “divers sentimens.” Report from Cape Breton by Perrault.

References: Carayon, no. 1,264; Harrisse, nos. 58, 63; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 436; Lenox, p. 5; Sabin, vol. x. nos. 39,950, 39,951; O’Callaghan, no. 1,214; Leclerc, no. 778 (140 francs). Priced (1883), $50.

Copies: CB., GB., HC., L., M., OHM.

1635.Le Jeune. Relation, etc. Avignon, 1636.

Contents: Same as the Paris edition.

References: Harrisse, no 64; Lenox, p. 5.

Copies: The Lenox Contributions claims its copy as the only one now known; if so, a third edition is represented in a defective copy noted in O’Callaghan, no. 1,215.

1636.Le Jeune. Relation ... en l’année 1636. Paris, 1637. Pages 8, 272, 223.

Contents: Report; Death of Champlain, etc.; Brebeuf’s Huron report, with account of the language, customs, etc.

References: Carayon, no. 1,265; Harrisse, no. 65; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,952; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 446; Lenox, p. 5; Harrassowitz, 1883 (125 marks).

Copies: CB., HC., K., L. It does not appear whether copies GB., M., OHM., and V. are of this or of the following edition.

1636.Le Jeune. Relation, etc. Paris, 1637. Pages 199 in smaller type than the preceding edition; the Huron report sometimes wanting, though mentioned in the title, while it was not mentioned in the preceding edition; but Sobolewski describes a copy which has this Huron report, occupying 163 pages.

References: Harrisse, no. 66; Lenox, p. 5.

1637.Le Jeune. Relation ... en l’année 1637. Rouen, 1638. Pages 10,336 (pp. 193-196 omitted in paging), 256, with vignette of I. H. S. supported by two angels on the title. A second issue has the I. H. S. surrounded by rays, and there are other typographical changes in the title only. A folding woodcut of fireworks between pp. 18 and 19.

Contents: Report about the missions and the Huron Seminary near Quebec; Report by Lemercier from the Huron country, dated 1637.

References: Harrisse, nos. 67, 68; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,953; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 457; Lenox, p. 5; O’Callaghan, no. 1,216; Harrassowitz, 1880 (150 francs); Leclerc, 779 (200 francs).

Copies: CB., HC., K., M., OHM., L. (both varieties).


Harrisse, p. xiv, says the oldest original document he has found is a memorandum of a gift, August 16, 1637, by the Duchesse d’Aiguillon to the Réligieuses Hospitalières of Quebec (cf. also his no. 457).

1638.Le Jeune. Relation ... en l’année 1638. Paris, 1638. Pages 4, 78, 2, 68. A second edition has pp. 4, 78, 76. Harrisse says it is distinguishable by the last page being marked 67, correctly, and page 39 of the Huron report having the word fidelle instead of fidèle; but the whole volume is reset.

Contents: Report,—Failure of the Huron Seminary; Persecution of the Fathers; Lemercier’s Report from the Huron Country, 1637-38, with account of Lunar Eclipse, December, 1637.

References: Carayon, no. 1,267; Harrisse, nos. 69, 70; Sabin, vol. x. nos. 39,954, 39,955; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 458; Lenox, p. 5; O’Callaghan, no. 1,217; Stevens, Bibl. Hist., no. 1,120; Harrassowitz, 1883 (125 marks).

Copies: CB., GB., HC., K., L. (both eds.), OHM., NY.

Harrisse, p. 62, says a Latin version is included “dans le recueil du P. Trigaut, Cologne, 1653.”

1639.Le Jeune. Relation ... en l’année 1639. Paris, 1640. Pages 8, 166, 2, 174. A second edition was a page-for-page reprint, with typographical changes on almost every page. The Privilege on the first reads, Par le Roy en son Conseil, and is signed March 26, 1638; the word son is omitted in the second, and the date of this is Dec. 20, 1639.

Contents: Regular Report; Huron Report, June, 1638, to June, 1639.

References: Carayon, no. 1,268; Harrisse, nos. 74, 75; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,956; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. pp. 481, 482; Lenox, p. 6; O’Callaghan, no. 1,218; Harrassowitz, 1883 (125 marks).

Copies: CB. (both eds.), GB., HC., K., L. (both eds.).

1640.Vimont. Relation ... en l’année M. DC. XL. Paris, 1641. Pages 8, 197, 3, 196; but 191 and 192 are repeated.

Contents: Report on the State of the Colony and the Missions; Report from the Huron Country by Hierosme Lalemant, mentioning a map of the Western country by Ragueneau.

References: Carayon, no. 1,269; Harrisse, no. 76; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. p. 495; Lenox, p. 6; O’Callaghan, no. 1,219; Dufossé, no. 8,660 (125 francs); Harrassowitz, 1883 (125 marks).

Copies: CB., GB., HC., K., L., OHM.

We derive the earliest mention of Jean Nicolet’s explorations about Green Bay from this Relation, and what it says is translated in Smith’s Wisconsin, vol. iii. See chapter v. of the present volume.

1640-1641.Vimont. Relation ... ès années 1640 et 1641. Paris, 1642. Pages 8, 216, 104. Chap. vi. is numbered viii., and there are other irregularities.

Contents: Report,—Missions News; Wars with the Iroquois; Tadousac Mission; Report from the Huron Country by Lalemant, June, 1640, to June, 1641; First mention of Niagara as Onguiaahra; a Huron Prayer interlined.

References: Carayon, no. 1,720; Harrisse, no. 77; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. p. 509; Lenox, p. 6; O’Callaghan, no. 1,220; Harrassowitz, 1883 (100 marks). Cf. Faillon, Hist. de la Col. Française, vols. i. and ii., chaps. 4 and 5, on this Iroquois War.

Copies: CB., GB., HC., K., L. (two copies, with slight variations), OHM.

1642.Vimont. Relation ... en l’année 1642. Paris, 1643. Pages 8, 191, 1, 170; pp. 76, 77, omitted in paging.

Contents: Report,—Founding of Montreal; Capture of Jogues; Lunar Eclipse, April 4, 1642; Lalemant’s Report from the Huron Country, June, 1641, to June, 1642.

References: Carayon, no. 1,271; Harrisse, no. 80; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 528; Lenox, p. 6; O’Callaghan, no. 1,221; Harrassowitz, 1883 (125 marks); Dufossé, 1878 (180 francs).

Copies: CB., GB., HC., K., L., M., NY., V.

On Jogues’ exploration to the Sault Ste. Marie, see Margry, Découvertes, i. 45; Shea’s Charlevoix, i. 137.

For references on the founding and early history of Montreal, see Harrisse, p. 79. The Abbé Faillon’s Histoire de la Colonie Française en Canada, Paris, 1865-1866, three volumes, with maps, pertains chiefly to Montreal, and was left incomplete at the author’s death.


Faillon, Histoire de la Colonie Française, iii. 375, gives a map of Montreal preserved in the French archives,—Plan de Villemarie et des premières rues projetées pour l’établissement de la Haute Ville. This represents the town at about 1665. There is a fac-simile of another plan of about 1680 preserved in the library of the Canadian Parliament, the original being at Paris (Catalogue, 1858, p. 1,615). A plan of 1685 is given in l’Héroïne Chrétienne du Canada, ou Vie de Mlle. le Ber, Villemarie, 1860. Charlevoix gives a map with the old landmarks, and it is reproduced in Shea’s edition, ii. 170. A later one is in La Potherie, 1753 edition, ii. 311 (given above), and one of about 1759, in Miles’s Canada, p. 296.

He derives new matter from the public archives in France, goes over afresh the whole history of Champlain’s career, and throws light on points left dark by Charlevoix and the earlier narrators, and is in some respects the best of the recent French historians; but Parkman (Jesuits, p. 193) cautions us that his partisan character as an ardent and prejudiced Sulpitian should be well kept in mind (cf. Field, p. 518; and chap. vii. of the present volume). Dollier de Casson’s Histoire de Montréal, 1640-1672, is a manuscript in the Mazarin Library in Paris, of which Mr. Parkman has a copy. It was printed in 1871 by the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, in the third series of their historical documents. Parkman refers to (Jesuits, p. 209), and gives extracts from, Les véritables Motifs ... de la Société de Notre Dame de Montréal pour la Conversion des Sauvages, which was published in 1643 as a defence against aspersions of the “Hundred Associates.” It was probably printed at Paris. A copy some years since passed into an American collection at 800 francs. A transcript of a copy, collated by Margry, was used in the reprint issued in the Mémoires de la Société historique de[303] Montreal, in 1880, under the editing of the Abbé Verreau, who attributes it to Olier, while Faillon has ascribed it to Laisné de la Marguerie. The editor adds some important “notices bibliographiques et documentaires;” some “notes historiques par le Commandeur Viger,” from an unpublished work,—Le Petit Registre; a “liste des premiers Colons de Montreal.” Of the older authorities, Le Clercq and Charlevoix (Shea’s edition, note, ii. 129) are useful; but Charlevoix, as Parkman says, was not partial to Montreal. The Société historique de Montreal began in 1859 the publication of Mémoires et Documents relatifs a l’histoire du Canada. The first number, “Dè l’Esclavage en Canada,” was the joint work of J. Viger and L. H. Lafontaine, but it has little matter falling within the present period; the second, “De la Famille des Lauson,” the governor of New France after 1651, by Lafontaine, with an Appendix on the “Vice-Rois et Lieutenants Generaux des rois de France en Amerique,” by R. Bellemare; the third, “Ordonances de Mr Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, premier gouverneur de Montreal,” etc; the fourth, “Règne Militaire en Canada;” the fifth, “Voyage de Dollier et Galinée.” See a paper on Montreal and its founder, Maisonneuve, in the Canadian Antiquarian, January, 1878. Concerning the connection of M. Olier with the founding of Montreal and the schemes connected with it for the conversion of the savages, see Faillon, Vie de M. Olier, Paris, 1873, iii. 397, etc., and references there cited; and also see Faillon, Vie de Mdlle. Mance, Paris, 1854, and Parkman in Atlantic Monthly, xix. 723.

1642-1643.Vimont. Relation ... en l’années 1642 et 1643. Paris, 1644. Pages 8, 309, 3.

Contents: Report,—Algonquin Letter, with interlinear Translation; Founding of Sillery; Tadousac; Five Letters from Père Jogues about his Captivity among the Iroquois, beginning p. 284, giving, in substance[304] only, the Latin narrative mentioned below; Declaration of the Company of New France, that the Jesuits took no part in their trade; Further notice of Nicolet’s Exploration towards the Mississippi.


From Lescarbot’s map of 1609, showing the Mountain and the Indian town, Hochelaga, the site of Montreal. Newton Bosworth’s Hochelaga Depicta was published in Montreal in 1839.

References: Carayon, no. 1,272; Harrisse, no. 81; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 552; Lenox, p. 6; O’Callaghan, no. 1,222.

Copies: CB., F., GB., HC., L. (two copies, slightly different), M., SJ., V.

Nicolet’s explorations, which have usually been put in 1638-39, were fixed by Sulté in 1634; cf. his Mélanges, Ottawa, 1876, and Draper’s annotations in the Wisconsin Historical Collections, viii. 188, and Canadian Antiquarian, viii. 157. This view is sustained in C. W. Butterfield’s Jean Nicolet, Cincinnati, 1881. Cf. Margry, Découvertes, i. 47; Creuxius, Historia Canadensis, and the modern writers,—Parkman, La Salle: Harrisse, Notes; Margry, in Journal de l’Instruction publique, 1862; Gravier, La Salle; etc. See also chap. v. of the present volume.


1643-1644.Vimont. Relation ... ès années 1643 et 1644. Paris, 1645. Pages 8, 256, 4, 147 (marked 174).

Contents: Report, giving account of the Capture of Father Bressani; Huron Report by Hierosme Lalemant; War of the Five Nations against the Hurons.

References: Carayon, no. 1,273; Harrisse, no. 83; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 576; Lenox, p. 6. O’Callaghan, no. 1,223. Recently priced at $50.

Copies: CB., GB., HC., L., M., OHM.

Father F. G. Bressani was in the country from 1642 to 1645, and in his Breve Relatione d’alcune missioni de PP. della Compagnia di Giesu nella Nuova Francia, Macerata, 1653, pp. iv, 127, he gave an account of the rise and progress of the Huron mission. He promised a map and plates, but they do not appear in the copies known, of which two are in the Carter-Brown (Catalogue, vol. ii. no. 750) and Lenox (Contributions, p. 8) libraries; and others were sold in the Brinley (no. 67) and O’Callaghan (no. 1,232) sales. Cf. Carayon, p. 1,317; Leclerc, no. 684 (350 francs); and Shea’s Charlevoix, p. 80. Père Martin had to bring a copy from Rome to make his French translation, Relation abrégée de quelques missions ... dans la Nouvelle France, Montreal, 1852. This version had the Creuxius map, as already stated; another of the Huron country (p. 280), and numerous notes, with a memoir of Bressani by the editor. Cf. Parkman’s Jesuits, p. 253, with references; Shea’s Charlevoix, ii. 174, with note, and his Perils of the Ocean and Wilderness, p. 104; O’Callaghan’s New Netherland; Archbishop Spalding’s Miscellanea.

The first martyr of the Huron mission was Père Antoine Daniel, killed July 4, 1648 (Parkman’s Jesuits, p. 373). Field (Indian Bibliography, p. 146) says some curious, though perhaps not very authentic, information regarding the Hurons can be got from Sieur Gendron’s Quelques Particularitéz du Pays des Hurons, par le Sieur Gendron, which appeared in Davity’s Déscription Générale de l’Amerique, edited by Jean Baptiste de Rocoles, Troyes et Paris, 1660, and was reprinted in New York in 1868. Cf. Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 873; Lenox, p. 18; and Field, no. 598. A fac-simile of a corner map in Creuxius’s larger map, giving the Huron country, is given herewith. Parkman also gives a modern map with the missions and villages marked, and tells the fate of this people after their dispersement, at the end of his Jesuits. See Canadian Monthly, ii. 409.

Dr. Shea gives the following list of martyrs among the Canadian Jesuits, with the dates of their deaths: Isaac Jogues, 1646; Antoine Daniel, 1648; Jean Brebeuf, Gabriel Lallemant, Charles Garnier, and Natalis Chabanel, 1649; Jacques Buteux, 1652; Leonard Garreau, 1656, and René Menard, 1661. And of the Sulpitians: Guillaume Vignal and Jacques Le Maître, 1661. Les Jésuites-Martyrs du Canada, Montreal, 1877, includes Martin’s translation of Bressani’s Relation Abrégée, and sections on the “Caractère des Sauvages et de leur pays,” on their conversion, and on the “Mort de Quelqes Pères.”

1644-1645.Vimont. Relation ... ès années 1644 et 1645. Paris, 1646. Pages 8, 183, 1.

Contents: Missions News; Incursions of the Five Nations; Letter from Lalemant about the Huron Mission, beginning on p. 136.

References: Carayon, no. 1,274; Harrisse, no. 84; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 594; Lenox, p. 6; Dufossé, no. 8,663.

Copies: CB., HC., L., M., V.

1645-1646.Hierosme Lalemant. Relation ... ès années 1644 et 1645. Paris, 1647. Pages 6, 184, 128.

Contents: Report,—Missions to the Iroquois; Jogues among the Mohawks; Huron Report by Paul Ragueneau, May, 1645, to May, 1646.

References: Carayon, no. 1,275; Harrisse, no. 86; Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,684; Carter-Brown, vol ii. no. 619; Lenox, p. 7; O’Callaghan, 1,224; Harrassowitz, 1883 (160 marks).


Copies: CB., GB., HC. (two copies), K., L. (two copies), M., NY., V.

Masse died May 12, 1646, and this Relation contains an account of him.

From October, 1645, to June, 1668, there are journals of the Jesuit missionaries preserved in the archives of the Séminaire at Quebec, which give details not originally intended for the public eye, but which now form an interesting supplement to the series for the years 1645-1668, except that there is a gap between Feb. 5, 1654 and Oct. 25, 1656. These journals were printed at Quebec in 1871, as Le Journal des Jésuites; publié par les Abbés Laverdière et Casgrain. Cf. Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 1,009, where it is stated that the greater part of the edition was destroyed by fire. A continuation of this Journal was in the hands of William Smith, historian of Canada; but is now lost. The Amer. Cath. Quarterly, U. S. Cath. Mag., and The Month contain various papers on the missions. See Poole’s Index.

1647.Hierosme Lalemant. Relation ... en l’année 1647. Paris, 1648. Pages 8, 276; paging irregular from p. 209 to p. 228. Some copies have a repeated de in the title.

Contents: The Mission of Jogues among the Mohawks, and a narrative of his death begins p. 124; Missions among the Abenakis.

References: Carayon, no. 1,276; Harrisse, no. 87; Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,685; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 652; Lenox, p. 7; O’Callaghan, no. 1,225; Harrassowitz, 1883 (160 marks); Dufossé, no. 5,603 (190 francs).

Copies: CB., F., GB., HC., J. (two copies), K., L. (two copies), M., NY., V.

After Jogues’ captivity among the Mohawks, and his mutilations, and his rescue by the Dutch, he wrote an account of Novum Belgium in 1643-1644, which remained in manuscript till Dr. Shea printed it with notes in 1862, as explained in a note to chap. ix. of the present volume. Jogues now went to France, but returned shortly to brave once more the perils of a missionary’s life, and this second venture he did not survive. His own account of this was preserved, according to Père Martin, in the archives of the College of Quebec down to 1800, and according to Dr. Shea passed into the hands of the English Government, and was used by Smith in compiling his History of Canada, Quebec, 1815, and has not been seen since. “It is given apparently in substance in the Relation of 1646.”—Shea’s Charlevoix, ii. 188.

Dr. Shea also edited in English the “Jogues Papers” in the N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., 2d ser., vol. iii., including the account of Jogues’ captivity among the Mohawks; and he repeated the narrative in his Perils of the Ocean and Wilderness, p. 16. The original is a Latin letter, dated Rennselaerswyck, Aug. 5, 1643, of which there is a sworn copy preserved at Montreal, which differs somewhat from the printed copy as given in Alegambe’s Mortes illustres, Rome, 1667, p. 616 (Carayon, no. 79); and in Tanner’s Societas Jesu, Prague, 1675; and the German translation of it, Die Gesellschaft Jesu, Prague, 1683. Cf. Carter-Brown, vol. ii. nos. 1,136, 1,274; Field, Indian Bibliography, 1,530; Stevens, Bibliotheca Hist. 2,017. The letter is badly translated in Bressani’s Breve Relatione, p. 77, but Martin gives it better in his version of Bressani (p. 188). Details, more or less full, can be found in Andrada’s Claros Varones, Madrid, 1666; Creuxius, Historia Canadensis, pp. 338, 378; the Dutch Church History of Hazart, vol. iv.; Barcia, Ensayo Chronologico, Madrid, 1723, p. 205; Carayon, Première Mission; the Bishop of Buffalo’s Missions in Western New York, Buffalo, 1862; and of course in Ferland, Parkman (Jesuits, pp. 106, 211, 217, 304), and the other modern historians. A portrait of Jogues is given in Shea’s edition of the Novum Belgium, and in his Charlevoix, ii. 141.

1647-1648.Hierosme Lalemant. Relation ... ès années 1647 et 1648. Paris, 1649. Pages 8, 158, blank leaf, 135.

Contents: Dreuillettes among the Abenakis; Huron Country Report by Ragueneau, with accounts of the Great Lakes and the Native Tribes upon them; The Five Nations; The Delawares (Andastes); New Sweden, Niagara Falls, etc.

References: Carayon, no. 1,277; Harrisse, no. 89; Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,686; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 673; Lenox, p. 7; O’Callaghan, no. 1,226; Sunderland, vol. iii. no, 7,218.

Copies: CB., HC., K., L. (2 copies), M., NY., V.

Father Gabriel Dreuillettes, in the interest of the Abenakis mission, subsequently made a journey in 1651 to Boston, to negotiate a league between the New England colonies, the Canadian authorities and the Abenakis against the Iroquois. The papers appertaining were recovered by Dr. Shea and printed in New York in 1866, as Recueil de Pièces sur la Négociation entre la Nouvelle France et la Nouvelle Angleterre ès années 1648 et suivantes. A Latin letter from Dreuillettes to Winthrop, which makes a part of this book, had earlier been printed separately in 1864 by Dr. Shea, and again in 1869. The original manuscript was found among the Winthrop Papers, and is now in the cabinet of the Massachusetts Historical Society. (Field, Indian Bibliography, pp. 460, 461; Sabin, vol. v. p. 536; N. Y. Hist. Soc. Coll., 2d ser., iii. 303.) Mr. Lenox also, still earlier, privately printed at Albany in 1855, after the original, “déposé parmi les papiers du Bureau des Biens des Jésuites à Québec,” Dreuillettes’ Narré du Voyage (60 copies),[307] as copied by Dr. Shea. Cf. Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 713; Mass. Hist. Soc. Proc., iii. 34; xi. 152; Hutchinson’s Massachusetts Bay, i. 166; his Collection of Papers, p. 166; Plymouth Colonial Records, ix. 199; Parkman’s Jesuits, pp. 324, 330, and his references; Shea’s Charlevoix, i. 228, and ii. 214; Hazard’s Collection, ii. 183, 184; and N. Y. Col. Doc., ix. 6. The letter of the Council of Quebec and the commission given to the envoys sent to Boston, are also in Massachusetts Archives; Documents Collected in France, ii. 67, 69, where will also be found (iii. 21) a letter, dated Quebec, April 8, 1681, on the life and death of Druillettes.

1648-1649.Paul Ragueneau. Relation ... ès années 1648 et 1649. Paris, 1650. Pages 8, 103. There was a second issue, with larger vignette on title, and some additional pages to the Huron report, pp. 4, 114, 2.

Contents: Text signed by J. H. Chaumonot; the Huron mission; chaps. 4 and 5 give biographies of Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemant, killed by the Iroquois.

References: Carayon, no. 1,278; Harrisse, nos. 90, 91; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. nos. 695, 696; Lenox, p. 7; O’Callaghan, no. 1,228; Dufossé, 1880 (180 francs). Harrassowitz, 1883 (160 marks). The second issue was recently priced in New York at $60.

Copies: CB. (both editions), GB. (first), J. (first), K. (second), L. (both), M. (first), OHM. (both).

1648-1649.Ragueneau. Relation, etc.... Lille, 1650. Pages 121, 3. Follows the first Paris edition, but is of smaller size.

References: Harrisse, no. 92; Lenox, p. 7.

Copies: HC., L.

1648-1649.Ragueneau. Narratio Historica ... Œniponti, 1650. Pages 24, 232, 3. A Latin translation by G. Gobat, somewhat abridged, and differently divided into chapters; smaller than the preceding edition.

References: Carayon, no. 1,316; Harrisse, no. 93; Ternaux, no. 703; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 690; Lenox, p. 7; O’Callaghan, no. 1,227. Rich, 1832 (15 shillings).

Copies: CB., HC., L.

Further accounts of the martyrdom of Brebeuf and Lalemant will be found in most of the works mentioned under 1647, in connection with Jogues. Cf. also the Mercure de France, 1649, pp. 997-1,008; Catholic World, xiii. 512, 623; Le Père Martin’s Le P. Jean de Brebeuf, sa vie, ses travaux, son Martyre, Paris, 1877; Harrisse, p. 88; Shea’s Charlevoix, ii. 221, where is an engraving of a silver portrait bust of Brebeuf, sent by his relatives from Paris to enclose his skull (cf. Parkman’s Jesuits, p. 389), which is still preserved at Quebec. The accompanying engraving is made from a photograph kindly lent by Mr. Parkman. There are other engravings in Shea’s Catholic Mission, in his Charlevoix, ii. 221; and in the Carter-Brown Catalogue, ii. 171.

1649-1650.Ragueneau. Relation ... depuis l’Esté de la année 1649 jusques à l’Esté de l’année 1650. Paris, 1651. Pages 4, 178 (marked 187), 2. Page 171 has tailpiece of fruits. A second issue has typographical variations, with no tailpiece on p. 171, and on p. 178 a letter from the “Supérieure de l’Hospital de la Miséricorde de Kebec.”

Contents: Ragueneau’s letter begins p. 1; Lalemant’s, p. 172; Letters of Buteux and De Lyonne; Huron Mission; Murders of Garnier and Noel Chabanel; Iroquois defeat of the Hurons, and a remnant of the latter colonized near Quebec.

References: Carayon, nos. 1,279, 1,280; Harrisse, nos. 95, 96; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 719; Lenox, p. 8; Brinley, p. 139; Harrassowitz, 1883 (250 marks).

Copies: CB., GB., HC. (first edition), K., L. (both), M., NY.

Shea, Charlevoix, ii. 231, and Parkman, Jesuits, pp. 101, 406, 407, give references for Garnier. Cf. Bressani, Breve Relatione, and Martin’s translation of Bressani, for a table of thirty Jesuit and Recollect missionaries among the Hurons. Margry’s Découvertes, etc., Part I., is on “Les Récollets dans le pays des Hurons, 1646-1687.”

Parkman, Jesuits, pp. 402, 430, saying that this Relation is the principal authority for the retreat[308] of the Hurons to Isle St. Joseph, etc., gives other references.

1650-1651.Ragueneau. Relation ... ès années 1650 et 1651. Paris, 1652. Pages 4, 146, 1.

Contents: French Settlements and the Missions. A letter signed Martin Lyonne begins p. 139.

References: Carayon, no. 1,281; Harrisse, no. 97; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 740; Lenox, p. 8; O’Callaghan, no. 1,229; Harrassowitz, 1883 (120 marks).

Copies: CB., GB., HC., K., L., M., NY.

1651-1652.Ragueneau. Relation ... depuis l’été de l’année 1651 jusques à l’été de l’année 1652. Paris, 1653. Pages 8, 200.

Contents: Chap. i. gives an account of the death of Buteux; Chap. ix., War with the Iroquois; Chap. x., Biography of La Mère Marie de Saint Joseph.

References: Carayon, no. 1,282; Harrisse, no. 98; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 756; Lenox, p. 8; O’Callaghan, no. 1,231; Harrassowitz, 1883 (120 marks).

Copies: CB., HC., (two copies), K., L., V.

The account of the Réligieuses Ursulines of Canada in this Relation was repeated, with additions, in pp. 229-315 of La Gloire de S. Ursule, Valenciennes, 1656. Cf. Harrisse, p. 106; Lenox, p. 8; also Les Ursulines de Québec, and Saint Foi’s Premières Ursulines de France.

An account of the missions “in Canada sive Nova Francia” is the first section of the Progressus fidei Catholicæ in novo orbe, published at Coloniæ Agrippinæ, 1653. The book is very rare; the only copy noted is in the Carter-Brown Collection, vol. ii. no. 758. The Lenox Contribution, p. 8., says there was a copy in O’Callaghan’s Collection, but I fail to find it in his sale catalogue; cf. Harrisse, p. 99.

1652-1653.François Lemercier. Relation ... depuis l’été de l’année 1652 jusques à l’été de l’année 1653. Paris, 1654. Pages 4, 184, 4.

Contents: Montreal; Three Rivers; Poncet captured by the Mohawks; Fort Orange; Peace with the Iroquois.

References: Carayon, no. 1,283; Harrisse, no. 101; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,992; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 775; Lenox, p. 8; O’Callaghan, no. 1,233; Harrassowitz, 1883 (120 marks).

Copies: CB., HC., K., L., M., OHM.

Montreal was organized as a colony in 1653. Cf. Faillon, vol. ii. chap. 10.

1653-1654.Lemercier. Relation ... ès années 1653 et 1654. Paris, 1655. Pages 4, 176.

Contents: Negotiations with the Five Nations; Le Moyne at Onondaga; Treaty of Peace, and Discovery of Salt Springs; Letter from the Hurons at the Isle d’Orléans with a translation.

References: Carayon, no. 1,284; Harrisse, no. 103; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,993; Lenox, p. 8; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 799; O’Callaghan, no. 1,234; Harrassowitz, 1883 (120 marks); Doc. Hist. N. Y., i. 33

Copies: CB., F., HC., J., K., L., M., OHM., NY..

Cf. L. P. Tarcotte’s Histoire de l’ile Orléans, Quebec, 1867, and N. H. Bowen’s Isle of Orleans, 1860.

1655.Copie de deux Lettres envoiées de la Nouvelle France. Paris, 1656. Pages 28. The bearer of the Relation of this year was robbed in France, and only these two letters were recovered and printed. It, with the Relation of 1660, is the rarest of the series.

References: Harrisse, nos. 108, 425; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 813; Lenox, p. 9; O’Callaghan, no. 1,974.

Copies: Those in L. and in the Ste. Geneviève at Paris are the only ones known.

Mr. Lenox printed a fac-simile edition from his own copy, with double titles, showing variations; and of this there are copies in CB., HC., etc.

1655-1656.Jean de Quens. Relation ... ès Années 1655 et 1656. Paris, 1657. Pages 6, 168.

Contents: A Letter signed by De Quens; Le Moyne among the Mohawks; The French at Onondaga; War between the Five Nations and Eries; Ottawas at Quebec; Murder of Garreau.

References: Carayon, no. 1,285; Harrisse, no. 109; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 826; Lenox, p. 9; O’Callaghan, no. 1,237.

Copies: CB., GB., HC., L., M.

Cf. Tailhan, Mémoires sur Perrot, p. 229; and the references in Shea’s Charlevoix, vol. ii. Parkman says Perrot is in large part incorporated in La Potherie; cf. Historical Magazine, ix. 205.

1656-1657.Le Jeune. Relation ... ès années mil six cents cinquante six et mil six cens cinquante sept. Paris, 1658. Pages 12, 211.

Contents: Begins with a Letter signed by Le Jeune; The Senecas and the French; Mission to the Cayugas; Dupuis and the Jesuits among the Onondagas; Le Moyne among the Mohawks; Customs of the Five Nations; Chap. xxi. has a Letter signed by Le Mercier.

References: Carayon, no. 1,280; Harrisse, no. 110; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,957; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 839; Lenox, p. 9; O’Callaghan, no. 1,238; Harrassowitz, 1883 (125 marks). Recently priced at $60.

Copies: CB., GB., HC., K., L., NY.

1657-1658.Ragueneau. Relation ... ès années 1657 et 1658. Paris, 1659. Pages 8, 136. Martin holds that this volume was made up in Paris.

Contents: Two Letters from Ragueneau; French Settlements at Onondaga abandoned; Journal, 1655-1658,[309] dated New Holland, March 25, 1658, and signed Simon Le Moine; Routes to Hudson’s Bay; Comparison of savage and European Customs.

References: Carayon, no. 1,287; Harrisse, no. 112; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 859; Lenox, p. 9.

Copies: CB., L., M., NY.

On the French missions in New York, see Marie de l’Incarnation, Lettres historiques; Parkman’s Old Régime, chap. i.; O’Callaghan’s New Netherland; Shea’s Charlevoix, vol. iii.; J. V. H. Clark’s Onondaga (Syracuse, 1849); Charles Hawley’s Early Chapters of Cayuga History, with the Jesuit Missions in Goi-o-gouen, 1656-1684 (Auburn, 1879), with an Introduction by Dr. Shea. This last book has a map of the Iroquois territory and the mission sites, by J. S. Clark (reproduced on an earlier page).

1659.Lallemant. Lettres envoiées de la Nouvelle France. Paris, 1660. Pages 49, 3.

Contents: Arrival of a Bishop; Algonquin and Huron Missions; Acadia Mission. The three letters are dated, respectively, Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Oct. 16, 1659.

References: Harrisse, no. 113; Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,683; Lenox, p. 9; O’Callaghan, no. 1,236.

Copies: From what was supposed to be a unique copy (since burned in 1854), in the Parliamentary Library at Quebec, Mr. Lenox had a fac-simile made, from which he afterward printed, in 1854, his fac-simile edition; but Harrisse has since reported two copies in the Bibliothèque Nationale, at Paris. Harrassowitz, in his Rarissima Americana, no. 91, p. 5, notes a copy at 2,500 marks, which is now in Mr. Kalbfleisch’s Collection.

De Laval landed at Quebec June 6, 1659, having been made Bishop of Petra and Vicar Apostolic of New France the previous year. He became Bishop of Quebec in 1674; resigned in 1688, and died in 1708. Parkman draws a distinct picture of his character in his Old Régime, chap. v., and describes his appearance from several portraits which are extant, one of which is engraved in Shea’s Le Clercq, ii. p. 50. A Life of him, by La Tour, was printed at Cologne in 1761; and an Esquisse de la vie, etc., at Quebec, in 1845. Two other publications are of interest: Notice sur la fête à Quebec le 16 Juin, 1859, 200eme anniversaire de l’arrivée de Laval, Quebec, 1859, and Translation des Restes de Laval, Quebec, 1878. Cf. Faillon, Hist. de la Colonie Française, ii. chap. 13, and Shea’s Charlevoix, iii. 20, for references. In 1874 the second centennial of Laval’s becoming bishop was commemorated in a Notice biographique, by E. Langevin, “suivie de quarante-une lettres et notes historiques sur le Chapitre de la Cathédrale,” published at Montreal, 1874.

The Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame were founded this year at Montreal, and the life of the foundress, Margaret Bourgeois, by Montgolfier, was published in Montreal in 1818; and was translated and published in English in New York in 1880. Another Life, said to be by the Abbé Faillon, was published in 1853. An earlier Life, by Ransonet, was published at Liege in 1728. Cf. Parkman’s Jesuits, p. 201, and Shea’s Charlevoix, vol. v., for her portrait.

The Abbé de Queylus, who was the candidate of the Sulpitians for the Bishopric, came over in 1657. (Faillon, ii. 271; La Tour, Vie de Laval, 19; Shea’s Charlevoix, iii. 20; Parkman, Old Régime, 97.)

1659-1660.—(Not signed.) Relation ... ès années mil six cent cinquante neuf et mil six cent soixante. Paris, 1661. Pages 6, 202; paging irregular in parts.

Contents: Letter from Menard; Country of the Five Nations, with Census of the Tribes; Saguenay River; Hudson’s Bay; Overthrow of the Hurons.

References: Carayon, no. 1,288; Harrisse, no. 115: Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 895; Lenox, p. 9; O’Callaghan, no. 1,239.

Copies: CB., F., GB., HC., L., M., NY.

For the dispersal of the Hurons, see Martin’s Bressani, App. p. 309; cf. Parkman’s Jesuits.

For the part relating to traders on Lake Superior in 1658, see translation, in Smith’s Wisconsin, iii. 20; cf. Margry, i. 53. Menard’s letter, Aug. 27, 1660, on the eve of his embarkation for Lake Superior, is translated in Minnesota Historical Society’s Annals, i. 20; and Collections, i. 135.

1660-1661.Le Jeune. Relation ... ès années 1660 et 1661. Paris, 1662. Pages 8, 213, 3.

Contents: Le Jeune’s Epistle to the King; War with the Iroquois; Peace with the Five Nations; Mission to Hudson’s Bay; “Journal du premier Voyage fait vers la Mer du Nort,” begins on page 62; Letters of Le Moyne from the Mohawk Country, and from a French Prisoner among the Mohawks.

References: Carayon, no. 1,289; Harrisse, no. 117; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 907; Lenox, p. 10; O’Callaghan, no. 1,240; Harrassowitz, 1882 (125 marks). Recently priced in New York at $50.

Copies: CB., HC., K., L., NY., V.


1661-1662.Lallemant. Relation ... ès années 1661 et 1662. Paris, 1663. Pages 8, 118, 1.

Contents: Letter dated Kebec, Sept. 18, 1662, signed Hierosme Lalemant; Disputes with two of the Five Nations; Murder of Vignal; Le Moyne among the Senecas.

References: Carayon, no. 1,290; Harrisse, no. 119; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 929; Lenox, p. 10; O’Callaghan, no. 1,241; Quaritch, no. 12,365 (£8 10s.); Harrassowitz, 1882 (150 marks).

Copies: CB., HC., J., K., L.

Cf. Shea’s Charlevoix, iii. 45, note.

1662-1663.Lallemant. Relation ... ès années 1662 et 1663. Paris, 1664. Pages 16, 169, with some irregularity of paging.

Contents: Meteorological Phenomena: Earthquake of 1663 [see Harrisse, p. 118] and Solar Eclipse, Sept. 1, 1663; War with the Iroquois; Outaouaks; Death of Menard.

References: Carayon, no. 1,291; Harrisse, no. 121; Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,688; Lenox, p. 10; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 950; O’Callaghan, no. 1,242; Dufossé, no. 5,602 (180 francs); Harrassowitz, 1882 (120 marks). Recently priced in New York at $50.

Copies: CB., HC., K., L., M., NY.

Cf. Shea’s Charlevoix, iii. 48, 57.

Menard had established a mission at St. Theresa Bay, Lake Superior, in 1661. Cf. Smith’s Wisconsin, vol. iii., for a translation; cf. further, on Menard, Perrot’s Mœœurs des Sauvages; Historical Magazine, viii. 175, by Dr. Shea, and his edition of Charlevoix, i. 49; Minnesota Hist. Soc. Coll., by E. D. Neill, i. 135. Cf. J. G. Shea on the “Indian Tribes of Wisconsin,” in the Wisconsin Hist. Coll., iii. 125; and a criticism by Alfred Brunson in vol. iv. p. 227.

1663-1664.Lallemant. Relation ... ès années 1663 et 1664. Paris, 1665. Pages 8, 176, with some irregularities of paging.

Contents: Missions among the Hurons, Algonquins, and Five Nations; War of the Mohawks; Iroquois Embassy to the French.

References: Carayon, no. 1,292; Harrisse, no. 123; Sabin, vol. x. no. 38,689; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 964; Lenox, p. 10.

Copies: CB., HC., L., M., NY.

1664-1665.Lemercier. Relation ... ès années 1664 et 1665. Paris, 1666. Pages 12, 128.

Contents: M. de Tracy’s Voyage; Strength of the Five Nations; Comets; Vignal’s Death; Nouvel[311] among the Savages. What is called a second issue has in addition a “Lettre de la R. Mère Supérieure des Réligieuses Hospitalières de Kebec du 23 Octobre, 1665,” 16 pp., which is not reprinted in the Quebec edition of the Relations. A map of Lakes Ontario, Champlain, and adjacent parts, with plans of the forts on the Richelieu River. A part of the map and plans of the forts are given herewith. Martin assigns these plans to the following Relation.

References: Carayon, no. 1,293; Harrisse, nos. 124, 133; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,994; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no 978; Lenox, p. 10; O’Callaghan, no. 1,243; Dufossé, no. 2,175 (200 francs).

Copies: CB., HC., L. (both issues), M., OHM., NY.

1665-1666.—Lemercier. Relation ... aux années mil six cent soixante cinq et mil six cent soixante six. Paris, 1667. Pages viii, 47, 16.

Contents: Courcelles’ Expedition, January, 1666, against the Oneidas and Mohawks; De Tracy’s Interview with Garacontie, and his Expedition, September, 1666, against the Mohawks.

References: Carayon, no. 1,294; Harrisse, no. 126; Sabin, vol. x. no. 39,995; Carter-Brown, vol. ii. no. 992: Lenox, p. 10; Harrassowitz, 1882 (150 marks).

Copies: CB., without the “Lettre.” K., with the “Lettre.”

Harrisse says the copies in the Bibliothèque Nationale and the Ste. Geneviève Libraries in Paris contain also a “Lettre de la Révérende Mère Supérieure des Réligieuses Hospitalières de Kebec, du 3 Octobre, 1666,” 16 pp., which is called for in the contents-tables of copies in which it fails, and it is not included in the Quebec edition of the Relations. Historical Magazine, iii. 20.

1666-1667.—Lemercier. Relation ... les années mil six cens soixante six et mil six cens soixante sept. Paris, 1668. Pages 8, 160, 14. The title is without the usual vignette of storks.


A section in fac-simile of the map in the Relation of 1662-63, showing the position of the forts. These may be compared with the Carte dressée pour la Campagne de 1666, accompanied by plans of forts Richelieu, St. Louis, and Ste. Thérèse, which Talon sent with his despatch of Nov. 11, 1665, and which is engraved in Faillon, Histoire de la Colonie Française en Canada, iii. 125, where will also be found a map to illustrate the campaign of 1666.

Contents: Allouez’ Journal to Lake Superior; The Pottawatomies and other Western Tribes; Missions to the Five Nations; Thomas Morel’s Account of the Wonders in the Church of St. A