NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


Previous section

Next section

Chapter VI. — Further Explorations in the St. Lawrence Valley, by the French.

1535.

THE account which Cartier gave of his discoveries, and the prospective benefits therefrom promised to the future commerce of France, verified as the narrative was, by the presence of Domaigaia and Taignoagny, the two Iroquois captives, induced the Vice-Admiral Melleray to recommend him to the king for further employment. Accordingly, early in the spring of 1535, he was placed in command of another squadron, consisting of three ships, well provisioned and manned, for the purpose of still further prosecuting his researches in those latitudes. On the 6th of May, he, together with the crews of his vessels, attended divine service at the cathedral of St. Malo, where they received the ecclesiastical benediction. He sailed from St. Malo on the 19th of May, taking with him a number of young gentlemen, who were ambitious to seek their fortunes under his auspices. On the outward passage a severe tempest was encountered, during the continuance of which the vessels parted company. Cartier arrived at Newfoundland on the 7th of July, where, after waiting until the 26th, he was rejoined by the rest of his squadron. The succeeding day he carefully continued his voyage along the coast, taking soundings, with the view of finding good-anchor-ground, and tracing out the bays and harbors of this dangerous locality. Onthe 8th of August he entered the gulf visited by him the previous year, and now named it the St. Lawrence. After some preliminary reconnoissances of the capes, as also of the main land, and obtaining more definite information concerning the geography of the country, from Domaigaia and Taignoagny, who accompanied him, he sailed up the river, and, on the 1st of September, anchored at the mouth of the Saguenay river, which locality appeared to be familiar to the two captives. At this point the explorers met four canoes containing Indians, who evinced their usual caution and shyness; but, being hailed by the captive Iroquois, they came freely alongside of the ships, and a friendly interview took place.

As Cartier continued to advance up the river, the tides attracted his notice, as being very swift and dangerous. Tortoises were found in this vicinity, and for the first time they here observed the sturgeon, which is pronounced "savoury and good to be eaten." After ascending for seven days, the vessels reached the island of Orleans, where,

-- 56 --

having cast anchor, he ordered the boats to be manned, and went ashore, taking with him Domaigaia and Taignoagny as interpreters, through whose influence the fears of the Indians were appeased, and a friendly feeling established. The latter evinced their joy by dancing, and loaded him with presents, comprising several sorts of fish, and a large quantity of the zea maize, called "great millet." On the following day, the chief Donnaconna, accompanied by his entire band, arrived in twelve canoes, ten of which he directed to stop at a distance, and with the other two he pulled toward Cartier's ship. Donnaconna stood up as he approached, and, with violent gesticulations, addressed Cartier in a long speech. The captives related to him what they had seen abroad, and how kindly they had been treated, with which Donnaconna was so much pleased, that he desired Cartier to extend his arm over the side of the vessel, that he might kiss his hand. He then laid Cartier's arm fondlingly about his neck, whereupon the latter descended into the chief's canoe, and, having ordered bread and wine to be brought, they ate and drank together, and parted mutually gratified with the interview. Thus happily commenced the intercourse of the French with the Iroquois.

Cartier, having determined to ascend the river to Hochelaga, the present site of Montreal, anchored his larger vessels in the entrance of a small river, on the north shore, opposite the head of the island called by him Santa Cruz, and, on the 19th of September, in his smallest vessel, accompanied by two boats, and fifty men, he commenced the undertaking. To prevent this movement the Indians had in vain employed all their arts, and resorted to the most extravagant demoniacal dances; but all this served no other purpose than to encourage him in his design. A voyage of ten days' continuance brought him to an expansion of the river, named by him Lake Angolisme, but which is now called St. Peters. Finding the river was becoming shallow, he left his vessel at anchor, and proceeded forward with the two boats, and twenty-eight armed men. He was charmed with the scenery, the fertility of the soil, and the luxuriant productions of the new country. Every where above this point the Indians received him with friendship, and brought him presents of fish, corn, and game. When he anchored for the night, the natives assembled on shore, built fires, danced, and uttered shouts of joy; in this manner making his voyage resemble a triumphal journey. He arrived at Hochelaga on the 2d of October, where a multitude of the natives, of both sexes, old and young, awaited his arrival, and expressed their joy by dancing. Cartier having arrayed himself in gorgeous clothing, landed on the following morning, accompanied by a band of twenty mariners. Following, for four or five miles, a well-beaten path through the forest, he came to an open spot where a bright fire was burning. Here he was received by a deputation from the town, and desired to rest himself. A speech of welcome was then addressed to him, after which the procession advanced, without further interruption, to the town of Hochelaga, which was situated amidst cultivated fields, and surrounded with rude ramparts, constructed for defence. Mats having been spread for him, he was ceremoniously seated, and was soon joined by

-- 57 --

the chief, Agouhanna, an old man afflicted with palsy, who, sitting on a stag skin, was borne on the shoulders of men. Around his forehead he wore a band, or frontlet, of red-colored hedgehog skins, but, in other respects, he was not dressed better than his people. As neither Domaigaia or Taignoagny would accompany Cartier, he had no interpreter, and, during the interview, communication was principally carried on by signs. After the close of the conference he ascended to the top of the neighboring mountain, accompanied by natives. It afforded an extensive view of all the surrounding rivers, rapids, plains, and mountains. Transported by the scene, he bestowed on this elevation the name of Mount Royal. Having asked the Indians the name of the adjacent country, they replied, "Canada;" having, without doubt, understood him as referring to the town.

Thus having, on the 3d of October, 1535, terminated this eventful interview, Cartier hastened to return. Favored by both wind and tide, he reached his vessel in Lake St. Peters on the following day, and the post of the Holy Cross on the 11th. At this place he endured a cold winter, from the middle of November to the middle of March; the ice in the St. Lawrence is said to have been "two fathoms thick," and the snow four feet deep. Twenty-five of his men died of scurvy. He was detained in the river of the Holy Cross until the 6th of May, when he sailed for France, carrying with him the chief Donnaconna, and his two former captives, Domaigaia and Taignoagny. He reached the French coast, and cast anchor in the harbor of St. Malo, on the 6th of July, 1536.

Speaking of the Iroquois, he says: "They possess all property in common, and are clothed in skins during the winter. The men perform but trifling labor, and are addicted to smoking. The
condition of the women is one of servitude and drudgery. Polygamy is tolerated; the young women are dissolute, and married women condemned to remain widows after the death of their husbands. Both sexes are very hardy."

-- 58 --

Previous section

Next section


Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
Powered by PhiloLogic