« ForrigeFortsett »
could sail. So soon as we saw her, we pursued her in our boats, and by main strength took her, whose flesh was as good to be eaten as the flesh of cattle of two years old.”
Cartier in this voyage appears to have made a pretty accurate survey of nearly the whole of Newfoundland, having almost circumnavigated it, passing through the Straits of Belleisle. Changing his course somewhat to the south, he traversed the Gulf of St. Lawrence, then for the first time known to Europeans, unless we admit the tradition respecting the prior visit of the Spaniards; and approaching the continent on the 9th July, he came to the Baye des Chaleurs, so called from the great heat of the summer at that place. It has kept the name to the present day. Here he was delighted with the beauty of the country; and with the friendly and peaceable behaviour of the natives, with whom he established a kind of traffic. The following description of the Indians is worth copying in the quaint words of Hakluyt: “ We saw certain wild men that stood upon the shore of a Lake, who were making fires and smokes; we went thither and found there was a channel of the sea that did enter into the Lake, and setting our boats at one of the banks of the channel, the wild men with one of their boats came unto us, and brought us pieces of seals ready sodden, putting them upon pieces of wood : then, retiring themselves, they would make signs unto us, that they did give them us.”—“They call a hatchet in their tongue, cochi; and a knife, bacon. We named it the Bay of Heat.”
From this hospitable place, where the natives seem to have displayed some of the politesse of modern society, Jacques Cartier proceeded to Gaspé, or Gachepé Bay : where on the 24th July, he erected a
cross thirty feet high, with a shield bearing the three
shall extract the account of their capture. The Indians seem to have evinced some jealousy at the erection of the cross, which they rightly interpreted into a claim of authority over their native country; and their Chief, clad in bear's skin, had approached, but not so near as usual, to the ships, for the purpose of remonstrating in a long oration. The French used the following stratagem to induce him to draw nearer. “ His talk being ended, we showed to him an axe, faining that we would give it him for his skin, to which he listened, for by little and little he came near to our ships. One of our fellows that was in our boat, took hold on theirs, and suddenly leaped into it, with two or three more, who enforced them to enter into our ships, whereat they were greatly astonished. But our Captain did straightways assure them, that they should have no harm, nor any injury offered them at all ; and entertained them very freely, making them eat and drink. Then did we show them with signs, that the Cross was but only set up to be as a light and leader which ways to enter into the port; and that we should shortly come again, and bring good store of iron wares, and other things. But that we would take two of his children with us, and afterwards bring them to the said port again--and so we clothed two of them in shirts, and coloured coats, with red caps, and put about every one's neck a copper chain, whereat they were greatly contented : then gave they their
old clothes to their fellows that went back again, and we gave to each one of those three that went back, a hatchet and some knives, which made them very glad. After these were gone and had told the news unto their fellows, in the afternoon there came to our ships six boats of them with five or six men in every one, to take their farewell of those two we had detained to take with us; and brought them some fish, uttering many words which we did not understand, making signs that they would not remove the Cross we had set up." From the 25th July to the 15th August, Cartier coasted along the northern shores of the Gulf, and would seem to have entered the mouth of the St. Lawrence ; but meeting with boisterous weather, without further delay he made sail for France, and passing again through the Straits of Belleisle, he arrived in safety at St. Malo on the 5th September, 1534.
HIS SECOND VOYAGE, AND DISCOVERY OF CANADA.
The Report of Jacques Cartier, and the relation of his successes and projects, highly calculated as they were to stimulate the nascent spirit of enterprise, induced the French Court to resolve upon the establishment of a colony in New France. The navigator himself was treated with great favor and distinction ; and through the influence of his patron Charles de Mouy, Sieur de Meilleraye, Vice Admiral of France, he obtained from Francis I. a commission with more ample powers than before, together with a considerable augmentation of force. When every thing was prepared for the sailing of the expedition, the favor of the ALMIGHTY was invoked upon the undertaking. By the express com
mand of Cartier, who appears to have been devoutly disposed, the whole company, having first confessed, and received the sacrament in the Cathedral Church of St. Malo, on Whitsunday, May 16th, 1535, presented themselves in the Choir, and received the benediction of the Lord Bishop, in his full pontifical robes. On the Wednesday following, May 19th, Cartier embarked with a fair wind, and made sail with the following armament under his command :the Great Hermina, of one hundred and twenty tons, on board which was Cartier himself, and several gentlemen volunteers-the Little Hermina of sixty tons, —and the Hermerillon, of forty tons burthen. The number of their respective crews is not given. On the very next day after putting to sea, the weather proved contrary, and the little fleet was tossed about for more than a month without making much progress. On the 25th June they parted company, each endeavoring to make the best of the way to the place of rendezvous, on the coast of Newfoundland. The General's vessel, as Cartier was called, arrived first at Newfoundland on the 7th July; and awaited the arrival of the others at the appointed spot. was not, however, until the 26th of the same month, that the three vessels were re-united. After taking in necessary stores of wood and water, they proceeded together to explore their way through the Gulf, but about the 1st August were forced to put into a barbor, which they called St. Nicolas ; and where Cartier, as before, took possession of the country by erecting a cross. Charlevoix says, this harbor was on the north shore near the mouth of the St. Lawrence ; and he describes it as being in latitude 49° 25', and as the only place which preserved to his time the name originally given by Jacques
Cartier. Leaving this haven on the 7th, and coasting along the north shore, on the TENTH day of August, a day ever memorable in the annals of CANADA, they came, in the words of Hakluyt, to a “ goodly great gulf, full of Islands, passages and entrances towards what wind soever you please to bend." In honor of the Saint whose festival is celebrated on that day, Cartier gave the name of St. LAWRENCE to the Gulf or rather to a bay between Anticosti and the northern shore, whence the name was extended in the course of time not only to the whole of this celebrated Gulf, but to the magnificent River of Canada, of which this is the embouchure.
The Gulf of St. Lawrence which Jacques Cartier had now traversed, and to which he had given its enduring name, is about eighty leagues in length ; and in modern navigation, with a favorable wind and current may be sailed over in twenty-four hours. The French were necessarily a much longer period in crossing it, exploring as they proceeded principally the northern shore. The breadth of the Gulf seems to have been accurately determined by Cartier, who states the distance “ between the southerly lands and the northerly," to be about thirty leagues. Cape Rosier, a small distance to the north of the point of Gaspé, is properly the place which marks the opening of the gigantic river; and it is thence that the breadth of its mouth must be estimated at ninety miles. Measured from the eastern extremity of Gaspé, its width is one hundred and twenty miles.
Leaving the Bay to which they had given the name of St. Lawrence on the 12th August, they discovered, on the 15th, an Island towards the south, to which Cartier gave the name of the Assumption, in honor of the day. The English afterwards called it