Pictures and Illustrations.
A Page of the Manuscript of Radisson's Journal. From the original in the Bodleian Library, Oxford
After the voyages described in the preceding documents nearly twenty years elapsed before any recorded expeditions of discovery and exploration into the Northwest took place. This was due in large measure to the harassing of New France by wars with the Iroquois — raids which resulted in the complete overthrow of the flourishing Huron missions, and rendered extremely hazardous all journeying in the Upper Country.
The Iroquois, after destroying the tribes south of Lake, Erie, turned their arms against the villages of the Huron, capturing numbers whom they either put to torture or transported to their own country and incorporated into their confederacy. The Jesuit missionaries were forced to flee before this storm of war, and with a few of their neophytes took refuge at Quebec. Even here they were not safe from the fury of their enemies. The island of Orleans at the foot of the Quebec bluff was raided and many Huron carried captive. All the waterways were infested by war parties. It was no longer safe to journey from Quebec up the St. Lawrence, much less to venture forth into the great wilderness of the Northwest. Nor did the Western Indians dare to bring to the colony the peltry they gathered in the northern regions; New France, whose economic life rested on the fur trade, was on the verge of ruin. Means were sought to escape the Iroquois by roundabout routes; some tribesmen crossing the network of lakes in northern Canada came down the St. Maurice to the little post at Three Rivers.
At this post there dwelt two young Frenchmen whose
30exploits of exploration and discovery were to create a new epoch for the French colony in the New World. Médart Chouart, Sieur des Grosseilliers, had been born in eastern France, somewhere in the region of the Marne, so lately scarred and torn by battling armies. In 1637 he arrived in New France, and having entered the Jesuit service as a donné or assistant, spent nine years in the Huron mission. About the middle of the seventeenth century he removed to Three Rivers, where in 1653 he married Marguerite, widowed sister of Pierre Esprit Radisson. Radisson and Grosseilliers soon formed a congenial partnership which endured through many years of association in adventure. Radisson, although the younger, appears to have been the leader in their expeditions, and to his fertile mind and dauntless spirit we may attribute the success of their explorations.
Radisson had reached New France in the summer of 1651. The following spring, while exploring the environs of Three Rivers, he was taken prisoner by a party of Iroquois and carried to their villages, where adoption saved him from the stake. On a visit to Albany he was rescued from the savages by some Dutch merchants, who sent him home to France; thence he returned to Three Rivers in the summer of 1654. Notwithstanding his rough treatment at the hands of the Iroquois he accompanied, in 1657, a colony into their country, to escape only with difficulty in the following year.
Meanwhile Radisson yearned to see the mysterious West, whence the caravans of furs arriving at Three Rivers brought news of great lakes and streams, gentle people, and game untold. Perchance traditions of Nicolet's voyage, lingering at Three Rivers, whetted his desire to venture in the footsteps of the earlier explorer. As for Grosseilliers, his sojourn among the Huron had certainly made him familiar with the peoples of the West and taught him something of their languages and customs.
The two brothers (as they called themselves) secured the governor's permission to return with one of the trading fleets of Indian canoes that during a lull in Iroquois hostilities had, to the great joy of the colonists, reached the St. Lawrence unmolested. The voyage — known as the third Radisson voyage, the two to the Iroquois being the first and second respectively — is described in the following pages.
The date of this third voyage or rather first Western voyage is much in doubt; it has usually been referred to the years 1658 to 1660. The Jesuit Relation of 1656, however, mentions the return in that year of two nameless travellers, who had spent two years in the interior of the country; and since no mention can be found of Radisson or Grosseilliers in the register of Three Rivers during those years, some scholars assume that they were the anonymous voyagers of the Relation. The question of the date cannot be determined from the sources now available.
The two discoverers made a second journey to the West, in the course of which they visited Lake Superior and the headwaters of the Mississippi, and seem to have journeyed overland to Hudson Bay. They returned to New France with an immense fortune in furs, and, angered by some unjust treatment, left the colony and offered their services as explorers to the English king, Charles II. Under his patronage they made several voyages to Hudson Bay; aided in founding the great fur company of that name; returned once more to the French service and revisited Canada, where Grosseilliers thenceforth remained. Radisson, however, deserted once more to the English service, made several more voyages to Hudson Bay, and, having married an English wife, lived in London on his pension from the Hudson's Bay Company until his death about the year 1710.
The manuscripts of Radisson's narratives have had almost as adventurous a career as their author. The journals
32of the first four voyages to the Iroquois country and to the Northwest were written, not for publication, but for the edification and entertainment of Charles II. of England, whose patronage Radisson desired. They were written in English, the English of an unaccustomed foreigner. They came into the hands of Samuel Pepys, the diarist, who was secretary of the Admiralty under Charles II. and his brother James. Part of Pepys's manuscripts were secured by a London shopkeeper, who was using them for waste paper when, in 1750, Richard Rawlinson rescued the remnants, among them the narrative of Radisson. Rawlinson's collection came into the possession of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, where the Radisson manuscripts (Rawlinson A. 329) remained unnoticed until the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Interest having been aroused in Radisson as the founder of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the records of his voyages thither having been found in the British Museum, the Bodleian journals were brought to light, and in 1885 published under the editorship of Gideon D. Scull for the Prince Society in Boston. They awakened much interest among students of Western history, both for the charm of the narrative, for the vivid description of natural objects, and for the great daring of the adventurers. Discussion of the probable route and extent of the discovery has been voluminous, since they were the first white men known to have penetrated into the country beyond the Great Lakes. Thus they probably were the discoverers of Iowa, Minnesota, and the Canadian Northwest. They are likewise claimed as the first French discoverers of the Mississippi River. The difficulty of interpreting Radisson's text, written in a language unfamiliar to himself and some years after the completion of his journeys, adds to the differences of opinion with regard to the route and the locations described. Nevertheless the essential facts of his discovery are clear, and as the earliest
33description we now possess of the country beyond the upper lakes, these pages have an especial significance.
We reprint by permission of the Prince Society from their edition of Radisson's Journals, pp. 134-172.
Radisson's Account of his Third Journey, 1658-1660 [1654-1656?]
Being come to the 3 rivers, where I found my brother who the yeare before came back from the lake of the Hurrons with other french, both weare upon the point of resolution to make a journey a purpose for to discover the great lakes that they heard the wild men
35other to Saegne, a river of Tudousack,
As soone as the resolution was made, many undertakes the voyage; for where that there is lucre there are people enough to be had. The best and ablest men for that businesse weare chosen. They make them goe up the 3 rivers with the band that came with the Sacques. There take those that weare most capable for the purpose. Two Fathers weare chosen to conduct that company, and endeavoured to convert some of those foraigners of the remotest country to the Christian faith. We no sooner heard their designe, but saw the effects of the businesse, which effected in us much gladnesse for the pleasure we could doe to one another, and so abler to oppose an ennemy if by fortune we should meet with any that would doe us hurt or hinder us in our way.
About the midle of June we began to take leave of our company and venter our lives for the common good. We find 2 and 30 men, some inhabitants, some Gailliards
Att last we take our journey to see the issue of a prosperous adventure in such a dangerous enterprise. We resolved not to be the first that should complaine. The French weare together in order, the wildmen also, saving my brother and I that weare accustomed to such like voyages, have foreseene what happened afterwards. Before our setting forth we made some guifts, and by that means we weare sure of their good will, so that he and I went into the boats of the wild men. We weare nine and twenty french in number and 6 wildmen. We embarked our traine in the night, because our number should not be knowne to some spyes that might bee in some ambush to know our departure; For the Iroquoits are allwayes abroad. We weare 2 nights to gett to mont royall, where 8 Octanac
We stayed no longer there then as the french gott themselves ready. We tooke leave without noise of Gun. We cannot avoid the ambush of that eagle, which is like the owle that sees better in the night then in the day. We weare not sooner come to the first river, but our wildmen sees 5 sorts of people of divers countrys laden with marchandise and gunns, which served them for a shew then for defence if by chance they should be sett on. So that the glorie begins to shew itsselfe, no order being observed among them. The one sings, the other before goes in that posture without bad encounter. We advanced 3 dayes. There was no need of such
37a silence among us. Our men composed onely of seaven score men, we had done well if we had kept together, not to goe before in the river,
As we wandered in the afforesaid manner all a sunder, there comes a man alone out of the wood with a hattchett in his hand, with his brayer, and a cover
38weare, shewing by their march they weare no men, for not fearing. As for him, he was ready to die to render them service and prisoner into their hands freely. "For," saith he, "I might have escaped your sight, but that I would have saved you. I feare," sayth he, "not death"; so with that comes downe into the watter to his midle. There comes many boats about him, takes him into one of the boats, tying a coard fast about his body. There is he fastned. He begins to sing his fatal song that they call a nouroyall. That horrid tone being finished, makes a long, a very long speech, saying,
Brethren, the day the sunne is favourable to mee, appointed mee to tell you that yee are witlesse before I die, neither can they escape their ennemys, that are spred up and downe everywhere, that watches all moments their coming to destroy them. Take great courage, brethren, sleepe not; the ennemy is att hand. They wait for you; they are soe neare that they see you, and heare you, and are sure that you are their prey. Therefore I was willing to die to give you notice. For my part that what I have ben I am a man and commander in the warrs, and tooke severall prisoners; yet I would put meselfe in death's hands to save your lives. Believe me; keepe you altogether; spend not your powder in vaine, thinking to frighten your enemys by the noise of your guns. See if the stoanes of your arrowes be not bent or loose; bend your bowes; open your ears; keepe your hattchetts sharpe to cutt trees to make you a fort; doe not spend soe much greas to greas yourselves, but keep it for your bellies. Stay not too long in the way. It's robbery to die with conduct.
That poore wretch spake the truth and gave good instructions, but the greatest part did not understand what he said, saving the hurrons that weare with him, and I, that tould them as much as I could perceive. Every one laughs, saying he himself is afraid and tells us that story. We call him a dogg, a woman, and a henne. We will make you know that we weare men, and for his paines we should burne him when we come to our country. Here you shall see the brutishnesse of those people that think themselves valliant to the last point. No comparison is to be made with them for vallour, but quite contrary. They passe away the rest of that day with great exclamations of joy, but it will not last long.
That night wee layd in our boats and made not the ketle boyle, because we had meat ready dressed. Every boat is tyed up in the rushes, whether out of feare for what the prisoner told them, or that the prisoner should escape, I know not. They went to sleepe without any watch. The French began to wish and moane for that place from whence they came from. What will it be if wee heare yeatt cryes and sorrows after all? Past the breake of day every one takes his oare to row; the formost oares have great advantage. We heard the torrent rumble, but could not come to the land that day, although not farr from us. Some twelve boats gott afore us. These weare saluted with guns and outcrys. In the meane while one boat runs one way, one another; some men lands and runs away. We are all put to it; non knowes where he is, they are put to such a confusion. All those beasts gathers together againe frighted. Seeing no way to escape, gott themselves all in a heape like unto ducks that sees the eagle come to them.
That first feare being over a litle, they resolved to land and to make a fort with all speed, which was done in lesse then two houres. The most stupidest drowsy are the nimblest for the hattchett and cutting of trees. The fort being finished, every one maketh himselfe in a readiness to sustaine the assault if any had tempted. The prisoner was brought, who soone was despatched, burned and roasted and eaten. The Iroquoits had so served them, as many as they have taken. We mist 20 of our company, but some came safe to us, and lost 13 that weare killed and taken in that defeat. The Iroquoite finding himselfe weake would not venture, and was obliged to leave us least he should be discovered and served as the other. Neverthelesse they shewed good countenances, went and builded a fort as we have done, where they fortified themselves and feed on human flesh which they gott in the warres. They weare afraid as much as we, but far from that; For the night being come, every one imbarks himselfe, to the sound of a low trumpet, by the help of the darknesse. We went to the other side, leaving our marchandises for our ransome to the ennemy that used us so unkindly. We made some cariages that night with a world of paines. We mist 4 of our boats, so that we must alter our equipages. The wildmen complained
40much that the French could not swime, for that they might be together. The French seeing that they weare not able to undergo such a voyage, they consult together and for conclusion resolved to give an end to such labours and dangers; moreover, found themselves incapable to follow the wildmen who went with all the speed possible night and day for the feare that they weare in. The Fathers, seeing our weaknesse, desired the wildmen that they might have one or two to direct them, which by no means was granted, but bid us doe as the rest. We kept still our resolution, and knowing more tricks then they, would not goe back, which should be but disdainful and prejudiciall. We told them so plainly that we would finish that voyage or die by the way. Besides that the wildmen did not complaine of us att all, but incouraged us. After a long arguing, every one had the liberty to goe backwards or forwards, if any had courage to venter himselfe with us. Seeing the great difficulties, all with one consent went back againe, and we went on.
The wildmen weare not sorry for their departure, because of their ignorance in the affaire of such navigation. It's a great alteration to see one and 30 reduced to 2. We encouraged one another, both willing to live and die with one another; and that [is] the least we could doe, being brothers. Before we [went] to the lake of the hurrons we had crosses enough, but no encounter. We travelled onely in the night in these dangerous places, which could not be done without many vexations and labours. The vanity was somewhat cooler for the example we have seene the day before. The hungar was that tormented us most; for him we could not goe seeke for some wild beasts. Our chiefest food was onely some few fishes which the wildmen caught by a line, may be two dozens a whole day, no bigger then my hand.
Being come to the place of repose, some did goe along the water side on the rocks and there exposed ourselves to the rigour of the weather. Upon these rocks we find some shells, blackish without and the inner part whitish by reason of the heat of the sun and of the humidity. They are in a maner glued to the rock;
41gett them off by scraping them hard. When we thought to have enough [we] went back again to the Cottages, where the rest weare getting the litle fishes ready with trips,
42proper steps, some upon their toes, some on their heele, which is natural to them, for when they are infants the mother warpeth them to their mode. Heer I speake not of the horrid streams we passed, nor of the falls of the water, which weare of an incredible height. In some parts most faire and delicious, where people formerly lived onely by what they could gett by the bow and arrows. We weare come above 300 leagues allwayes against the streame, and made 60 carriages, besides drawing,
After we mourned enough for the death of our deare countrymen that weare slained coming up, we take leave of each other with promise of amitie and good correspondence
43one with another, as for the continuance of peace, as for the assistance of strength, if the enemy should make an assault. That they should not goe to the french without giving notice one to another and soe goe together. We that weare for the South went on severall dayes merily, and saw by the way the place where the Fathers Jesuits had heretofore lived; a delicious place, albeit we could but see it afarre off.
We must stay often in a place 2 or 3 dayes for the contrary winds; For [if] the winds weare anything high, we durst not venter the boats against the impetuosity of the waves, which is the reason that our voyages are so long and tedious. A great many large deep rivers empties themselves in that lake, and an infinit number of other small rivers, that cann beare boats, and all from lakes and pools which are in abundance in that country.
After we travelled many dayes we arrived att a large island
44about it have their hair like a brush turned up. They all have a hole in their nose, which is done by a straw which is above a foot long. It barrs their faces. Their ears have ordinarily 5 holes, where one may putt the end of his finger. They use those holes in this sort: to make themselves gallant they passe through it a skrew of coper with much dexterity, and goe on the lake in that posture. When the winter comes they weare no capes
It should be difficult to describe what variety of faces our arrivement did cause, some out of joy, others out of sadnesse. Neverthelesse the numbers of joyfull exceeded that of the sorrowfull. The season began to invite the lustiest to hunting. We neither desire to be idle in any place, having learned by experience that idlenesse is the mother of all evil, for it breeds most part of all sicknesse in those parts where the aire is most delightfull. So that they who had most knowledge in these quarters had familiarity with the people that live there about the last lake.
The nation that we weare with had warrs with the Iroquoits, and must trade. Our wildmen out of feare must consent to their ennemy to live in their land. It's true that those who lived about the first lake had not for the most part the conveniency of our french merchandise, as since, which obliged most of the remotest people to make peace, considering the enemy of theirs that came as a thunder bolt upon them, so that they joyned with them and forgett what was past for their owne preservation. Att our coming there we made large guifts, to dry up the tears of the friends of the deceased. As we came there the circumjacent neighbours came to visit us, that bid us welcome, as we are so. There comes newes that there weare ennemy in the fields, that they weare seene att the great field. There is a councell called, and resolved that they should be searched and sett uppon them as [soon as] possible may be, which [was] executed speedily. I offered my service, soe went and looked for them 2 dayes;
45finding them the 3d day, gave them the assault when they least thought off it. We played the game so furiously that none escaped.
The day following we returned to our village with 8 of our enemys dead and 3 alive. The dead weare eaten and the living weare burned with a small fire to the rigour of cruelties, which comforted the desolat to see them revenged of the death of their relations that was so served. We weare then possessed by the hurrons and Octanac; but our minde was not to stay in an island, but to be knowne with the remotest people. The victory that we have gotten made them consent to what we could desire, and because that we shewed willing[ness] to die for their defence. So we desired to goe with a company of theirs that was going to the nation of the starring haires.
We weare wellcomed and much made of, saying that we weare the Gods and devils of the earth; that we should fournish them, and that they would bring us to their ennemy to destroy them. We tould them [we] were very well content. We persuaded them first to come peaceably, not to destroy them presently, and if they would not condescend, then would wee throw away the hattchett and make use of our thunders. We sent ambassadors to them with guifts. That nation called Poutouatemick
We visited them during that winter, and by that means we made acquaintance with an other nation called Escotecke, which signified fire, a faire proper nation; they are tall and bigg and very strong.
46haires as soone as it comes out; but much more astonished when they saw our armes, especially our guns, which they worshipped by blowing smoake of tobacco instead of sacrifice. I will not insist much upon their way of living, For of their ceremonys heere you will see a pattern.
In the last voyage that wee made I will lett you onely know what cours we runned in 3 years' time. We desired them to lett us know their neighboring nations. They gave us the names, which I hope to describe their names in the end of this most imperfect discours, at least those that I can remember. Among others they told us of a nation called Nadoueceronon,
47and small shells
We finding this opportunity would not lett it slippe, but made guifts, telling that the other nation would stand in feare of them because of us. We flattered them, saying none would dare to give them the least wrong, in so much that many of the Octanacks that weare present to make the same voyage. I can assure you I liked noe country as I have that wherein we wintered; For whatever a man could desire was to be had in great plenty; viz. staggs, fishes in abundance, and all sort of meat, corne enough. Those of the 2 nations would not come with us, but turned back to their nation. We neverthelesse put ourselves in hazard, for our curiosity, of stay 2 or 3 years among that nation. We ventured, for that we understand some of their idiome and trusted to that.
We embarked ourselves on the delightfullest lake of the world. I tooke notice of their Cottages and of the journeys of our navigation, for because that the country was so pleasant, so beautifull and fruitfull that it grieved me to see that the world could not discover such inticing countrys to live in. This I say because that the Europeans fight for a rock in the sea against one another, or for a sterill land and horrid country, that the people sent heere or there by the changement of the aire ingenders sicknesse and dies thereof. Contrarywise those kingdoms are so delicious and under so temperat a climat, plentifull of all things, the earth bringing foorth its fruit twice a yeare, the people live long and lusty and wise in their way. What conquest would that bee att litle or no cost; what laborinth of pleasure should millions of people have, instead that millions complaine of misery and poverty! What should not men reape out of the love of God in converting the souls heere, is more to be gained to heaven then what is by differences of nothing there, should not be so many dangers committed under the pretence of religion! Why so many thoesoever are hid from us by our owne faults, by our negligence, covetousnesse, and unbeliefe. It's true, I confesse, that the accesse is difficult, but must say that we are like the Cockscombs of Paris, when first they begin to have
48wings, imagining that the larks will fall in their mouths roasted;
We meet with severall nations, all sedentary, amazed to see us, and weare very civil. The further we sejourned the delightfuller the land was to us. I can say that [in] my lifetime I never saw a more incomparable country, for all I have ben in Italy; yett Italy comes short of it, as I think, when it was inhabited, and now forsaken of the wildmen. Being about the great sea, we conversed with people that dwelleth about the salt water,
49nations that we mett conducted us and furnished us with all necessaries. Tending to those people, went towards the South and came back by the north.
The Summer passed away with admiration by the diversity of the nations that we saw, as for the beauty of the shore of that sweet sea. Heere we saw fishes of divers, some like the sturgeons and have a kind of slice att the end of their nose some 3 fingers broad in the end and 2 onely neere the nose, and some 8 thumbs long, all marbled of a blakish collor. There are birds whose bills are two and 20 thumbs long. That bird swallows a whole salmon, keeps it a long time in his bill. We saw alsoe shee-goats very bigg. There is an animal somewhat lesse then a cow whose meat is exceeding good. There is no want of Staggs nor Buffes. There are so many Tourkeys that the boys throws stoanes att them for their recreation. We found no sea-serpents as we in other laks have seene, especially in that of d'Ontario and that of the stairing haires. There are some in that of the hurrons, but scarce, for the great cold in winter. They come not neere the upper lake. In that of the stairing haires I saw yong boy [who] was bitten. He tooke immediately his stony knife and with a pointed stick and cutts off the whole wound, being no other remedy for it. They are great sorcerors and turns the wheele.
50speake of their manners in my last voyage, which I made in October.
We came to the strait of the 2 lakes of the stinkings and the upper lake, where there are litle isles towards Norwest, Few towards the southest, very small. The lake towards the North att the side of it is full of rocks and sand, yett great shipps can ride on it without danger. We being of 3 nations arrived there with booty, disputed awhile, For some would returne to their country. That was the nation of the fire, and would have us backe to their dwelling. We by all means would know the Christinos. To goe backe was out of our way. We contented the hurrons to our advantage with promises and others with hope, and persuaded the Octonack to keepe his resolution, because we weare but 5 small fine dayes from those of late that lived in the sault of the coming in of the said upper lake, from whence that name of salt, which is panoestigonce in the wild language, which heerafter we will call the nation of the salt.
Not many years since that they had a cruell warre against the Nadoueseronons. Although much inferiour in numbers, neverthelesse that small number of the salt was a terror unto them, since they had trade with the French. They never have seene such instruments as the French furnished them withall. It is a proude nation, therfore would not submitt, although they had to doe with a bigger nation 30 times then they weare, because that they weare called ennemy by all those that have the accent of the Algonquin language, that the wild men call Nadoue, which is the beginning of their name. The Iroquoits have the title of bad ennemy, Maesocchy Nadoue. Now seeing that the Christinos had hattchetts and knives, for that they resolved to make peace with those of the sault, that durst not have gon hundred of leagues uppon that upper lake with assurance. They would not hearken to anything because their general resolved to make peace with those of the Christinos and an other nation that gott gunns, the noise of which had frighted them more then the bulletts that weare in them. The time approached, there came about 100 of the nation of the Sault to those that lived towards the north. The christinos gott a bigger company and fought a
51batail. Some weare slaine of both sids. The Captayne of these of the Sault lost his eye by an arrow. The batail being over he made a speech, and said that he lost his sight of one side, and of the other he foresee what he would doe; his courage being abject by that losse, that he himselfe should be ambassador and conclud the peace.
He seeing that the Iroquoits came too often, a visit I must confesse very displeasing, being that some [of] ours looses their lives or liberty, so that we retired ourselves to the higher lake neerer the nation of the Nadoueceronons, where we weare well receaved, but weare mistrusted when many weare seene together. We arrived then where the nation of the Sault was, where we found some french men that came up with us, who thanked us kindly for to come and visit them. The wild Octanaks that came with us found some of their nations slaves, who weare also glad to see them. For all they weare slaves they had meat enough, which they have not in their owne country so plentifull, being no huntsmen, but altogether Fishers. As for those towards the north, they are most expert in hunting, and live uppon nothing else the most part of the yeare. We weare long there before we gott acquaintance with those that we desired so much, and they in lik maner had a fervent desire to know us, as we them. Heer comes a company of Christinos from the bay of the North sea, to live more at ease in the midle of woods and forests, by reason they might trade with those of the Sault and have the Conveniency to kill more beasts.
There we passed the winter and learned the particularitie that since wee saw by Experience. Heere I will not make a long discours during that time, onely made good cheere and killed staggs, Buffes, Elends, and Castors.
52thumbes long, the foot cloven like a stagge. He has a muzzle mighty bigge. I have seene some that have the nostrills so bigg that I putt into it my 2 fists att once with ease. Those that uses to be where the buffes be are not so bigg, but about the bignesse of a coach horse. The wildmen call them the litle sort. As for the Buff, it is a furious animal. One must have a care of him, for every yeare he kills some Nadoueseronons. He comes for the most part in the plaines and meddows; he feeds like an ox, and the Oriniack so but seldom he galopps. I have seene of their homes that a man could not lift them from of the ground.
We did what we could to have correspondence with that warlick nation and reconcile them with the Christinos. We went not there that winter. Many weare slained of both sides the summer last. The wound was yett fresh, wherfore it was hard to conclude peace between them. We could doe nothing, For we intended to turne back to the French the summer following. Two years weare expired. We hoped to be att the 2 years end with those that gave us over for dead, having before to come back at a year's end. As we are once in those remote countreys we cannot doe as we would. Att last we declared our mind first to those of the Sault, encouraging
53those of the North that we are their brethren, and that we would come back and force their enemy to peace or that we would help against them. We made guifts one to another, and thwarted a land of allmost 50 leagues before the snow was melted. In the morning it was a pleasur to walke, for we could goe without racketts.
We arrived, some 150 of us, men and women, to a river side, where we stayed 3 weeks making boats. Here we wanted not fish. During that time we made feasts att a high rate. So we refreshed ourselves from our labours. In that time we tooke notice that the budds of trees began to spring, which made us to make more hast and be gone. We went up that river 8 dayes till we came to a nation called Poutouatenick and Matouenock; that is, the scrattchers. There we gott some Indian meale and corne from those 2 nations, which lasted us till we came to the first landing Isle. There we weare well received againe. We made guifts to the Elders to encourage the yong people to bring us downe to the French. But mightily mistaken; For they would reply, "Should you bring us to be killed? The Iroquoits are every where about the river and undoubtedly will destroy us if we goe downe, and afterwards our wives and those that stayed behinde. Be wise, brethren, and offer not to goe downe this yeare to the French. Lett us keepe our lives." We made many private suits, but all in vaine. That vexed us most that we had given away most of our merchandises and swapped a great deale for Castors. Moreover they made no great harvest, being but newly there. Beside, they weare no great huntsmen. Our journey was broaken till the next yeare, and must per force.
That summer I went a hunting, and my brother stayed where he was welcome and putt up a great deale of Indian come that was given him. He intended to furnish the wildmen that weare to goe downe to the French if they had not enough. The wild men did not perceive this; For if they
54wanted any, we could hardly kept it for our use. The winter passes away in good correspondence one with another, and sent ambassadors to the nations that uses to goe downe to the french, which rejoyced them the more and made us passe that yeare with a greater pleasur, saving that my brother fell into the falling sicknesse,
The desire that every one had to goe downe to the French made them earnestly looke out for castors. They have not so many there as in the north part, so in the beginning of spring many came to our Isle. There weare no lesse, I believe, then 500 men that weare willing to venter themselves. The come that my brother kept did us a world of service. The wildmen brought a quantity of flesh salted in a vesell. When we were ready to depart, heere comes strang news of the defeat of the hurrons, which news, I thought, would putt off the voyage. There was a councell held, and most of them weare against the goeing downe to the French, saying that the Iroquoits weare to barre this yeare, and the best way was to stay till the following yeare. And now the ennemy, seeing himselfe frustrated of his expectation, would not stay longer, thinking thereby that we weare resolved never more to go downe, and that next yeare there should be a bigger company, and better able to oppose an ennemy. My brother and I, seeing ourselves all out of hopes of our voyage, without our corne, which was allready bestowed, and without any merchandise, or scarce having one knife betwixt us both, so we weare in a great apprehension least that the hurrons should, as they have done often, when the Fathers weare in their country, kill a frenchman.
Seeing the equipage ready and many more that thought long to depart thence for marchandise, we uppon this resolved to call a publique councell in the place; which the Elders hearing, came and advised us not to undertake it, giving many faire words, saying, "Brethren, why are you such
55ennemys to yourselves to putt yourselves in the hands of those that wait for you? They will destroy you and carry you away captives. Will you have your brethren destroyed that loves you, being slained? Who then will come up and baptize our children? Stay till the next yeare, and then you are like to have the number of 600 men in company with you. Then you may freely goe without intermission. Yee shall take the church along with you, and the Fathers and mothers will send their children to be taught in the way of truth of the Lord."
Then my brother made me stand up, saying, "Shew them the way to make warrs if they are able to uphold it." I tooke a gowne of castors' skins that one of them had uppon his shoulder and did beat him with it. I asked the others if I was a souldier. "Those are the armes that kill, and not your robes. What will your ennemy say when you perish without defending yourselves? Doe not you know the French way?
56We are used to fight with armes and not with robes. You say that the Iroquoits waits for you because some of your men weare killed. It is onely to make you stay untill you are quite out of stocke, that they dispatch you with ease. Doe you think that the French will come up here when the greatest part of you is slained by your owne fault? You know that they cannot come up without you. Shall they come to baptize your dead? Shall your children learne to be slaves among the Iroquoits for their Fathers' cowardnesse? You call me Iroquoit. Have not you seene me disposing my life with you? Who has given you your life if not the French? Now you will not venter because many of your confederates are come to visit you and venter their lives with you. If you will deceave them you must not think that they will come an other time for shy words nor desire. You have spoaken of it first, doe what you will. For myne owne part, I will venter choosing to die like a man then live like a beggar. Having not wherewithall to defend myselfe, farewell; I have my sack of come ready. Take all my castors. I shall live without you." And then departed that company.
They weare amazed of our proceeding; they stayed long before they spoake one to another. Att last sent us some considerable persons who bid us cheare up. "We see that you are in the right; the voyage is not broaken. The yong people tooke very ill that you have beaten them with the skin. All avowed to die like men and undertake the journey. You shall heare what the councell will ordaine the morrow. They are to meet privatly and you shall be called to it. Cheare up and speake as you have done; that is my councell to you. For this you will remember me when you will see me in your country; For I will venter meselfe with you." Now we are more satisfied then the day before. We weare to use all rhetorique to persuade them to goe downe, For we saw the country languish very much, For they could not subsist, and moreover they weare afraid of us. The councell is called, but we had no need to make a speech, finding them disposed to make the voyage and to submitt. "Yee women gett your husbands' bundles ready. They goe to gett wherwithall to defend themselves and you alive."
Our equipage was ready in 6 days. We embarked ourselves.
57We weare in number about 500, all stout men. We had with us a great store of castors' skins. We came to the South. We now goe back to the north, because to overtake a band of men that went before to give notice to others. We passed the lake without dangers. We wanted nothing, having good store of corne and netts to catch fish, which is plentyfull in the rivers. We came to a place where 8 Iroquoits wintered. That was the company that made a slaughter before our departure from home. Our men repented now they did not goe sooner, For it might be they should have surprised them.
Att last we are out of those lakes. One hides a caske of meale, the other his campiron, and all that could be cumbersome. After many paines and labours wee arrived to the Sault of Columest,
We proceeded in our way with great diligence till we came to the carriage place, where the one halfe of our men weare in readinesse, whilst the other halfe carried the baggage and the boats. We had a great alarum, but no hurt done. We
58saw but one boat, but have seene foure more going up the river. Methinks they thought themselves some what weake for us, which persuaded us [of] 2 things: 1st, that they weare afraid; 2ndly, that they went to warne their company, which thing warned us the more to make hast.
The 2nd day att evening after we landed and boyled an horiniack
59the only Captaynes. We desired them to keepe good watch and sentry, and if we weare not surprized we should come safe and sound without hurt to the French. The Iroquoite seeing us goe on our way, made as if they would leave us.
We made 3 carriages that day, where the ennemy could doe us mischief if they had ben there. The cunning knaves followed us neverthelesse pritty close. We left 5 boats behind that weare not loaden. We did so to see what invention our enemy could invent, knowing very well that his mind was to surprise us. It is enough that we are warned that they follow us. Att last we perceived that he was before us, which putt us in some feare; but seeing us resolut, did what he could to augment his number. But we weare mighty vigilent and sent some to make a discovery att every carriage through the woods. We weare told that they weare in an ambush, and there builded a fort below the long Sault, where we weare to passe. Our wildmen said doubtlesse they have gott an other company of their nation, so that some minded to throw their castors away and returne home. We told them that we weare almost att the gates of the French habitation, and bid [them] therefore have courage, and that our lives weare in as great danger as theirs, and if we weare taken we should never escape because they knewed us, and I because I runned away from their country having slained some of their brethren,
They att last weare persuaded, and landed within a mile of the landing place, and sent 300 men before armed. We made them great bucklers that the shot could not pearce in some places. They weare to be carryed if there had ben occasion for it. Being come neere the torrent, we finding the Iroquoits lying in ambush, who began to shoot. The rest of our company went about cutting of trees and making a fort, whilst some brought the boats; which being come, we left as few men as possible might bee. The rest helped to carry wood. We had about 200 men that weare gallant souldiers. The most weare hurrons, Pasnoestigons, and Amickkoick frequented the French for a time. The rest weare skillfull in their bows and arrows. The Iroquoits perceiving our device,
60resolved to fight by forceing them to lett us passe with our arms. They did not know best what to doe, being not so munished nor so many men above a hundred and fifty. They forsooke the place and retired into the fort, which was underneath the rapide. We in the meane while have slained 5 of theirs, and not one of ours hurted, which encouraged our wildmen. We bid them still to have good courage, that we should have the victory. Wee went and made another fort neere theirs, where 2 of our men weare wounded but lightly.
It is a horrid thing to heare [of] the enormity of outcryes of those different nations. The Iroquoits sung like devils, and often made salleys to make us decline. They gott nothing by that but some arrows that did incommodat them to some purpose. We foresee that such a batail could not hold out long for want of powder, of shott and arrows; so by the consent of my brother and the rest, made a speech in the Iroquoit language, indueing meselfe with armours that I might not be wounded with every bullet or arrow that the ennemy sent perpetually. Then I spoake. "Brethren, we came from your country and bring you to ours, not to see you perish unlesse we perish with you. You know that the French are men, and maks forts that cannot be taken so soone therefore cheare upp, For we love you and will die with you." This being ended, nothing but howling and crying. We brought our castors and tyed them 8 by 8, and rowled them before us. The Iroquoits finding that they must come out of their fort to the watterside, where they left their boats, to make use of them in case of neede, where indeed made an escape, leaving all their baggage behind, which was not much, neither had we enough to fill our bellyes with the meat that was left; there weare kettles, broaken gunns, and rusty hattchetts.
They being gone, our passage was free, so we made hast and endeavoured to come to our journey's end; and to make the more hast, some boats went downe that swift streame without making any carriage, hopeing to follow the ennemy; but the bad lacke was that where my brother was the boat turned in the torrent, being seaven of them together, weare in great danger. For God was mercifull to give them strength
61to save themselves, to the great admiration, for few can speed so well in such precipices. When they came to lande they cutt rocks. My brother lost his booke of annotations of the last yeare of our being in these foraigne nations. We lost never a castor, but may be some better thing. It's better [that one] loose all then lose his life.
We weare 4 moneths in our voyage without doeing any thing but goe from river to river. We mett severall sorts of people. We conversed with them, being long time in alliance with them. By the persuasion of som of them we went into the great river that divides itselfe in 2, where the hurrons with some Ottanake and the wild men that had warrs with them had retired.
We weare informed of that nation that live in the other river. These weare men of extraordinary height and biggnesse, that made us believe they had no communication with them. They live onely uppon Corne and Citrulles,
62which are mighty bigg. They have fish in plenty throughout the yeare. They have fruit as big as the heart of an Oriniak, which grows on vast trees which in compasse are three armefull in compasse. When they see litle men they are affraid and cry out, which makes many come help them. Their arrows are not of stones as ours are, but of fish boans and other boans that they worke greatly, as all other things. Their dishes are made of wood. I having seene them, could not but admire the curiosity of their worke. They have great calumetts of great stones, red and greene. They make a store of tobacco. They have a kind of drink that makes them mad for a whole day. This I have not seene, therefore you may believe as you please.
When I came backe I found my brother sick, as I said before. God gave him his health, more by his courage then by any good medicine, For our bodyes are not like those of the wildmen. To our purpose; we came backe to our carriage, whilst wee endeavoured to ayde our compagnions in their extremity. The Iroquoits gott a great way before, not well satisfied to have stayed for us, having lost 7 of their men; 2 of them weare not nimble enough, For our bulletts and arrows made them stay for good and all. Seaven of our men weare sick, they have ben like to be drowned, and the other two weare wounded by the Iroquoits.
The next day we went on without any delay or encounter. I give you leave if those of mont Royall weare not overjoyed to see us arrived where they affirme us the pitifull conditions that the country was by the cruelty of these cruell barbars, that perpetually killed and slaughtered to the very gate of the French fort. All this hindered not our goeing to the French att the 3 rivers after we refreshed ourselves 3 dayes, but like to pay dearly for our bold attempt. 20 inhabitants came downe with us in a shawlopp. As we doubled the point of the river of the meddows we weare sett uppon by severall of the Iroquoits, but durst not come neare us, because of two small brasse pieces that the shalop carryed. We tyed our boats together and made a fort about us of castors' skins, which kept us from all danger. We went downe the streame in that posture. The ennemy left us, and did well; for our wildmen weare disposed to fight, and our shaloupp could not
63come neare them because for want of watter. We came to Quebecq, where we are saluted with the thundring of the guns and batteryes of the fort, and of the 3 shipps that weare then att anchor, which had gon back to france without castors if we had not come. We weare well traited for 5 dayes. The Governor made guifts and sent 2 Brigantins to bring us to the 3 rivers, where we arrived the 2nd day of, and the 4th day they went away.
That is the end of our 3 years' voyage and few months. After so much paine and danger God was so mercifull [as] to bring us back saf to our dwelling, where the one was made much off by his wife, the other by his friends and kindred. The ennemy that had discovered us in our goeing downe gott more company, with as many as they could to come to the passages, and there to waite for the retourne of those people, knowinge well that they could not stay there long because the season of the yeare was almost spent; but we made them by our persuasions goe downe to Quebecq, which proved well, For the Iroquoits thought they weare gone another way. So came the next day after our arrivall to make a discovery to the 3 rivers, where being perceived, there is care taken to receive them.
The French cannot goe as the wildmen through the woods, but imbarks themselves in small boats and went along the river side, knowing that if the ennemy was repulsed, he would make his retreat to the river side. Some Algonquins weare then att the habitation, who for to shew their vallour disposed themselves to be the first in the poursuit of the enemy. Some of the strongest and nimblest French kept them company, with an other great number of men called Ottanacks so that we weare soone together by the ears. There weare some 300 men of the enemy that came in the space of a fourteen night together; but when they saw us they made use of their heels. We weare about 500; but the better to play their game, after they runned half a mile in the wood they turned againe, where then the batail began most furiously by shooting att one another.
That uppermost nation, being not used to shooting nor heare such noise, began to shake off their armours, and tooke their bows and arrows, which indeed made [more] execution
64then all the guns that they had brought. So seeing 50 Algonquins and 15 French keep to it, they resolved to stick to it also, which had not long lasted; For seeing that their arrows weare almost spent and they must close together, and that the enemy had an advantage by keeping themselves behind the trees, and we to fall uppon we must be without bucklers, which diminished much our company that was foremost, we gave them in spight us place to retire themselves, which they did with all speed. Having come to the watter side, where their boats weare, saw the French all in a row, who layd in an ambush to receive them, which they had done if God had not ben for us; For they, thinking that the enemy was att hand, mistrusted nothing to the contrary. The French that weare in the wood, seeing the evident danger where their countrymen layd, encouraged the Ottanaks, who tooke their armes againe and followed the enemy, who not feared that way arrived before the French weare apprehended, by good looke.
One of the Iroquoits, thinking his boat would be seene, goes quickly and putts it out of sight, and discovers himselfe, which warned the French to hinder them to goe further uppon that score. Our wildmen made a stand and fell uppon them stoutly. The combat begins a new; they see the French that weare uppon the watter come neere, which renforced them to take their boats with all hast, and leave their booty behind. The few boats that the french had brought made that could enter but the 60 French, who weare enough. The wildmen neverthelesse did not goe without their prey, which was of three men's heads that they killed att the first fight; but they left Eleven of theirs in the place, besides many more that weare wounded. They went straight to their countrey, which did a great service to the retourne of our wildmen, and mett with non all their journey, as we heard afterwards.
They went away the next day, and we stayed att home att rest that yeare. My brother and I considered whether we should discover what we have seene or no; and because we had not a full and whole discovery, which was that we have not ben in the bay of the north, not knowing anything but by report of the wild Christinos, we would make no mention