Click here to learn more about this site Click here to return to our home page Click here to visit our "clickable" map of local historic sites Click here to visit Part I of our huge two-part Table of Contents Click here to search the site Click here to learn about using the images and materials published on this site Click here to contact us

The Online Resource for Historians, Educators, Students and Visitors since 1997
This is a graphics-intensive publication, to fully experience the site we recommend you have JavaScript enabled.

Samuel de Champlain's Voyages
Volume II, Part VII

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

This is the seventh 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 here...

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

Volume II



On the 18th of June, 1605, Sieur de Monts set out from the Island of St. Croix with some gentlemen, twenty sailors, and a savage named Panounias, together with his wife, whom he was unwilling to leave behind. These we took, in order to serve us as guides to the country of the Almouchiquois, in the hope of exploring and learning more particularly by their aid what the character of this country was, especially since she was a native of it.

Coasting, along inside of Manan, an island three leagues from the main land, we came to the Ranges on the seaward side, at one of which we anchored, where there was a large number of crows, of which our men captured a great many, and we called it the Isle aux Corneilles. Thence we went to the Island of Monts Déserts, at the entrance of the river Norumbegue, as I have before stated, and sailed five or six leagues among many islands. Here there came to us three savages in a canoe from Bedabedec Point, where their captain was; and, after we had had some conversation with them, they returned the same day.
* * * * *



_The figures indicate fathoms of water_.

_A_. The course of the river.
_B_. Two islands at the entrance of the river.
_C_. Two very dangerous rocks in the river.
_D_. Islets and rocks along the coast.
_E_. Shoals where at full tide vessels of sixty tons' burden may run aground.
_F_. Place where the savages encamp when they come to fish.
_G_. Sandy shoals along the coast.
_H_. Pond of fresh water.
_I_. Brook where shallops can enter at half tide.
_L_. Islands to the number of four just within the mouth of the river.

* * * * *

On Friday, the 1st of July, we set out from one of the islands at the mouth of the river, where there is a very good harbor for vessels of a hundred or a hundred and fifty tons. This day we made some twenty-five leagues between Bedabedec Point and many islands and rocks, which we observed as far as the river Quinibequy, at the mouth of which is a very high island, which we called the Tortoise. [107] Between the latter and the main land there are some scattering rocks, which are covered at full tide, although the sea is then seen to break over them. [108] Tortoise Island and the river lie south-south-east and north-north-west. As you enter, there are two medium-sized islands forming the entrance, one on one side, the other on the other; [109] and some three hundred paces farther in are two rocks, where there is no wood, but some little grass. We anchored three hundred paces from the entrance in five and six fathoms of water. While in this place, we were overtaken by fogs, on account of which we resolved to enter, in order to see the upper part of the river and the savages who live there; and we set out for this purpose on the 5th of the month. Having made some leagues, our barque came near being lost on a rock which we grazed in passing. [110] Further on, we met two canoes which had come to hunt birds, which for the most part are moulting at this season, and cannot fly. We addressed these savages by aid of our own, who went to them with his wife, who made them understand the reason of our coming. We made friends with them and with the savages of this river, who served us as guides. Proceeding farther, in order to see their captain, named Manthoumermer, we passed, after we had gone seven or eight leagues, by some islands, straits, and brooks, which extend along the river, where we saw some fine meadows. After we had coasted along an island [111] some four leagues in length, they conducted us to where their chief was [112] with twenty-five or thirty savages, who, as soon as we had anchored, came to us in a canoe, separated a short distance from ten others, in which were those who accompanied him. Coming near our barque, he made an harangue, in which he expressed the pleasure it gave him to see us, and said that he desired to form an alliance with us and to make peace with his enemies through our mediation. He said that, on the next day, he would send to two other captains of savages, who were in the interior, one called Marchin, and the other Sasinou, chief of the river Quinibequy. Sieur de Monts gave them some cakes and peas, with which they were greatly pleased. The next day they guided us down the river another way than that by which we had come, in order to go to a lake; and, passing by some islands, they left, each one of them, an arrow near a cape [113] where all the savages pass, and they believe that if they should not do this some misfortune would befall them, according to the persuasions of the devil. They live in such superstitions, and practise many others of the same sort. Beyond this cape we passed a very narrow waterfall, but only with great difficulty; for, although we had a favorable and fresh wind, and trimmed our sails to receive it as well as possible, in order to see whether we could not pass it in that way, we were obliged to attach a hawser to some trees on shore and all pull on it. In this way, by means of our arms together with the help of the wind, which was favorable to us, we succeeded in passing it. The savages accompanying us carried their canoes by land, being unable to row them. After going over this fall, we saw some fine meadows. I was greatly surprised by this fall, since as we descended with the tide we found it in our favor, but contrary to us when we came to the fall. But, after we had passed it, it descended as before, which gave us great Satisfaction. [114] Pursuing our route, we came to the lake, [115] which is from three to four leagues in length. Here are some islands, and two rivers enter it, the Quinibequy coming from the north north-east, and the other from the north-west, whence were to come Marchin and Sasinou. Having awaited them all this day, and as they did not come, we resolved to improve our time. We weighed anchor accordingly, and there accompanied us two savages from this lake to serve as guides. The same day we anchored at the mouth of the river, where we caught a large number of excellent fish of various sorts. Meanwhile, our savages went hunting, but did not return. The route by which we descended this river is much safer and better than that by which we had gone. Tortoise Island before the mouth of this river is in latitude [116] 44°; and 19° 12' of the deflection of the magnetic needle. They go by this river across the country to Quebec some fifty leagues, making only one portage of two leagues. After the portage, you enter another little stream which flows into the great river St. Lawrence [117]. This river Quinibequy is very dangerous for vessels half a league from its mouth, on account of the small amount of water, great tides, rocks and shoals outside as well as within. But it has a good channel, if it were well marked out. The land, so far as I have seen it along the shores of the river, is very poor, for there are only rocks on all sides. There are a great many small oaks, and very little arable land. Fish abound here, as in the other rivers which I have mentioned. The people live like those in the neighborhood of our settlement; and they told us that the savages, who plant the Indian corn, dwelt very far in the interior, and that they had given up planting it on the coasts on account of the war they had with others, who came and took it away. This is what I have been able to learn about this region, which I think is no better than the others.

On the 8th of the month, we set out from the mouth of this river, not being able to do so sooner on account of the fogs. We made that day some four leagues, and passed a bay [118], where there are a great many islands. From here large mountains [119] are seen to the west, in which is the dwelling-place of a savage captain called Aneda, who encamps near the river Quinibequy. I was satisfied from this name that it was one of his tribe that had discovered the plant called Aneda, [120] which Jacques Cartier said was so powerful against the malady called scurvy, of which we have already spoken, which harassed his company as well as our own, when they wintered in Canada. The savages have no knowledge at all of this plant, and are not aware of its existence, although the above-mentioned savage has the same name. The following day we made eight leagues. [121] As we passed along the coast, we perceived two columns of smoke which some savages made to attract our attention. We went and anchored in the direction of them behind a small island near the main land, [122] where we saw more than eighty savages running along the shore to see us, dancing and giving expression to their joy. Sieur de Monts sent two men together with our savage to visit them. After they had spoken some time with them, and assured them of our friendship, we left with them one of our number, and they delivered to us one of their companions as a hostage. Meanwhile, Sieur de Monts visited an island, which is very beautiful in view of what it produces; for it has fine oaks and nut-trees, the soil cleared up, and many vineyards bearing beautiful grapes in their season, which were the first we had seen on all these coasts from the Cap de la Hève. We named it Isle de Bacchus [123]. It being full tide, we weighed anchor and entered a little river, which we could not sooner do; for there is a bar, there being at low tide only half a fathom of water, at full tide a fathom and a half, and at the highest water two fathoms. On the other side of the bar there are three, four, five, and six fathoms. When we had anchored, a large number of savages came to the bank of the river, and began to dance. Their captain at the time, whom they called Honemechin [124], was not with them. He arrived about two or three hours later with two canoes, when he came sweeping entirely round our barque. Our savage could understand only a few words, as the language of the Almouchiquois [125] (for that is the name of this nation) differs entirely from that of the Souriquois and Etechemins. These people gave signs of being greatly pleased. Their chief had a good figure, was young and agile. We sent some articles of merchandise on shore to barter with them; but they had nothing but their robes to give in exchange, for they preserve only such furs as they need for their garments. Sieur de Monts ordered some provisions to be given to their chief, with which he was greatly pleased, and came several times to the side of our boat to see us. These savages shave off the hair far up on the head, and wear what remains very long, which they comb and twist behind in various ways very neatly, intertwined with feathers which they attach to the head. They paint their faces black and red, like the other savages which we have seen. They are an agile people, with well-formed bodies. Their weapons are pikes, clubs, bows and arrows, at the end of which some attach the tail of a fish called the signoc, others bones, while the arrows of others are entirely of wood. They till and cultivate the soil, something which we have not hitherto observed. In the place of ploughs, they use an instrument of very hard wood, shaped like a spade. This river is called by the inhabitants of the country Choüacoet. [126]

The next day Sieur de Monts and I landed to observe their tillage on the bank of the river. We saw their Indian corn, which they raise in gardens. Planting three or four kernels in one place, they then heap up about it a quantity of earth with shells of the signoc before mentioned. Then three feet distant they plant as much more, and thus in succession. With this corn they put in each hill three or four Brazilian beans, [127] which are of different colors. When they grow up, they interlace with the corn, which reaches to the height of from five to six feet; and they keep the ground very free from weeds. We saw there many squashes,[128] and pumpkins, [129] and tobacco, which they likewise cultivate. [130]

* * * * *



_The figures indicate fathoms of water_.

_A_. The river.
_B_. Place where they have their fortress.
_C_. Cabins in the open fields, near which they cultivate the land and plant Indian corn.
_D_. Extensive tract of land which is sandy, but covered with grass.
_E_. Another place where they have their dwellings all together after they have planted their corn.
_F_. Marshes with good pasturage.
_G_. Spring of fresh water.
_H_. A large point of land all cleared up except some fruit trees and wild vines.
_I_. Little island at the entrance of the river.
_L_. Another islet.
_M_. Two islands under shelter of which vessels can anchor with good bottom.
_N_. A point of land cleared up where Marchin came to us.
_O_. Four islands.
_P_. Little brook dry at low tide.
_Q_. Shoals along the coast.
_R_. Roadsted where vessels can anchor while waiting for the tide.

NOTES. Of the two islands in the northern part of the bay, the larger, marked _M_, is Stratton Island, nearly half a mile long, and a mile and a half from Prout's Neck, which lies north of it. A quarter of a mile from Stratton is Bluff Island, a small island north-west of it. Of the four islands at the southern end of the bay, the most eastern is Wood Island, on which the United States maintain a light. The next on the west, two hundred and fifty yards distant, is Negro Island. The third still further west is Stage Island. The fourth, quarter of a mile west of the last named, is Basket Island. The neck or peninsula, south-west of the islands, is now called the POOL, much resorted to as a watering-place in the summer. The island near the mouth of the river is Ram Island, and that directly north of it is Eagle Island. From the mouth of the River to Prout's Neck, marked, is one of the finest beaches in New England, extending about six nautical miles. Its Southern extremity is known as Ferry, the northern Scarborough, and midway between them is Old Orchard Beach, the latter a popular resort in the summer months of persons from distant parts of the United States and Canada.

* * * * *

The Indian corn which we saw was at that time about two feet high, some of it as high as three. The beans were beginning to flower, as also the pumpkins and squashes. They plant their corn in May, and gather it in September. We saw also a great many nuts, which are small and have several divisions. There were as yet none on the trees, but we found plenty under them, from the preceding year. We saw also many grape-vines, on which there was a remarkably fine berry, from which we made some very good verjuice. We had heretofore seen grapes only on the Island of Bacchus, distant nearly two leagues from this river. Their permanent abode, the tillage, and the fine trees led us to conclude that the air here is milder and better than that where we passed the winter, and at the other places we visited on the coast. But I cannot believe that there is not here a considerable degree of cold, although it is in latitude 43° 45'. [131] The forests in the interior are very thin, although abounding in oaks, beeches, ashes, and elms; in wet places there are many willows. The savages dwell permanently in this place, and have a large cabin surrounded by palisades made of rather large trees placed by the side of each other, in which they take refuge when their enemies make war upon them. [132] They cover their cabins with oak bark. This place is very pleasant, and as agreeable as any to be seen. The river is very abundant in fish, and is bordered by meadows. At the mouth there is a small island adapted for the construction of a good fortress, where one could be in security.

On Sunday, [133] the 12th of the month, we set out from the river Choüacoet. After coasting along some six or seven leagues, a contrary wind arose, which obliged us to anchor and go ashore, [134] where we saw two meadows, each a league in length and half a league in breadth. We saw there two savages, whom at first we took to be the great birds called bustards, to be found in this country; who, as soon as they caught sight of us, took flight into the woods, and were not seen again. From Choüacoet to this place, where we saw some little birds, which sing like blackbirds, and are black excepting the ends of the wings, which are orange-colored, [135] there is a large number of grape-vines and nut-trees. This coast is sandy, for the most part, all the way from Quinibequy. This day we returned two or three leagues towards Choüacoet, as far as a cape which we called Island Harbor, [136] favorable for vessels of a hundred tons, about which are three islands. Heading north-east a quarter north, one can enter another harbor [137] near this place, to which there is no approach, although there are islands, except the one where you enter. At the entrance there are some dangerous reefs. There are in these islands so many red currants that one sees for the most part nothing else, [138] and an infinite number of pigeons, [139] of which we took a great quantity. This Island Harbor [140] is in latitude 43° 25'.

On the 15th of the month we made twelve leagues. Coasting along, we perceived a smoke on the shore, which we approached as near as possible, but saw no savage, which led us to believe that they had fled. The sun set, and we could find no harbor for that night, since the coast was flat and sandy. Keeping off, and heading south, in order to find an anchorage, after proceeding about two leagues, we observed a cape [141] on the main land south a quarter south-east of us, some six leagues distant. Two leagues to the east we saw three or four rather high islands, [142] and on the west a large bay. The coast of this bay, reaching as far as the cape, extends inland from where we were perhaps four leagues. It has a breadth of two leagues from north to south, and three at its entrance. [143] Not observing any place favorable for putting in, [144] we resolved to go to the cape above mentioned with short sail, which occupied a portion of the night. Approaching to where there were sixteen fathoms of water, we anchored until daybreak.

On the next day we went to the above-mentioned cape, where there are three islands [145] near the main land, full of wood of different kinds, as at Choüacoet and all along the coast; and still another flat one, where there are breakers, and which extends a little farther out to Sea than the others, on which there is no wood at all. We named this place Island Cape, [146] near which we saw a canoe containing five or six savages, who came out near our barque, and then went back and danced on the beach. Sieur de Monts sent me on shore to observe them, and to give each one of them a knife and some biscuit, which caused them to dance again better than before. This over, I made them understand, as well as I could, that I desired them to show me the course of the shore. After I had drawn with a crayon the bay, [147] and the Island Cape, where we were, with the same crayon they drew the outline of another bay, [148] which they represented as very large; here they placed six pebbles at equal distances apart, giving me to understand by this that these signs represented as many chiefs and tribes. [149] Then they drew within the first mentioned bay a river which we had passed, which has shoals and is very long. [150] We found in this place a great many vines, the green grapes on which were a little larger than peas, also many nut-trees, the nuts on which were no larger than musket-balls. The savages told us that all those inhabiting this country cultivated the land and sowed seeds like the others, whom we had before seen. The latitude of this place is 43° and some minutes. [151] Sailing half a league farther, we observed several savages on a rocky point, [152] who ran along the shore, dancing as they went, to their companions to inform them of our coming. After pointing out to us the direction of their abode, they made a signal with smoke to show us the place of their settlement. We anchored near a little island, [153] and sent our canoe with knives and cakes for the savages. From the large number of those we saw, we concluded that these places were better inhabited than the others we had seen.

After a stay of some two hours for the sake of observing those people, whose canoes are made of birch bark, like those of the Canadians, Souriquois, and Etechemins, we weighed anchor and set sail with a promise of fine weather. Continuing our course to the west-south-west we saw numerous islands on one side and the other. Having sailed seven or eight leagues, we anchored near an island, [154] whence we observed many smokes along the shore, and many savages running up to see us. Sieur de Monts sent two or three men in a canoe to them, to whom he gave some knives and paternosters to present to them; with which they were greatly pleased, and danced several times in acknowledgment. We could not ascertain the name of their chief, as we did not know their language. All along the shore there is a great deal of land cleared up and planted with Indian corn. The country is very pleasant and agreeable, and there is no lack of fine trees. The canoes of those who live there are made of a single piece, and are very liable to turn over if one is not skilful in managing them. We had not before seen any of this kind. They are made in the following manner. After cutting down, at a cost of much labor and time, the largest and tallest tree they can find, by means of stone hatchets (for they have no others except some few which they received from the Savages on the coasts of La Cadie, [155] them in exchange for furs), they remove the bark, and round off the tree except on one side, where they apply fire gradually along its entire length; and sometimes they put red-hot pebble-stones on top. When the fire is too fierce, they extinguish it with a little water, not entirely, but so that the edge of the boat may not be burnt. It being hollowed out as much as they wish, they scrape it all over with stones, which they use instead of knives. These stones resemble our musket flints.

On the next day, the 17th of the month, we weighed anchor to go to a cape we had seen the day before, which seemed to lie on our south south-west. This day we were able to make only five leagues, and we passed by some islands [156] covered with wood. I observed in the bay all that the savages had described to me at Island Cape. As we continued our course, large numbers came to us in canoes from the islands and main land. We anchored a league from a cape, which we named St. Louis, [157] where we noticed smoke in several places. While in the act of going there, our barque grounded on a rock, where we were in great danger, for, if we had not speedily got it off, it would have overturned in the sea, since the tide was falling all around, and there were five or six fathoms of water. But God preserved us, and we anchored near the above-named cape, when there come to us fifteen or sixteen canoes of savages. In some of them there were fifteen or sixteen, who began to manifest great signs of joy, and made various harangues, which we could not in the least understand. Sieur de Monts sent three or four men on shore in our canoe, not only to get water, but to see their chief, whose name was Honabetha. The latter had a number of knives and other trifles, which Sieur de Monts gave him, when he came alongside to see us, together with some of his companions, who were present both along the shore and in their canoes. We received the chief very cordially, and made him welcome; who, after remaining some time, went back. Those whom we had sent to them brought us some little squashes as big as the fist, which we ate as a salad, like cucumbers, and which we found very good. They brought also some purslane, [158] which grows in large quantities among the Indian corn, and of which they make no more account than of weeds. We saw here a great many little houses, scattered over the fields where they plant their Indian corn.

There is, moreover, in this bay a very broad river, which we named River du Guast. [159] It stretches, as it seemed to me, towards the Iroquois, a nation in open warfare with the Montagnais, who live on the great river St. Lawrence.


107. _Isle de la Tortue_, commonly known as Seguin Island, high and rocky, with precipitous shores. It is nearly equidistant from Wood, Pond, and Salter's Islands at the mouth of the Kennebec, and about one mile and three quarters from each. The United States light upon it is 180 feet above the level of the sea. It may be seen at the distance of twenty miles.

108. Ellingwood Rock, Seguin Ledges, and White Ledge.

109. Pond Island on the west, and Stage Island on the east: the two rocks referred to in the same sentence are now called the Sugar Loaves.

110. This was apparently in the upper part of Back River, where it is exceedingly narrow. The minute and circumstantial description of the mouth of the Kennebec, and the positive statement in the text that they entered the river so described, and the conformity of the description to that laid down on our Coast Survey Charts, as well as on Champlain's local map, all render it certain that they entered the mouth of the Kennebec proper; and having entered, they must have passed on a flood-tide into and through Back River, which in some places is so narrow that their little barque could hardly fall to be grazed in passing. Having reached Hockomock Bay, they passed down through the lower Hell Gate, rounded the southern point of West Port or Jerremisquam Island, sailing up its eastern shore until they reached the harbor of Wiscasset; then down the western side, turning Hockomock Point, threading the narrow passage of the Sasanoa River through the upper Hell Gate, entering the Sagadahoc, passing the Chops, and finally through the Neck, into Merrymeeting Bay. The narrowness of the channel and the want of water at low tide in Back River would seem at first blush to throw a doubt over the possibility of Champlain's passing through this tidal passage. But it has at least seven feet of water at high tide. His little barque, of fifteen tons, without any cargo, would not draw more than four feet at most, and would pass through without any difficulty, incommoded only by the narrowness of the channel to which Champlain refers. With the same barque, they passed over the bar at Nauset, or Mallebarre, where Champlain distinctly says there were only four feet of water.--_Vide postea_, p. 81.

111. West Port, or Jerremisquam Island.

112. This was Wiscasset Harbor, as farther on it will be seen that from this point they started down the river, taking another way than that by which they had come.

113. Hockomock Point, a rocky precipitous bluff.

114. The movement of the waters about this "narrow waterfall" has been a puzzle from the days of Champlain to the present time. The phenomena have not changed. Having consulted the United States Coast Pilot and likewise several persons who have navigated these waters and have a personal knowledge of the "fall," the following is, we think, a satisfactory explanation. The stream in which the fall occurs is called the Sasanoa, and is a tidal current flowing from the Kennebec, opposite the city of Bath, to the Sheepscot. It was up this tidal passage that Champlain was sailing from the waters of the Sheepscot to the Kennebec, and the "narrow waterfall" was what is now called the upper Hell Gate, which is only fifty yards wide, hemmed in by walls of rock on both sides. Above it the Sasanoa expands into a broad bay. When the tide from the Kennebec has filled this bay, the water rushes through this narrow gate with a velocity Sometimes of thirteen miles an hour. There is properly no fall in the bed of the stream, but the appearance of a fall is occasioned by the pent-up waters of the bay above rushing through this narrow outlet, having accumulated faster than they could be drained off. At half ebb, on a spring tide, a wall of water from six inches to a foot stretches across the stream, and the roar of the flood boiling over the rocks at the Gate can be heard two miles below. The tide continues to flow up the Sasanoa from the Sheepscot not only on the flood, but for some time on the ebb, as the waters in the upper part of the Sheepscot and its bays, in returning, naturally force themselves up this passage until they are sufficiently drained off to turn the current in the Sasanoa in the other direction. Champlain, sailing from the Sheepscot up the Sasanoa, arrived at the Gate probably just as the tide was beginning to turn, and when there was comparatively only a slight fall, but yet enough to make it necessary to force their little barque up through the Gate by means of hawsers as described in the text. After getting a short distance from the narrows, he would be on the water ebbing back into the Kennebec, and would be still moving with the tide, as he had been until he reached the fall.

115. Merrymeeting Bay, so called from the meeting in this bay of the two rivers mentioned in the text a little below, viz., the Kennebec and the Androscoggin.

116. The latitude of Seguin, here called Tortoise Island, is 43° 42' 25".

117. The head-waters of the Kennebec, as well as those of the Penobscot, approach very near to the Chaudière, which flows into the St. Lawrence near Quebec.

118. Casco Bay, which stretches from Cape Small Point to Cape Elizabeth. It has within it a hundred and thirty-six islands. They anchored and passed the night somewhere within the limits of this bay, but did not attempt its exploration.

119. These were the White Mountains in New Hampshire, towering above the sea 6,225 feet. They are about sixty miles distant from Casco Bay, and were observed by all the early voyagers as they sailed along the coast of Maine. They are referred to on Ribero's Map of 1529 by the Spanish word _montañas_, and were evidently seen by Estevan Gomez in 1525, whose discoveries are delineated by this map. They will also be found on the Mappe-Monde of about the middle of the sixteenth century, and on Sebastian Cabot's map, 1544, both included in the "Monuments de la Géographie" of Jomard, and they are also indicated on numerous other early maps.

120. This conjecture is not sustained by any evidence beyond the similarity of the names. There are numerous idle opinions as to the kind of plant which was so efficacious a remedy for the scurvy, but they are utterly without foundation. There does not appear to be any means of determining what the healing plant was.

121. The four leagues of the previous day added to the eight of this bring them from the Kennebec to Saco Bay.

122. The small island "proche de la grande terre" was Stratton Island: they anchored on the northern side and nearly east of Bluff Island, which is a quarter of a mile distant. The Indians came down to welcome them from the promontory long known as Black Point, now called Prout's Neck. Compare Champlain's local map and the United States Coast Survey Charts.

123. Champlain's narrative, together with his sketch or drawing, illustrating the mouth of the Saco and its environs, compared with the United States Coast Survey Charts, renders it certain that this was Richmond Island. Lescarbot describes it as a 'great island, about half a league in compass, at the entrance of the bay of the said place of Choüacoet It is about a mile long, and eight hundred yards in its greatest width.--_Coast Pilot_. It received its present name at a very early period. It was granted under the title of "a small island, called Richmond," by the Council for New England to Walter Bagnall, Dec. 2, 1631.--_Vide Calendar of Eng. State Papers_, Col. 1574-1660, p. 137. Concerning the death of Bagnall on this island a short time before the above grant was made, _vide Winthrop's Hist. New Eng._, ed. 1853, Vol. I. pp. 75, 118.

124. Lescarbot calls him Olmechin.--_Histoire de la Nouvelle France_, par M. Lescarbot, Paris, 1612, p. 558.

125. They had hoped that the wife of Panounias, their Indian guide, who was said to have been born among the Almouchiquois, would be able to interpret their language, but in this they appear to have been disappointed.--_Vide antea_, p. 55.

126. From the Indian word, M'-foo-ah-koo-et, or, as the French pronounced it, _Choüacoet_, which had been the name, applied by the aborigines to this locality we know not how long, is derived the name Saco, now given to the river and city in the same vicinity. The orthography given to the original word is various, as Sawocotuck, Sowocatuck, Sawakquatook, Sockhigones, and Choüacost. The variations in this, as in other Indian words, may have arisen from a misapprehension of the sound given by the aborigines, or from ignorance, on the part of writers, of the proper method of representing sounds, joined to an utter indifference to a matter which seemed to them of trifling importance.

127. _Febues du Brésil_. This is the well-known trailing or bush-bean of New England, _Phaseolus vulgaris_, called the "Brazilian bean" because it resembled a bean known in France at that time under that name. It is sometimes called the kidney-bean. It is indigenous to America.

128. _Citrouilles_, the common summer squash, _Cucurbita polymorpha_, as may be seen by reference to Champlain's map of 1612, where its form is delineated over the inscription, _la forme des sitroules_. It is indigenous to America. Our word squash is derived from the Indian _askutasquash_ or _isquoutersquash_. "In summer, when their corne is spent, Isquoutersquashes is their best bread, a fruit like the young Pumpion."--_Wood's New England Prospect_, 1634, Prince Society ed., p. 76. "_Askutasquash_, their Vine aples, which the _English_ from them call _Squashes_, about the bignesse of Apples, of severall colours, a sweet, light, wholesome refreshing."--_Roger Williams, Key_, 1643, Narragansett Club ed., p. 125.

129. _Courges_, the pumpkin, _Cucurbita maxima_, indigenous to America. As the pumpkin and likewise the squash were vegetables hitherto unknown to Champlain, there was no French word by which he could accurately identify them. The names given to them were such as he thought would describe them to his countrymen more nearly than any others. Had he been a botanist, he would probably have given them new names.

130. _Petum_. Tobacco, _Nicotiana rustica_, sometimes called wild tobacco. It was a smaller and more hardy species than the _Nicotiana tabacum_, now cultivated in warmer climates, but had the same qualities though inferior in strength and aroma. It was found in cultivation by the Indians all along our coast and in Canada. Cartier observed it growing in Canada in 1535. Of it he says: "There groweth also a certain kind of herbe, whereof in Sommer they make a great prouision for all the yeere, making great account of it, and onely men vse of it, and first they cause it to be dried in the Sunne, then weare it about their neckes wrapped in a little beasts skinne made like a little bagge, with a hollow peece of stone or wood like a pipe; then when they please they make pouder of it, and then put it in one of the ends of the said Cornet or pipe, and laying a cole of fire vpon it, at the other ende sucke so long, that they fill their bodies full of smoke, till that it commeth out of their mouth and nostrils, euen as out of the Tonnell of a chimney. They say that this doth keepe them warme and in health: they neuer goe without some of it about them. We ourselues haue tryed the same smoke, and hauing put it in our mouthes, it seemed almost as hot as Pepper."--_Jacques Cartier, 2 Voyage_, 1535; _Hakluyt_, London, ed. 1810, Vol. III. p. 276.

We may here remark that the esculents found in cultivation at Saco, beans, squashes, pumpkins, and corn, as well as the tobacco, are all American tropical or subtropical plants, and must have been transmitted from tribe to tribe, from more southern climates. The Indian traditions would seem to indicate this. "They have a tradition," says Roger Williams, "that the Crow brought them at first an _Indian_ Graine of Corne in one Eare, and an _Indian_ or _French_ Beane in another, from the Great God _Kautantouwit's_ field in the Southwest from whence they hold came all their Corne and Beanes."-- _Key to the Language of America_, London, 1643, Narragansett Club ed., p. 144.

Seventy years before Champlain, Jacques Cartier had found nearly the same vegetables cultivated by the Indians in the valley of the St. Lawrence. He says: "They digge their grounds with certaine peeces of wood, as bigge as halfe a sword, on which ground groweth their corne, which they call Ossici; it is as bigge as our small peason.... They haue also great store of Muske-milions. Pompions, Gourds, Cucumbers, Peason, and Beanes of euery colour, yet differing from ours."--_Hakluyt_, Vol. II. p. 276. For a full history of these plants, the reader is referred to the History of Plants, a learned and elaborate work now in press, by Charles Pickering, M.D. of Boston.

131. The latitude of Wood Island at the mouth of the Saco, where they were at anchor, is 43° 27' 23".

132. The site of this Indian fortification was a rocky bluff on the western side of the river, now owned by Mr. John Ward, where from time to time Indian relics have been found. The island at the mouth of the river, which Champlain speaks of as a suitable location for a fortress, is Ram Island, and is low and rocky, and about a hundred and fifty yards in length.

133. For Sunday read Tuesday.--_Vide Shurtless's Calendar_.

134. This landing was probably near Wells Neck, and the meadows which they saw were the salt marshes of Wells.

135. The Red-wing Blackbird, _Ageloeus phoeniceus_, of lustrous black, with the bend of the wing red. They are still abundant in the same locality, and indeed across the whole continent to the Pacific Ocean.--_Vide Cones's Key_, Boston, 1872, p. 156; _Baird's Report_, Washington, 1858, Part II. p. 526.

136. _Le Port aux Isles_. This Island Harbor is the present Cape Porpoise Harbor.

137. This harbor is Goose Fair Bay, from one to two miles north-east of Cape Porpoise, in the middle of which are two large ledges, "the dangerous reefs" to which Champlain refers.

138. This was the common red currant of the gardens, _Ribes rubrum_, which is a native of America. The fetid currant, _Ribes prostratum_, is also indigenous to this country. It has a pale red fruit, which gives forth a very disagreeable odor. Josselyn refers to the currant both in his Voyages and in his Rarities. Tuckerman found it growing wild in the White Mountains.

139. The passenger pigeon, _Ectopistes migratorius_, formerly numerous in New England. Commonly known as the wild pigeon. Wood says they fly in flocks of millions of millions.--_New England Prospect_, 1634; Prince Society ed., p. 31.

140. Champlain's latitude is less inaccurate than usual. It is not possible to determine the exact point at which he took it. But the latitude of Cape Porpoise, according to the Coast Survey Charts, is 43° 21' 43".  141. Cape Anne.

142. The point at which Champlain first saw Cape Anne, and "isles assez hautes," the Isles of Shoals, was east of Little Boar's Head, and three miles from the shore. Nine years afterward, Captain John Smith visited these islands, and denominated them on his map of New England Smith's Isles. They began at a very early date to be called the Isles of Shoals. "Smith's Isles are a heape together, none neere them, against Accominticus."--_Smith's Description of New England_. Rouge's map, 1778, has Isles of Shoals, _ou des Ecoles_. For a full description and history of these islands, the reader is referred to "The Isles of Shoals," by John S. Jenness, New York, 1875.

143. Champlain has not been felicitous in his description of this bay. He probably means to say that from the point where he then was, off Little Boar's Head, to the point where it extends farthest into the land, or to the west, it appeared to be about twelve miles, and that the depth of the bay appeared to be six miles, and eight at the point of greatest depth. As he did not explore the bay, it is obvious that he intended to speak of it only as measured by the eye. No name has been assigned to this expanse of water on our maps. It washes the coast of Hampton, Salisbury, Newburyport, Ipswich, and Annisquam. It might well be called Merrimac Bay, aster the name of the important river that empties its waters into it, midway between its northern and southern extremities.

144. It is to be observed that, starting from Cape Porpoise Harbor on the morning of the 15th of July, they sailed twelve leagues before the sail of the night commenced. This would bring them, allowing for the sinuosities of the shore, to a point between Little Boar's Head and the Isles of Shoals. In this distance, they had passed the sandy shores of Wells Beach and York Beach in Maine, and Foss's Beach and Rye Beach in New Hampshire, and still saw the white Sands of Hampton and Salisbury Beaches stretching far into the bay on their right. The excellent harbor of Portsmouth, land-locked by numerous islands, had been passed unobserved. A sail of eighteen nautical miles brought them to their anchorage at the extreme point of Cape Anne.

145. Straitsmouth, Thatcher, and Milk island. They were named by Captain John Smith the "Three Turks' Heads," in memory of the three Turks' heads cut off by him at the siege of Caniza, by which he acquired from Sigismundus, prince of Transylvania, their effigies in his shield for his arms.--_The true Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine John Smith_, London, 1629.

146. What Champlain here calls "le Cap aux Isles," Island Cape, is Cape Anne, called Cape Tragabigzanda by Captain John Smith, the name of his mistress, to whom he was given when a prisoner among the Turks. The name was changed by Prince Charles, afterward Charles I., to Cape Anne, in honor of his mother, who was Anne of Denmark.--_Vide Description of New England_ by Capt. John Smith, London, 1616.

147. This was the bay west of a line drawn from Little Boar's Head to Cape Anne, which may well be called Merrimac Bay.

148. Massachusetts Bay.

149. It is interesting to observe the agreement of the sign-writing of this savage on the point of Cape Anne with the statement of the historian Gookin, who in 1656 was superintendent of Indian affairs in Massachusetts, and who wrote in 1674. He says: "Their chief sachem held dominion over many other petty governours; as those of Weechagaskas, Neponsitt, Punkapaog, Nonantam, Nashaway, and some of the Nipmuck people, as far as Pokomtacuke, as the old men of Massachusetts affirmed." Here we have the six tribes, represented by the pebbles, recorded seventy years later as a tradition handed down by the old men of the tribe. Champlain remarks further on, "I observed in the bay all that the savages had described to me at Island Cape."

150. This was the Merrimac with its shoals at the mouth, which they had passed without observing, having sailed from the offing near Little Boar's Head directly to the head of Cape Anne, during the darkness of the previous night.

151. The latitude of the Straitsmouth Island Light on the extreme point of Cape Anne is 42° 39' 43". A little east of it, where they probably anchored, there are now sixteen fathoms of water.

152. Emmerson's Point, forming the eastern extremity of Cape Anne, twenty or twenty-five feet high, fringed with a wall of bare rocks on the sea.

153. Thatcher's Island, near the point just mentioned. It is nearly half a mile long and three hundred and fifty yards wide, and about fifty feet high.

154. It is not possible to determine with absolute certainty the place of this anchorage. But as Champlain describes, at the end of this chapter, what must have been Charles River coming from the country of the Iroquois or the west, most likely as seen from his anchorage, there can be little doubt that he anchored in Boston Harbor, near the western limit of Noddle's Island, now known as East Boston.

155. The fishermen and fur-traders had visited these coasts from a very early period.--_Vide antea_, note 18. From them they obtained the axe, a most important implement in their rude mode of life, and it was occasionally found in use among tribes far in the interior.

_La Cadie_. Carelessness or indifference in regard to the orthography of names was general in the time of Champlain. The volumes written in the vain attempt to settle the proper method of spelling the name of Shakespeare, are the fruit of this indifference. La Cadie did not escape this treatment. Champlain writes it Arcadie, Accadie, La Cadie, Acadie, and L'Acadie; while Lescarbot uniformly, as far as we have observed, La Cadie. We have also seen it written L'Arcadie and L'Accadie, and in some, if not in all the preceding forms, with a Latin termination in _ia_. It is deemed important to secure uniformity, and to follow the French form in the translation of a French work rather than the Latin. In this work, it is rendered LA CADIE in all cases except in quotations. The history of the name favors this form rather than any other. The commission or charter given to De Monts by Henry IV. in 1603, a state paper or legal document, drawn, we may suppose, with more than usual care, has La Cadie, and repeats it four times without variation. It is a name of Indian origin, as may be inferred by its appearing in composition in such words as Passamacadie, Subenacadie, and Tracadie, plainly derived from the language spoken by the Souriquois and Etechemins. Fifty-five years before it was introduced into De Monts's commission, it appeared written _Larcadia_ in Gastaldo's map of "Terra Nova del Bacalaos," in the Italian translation of Ptolemy's Geography, by Pietro Andrea Mattiolo, printed at Venice in 1548. The colophon bears date October, 1547. This rare work is in the possession of Henry C. Murphy, LL.D., to whom we are indebted for a very beautiful copy of the map. It appeared again in 1561 on the map of Ruscelli, which was borrowed, as well as the whole map, from the above work.--_Vide Ruscelli's map in Dr. Kohl's Documentary History of Maine_, Maine Hist. Soc., Portland, 1869, p. 233. On this map, Larcadia stands on the coast of Maine, in the midst of the vast territory included in De Monts's grant, between the degrees of forty and forty-six north latitude. It will be observed, if we take away the Latin termination, that the pronunciation of this word as it first appeared in 1547, would not differ in _sound_ from La Cadie. It seems, therefore, very clear that the name of the territory stretching along the coast of Maine, we know not how far north or south, as it was caught from the lips of the natives at some time anterior 1547, was best represented by La Cadie, as pronounced by the French. Whether De Monts had obtained the name of his American domain from those who had recently visited the coast and had caught its sound from the natives, or whether he had taken it from this ancient map, we must remain uninformed. Several writers have ventured to interpret the word, and give us its original meaning. The following definitions have been offered: 1. The land of dogs; 2. Our village; 3. The fish called pollock; 4. Place; 5. Abundance. We do not undertake to decide between the disagreeing doctors. But it is obvious to remark that a rich field lies open ready for a noble harvest for any young scholar who has a genius for philology, and who is prepared to make a life work of the study and elucidation of the original languages of North America. The laurels in this field are still to be gathered.

156. The islands in Boston Bay.

157. This attempt to land was in Marshfield near the mouth of South River. Not succeeding, they sailed forward a league, and anchored at Brant Point, which they named the Cape of St. Louis.

158. This purslane, _Portulaca oleracea_, still grows vigorously among the Indian corn in New England, and is regarded with no more interest now than in 1605. It is a tropical plant, and was introduced by the Indians probably by accident with the seeds of tobacco or other plants.

159. Here at the end of the chapter Champlain seems to be reminded that he had omitted to mention the river of which he had learned, and had probably seen in the bay. This was Charles River. From the western side of Noddle's Island, or East Boston, where they were probably at anchor, it appeared at its confluence with the Mystic River to come from the west, or the country of the Iroquois. By reference to Champlain's large map of 1612, this river will be clearly identified as Charles River, in connection with Boston Bay and its numerous islands. On that map it is represented as a long river flowing from the west. This description of the river by Champlain was probably from personal observation. Had he obtained his information from the Indians, they would not have told him that it was broad or that it came from the west, for such are not the facts; but they would have represented to him that it was small, winding in its course, and that it came from the south. We infer, therefore, that he not only saw it himself, but probably from the deck of the little French barque, as it was riding at anchor in our harbor near East Boston, where Charles River, augmented by the tide, flows into the harbor from the west, in a strong, broad, deep current. They named it in honor of Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, the commander of this expedition. Champlain writes the name "du Gas;" De Laet has "de Gua;" while Charlevoix writes "du Guast." This latter orthography generally prevails.

This is the conclusion of Chapter 7 of Voyages
Click here for Chapter 8


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.

*America's Historic Lakes is a favorite of educators around the world. You can feel confident that the material
on this site is accurate, well-researched, properly cited and presented.

Creative Commons License
America's Historic Lakes by James P. Millard and Guest Contributors is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 Privacy Policy

James P. Millard
Post Office Box 262
South Hero, Vermont 05486-0262

Terms of Service and Disclaimer of Liability

The historical information on this web site is provided as a public service by James P. Millard. I  have attempted to be as accurate as possible in my presentation of this historical material. However, I make no claims, guarantees or promises about the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the information provided. In no event shall the publisher; James P. Millard, be liable for any errors or omissions with respect to any information on this site. Material submitted by guest contributors and published on the site is the property of the contributor and may be removed at any time at my discretion or upon request of the contributor. This website occasionally provides links to sites of other organizations maintained by third parties. These links do not constitute an endorsement of the content, viewpoint, accuracy, opinions, policies, products, services, or accessibility of that website. Links to third-party websites are provided as a public service and convenience to users of our site; James P. Millard/America’s Historic Lakes does not control, endorse or recommend the content on sites we may link to. Once connected to another website, you are subject to the terms and conditions of that website.