CHAPTER VIII. THE THIRD VOYAGE
Nearly five years elapsed after Cartier's return to St Malo before he again set sail for the New World. His royal master, indeed, had received him most graciously. Francis had deigned to listen with pleasure to the recital of his pilot's adventures, and had ordered him to set them down in writing. Moreover, he had seen and conversed with Donnacona and the other captive Indians, who had told of the wonders of their distant country. The Indians had learned the language of their captors and spoke with the king in French. Francis gave orders that they should be received into the faith, and the registers of St Malo show that on March 25, 1538, or 1539 (the year is a little uncertain), there were baptized three savages from Canada brought from the said country by 'honnete homme [honest man], Jacques Cartier, captain of our Lord the King.'
But the moment was unsuited for further endeavour in the New World. Francis had enough to do to save his own soil from the invading Spaniard. Nor was it until the king of France on June 15, 1538, made a truce with his inveterate foe, Charles V, that he was able to turn again to American discovery. Profoundly impressed with the vast extent and unbounded resources of the countries described in Cartier's narrative, the king decided to assume the sovereignty of this new land, and to send out for further discovery an expedition of some magnitude. At the head of it he placed Jean Francois de la Roque, Sieur de Roberval, whom, on January 15, 1540, he created Lord of Norumbega, viceroy and lieutenant-general of Canada, Hochelaga, Saguenay, Newfoundland, Belle Isle, Carpunt, Labrador, the Great Bay, and Baccalaos. The name Norumbega is an Indian word, and was used by early explorers as a general term for the territory that is now Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Baccalaos is the name often given by the French to Newfoundland, the word itself being of Basque origin and meaning 'codfish,' while Carpunt will be remembered as a harbour beside Belle Isle, where Cartier had been stormbound on his first voyage.
The king made every effort to further Roberval's expedition. The Lord of Norumbega was given 45,000 livres and full authority to enlist sailors and colonists for his expedition. The latter appears to have been a difficult task, and, after the custom of the day, recourse was presently had to the prisons to recruit the ranks of the prospective settlers. Letters were issued to Roberval authorizing him to search the jails of Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Rouen, and Dijon and to draw from them any convicts lying under sentence of death. Exception was made of heretics, traitors, and counterfeiters, as unfitted for the pious purpose of the voyage. The gangs of these miscreants, chained together and under guard, came presently trooping into St Malo. Among them, it is recorded, walked a young girl of eighteen, unconvicted of any crime, who of her own will had herself chained to a malefactor, as hideous physically as morally, whose lot she was determined to share.
To Roberval, as commander of the enterprise, was attached Cartier in the capacity of captain-general and master-pilot. The letters patent which contain the appointment speak of him as our 'dear and well-beloved Jacques Cartier, who has discovered the large countries of Canada and Hochelaga which lie at the end of Asia.' Cartier received from Roberval about 31,300 livres. The king gave to him for this voyage the little ship Emerillon and commanded him to obtain four others and to arm and equip the five. The preparations for the voyage seem to have lasted throughout the winter and spring of the years 1540-41. The king had urged Cartier to start by the middle of April, but it was not until May 23, 1541, that the ships were actually able to set sail. Even then Roberval was not ready to leave. Cannon, powder, and a varied equipment that had been purchased for the voyage were still lying at various points in Normandy and Champagne. Cartier, anxious to follow the king's wishes, could wait no longer and, at length, he set out with his five ships, leaving Roberval to prepare other ships at Honfleur and follow as he might. From first to last the relations of Cartier and Roberval appear to need further explanation than that which we possess. Roberval was evidently the nominal head of the enterprise and the feudal lord of the countries to be claimed, but Cartier seems to have been restless under any attempt to dictate the actual plan to be adopted, and his final desertion of Roberval may be ascribed to the position in which he was placed by the divided command of the expedition.
The expedition left St Malo on May 23, 1541, bearing in the ships food and victuals for two years. The voyage was unprosperous. Contrary winds and great gales raged over the Atlantic. The ships were separated at sea, and before they reached the shores of Newfoundland were so hard put to it for fresh water that it was necessary to broach the cider casks to give drink to the goats and the cattle which they carried. But the ships came together presently in safety in the harbour of Carpunt beside Belle Isle, refitted there, and waited vainly for Roberval. They finally reached the harbour of the Holy Cross at Stadacona on August 23.