Canada and the Canadian Question

By Goldwin D. C. L. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
FRENCH CANADA BEFORE THE CONQUEST

JACQUES CARTIER, though venerated as the founder of the French Colony, was only the discoverer of the St. Lawrence ( 1535). He made trial of the climate by wintering at Quebec, where he lost many of his crew by cold, hunger, and scurvy, and he opened relations with the Indians in a rather sinister way by kidnapping a chief with three of his tribe. But he formed no permanent settlement: Roberval, his contemporary and successor in the enterprise, totally failed. The real founder of Canada did not appear on the scene until seventy years after. This was Samuel de Champlain ( 1603-35), one of that striking group of characters to which the sixteenth century gave birth, and which combined the force, hardihood, and romance of feudalism with the larger views and higher objects of the Reformation era. The man would have been a crusader in the thirteenth century who in the sixteenth was a maritime adventurer and the founder of a colony. Champlain, though it does not appear that he ever was of the Reformed faith, and though he ultimately became

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1
The principal sources of this and the following historical sketch, besides the Relations des Jesuites and Le Clercq L'Éstablissement de la Foi, are Mr. Parkman's narratives, and the histories of Garneau, Christie, Miles, MacMullen, and Kingsford, with Cavendish's Debates in the British House of Commons, in 1774.

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