THE POLE AND AMERICA

Henry IV. resolved to continue the enterprise. In the meantime M. de Chastes having died, his privilege was transferred to M. de Monts, with the title of Vice-admiral and Governor of Acadia. Champlain accompanied M. de Monts to Canada, and passed three whole years, whether in aiding by his counsels and his exertions the efforts of colonization, or in exploring the coasts of Acadia, the bearings of which he took beyond Cape Cod, or in making excursions into the interior and visiting the savage tribes which it was important to conciliate. In 1607, after a new voyage to France to recruit colonists, Champlain returned again to New France, and founded, in 1608, a town which was to become Quebec. The following year was devoted to again ascending the St. Lawrence, and ascertaining its course. On board of a pirogue, with two companions only, Champlain penetrated, with some Algonquins, to the Iroquois, and remained conqueror in a great battle fought on the borders of a lake which has received his name; he then descended the river Richelieu, as far as the St. Lawrence. In 1610, he made a fresh incursion into the territory of the Iroquois, at the head of his allies, the Algonquins, whom he had the greatest possible difficulty in making observe the European discipline. In this campaign he employed instruments of warfare which greatly astonished the savages, and easily secured him the victory. For the attack of a village, he constructed a cavalier of wood, which 200 of the most powerful men "carried before this village to within a pike's length, and displayed three arquebusiers well protected from the arrows and stones which might be shot or launched at them." A little later, we see him exploring the river Ottawa, and advancing, in the north of the continent, to within 225 miles of Hudson's Bay. After having fortified Montreal, in 1615, he twice ascended the Ottawa, explored Lake Huron, and arrived by land at Lake Ontario, which he crossed.

Siege of a village by Champlain
Siege of a village by Champlain.

It is very difficult to divide into two parts a life so occupied as Champlain's. All his excursions, all his reconnaissances, had but one object, the development of the work to which he had consecrated his existence. Thus detached from what gives them their interest, they appear to us unimportant; and yet if the colonial policy of Louis XIV. and his successor had been different, we should possess in America a colony which assuredly would not yield in prosperity to the United States. Notwithstanding our abandonment, Canada has preserved a fervent love for the mother country.

We must now leap over a period of forty years, to arrive at Robert Cavelier de la Sale. During this time, the French establishments have acquired some importance in Canada, and have extended themselves over a great part of North America. Our hunters and trappers scour the woods, and bring, every year, with their load of furs, new information respecting the interior of the continent. In this latter task they are powerfully seconded by the missionaries, in the first rank of whom we must place Father Marquette, whom the extent of his voyages on the great lakes and as far as the Mississippi marks out for special acknowledgment. Two men, besides, deserve to be mentioned for the encouragements and facilities which they afforded to the explorers, viz., M. de Frontenac, Governor of New France, and Talon, intendant of justice and police. In 1678, there arrived in Canada, without any settled purpose, a young man named Cavelier de la Sale. "He was born at Rouen," says Father Charlevoix, "of a family in easy circumstances; but having passed some years with the Jesuits, he had had no share in the inheritance of his parents. He had a cultivated mind, he wished to distinguish himself, and he felt within himself sufficient genius and courage to ensure success. In reality, he was not deficient in resolution to enter upon, nor in perseverance to follow up, an undertaking, nor in firmness in contending against obstacles, nor in resource to repair his losses; but he knew not how to make himself loved, nor how to manage those of whom he stood in need, and when he had attained authority, he exercised it with harshness and arrogance. With such defects he could not be happy, and in fact he was not."