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of the vast country discovered by his deceased uncle. Two letters of his have been preserved, relating to the maps and writings of Cartier : the first written in 1587, and the other a year or two later, in which he mentions that his two sons, Michael and John Noël, were then in Canada, and that he was in expectation of their return. Cartier himself died soon after his return to France, having sacrificed his fortune in the cause of discovery. As an indemnification for the losses their uncle had sustained, this Jacques Noël and another nephew, De la Launay Chaton, received in 1588, an exclusive privilege to trade to Canada during twelve years; but this was revoked four months after it was granted.
Roberval, notwithstanding his mortification at the loss of Cartier's experience and aid in his undertaking, determined to proceed ; and sailing from Newfoundland about the end of June, 1543, he arrived at Cap Rouge, “ four leagues westward of the Isle of Orleans,” towards the end of July. Here the French immediately fortified themselves, “in a place fit to command the main river, and of strong situation against all manner of enemies.” The position was no doubt that chosen by Jacques Cartier the year previous. The following is the description given in Hakluyt of the buildings erected by Roberval: “ The said General on his first arrival built a fair fort, near and somewhat westward above Canada, which is very beautiful to behold, and of great force, situated upon a high mountain, wherein there were two courts of buildings, a great tower, and another of forty or fifty feet long, wherein there were divers chambers, an hall, a kitchen, cellars high and low, and near unto it were an oven and mills, and a stove to warm men in, and a well before the house. And the building was situated
upon the great River of Canada called France-Prime by Monsieur Roberval. There was also at the foot of the mountain another lodging, where at the first all our victuals, and whatsoever was brought with us was sent to be kept, and near unto that tower there is another small river. In these two places above and beneath, all the meaner sort was lodged.” This fort was called France-Roy; but of these extensive buildings, erected most probably in a hasty and inartificial manner, no traces now remain, unless we consider as such the mound above mentioned, near the residence of Mr. Atkinson, at Cap Rouge.
On the 14th September, Roberval sent back to France two of bis vessels, with two gentlemen, bearers of letters to the King; who had instructions to return the following year with supplies for the settlement. The natives do not appear, by the relation given, to have evinced any hostility to the new settlers. Unfortunately, the scurvy again made its appearance among the French ; and carried off no less than fifty during the winter. The morality of this little colony was not very rigid-perhaps they were pressed by hunger, and induced to plunder from each other—at all events the severity of the Viceroy towards his handful of subjects appears not to have been restricted to the
The method adopted by the Governor to secure a quiet life will raise a smile: “.Monsieur Roberval used very good justice, and punished every man according to his offence. One whose name was Michael Gaillon, was hanged for his theft. John of Nantes was laid in irons, and kept prisoner for his offence ; and others also were put in irons, and divers were whipped, as well men as women : by which means they lived in quiet.”
We have no record extant of the other proceedings of Roberval during the winter of 1543. The ice broke up in the month of April ; and on the 5th June, the Lieutenant General departed from the winter quarters on an exploring expedition to the Province of Saguenay, as Cartier had done on a former occasion. Thirty persons were left behind in the fort under the command of an Officer, with instructions to return to France, if he had not returned by the 1st July. There are no particulars of this expedition, on which, however, Roberval employed a considerable time. For we find that on the 14th June, four of the gentlemen belonging to the expedition returned to the fort, having left Roberval on the way to Saguenay ; and on the 19th, some others came back, bringing with them six score weight of Indian corn; and directions for the rest to wait for the return of the Viceroy, until the 22d July. An accident happened in this expedition, which seems to have escaped the notice of the author of the treatise on the Canon de bronze, which we have noticed in a former chapter. It certainly gives an authentic account of a shipwreck having been suffered in the St. Lawrence: to which, perhaps, the finding of the cannon, and the tradition about Jacques Cartier, may with some probability be referred. The following is the extract in question :
eight men and one bark were drowned and lost, among whom were Monsieur de Noire Fontaine, and one named La Vasseur of Constance," The error as to the name might easily arise : Jacques Cartier having been there so short a time before, and his celebrity in the country being so much greater than that of Roberval, or of any of his companions.
The rest of Roberval's voyage is wanting. He must have acquired a very general knowledge of the
coast, if we rely upon the account published by his pilot Jean Alphonse, who also gives a tolerably accurate description of the River St. Lawrence, and of the channel from sea.
He is said to have examined the coast of North America as high as latitude 52', in search of a passage to the East Indies.
We have already said that great uncertainty and contradiction exist in the different historical accounts of Cartier's third voyage, and the expedition of Roberval. Our account is founded on the relation of these two voyages in Hakluyts collection, carefully examined and compared with other authorities. The antiquarian will be satisfied with the earlier notices of Canada; but it is to be lamented that the accounts of the two last winters, passed among the Indians by Cartier and Roberval, have not been preserved. Up to this time no progress whatsoever seems to have been made in the civilisation of the country; and the different expeditions appear to have been limited to the occupation of a particular spot during the winter, and a fruitless exploration of the route to the imaginary golden region, during the period of open navigation.
Roberval returned to France in 1543; and animated by the duty which he owed to the King, on the war again breaking out between the Emperor Charles V. and Francis I. his active disposition led him back to the profession of arms. He distinguished himself in this war, as he had done on many previous occasions.
After the death of his royal Patron, in 1547, having got together a band of enterprising men, he embarked again for Canada in 1549, with his brother Achille, who was reputed one of the bravest warriors in France, and who was honorably named by Francis I.