The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The Voyage of Iohn Francis de la Roche, knight, Lord of Roberual, to the Countries of Canada, Saguenai, and Hochelaga, with three tall Ships, and two hundred persons, both men, women, and children, begun in April, 1542. In which parts he remayned the same summer, and all the next winter.

Sir Iohn Francis de la Roche knight, lord of Roberual, appoynted by the king as his Lieutenant general in the countreis of Canada, Saguenay, and Hochelaga, furnished 3. tall Ships, chiefly at the kings cost: And hauing in his fleete 200. persons, aswel men as women, accompanied with diuers gentlemen of qualitie, as namely with Monsieur Saineterre his lieutenant, l’Espiney his Ensigne, captain Guinecourt, Monsieur Noire Fontaine, Dieu Lamont, Frote, la Brosse, Francis de Mìre, la Salle, and Roieze, and Iohn Alfonse of Xanctoigne an excellent pilot, set sayle from Rochel the 16. of April 1542. The same day about noone we came athwart of Chefe de boys, where we were enforced to stay the night following. On Monday the seuenteenth of the sayde Moneth wee departed from Chefe de boys. The winde serued vs notably for a time: but within fewe dayes it came quite contrary, which hindered our iourney for a long space: For wee were suddenly enforced to turne backe, and to seeke Harborough in Belle Isle, on the coast of Bretaigne, where wee stayed so long, and had such contrary weather by the way, that wee could not reach Newfound lande, vntill the seuenth of Iune. The eight of this Moneth wee entred into the Rode of Saint Iohn, where wee founde seuenteene Shippes of fishers. While wee made somewhat long abode heere, Iaques Cartier and his company returning from Canada, whither hee was sent with fiue sayles the yeere before, arriued in the very same Harbour. Who, after hee had done his duetie to our Generall, tolde him that hee had brought certaine Diamonts, and a quantitie of Golde ore, which was found in the Countrey. Which ore the Sunday next ensuing was tryed in a Furnace, and found to be good.

Furthermore, hee enformed the Generall that hee could not with his small company withstand the Sauages, which went about dayly to annoy him: and that this was the cause of his returne into France. Neuerthelesse, hee and his company commended the Countrey to bee very rich and fruitfull. Iaques Cartier stole away. But when our Generall being furnished with sufficient forces, commanded him to goe backe againe with him, hee and his company, mooued as it seemeth with ambition, because they would haue all the glory of the discouerie of those partes themselues, stole priuily away the next night from vs, and without taking their leaues departed home for Bretaigne.

Wee spent the greatest part of Iune in this Harbour of Saint Iohn, partly in furnishing our selues with fresh water, whereof wee stoode in very great neede by the way, and partly in composing and taking vp of a quarell betweene some of our Countreymen and certaine Portugals. At length, about the last of the aforesayde Moneth, wee departed hence, and entred into the Grand Baye, and passed by the Isle of Ascension: and finally arriued foure leagues Westward of the Isle of Orleans. In this place wee found a conuenient Harbour for our shipping, where wee cast anchor, went a shoare with our people, and chose out a conuenient place to fortifie ourselues in, fitte to command the mayne Riuer, and of strong situation against all inuasion of enemies. Thus towarde the ende of Iuly, wee brought our victuals and other munitions and prouisions on shore, and began to trauaile in fortyfying of our selues.

Of the Fort of France Roy, and that which was done there.

Hauing described the beginning, the middest, and the ende of the Voyage made by Monsieur Roberual in the Countreyes of Canada, Hochelaga, Saguenay, and other Countreyes in the West partes: He sayled so farre, (as it is declared in other bookes) that hee arriued in the sayde Countrey, accompanyed with two hundred persons, souldiers, mariners, and common people, with all furniture necessary for a fleete. The sayde Generall at his first arriuall built a fayre Fort, neere and somewhat Westward aboue Canada, which is very beautifull to beholde, and of great force, situated vpon an high mountaine, wherein there were two courtes of buyldings, a great Towre and another of fortie or fiftie foote long: wherein there were diuers Chambers, an Hall, a Kitchine, houses of office, Sellers high and lowe, and neere vnto it were an Ouen and Milles, and a stooue to warme men in, and a Well before the house. And the buylding was situated vpon the great Riuer of Canada, commonly called France prime, by Monsieur Roberual. There was also at the foote of the mountaine another lodging, part whereof was a great Towne of two stories high, two courtes of good buylding, where at the first all our victuals, and whatsoeuer was brought with vs was sent to be kept: and neere vnto that Towre there is another small riuer. In these two places aboue and beneath, all the meaner sort was lodged.

August 1542. September 14. And in the moneth of August, and in the beginning of September euery man was occupied in such woorke as eche one was able to doe. But the fourteenth of September, our aforesayde Generall sent backe into France two Shippes which had brought his furniture, and he appointed for Admirall Monsieur de Saine-terre, and the other captaine was Monsieur Guinecourt, to carie newes vnto the King, and to come backe againe vnto him the yeere next ensuing, furnished with victuals and other things, as it should please the King: and also to bring newes out of France how the King accepted certaine Diamants which were sent him, and were found in this countrey.

The proportion of their victuals. After these two Shippes were departed, consideration was had how they should doe, and how they might passe out the Winter in this place. First they tooke a view of the victuals, and it was found that they fell out short: and they were scantled so, that in eche messe they had but two loaues weighing a pound a piece, and halfe a pound of biefe. They ate Bacon at Dinner with halfe a pound of butter: and Biefe at supper, and about two handfuls of Beanes without Butter.

On the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday they did eate dry Cod, and sometimes they did eate it greene at dinner with butter, and they ate of Porposes and beanes at supper.

About that time the Sauages brought vs great store of Aloses, which is a fish somewhat redde like a Salmon, to get kniues and other small trifles for them.

In the ende many of our people fell sicke of a certaine disease in their legges, reynes, and stomacke, so that they seemed to bee depriued of all their lymmes, and there dyed thereof about fiftie.

The length of the Winter. Note that the yce began to breake up in April.

Monsieur Roberual vsed very good iustice, and punished euery man according to his offence. One whose name was Michael Gaillon, was hanged for his theft. Iohn of Nantes was layde in yrons, and kept prisoner for his offence, and others also were put in yrons, and diuers were whipped, as well men as women: by which meanes they liued in quiet.

The maners of the Sauages.

To declare vnto you the state of the Sauages, they are people of a goodly stature, and well made, they are very white, but they are all naked: and if they were apparelled as the French are, they would bee as white and as fayre: but they paynt themselues for feare of heat and sunne burning.

So haue they of Ceuola, and Quiuira, and Meta Incognita. In stead of apparell, they weare skinnes vpon them like mantles; and they haue a smal payre of breeches, wherewith they couer their priuities, as well men as women. They haue hosen and shooes of lether excellently made. And they haue no shirts: neither couer they their heads, but their hayre is trussed vp aboue the crowne of their heads, and playted or broyded. Touching their victuals, they eate good meate, but all vnsalted, but they drye it, and afterward they broyle it, as well fish as flesh. They haue no certaine dwelling place, and they goe from place to place, as they thinke they must best finde foode, as Aloses in one place, and other fish, Salmons, Sturgions, Mullets, Surmullets, Barz, Carpes, Eeles, Pinperneaux, and other fresh water fish, and store of Porposes. They feede also of Stagges, wilde Bores, Bugles, Porkespynes, and store of other wilde beastes. And there is as great store of Fowle as they can desire.

Touching their bread, they make very good: and it is of great myll: and they liue very well; for they take care for nothing else.

They drinke Seale oyle, but this is at their great feasts.

Their gouernment. They haue a King in euery Countrey, and are wonderfull obedient vnto him: and they doe him honour according vnto their maner and fashion. And when they trauayle from place to place, they cary all their goods with them in their boates.

The women nurse their children with the breast, and they sit continually, and are wrapped about the bellies with skinnes of furre.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 19:52