Narrative of a Voyage to the West Indies and Mexico - Part 3

Part 3

(And below) "BRULART.

"Written at Paris, the 7th day of May 1620."

In the course of May 1620, Champlain at last again set sail for New France with his family, and after being nearly two months at sea, cast anchor in July opposite the mill of Baude, about a league from Tadoussac, where, as usual, his first care was to return thanks to G.o.d for the preservation of himself and his family, who had suffered much from the perils of a bad voyage. He found there a vessel, on board of which was his wife's brother, the Sieur Boulle, who was greatly surprised at seeing his sister, marvelling how she had ventured to pa.s.s the dangerous sea. Champlain also learned that the old opponents of the company, the Roch.e.l.le people, had sent two vessels, of seventy and eighty-five tons respectively, to trade, in spite of the king's prohibition; that they had obtained a great quant.i.ty of peltry and other merchandise, and, what was worse, had supplied the natives with firearms and powder and ball.

Champlain is very bitter against the Roch.e.l.lois (who were Protestants), calling them "meschans larrons"--wicked rascals, "who came into the country to suborn the savages, and hold very pernicious and bad discourse about our religion, in order to render us odious!"

On the 11th of July Champlain left Tadoussac for Quebec, with his family, three missionaries, whom he had brought out with him, his brother-in-law, Boulle, and Guers, his commissary, and immediately on arriving he proceeded to the chapel to give thanks to G.o.d. On the morrow, after ma.s.s, "a sermon of exhortation" was preached by a Recollet father, explaining to all their duty towards the king and the Duke de Montmorency, and to Champlain as their lieutenant; after which Guers, the commissary, read publicly the king's and the viceroy's commissions, appointing Champlain to the sole command of the colony; "which being done, every one cried 'Vive le roy,' the cannon was fired in token of joy, and thus I took possession of the settlement and the country."

Champlain, thus fairly installed in his government, immediately bestirred himself to bring matters to some state of order, which, during his absence in France, had fallen into confusion and neglect,--the buildings almost in ruins, the gardens unenclosed, and the land badly and scantily cultivated. In a short time, however, the houses were rapidly and solidly restored, and the settlement resumed an appearance of progress and prosperity. His next care was to erect a fort on the heights which commanded the narrowest part of the river, notwithstanding the objections which were made by the a.s.sociates and their agents. Guers, the commissary, was sent with six men to Trois Rivieres, where Du Pont Grave and the clerks of the company were, to see how affairs were going on in that quarter. The change of viceroy and alteration of the arrangements were so displeasing to some of the company's people, that Du Pont Grave resolved on returning to France with some of the disaffected, and Champlain remained to govern his little colony, which then consisted of sixty persons, men, women, priests, and children, of whom ten men were employed in the religious seminary, but at the expense of the mission. He continued to occupy himself with building and fortifying with his accustomed activity, but he was not permitted to remain long untroubled. In the spring of 1621 a vessel arrived from France commanded by a Captain de May, who brought letters announcing a complete change in the intentions of the viceroy and in the affairs of the company, and which soon converted the tranquillity of the settlement into something approaching to open rebellion.

The letter of the viceroy was as follows.

"Monsieur Champlain,--For many reasons I have thought fit to exclude the former company of Rouen and St. Malo from the trade with New France, and to a.s.sist you and provide you with everything necessary, I have chosen the Sieurs de Caen, uncle and nephew, and their a.s.sociates; one is a good merchant, the other a good naval captain, who can aid you well, and make the authority of the king respected in my government. I recommend you to a.s.sist him and those who shall apply to you on his part, so as to maintain them in the enjoyment of the articles which I have granted them. I have charged the Sieur Dolu, intendant of the affairs of the country, to send you a copy of the treaty by the first voyage, so that you may know to what they are bound, in order that they may execute their engagement, as, on my part, I desire to perform what I have promised. I have taken care to preserve your appointments, as I believe you will continue to serve the king well. Your most affectionate and perfect friend,


"From Paris, 2nd February, 1621."

The king also honoured him with a flattering letter in these terms:

"Champlain,--I have perceived by your letters of the 15th of August, with what affection you work at your establishment, and for all that regards the good of my service; for which, as I am thankful to you, so I shall have pleasure in recognizing it to your advantage whenever the occasion shall offer; and I have willingly granted some munitions of war, which were required to give you better means to subsist and to continue in that good duty, which I promise myself from your care and fidelity.


"Paris, this 24th February, 1621."

The letters of the intendant, M. Dolu, informed him that he must stop the trading of the clerks of the old company and seize all the merchandise, on account of the claims which the king and Monsieur de Montmorency had against them for not having fulfilled their engagement of sending out people and "material," to which, by their articles, they were bound. That, as for the Sieur de Caen, although he was of the contrary religion, yet he gave hopes of becoming a Catholic, but that Champlain was not to suffer the practice of his actual faith either by sea or land. De Caen wrote that he had arrived with two vessels, well armed and equipped with every necessary, and was the bearer of letters from the viceroy and M. Dolu, enjoining Champlain to change or do nothing without communicating to him (De Caen), who had force enough with him, being also furnished with orders in his favour, to seize the ships and merchandise of the old company, and in the mean time Champlain was to take charge of the peltry, etc., till they could be legally seized and taken.

The clerks of the company, however, were not disposed to give up their property so easily, unless Champlain could shew some letter or order of the king to that effect, which he could not do. He promised them not to make any innovation until De Caen should arrive with the commands of his majesty, which must be obeyed, and in the meantime Captain De May should not be allowed to trade. This latter was despatched by Champlain to inform De Caen of what had occurred, and of the state in which matters were, and to beg him to send some men to reinforce him. De May returned on the 3rd June, bringing ten men with him, and the intelligence of the arrival of Du Pont Grave from France in a vessel of one hundred and fifty tons, and sixty-five men, accompanied by all the clerks of the old company. This singularly complicated matters, and obliged Champlain to act with great circ.u.mspection, lest the people of the old company, being in the majority, should turn the tables and seize the vessel and cargo of De May. So he placed his brother-in-law, Boulle, with De May and sixteen men, and plenty of provisions, arms, and ammunition, in the little fort which he was building; continuing the works, also, as fast as possible, so as to be in a fit state of defence. "And then," says Champlain, "Nous parlerons a cheval!" He removed into the village or town of the settlement, which was protected by the fort, giving De May certain orders how to act in case of need.

On the 7th June the old company's clerks arrived, wherefore Champlain made his men stand to their arms as a measure of precaution, and after some debate, as De Caen had not arrived or forwarded his commission, and as Champlain had no positive orders to the contrary, they were allowed to proceed with their goods up the river to trade. The clerks then asked for arms, and wished that the peltry already in the magazine should be given up to them; but to both Champlain demurred, saying that as they had not brought him any provisions or munitions for the settlement, he must keep both weapons and skins, in order to defend himself, or exchange the peltry for food in case of need. He thus with great prudence kept matters in equilibrium for the moment, sending again to De Caen to hasten his arrival with reinforcements and the orders of the king.

On the 13th, Du Pont Grave arrived at Quebec, with goods and twelve men. Champlain told him the arrangement he had made with the clerks, on which Du Pont Grave continued his route to Trois Rivieres to trade with the Indians, confiding in Champlain's promise to do justice to all till the king's commands should arrive. De Caen, on the 15th, wrote to Champlain to go to him at Tadoussac (which he then refused), and to give notice to the Indians of his arrival, and warn them that they were not to trade with any others. To make the confusion complete, on the 17th, Champlain received letters stating that the old company had obtained a judgment authorizing them to trade for the year 1621, conjointly with the new company (De Caen's). As De Caen did not arrive, and the departure of the clerks, Du Pont Grave, and his people, for the upper part of the river had, for the present, removed all danger from the fort and settlement, Champlain resolved to go down to Tadoussac, leaving De May in command. On his arrival he had long "discourse" with De Caen, wherein he gave him very good counsel as to the obedience to be given to the orders of the king and governor; which De Caen promised, but wished the peltry, etc., which had been already collected to be delivered to him. Champlain declined, unless he could produce specific orders to that effect, which De Caen averred that he had, but would not produce; and getting angry, and consequently obstinate, declared that, if his wish was not complied with, he would seize Du Pont Grave's ship, by force, if necessary. Champlain replied, that in that case he should take the vessel under his protection and safeguard, so that the forms of justice might be preserved, and that De Caen, having superior force, might afterwards do as he pleased on his own responsibility; and therefore sent to take possession of the ship. De Caen then also sent a force to occupy the vessel, declaring he would punish those who should resist; on which Champlain, under protest of the employment of "force majeure", withdrew, thus preserving his prerogative while matters were in suspense, without having recourse to violence.

But while the partisans of the two companies were thus contending for the trade, neither making much progress, one of Champlain's abominations, a little Roch.e.l.lois vessel, came in quietly, and carried off great part of the object in dispute--trading with the natives, selling powder and guns and warlike stores, and packing up peltry under their very noses; and when at last Champlain and De Caen in great indignation sent to catch the interloper--the bird had flown. De Caen, however, seems to have gained but little by the great fuss that he made, for after sending in some arms and ammunition to the settlement (which, by the way, Champlain plainly hints were not by any means all that had been sent), and settled his affairs for a time, he left for France on the 18th August, and Du Pont Grave shortly followed him, leaving Champlain once more to finish building his fort and rule his little colony in peace.

The end of all this turmoil was, that the rival companies "amalgamated"

in the following year.

Being now tranquil, and free to occupy himself without interruption for the good of the settlement and the country, Champlain pa.s.sed the year 1622 and the following in building--not forgetting his favourite fort--in clearing land, establishing fisheries, and in strengthening and consolidating the trade. He also made peace between the friendly tribes of Indians and their old enemies the Iroquois, and having a.s.sured the good order of the colony, and his fort being nearly finished, he resolved to return to France for a time with his family.

He accordingly embarked at Tadoussac on the 21st of August, 1624, and on the 1st of October entered the harbour of Dieppe. After a two days repose he proceeded with his suite to St. Germains, to give a report to the king and the viceroy of his proceedings, and of the events which had occurred during his four years absence. He found the two companies again at loggerheads, and their continued disputes so worried the Duke de Montmorency, that he gave up the viceroyalty--"qui luy rompuist plus la teste, que ses affaires plus importantes"--to the Duke de Ventadour (for "a consideration," however, according to the practice of the time), who, "animated by the zeal and affection which he had to see the glory of G.o.d flourish in those barbarous lands," sent out six Jesuits in the following year at his own expense.[20]

[20] It was not so much the worry of the Duke de Montmorency, as the intrigues of the Jesuits, which induced him to give up, or rather sell, the viceroyalty. The whole negotiation is explained in the _Hist. Canadensis_ of the Jesuit Du Creux (or Creuxius, as he styles himself), Paris, 1664. The Duke de Ventadour was very devout, had even taken holy orders, and was quite in the Jesuits'

hands: they wishing to get, or rather strengthen their footing in Canada, after many expedients, settled the matter as follows: "Via certa demum haec judicata; Pro rege Novae Franciae dignitatem a Duce Montmorantio, coemeret Ventadorius.... Nec mora, agit continu c.u.m Montmorantio Ventadorius; c.u.m eoque brevi decidit in Librarum Turonensium (Livres Tournois) centum millia, et quod excurrit haec tam grandi pecunia pene profundendia ill.u.s.trissime testatus, quam sibi cordi, Canadensis res esset."--Lib. i, p. 4.

One hardly knows which most to admire, the simplicity of the worthy "Creuxius" in thus letting out the secret, or the abominable Latin in which he narrates the whole affair.

The new viceroy also appointed Champlain his lieutenant in New France, and he remained in Paris partly to give the duke some insight into the affairs of the colony, partly for his private affairs; the Sieur De Caen also received a commission (or had it renewed), from the new governor, and prepared to continue his voyages; but he seems to have had a taste for disputes and litigation, as he contrived to pick a quarrel with the united companies, in which, however, he got the better of them, and was permitted to send out vessels; one of the conditions being, "that the command should be given to a catholic."

The ships being ready to sail from Dieppe, Champlain, and his brother-in-law, Boulle, who had been named his lieutenant, embarked on the 15th April, 1626, on board of the _Catharine_, of two hundred and fifty tons; and after a tedious voyage of two months and six days, again landed in new France; finding Du Pont Grave (who had returned in the previous year, and had been extremely ill during the winter), the missionaries, and all the people in good health, but almost reduced to extremity for want of provisions; and the buildings, etc., in nearly the same state as when he left.

Champlain here complains bitterly of the carelessness of the company in not providing sufficient supplies of provisions, and of the improvidence and carelessness of the people; as, but for his arrival, the colony would probably have been abandoned, from famine.

The cause a.s.signed for the delay in finishing the dwellings and constructions planned by Champlain, previous to his departure was, that fully one half of the men were employed during two months and a half of the best part of the year, in collecting and bringing in forage for the cattle, which they were obliged to fetch from Cape Tourmente, quite eight leagues from the settlement. To obviate this difficulty, Champlain established a farm in a favourable spot at the foot of the said cape, where the cattle could remain at pasture, and but few men be required to look after them. He also appointed an overseer to stay there permanently, and take care that the labourers did not waste their time; and every week he paid a visit of inspection to the new establishment. Considering also that the fort which he had commenced was but small, that, by and bye, as the population increased, more soldiers would be required for the defence of the colony; and that "selon l'oyseau il fallait la cage,"--he resolved to make the "cage according to the bird," and pull down and enlarge it. He pushed on the works so that they might be in a fit state of defence in the spring; and erected two bastions, well flanked, to protect the land side, by which alone it could be approached, and only then with difficulty. In the autumn, he received news of an outbreak of his old acquaintances the Iroquois, who had slain five Dutchmen, being at war with the Mahiganathicoit (Mohicans), in whose country the Dutch were settled about the fortieth degree of lat.i.tude, "near to Virginia, where the Englishmen were established." His old friend, Du Pont Grave, who seems to have been a martyr to the gout for some time past, resolved to return to France, and he little expected ever to see him again.

About this time Champlain suffered much anxiety on account of the insufficient supplies of provisions from France, which had become most necessary,--the people, notwithstanding their long sojourn in the country, depending chiefly on the arrival of the ships for support; he had even been obliged to send some families back to France, who, instead of working or cultivating the land, did nothing but hunt, and shoot, and fish, and amuse themselves from morning till night, being idle themselves and the cause of idleness in others. He notices (January, 1627) the death of one Hebert, "the first head of a family who lived by what he cultivated." The Missionaries seem to be making progress among the natives at this time, as the Reverend (Jesuit) Father Lallemand, "baptised a little savage of only ten or twelve days old," who was buried the next day in the cemetery of the settlement.

The winter of 1626-27 was very long and severe, the snow lying very deep and long on the ground, and the usual improvidence of the settlers causing provisions to run short. In the course of it, some of the Indian tribes, of the country inhabited by the Dutch, begged the a.s.sistance of Champlain's native allies, to make war against the Iroquois, who had killed twenty-five of their people (besides five of the Dutch) because they had refused them pa.s.sage through their territory, to attack the "Loups," Indians with whom the said Iroquois were at feud. The Algenquins and some other of the friendly tribes consented to the peace, which Champlain had with such difficulty made between his friends and the Iroquois, being broken to his great indignation: other tribes refused, without the consent of Champlain. He did all in his power to prevent the war, sending his brother-in-law, Boulle, with Emery De Caen, the nephew, to the rendezvous of the savages for that purpose, but to no avail; three Iroquois were taken prisoners and tormented, and the war commenced. Champlain thereupon hastened in person to the Indian camp, and with great difficulty prevailed on them to send back one of the prisoners, with presents, to propitiate the Iroquois and renew the peace. On his return to Quebec he there found, to his surprise, Du Pont Grave just arrived, having returned to Canada at the solicitation of the elder De Caen (who was detained in France), notwithstanding his almost constant sufferings from the gout.

Champlain had returned but a few weeks to his post, when he received intelligence that "the amba.s.sadors," who had been sent with the Iroquois prisoner, had all been murdered by the "Ouentanoronnons"

(Hurons?), who were allies of the Iroquois. Among the envoys were one Pierre Magnan, a Frenchman, and a chief called "De Reconcilie." "The latter," says Champlain, "well deserved his death, for having ma.s.sacred two of our men at Cape Tourmente; and Magnan, who was from the vicinity of Lisieux, had killed a man of that neighbourhood, and had been obliged to take refuge in New France. See," he continues, "how G.o.d sometimes chastises the men who seek to avoid his justice in one way, and are caught in another." All hope of peace was now at an end, and Champlain was compelled to avenge the death of his countryman, however unworthy, lest, by pa.s.sing over the affront, greater injury might follow; so he prepared for hostilities, and his Indian friends recommended tormenting a wretched prisoner whom, at Champlain's intercession, they had hitherto spared, with more than usual barbarity, roasting him by a slow fire, and "every one carried off a piece of him, which they ate!"

Affairs also became more complicated from the old complaint--scarcity of provisions, the English having taken one of the company's ships; and by the resistance of the a.s.sociates to the viceroy's orders and regulations, refusing to contribute to the erection of the fort, and not troubling themselves about king or governor, or how matters went on, provided they received their profits of about forty per cent. It was evident that "they who govern the purse could do, and would do at pleasure." Champlain could do nothing, save to write an account of the state of things to the viceroy, that he might act accordingly, and work at his fort and other buildings of the settlement.[21]

[21] Scarcity of provisions. "Nec minus animo Camplenius angebatur, Galli remanebant quinque et quinquaginta, quibus in istis angustiis difficultatibusque, victum quotidianum tandiu praebere haud facillimum merito putabatur, etc,"--Du Creux, _Hist. Canadensis_, lib. i, p. 13.

On the 20th of September, 1627, some scouts of the Indians informed Champlain that a great number of Iroquois were on their way to attack him, to which he replied, "that he was glad of it, but did not believe the news, as they had only courage to attack sleeping men"; and, in fact, some months later, two of his men, conducting cattle from the farm at Cape Tourmente to Quebec, were murdered during their sleep, not by the Iroquois, but by his own allies. Champlain, thoroughly roused at this treachery, peremptorily demanded that the murderers should be given up, and declared that, till that was done, he should keep three of the savages as hostages; the Indians requested three days, that they might endeavour to discover the; and, in the mean time, Champlain kept on his guard, taking every precaution against surprise or open attack, the affair having now become very serious, as the settlement was completely surrounded by the tribes.

The Indians, after the expiration of the three days, sent word that they could not find the murderer, but as proof of good faith, and to make amends, offered to give Champlain three young girls, to be brought up and treated as he should please; "a thing never before known," says Champlain, "as our surgeon and many there wished to take young girls and marry them, but the savages would never consent."[22] After consultation with Du Pont Grave, (who, while thinking that the arrangement might be good, opposed the reception of the girls, on account of the scarcity of food,[23]) the girls were accepted; but on condition, that Champlain should nevertheless be at liberty to seek for the murderer, and punish him when found. These "virgunculae" were destined to be a source of considerable trouble and pain to Champlain, as will shortly be seen.

[22] Three young girls. "Accessere sub extremum Januarium virgunculae indigenae tres, ultro praeter morem, oblutae a parentibus ... partem metu, ne Gallorum duorum caedem, quos Barbari aliquot dormientes, recens, per summam inhumanitatem oppresserant, Camplenius gravius ulcisceretur, etc."--Du Creux, _Hist.

Canadensis_, lib. i, p. 13.

[23] "In summa inopia, pernegante Pontio-Gravaeo!"--Du Creux.

The colony continued tolerably flourishing and quiet, with the exception of the squabbles of the a.s.sociates of the Company (now become apparently habitual) among themselves, with the viceroy and all authorities, and with everybody in short, and of the usual deficiency of provisions; till the month of July, 1628, when Champlain received a surprise of quite a different kind, and far more serious than any of his previous troubles and difficulties. On the 9th July, two of his men, coming from Cape Tourmente, told him that, according to the report of a savage, (who, on the same day, confirmed the news,) six ships had arrived at Tadoussac, and that a certain Captain Michel of Dieppe was the chief commander for the Sieur De Caen. At first Champlain thought that this commander was a certain Michel with whom De Caen was a.s.sociated in the fishery at Gaspey; but on reflection, it seemed little probable, as Michel was not a fit person for such a command, and that six vessels were an extraordinary number for the trade or fishery, so that some great change must have taken place in general affairs.

Champlain therefore desired a young Greek, who acted as interpreter, to disguise himself as an Indian, and to proceed with two natives in a canoe to reconnoitre. Champlain was in great doubt, fearing, what he had often apprehended, that an enemy would arrive, and that the aforesaid ships were hostile: he therefore took order both at the fort and settlement so as to receive the enemy properly, if needed.

About an hour after the departure of the Greek, he suddenly returned accompanied by two canoes which were hastening to the settlement, in one of which was Foucher, the superintendent of the farm at Cape Tourmente, who told Champlain that he had just escaped from the English, who had taken him prisoner with three of his men, a woman, and a little girl, whom they had carried off to a barque which was at anchor off the Cape, having killed all the beasts they had need of, and burned the remainder in the stables; they had also set fire to two small houses, and ravaged and pillaged everything, even the head-gear of the little girl; they had then reembarked in haste, fearing to be pursued; "which," says Champlain, "a.s.suredly they would have been, if the savages, who all knew of their arrival, had informed us of it; but, like perfidious traitors as they are, they not only concealed this unpleasant news, but spread the report that the strangers were our own people, and that we were not to be anxious about them." It appeared that the enemy had arrived at Cape Tourmente an hour or so before daylight, and sent about fifteen soldiers ash.o.r.e, thinking to surprise Foucher and his people asleep; but on approaching the habitation, Foucher met them, asking, "who they were and what they wanted?" They replied in French that they were friends: "Do you not recollect us? We were here last year, and we are now sent by Monseigneur the Cardinal and Monseigneur de Roquemont with intelligence; in pa.s.sing we wished to see you." With these civilities and gentle words they saluted, gradually surrounding Foucher and his men, who were presently astonished at being seized and made prisoners, as before related, "the treacherous savages having told them of the state in which we were."

Champlain, at this confirmation of his fears, immediately set everybody to work at making intrenchments around the little town, and stockades on the ramparts of the fort (which was not finished for want of workmen), appointing every man his post, to which he was to hasten when required.

On the next day, the 10th of July, about three in the afternoon, a boat was seen approaching the settlement, which, from its manoeuvres, seemed to make for the St. Charles river, either to disembark men or to set fire to the house of the mission, which was there situated, or else, that the crew did not know the right channel to the town.

Champlain sent some arquebusiers to reconnoitre, who found that the supposed enemies were the men with the woman and girl who had just been taken prisoners, with six Basques, who had also been captured by the English. One of the latter was bearer of a letter from the English "General" at Tadoussac, to this effect:--

"Messieurs,--I give you notice that I have received a commission from the king of Great Britain, my honoured lord and master, to take possession of the countries of Canada and Acadia, and for that purpose eighteen ships have been dispatched, each taking the route ordered by His Majesty. I have already seized the habitation at Miscare, and all boats and pinnaces on that coast, as well as those of Tadoussac, where I am presently at anchor. You are also informed that, among the vessels that I have seized, there is one belonging to the new company, commanded by a certain Norot, which was coming to you with provisions and goods for the trade. The Sieur De la Tour was also on board, whom I have taken into my ship. I was preparing to seek you, but thought it better to send boats to destroy and seize your cattle at Cape Tourmente; for I know that, when you are straitened for supplies, I shall the more easily obtain my desire, which is, to have your settlement; and in order that no vessels shall reach you, I have resolved to remain here till the end of the season, in order that you may not be re-victualled. Therefore see what you wish to do,--if you intend to deliver up the settlement or not, for, G.o.d aiding, sooner or later I must have it. I would desire, for your sake, that it should be by courtesy rather than by force, to avoid the blood which might be spilt on both sides. By surrendering courteously, you may be a.s.sured of all kind of contentment, both for your persons and for your property, which, on the faith that I have in Paradise, I will preserve as I would my own, without the least portion in the world being diminished. The Basques, whom I send you, are men of the vessels that I have captured, and they can tell you the state of affairs between France and England, and even how matters are pa.s.sing in France, touching the new company[24] of this country.

Send me word what you desire to do; and if you wish to treat with me about this affair, send me a person to that effect, whom, I a.s.sure you, I will treat with all kind of attention, and I will grant all reasonable demands that you may desire in resolving to give up the settlement.

"Waiting your reply, I remain, Messieurs,

"Your affectionate servant,


"On board the 'Vicaille'(?) this 18th of July, 1628 (old style), and addressed to 'Monsieur Champlain, Commandant at Quebec.'"

[24] On the 29th April, 1627, another company for the trade with New France, to the exclusion of all previous a.s.sociations, and styled the Company of the Hundred a.s.sociates, was organized, and the articles settled and signed, under the especial patronage and influence of the Cardinal de Richelieu; and on the 29th June the Duke de Ventadour resigned the post of viceroy of New France, in consideration of the sum of seventy thousand livres, which the President de Lauzun promised him on the part of the king. The "Great Cardinal" had been already invested in 1626 with the direction of all naval affairs, under the t.i.tle of Grand Master and Superintendant of Navigation and Commerce, those of admiral and vice-admiral of France being suppressed. His first care was to put down the rival companies, and take the trade into his own hands; the next, to get rid of the Jesuits, and their tool the Duke de Ventadour.

This logical, precise, and "affectionate" letter being read, "We concluded," says Champlain, "that if he wished to see us he had better come, and not threaten from such a distance;" so replied in equally polite terms to the purport, "That he did not in the least doubt the fact of Quer (or Keith) having the commission of his king, as great princes always select men of brave and generous courage," acknowledging the intelligence of the capture of Norot and De la Tour, and also the truth of the observation that, "the more provisions there were in a fortress the better it could hold out, still it could be maintained with but little, provided good order were kept; therefore, being still provided with grain, maize, beans, and peas, (besides what the country could furnish,) which his soldiers loved as well as the finest corn in the world, by surrendering the fort in so good a condition, he should be unworthy to appear before his sovereign, and should deserve chastis.e.m.e.nt before G.o.d and men. He was sure that Quer would respect him much more for defending himself, than for abandoning his charge, without first making trial of the English guns and batteries;"

concluding, that he should expect his attack, and oppose, as well as he could, all attempts that might be made against the place; and signing, "Your affectionate servant, Champlain."