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

Here followeth the course from Belle Isle, Carpont, and the Grand Bay in Newfoundland vp the Riuer of Canada for the space of 230. leagues, obserued by Iohn Alphonse of Xanctoigne chiefe Pilote to Monsieur Roberual, 1542.

Belles Isles are in 51 degrees and 2/3. Belles Isles and Carpont are Northnorthwest and Southsoutheast, and they are ten leagues distant. Carpont is in 52 degrees. Carpont and Bell Isle from the Grand Bay are Northeast and Southwest, and the distance from Bell Isle to the Grand Bay is 7 leagues. The midst of the Grand Bay is in 52 degrees and an halfe, and on the Northside thereof there is a rocke: halfe a league from the Isle, ouer against Carpont toward the East there is a small flat Island, and on the side toward the Northeast there is a flat rocke. And when thou commest out of the harborough of Carpont thou must leaue this rocke on the starreboord side, and also on the larboord side there are two or three small Isles: and when thou commest out on the Northeast side, ranging along the shore toward the West about two pikes length in the midway there is a shold which lyeth on thy starboord side: and saile thou by the North coast, and leaue two partes of the Grand Bay toward the South; because there is a rocke which runneth 2 or 3 leagues into the sea. And when thou art come athwart the hauen of Butes, ran along the North shore about one league or an halfe of, for the coast is without all danger; The Isle of Blanc Sablon or white sand. Bell Isle in the mouth of the Grand Bay, and the Isles of Blanc Sablon, which are within the Grand Bay, neere vnto the North shore lie Northeast, West and Southwest, and the distance is 30 leagues. The Grand Bay at the entrance is but 7 leagues broad from land to land vntill it come ouer against the Bay des Chasteaux: and from thence forward it hath not past 5 leagues in breadth. And against Blanc Sablon it is 8 leagues broad from land to land. And the land on the South shore is all low land along the sea coast. The North shore is reasonable high land, Blanc Sablon is in 51 degrees 2/3. The Isles of Blanc Sablon and the Isles de la Damoiselle are Northeast, Westsouthwest, and take a little of the Westsouthwest, and they are distant 36 leagues: these Isles are in 50 deg. 3/4. And there is a good hauen: and you may enter by an high Cape which lieth along toward the Northeast and within the distance of a pike and an halfe, because of a rocke which lieth on your larrebord side, and you may ancre in 10 fathome water ouer against a little nooke: and from the great headland vnto the place where thou doest ancre there is not aboue the length of 2 Cables. And if thou wouldest go out by the West side, thou must saile neere the Isle by the starrebord, and giue roome vnto the Isle on the larbord at the comming forth: and when thou art not past a cables length out thou must saile hard by the Isles on the larbord side, by reason of a suncken flatte which lieth on the starrebord, and thou shalt saile so on to the Southsouthwest, vntill thou come in sight of a rocke which shineth, which is about halfe a league in the sea distant from the Isles, and thou shalt leaue it on the larrebord: (and from the Isles of Damoiselle vnto Newfoundland the sea is not in bredth aboue 36. leagues, because that Newfoundland euen vnto Cape Briton runneth not but Northnortheast and Southsouthwest.) Between the Isles de la Damoiselle and the Isles of Blanck Sablon there be many Isles and good harbours: and on this coast, there are faulcons and haukes, and certaine foules which seeme to be feasants. The Isles de la Damoiselle and Cape Tienot are Northeast and Westsouthwest and take a little of the Northeast and southwest, and they are distant 18. leagues. Cape Tienot is in 50. deg and 1/4. And there the sea is broadest. And it may be to the end of Newfoundland, which is at the entrance of Cape Briton 70 leagues, which is the greatest bredth of the sea. And there are 6 or 7 Isles between the Isles de la Damoiselle and Cape Tienot. Cape Tienot hath in the sea 5 or 6 leagues distant from it a suncken Iland dangerous for ships. The Isle Ascention, Assumption or Naliscotec. The Cape Tienot and the midst of the Isle of Ascension are Northeast and southsouthwest, and they are 22. leagues distant, the midst of the Isle of Ascension is in 49. deg and 1/2. The said Isle lieth Northwest and Southeast, the Northwest end is in 50. degrees of latitude and the Southeast end is in 48. degrees and a halfe and it is about 25. leagues long and 4. or 5. leagues broad: and from the Northwest end of the Isle vnto the firme land of the North side the Sea is not aboue seven leagues broad, but vnto the firme land on the South side are about 15. leagues. Cape Tienot and the end of the Isle of Ascention toward the Southeast are Northeast and Southwest, and are distant 30. leagues. The said Cape of Tienot and the Northwest end of the Isle of Ascension are East and West, and take a little of the Northeast and Southwest, and they are distant 34. leagues.

The commendation of the Isle of Ascension. The Isle of Ascension is a goodly Isle, and a goodly champion land without any hilles, standing all vpon white rocks and Alablaster, all couered with trees vnto the Sea shore, and there are al sorts of trees as there be in France: and there be wild beasts, as beares, Luserns, Porkespicks.1 And from the Southeast end of the Isle of Ascension vnto the entrance of Cape Briton is but 50. leagues. The Northwest end of the Isle and the Cape des Monts nostre Dame,2 which is on the maine land towards the South, are Northeast and Westsouthwest, and the distance betweene them is 15. leagues. The Cape is in 49. degrees, which is a very high land. The Cape and end of the Isle of Ascension toward the Southeast are East and West and there is 15. leagues distance betweene them. The Bay of Molues or Gaspay3 is in 48. degrees, and the coast lyeth North and South, and taketh a quarter of the Northeast and Southwest vnto the Bay of Heate4 and there are 3. Isles, one great one and two smal: from the Bay of Heate vntill you passe the Monts nostre Dame al the land is high and good ground al couered with trees. Ognedoc is a good Bay and lyeth Northnorthwest and Southsoutheast, and it is a good Harbour: and you must saile along the shore on the Northside by reason of the low point at the entrance therof: and when you are passed the poynt bring your selfe to an ancre in 15. or 20. fathoms of water toward the South shore, and here within this Hauen are two riuers, one which goeth Greater store and better fish then in Newfoundland. toward the Northwest, and the other to the South west.

The mouth of the riuer of Canada twenty fiue leagues broad. And on this coast there is great fishing for Coddes and other fish, where there is more store then is in Newfoundland, and better fish. And here is great store of riuer foule, as Malards, wild Geese, and others: And here are all sorts of trees, Rose trees, Raspesses, Filbrid5 trees, Apple trees, Peare trees, and it is better here in Sommer then in France. The Isle of Ascension and the 7. Isles which lie on the North shore lie Southeast and Westnorthwest, and are distant 24. leagues. The Cape of Ognedoc and the 7. Isles are Northnorthwest and Southsoutheast; and are distant 35. leagues.

The riuer is here but 10 leagues broad. The Cape of Monts nostre Dame and the 7. Isles are North and South, and the cut ouer from the one to the other is 25. leagues: and this is the breadth of this Sea, and from thence vpward it beginneth to waxe narrower and narrower. The 7. Isles are in 50. degrees and 1/2. The 7. Isles and the poynt of Ongear lie Northeast and Southwest and the distance betweene them is 15. leagues, and betweene them are certaine small Islands: and the point of Ongear and the mountaines Nostre Dame, which are on the South side of the entrance of the riuer, are North and South: The riuer 8 leagues broad. and the cut ouer from the one to the other is ten leagues: and this is here the abredth of the Sea. The poynt of Ongear and the riuer of Caen lie East and West, and they are distant 12. leagues. And all the coast from the Isle of Ascension hither is very good ground, wherin growe all sorts of trees that are in France and some fruits. The poynt of Ongear is in 49. degrees and 1/4. And the riuer of Caen and the Isle of Raquelle lye Northeast and Southwest, and they are distant 12. leagues. The Isle of Raquelle is in 48. degrees and 1/2. In this riuer of Caen there is great store of fish.

And here the Sea is not past 8. leagues broad. The Isle of Raquelle is a very low Isle, which is neere vnto the South shore, hard by a high Cape which is called the Cape of Marble. There is no danger there at all. And betweene Raquelle and the Cape of Marble ships may passe. And there is not from the Isle to the South shore aboue one league, and from the Isle vnto the North shore about foure leagues. The Isle of Raquelle and the entrance of Saguenay are Northeast Westsouthwest, and are distant 14. leagues, and there are betweene them two small Islandes neere the North shore. The entrance of Saguenay is in 48. degrees and 1/2, and the entrance hath not past a quarter of a league in breadth, and it is dangerous toward the Southwest: and two or three leagues within the entrance it beginneth to waxe wider and wider: and it seemeth to bee as it were an arme of the Sea: And I thinke that the same runneth into the Sea of Cathay,6 for it sendeth foorth there a great current, and there doth runne in that place a terrible rase or tyde. The riuer not past 4 leagues ouer. And here the riuer from the North shore to the South shore is not past foure leagues in breadth, and it is a dangerous passage betweene both the lands, because there lie bankes of rockes in the riuer. The Isle of Raquelle and the Isle of Hares lye Northeast and Southwest, and take 1/2 of the East and the West, and they are distant 18. leagues. The entrance of Saguenay and the Isle of Liepueres or Hares lie Northnortheast and Southsouthwest, and are distant 5. leagues. The entrance of Saguenay and the Isle of Raquelle are Northnorthwest, and Southsouthwest, and are distant three leagues. The Isle of Hares is in 48 and 1/16 of a degree. From the Mountaines of Nostre Dame vnto Canada7 and vnto Hochelaga, all the land on the South coast is faire, a lowe land and goodly champaigne, all couered with trees vnto the brink of the riuer. And the land on the North side is higher, and in some places there are high mountaines. And from the Isle of Hares vnto the Isle of Orleans the riuer is not past 4 or 5 leagues broad. Betweene the Isle of Hares and the highland on the North side the sea is not past a league and a halfe broad, and it is very deepe, for it is aboue 100. fathoms deepe in the middest. To the East of the Isle of Hares there are 2 or 3 small Isles and rockes. And from hence to the Isle des Coudres or of Filbeards, all is nothing but Isles and rockes on the South shore: and towards the North the sea is fayre and deepe. The Isle of Hares and the Isle of Filbeards lie northeast, West and Southwest, and they are distant 12 leagues. And you must alwayes run along the high land on the north shore; for on the other shore there is nothing but rocks. And you must passe by the side of the Isle of Filbeards, and the riuer there is not past a quarter of a league broad, and you must sayle in the middest of the Chanel: and in the middest runneth the best passage either at an hie or a low water, because the sea runneth there strongly, and there are great dangers of rocks, and you had neede of good ancre and cable. The isle of Filbeards is a small isle, about one league long, and halfe a league broad, but they are all banks of sand. The isle of Filberds stands in 47. deg and 3/4. The isle of Filberds and the isle of Orleans lie northeast and southwest, and they are distant 10 leagues, and thou must passe by the high land on the north-side about a quarter of a league, because that in the midst of the riuer there is nothing but sholds and rocks. The beginning of the fresh water. And when thou shall bee ouer against a round Cape, thou must take ouer to the South shore southwest, and a quarter toward the south; and thou shalt sayle in 5. 6 and 7 fathoms: and there the riuer of Canada beginneth to bee fresh, and the salt water endeth. The riuer but a quarter of a league broad. And when thou shall be athwart the point of the isle of Orleans, where the riuer beginneth to be fresh, thou shalt sayle in the midst of the riuer, and thou shalt leaue the isle on the starreboord, which is on the right hand: and here the riuer is not past a quarter of a league broad, and hath 20 and 30 fathoms water. And towards the South shore there is a ledge of Isles all couered with trees, and they end ouer against the point of the Isle of Orleans. And the poynt of the Isle of Orleans toward the Northeast is in 47 degrees and one terce of a degree. And the Isle of Orleans is a fayre Isle, all couered with trees even vnto the riuers side: and it is about 5 leagues long, and a league and an halfe broade. And on the North shore there is another Riuer, which falleth into the mayne Riuer at the ende of the Island: and Shippes may very well passe there. From the middest of the Isle vnto Canada the Riuer runneth West; and from the place of Canada vnto France–Roy the riuer turneth West Southwest: and from the West ende of the Isle to Canada is but one league; and vnto France–Roy 4 leagues. And when thou art come to the end of the Isle thou shalt see a great Riuer which falleth fifteene or twenty fathoms downe from a rocke, and maketh a terrible noyse. The Fort of France-roy stands in 47 degrees, and one sixt part of a degree.

The extension of all these lands, vpon iust occasion is called New France. For it is as good and as temperate as France, and in the same latitude. Why the countrey is colder in the Winter then France. And the reason wherefore it is colder in the Winter is, because the fresh Riuer is naturally more colde then the Sea; and it is also broad and deepe: and in some places it is halfe a league and aboue in breadth. A second reason. And also because the land is not tylled nor full of people, and is all full of Woods, which is the cause of colde, because there is not store of fire nor cattel. And the sunne hath his Meridian as high as the Meridian at Rochel: and it is noone here when the Sunne is at South Southwest at Rochel. The variation of the compasse. And here the north starre by the compasse standeth North northeast. And when at Rochel it is noone, it is but halfe an houre past nine at France–Roy. From the sayde place vnto the Ocean sea and the coast of New France, is not aboue 50 leagues distance. And from the entrance of Norumbega8 vnto Florida are 300 leagues: and from this place of France–Roy to Hochelaga, are about 80 leagues: and vnto the Isle of Rasus 30 leagues. And I doubt not but Norumbega entereth into the riuer of Canada, and vnto the Sea of Saguenay. And from the Fort of France–Roy vntill a man come foorth of the Grand Bay is not aboue 230 leagues. And the course is Northeast and West Southwest not aboue 5 degrees and 1/3 difference: and reckon 16 leagues and an halfe to a degree. By the nature of the climate the lands toward Hocheslaga are still better and better, and more fruitfull. And this land is fitte for Figges and Peares. Gold and siluer like to be found in Canada. And I thinke that gold and siluer will be found here, according as the people of the countrey say. These landes lye ouer against Tartarie, and I doubt not but that they stretch toward Asia, according to the roundnesse of the world. And therefore it were good to haue a small Shippe of 70 tunnes to discouer the coast of New France on the backe side of A Bay in 42 degrees giuing some hope of a passage. Florida: for I haue bene at a Bay as farre as 42 degrees betweene Norambega and Florida, and I haue not searched the ende thereof, and I knowe not whether it passe through.9 And in all these Countreys there are okes, and bortz, ashes, elmes, arables, trees of life, pines, prussetrees, ceders, great wall nut trees, and wilde nuts, hasel-trees, wilde peare trees, wilde grapes, and there haue bene found redde plummes. And very faire corne groweth there and peason grow of their owne accord, gooseberries and strawberries. And there are goodly Forrests, wherein men may hunt. And there are great store of stagges, deere, porkepicks, and the Sauages say there bee Vnicornes. Fowle there are in abundance, as bustards, wilde geese, cranes, turtle doues, rauens, crowes, and many other birds. All things which are sowen there, are not past two or three dayes in coming vp out of the ground. I haue tolde in one eare of corne an hundred and twenty graines, like the corne of France. And ye neede not to sowe your Wheate vntill March, and it will be ripe in the middest of August. The waters are better and perfecter then in France. And if the Countrey were tilled and replenished with people, it would be as hotte as Rochel. The cause of the often snowing in Canada. And the reason why it snoweth there oftener then in France is, because it raineth there but seldome: for the raine is conuerted into snowes.

All things aboue mentioned, are true.

Iohn Alphonse made this Voyage with Monsieur Roberual.

There is a pardon to be seene for the pardoning of Monsieur de Saine terre, Lieutenant of the sayd Monsieur de Roberual, giuen in Canada in the presence of the sayde Iohn Alphonse.

1 Hedgehogs.

2 Query, Mount Logan.

3 Cape Gaspe.

4 Chaleur Bay.

5 Filbert.

6 Saguenay River really rises in Lake St. John.

7 The word Canada in the native tongue meant, as we have seen above, a town, and is probably the modern Rimouski.

8 The name Norumbega had a different meaning at different periods. First, there was the fabulous city of Norumbega, situated on the Penobucot. Secondly, there was the country of Norumbega, embracing Nova Scotia and New England, and at one time reaching from Cape Breton to 30 deg. in Florida. Subsequently it receded to narrower limits and embraced only the region on both sides of the river above named. (Woods, Introduction to Western Planting, p. lii.)

9 The Bay of Fundy is probably here alluded to.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55