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Samuel-De-Champlain

5th September 1604 ... The same day we passed also near to an island about four or five leagues long. From this island to the main land on the north, the distance is less than a hundred paces. It is very high, and notched in places, so that there is the appearance to one at sea, as of seven or eight mountains extending along near each other. The summit of most of them is destitute of trees, as there are only rocks on them. The woods consists of pines, firs, and birches only. I named it Isle des Monts Deserts.

The next day, the 6th of the month, we sailed two leagues and perceived a smoke in a cove at the foot of the mountains above mentioned. We saw two canoes rowed by savages, which came within musket range to observe us. I sent our two savages in a boat to assure them of our friendship. Their fear of us made them turn back. On the morning of the next day they came alongside of our barque and talked with our savages. I ordered some biscuit, tobacco, and other trifles to be given them. These savages had come beaver-hunting and to catch fish, some of which they gave us. Having made an alliance with them, they guided us to their river of Pentegouet, so called by them, where they told us was their captain, named Bessabez, chief of this river....

As one enters the river, there are beautiful islands, which are very pleasant and contain fine meadows. We proceeded to a place to which the savages guided us, where the river is not more than an eighth of a league broad.... I landed to view the country and, going on a hunting excursion, found it very pleasant so far as I went. The oaks here appear as if they were planted for ornament. I saw only a few firs, but numerous pines on one side of the river; on the other side only oaks, and some copse wood which extends far into the interior.... We saw no town or village, but one or two cabins of the savages. These were made in the same way as those of the Micmacs, being covered with the bark of trees. So far as we could judge the savages on this river are few in number ... moreover, they only come to the islands, and that only during some months in summer for fish and game, of which there is a great quantity. They are a people who have no fixed abode, so far as I could observe and learn from them. For they spend the winter now in one place and now in another, according as they find the best hunting, by which they live when urged by their daily needs, without laying up anything for times of scarcity, which are sometimes severe....

[T]he savages who had conducted me to the fall of the river... went to notify Bessabez, their chief, and other savages, who in turn pro-ceeded to another little river to inform their own, named Cabahis, and give him notice of our arrival.

The 16th of the month there came to us some thirty savages.... There came also to us the same day the above-named Bessabez with six canoes. As soon as the savages who were on land saw him coming, they all began to sing, dance and jump, until he had landed. Afterwards, they all seated themselves in a circle on the ground, as is their custom when they wish to celebrate a festivity, or an harrangue is to be made. Cabahis, the other chief, arrived also a little later with twenty or thirty of his companions, who withdrew to one side and greatly enjoyed seeing us, as it was the first time they had seen Christians....

I directed the men in our barque to approach near the savages, and hold their arms in readiness to do their duty in case they noticed any movement of these people against us. Bessabez, seeing us on land, bade us sit down, and began to smoke with his companions, as they usually do before an address. They presented us with venison and game.

I directed our interpreter to say to our savages that they should cause Bessabez, Cabahis and their companions to understand that Sieur de Monts had sent me to them to see them, and also their country, and that he desired to preserve friendship with them and to reconcile them with their enemies, the Souriquois [Micmacs] and Canadians [New Brunswick Malacites] and moreover that he desired to inhabit the country and show them how to cultivate it, in order that they might not continue to lead so miserable a life as they were doing....

I presented them with hatchets, paternosters, caps, knives, and other little knick-knacks when we separated from each other.

Review Questions:

 

The Lines: Literal recalling

1.      When did this event happen?

2.      Where is Champlain when this happens?

3.      How did Champlain view the physical setting?

4.      Describe the Natives' living conditions.

 

Between the Lines: Interpreting

5.      How did Champlain view their living conditions?

6.      How does Champlain's reference to the Natives as "Savages" foreshadow problems in the future?

7.      How does Champlain's and Sier de Mont's desires expressed in the second to last paragraph also foreshadow problems in the future?

 

Beyond the Lines: Analyze & Evaluate

8.      Explain how Champlain may have approached the situation differently to avoid problems in the future

 



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