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and eat one another! This horrid practice coming sect. to the knowledge of their captain, or governour, he, by a most judicious and pathetic speech, brought 1536. them to resolve rather to live upon grass and herbs, than to subsist any longer by this detestable method. But it happened soon after, that a French ship put in there, well manned and well victualled, of which the Englishmen resolved to take advantage ; and therefore, watching a fair opportunity, they possessed themselves of the French ship, and leaving their own, sailed directly for the coast of England. They returned safely; but some of them so much altered by their fatigues, that their friends did not know them again ; particularly young Mr. Butts, whose parents could not recognise him, but by a mark on his knee. Another circumstance relating to this unfortunate enterprise, is mentioned also, as redounding much to the credit of Henry VIII. The Frenchman, whose ship had been thus taken, came to England not long afterwards, to complain of the violence committed upon them. King Henry examined very minutely into the affair, and finding that extreme want was the sole cause of an action, otherwise inexcusable, he satisfied the French to the full extent of their demands, out of his own coffers, and pardoned in his own subjects that wrong, which necessity forced them to commit.*
The accounts which had been given in France of the before-mentioned voyage of Cartier to Canada, had, according to some writers, made an unfavourable impression on both the nation and its
* Harris's Voyages, Vol. 2, p. 192.
settle Ca. nada.
SECT. monarch. Not being able to produce either gold
or silver, all that this unfortunate gentleman could 1540. urge about the utility of the settlement and the
fruitfulness of the country was treated with neglect by the public. Some individuals, however, appear, to have cherished a different opinion. For, in about four years after Cartier's expedition before mentioned, the project of settling Canada began again to be talked of, and a gentleman of Picardy, whose
name was Francis de la Rocque, Lord of Roberval, que's attempt to undertook to accomplish this design. To qualify him
for this thing Francis I, by letters patent dated Janu, ary 15th, 1540, erected him viceroy, and lieutenant. general in Canada, Hochalaga, Saguenay, Newfoundland,Belle-isle, cape Breton and Labrador, giving him the same power and authority in those places that he had himself. This gentleman, who had a good estate, fitted out two ships at his own expense, and prevailed upon James Cartier, by the large promises he made him, to undertake another voyage to Canada. La Rocque not being ready for embarkation himself, he sent Cartier with five ships before him, having previously obtained for him a royal commission as captain-general.* Cartier commenced this voyage in May, and after encountering many storms,
This commission is inserted entire in Hazard's Collections, Vol. 1, p. 19, 21. It is worthy of remark, that in this commission to Cartier, power is given to him to choose fifty persons out of such criminals in prison as shall have been convicted of any crimes whatever, except treason and counterfeiting money, whom he should think fit and capable to serve in the expedition. See an account of a settlement of convicts on the Isle of Sables, by the French, in the year 1598, post. p. 94.
landed in Newfoundland, on the 23d of August. SECT. Roberval not arriving, he proceeded to Canada; and on a small river four leagues above the port de St.
de St. 1540. Croix, and at no great distance from where Quebec now stands, he built a fort and began the first settle. ment in Canada, which he called Charlebourgh. Cartier having waited there in vain above a year, for the arrival of the viceroy Roberval, and having nearly consumed all his provisions, and now dreaded an attack from the savages, set out in the year 1542 on his return to France. Roberval, with three ships and two hundred persons, coming to recruit the settlement in Canada, met him at Newfoundland, and would have obliged him to return to his province; but Cartier eluded him in the night and sailed for Bretagne. The viceroy proceeding up the river St. Lawrence four leagues above the island of Orleans, and finding there a convenient harbour, built a fort, and remained over the winter. It is probable that he returned to France in the next year; for we find him again, in the year 1549, embarking for the river St. Lawrence, accompanied by his brother and a numerous train of adventurers ; but they were never heard of afterwards. With them expired, or at least ceased for many years, all the hopes which had been conceived in France of making settlements in America.*
• Harris's Voyages, Vol. 2, p. 349. Mod. Univ. Hist. Vol. 39, p. 408. It seems to be alleged here, in the Mod. Univ. Hist. that, notwithstanding this loss of Roberval and his adventur. ers, some few French settlers still remained in Canada. If so, they must have been some left there by him on his return to France, after his first voyage in 1542, when he met Cartier.
To return to the proceedings of the English nation.—Although Henry VIII, during his long reign,
— 1546. was frequently at open enmity with Spain, and, for Proceed. ings of the
a considerable part of it, was under no restriction English. from a papal bull, yet his interference in the affairs
of the continent, and the vexation he experienced about his wives, seem to have so much engrossed his attention, and of consequence that of the nobility and gentry of his kingdom, that his reign appears to have been unfavourable to the progress of discovery.
In the feeble minority of his son Edward VI, less was to be expected. It seems, from the preamble to a statute made in the second and third
of this king's reign,* that, “ within a few
then past, there had been levied and taken by certain officers of the admiralty, of such merchants and fishermen as had used and practised adventures and
to Iceland, Ireland, and other places, commodious for fishing, divers great exactions, as sums of money, doles, and shares of fish, for licenses to pass the realm for such purposes;” severe penalties were therefore enacted against such offenders. This statute appears to have originated from some abuses either connived at or practised by the king's uncle,
1546. Fishery of New found. land.
This seems, however, to be contradicted by a passage in Charlevoix's Nouv. France, 1, 22, “ Avec eux tombèrent toutes les esperances, qu'on avoit conçûés de faire un établissement en Amerique." And in Harris's Voyages, just cited, it is said that “ it was this gentleman (Roberval) who first fixed some French settlements in America, which, however, were afterwards abandoned.”
* II and III Edw. 6. c. 6. at a parliament holden November 4th, 1548.
Thomas Seymour, lord high admiral of England, sect. who was attainted by an act of parliament of this same session. As the admiral had undoubtedly 1548. formed very unjustifiable schemes of ambition, and probably took this method of obtaining money as the means of success in those schemes, there is every reason to suppose that the accusations against him on this subject, were not without foundation. The act, however, serves to show, that the English fishery on the coast of Newfoundland, was at this period an object of such national importance as to deserve legislative encouragement; and it is said to have been the first act of parliament that ever was made in relation to America. *
The pension which was in this reign also granted 1549. to Sebastian Cabot,t seems to imply, that his servi
granted ces in the discovery of North America were not to Cabot. deemed entirely unworthy of remuneration. It must be observed, however, that in the reigns of both Henry and his son Edward, the ruling persons in England appear to have been less desirous of making discoveries of new countries and settlements therein, than in exploring a more expeditious route to the East-Indies. After failing in some of their
• Holmes's Annals, Vol. 1, p. 94.
† See the letters patent for this pension at large, in Hazard's Collections, Vol. 1, p. 23. It bears date, January 6th, 2 Edwd. 6, (which, according to new style, was January 6th, 1549). It is said, in Harris's Voyages, Vol. 2, p. 193, that Cabot was by this patent created grand pilot of England, but no such grant of an office appears in the instrument published by Hazard. He seems to have been at the head of a company, which existed in England at this time, under the title of " Merchant Adventurers for the discovery of New Lands.”