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Samuel de Champlain's Voyages
Volume II, Part IV

The Journals of the intrepid French explorer who was the first European to discover Lake Champlain
 

This is the fourth of 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 here...

Original translation from the French by Charles Pomeroy Otis, Ph.D. Republished by the Prince Society, Boston: 1878.

MEMOIR OF SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN
Volume II
1604-1610

CHAPTER IV.

SIEUR DE MONTS, FINDING NO OTHER PLACE BETTER ADAPTED FOR A PERMANENT SETTLEMENT THAN THE ISLAND OF ST. CROIX, FORTIFIES IT AND BUILDS DWELLINGS. RETURN OF THE VESSELS TO FRANCE, AND OF RALLEAU, SECRETARY OF SIEUR DE MONTS, FOR THE SAKE OF ARRANGING SOME BUSINESS AFFAIRS.

Not finding any more suitable place than this island, we commenced making a barricade on a little islet a short distance from the main island, which served as a station for placing our cannon. All worked so energetically that in a little while it was put in a state of defence, although the mosquitoes (which are little flies) annoyed us excessively in our work. For there were several of our men whose faces were so swollen by their bites that they could scarcely see. The barricade being finished, Sieur de Monts sent his barque to notify the rest of our party, who were with our vessel in the bay of St. Mary, to come to St. Croix. This was promptly done, and while awaiting them we spent our time very pleasantly.

Some days after, our vessels having arrived and anchored, all disembarked. Then, without losing time, Sieur de Monts proceeded to employ the workmen in building houses for our abode, and allowed me to determine the arrangement of our settlement. After Sieur de Monts had determined the place for the storehouse, which is nine fathoms long, three wide, and twelve feet high, he adopted the plan for his own house, which he had promptly built by good workmen, and then assigned to each one his location. Straightway, the men began to gather together by fives and sixes, each according to his desire. Then all set to work to clear up the island, to go to the woods, to make the frame work, to carry earth and other things necessary for the buildings.
* * * * *

CHAMPLAIN'S DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING MAP.

HABITATION DE L'ISLE STE. CROIX.

_The figures indicate fathoms of water_.

_A_. Dwelling of Sieur de Monts.
_B_. Public building where we spent our time when it rained.
_C_. The storehouse.
_D_. Dwelling of the guard.
_E_. The blacksmith shop.
_F_. Dwelling of the carpenters.
_G_. The well.
_H_. The oven where the bread was made.
_I_. Kitchen.
_L_. Gardens.
_M_. Other gardens.
_N_. Place in the centre where a tree stands.
_O_. Palisade.
_P_. Dwellings of the Sieurs d'Orville, Champlain, and Champdoré.
_Q_. Dwelling of Sieur Boulay, and other artisans.
_R_. Dwelling where the Sieurs de Genestou, Sourin, and other artisans lived.
_T_. Dwelling of the Sieurs de Beaumont, la Motte Bourioli, and Fougeray.
_V_. Dwelling of our curate.
_X_. Other gardens.
_Y_. The river surrounding the island.
 * * * * *

While we were building our houses, Sieur de Monts despatched Captain Fouques in the vessel of Rossignol, [89] to find Pont Gravé at Canseau, in order to obtain for our settlement what supplies remained.

Some time after he had set out, there arrived a small barque of eight tons, in which was Du Glas of Honfleur, pilot of Pont Grave's vessel, bringing the Basque ship-masters, who had been captured by the above Pont Gravé [90] while engaged in the fur-trade, as we have stated. Sieur de Monts received them civilly, and sent them back by the above Du Glas to Pont Gravé, with orders for him to take the vessels he had captured to Rochelle, in order that justice might be done. Meanwhile, work on the houses went on vigorously and without cessation; the carpenters engaged on the storehouse and dwelling of Sieur de Monts, and the others each on his own house, as I was on mine, which I built with the assistance of some servants belonging to Sieur d'Orville and myself. It was forthwith completed, and Sieur de Monts lodged in it until his own was finished. An oven was also made, and a handmill for grinding our wheat, the working of which involved much trouble and labor to the most of us, since it was a toilsome operation. Some gardens were afterwards laid out, on the main land as well as on the island. Here many kinds of seeds were planted, which flourished very well on the main land, but not on the island, since there was only sand here, and the whole were burned up when the sun shone, although special pains were taken to water them.

Some days after, Sieur de Monts determined to ascertain where the mine of pure copper was which we had searched for so much. With this object in view, he despatched me together with a savage named Messamoüet, who asserted that he knew the place well. I set out in a small barque of five or six tons, with nine sailors. Some eight leagues from the island, towards the river St. John, we found a mine of copper which was not pure, yet good according to the report of the miner, who said that it would yield eighteen per cent. Farther on we found others inferior to this. When we reached the place where we supposed that was which we were hunting for, the savage could not find it, so that it was necessary to come back, leaving the search for another time.

Upon my return from this trip. Sieur de Monts resolved to send his vessels back to France, and also Sieur de Poutrincourt, who had come only for his pleasure, and to explore countries and places suitable for a colony, which he desired to found; for which reason he asked Sieur de Monts for Port Royal, which he gave him in accordance with the power and directions he had received from the king. [91] He sent back also Ralleau, his secretary, to arrange some matters concerning the voyage. They set out from the Island of St. Croix the last day of August, 1604.

ENDNOTES:

89. This was the vessel taken from Captain Rossignol and confiscated.--
_Vide antea_, pp. 10, 12; also note 26.

90. Champlain and others often write only Pont for Pont Gravé. Lescarbot says Gravé was his surname.--_Vide Histoire de la Nou. Fran_., Paris, 1612, Qvat. Liv. p. 501. To prevent any confusion, we write it Pont Gravé in all cases.

91. De Monts's charter provided for the distribution of lands to colonists. This gift to De Poutrincourt was confirmed afterwards by the king. We may here remark that there is the usual discrepancy in the orthography of this name. Lescarbot, De Laet, and Charlevoix write Poutrincourt. In his Latin epitaph, _vide Murdoch's Nova Scotia_, Vol. I. p. 59, it is Potrincurtius, while Champlain has Poitrincourt. In Poutrincourt's letter to the Roman Pontiff, Paul V., written in Latin, he says, _Ego Johannes de Biencour, vulgo De Povtrincovr a vitae religionis amator et attestor perpetuus_, etc. This must be conclusive for Poutrincourt as the proper orthography.--_Vide His. Nov. Fra._, par Lescarbot, Paris,

This is the conclusion of Chapter 4 of Voyages
Click here for Chapter 5

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Sources/Notes:

Samuel de Champlain. 1567-1635. "Voyages of Samuel de Champlain" Edited by Edmund F. Slafter, (Boston: Prince Society 1878)

Samuel de Champlain image: Warwick Stevens Carpenter. The Summer Paradise in History. Albany: General Passenger Department, The Delaware and Hudson Company. 1914. Courtesy of John and Barbara Gallagher.

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