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CHAPTER THE FOURTH.
HISTORICAL SKETCH CONTINUED.-THIRD VOYAGE OF
JACQUES CARTIER—AND OF ROBERVAL.
If, among the perilous and adventurous occupations of active life, there is one requiring more energy, skill, courage and patient endurance than another, it is when man, in a fragile skiff, comparatively a nutshel-subject to dissolution and destruction from a thousand unforeseen accidents-not only entrusts himself to the mighty and mysterious deep, a slave to the elements and the sport of the waves; but fired by love of science and ambition of discovery, tempts the secret dangers of an unproved climate, and commits himself to the natives of a barbarous shore, where a single act of indiscretion on his part, or of suspicion on theirs—either open violence or secret treachery, would be alike fatal to his return ! How long is the catalogue of scientific and enterprising travellers who have fallen victims to the cause of discovery! CookPark-Belzoni-Burckhart-Denham-Clapperton, and Laing have perished for science and for fame; but in a great soul it is the cause which conquers all personal considerations—and though the lives of discoverers are sacrificed, science is still on the advance. New competitors spring up, undeterred by the fate of those who went before, and rivals of their fame ; and as if it were destined that the unknown of the world should be revealed the present age has witnessed with admiration the intrepid Lander, and the patient, highminded Ross, penetrating with equal determination into the Arctic highlands, and the torrid shores of Africa! A race of people, living in a frozen region, and under a degree of cold, once supposed to be fatal to vegetation and to life, yet possessing all the affections of humanity, has been discovered by the one—while a new outlet for the fructifying commerce of Great Britain is likely to be afforded by the operations of the other.
To return from this digression. Notwithstanding that in the discovery of Canada by Jacques Cartier, the love of science had but little share, the operations of which we are treating undoubtedly applied a stimulus to geographical researches, and were decisive of future improvement. But although really of such magnitude and importance, their result does not seem to have satisfied general expectation on the part of the French nation. The common people affected to treat lightly the acquisition of a country whence neither gold or silver could be extracted—but for the honor of the French name and of science, there were persons attached to the Court who thought differently, and who were not to be deterred by the failure of one or two attempts. They justly considered that the possession of New France was not to be lightly relinquished—and they listened favorably to the accounts given by Cartier, who always represented the lands as highly fertile, the climate salubrious, and the inhabitants docile, kind and hospitable. He represented above all, what had the most powerful influence upon his own mind, the glory of converting the natives to the true faith ; as worthy of a Prince who bore the titles of the most Christian king, and of the eldest son of the Church. The presence of the Indian
chief, Donnacona, and his companions, no doubt greatly aided his representations. The reader will be anxious to know the fate of these Indians after their arrival in France. It appears that they were baptised at their own desire and request; and having been introduced at Court, produced an extraordinary sensation. Cartier states, that Francis I. frequently conversed with Donnacona, who appears to have corroborated all that had been stated respecting the country. These natives, however, were not long lived : they pined away in the new state of society in which they were placed; and of ten in number whom Cartier brought over, all died in Brittany, save one little girl. Probably, the change of diet, rather than of climate, proved fatal to them: as it did recently in England in the case of the King and Queen of the Sandwich Islands.
Among those who were anxious to make another attempt to establish a colony in Canada, was Jean François de la Roque, Lord of Roberval, a gentleman of high reputation in his native province of Picardy; and who appears to have been familiarly known to and distinguished by Francis, as a man of bravery and talent. He solicited and obtained from the King, letters patent, dated the 15th January, 1541, appointing him to the command of an expedition of discovery, under the high sounding, but empty titles, of Viceroy and Lieutenant General in Canada, Hochelaga, Saguenay, Newfoundland, Belleisle, &c.; and conferring upon him in those countries the same powers and authority which he himself possessed. Cartier was named second in command, with the title of Captain General and leader of the ships. Their instructions were 6 to discover more than was done before in the former voyages, and attain, (if were possible,) unto the knowledge of the country of Saguenay," where the French still fondly boped that the
precious metals might be discovered. The port of St. Malo, whence the two former voyages had been undertaken, was again chosen for fitting out the expedition. It has been stated in a recent publication, that “ the king would listen to no proposals for the establishment of a colony;" and that it was reserved for “ private adventure to accomplish that which had been neglected by royal munificence.” We find, however, in Hakluyt's account of the third voyage of Jacques Cartier, direct evidence, tending to vindicate Francis 1. who had hitherto been the constant friend of maritime adventure, from the charge of apathy and indifference on this occasion. “ The king,” says this relation, “ caused a certain sum of money to be delivered, to furnish out the said voyage with five ships, which thing was performed by the said Monsieur Roberval and Cartier.”
The latter, having with all diligence fitted out the five vessels at St. Malo, expected the coming of Roberval with arms, ammunition and other stores which he had engaged to provide elsewhere. This gentleman, who was opulent, had indeed contracted to furnish two other vessels at his own charges, to be fitted out at Honfleur : whither he proceeded in order to expedite the equipment. Another proof of the interest taken by the King in this expedition is found in the fact, related by Cartier, that while be was waiting the coming of Roberval, at St. Malo, he received a positive command from Francis to depart immediately without the Viceroy, on pain of his displeasure. Accordingly, Roberval gave him full power and authority to act as if he himself were present ; and promised to follow with all necessary supplies
from Honfleur. Having victualled the fleet for two years, Cartier sailed on the 23d May, 1541 ; but as before, storms and contrary winds dispersed the ships, which nevertheless at the end of a month reached the place of rendezvous on the coast of Newfoundland, Here they delayed so long in expectation of being joined by Roberval, that it was not until the expiration of three months from the time of sailing, that he reached his former station in the harbor of St. Croix, whence he had taken Donnacona a few years before. Almost all the old accounts, which are singularly confused and incorrect, mention that Cartier fixed his establishment on his third voyage in Cape Breton ; and they are silent as to this his second visit to Canada. But the third relation of Jacques Cartier, to be found in Hakluyt, is conclusive on this point: “ We arrived not,” says he, “ before the haven of St. Croix, in Canada, (where in the former voyage we had remained eight months,) until the 23d day of August.”. Nothing can be clearer than this description: indeed there is no part of the ancient history of the country better developed, than the proceedings of Cartier on his third voyage. He constantly refers to the experience he had gained, and to circumstances which happened on his former visit ; so that it is matter of surprise that any misconception should have existed as to the scene of his last operations in the St. Lawrence.
Immediately on the arrival of the French at St. Croix, the Indians thronged to see them; and apparently welcomed them with every token of satisfaction. The person who had succeeded to the dignity of chief, paid Cartier a visit of ceremony with seven canoes, and made enquiries after the absent Donnacona, The Captain readily acknowledged the