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Cartier Exploration of Canada (1534)
CARTIER'S OWN ACCOUNT

 

Upon Thursday being the eight of the month, because the wind was not good to go out with our ships, we set our boates in a readiness to goe to discouer the said Bay,' and that day wee went 25 leagues within it. The next day the wind and weather being faire, we sailed until noon, in which time we had notice of a great part of the said Bay, and how that over the low lands, there were other lands with high mountains: but seeing that there was no passage at all, wee began to turne back againe, taking our way along the coast and sailing, we saw certaine wilde men .... and by and by in clusters they came to the shore where we were, with their boated bringing with them skinnes and other such things as they had, to haue of our wares .... til they had nothing but their naked bodies; for they gaue vs all whatsoever they had, and that was but of small value. We perceived that this people might very easily be conuerted to our Religion. They goe from place to place. They live only with fishing. They haue an ordinarie time to fish for their provision. The countrey is hotter than the countrey of Spain, and the fairest that can possibly be found, alL together smooth, and level. There is no place be it never so little, but it hath some trees (yea albeit it be sandie) or else is full of wilde corne, that hath an eare like unto Rie: the corne is like hates, and small person as thicke as if they had bene sowen and plowed, white and red Roses, with many other flouers of very sweet and pleasant smell. There be also many goodly meadows full of grasse, and lakes wherein great plenty of salmons be. They call a hatchet in their tongue Cochi, and a knife Bacon: we named it The bay of heat....

The Saturday following, being the first of August, by Sunne rising, wee had certaine other landed lying North and Northeast, that were very high and craggie, and seemed to be mountains: betweene which were other low lands with woods and rivers: wee went about the sayd lands, as well on the one side as on the others still bending Northwest, to see if it were either a gulfe, or a passage, until the fift of the moneth. The distance from one land to the other is about fifteene leagues. The middle between them both is 50 degrees and a terce in latitude. We had much adoe to go fiue miles farthero the winds were so great and the tide against vs. And at fiue miles end, we might plainly see and perceive land on both sides, which there beginneth to spread it selfe.

After we had sailed along the sayd coast, for the space of two houres, behold, the tide began to turne against vs. with so swift and raging a course, that it was not possible for vs with 13 oars to row or get one stones cast farther, so that we were constrained to leave our boates with some of our men to guard them, and 10 or 12 men went ashore to the sayd Cape, where we found that the land beginneth to bend Southwest, which hauing seen, we came to our boats againe, and so to our ships, which were still ready under sail, hoping to go forward; but for all that, they were fallen more then four leagues to leeward from the place where we had left them, where so soon as we came, wee assembled together all our Captaines, Masters, and Mariners, to haue their aduice and opinion what was best to be done; and after that euery one had said, considering that the Easterly winds began to beare away, and blow, and that the flood was so great, that we did belt fall, and that there was nothing to be gotten, and that storms and tempests began to reigne in Newfoundland, and that we were so farre from home, not knowing the perils and dangers that were behind, for either we must agree to return home againe, or els to stay there all the year. More over, we did consider, that if the Northerne winds did take vs. it were not possible for vs to depart thence. All which opinions being heard and considered, we altogether determined to addresse our selves homeward. Now because upon Saint Peters day wee entred into the sayd Straits, we named it Saint Peters Straits.

In the yearn of our Lord 1535, upon Whitsunday, being the 16. of May, by the commandement of our Captaine Iames Cartier, and with a common accord, in the Cathedrall Church of S. Malo we devoutly each one confessed our selves, and received the Sacrament: and all entring into the Quier of the sayd Church, wee presented our' selves before the Reverend Father in Christ, the Lord Bishop of S. Malo, who blessed vs all, being in his Bishops robes. The Wednesday following, being the 19. of May, there arose a good gale of wind, and therefore we hoysed seyle with three ships.... We stayed and rested our selves in the sayd hauen, until the seventh of August being Sunday: on which day we hoysed sayle, and came toward land on the South side toward Cape Rohast, distant from the sayd hauen about twenty leagues Northnortheast and Southsouthwest: but the next day there rose a storm and a contrary wind, and because we could find no hauen there toward the South, thence we went coasting along toward the North, beyond the abouesayd hauen about ten leagues, where we found a goodly great gulfe, full of Islands, passages, and entrances, toward what wind soeuer you please to bend: for the knowledge of this gulfe there is a great Island that is like to a Cape of lande, stretching somewhat further foorth than the others, and about two leagues within the land, there is an hill fashioned as it were an heape of corne. We named the sayd gulfe Saint Laurence his bay. The twelfth of the sayd moneth wee went from the sayd Saint Laurence his Bay, or gulfe, sailing Westward, and discouered a Cape of land toward the South, that runneth West and by South, distant from the sayd Saint Laurence his Bay, about fiue and twenty leagues. . . .

Moreover, I beleeue that there were never so many Whales seen as we saw that day about the sayd Cape. The next day after being aur Ladie day of August the fifteenth of the moneth, hauing passed the Straight, we had notice of certaine lands that wee left toward the South, which landes are full of very great and high hilles, and this Cape wee named The Island of the Assumption, and perceived to be higher than the Southerly, more then thirty leagues in length. We trended the sayd landes about toward the South: from the sayd day until Tuesday noon following, the wind came West, and therefore wee bended toward the North, purposing to goe and see the land that we before had spied. Being arriued there, we found the sayd landes as it were ioyned together, and low toward the Sea. And the Northerly mountains that are upon the sayd low lands stretch East, and West, and a quarter of the South. Our wild men told vs that there was the beginning of Saguenay, and that it was land inhabited, and that thence commeth the red Copper, of them named Caignetdaze.

There is between the Southerly lands, and the Northerly about thirty leagues distance, and more then two hundredth fadome depth. The sayd men did moreouer certifie unto vs. that there was the way and beginning of the great river of Hochelaga and ready way to Canada, which river the further it went the narrower it came, euen unto Canada, and that then there was fresh water, which went so farre upwards, that they had never heard of any man who had gone to the head of it, and that there is no other passage but with small boates.... Upon the first of September we departed out of the said hauen, purposing to go toward Canada; and about 15 leagues from it toward the West, and Westsouthwest, amidst the river, there are three Islands, over against the which there is a river which runneth swift, and is of great depth, and it is that which leadeth, and runneth into the countrey and kingdome of Saguenay, as by the two wild men of Canada it was told vs. This river passeth and runneth along very high and steep hills of bare stone, where very little earth is, and notwithstanding there is a great quantity of sundry sorts of trees that grow in the said bare stones, euen as upon good and fertile ground, in such sort that we haue seen some so great as well would suffice to make_a mast for a ship of 30 tunne burden, and as greene as possibly can be, growing in a stony rock without any earlh at all.

The seventh of the moneth being our Ladies euen, after service we went from that Land to go up higher into the river, and came to 14 Lands seven or eight leagues from the Land of Filberds, where the countrey of Canada beginneth, one of which Lands is ten leagues in length, and fiue in bredth, greatly inhabited of such men as only live by fishing of such sorts of fishes as the river affordeth, according to the season of them. . . . The next day following the Lord of Canada (whose proper name was Donnacona, but by the name of Lord they call him Agouhanna) with twelve boats came to our ships, accompanied with many people, who causing ten of hls boates to goe backe with the other two, approched unto vs with sixteen men. . . Our Captaine then caused our boates to be set in order, that with the next tide he might goe up higher into the river, to find some safe harborough for our ships: and we passed up the river against the stream about tenne leagues, coasting the said Land, at the end whereof, we found a goodly and pleasant sound, where is a little river and hauen, where by reason of the flood there is about three fadome water. This place seemed to us very fit and commodious to harbour our ships therein, and so we did very safely, we named it the holy Crosse, for on that day we came thither. Near unto it, there is a village, whereof Donnacona is Lord, and there he keepeth his abode: it is called Stadacona [Quebec] as goodly a plot of ground as possibly may be seen.

Hauing considered the place, and finding it fit for our purpose, our Captaine withdrew hirnselfe on purpose to return to our ships. After we were come with our boats unto our ships againe, our Captaine cause our barks to be made readie to goe on land in the said Land, to note the trees that in shew seemed so faire, and to consider the nature and qualities of it: which things we did, and found it full of goodly trees like to ours. Also we saw many goodly Vines, a thing not before of vs seen in those countries, and therefore we named it Bacchus Eland. It is in length about twelve leagues, in sight very pleasant but full of woods, no part of it manured, unless it be in certaine places, where a few cottages be for Fishers dwellings as before we haue said.

The next day being the 19 of September we hoysed sail, and with our Pinnesse and two boates departed to goe up the river with the flood, where on both shores of it we beganne to see as goodly a countrey as possibly can with eye seen, all replenished with very goodly trees, and Vines laden as full of grapes as could be all along the river, which rather seemed to haue bin planted by mans hand than otherwise. True it is, that because they are not dressed and wrought as they should be, their bunches of grapes are not so great nor sweet as ours: . . . From the nineteenth until the eight and twentieth of September, we sailed up along the said river, never losing one houre of time, all which time we saw as goodly and pleasant a countrey as possibly can be wished for,

The next day our Captaine seeing for that time it was not possible for our Pinesse to goe on any further, he caused our boates to be made readies and as much munition and victuals to be put in them, as they could well beare: he departed with them, accompanyed with many Gentlemen, that is to say, Claudius of Ponte Briand, Cupbearer to the Lorde Dolphin of France, Charles of Pommeraye, Iohn CTonion, Iohn Powlet, with twenty and eight Mariners: and Mace Iallobert, and William Briton, who had the charge under the Captaine of the other two ships, to goe up as farre as they could into that river: we sayled with good and prosperous weather until the second of October, on which day we came to the towne of Hochelaga, [Montreal] distant from the place where we had left our Pinnesse fiue and fortie leagues.