THE POLE AND AMERICA

So strong were the hopes entertained by Byleth and Baffin, that they obtained permission to put to sea again in the same vessel the following year. On May 14th, 1616, after a voyage in which nothing worthy of remark occurred, the two captains penetrated into Davis' Strait, sighted Cape Henderson's Hope, the extreme point formerly reached by Davis, and ascended as high as 72° 40' to the Women's Island, thus named after some Esquimaux females whom they met with. On June 12th, Byleth and Baffin were forced by the ice to enter a bay on the coast. Some Esquimaux brought them a great quantity of horns, without doubt tusks of walruses, or horns of musk oxen; from which they named the bay Horn Sound. After remaining some days in this place, they were able to put to sea again. On setting out from 75° 40', they encountered a vast expanse of water free from ice, and penetrated, without much danger, beyond the 78° of latitude, to the entrance of the strait, which prolonged northwards the immense bay which they had just traversed, and which received the name of Baffin. Then turning to the west, and afterwards to the south-west, Byleth and Baffin discovered the Carey Islands, Jones Strait, Coburg Island, and Lancaster Strait, and afterwards they descended along the entire western shore of Baffin's Bay as far as Cumberland Land. Despairing then of being able to carry his discoveries further, Byleth, who had several men among his crew afflicted with scurvy, found himself obliged to return to the shores of England, where he disembarked at Dover, on August 30th.

If this expedition terminated again in failure, in the sense that the north-west passage was not discovered, the results obtained were nevertheless considerable. Byleth and Baffin had prodigiously increased the knowledge of the seas and coasts in the quarters of Greenland. The captain and the pilot, in writing to the Director of the Company, assured him that the bay which they had visited was an excellent spot for fishing, in which thousands of whales, seals, and walruses, disported themselves. The event could not be long in amply proving the correctness of this information.

Let us now descend again upon the coast of America, as far as Canada, and see what had happened since the time of Jacques Cartier. This latter, we may remember, had made an attempt at colonization, which had not produced any important results. Nevertheless, some Frenchmen had remained in the country, had married there, and founded families of colonists. From time to time, they received reinforcements brought by fishing vessels from Dieppe or St. Malo. But it was difficult to establish a current of emigration. It was under these circumstances that a gentleman, named Samuel de Champlain, a veteran of the wars of Henry IV., and who, for two years and a half, had frequented the East Indies, was engaged by the Commander of Chastes with the Sieur de Pontgravé, to continue the discoveries of Jacques Cartier, and to choose the situations most favourable for the establishment of towns and centres of population. This is not the place for us to consider the manner in which Champlain understood the business of a colonizer, nor his great services, which might well entitle him to be called the father of Canada. We will, therefore, advisedly leave this aspect of his undertaking, not the least brilliant, in order simply to occupy ourselves with the discoveries which he effected in the interior of the continent.

Setting sail from Honfleur, on March 15th, 1603, the two chiefs of the enterprise first ascended the St. Lawrence, as far as the harbour of Tadoussac, 240 miles from its mouth. They were welcomed by the populations, which had, however, "neither faith, nor law, and lived without God, and without religion, like brute beasts." At this place they quitted their ships, which could not have advanced further without danger, and reached in a boat the Fall of St. Louis, where Jacques Cartier had been stopped; they even penetrated a little into the interior, and then returned to France, where Champlain printed a narrative of the voyage for the king.