is the nineteenth in a continuing series of entries from the Voyages
of Samuel de Champlain, first published in 1613. To view Part I,
click here. For Champlain's
account of the discovery of the lake that bears his name, click
translation from the French by Charles Pomeroy Otis, Ph.D.
Republished by the Prince Society, Boston: 1878.
The voyages to the great river St.
made by Sieur de Champlain,
Captain in ordinary to the King in the Marine,
from the year 1608 to that of 1612
OF THE RIVER SAGUENAY, AND THE SAVAGES WHO VISITED US THERE. OF THE
ISLAND OF ORLEANS, AND ALL THAT WE OBSERVED THERE WORTHY OF NOTE.
After this agreement, I had some carpenters set to work to fit up a
little barque of twelve or fourteen tons, for carrying all that was
needed for our settlement, which, however, could not be got ready
before the last of June.
Meanwhile, I managed to visit some parts of the river Saguenay, a
fine river, which has the incredible depth of some one hundred and
fifty to two hundred fathoms.  About fifty leagues from the
mouth of the harbor, there is, as is said, a great waterfall,
descending from a very high elevation with great impetuosity. There
are some islands in this river, very barren, being only rocks
covered with small firs and heathers. It is half a league broad in
places, and a quarter of a league at its mouth, where the current is
so strong that at three-quarters flood-tide in the river it is still
running out. All the land that I have seen consists only of
mountains and rocky promontories, for the most part covered with fir
and birch, a very unattractive country on both sides of the river.
In a word, it is mere wastes, uninhabited by either animals or
birds; for, going out hunting in places which seemed to me the most
pleasant, I found only some very small birds, such as swallows and
river birds, which go there in summer. At other times, there are
none whatever, in consequence of the excessive cold. This river
flows from the north-west.
The savages told me that, after passing the first fall, they meet
with eight others, when they go a day's journey without finding any.
Then they pass ten others, and enter a lake,  which they are
three days in crossing, and they are easily able to make ten leagues
a day up stream. At the end of the lake there dwells a migratory
people. Of the three rivers which flow into this lake, one comes
from the north, very near the sea, where they consider it much
colder than in their own country; and the other two from other
directions in the interior,  where are migratory savages,
living only from hunting, and where our savages carry the
merchandise we give them for their furs, such as beaver, marten,
lynx, and otter, which are found there in large numbers, and which
they then carry to our vessels. These people of the north report to
our savages that they see the salt sea; and, if that is true, as I
think it certainly is, it can be nothing but a gulf entering the
interior on the north.  The savages say that the distance from
the north sea to the port of Tadoussac is perhaps forty-five or
fifty days' journey, in consequence of the difficulties presented by
the roads, rivers, and country, which is very mountainous, and where
there is snow for the most part of the year. This is what I have
definitely ascertained in regard to this river. I have often wished
to explore it, but could not do so without the savages, who were
unwilling that I or any of our party should accompany them.
Nevertheless, they have promised that I shall do so. This
exploration would be desirable, in order to remove the doubts of
many persons in regard to the existence of this sea on the north,
where it is maintained that the English have gone in these latter
years to find a way to China. 
* * * * *
CHAMPLAIN'S EXPLANATION OF THE ACCOMPANYING MAP.
PORT DE TADOUCAC.
_The figures indicate the fathoms of water_.
_A_. A round mountain on the bank of the river Saguenay.
_B_. The harbor of Tadoussac.
_C_. A small fresh-water brook.
_D_. The encampment of the savages when they come to traffic.
_E_. A peninsula partly enclosing the port of the river Saguenay.
_F_. Point of All Devils.
_G_. The river Saguenay.
_H_. Point aux Alouettes.
_I_. Very rough mountains covered with firs and beeches.
_L_. The mill Bode.
_M_. The roadstead where vessels anchor while waiting for wind and
_N_. A little pond near the harbor.
_O_. A small brook coming from the pond and flowing into the
_P_. Place without trees near the point where there is a quantity of
* * * * *
I set out from Tadoussac the last day of the month to go to Quebec.
 We passed near an island called Hare Island,  distant six
leagues from the above-named port: it is two leagues from the
northern, and nearly four leagues from the southern shore. From Hare
Island we proceeded to a little river, dry at low tide, up which
some seven hundred or eight hundred paces there are two falls. We
named it Salmon River,  since we caught some of these fish in
it. Coasting along the north shore, we came to a point extending
into the river, which we called Cap Dauphin,  distant three
leagues from Salmon River. Thence we proceeded to another, which we
named Eagle Cape,  distant eight leagues from Cap Dauphin.
Between the two there is a large bay,  at the extremity of
which is a little river dry at low tide. From Eagle Cape, we
proceeded to Isle aux Coudres,  a good league distant, which is
about a league and a half long. It is nearly level, and grows
narrower towards the two ends. On the western end there are meadows,
and rocky points extending some distance out into the river. On the
south-west side it is very reefy, yet very pleasant in consequence
of the woods surrounding it. It is distant about half a league from
the northern shore, where is a little river extending some distance
into the interior. We named it Rivière du Gouffre,  since
abreast of it the tide runs with extraordinary rapidity; and,
although it has a calm appearance, it is always much agitated, the
depth there being great: but the river itself is shallow, and there
are many rocks at and about its mouth. Coasting along from Isle aux
Coudres, we reached a cape which we named Cap de Tourmente, 
five leagues distant; and we gave it this name because, however
little wind there may be, the water rises there as if it were full
tide. At this point, the water begins to be fresh. Thence we
proceeded to the Island of Orleans,  a distance of two leagues,
on the south side of which are numerous islands, low, covered with
trees and very pleasant, with large meadows, having plenty of game,
some being, so far as I could judge, two leagues in length, others a
trifle more or less. About these islands are many rocks, also very
dangerous shallows, some two leagues distant from the main land on
the South. All this shore, both north and South, from Tadoussac to
the Island of Orleans, is mountainous, and the soil very poor. The
wood is pine, fir, and birch only, with very ugly rocks, so that in
most places one could not make his way.
Now we passed along south of the Island of Orleans, which is a
league and a half distant from the main land and half a league on
the north side, being six leagues in length, and one in breadth, or
in some places a league and a half. On the north side, it is very
pleasant, on account of the great extent of woods and meadows there;
but it is very dangerous sailing, in consequence of the numerous
points and rocks between the main land and island, on which are
numerous fine oaks and in some places nut-trees, and on the borders
of the woods vines and other trees such as we have in France. This
place is the commencement of the fine and fertile country of the
great river, and is distant one hundred and twenty leagues from its
mouth. Off the end of the island is a torrent of water on the north
shore, proceeding from a lake ten leagues in the interior:  it
comes down from a height of nearly twenty-five fathoms, above which
the land is level and pleasant, although farther inland are seen
high mountains appearing to be from fifteen to twenty leagues
293. The deepest sounding as laid down on Laurie's Chart is one
hundred and forty-six fathoms. The same authority says the banks of
the river throughout its course are very rocky, and vary in height
from one hundred and seventy to three hundred and forty yards above
the stream. Its current is broad, deep, and uncommonly vehement: in
some places, where precipices intervene, are falls from fifty to
sixty feet in height, down which the whole volume of water rushes
with tremendous fury and noise. The general breadth of the river is
about two and a half miles, but at its mouth its width is contracted
to three-quarters of a mile. The tide runs upward about sixty-five
miles from its mouth.
294. If the Indians were three days in crossing Lake St. John here
referred to, whose length is variously stated to be from twenty-five
to forty miles, it could hardly have been the shortest time in which
it were possible to pass it. It may have been the usual time, some
of which they gave to fishing or hunting. "In 1647, Father Jean
Duquen, missionary at Tadoussac, ascending the Saguenay, discovered
the Lake St. John, and noted its Indian name, Picouagami, or Flat
Lake. He was the first European who beheld that magnificent expanse
of inland water."--_Vide Transactions, Lit. and His. Soc. of
Quebec_, 1867-68, p. 5.
295. The first of these three rivers, which the traveller will meet
as he passes up the northern shore of the lake, is the Peribonca
flowing from the north-east. The second is the Mistassina,
represented by the Indians as coming from the salt sea. The third is
the Chomouchonan, flowing from the north-west.
296. There was doubtless an Indian trail from the head-waters of the
Mistassina to Mistassin Lake, and from thence to Rupert River, which
flows into the lower part of Hudson's Bay.
297. The salt sea referred to by the Indians was undoubtedly
Hudson's Bay. The discoverer of this bay, Henry Hudson, in the years
1607, 1608, and 1609, was in the northern ocean searching for a
passage to Cathay. In 1610, he discovered the strait and bay which
now bear his name. He passed the winter in the southern part of the
bay; and the next year, 1611, his sailors in a mutiny forced him and
his officers into a shallop and abandoned them to perish. Nothing
was heard of them afterward. The fame of Hudson's discovery had
reached Champlain before the publication of this volume in 1613.
This will be apparent by comparing Champlain's small map with the
TABULA NAUTICA of Hudson, published in 1612. It will be seen that
the whole of the Carte Géographique de la Nouvelle France of
Champlain, on the west of Lumley's Inlet, including Hudson's Strait
and Bay, is a copy from the Tabula Nautica. Even the names are in
English, a few characteristic ones being omitted, such as Prince
Henry, the King's Forlant, and Cape Charles.--_Vide Henry Hudson the
Navigator_, by G. M. Asher, LL.D., Hakluyt Society, 1860, p. xliv.
298. This was June 30, 1608.
299. _Isle aux Lièvres_, or hares. This name was given by Jacques
Cartier, and it is still called Hare Island. It is about ten
geographical miles long, and generally about half or three-quarters
of a mile wide.
300. _Rivière aux Saulmons_. "From all appearances," says Laverdière,
"this Salmon River is that which empties into the 'Port à l'Équilles,'
eel harbor, also called 'Port aux Quilles,' Skittles Port. Its mouth
is two leagues from Cape Salmon, with which it must not be
confounded." It is now known as Black River.
301. _Cap Dauphin_, now called Cape Salmon, which is about three
leagues from Black River.
302. _Cap à l'Aigle_, now known as Cap aux Oies, or Goose Cape. The
Eagle Cape of to-day is little more than two leagues from Cape
Salmon, while Goose Cape is about eight leagues, as stated in the
303. The bay stretching between Cape Salmon and Goose Cape is called
Mal Bay, within which are Cape Eagle, Murray Bay, Point au Ries,
White Cape, Red Cape, Black Cape, Point Père, Point Corneille, and
Little Mal Bay. In the rear of Goose Cape are Les Éboulemens
Mountains, 2,547 feet in height. On the opposite side of the river
is Point Ouelle, and the river of the same name.
304. _Isle aux Coudres_, Hazel Island, so named by Jacques Cartier,
still retains its ancient appellation. Its distance from Goose Cape
is about two leagues. The description of it in the text is very
305. _Rivière du Gouffre_. This river still retains this name,
signifying whirlpool, and is the same that empties into St. Paul's
Bay, opposite Isle-aux Coudres.
306. _Cap de Tourmente_, cape of the tempest, is eight leagues from
Isle aux Coudres, but about two from the Isle of Orleans, as stated
in the text, which sufficiently identifies it.
307. _Isle d'Orléans_. Cartier discovered this island in 1635, and
named it the Island of Bacchus, because he saw vines growing there,
which he had not before seen in that region. He says, "Et
pareillement y trouuasmes force vignes, ce que n'auyons veu par cy
deuant à toute la terre, & par ce la nommasmes l'ysle de
Bacchus."--_Brief Récit de la Navigation Faite en MDXXXV._, par
Jacques Cartier, D'Avezac ed., Paris, 1863, pp. 14, 15. The grape
found here was probably the Frost Grape, _Vitis cordifolia_. The
"Island of Orleans" soon became the fixed name of this island, which
it still retains. Its Indian name is said to have been _Minigo_.--_Vide_
Laverdière's interesting note, _Oeuvres de Champlain_, Tome II, p.
24. Champlain's estimate of the size of the island is nearly
accurate. It is, according to the Admiralty charts, seventeen marine
miles in length, and four in its greatest width.
308. This was the river Montmorency, which rises in Snow Lake, some
fifty miles in the interior.--_Vide_ Champlain's reference on his
map of Quebec and its environs. He gave this name to the river,
which it still retains, in honor of the Admiral Montmorency, to whom
he dedicated his notes on the voyage of 1603.--_Vide Laverdière_, in
loco; also _Champlain_, ed. 1632; _Chiarlevoix's Letters_, London,
1763, p. 19. The following is Jean Alfonse's description of the fall
of Montmorency: "When thou art come to the end of the Isle, thou
shall see a great River, which falleth fifteene or twenty fathoms
downe from a rocke, and maketh a terrible noyse."--_Hakluyt, Vol.
III. p. 293. The perpendicular descent of the Montmorency at the
falls is 240 feet.
the conclusion of Volume II, Part XIX, Chapter 2 of Voyages
Click here for Voyages, Volume II, Part XX, Chapter 3
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