We remained in Montreal the rest of the spring and a part of the summer. At last, having completed our arrangements for the journey, we received orders to proceed, and on the 26th of July, accompanied by my father and brothers and a few friends, I repaired to the place of embarkation, where was prepared a birch bark canoe, manned by nine Canadians, having Mr. A. M’Kay as commander, and a Mr. A. Fisher as passenger. The sentiments which I experienced at that moment would be as difficult for me to describe as they were painful to support; for the first time in my life I quitted the place of my birth, and was separated from beloved parents and intimate friends, having for my whole consolation the faint hope of seeing them again. We embarked at about five, P.M., and arrived at La Prairie de la Madeleine (on the opposite side of the St. Lawrence), toward eight o’clock.[C] We slept at this village, and the next morning, very early, having secured the canoe on a wagon, we got in motion again, and reached St. John’s on the river Richelieu, a little before noon. Here we relaunched our canoe (after having well calked the seams), crossed or rather traversed the length of Lake Champlain, and arrived at Whitehall on the 30th. There we were overtaken by Mr. Ovid de Montigny, and a Mr. P.D. Jeremie, who were to be of the expedition.
[Footnote C: This place is famous in the history of Canada, and more particularly in the thrilling story of the Indian missions.—Ed.]
Having again placed our canoe on a wagon, we pursued our journey, and arrived on the 1st of August at Lansingburg, a little village situated on the bank of the river Hudson. Here we got our canoe once more afloat, passed by Troy, and by Albany, everywhere hospitably received, our Canadian boatmen, having their hats decorated with parti-colored ribands and feathers, being taken by the Americans for so many wild Indians, and arrived at New York on the 3d, at eleven o’clock in the evening.
We had landed at the north end of the city, and the next day, being Sunday, we re-embarked, and were obliged to make a course round the city, in order to arrive at our lodgings on Long Island. We sang as we rowed; which, joined to the unusual sight of a birch bark canoe impelled by nine stout Canadians, dark as Indians, and as gayly adorned, attracted a crowd upon the wharves to gaze at us as we glided along. We found on Long Island (in the village of Brooklyn) those young gentlemen engaged in the service of the new company, who had left Canada in advance of our party.
The vessel in which we were to sail not being ready, I should have found myself quite isolated and a stranger in the great city of New York, but for a letter of introduction to Mr. G——, given me on my setting out, by Madame his sister. I had formed the acquaintance of this gentleman during a stay which he had made at Montreal in 1801; but as I was then very young, he would probably have had some difficulty in recognising me without his sister’s letter. He introduced me to several of his friends, and I passed in an agreeable manner the five weeks which elapsed between my arrival in New York and the departure of the ship.