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N the year 1497, John Cabot and his son Sebastian reached the continent of North America, being the first Europeans who had touched there since the Northmen. In the following year Sebastian performed a most extensive exploratory voyage along the greater part of the eastern coast, from latitude 56° or 58° north, to Florida; and in 1517, he entered Hudson's Bay, with the hope of discovering a north-west passage to India. A mutiny of the crew obliged him to return.

After the return of the Cabots to Europe, and the death of their royal patron, Henry VII., the English grew careless of foreign discoveries; but the French entered upon them with all the enthusiasm

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necessary for success. Notwithstanding the difficulties under which Francis I. then laboured, he commissioned Giovanni Verazzano, a Florentine navigator, to explore the eastern shores of North America. In virtue of his discoveries, the coast from Carolina to Nova Scotia was claimed by the French monarch, and named New France. A second expedition under Verazzano was unfortunate; but ten years after, Jaques Cartier, a bold and able mariner, made two voyages, in the latter of which he ascended the St. Lawrence as far as the site ci Montreal. In 1540, the same officer was employed under the Sieur de Roberval, who also sailed up the St. Lawrence, and erected a fort where Quebec now stands. The two leaders could not agree, and parted; but nine years after, while sailing to America with a similar design, Roberval and his brother perished, as is supposed, by shipwreck.

These failures, together with the distracted condition of France, withdrew the attention of government from schemes of transatlantic colonization. Yet the merchants of the great commercial towns had opened communications and even established posts for the prosecution of the fur trade; thus keeping alive the spirit of adventure until a more propitious season should occur for its develop



Accordingly, on the restoration of tranquillity under Henry IV., the Marquis de la Roche undertook to settle America on a large scale. Not only did he receive the countenance of the liberal monarch, but was also authorized to levy troops, make war, build forts and cities, enact laws, and to create lords, dukes, barons, and similar dignities. Several vessels were equipped, and crews provided, in part, from the prisons. Notwithstanding, however, these favourable auspices, the expedition proved a total failure. Forty colonists were left on Sable Island; and being neglected, suffered such hardships as caused them to sigh even for their dungeons. In this deplorable condition they remained seven years, at which time they were visited by the Norman pilot, Chedotel, who found but twelve alive. These were taken to France and munificently rewarded by the king. Meanwhile, La Roche, being thwarted in his plans, died of vexation.

Some time after this ill-starred enterprise, two settlements were attempted by Chauvin of Rouen and Pontgravé of St. Malo. Some houses were built, and trade established with the Indians; but no permanent station was built.

These repeated failures could not damp the spirit of the French people; and now a more propitious era was dawning upon them. The Commander de Chaste, governor of Dieppe, planned an enterprise, in which he was joined by several merchants, among whom was Samuel Champlain, "the father of the French settlements in America." He and Pontgravé ascended the St. Lawrence as far as the Sault St. Louis; but, finding it impossible to pass that cataract, they with some difficulty reached the height above it, making the

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best observations they could on the river and country. On returning to France, he found De Chaste dead; but he was flatteringly received by the king, and ever after exerted much influence in the colonial affairs of the crown.

An opulent gentleman, and especial favourite of Henry, named De Monts, now undertook to prosecute the enterprise commenced by De Chaste. His expedition was on a more extensive scale than any preceding one; and its success was proportionate to the wishes of the proprietor. The first voyage, however, was disastrous: although the company left on Nova Scotia were ultimately the means of founding the important colony of Acadia.

De Monts was prevented from accompanying the second expedition, which consisted of two vessels, and the command was intrusted to Champlain. He sailed from Honfleur on the 13th of April, 1608, and on the 3d of June reached Tadoussac. The port of this place was tolerably safe; but the shore consisted only of dreary rocks and sands, scantily clothed with larch and pine. Ascending the St. Lawrence, the company passed the isle of Orleans, and soon after reached a hill called, by the natives, Quebec. On this spot, Champlain laid the foundations (July 13, 1608) of the modern capital of British America. Here they passed the winter, and sowed some grain, for which they found the soil well adapted.

As soon as the season admitted, Champlain resumed his voyage up the river, between banks covered with noble forests. At the isle of St. Eloi, twenty-five leagues above Quebec, he met a number of Algonquin Indians, who were proceeding against the Iroquois. Champlain, with a zeal strangely contrasting with his former prudence, joined this party, and after a tedious journey, the allied forces came in sight of their enemy (June 29). The Iroquois were defeated, and Champlain, with his new allies, returned to Quebec. Not long after, he returned to France, in order to solicit more adventurers.

During his absence, important changes respecting his colony had been transpiring. De Monts's commission had been revoked, and with it the exclusive monopoly of the fur trade. This having formed a principal motive among the settlers, its repeal was regarded as exceedingly disastrous, if not fatal, to their future prospects. The energy of Champlain overcame this difficulty. An agreement was made with some traders at Rochelle, to give them the use of his building at Quebec, as a depôt for their goods; while they, by way of recompense, engaged to assist him in his plans of colonization. By this means, in 1610, Champlain was fitted out with a considerable reinforcement of men and supplies.


On his return to the St. Lawrence, he received an application from the Algonquins to assist them in a fresh dispute-they promis ing to join him with four hundred men at the mouth of the Iroquois river. He complied with the request, marched with his allies against the hostile tribe, and, after a severe battle, utterly defeated them. Champlain soon after sailed for Europe, taking with him a native Indian.

In 1611, Champlain again reached America, bringing with him. the young Indian. On the 28th of May, he arrived at the place of rendezvous appointed for another warlike expedition; but, not finding the savages, he employed his time in choosing a spot for a new

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