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Champlain
Chapter XI The Last Events of 1629


SINCE the English have taken possession of Quebec," writes Champlain, " the days have seemed to me as long as months." This dreariness is easily explained. The unsettled state of affairs, of which he was an eye-witness, had rendered his life at Quebec intolerable. Louis Kirke, however, treated him with respect and courtesy, and had given him permission to bring to Tadousac his two adopted girls, Espdrance and Charitd. It was a favour wholly unexpected, especially as by one of the clauses of the act of capitulation he renounced claim to them. Champlain, however, was ready to buy their liberty, if necessary, as he wished to civilize them and convert them to Christianity. Having no desire to stay longer in a place where even the beauties of the sunset seemed to remind him of his humiliation, Champlain only resided temporarily at Tadousac, and was anxious to reach France. He left Quebec on July 24th, and on the following day he perceived a vessel sailing near Murray Bay. This was Emery de Caen's ship, which, as we have already stated, was proceeding to Quebec to claim the peltry in the storehouse which belonged to his uncle. This vessel, as has been described, was captured by Kirke, and the same fate happened to Captain Daniel, who had crossed the ocean from Dieppe with four vessels and a barque laden with provisions and ammunition. Having heard on the passage that a Scottish fisherman named James Stuart, had erected a fort on Cape Breton, in a place called Port-aux-Ba-leines, to protect his countrymen during the fishing season, Daniel went out of his way to destroy this fort, and to build one at Grand Cibou to check the intruders, instead of proceeding directly to Quebec, as was his duty. He left at this place forty men and two Jesuits, Father Vimont and Father de Vieux-Pont, and then having set up the arms of France, he returned to his country without having taken any care of the Quebec habitation. This was his first fault, but nevertheless it was a great misfortune.

The Jesuits had prepared at a great expense a shipment for Quebec. Father Noyrot brought with him Father Charles Lalemant, who was returning after an absence of nearly two years, Father de Vieux-Pont, Brother Louis Malot and twenty-four persons. Driven by a terrible storm, their barque was wrecked near the Island of Canseau. Fourteen were drowned, including Father Noyrot and Brother Malot. The others miraculously escaped.

The Chevalier de Razilly was finally ordered to assist Quebec, but it was found that an agreement had been concluded between France and England on April 24th. Razilly had his commission cancelled and proceeded to Morocco.

The failure of these three expeditions, together with th^at of Emery de Caen, occurring at the same time under unfortunate circumstances, resulted in the loss of the colony for France, and won at least temporary prestige and importance for the Kirke family.

Champlain relates some remarkable events during his sojourn at Tadousac. Religious fanaticism displayed itself in its worst form. The French had with them Father de Brdbeuf, who was quite competent and willing to champion the cause of the Catholic faith, and especially when assailed by his own countrymen. A French Huguenot, named Jacques Michel, apparently headed a crusade against the Jesuits. One day Michel said to a party that the Jesuits had come to Canada to annoy the Sieurs de Caen in their trade. "I beg your pardon," replied the father, "we had no other design in coming here than the glory of God and the conversion of the savages." To which Jacques Michel answered still more audaciously: "Yes, convert the savages, say rather, convert the beavers." "It is false," replied the priest, somewhat vexed. Michel, who was angry, raised his arm to strike the father, at the same time saying, " If I were not restrained by the respect due to my chief, I would slap your face for your denial." " I ask your pardon," said the father, " it was not in my mind to injure you, and if my answer has vexed you, 1 regret it." Michel was not satisfied and began to blaspheme, so that Champlain was scandalized, and said: "You swear much for a Reformer." "It is true," replied the Huguenot, "but I am furious against this Jesuit for his denial, and if I hang to-morrow I will give him the blows he deserves." During the day, however, Michel drank heavily and was attacked by apoplexy, from which he died thirty-five hours later, without exhibiting any signs of repentance.

The commander Kirke appears to have acted somewhat strangely on this occasion, for instead of having Michel quietly buried, he ordered a splendid funeral, accompanied with military honours. When the remains were lowered into the grave, a salute of eighty guns was fired, as if the deceased had been an officer of high rank. Whatever may have been the reasons for showing these tokens of honour to the remains of Michel, we know not, but the savages seem to have resented the proceedings, for they unearthed his body and gave it to the dogs. Michel had been a traitor to his country and to his God, and this was the method of his punishment.

We have already mentioned the names of the Frenchmen who betrayed Champlain, particularly Etienne Brftld, Le Baillif, Pierre Reye and Marsolet. Let us examine their conduct. Etienne Brfild, in his capacity of interpreter, had rendered many good services to his compatriots. Unfortunately, his private actions while dwelling with the Hurons were not above reproach, and he would certainly have been compelled to expiate his offences had he not been adopted as one of their family. Brul£ worked for the benefit of the Hurons, and their gratitude towards a good officer perhaps outweighed their memory of an injury. On retiring from the Huron country in 1629, Bruld went to Tadousac, where he entered the service of Kirke, and some years after he was killed by a savage.

Marsolet's case is nearly identical with that of Brtild, although it is not proved that he was as licentious during the time that he lived with the Algonquins. He and Bruld asserted that they were compelled by Kirke to serve under the British flag. Champlain severely blamed their conduct, saying: "Remember that God will punish you if you do not amend your lives. You have lost your honour. Wherever you will go, men will point at you, saying :4 These are the men who have threatened their king and sold their country.' It would be preferable to die than to live on in this manner, as you will suffer the remorse of a bad conscience." To this they replied: "We well know that in France we should be hanged. We are sorry for what has happened, but it is done and we must drain the cup to the bottom, and resolve never to return to France." Champlain answered them: " If you are captured anywhere, you will run the risk of being chastised as you deserve."

Nicholas Marsolet became a good citizen, and his family alliances were the most honourable. Pierre Reye, a carriage maker, was a bad character, " One of the worst traitors, and wicked." His treason did not surprise any one, and nothing better was expected of him. Le Baillif was not only vicious, but a thief. On the night after the seizure by Kirke of the goods in store, he took from the room of Cor-neille de Vendremur, a clerk, one hundred livres in gold and money, a silver cup and some silk stockings. He was suspected of having stolen from the chapel of the Lower Town, a silver chalice, the gift of Anne of Austria. Though he was a Catholic, Le Baillif ate food on days of abstinence, in order to please the Protestants. He treated the French as if they were dogs. "I shall abandon him," says Champlain, "to his fate, awaiting the day of his punishment for his swearings, cursings and impieties."

The treachery of these four men greatly affected Champlain, who was at a loss to understand how those to whom he had given food and shelter could be so ungrateful; but their conduct, however reprehensible, played no part in the loss of the colony. Kirke employed them to further his purposes without giving them any substantial reward.

The sojourn of the French in Tadousac lasted many weeks, and the delay caused Champlain much annoyance. David Kirke spent ten or twelve days on his visit to Quebec, where he wanted to see for himself how his brother Louis had disposed of everything, and what advantage he was likely to gain from the acquisition of the new country. Believing himself to be the supreme ruler and master of New 'France, he outlined a brilliant future for the colony, looking forward to the day when he could bring settlers to take advantage of its natural resources.

Returning to Tadousac, the general invited his captains to a dinner, at which Champlain was also a guest. The dinner was served in a tent surrounded with branches. Towards the end of the banquet David Kirke gave Champlain a letter from Marsolet to inform him that the chief savages, gathered at Three Rivers in council, had resolved to keep with them the two girls, Espdrance and Charity. This was a severe trial to Champlain, who had hoped to be able to take them to France. All his efforts, however, were useless, as there was a plot organized by the traitor Marsolet. These children loved Champlain as a father, and were inconsolable when they realized that their departure for France was impossible.

Champlain relates many things that do not redound to Kirke's credit, amongst other things that Kirke blamed his brother Louis for giving the Jesuits permission to say mass, and afterwards refused the permission. Again, at the moment when the Jesuits embarked for Tadousac, Louis Kirke ordered a trunk to be opened in which the sacred vessels were contained. Seeing a box which contained a chalice Kirke tried to seize it, but Father Masse interfered, and said to him: " This is a sacred object, do not profane it, if you please." "Why," said Kirke, "we have no faith in your superstition," and so saying he took the chalice in his hands, braving the Jesuit's advice. The Catholics were also denied the privilege of praying in public. This intolerant action was condemned by Champlain. During their stay at Tadousac Champlain and the admiral went out shooting. They killed more than two thousand larks, plovers, snipes and curlews. In the meantime the sailors had cut trees for masts, and some birch which they took to England. They also carried with them four thousand five hundred and forty beaver skins, one thousand seven hundred and thirteen others seized at Quebec, and four hundred and thirty-two elk skins. The French had not given up all their skins; some had hidden a good many, and others kept them with Kirke's consent. The Rdcollets and the Jesuits were returning poorer than when they came. Champlain alone was allowed to retain all his baggage. At the commencement of September the admiral fitted out a medium sized barque with provisions for Quebec, with instructions to bring back the Rdcollets who were scattered throughout the country, and also some of the French who had intended to remain at Quebec and other places.

On September 14th the English fleet set out carrying Champlain, the. Jesuits, the Rdcollets, and two-thirds of the French, that is to say, nearly the whole of the colony. The passage was short though difficult, and eleven of the crew died from dysentery. On October 20th the vessels reached Plymouth, where Kirke was much disappointed to learn that the treaty of peace signed on April 24th had been confirmed on September 16th. All the French, except Champlain, took passage for France at Dover. Champlain proceeded directly to London, where he met the French ambassador, M. de Chateauneuf, and related to him the events which had taken place in Canada, and urged him to take steps for its restoration to France.

The fathers disembarked at Calais at the end of October. Father Massd returned to his former position of minister at the college of La Fl&che. Father Anne de Noiie went to Bourges. Father de Brdbeuf entered the college of Rouen, where he had laboured previously, and three other Jesuits whom we find afterwards in Canada, Father Charles Lalemant, Father Jogues and Father Simon Le-moyne, were at that time professors in this college. Father Masse and Father de Brdbeuf were soon to resume their ministration in this country, which they were forced to abandon at a time when they had hoped to see the realization of their noble mission. L'Abbd Faillon has written that the family of Hubert alone remained at Quebec after the surrender, but this is incorrect. The truth is that at least five families remained in Quebec. It was God's will that the most prominent and influential men should leave for France, but He also ordained that a few heroic settlers or possessors of New France should remain. If their remaining was favourable to France Champlain deserves the credit, for he did more than any of his countrymen to bring it about. The population of Quebec or of the whole colony in July, 1629, was divided as follows:—Inhabitants, twenty-three ; interpreters, eleven; clerks, fourteen ; missionaries, ten; domestics, seven; French, arrived from the Huron country, twenty. This makes a total number of eighty-five persons.

The following persons remained at Quebec :— Guillaume Hubou and his wife, Marie Rollet, widow of Louis Hubert; Guillaume Hebert; Guillaume Couillard, and his wife Guillemette Hubert, and their three children; Abraham Martin, and his wife, Marguerite Langlois, and their three children; Pierre Desportes, and his wife, Franchise Langlois, and their daughter Hdl≠ Nicholas Pivert, his wife, Marguerite Lesage, and their niece; Adrien Duchesne and his wife; Jean Foucher, Etienne Bruld, Nicholas Marsolet, Le Baillif, Pierre Reye, Olivier Le Tardif. The missionaries who returned to France were: Three Jesuits, two Recollets, two Brothers Jesuits and three Brothers Recollets, ten in all. Their names were: Fathers Jesuits Enemond Massd, Anne de Noiie and Jean de Brdbeuf, Fathers Recollets Joseph de la Roche d'Aillon, and Joseph Le Caron, Brothers Jesuits Francis Charton and Gilbert Burel, and the Recollet Friars Gervais Mohier, Jean Gaufestre and Pierre Langoissieux. Among the clerks who returned home were Corneille de Vendremur, Thierry-Desdames, Eustache Boulld, and Destouches.

Since the year 1608 there had been only seven births, three marriages, and forty deaths. One man had been hanged, six had been murdered, and three drowned. A Rdcollet father, called Nicholas Viel, had perished in the Sault au Rdcollet; and there had been sixteen victims of the scurvy.


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