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Tercentenary of DeMont's settlement at St. Croix Island, June 25, 1904 online

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De Monts' Settlement at
St. Croix Island

JUNE 25, 1904




Press of

Lefavor-Towkb Company

Portland, Maine


At St. Croix Island

Address by Hon. Charles E. Swan^ . . Page 2

Address bi/ Hon. Almon I. Teed., . . "3

Address bj/ Mev. H. S. Burrage., D.D.., ... "5

Poem by Miss Ida Vbse Woodbury, .... "8

At Union Opera House, Calais

Address by Prof. W. F. Ganong, .... Page 38
Address by Hon. James P. Baxter, . . . . " 54

Ode by Henry Milner Rideout, . . . . "73



St. Croix Island, from the American Shore, ... 1

Hon. Almon I. Teed, 3

lion. Charles E. Swan, 5

Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain, . . . . . .10

French Cruiser " Troude," St. John Harbor, . . .25

U. S. S. "Detroit," St. Croix Island, June 25, 1904, . 25

Tablet Unveiled at St. Croix Island, June 25, 1904, . 36

James Vroom, ......... 35

Hon. Benjamin B. Murray, ....... 39

Hon. James P. Baxter, 54

Samuel de Champlain, ....... 57

ChsanplsLiii's Ma.}i oi *^ Isle de /Saincte Croix " . . .til
Champlain's Sketch of the Island of St. Croix and

Buildings, 1604, 63

Tercentenary Exercises, St. Croix Island, June 25, 1904, 78

View fi'om St. Croix Island, June 25, 1904, . .73


On Saturday, June 25, 1904, occurred the celebra-
tion of the three hundredth anniversary of the land-
ing of de Monts and his fellow colonists at St. Croix
Island. The exercises in the forenoon were at the
island, and, with the other exercises of the day, were
under the direction of a committee of citizens of the
St. Croix Valley, of which Gen. B. B. Murray, of
Calais, was the chairman and Mr. James Vroom, of
St. Stephen, N. B., was the secretary. This commit-
tee was aided in its work by a committee of the
Maine Historical Society.

Anchored north of the island during the day were
the U. S. S. Detroit, Captain Dillingham, the French
ciniiser Troude, Captain Aubry, the British cruiser
Columbine, Captain Hill, the U. S. Revenue Cutter
Woodbury, and the Dominion Revenue Cutter Cur-
lew, and many steam yachts and smaller craft.

The many distinguished guests and others inter-
ested in the celebration made their way to the island
from Calais and other points. The weather was not
as favorable as those interested desired, and the
arrangements for the exercises at the island were
somewhat marred by showers ; but happily a tent had
been provided for the convenience of the guests and
in this tent, adorned with flags of the United States,

Great Britain, France and the Dominion of Canada,
the services were held.

Hon. Charles E. Swan, of Calais, presided. His
address was as follows :

Ladies and Gentlemen: — By invitation of the Maine Histor-
ical Society and a committee of the citizens of the St. Croix Val-
ley, we have gathered here to-day to commemorate events which
transpired upon this island three hundred years ago; events
which, though futile for the purpose for which they were designed
and even disastrous to those engaged in them, had in the after-
time such a dominating influence in settling grave issues of
boundary between England and the United States, as to render
them of signal historic importance.

The story of the ill-starred venture of the brave Sieur de Monts
and his colony, and their stay upon this island, will be told to us
to-day by gentlemen well versed in all its details, and it will be
one of absorbing interest, especially to those of us who live by
the banks of the beautiful river to which de Monts gave the sacred
name of St. Croix. Meanwhile it has been made my pleasing
duty to extend, in behalf of the municipality of Calais, a cordial
welcome to all who honor our city by their presence here to-day,
either to take part in or to enjoy the exercises of this occasion.

Of the Maine Historical Society, an organization now venerable
in years and enrolling in its membership many of our most dis-
tinguished citizens, and which took the initiative in organizing
this commemoration, permit me to say that it has so well per-
formed the work of historic research, to which in its beginning it
dedicated itself, as to entitle it to the gratitude of our State and
all lovers of veritable history. By painstaking, personal effort it
has culled the facts from tradition and gathered to its storehouse
a mass of historic material which will be of priceless value to the
future historian of Maine. A society, so noble in motive and
acliievement, does great honor to our city by its presence here
to-day and we welcome it with thanks, that its field-day pilgrim-
age this year brought it to this historic spot.

And to you gentlemen who represent other historical organiza-
tions and the governments of France, Canada and the United



States, we extend a hearty welcome. Your cf>ming gives added
interest and dignity to this occaflion which we fully appreciate.

And to you gentlemen reprenenting the naval and marine Her-
vices of France, England and the United States, here hy order of
your several governments, thus testifying again to their interest
in these exercises, we extend a most cordial welcome and rejoice
that your first mutual visit to the St. Croix River is one of com-
radeship and peace.

And ladies and gentlemen, we extend to you all, the hospitality
of our homes and city to-day and a welcome to all of implied
privilege and pleasure.

I have now, ladies and gentlemen, the honor to present to you
his Worship the Mayor of St. Stephen, Mr. Alraon I. Teed, who
will address you in hehalf of St. Stephen and the adjacent munic-
ipalities in New Brunswick.

Mr. Teed said :

3fr. fUiairmiui: — The duties assigned to me on this memor-
able and happy occasion are very pleasant indeed, and I shall try
to make them j)lea8ant to you by l)eing very brief. It gives me
great i)leasure to stand here on this historic island and in the
name of the united peo[)le of the St. Croix Valley to extend an
earnest and a hearty welcome to you, our visitors, among whom
are men eminent in war, science, literature and statecraft. Three
hundred years ago de Monts and his brave followers lande<l on
the little island' and planted the seeds of European civilization,
from which sprang all the j»rogres8 and advance of that .splendid
and wonderful civilization that has spread over this North Amer-
ican continent, which at tliat time was one vast and unbroken
wilderness. To the French belongs the honor of i)lantiiig that
civilization on this continent, and it is on this account that we
are more than pleasetl to have the i>rivilege of extending a spec-
ial welcome to another eminent Frenchman, who, as one of our
visitors, has landed here to-day to help us celebrate this three
lumdredth anniversary of tlie landing of his eminentcountrjTuan.
I refer to the s])e<'.ial represcntiitive of the French Kepnblic, M.
Klesckowski. It also gives nie great pleasure to extend a special
Avelcome to the represenUitives of the French, British and Amer-
ican fleets, whose presence conti'ibutes so largely to the success


of this celebration, and in the name of the people of both sides
of the river, to offer the entire freedom of the St. Croix Valley,
and I know that I voice the feelings of all the people in extend-
ing to the members of the Royal Historical Society and to the
members of the Maine Historical Society also a hearty welcome.
It is to these societies in a great measure that we are indebted
for the success of this celebration.

It was said by a speaker at Annapolis that he wondered why
de Monts, after seeing the beauties of Annapolis, had settled on
the St. Croix, but to us, who live on the St. Croix, the only won-
derment is why, after seeing the St. Croix, he ever went back to
Port Royal.

Three hundred years is not a long time in the history of the
world, or in the history of a nation like China, but as time can
only be correctly measured by what transpires during its flight,
the three hundred years that have passed since de Monts landed
here has been a long and a very important period in the history
of the nations represented here to-day, for many changes and
wonderful advances during that time have been made by these

Three hundred years ago James I had just begun to reign in
England ; Shakespeare had not finished writing his inimitable
plays; Bacon was writing his masterly digest of English law
and jurisprudence ; and they, with Ben Jonson, were, we might
say, laying the foundation of Anglo-Saxon literatm'e, and a little
over one-fifth of that whole period Victoria the Good reigned
over the British Empire, and many and wonderful are the changes
that have taken place, and advances made in science, art and

De Monts landed here sixteen years before the Pilgrim Fathers
landed at Plymouth, and nearly a century and three-quarters
l)efore the United States was born. Time Avill not permit me to
refer to any more of the historical events that have transpired
during that time and have so signally affected the peoples here
represented, but many of these will be referred to by the learned
and eminent men whom we have with us to-day, and are to fol-
low me ; but I must say that although we, the peojile here repre-
sented, have, during the three hundred years past, been engaged
in deadly strife with each other, it must give us great pleasure


and satisfaction to see the general amity and goo<l feeling that
exist between these three great nations to-day. Nearly a century
has passed since any serious difference has occurre<l between us,
and I hope and trust that many more centuries will pass l)efore
the guns of the vessels now anchored here in the peaceful and
beautiful 8t. Croix will be turned against each other, and I als^)
trust that this celebration in which we have all joined ho heartily
will wipe out and obliterate the memory of all past unpleasantness.

Dr. Swan then introduced the Rev. Henry S. Bur-
rage, of Portland, who on the part of the Maine His-
torical Society, responded to these greetings. He
said :

In behalf of the Maine TTistorical Society it is my happy privi-
lege to respond to these most cordial greetings. We who are
here as the representatives of the Society, and indeed its whole
membership, take a very deep interest in the proceedings of this
day which carry us back to the beginnings of colonization within
the limits of the State of Maine.

We are in the opening years of a new century. So were
de Monts and his associates when three hundred years ago they
landed on this little island of St. Croix, and entereii upon the
beginnings of a settlement in this almost unknown world.

Is it now a new era with us ? Do we feel its breath upon our
foreheads, and are we filled with high and noble impulses as we
enter upon the task which the twentieth century has for us ? So
was it a new era with de Monts and his followers. They had
already been stirred by its inspirations, and they had hastily
seized the opportunity which the opening of tlie sixteenth century
offered to them here.

In religion they were Protestants and Roman Catholics. Not
long had they thus stood side by side. What had hapitened in
France that brought them together upon this little island inspired
with a common hope of making a new France hero in this western
world? The history of the kingdom in the preceding century is
written large, and the story is plain. There had been a long,
fierce, at times uncertain struggle for religious liberty, and the
victory — which in itd largest sense waa for Protestant and Roman

Catholic alike — had at length been won. While the conflict was
in progress, it had involved noblemen, scholars, statesmen, and
the king on his throne, as well as peasants, artisans, tradesmen —
in a word the whole nation. This struggle for religious liberty,
most heroically continued for many years and with varying for-
tunes, had at length been brought to a happy issue, and in 1598,
only six years before de Monts landed here, Henry IV, King of
France, recognizing the " frightful troubles, confusion and dis-
orders" to which on his accession to the throne he found his
kingdom a prey, promulgated the famous Edict of Nantes, which
gave liberty of conscience to all the inhabitants of the land,
granting to his subjects the right to dwell anywhere in the royal
dominions, and to meet for religious purposes without being sub-
jected to inquiry, vexed, molested or constrained to do anything
contrary to the dictates of conscience. What this meant to many
of the king's subjects, long harrassed, tormented, it is difiicult for
us now even to imagine. The Edict of Nantes was to thousands
a call to a new and better life. Voices many had urged, even
demanded religious liberty. At last it had been granted. Some-
what tardily Parliament in the following year, 1599, formally
entered this important document upon its registers, so confirming
to warring, factional France, Catholic and Protestant alike, the
blessings of religious liberty.

Thus it was that in this French colony, led hither by de Monts
three hundred years ago, Protestants and Roman Catholics were
found side by side — de Monts himself a Protestant — both min-
ister and priest being included in the personnel of the expedition.

Halcyon days were these indeed for those who had known only
strife and contention ; and for twelve years, or until the close of
the reign of Henry IV, the Edict of Nantes was in full operation.
Then followed unceasing assaults upon the rights guaranteed by
the edict, and at length, in 1685, came its revocation — the cul-
mination of a series of events in which religious liberty in France,
secured at the cost of so much treasure and the best blood of the
kingdom, was overthiown.

But the hands upon the dial were not to be turned backward
In 1699, the very year in which the Edict of Nantes was con-
firmed by Parliament, or it may be, as is now thought by some
recent writers, in 1604, the year in which de Monts and his little


company of Protestants and Catholicn landed here, the great
apostle of Boul liberty, Roger Williams, was born. Was religious
liberty to suffer for a while disastrous overthrow in France? It
was to have a new birth on tliis side of the sea, and Id come ere
long to a develojjment of which men had only dreamed in earlier

And now to us, religious liberty is so common a thing that we
fail oftentimes, Protestants and Roman Catholics alike, to esti-
mate aright our indebtedness for a boon of such value.
De Monts, three hundred years ago, could have said, " With a
great price obtained I this freedom." We, however, who are
here to-day, can say with a feeling of pride which we would not
suppress, " But I was free born." Ours is the possession of abso-
lute liberty of conscience. The civil magistrate cannot inter-
meddle in religious concerns in any way so long as liberty does
not become license. And men everywhere are coming to share
in this great blessing. Mr. Bryce, the distinguished historian and
statesman, has recently said, " that one of the chief services the
United States has rendered the world, consists in the e.xamplo set
in the complete disjunction of religious worship and belief from
the machinery of civil government."

Will anyone say Mr. Bryce is not right? Certainly we who
are in the full enjoyment of religious liberty — a vision of which
France had three hundred years ago and then lost — may justly
felicitate ourselves at this opening of the twentieth century that
religious liberty is our prized possession — that ours are more than
the halcyon days which the people of France enjoyed when
de Monts and his associates sailed into this beautiful river and
landed on this little island — the forerunners of a mighty ht)st
from all tlie great nations of Europe, who were to find here
homes and to build better than they know the empire that was
to be.

Hon. L. J. Tweedie, Premier of New Brunswick,
followed. He said it was very gratifying to him to
be present at the commemoration, and he thought
that St. Croix Island was the most fitting of all places
at which to celebrate the landincj of de Monts. The

speaker humorously touched upon the laxity some-
times found in the customs service onrboth sides of
the river. Mr. Tweedie expressed Judge Landry's
regrets at not being able to accept the Society's invi-
tation to be present. In conclusion he made eloquent
mention of his gratification at being present, and on
behalf of the people of New Brunswick offered greet-
ings from that province.

Mr. J, F. Ryan, principal of the Calais High School,
then read the following poem written by Mrs. Ida
Vose Woodbury :


Beautiful Isle on the breast of the river,

With green, restful glades and with rocks wild and free,
Whence cam'st thou here ? from the deeps of forever ?

Tell me thy story, thy strange history.

Soft, verdant hills, fragrant fields and deep valleys

Slope to the water on either fair side.
Bright summer sunshine now lingers and dallies, —

In forest shadows how long did'st thou hide ?

Tell me thy story, O, beautiful Island,

What mean these scars, these deep clefts and these caves ?
Did darkness once cover thy glens and thy highland ?

Thine only companions the winds and the waves ?

And then from its bosom the long stillness breaking,

Came forth a tale of the past unto me : —
" Centuries ago, from a dark night awaking

strange voices sounded from over the sea ;

" Steps trod my shores, and my hill-sides resounded
With gun and with hammer, with new frightful voice ;

My gray pebbly beach was by shallops surrounded, —
I trembled and shrank, should I fear or rejoice ?

" They cleft my warm breast, and made caves in my ledges
To store in the depths their black powder and ball ;

They felled all my trees, to the water's cool edges,
Cared not for their strength so majestic and tall.


"They spoke alien words, not the speecli of my cliildhood
When Indian tribes roaniod o'or hill ami o'er jjiain,

When the smoke of the wigwam streamed up from the wild wood,-
I heard Poutrincourt, Champdor<'! and Champlain.

" I heard of de Monts, and his fame at Port Hoyal

My lord and my master he fain now would be,
And I to my forest and river so loyal

Bewailed this invasion from over the sea.

" Rut they came to abide, and soon glad tones resounded,

And houses were builded, a cliapel for prayer.
Green fields on the hill-sides the water's edge bounded

My beauty and grace made more sweet and more fair,

" But the rude hand of death laid its grasp on my borders.
And strong men sank down, and we laid them to rest

Far away from wild bands of the dark sea's marauders.
And the pines' tears made mantles to cover each breast.

" But now all is past, and the dim light of story

Lakes, rivers and headlands are all that remain
To tell to tlie Ages to come of the glory

And prowess and fame of de Monts and Champlain.

" But I am still here, I am stationed forever ;

I send out my light, and it streams far and wide
All along the gi-een shores of the beautiful river.

And safe to their harbors the vessels I guide.

" And more, vastly more, from the face of the water.
From hills, fields and homes, I see banners unfurled ;

I stretch out my hands and join mother and daughter
The pride of the nations, the strength of the world.

" I look to the east as the sun gilds the ocean

The cross of St. George and St. Andrew I view ;
I look to the west, and with fair rippling motion

Floats seaward and skyward the red, white and blue.

" I look to the south, through the bay, to the portal,
Where streaming from far come the peoples of earth ;

Their lialo of deed is their glory immortal, —
And now I rejoice in the pain of my birth.

" I divide yet unite, a more glorious mission

Fate never bestowed on an island like me ;
I caught the first seeds, now the joyful fruition

A nation arising from out of the sea.


"You ask me my name ? O, so many times christened —

Names vocal with history, sadness and joy,
But in those old days as my anxious ears listened

I caught the soft, musical sound of St. Croix.

" I claim this for mine : — from the country above me,

The Waweig and bay flow from regions apart,
And with my own stream whose waves fondle and love me,

A cross is described on the water's warm heart.

"So this is my name ! In cold history's pages
We still read the deeds of de Monts and Champlain,

Fleeting their lives, but adown through all ages
Though men fail and kingdoms, the cross will remain.

" So this is my name, and this is my story

The pain and the pleasure, the gain and the loss ;
I join earth's great nations, and this is my glory

Two flags linked with me in the sign of the cross."

Maj.-Gen. Joshua L. Cliamberlaiii was then intro-
duced and spoke as follows :


There ai'e things done in the world which by a certain esti-
mation are accounted failure, but which belong to an eternal
process turning to its appointed ends the discontinuities of baffled
endeavor. We have come to this little spot where broken
beginnings were the signal of mighty 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 commemorate was not the result of shrewd calculations
of economic advantage ; it was largely the impulse of bold imag-
ination and adventurous spirit stii-red by the foreshadowing of
untested possibilities, and knowing no limit but 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 opportunity ;
to signalize the valor of their race, the glory of their country and
their religion ; to take a foremost step in the march of civiliza-
tion, — the mastery of man over nature. It was akin to the chiv-
alry which enjoys personal hazard for a sake beyond self. What




generous ambitioriH, wliat lofty hopoH hovere'l in these early skieB,
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 own the value of his work
and the greatness of his ideas. It is moreover a part of the
glory of old France of which we come with one heart to celebrate
a passage, — taking this term in both senses of its meaning.
Not other than glorious the passing 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 potentiality of good, whose course is by unre-
corded ways, and its law of manifestation unsearchable ?

The early claims of the various European I'owers over the
New World were large, and their ideas of justification vague.
The Pope undertook to confer this jurisdiction u])on his two
favorites, Spain and Portugal ; but France protested and Eng-
land smiled. The source of this authority was rather difficult to
find. The right to possess these shores and use these waters
exclusively was said to be derived from charters given by the
res{)ective kings. But the right to grant the charters reste<l on
no sure or determinable basis. The claim to this right was that
of first discovery, and might have been well set up by England.
But England early announced the principle that discovery with-
out possession, — that is, by occupancy, — did not give right.
Then the question shifted to the right to occupy.

England was not wanting m bold sea enterprise. Almost a
century before the discovery of the continent she had a brisk
trade with Iceland. In a single snow storm, April, 1411), twenty-
five of her vessels were lost on that wild coast. But whether the
race instinct of colonization was taking a rest, or because of the
absorbing interest in the mythical "north-west passage to

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