is the fourteenth in a continuing series of entries from the Voyages
of Samuel de Champlain, first published in 1613. To view Part I,
click here. For Champlain's
account of the discovery of the lake that bears his name, click
translation from the French by Charles Pomeroy Otis, Ph.D.
Republished by the Prince Society, Boston: 1878.
MEMOIR OF SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN
CONTINUATION OF THE ABOVE DISCOVERIES, AND WHAT WAS OBSERVED OF
When we were some six leagues from
Mallebarre, we anchored near the coast, the wind not being fair,
along which we observed columns of smoke made by the savages, which
led us to determine to go to them, for which purpose the shallop was
made ready. But when near the coast, which is sandy, we could not
land, for the swell was too great. Seeing this, the savages launched
a canoe, and came out to us, eight or nine of them, singing and
making signs of their joy at seeing us, and they indicated to us
that lower down there was a harbor where we could put our barque in
a place of security. Unable to land, the shallop came back to the
barque; and the savages, whom we had treated civilly, returned to
On the next day, the wind being favorable, we continued our course
to the north  five leagues, and hardly had we gone this
distance, when we found three and four fathoms of water at a
distance of a league and a half from the shore. On going a little
farther, the depth suddenly diminished to a fathom and a half and
two fathoms, which alarmed us, since we saw the sea breaking all
around, but no passage by which we could retrace our course, for the
wind was directly contrary.
Accordingly being shut in among the breakers and sand-banks, we had
to go at hap-hazard where there seemed to be the most water for our
barque, which was at most only four feet: we continued among these
breakers until we found as much as four feet and a half. Finally, we
succeeded, by the grace of God, in going over a sandy point running
out nearly three leagues seaward to the south-south-east, and a very
dangerous place.  Doubling this cape, which we named Cap
Batturier,  which is twelve or thirteen leagues from Mallebarre,
 we anchored in two and a half fathoms of water, since we saw
ourselves surrounded on all sides by breakers and shoals, except in
some places where the sea was breaking to go to a place, which, we
concluded to be that which the savages had indicated. We also
thought there was a river there, where we could lie in security.
When our shallop arrived there, our party landed and examined the
place, and, returning with a savage whom they brought off, they told
us that we could enter at full tide, which was resolved upon. We
immediately weighed anchor, and, under the guidance of the savage
who piloted us, proceeded to anchor at a roadstead before the
harbor, in six fathoms of water and a good bottom;  for we
could not enter, as the night overtook us.
On the next day, men were sent to set stakes at the end of a
sand-bank  at the mouth of the harbor, when, the tide rising,
we entered in two fathoms of water. When we had arrived, we praised
God for being in a place of safety. Our rudder had broken, which we
had mended with ropes; but we were afraid that, amid these shallows
and strong tides, it would break anew, and we should be lost. Within
this harbor  there is only a fathom of water, and two at full
tide. On the east, there is a bay extending back on the north some
three leagues,  in which there is an island and two other
little bays which adorn the landscape, where there is a considerable
quantity of land cleared up, and many little hills, where they
cultivate corn and the various grains on which they live. There are,
also, very fine vines, many walnut-trees, oaks, cypresses, but only
a few pines.  All the inhabitants of this place are very fond
of agriculture, and provide themselves with Indian corn for the
winter, which they store in the following manner:--
They make trenches in the sand on the slope of the hills, some five
to six feet deep, more or less. Putting their corn and other grains
into large grass sacks, they throw them into these trenches, and
cover them with sand three or four feet above the surface of the
earth, taking it out as their needs require. In this way, it is
preserved as well as it would be possible to do in our granaries.
* * * * *
CHAMPLAIN'S EXPLANATION OF THE ACCOMPANYING MAP.
_The figures indicate fathoms of water_.
_A_. Pond of salt water. [Note: This is now called Oyster Pond.]
_B_. Cabins of the Savages and the lands they cultivate.
_C_. Meadows where there are two little brooks.
_C_. Meadows on the island, that are covered at every tide. [Note:
The letter _C_ appears twice in the index, but both are wanting on
the map. The former seems to point to the meadows on the upper
left-hand corner: the other should probably take the place of the
_O_ on the western part of the island above _F_.]
_D_. Small mountain ranges on the island, that are covered with
trees, vines, and plum-trees. [Note: This range of hills is a marked
feature of the island.]
_E_. Pond of fresh water, where there is plenty of game. [Note: This
pond is still distinguished for its game, and is leased by gentlemen
in Boston and held as a preserve.]
_F_. A kind of meadow on the island. [Note: This is known as Morris
Island; but the strait on the north of it has been filled up, and
the island is now a part of the main land.]
_G_. An island covered with wood in a great arm of the sea. [Note:
This island has been entirely obliterated, and the neck on the north
has likewise been swept away, and the bay now extends several
leagues farther north. The destruction of the island was completed
in 1851, in the gale that swept away Minot's Light. In 1847, it had
an area of thirteen acres and an elevation of twenty feet.--_Vide
Harbor Com. Report, 1873.]
_H_. A sort of pond of salt water, where there are many shell-fish,
and, among others, quantities of oysters. [Note: This is now called
the Mill Pond.]
_I_. Sandy downs on a narrow tongue of land.
_L_. Arm of the sea.
_M_. Roadstead before the harbor where we anchored. [Note: Chatham
Roads, or Old Stage Harbor.]
_N_. Entrance to the harbor.
_O_. The harbor and place where our barque was.
_P_. The cross we planted.
_Q_. Little brook.
_R_. Mountain which is seen at a great distance. [Note: A moderate
elevation, by no means a mountain in our sense of the word.]
_T_. Little river.
_V_. Way we went in their country among their dwellings: it is
indicated by small dots. [Note: The circuit here indicated is about
four or five miles. Another path is indicated in the same manner on
the extreme northern end of the map, which shows that their
excursions had been extensive.]
_X_. Banks and shoals.
_Y_. Small mountain seen in the interior. [Note: This is now called
the Great Chatham Hill, and is a conspicuous landmark.] _Z_. Small
_9_. Spot near the cross where the savages killed our men. [Note:
This is a creek up which the tide sets. The other brook figured on
the map a little south of the cross has been artificially filled up,
but the marshes which it drained are still to be seen. These
landmarks enable us to fix upon the locality of the cross within a
* * * * *
We saw in this place some five to six hundred savages, all naked
except their sexual parts, which they cover with a small piece of
doe or seal-skin. The women are also naked, and, like the men, cover
theirs with skins or leaves. They wear their hair carefully combed
and twisted in various ways, both men and women, after the manner of
the savages of Choüacoet.  Their bodies are well-proportioned,
and their skin olive-colored. They adorn themselves with feathers,
beads of shell, and other gewgaws, which they arrange very neatly in
embroidery work. As weapons, they have bows, arrows, and clubs. They
are not so much great hunters as good fishermen and tillers of the
In regard to their police, government, and belief, we have been
unable to form a judgment; but I suppose that they are not different
in this respect from our savages, the Souriquois and Canadians, who
worship neither the moon nor the sun, nor any thing else, and pray
no more than the beasts.  There are, however, among them some
persons, who, as they say, are in concert with the devil, in whom
they have great faith. They tell them all that is to happen to them,
but in so doing lie for the most part. Sometimes they succeed in
hitting the mark very well, and tell them things similar to those
which actually happen to them. For this reason, they have faith in
them, as if they were prophets; while they are only impostors who
delude them, as the Egyptians and Bohemians do the simple villagers.
They have chiefs, whom they obey in matters of war, but not
otherwise, and who engage in labor, and hold no higher rank than
their companions. Each one has only so much land as he needs for his
Their dwellings are separate from each other, according to the land
which each one occupies. They are large, of a circular shape, and
covered with thatch made of grasses or the husks of Indian corn.
 They are furnished only with a bed or two, raised a foot from
the ground, made of a number of little pieces of wood pressed
against each other, on which they arrange a reed mat, after the
Spanish style, which is a kind of matting two or three fingers
thick: on these they sleep.  They have a great many fleas in
summer, even in the fields. One day as we went out walking, we were
beset by so many of them that we were obliged to change our clothes.
All the harbors, bays, and coasts from Choüacoet are filled with
every variety of fish, like those which we have before our
habitation, and in such abundance that I can confidently assert that
there was not a day or night when we did not see and hear pass by
our barque more than a thousand porpoises, which were chasing the
smaller fry. There are also many shell-fish of various sorts,
principally oysters. Game birds are very plenty.
It would be an excellent place to erect buildings and lay the
foundations of a State, if the harbor were somewhat deeper and the
entrance safer. Before leaving the harbor, the rudder was repaired;
and we had some bread made from flour, which we had brought for our
subsistence, in case our biscuit should give out. Meanwhile, we sent
the shallop with five or six men and a savage to see whether a
passage might be found more favorable for our departure than that by
which we had entered.
After they had gone five or six leagues and were near the land, the
savage made his escape , since he was afraid of being taken to
other savages farther south, the enemies of his tribe, as he gave
those to understand who were in the shallop. The latter, upon their
return, reported that, as far as they had advanced, there were at
least three fathoms of water, and that farther on there were neither
shallows nor reefs.
We accordingly made haste to repair our barque, and make a supply of
bread for fifteen days. Meanwhile, Sieur de Poutrincourt,
accompanied by ten or twelve arquebusiers, visited all the
neighboring country, which is very fine, as I have said before, and
where we saw here and there a large number of little houses.
Some eight or nine days after, while Sieur de Poutrincourt was
walking out, as he had previously done,  we observed the
Savages taking down their cabins and sending their women, children,
provisions, and other necessaries of life into the woods. This made
us suspect some evil intention, and that they purposed to attack
those of our company who were working on shore, where they stayed at
night in order to guard that which could not be embarked at evening
except with much trouble. This proved to be true; for they
determined among themselves, after all their effects had been put in
a place of security, to come and surprise those on land, taking
advantage of them as much as possible, and to carry off all they
had. But, if by chance they should find them on their guard, they
resolved to come with signs of friendship, as they were wont to do,
leaving behind their bows and arrows.
Now, in view of what Sieur de Poutrincourt had seen, and the order
which it had been told him they observed when they wished to play
some bad trick, when we passed by some cabins, where there was a
large number of women, we gave them some bracelets and rings to keep
them quiet and free from fear, and to most of the old and
distinguished men hatchets, knives, and other things which they
desired. This pleased them greatly, and they repaid it all in
dances, gambols, and harangues, which we did not understand at all.
We went wherever we chose without their having the assurance to say
any thing to us. It pleased us greatly to see them; show themselves
so simple in appearance.
We returned very quietly to our barque, accompanied by some of the
savages. On the way, we met several small troops of them, who
gradually gathered together with their arms, and were greatly
astonished to see us so far in the interior, and did not suppose
that we had just made a circuit of nearly four or five leagues about
their territory. Passing near us, they trembled with fear, lest harm
should be done them, as it was in our power to do. But we did them
none, although we knew their evil intentions. Having arrived where
our men were working, Sieur de Poutrincourt inquired if every thing
was in readiness to resist the designs of this rabble.
He ordered every thing on shore to be embarked. This was done,
except that he who was making the bread stayed to finish a baking,
and two others with him. They were told that the savages had some
evil intent, and that they should make haste to embark the coming
evening, since they carried their plans into execution only at
night, or at daybreak, which in their plots is generally the hour
for making a surprise.
Evening having come, Sieur de Poutrincourt gave orders that the
shallop should be sent ashore to get the men who remained. This was
done as soon as the tide would permit, and those on shore were told
that they must embark for the reason assigned. This they refused in
spite of the remonstrances that were made setting forth the risks
they ran and the disobedience to their chief. They paid no attention
to it, with the exception of a servant of Sieur de Poutrincourt, who
embarked. Two others disembarked from the shallop and went to the
three on shore, who had stayed to eat some cakes made at the same
time with the bread.
But, as they were unwilling to do as they were told, the shallop
returned to the vessel. It was not mentioned to Sieur de
Poutrincourt, who had retired, thinking that all were on board.
The next day, in the morning, the 15th of October, the savages did
not fail to come and see in what condition our men were, whom they
found asleep, except one, who was near the fire. When they saw them
in this condition, they came, to the number of four hundred, softly
over a little hill, and sent them such a volley of arrows that to
rise up was death. Fleeing the best they could towards our barque,
shouting, "Help! they are killing us!" a part fell dead in the
water; the others were all pierced with arrows, and one died in
consequence a short time after. The savages made a desperate noise
with roarings, which it was terrible to hear.
* * * * *
CHAMPLAIN'S EXPLANATION OF THE ACCOMPANYING MAP.
THE ATTACK AT PORT FORTUNE.
The figures indicate fathoms of water.
_A_. Place where the French were making bread.
_B_. The savages surprising the French, and shooting their arrows at
_C_. French burned by the Savages.
_D_. The French fleeing to the barque, completely covered with
_E_. Troops of savages burning the French whom they had killed.
_F_. Mountain bordering on the harbor.
_G_. Cabins of the savages.
_H_. French on the shore charging upon the Savages.
_I_. Savages routed by the French.
_L_. Shallop in which were the French.
_M_. Savages around our shallop, who were surprised by our men.
_N_. Barque of Sieur de Poutrincourt.
_O_. The harbor.
_P_. Small brook.
_Q_. French who fell dead in the water as they were trying to flee
to the barque.
_R_. Brook coming from certain marshes.
_S_. Woods under cover of which the savages came.
* * * * *
Upon the occurrence of this noise and that of our men, the sentinel,
on our vessel, exclaimed, "To arms! They are killing our men!"
Consequently, each one immediately seized his arms; and we embarked
in the shallop, some fifteen or sixteen of us, in order to go
ashore. But, being unable to get there on account of a sand-bank
between us and the land, we threw ourselves into the water, and
waded from this bank to the shore, the distance of a musket-shot. As
soon as we were there, the savages, seeing us within arrow range,
fled into the interior. To pursue them was fruitless, for they are
marvellously swift. All that we could do was to carry away the dead
bodies and bury them near a cross, which had been set up the day
before, and then to go here and there to see if we could get sight
of any of them. But it was time wasted, therefore we came back.
Three hours afterwards, they returned to us on the sea-shore. We
discharged at them several shots from our little brass cannon; and,
when they heard the noise, they crouched down on the ground to avoid
the fire. In mockery of us, they beat down the cross and disinterred
the dead, which displeased us greatly, and caused us to go for them
a second time; but they fled, as they had done before. We set up
again the cross, and reinterred the dead, whom they had thrown here
and there amid the heath, where they kindled a fire to burn them. We
returned without any result, as we had done before, well aware that
there was scarcely hope of avenging ourselves this time, and that we
should have to renew the undertaking when it should please God.
On the 16th of the month, we set out from Port Fortuné, to which we
had given this name on account of the misfortune which happened to
us there. This place is in latitude 41° 20', and some twelve or
thirteen leagues from Mallebarre. 
210. Clearly a mistake. Champlain here says they "continued their
course north," whereas, the whole context shows that they must have
211. "The sandy point" running out nearly three leagues was
evidently the island of Monomoy, or its representative, which at
that time may have been only a continuation of the main land.
Champlain does not delineate on his map an island, but a sand-bank
nearly in the shape of an isosceles triangle, which extends far to
the south-east. Very great changes have undoubtedly taken place on
this part of the coast since the visit of Champlain. The sand-bar
figured by him has apparently been swept from the south-east round
to the south-west, and is perhaps not very much changed in its
general features except as to its position. "We know from our
studies of such shoals," says Prof. Mitchell, Chief of Physical
Hydrography, U. S. Coast Survey, "that the relative order of banks
and beaches remains about the same, however the system as a whole
may change its location."--_Mass. Harbor Commissioners' Report_.
1873, p. 99.
212. _Batturier_. This word is an adjective, formed with the proper
termination from the noun, _batture_, which means a bank upon which
the sea beats, reef or sand-bank. _Cap Batturier_ may therefore be
rendered sand-bank cape, or the cape of the sand-banks. _Batturier_
does not appear in the dictionaries, and was doubtless coined by
Champlain himself, as he makes, farther on, the adjective _truitière_,
in the expression _la rivière truitière_, from the noun, _truite_.
213. The distances here given appear to be greatly overstated. From
Nauset to the southern point of Monomoy, as it is to-day, the
distance is not more than six leagues. But, as the sea was rough,
and they were apparently much delayed, the distance might naturally
enough be overestimated.
214. The anchorage was in Chatham Roads, or Old Stage Harbor.
215. Harding's Beach Point.
216. They were now in Stage Harbor, in Chatham, to which Champlain,
farther on gives the name of Port Fortuné.
217. This is the narrow bay that stretches from Morris Island to the
north, parallel with the sea, separated from it only by a sand-bank,
and now reaching beyond Chatham into the town of Orleans. By
comparing Champlain's map of Port Fortuné with modern charts, it
will be seen that the "bay extending back on the north some three
leagues" terminated, in 1606, a little below Chatham Old Harbor. The
island on Champlain's map marked G. was a little above the harbor,
but has been entirely swept away, together with the neck north of
it, represented on Champlain's map as covered with trees. The bay
now extends, as we have stated above, into the town of Orleans. The
island G, known in modern times as Ram Island, disappeared in 1851,
although it still continued to figure on Walling's map of 1858: The
two other little bays mentioned in the text scarcely appear on
Champlain's map; and he may have inadvertently included in this bay
the two that are farther north, viz. Crow's Pond and Pleasant Bay,
although they do not fall within the limits of his map.
218. _Vide antea_, notes 168, 204, 205.
219. Indian corn, _Zea mays_, is a plant of American origin.
Columbus saw it among the natives of the West Indies, "a sort of
grain they call Maiz, which was well tasted, bak'd, or dry'd and
made into flour."-- _Vide History of the Life and Actions of Chris.
Columbus by his Son Ferdinand Columbus, Churchill's Voyages_, Vol.
II. p. 510.
It is now cultivated more or less extensively in nearly every part
of the world where the climate is suitable. Champlain is the first
who has left a record of the method of its cultivation in New
England, _vide antea_, p. 64, and of its preservation through the
winter. The Pilgrims, in 1620, found it deposited by the Indians in
the ground after the manner described in the text. Bradford says
they found "heaps of sand newly padled with their hands, which they,
digging up, found in them diverce faire Indean baskets filled with
corne, and some in eares, faire and good, of diverce collours, which
seemed to them a very goodly sight, haveing never seen any such
before:"--_His. Plym. Plantation_, p. 82. Squanto taught the English
how to "set it, and after how to dress and tend it"--_Idem_, p. 100.
"The women," says Roger Williams, "set or plant, weede and hill, and
gather and barne all the corne and Fruites of the field," and of
drying the corn, he adds, "which they doe carefully upon heapes and
Mats many dayes, they barne it up, covering it up with Mats at
night, and opening when the Sun is hot"
The following are testimonies as to the use made by the natives of
the Indian corn as food:--
"They brought with them in a thing like a Bow-case, which the
principall of them had about his wast, a little of their Corne
powdered to Powder, which put to a little water they eate."--_Mourts
Relation_, London, 1622, Dexter's ed., p. 88.
"Giving us a kinde of bread called by them _Maizium_."--_Idem_, p.
"They seldome or never make bread of their _Indian_ corne, but seeth
it whole like beanes, eating three or four cornes with a mouthfull
of fish or flesh, sometimes eating meate first and cornes after,
filling chinckes with their broth."--_Wood's New Eng. Prospect_,
London, 1634. Prince Society's ed., pp. 75, 76.
"Nonkekich. _Parch'd meal_, which is a readie very wholesome, food,
which they eate with a little water hot or cold: ... With _spoonfull_
of this _meale_ and a spoonfull of water from the _Brooke_, have I
made many a good dinner and supper."--_Roger Williams's Key_,
London, 1643, Trumbull's ed., pp. 39, 40.
"Their food is generally boiled maize, or Indian corn, mixed with
kidney beans or Sometimes without.... Also they mix with the said
pottage several sorts of roots, as Jerusalem artichokes, and ground
nuts, and other roots, and pompions, and squashes, and also several
sorts of nuts or masts, as oak-acorns, chesnuts, walnuts: These
husked and dried, and powdered, they thicken their pottage
therewith."-- _Historical Collections of the Indians_, by Daniel
Gookin, 1674, Boston, 1792. p. 10.
220. The character of the Indian dress, as here described, does not
differ widely from that of a later period.--_Vide Mourt's Relation_,
1622, Dexter's ed., p. 135: _Roger Williams's Key_, 1643, Trumbull's
ed., p. 143, _et seq.; History of New England_, by Edward Johnson,
1654, Poole's ed., pp. 224, 225.
Champlain's observations were made in the autumn before the approach
of the winter frosts.
Thomas Morton, writing in 1632, says that the mantle which the women
"use to cover their nakednesse with is much longer then that which
the men use; for as the men have one Deeres skinn, the women haue
two soed together at the full length, and it is so lardge that it
trailes after them, like a great Ladies trane, and in time," he
sportively adds, "I thinke they may have their Pages to beare them
up."--_New Eng. Canaan_, 1632, in Force's Tracts, Vol. II, p. 23.
221. This conclusion harmonizes with the opinion of Thomas Morton,
who says that the natives of New England are "_sine fide, sine lege,
et sine rege_, and that they have no worship nor religion at
all."--_New Eng. Canaan_, 1632, in Force's Tracts, Vol. II. p. 21.
Winslow was at first of the same opinion, but afterward saw cause
for changing his mind.--_Vide Winslow's Relation_, 1624, in Young's
Chronicles, P 355. See also _Roger Williams's Key_, Trumbull's ed.,
222. "Their houses, or wigwams," says Gookin, "are built with small
poles fixed in the ground, bent and fastened together with barks of
trees, oval or arborwise on the top. The best sort of their houses
are covered very neatly, tight, and warm with the bark of trees,
stripped from their bodies at such seasons when the sap is up; and
made into great flakes with pressures of weighty timbers, when they
are green; and so becoming dry, they will retain a form suitable for
the use they prepare them for. The meaner sort of wigwams are
covered with mats they make of a kind of bulrush, which are also
indifferent tight and warm, but not so good as the former."--_Vide
Historical Collections_, 1674, Boston, 1792, p. 9.
223. The construction of the Indian couch, or bed, at a much later
period may be seen by the following excerpts: "So we desired to goe
to rest: he layd us on the bed with himselfe and his wife, they at
one end and we at the other, it being only plancks layd a foot from
the ground, and a thin mat upon them."--_Mourt's Relation_, London.
1622, Dexter's ed., pp. 107, 108. "In their wigwams, they make a
kind of couch or mattresses, firm and strong, raised about a foot
high from the earth; first covered with boards that they split out
of trees; and upon the boards they spread mats generally, and
sometimes bear skins and deer skins. These are large enough for
three or four persons to lodge upon: and one may either draw nearer
or keep at a more distance from the heat of the fire, as they
please; for their mattresses are six or eight feet broad."--_Gookin's
Historical Collections_, 1674, Boston, 1792, p. 10.
224. This exploration appears to have extended about as far as Point
Gammon, where, being "near the land," their Indian guide left them,
as stated in the text.
225. On the map of Port Fortuné, or Chatham, the course of one of
these excursions is marked by a dotted line, to which the reader is
referred.--_Vide_ notes on the map of Port Fortuné.
226. _Port Fortuné_, perhaps here used, to signify the port of
chance or hazard; referring particularly to the dangers they
encountered in passing round Monomoy to reach it. The latitude of
Stage Harbor in Chatham is 41° 40'. The distance from Mallebarre or
Nauset to Port Fortuné, or Stage Harbor, by water round the Southern
point of Monomoy is at the present time about nine leagues. The
distance may possibly have been greater in 1606, or Champlain may
have increased the distance by giving a wide berth to Monomoy in
passing round it.
is the conclusion of Chapter 14 of Voyages
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