George Bucknam Dorr.

Sieur de Monts commission. De Monts and Acadia, an appreciation online

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019 315 315 A

pH 83



Sieur De Monts Commission

De Monts and Acadia

An Appreciation



.^oliected se:,^

Sieur de Monts National Monument — The East Cliff

0. of D.

NOV ?0 1917



Sieur De Monts Commission

De Monts and Acadia
An Appreciation


Co^'TAYXixG A History of the World in Sea N^oyages and

Lande Travells by Englishmen and Others.
The Patent <>f the French King to Monsieur de Monts for
the inhabiting of the Countries of La Cadia, Canada,
and other places in New France.

Hciu-v, l)v the uiaco of God Kin-' of France and Na-
varre. To onr deare and well beloved the Lord of Monts,
„ne of tlie ordinarie Gentlemen of onr Chamber, greeting.
\s onr greatest care and labonr is, and hath alwayes
beene, since onr comming to this Crowne, to mamtame
;m(l conserve it in tlie ancient dignitie, greatnesse and
splendonr thereof, to extend and amplifie, as mnch as
lawfnllv mav bee done, the bonnds and limits of the
same. AVe being, of a hmg time, informed of the sitnation
and condition of the Lands and Territories of La Cadia,
.di„v(m1 above all things, with a singnlar zeale, and devont
and constant resolution, which we have taken, with the
helpe and assistance of God, Author, Distribntonr, and
Protectonr ..f all Kingdomes and Estates, to canse the
people which doe inhabit tlie Conntrey, men (at this
present time) Barbarons, Atheists, ^vithont Eaith, or
Pelighm, to be converted to Christ ianitic, and to tbc


Bc^liefs and Profession of onr Faith and Religion: and
to draw tlieni from the ignorance and nnbeliefs wherein
they are. Having also of a long time knowne by the
llelation of the Sea Captaines, Pilots, Merchants and
others, who of long time have haunted, frequented and
traflEicked with the peoj^le that are found in the said places,
how fruitful!, commodious and profitalile may be unto us,
to our Estates and Subjects, the Dwelling, Possession,
and Habitation of those Countries, for the great and
apparent profit which may be drawne by the greater fre-
quentation and habitude which may bee had with the
people that are found there, and the Trafficke and Com-
merce wliicli may be by that means safely treated and

We then for these causes fully trusting on your great
wisdome, and in the knowledge and experience that you
have of the qualitie, condition and situation of the said
Countrie of La Cadia ; for divers and sundry Navigations,
^"oyag•es and Frequentations that you have made into
those parts, and others neere and bordering upon it:
Assuring our selves that this our resolution and inten-
tion, being committed unto you, you will attentively, dili-
gently, and no lesse couragiously and valorously execute
and bring to such perfection as we desire : Have expressly
appointed and established you, and by these Presents,
signed with our owne hands, doe commit, ordaine, make,
constitute and establish you, our Lieutenant Generall,
for to represent our person, in the Countries, Territories,
Coasts and Confines of La Cadia. To begin from the 40.
degree unto the 46. And in the same distance, or part of
it, as farre as may bee done, to establish, extend and
make to l)e knowne onr Name, Might, and Autlioritie.
And under the same to subject, submit and bring into
obedience all the iieo])le of the said Land, ml tit" Bor-
derers thereof: And by the meanes thereof, and all law-
full wayes, to call, make, instruct, provoke and incite
them to the knowledge of God, and to the light of the
Faith and Cliristian Religion, to establish it there: And


ill the exercise and profession of the same, keepe and con-
serve the said people, and all other Inhabitants in the
said places, and there to command in peace, rest and
trancpiillitie, as well by Sea as by Land: to ordaine, de-
cide, and cause to bee executed all that which you shall
judge fit and necessarie to be done, for to maintaine,
keepe and conserve the said places under our Power and
Authoritie, by the formes, wayes and means prescribed
by our Lawes. And for to have there a care of the same
with vou, to appoint, establish, and constitute all Officers,
as well in the affaires of Warre, as for Justice and
Policie, for the first time, and from thence forward to
name and present them unto us : for to be disposed by us,
and to give Letters, Titles, and such Provisoes as shall
be necessarie, etc.

Given at Fountain-Bleau the eight day of November :
in the yeere of our Lord 1603. And of our Reigne the
fifteenth. Signed Henry : and underneath by the King,
Potier ; And sealed upon single labell with yellow Waxe.

De Monts and Acadia: An Appreciation

Beiyig portion of an address delivered by Major General
Joshua L. Chamherlain at the Ter-Centennial celebra-
tion of the founding of Acadia and first permanent
settlement of America to the north of Florida.
There are things done in the world which by a certain
estimation are accounted failure, but which belong to an
eternal process turning to its api)ointed ends the dis-
continuities of baffled endeavor. We have come to this
little spot where broken beginnings were the signal of
mightv adventure, and restless spirits, lured by visions of
empire forecast upon the morning clouds, pressed and
passed like them. The great action of the times we com-
memorate was not the result of shrewd calculations ot
economic advantage; it was largely the impulse of bold
imagination and adventurous spirit stirred by the fore-


sliadowing of iintosted possibilities, and knowing no limit
bnt each one's daring or dream. While the motive of
pecuniary gain was not absent from even noble minds,
yet this was secondary and subordinate. A deeper
thought was moving them, — to turn to human good such
opening store of rich material and marvellous oppor-
tunity; to signalize the ^'alor of their race, the glory of
their country and their religion; to take a foremost step
in the march of civilization, — the mastery of man over
nature. It 'was akin to the chivalry wdiich enjoys per-
sonal hazard for a sake beyond self. What generous
ambitions, what lofty hopes hovered in those early skies,
and since have "faded into the light of common day!"

We come here to recognize the worth of a remarkable
man, Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, — to commemorate
in a material structure more lasting than any of his ow^n
the value of his work and the greatness of his ideas. It
is, moreover, a part of the glory of Old France of which
w^e come with one heart to celebrate a passage, — taking
this term in both senses of its meaning. Not other than
glorious the passage from vision to ideal, — from dream
to deed; and although passed are the facts and forms so
vivid and vital in their day, who shall say passed the
spirit and power, the living ]3otentiality of good, whose
course is by unrecorded ways and whose law of mani-
festation is unsearchable!

England was not w^anting in bold sea enterprise.
Almost a century before the discovery of this continent
she had a brisk trade with Iceland. In a single snow-
storm in April, 1419, tw^enty-five of her vessels were lost
on that wild coast. But wdiether the race instinct of
colonization was taking a rest, or because of the absorb-
ing interest in the mythical "northwest passage to
Cathay," she made no effort to follow up the discoveries
of the Cabots in 1497 by acts evincing intention of per-
manent possession.

But it was with express purpose of proceeding to


actual oeeiipancy tliat France sent out two great ex-
ploring- expeditions wliicli were not only tlioroiigh-going
in character bnt pregnant of consequences : tliat of Ver-
razano in 1524, wliicli gave tlie name New France to tliese
North Atlantic shores, and that of Jacques Cartier ten
years later, whose reniarkal)le observations and glowing
accounts deepened this nominal interest into tlie sense
and pride of ownership. France now asserted her sole
right to all the region north of Spanish Florida.

Portugal, also, laid early claim to the vast, unbounded
region north of the Newfoundland waters, which she
named Corterealis after her great discoverer in the year
1500; the name Labrador preserves a record of her
passing hand. She commenced an occupancy, too, about
the Newfoundland shores, building a rendezvous or re-
cruiting station for her fishermen there which lasted a
long time. Portuguese names remain here, although in
disguised form ; Cape Race, from Cavo Raso — Flat Cape ;
and Bay of Fundy, replacing the name Bale Francoise
given by de Monts. On the oldest Portuguese and Span-
isli maps this is Rio Fundo, or Hondo — Deep River.

England kept up some intercourse with tliese north-
eastern coasts in the way of fishing interests, but in this
she was far exceeded by others. In 1578 tlie fishing fleet
of England here numbered fifty; that of Portugal and
Spain twice that numl)er ; that of France three times as
many. And think of wdiat strong, indomitable blood
those early Frenchmen were : Norman, Breton, Biscayan.
Strains of these inextinguishable essences remain in
those who follow the old vocation off those outlying,
storm-swept shores, and abiding tokens in the name and
character of Cape Breton, and in the stubborn contest
over treaty rights reserved in the islands of Miquelon.

The inaction of England was practically al)andonment
of claim. The middle of the sixteenth century saw the
new world in theory, in legal presumption and probable
fate, apportioned between France, Portugal and Spain.


To lis, familiar with the liistory of modiTii movement in
the world's masteries, it seems strange that the Norman
element in English blood, so prone to see an opportunity,
and some might say so prompt to seize an advantage, did
not follow np England's claimed priority of discovery by
earliest occni)ancy of the new Atlantic shores. But know-
ing also as we do, the audacity of the mingled strains in
the old French blood, we do not wonder that it was this
which took the forefront and held on till its last foothold
was drowned in its last red tide.

Occupancy by settlement was slow. A charter was
granted to Sir Humphrey Gilbert by Queen Elizabeth in
1578, but it was not until 1583 that he began a settlement
in Newfoundland at what he called St. John's. But that
high spirit who declared, "We are as near heaven by sea
as land!" passed out through a storm of elements off
those headlands, precarious indeed, and with him the soul
went out of his enterprise, and the claim of England
through this occupancy did not for a long time emerge.

Sir Walter Raleigh's vigorous etforts in Virginia in
1584 also came to nought. And so at the close of the
16tli century there was not a Euroi3ean settlement north
of Florida on the western Atlantic shores.

But the human ferment iwas going on, and the time
appointed drawing near. The fierce persecution of the
Huguenots was tearing asunder social bonds in France.
The quarrel over the succession of King Henry of
Navarre had its spring in this bitterness, and the chang-
ing play of parties permitted no one to be safe. Earnest
minds were moved to seek peaceful homes in the wilder-
ness of the New World, where they might find at least
freedom of thought and action, and possibly scope for
their best energies. Thus Admiral Coligny sought to
plant Huguenot colonies in both South and North
America, which soon succumbed to Portugal or Spain.
But inward pressure prompted outward movement and
bitterly manifest as were the dilTerences in the old home,


these did not prevent association in a common pnrpose
for so liigii an end. lender Henry IV a notable company
was formed, tlie leading spirit of which was Aylmar de
Chastes, a gentleman of high standing and governor of
Dieppe, to carry forward colonization on these shores
"in the name of God and the King."

At this jnnctnre comes upon the scene one of the most
remarkable characters of onr New World history — Sam-
uel, Sieur de Champlain. Born on the shore of Biscay
in a little seaport where departing and returning ships
bringing stories of wide and wild adventure quickened
into life that vague consciousness of power which stirs
in all brave spirits ; by nature bold, chivalrous, romantic ;
by early experience soldier, sailor, observer and relater ;
tireless in labor, patient of suffering, large of vision and
generous of purpose, genial of spirit and firm of soul, he
may well be regarded as providentially prepared to be
called to the solution of great problems of enterprise.
We do not wonder that he had already received special
marks of honor from the king. He and de Chastes seem
to have come together by mutual attraction. To him the
king gave special charge to observe carefully and report
all he should see. The practical charge of the expedition
was entrusted to Du Pont Grave, of St. Malo in Bretagne,
who had already made a voyage to this region.

This expedition explored the St. Lawrence, tarrying
some time at Tadoussac, at the mouth of the mysterious
Saguenay, and finally ascending to the site of Montreal.
Of this exploration there were wonderful things to tell in
France; and told by Champlain roused an interest such
as nothing had done before. He came back with high
hopes, but found that his generous patron had passed
away, and with him the su})i)orting hand, if not the ani-
mating s|)irit, of the entei-])ris('.

But he found also that tlie king had given a new charter
to a gentleman of equally high character, an officer of
the king's household, Pierre de jMonts, Seigneur of the


C'oiiiitiiiiic oi' (Juast in Santoiigc, a rei»ioii of which La
Koclu'lic was the natural center and strongly Huguenot
in its pr()('li\ities, as was the family of de Monts. This
charter was given November 8, 1G03. It conveyed to de
Monts in ('lal)orate terms trading and seignorial rights
over the New AVorld territory between the fortieth and
forty-sixth ]tarallels of latitude — those of Philadelphia
and Montreal today — this territory being designated
Lacadie, or Acadia. With this came the appointment of
Lieutenant-general, and by inference Vice-admiral, of
this vast and vaguely known domain of Acadia.

With reciprocal personal respect and the sympathy of
like purpose, these two men joined hands and hearts in
the enterprise now more definitely thought out and prac-
tically organized than any before. De Monts had been the
companion of Chauvin in a former voyage to these north-
eastern shores, and had the confidence of experience.
Champlain again received appointment as special geo-
gra]^her and reporter for the king. They enlisted also
the interest and companionship of Jean de Poutrincourt,
Baron of Saint Just in Bretagne, a man of ample means
and large of mind and heart, pronounced by King Henry
to be "one of the most honorable and valiant men of
the Kingdom."

Thus was ordained and organized that famous adven-
ture of Acadia, fraught Avith human hopes as high and
fancies as wide as its sequel was to be bright with char-
acters of courage and devotion and stormy with vicissi-
tude and tragedy.

NoTK i!Y Editor: — This and tlip Tollowing extracts from General
CJiamberlain's address are puhlished for their admirable and eloquent
appreciation of the deeper meaning and significance of de Monts' adven-
ture. The story of the enterprise itself tvill he published later in this
series, in a condensation from Champlain's account. Geok(;k B. Dokk.

So passed to dust and ruin this little beginning on the
Island of the Cross. So passed into broken lights the


glory of do Moiits' dawn'mg droam. Contomplating this
ruin and tliis baffled purpose, must we speak of failure?
If so, for de Monts personally the case is not singular.
All the first leaders had sad experiences. Gilbert,
Raleigh, Gorges, de Monts, Poutrincourt, Chaniplain even,
and we might also say Columbus himself — jealousy,
enmity, imprisonment, disgrace barred their sunset sky.
But we judge men more by the ideas they quicken into
action than by the immediate material results they live
to see.

All the developments of succeeding history in this re-
gion must be regarded as in some true sense the unfolding
of de Monts' purjDose, not under his guidance indeed
but under the momentum of the impulse he originated, and
although we cannot see all the interaction of the com-
posite forces which determine life and history, we must
think back to de Monts, when we consider the long, sharp
struggle for possession of these Acadian shores and the
tenacious hold pn them which France maintained for
more than a century, and is not wholly yet unfelt.

One singular dignity this St. Croix settlement of de
Monts has come to hold. After long lost identity and
earnest searching, these ruins were discovered and ad-
mitted to be the proper mark for the boundary line be-
tween two great nations, England and the United States
of America. Such value had this broken enterprise in
the minds of men and council of nations. Without the
identifying of this spot the language of treaties was in
vain, and the bounds of nationalities in confusion.

But this little relic is not the measure of the man. The
narrow compass of this island does not bound his thought,
nor the dim fragments of his doing that have taken
earthly form around us compose his record. The meas-
ure of him is his ]nu'pose and ideal.

The blood and l)raiu of France that once led the civi-
lization of Europe has not ]»erislied from the earth. It
Jias entered into the on-going of human welfare, and the


vision, tlie prayer, the hope, that went so high and far,
may find answer in visible forms of power even beyond
the early dream.

Consequences are not in one line alone, but in many
lines. "When a living thought is projected into the ideal,
we cannot trace its course, nor forsee its end. God's
ways are on mighty orbits, and their real tending is often
lost to human sight; but the "times appointed" will
arrive, and tlie end crown the work. One thing we may be
sure of: all these vicissitudes of life, all these toils and
struggles, these seeming defeats as well as seeming vic-
tories, are overruled for some final good for man — and
for every man who has borne himself worthily in them.

So we greet in spirit today him who three centuries
ago saw in visions of his soul what for man could be
wrought on these treasured shores. The work is going
on — but by other hands ; the dream is coming true — but
to other eyes. The thought is his; and the fulfilment,
though different, is of his beginning.

As a Contemporary Saw It

Marc Lescarbot, who came out in May, 1606, to visit
de Monts' settlement with Jean de Biencourt, Seigneur
de Poutrincourt, and who afterward wrote the History
of New France, the best account next to Champlain's we
have of de Monts' undertaking and of Acadia at that
time, begins his History: "I have to tell in this book
of the most courageous undertaking, and the least aided
and assisted, that we of France have made to occupy
the new lands beyond the Ocean. The Sieur de Monts,
called in his own name Pierre du Gua, a man of noble
family in Saintonge, is its chief subject. He, having a
heart moved to high enterprise, and seeing France in
repose through the peace happily concluded at Vervins,
proposed to the King. . . ."





019 315 315 A


pH S3

Mm Run F03.2193


Online LibraryGeorge Bucknam DorrSieur de Monts commission. De Monts and Acadia, an appreciation → online text (page 1 of 1)