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Samuel de Champlain's Voyages
Volume II, Part
IX

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

This is the ninth 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.

MEMOIR OF SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN
Volume II
1604-1610

CHAPTER IX.

RETURN FROM THE DISCOVERIES ALONG THE COAST OF THE ALMOUCHIQUOIS.

We had spent more than five weeks in going over three degrees of latitude, and our voyage was limited to six, since we had not taken provisions for a longer time. In consequence of fogs and storms, we had not been able to go farther than Mallebarre, where we waited several days for fair weather, in order to sail. Finding ourselves accordingly pressed by the scantiness of provisions, Sieur de Monts determined to return to the Island of St. Croix, in order to find another place more favorable for our settlement, as we had not been able to do on any of the coasts which we had explored on this voyage.

Accordingly, on the 25th of July, we set out from this harbor, in order to make observations elsewhere. In going out, we came near being lost on the bar at the entrance, from the mistake of our pilots, Cramolet and Champdoré, masters of the barque, who had imperfectly marked out the entrance of the channel on the southern side, where we were to go. Having escaped this danger, we headed north-east [174] for six leagues, until we reached Cap Blanc, sailing on from there to Island Cape, a distance of fifteen leagues, with the same wind. Then we headed east-north-east sixteen leagues, as far as Choüacoet, where we saw the savage chief, Marchin, [175] whom we had expected to see at the Lake Quinibequy. He had the reputation of being one of the valiant ones of his people. He had a fine appearance: all his motions were dignified, savage as he was. Sieur de Monts gave him many presents, with which he was greatly pleased; and, in return, Marchin gave him a young Etechemin boy, whom he had captured in war, and whom we took away with us; and thus we set out, mutually good friends. We headed north-east a quarter east for fifteen leagues, as far as Quinibequy, where we arrived on the 29th of the month, and where we were expecting to find a savage, named Sasinou, of whom I spoke before. Thinking that he would come, we waited some time for him, in order to recover from him an Etechemin young man and girl, whom he was holding as prisoners. While waiting, there came to us a captain called Anassou, who trafficked a little in furs, and with whom we made an alliance. He told us that there was a ship, ten leagues off the harbor, which was engaged in fishing, and that those on her had killed five savages of this river, under cover of friendship. From his description of the men on the vessel, we concluded that they were English, and we named the island where they were La Nef; [176] for, at a distance, it had the appearance of a ship. Finding that the above-mentioned Sasinou did not come, we headed east-south-east, [176-1/2] for twenty leagues, to Isle Haute, where we anchored for the night.

On the next day, the 1st of August, we sailed east some twenty leagues to Cap Corneille, [177] where we spent the night. On the 2d of the month, we sailed north-east seven leagues to the mouth of the river St. Croix, on the western shore. Having anchored between the two first islands, [178] Sieur de Monts embarked in a canoe, at a distance of six leagues from the settlement of St. Croix, where we arrived the next day with our barque. We found there Sieur des Antons of St. Malo, who had come in one of the vessels of Sieur de Monts, to bring provisions and also other supplies for those who were to winter in this country.

ENDNOTES:

174. Champlain is in error as to the longitude of Mallebarre, or Nauset harbor, from which they took their departure on the 25th of July, 1605. This port is about 38' east of Island Cape, or Cape Anne, and about 16' east of the western point of Cap Blanc, or Cape Cod; and, to reach their destination, they must have sailed north-west, and not north-east, as he erroneously states.

175. They had failed to meet him at the lake in the Kennebec; namely, Merrymeeting Bay.--_Vide antea_, p. 60.

176. The island which they thus named _La Nef_, the Ship, was Monhegan, about twenty-five nautical miles east from the mouth of the Kennebec, a mile and a third long, with an elevation at its highest point of a hundred and forty feet above the level of the sea, and in latitude 43º 45' 52". Champlain's conjecture as to the nationality of the ship was correct. It was the "Archangel," commanded by the celebrated explorer, Captain George Weymouth, who under the patronage of the Earl of Southampton came to explore our Atlantic coast in the spring of 1605, for the purpose of selecting a site for an English colony. He anchored near Monhegan on the 28th of May, N. S.; and, after spending nearly a month in reconnoitring the islands and mainland in the vicinity, and capturing five of the natives, he took his departure for England on the 26th of June. On the 5th of July, just 9 days after Weymouth left the coast, De Monts and Champlain entered with their little barque the mouth of the Kennebec. They do not appear to have seen at that time any of the natives at or about the mouth of the river; and it is not unlikely that, on account of the seizure and, as they supposed, the murder of their comrades by Weymouth, they had retired farther up the river for greater safety. On the return, however, of the French from Cape Cod, on the 29th of July, Anassou gave them, as stated in the text, a friendly reception, and related the story of the seizure of his friends.

To prevent the interference of other nations, it was the policy of Weymouth and his patron not to disclose the locality of the region he had explored; and consequently Rosier, the narrator of the voyage, so skilfully withheld whatever might clearly identify the place, and couched his descriptions in such indefinite language, that there has been and is now a great diversity of opinion on the subject among local historians. It was the opinion of the Rev. Thomas Prince that Weymouth explored the Kennebec, or Sagadahoc, and with him coincide Mr. John McKeen and the Rev. Dr. Ballard, of Brunswick. The Rev. Dr. Belknap, after satisfactory examinations, decided that it was the Penobscot; and he is followed by Mr. William Willis, late President of the Maine Historical Society. Mr. George Prince, of Bath, has published an elaborate paper to prove that it was St. George's River; and Mr. David Cushman, of Warren, coincides in this view. Other writers, not entering into the discussion at length, accept one or another of the theories above mentioned. It does not fall within the purview of our present purpose to enter upon the discussion of this subject. But the statement in the text, not referred to by any of the above-mentioned writers, "that those on her had killed five savages _of this river," que ceux de dedans avoient tué cinq sauuages d'icelle rivière_, can hardly fail to have weight in the decision of this interesting question.

The chief Anassou reported that they were "killed," a natural inference under the circumstances; but in fact they were carefully concealed in the hold of the ship, and three of them, having been transported to England and introduced into his family, imparted much important information to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, whose distinguished career was afterward so intimately connected with the progress of American colonization. For the discussion touching the river explored by Weymouth, _vide Prince's Annals_, 1736, _in loco; Belknap's American Biography_, 1794, Vol. II., art. Weymouth; _Remarks on the Voyage of George Waymouth_, by John McKeen, Col. Me. His. Society, Vol. V. p. 309; _Comments on Waymouth's Voyage_, by William Willis, idem, p. 344; _Voyage of Captain George Weymouth_, by George Prince, Col. Me. His. Soc., Vol. VI. p. 293; _Weymouth's Voyage_, by David Cushman, _idem_, p. 369; _George Weymouth and the Kennebec_, by the Rev. Edward Ballard, D. D., Memorial Volume of the Popham Celebration, Portland, 1863, p. 301.

176-1/2. _We headed east south-east_. It is possible that, on leaving the mouth of the Kennebec, they sailed for a short distance to the south-east; but the general course was to the north-east.

177. _Cap Corneille_, or Crow Cape, was apparently the point of land advancing out between Machias and Little Machias Bays, including perhaps Cross Island. De Monts and his party probably anchored and passed the night in Machias Bay. The position of Cap Corneille may be satisfactorily fixed by its distance and direction from the Grand Manan, as seen on Champlain's map of 1612, to which the reader is referred.

178. This anchorage was between Campobello and Moose Island, on which is situated the town of Eastport.

This is the conclusion of Chapter 9 of Voyages
Continue here for Chapter 10

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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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