« ForrigeFortsett »
revived ; and the Marquis De La Roche, a native of Brittany, obtained from the King a commission similar, and powers equal to those possessed formerly by Roberval. These Letters Patent were dated on the 12th January, 1598; and contained the first establishment of the feudal tenure in this country. Authority was given to La Roche, as the King's Lieutenant, “ to concede to gentlemen lands in Fiefs, Seigniories, Counties, Viscounties and Baronies, and other dignities holding from the king-and to those of lower degree, subject to such charges and annual payments, as he might think proper to impose." To this extensive commission, neither the preparations nor the result bore any proportion. La Roche contented himself by fitting out a single vessel, which he put under the command of Cliedotel, an experienced pilot of Normandy ; and embarked himself for the purpose of exploring the countries under his government. The whole conduct of this expedition was so devoid of foresight, that it would not be worthy of mention, but as forming a link in the historical chain. The first fault committed by La Roche was the reinforcing his crew by the admission of forty convicts taken from the prisons—the next was the place chosen for his temporary settlement. This was Sable Island, about twenty-five leagues to the South East of the Island of Cap Breton : a spot since remarkable only for the number of vessels shipwrecked upon its dangerous sands and shores. La Roche was probably induced to select Sable Island from its vicinity to the coasts he wished to explore ; and from the tradition that the Baron de Lery had intended to establish a colony there so early as 1518. Having disembarked the unfortunate convicts, whose destiny proved still more misera
ble than if they had remained in their former cells -La Roche proceeded to survey the adjacent coasts ; and returning to take off the people left on Sable Island, was so long prevented by continued gales, that he was constrained to leave them to their fate, and set sail for France. The poor wretches underwent every kind of hardship in their inhospitable residence--in the course of seven years but twelve of the forty remained alive, when a vessel sent at last to their relief took them back to France, just as the survivors were giving way to utter despair. The King had the curiosity to see them in their wild dress of skins as they landed, and presented each of them with fifty crowns, and full pardon of every offence. Smith adds, that some of their skins were of great value, and were seized by the Captain. as a recompence for his trouble. On their arrival in France, however, they compelled him by legal means to return their property, and to pay them heavy damages. La Roche, who was overwhelmed with vexations arising from lawsuits, and the expenses of his useless expedition, soon after died broken hearted.
Notwithstanding the failure of La Roche's expedition, and the repeated ill success which had attended all previous efforts to establish a colony in Canada, the eager anticipation of a mine of commercial wealth to be found in the prosecution of the fur trade, with which the French began to be more favorably impressed, urged on new adventurers to the attempt. Although an exclusive privilege had been granted to La Roche, private speculators began to trade to the St. Lawrence, without notice on the
part of the Government. A considerable merchant of St. Malo, by name PONTGRAVE', distinguished himself by making several voyages to Tadoussac, at the mouth of the River Saguenay, whence he returned with furs sufficiently valuable to induce him to persevere. He soon perceived the possibility of making this traffic extremely lucrative, if it could be brought to flow through one authorised channel ; and accordingly persuaded M. CHAUVIN, a captain in the navy, to make application to the King for an exclusive privilege, and for powers similar to those conferred upon La Roche.
Chauvin was a calvinist, and, in fact, of the same name as the great reformer, Calvin being merely the Latin name of Chauvin. He was jointly concerned with Pontgravé; and attempted without success to establish a trading post at Tadoussac.
After making two voyages thither in 1600, and the following year, with but little profit, Chauvin died as he was preparing for a third.
CHAPTER THE SIXTH.
HISTORICAL SKETCH CONCLUDED. FIRST VOYAGE
OF CHAMPLAIN DE MONTS FOUNDATION OF
At this period the colonization of the country seems to have been entirely disregarded. The only object of these frequent voyages was the prosecution of a petty fur trade, M, Chauvin was succeeded in his privilege by the Commander DE CHATTE or DE CHASTE, Governor of Dieppe ; who founded a company of merchants at Rouen, in order to establish the trade in a liberal and efficient scale. He equipped an armament under the command of Pontgravé; who also received letters patent from the King, authorizing him to make further discoveries in the St. Lawrence, and to establish a settlement on the coast.
Here a new epoch in the history of Canada may be said to present itself. Colonization, under the anspices of a man of talent, energy and patriotism was about to assume a new aspect; and after seventy years of mismanagement and disaster, was for the first time to be attended with success. SAMUEL CHAMPlain, a gentleman of Saintonge, Captain in the Navy, arrived in France from the West Indies, where he had been employed nearly three years, and had acquired the reputation of a brave and experienced officer. The Commander De Chatte, anxious to engage the services of an officer of such merit,
immediately proposed to Champlain to tahe a command in the expedition destined for the St. Lawrence; and the King's consent having been obtained, the appointment was accepted. Champlain and Pontgravé accordingly set sail in 1603, laid up their vessels at Tadoussac ; and in a light boat with a crew of only five persons, ascended as far as the Sault St. Louis, which had been discovered by Jacques Cartier. It is said that on this first voyage Champlain was struck with the appearance of Quebec, and first formed the idea of selecting it as a site for a future colony.
The Indian settlement of Hochelaga, which in our account of Cartier's visit, we designated by the imposing name of a city, from its comparative importance and population, had dwindled at the time of Champlain to a place of no moment.
He does not even notice it, not having thought it necessary to go on shore, for the purpose of visiting it.
Champlain made an exact chart of the coasts he had seen, together with a description of the country; which on his return to France he submitted in.
person to the King, who avowed his intention of patronising his future endeavors. The death of De Chatte, which they learned on their arrival at Honfleur, was matter of deep regret to Champlain, on account of his high personal qualities, and the confidence reposed in him by Henry.
ENTERPRISES OF DE MONTS.
After the death of De Chatte, Pierre du Guast, SIEUR DE Monts, a townsman of Champlain, gentleman of the Chamber in ordinary to His Majesty, and Governor of Pons, obtained the most extensive