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Champlain
Chapter VIII Champlain, The Jesuits and the Savages


THE first inhabitants of the settlement of New France were the interpreters, clerks, and workmen, employed by the merchants. They were termed the winterers, in opposition to the captains and sailors who visited the colony for the purpose of trading only. The interpreters present an interesting feature, in the life of the new colony. Their functions rendered it necessary for them to reside for an indefinite period with an Indian tribe, in order to qualify themselves to act as interpreters for their countrymen during trade, or for the missionaries while catechising or providing other religious exercises. A daily intercourse with the Indians was absolutely essential in order to induce them to keep their appointments with the traders at the established rendezvous. The interpreters had seldom any other occupation, although some of them acted as clerks, and thereby received a larger salary, in addition to a certain number of beaver skins which they could exchange for goods.

Etienne Brftld and Nicholas Marsolet, who arrived at Quebec with Champlain in the year 1608, acted as interpreters, but at first they did not meet with much success. They were, however, both young and intelligent, and Brule soon acquired a knowledge of the Huron language, while Marsolet mastered the idiom of the Algonquin tongue. Brul£ spent nearly all his life among the Hurons, who adopted him as a member of their family, while Marsolet accompanied the Algonquins to Allumette Island, and became one of their best friends. Historians of Canada mention the names of many other interpreters of this period, some of whom founded families, while others afterwards returned to France. In the year 1613 three interpreters arrived, Nicholas du Vignau, Jacques Hertel, and Thomas Godefroy. In the year 1618 there was only one arrival, Jean Manet, who took up his residence among the people residing on the shores of Lake Nipissing.

In the year 1619 Jean Nicolet came to Canada, and won great esteem in the country of his choice. He was the father of a large family, the descendants of whom are very numerous. Three more interpreters came in 1621, Du Vernet, Le Baillif, and Olivier Le Tardif, and two in 1623, namely, Jean-Paul Godefroy and Jacques Couillard, and finally in 1624 Jean Richer and Lamontagne, thus making twelve interpreters between the years 1608 and 1625. Of this number the two Godefroys, Marsolet, Nicolet, Hertel, and Le Tardif were distinguished on account of the part which they took in Canadian affairs; and the knowledge which they had obtained of the native languages rendered them competent to discuss delicate questions relating to the.welfare of the colony. Their services to the authorities, both civil and religious, were therefore at certain periods exceedingly valuable. It is among these men that we may fittingly seek for the founders of the Canadian race.

The second class of settlers, or winterers, as they were termed, will be spoken of later. From the year 1608 to 1613 not a single settler or head of a family came to Canada, but at this latter date we find the names of Abraham Martin, Nicholas Pivert and Pierre Desportes. They were married and brought their wives and families with them. Abraham Martin and Pierre Desportes had each a daughter, and Pivert had a niece. Guillaume Couillard arrived during the same year, but he was a bachelor. We have already spoken in a previous chapter of the return of Champlain from France in the year 1617, on which occasion he was accompanied by Louis Hubert and his family. There also arrived in 1617, Etienne Jonquest, to whom we have likewise referred. In 1618 another family took up its residence in New France, namely Adrien Duchesne, surgeon, and his wife. Eustache Boulld, brother-in-law to Champlain, came over in 1618, and two families arrived in 1619, but they were immediately sent back, as the occupation of the head of one of the families was that of a butcher, and the other was a needle manufacturer, and there was no opening for either in a new settlement. In the year 1620, the settlers gave a cordial welcome to Ht^l&ne Boull£, who was attended by three female servants. From the year 1620 to 1625, history is silent as to new arrivals. Champlain had made eyery effort to induce settlers to take up their residence in Quebec, but the population was still very scanty.

There were really only seven settled families at this time, composed of twenty persons, seven men and seven women, and six children. Their names were as follows:—Abraham Martin and his wife Marguerite Langlois, and his two daughters, Anne and Marguerite; Pierre Desportes and his wife Fran9oise Langlois, and a girl named Hdl£ne; Nicholas Pivert and his wife Marguerite Lesage, and their niece; Louis Hubert and his wife Marie Rollet, and a son named Guillaume; Adrien Duchesne and his wife; Guillaume Couillard, his wife, Guillemette Hubert, and a girl named Louise; Champlain and his wife Hdl&ne Boulle.

When Abraham Martin came to Quebec, he was twenty-four years of age. The official documents refer to him as king's pilot, and the Jesuits named him Maitre Abraham, while to the people he was Martin l'Ecossais. His family gave to the Catholic Church of Canada her second priest in chronological order. This priest, who was born at Quebec, was named Charles Amador. After having served as a mariner for the Company of Rouen, Abraham Martin became a farmer, and was the proprietor of two portions of land, consisting of thirty-two acres. He received twenty acres of land from Adnen Duchesne, and twelve acres from the Company of New France, on December 4th, 1635.2 This property was named the Plains of Abraham, and all the ground in the immediate vicinity gradually assumed the same title. A part of the famous conflict fought on September 13th, 1759, and known as the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, actually occurred on the ground owned by Abraham Martin, and thus it is that the name of this first settler has been perpetuated in prose and verse.

Louis Hubert, the son of a Parisian apothecary, followed the profession of his father in Canada. He first tried to establish himself at Port Royal, where we find him in the year 1606. He left Port Royal in 1607, but he appears to have returned there, as in the year 1613 he is mentioned as acting as lieutenant in the place of Biencourt, son of Poutrincourt. When Port Royal was abandoned, Hubert returned to France, where he met Champlain, who induced him to turn his steps towards Canada once more. Soon after his second visit to New France, he commenced to build a residence in the Upper Town of Quebec, upon the summit of Mountain Hill. This building, which was of stone, measured thirty-eight feet in length, and was nineteen feet broad.

It was in this house that Father Le Jeune said mass when he came to Quebec in 1632. Hubert received some concessions of land from the companies, and at once commenced to cultivate it, so that he was able to live from its produce. Champlain praises him for this course. Hdbert died in the year 1627, from mortal injuries caused by a fall. He was buried in the cemetery of the Recollets, at the foot of the great cross, according to his desire.

The Rdcollet fathers lived until the year 1620 in their humble residence near the chapel and habitation of Quebec, in the Lower Town. In the year 1619 they employed some workmen to fell trees on the shores of the River St. Charles, near an agreeable tract of land which Hubert had cleared. It was situated at half a league from the habitation, and the people of Quebec hoped at that time to build the town there. During the winter each piece of timber was prepared for the building, and the savages assisted in the work. On June 3rd, 1620, the first stone of the convent was solemnly laid by Father d'Olbeau. The arms of the king were engraved upon the stone near those of the Prince de Condd. The convent was finished and blessed on May 25th, 1621, and dedicated to Notre Dame des Anges. It was on this date that the name of St. Charles was given to the river Ste. Croix, or the Cabir-Coubat of the Indians, in honour of the Reverend Charles de Ransay des Boues, syndic of the Canadian missions.

There were six Rdcollet fathers at Quebec in 1621, and two brothers. Fathers Guillaume Galleran and Ir^nde Piat came in 1622, the former in the capacity o'f visitor and superior. A coincidence of their arrival was the induction of the first religious novitiate. Pierre Langoissieux, of Rouen, took the monastic habit under the name of Brother Charles, at a special ceremony in the presence of Champlain and his wife, and some Frenchmen and Indians. Three young men also received the small scapulary of the Franciscan order. Father Piat left Quebec for the Montagnais mission, while Father Huet was sent to Three Rivers, and Father Poullain to the Nipissing mission in the west. In the year 1623, Father Nicholas Viel and Brother Gabriel Sagard-Thdodat, the historian of the Huron mission, arrived. They were entertained at the convent of Notre Dame des Anges. At the solemn Te Deum, which was sung in the chapel on this occasion, there were present seven fathers and four brothers. Fathers Le Caron and Viel, and Brother Sagard arranged for some Indian guides to conduct them to the Huron country, where they arrived on July 23rd. The party spent the winter among the Hurons, and during the following year Brother Sagard was recalled to France by his superiors. The Recollets continued to conduct services in the small chapel in the Lower Town, which served as the parochial church of Quebec.

In the year 1624 the French colony was placed under the patronage of Saint Joseph, who has remained from that date the patron saint of Canada. Champlain was at this time in France, and had met Montmorency at St. Germain-en-Laye, after the Recollets had complained of the conduct of the Huguenots. While the missionaries were celebrating mass, the Huguenots annoyed them by singing psalms, and they occupied the poop-royal on board the vessels for their services, while the Catholics were compelled to assemble in the foreoastle, without distinction of persons. The Recollets also complained of the negligence of the associates, who had not provided for the material requirements of the mission. Father Piat set forth that while the missionaries were prepared to sacrifice their health and their mother country in order to civilize the Indians, they were not ready, under the circumstances, to die simply for the want of food, when it was the duty of the associates to provide for them. Father Piat also suggested the advisability of forming a seminary for young Indians, as a means of developing their moral character, of teaching them the rudiments of religion, and whereby the Recollets might acquire a knowledge of the Indian language. Realizing that they were unable to found such an institution alone, they decided to ask assistance from the Jesuits, who had great influence at court, and who might possibly be able to establish such a building from their own resources. If these resolutions had been known, the Huguenots would doubtless have prevented the Jesuits' departure, but the news was only made public when it was too late to formulate any opposition.

Champlain, who was at this time endeavouring to induce the merchants to carry out their engagements, thought it advisable not to take any part in urging the requests of the mission, for fear of compromising its success, and he considered it the best policy to be very discreet. Father Coton, provincial of the Jesuit order, accepted with pleasure the proposals of the Rdcollets, as the order was always glad of an opportunity of preaching the gospel in distant lands. The Jesuits had already founded the Acadian mission, but its results had much disappointed their hopes. Champlain was pleased to learn that the desire of the Recollets was accomplished, although he had taken no part towards its fulfilment. Indeed his services were fully employed elsewhere. The old merchants were fighting with the new ones, the dispute arising from the different methods of recruiting crews for their ships.

These petty quarrels, which were constantly brought to the notice of Montmorency, caused him much annoyance, and he consequently resigned his position of viceroy in favour of his nephew, Ventadour, peer of France and governor of Languedoc, for a sum of one hundred thousand livres. The king gave his assent to the transaction,- and Henri de Ldvis, due de Ventadour, received his commission, dated March 25th, 1025. He is described as a pious man, who had no other desire than the glory of God. The duke appointed Champlain as his lieutenant, and ordered him to erect forts in New France wherever he should deem it necessary, and empowered him to create officers of justice to maintain peace and harmony.

Endued with such powers, Champlain did not hesitate to continue his work. The duke's appointment was also received with favour by the Rdcollets and Jesuits. The associates were not friendly disposed towards the Jesuits, but seeing that they did not ask any assistance from them, they made no opposition to their departure for Canada.

Guillaume de Caen took with him on his vessel three Jesuit fathers and two brothers. These were Fathers Charles Lalemant, Jean de Brdbeuf and Enemond Massd. The brothers were Francis Char-ton and Gilbert Burel. Father Lalemant, formerly director of the college of Clermont, was appointed director of the mission. Champlain speaks of him as a very devoted and zealous man. Father Massd had been previously in Acadia, where he proved his devotedness to the Indians. Father de Brdbeuf, the youngest of the three, was distinguished by reason of his mature judgment and great prudence. The number of the Rdcollets was increased by the arrival of Father Joseph de la Roche d'Aillon, a man of noble and exalted character.

De Caen's vessel sailed from Dieppe, and although the voyage was long, it was a pleasant one. When the Jesuits reached Quebec, they met with strong opposition from the clerks, and there was no residence prepared for them. The only course which appeared open to them was to return to France, unless they could find a lodging with the Rdcollets.

In the meantime the clerks circulated a pamphlet amongst the families of the settlement, with a view to creating a prejudice against the Jesuits. It was L'Anticoton a libellous communication, which had been proven false by Father Coton. The Recollets at once extended a courteous invitation to the Jesuits, which they gratefully accepted, and took up their residence in the convent. The Rdcollets also begged them to accept as a loan the timber work of a building which had been prepared for their own use.

The gratitude of the Jesuits under these circumstances, is not sufficiently well known. Father Lalemant's letter addressed to the Provincial of the Recollets in France, admirably sets forth their position, and will be read with interest by every student of this portion of our history.

"Reverend Father: Pax Christi. It would be too ungrateful were I not to write to your Reverence to thank you for the many letters lately written in our favour to the Fathers who are here in New France, and for the charity which we have received from the Fathers, who put us under eternal obligation. I beseech our good God to be the reward of you both. For myself, I write to our Superiors that I feel it so deeply that I will let no occasion pass of showing it, and I beg them, although already most affectionately disposed, to show your whole holy order the same feelings. Father Joseph will tell your Reverence the object of his voyage, for the success of which we shall not cease to offer prayers and sacrifices to God. This time we must advance in good earnest the affairs of our Master, and omit nothing that shall be deemed necessary. I have written to all who, I thought, could aid it, and I am sure they will exert themselves, if affairs in France permit. Your Reverence, I doubt not, is affectionately inclined, and so vis unit a, our united effort, will do much. Awaiting the result, I commend myself to the Holy Sacrifice of your Reverence, whose most humble servant I am.

"Charles Lalemant." " Quebec, July 28th, 1625." ,

The Jesuits accepted the hospitality of the Recollets until the convent which they built on the opposite side of the river St. Charles, was ready for their habitation. It was situated near the entrance of the river Lairet, about two hundred paces from the shore. We shall meet them there a little later, working hard, in common with the Rdcollets with whom they were good friends, for the civilization of the Indians.

When Guillaume de Caen returned to France, he was summoned to appear before the tribunal of the state council, as he had not put into effect all the articles of his contract. The chief complaint against him was that the admiral or commodore of the fleet was not a Catholic. For this appointment, however, he was not responsible, as it was made by the associates, and he therefore summoned them to give their explanations before the admiralty judge. The case was finally settled by His Majesty's council in favour of Guillaume de Caen, on the condition that he should at once appoint a Catholic. Raymond de la Ralde was the officer of his choice.

Champlain started at once for Dieppe, together with Eustache Boulld whom he appointed his lieutenant, and Destouches, his second lieutenant. Their departure for Canada occurred on April 24th, 1626, and there were five vessels in the squadron: the Catherine, two hundred and fifty tons, commanded by de la Ralde La Fleque, two hundred and sixty tons, with Emery de Caen as vice-admiral; L'Alou-ette, eighty tons, and two other vessels, one of two hundred tons, and the other of one hundred and twenty tons.

Champlain was on board the Catherine, and he arrived at Perce on June 20th. Before anchoring at Tadousac, Emery de Caen caused his crew to assemble on deck, and he there informed them that the Due de Ventadour desired that psalms should not be sung, as they had been accustomed to sing them on the Atlantic. Two-thirds of the crew grumbled at this order, and Champlain advised de Caen to allow meetings for prayer only. This ruling was judicious, although it was not accepted with pleasure.

At Moulin Baude, near Tadousac Bay, Champlain received intelligence that Pont-Grav£, who had wintered at Quebec, had been very ill, and that the inhabitants had resolved to leave the country at the earliest opportunity owing to the sufferings which they had endured from famine.

When Champlain arrived at Quebec on July 5th, 1626, he found all the settlers in good health, but little had been done towards the building of the fort, or towards repairing the habitation. He, therefore, set twenty men to work at once. Emery de Caen left Quebec in order to carry on trade with the Indians. There were at Quebec at this time fifty-five persons, of whom eighteen were labourers. Champlain wished to have ten men constantly employed at the fort, but Guillaume de Caen had promised them elsewhere, and the merchants obliged them to work at the habitation, which they considered more useful than the fort. Champlain, however, did not agree with them on this point.

The oldest fortification of Quebec was commenced in the year 1620, on the summit of Cape Diamond, and the work was continued in 1621, when Champlain was able to establish a small garrison within the walls. Communication was opened between the habitation and the fort during the winter of 1623-4, by means of a small road, less abrupt than the former one. The fort was named Fort St. Louis.

In April 1624, a strong wind carried away the roof of the fort, and transported it a distance of thirty feet, over the rampart. During this storm the gable of Louis Hubert's residence was also destroyed. This accident caused some delay to the works, and the merchants still maintained their opposition to the construction of the fort. "If we fortify Quebec," they said, "the garrisons will be the masters of the ground, and our trade will be over." Guillaume de Caen supported the opposition by saying that the Spaniards would take possession of New France, if a boast were made of its resources. The king, finally, had to undertake the defence of the colony alone.

Before leaving for France in 1624, Champlain had ordered the workmen to gather fascines for the completion of the fort, but upon his return to Canada, two years later, he found that nothing had been done. Champlain therefore decided to demolish the old fort, and to construct a more spacious one with the old materials, composed of fascines, pieces of wood and grass, after the Norman method. The fort was flanked with two bastions of wood and grass, until such time as they could be covered with stone. The fort was ready for habitation at the commencement of the year 1629, and Champlain took up his residence there at this date, with two young Indian girls whom he had adopted as his children. After the capitulation of Quebec in 1629, Louis Kirke resided in the fort with a part of his crew.1

Although Champlain was not satisfied with the conduct of the merchants towards the French, he was nevertheless pleased with the Indian tribes. This noble care and management of these poor natives constitute one of the brightest pages of his life. If we wish to form an impartial judgment of the heroic qualities of Champlain, we must study his daily relations with the chiefs of the various tribes. It is here that his true character is revealed to us, and we are forced to admire both the patience and care which he bestowed upon these people, and also his exercise of diplomacy which rendered him from the first the most beloved and respected of the French. His word commanded passive obedience, and to maintain his friendship they were willing to make any sacrifice which he desired. In this respect Champlain was more successful than the missionaries, nor is it a matter of surprise that his memory was cherished among the Indians longer than that of Father Le Caron or of Father de Br^beuf. In their appreciation of character, the Indians recognized instinctively that the calling of the missionaries rendered their lives more perfect than that of a man of the world, but the special characteristics and virtues of each did not escape their penetration. Champlain took every care to preserve his friendship with the Indians, not only on his own account, but also for the sake of the traders, and of commerce generally, for his name acted as a safe-conduct. Champlain had another ambition. He realized that if he could induce the Indians to gather in the vicinity of Quebec, they would prove a means of defence against the incursions of enemies. It seems to have been a good policy, and the Jesuits who adopted the same means had reason to be satisfied with their action.

In the year 1622 Champlain tried to establish the Montagnais near Quebec. Miristou, their chief, was willing, and they began to cultivate the land in the vicinity of La Canardi6re, on the north shore of the river St. Charles. By living in the midst of such a community, Champlain hoped to be able to derive new information regarding the country.

The sempiternal question of an open sea, admitting a free passage from Europe to China, was constantly under the consideration of navigators. Whether or not the founder of Quebec believed in this passage, we are not prepared to assert, as he does not make any definite statement, but from his Relations it is evident that he hoped to ascertain whether it were possible to reach the far west by means of the river St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. He knew that he could serve the interest of the mother country by obtaining new data, and his opinions were well received in France, although the recent wars had somewhat engrossed public attention. The travels of the Recollets in the Huron country had not resulted in the acquisition of new territory, and the interpreters had nothing further to do than to discover new tribes with whom trade might be developed. Western Canada had consequently been neglected both for the want of explorers and of resources, as Champlain was of course unable to explore the whole American continent, and at the same time govern the colony of New France, where his presence was necessary to preserve harmony amongst the Indians.

Champlain tried to effect an alliance with the Iroquois during the year 1622, and for this purpose he sent two Montagnais to their country as delegates. In the meantime a double murder occurred in the colony. A Frenchman named Pillet and his companion were murdered by an unknown party. The facts were brought to the notice of the court in France, and it was decided to pardon the murderer on the condition that he would confess his crime, and publicly ask for pardon. Champlain appears to have been anxious to assert his authority, on this occasion, for the prevention of such crimes, but the merchants were inclined to condone the offence, and one day Guillaume de Caen in the presence of Champlain- and some captains, took a sword, and caused it to be cast into the middle of the St. Lawrence, in order that the Indians might understand that the crime even as the sword, was buried forever. The effect of this action was otherwise than desired. The Hurons ridiculed the affair, and said that they had nothing to fear in the future if they murdered a Frenchman.

The murderer was a Montagnais, and the tribe consequently approved of this lack of justice. Champlain, however, desired a more severe imposition of the law. The Montagnais were perhaps the most dangerous of Champlain's allies, especially as their treachery was marked by the outward appearance of serious friendship. In the Montagnais were united all the vices of the other Indian tribes as well as the bad features of some of the Europeans, especially those of the Rochelois and Basques. They were bold and independent, but Champlain soon showed them, by ceasing to care for them, that he was not to be imposed upon. Fearing to lose the friendship of Champlain, they endeavoured to regain the position which they had in a measure lost; but instead of remaining passive, they boasted of the ease with which they could find protectors and advocates amongst the French. This conduct did not please Champlain, who would have preferred to find a people more amenable to natural laws, which are in themselves a defence against murder.

The Montagnais who had been sent to the Iroquois returned to Quebec in July, 1624. They had been courteously received, and as a result of their negotiations, a general meeting of the Indians was held at Three Rivers. There might be seen Hurons, Algonquins, Montagnais, Iroquois, and the French with their interpreters. The meeting was conducted with perfect order. There were many speeches, followed by the feast pantagruelic. The war hatchet was buried, so that Champlain could leave for France without being very anxious as to the fate of his compatriots.

The alliance of 1624 did not last long, however, owing to the imprudence of the Montagnais who had journeyed to the Dutch settlement on the banks of the Hudson and promised to assist the settlers in their wars against the Mohicans and Iroquois. Champlain interfered, and reminded the Montagnais that they were bound to observe the treaty of 1624, and there was no reason to break it. "The Iroquois," said Champlain, "ought to be considered as our friends as long as the war hatchet is not disinterred, and I will go myself to help them in their wars, if necessary."

This language pleased the chief of the Montagnais, and he asked Champlain to send some one. to Three Rivers, if he could not go himself, in order to prevent the other nations from fighting against the Iroquois. ^Itienne Bruld was sent on this delicate mission, but as opinion was divided as to the advisability of the war, it was decided to wait until the arrival of the vessels. Emery de Caen arrived soon after, and hastened to meet the allies, who, according to rumour, were preparing to go to war against the Iroquois. In addition to this a party had gone to Lake Champlain, where they had made two Iroquois prisoners, who were, however, delivered by the murderer of Pillet.

Champlain and Mahicanaticouche arrived in the meantime, whereupon a general council was held. Champlain severely blamed the authors of this escapade, the consequences of which might be terrible. It was resolved to send a new embassy to the Five Nations at once, composed of Cherououny called Le ReconciliS by the French, Chimeourimou, chief of the Montagnais, Pierre Magnan, and an Iroquois, adopted when young by a Montagnais widow. The delegates left for Lake Champlain on July 24th. One month after, an Indian came to Quebec with the news that the four delegates had been murdered by the Tsonnontouans. Magnan had murdered one of his compatriots in France, and by coming to Canada had evaded justice.

This massacre put an end to thoughts of peace. In September some Iroquois were known to be en route for Quebec, evidently with hostile motives. It was just at this time that a number of savages were coming from a distance of fifty or sixty leagues to fish in the river St. Lawrence. Nothing serious happened from the visit of the Iroquois, and Champlain was able to visit his habitation at Cape Tourmente without danger. In his absence, however, a double murder was committed at La Canar-di6re. Two Frenchmen, one named Dumoulin, and the other Henri, a servant of the widow Hubert, were found dead, having been shot with muskets.

The murderer's intention had been to kill the baker of the habitation, and a servant of Robert Giffard, the surgeon. Champlain was anxious to punish this murderer, but the difficulty was to discover him. Champlain summoned all the captains of the Montagnais, and having set forth all the favours which he had bestowed upon the nation, contrasted them with the conduct which he had received at their hands since 1616. There had already been four murders of which they were guilty. Champlain therefore demanded that they should find and give up the guilty party. One Montagnais who was suspected, was examined, but he denied everything.

Champlain, however, ordered him to be detained in jail until the real criminal should be found.

During the winter of 1628, about thirty Montagnais, miserable and hungry, came to the habitation, asking for bread. Champlain took this opportunity of pointing out to them the evil of their race, and of the crimes they had committed. They declared that they knew nothing whatever of the crime, and to show that they were not responsible they offered three young girls to Champlain to be educated. Champlain accepted them and treated them as his own children, naming them Foi, Esp&rance, and Charity.

After having kept the Montagnais in jail for fourteen months he was released, as there was no proof against him. Champlain learned soon after that he was not guilty, and that the real criminal was dead, being none other than Mahicanaticouche, one of the captains of the Montagnais.


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