Three years were to elapse before a French vessel again appeared at Quebec, with authority to hoist the white flag of France. Champlain’s advice was not prejudicial to any one, at least not in temporal matters. This small nucleus became the great tree whose branches and leaves extend to-day over the whole American continent. If France had seen the complete depopulation of Canada, perhaps the king would not have made the same efforts to have his colony restored. Champlain himself, in spite of his great zeal and his love for the country which he had founded, had been discouraged by the difficulties. He could foresee better than any other the obstacles which the future would present, and it caused him much uneasiness, and offered little consolation. At his age most men would have preferred to rest after an agitated life of thirty years, in the pursuit of an idea which it seemed impossible to realize on account of the manifold difficulties by which it was constantly beset.
THE LAST EVENTS OF 1629
“Since the English have taken possession of Quebec,” writes Champlain, “the days have seemed to me as long as months.” This dreariness is easily explained. The unsettled state of affairs, of which he was an eye-witness, had rendered his life at Quebec intolerable. Louis Kirke, however, treated him with respect and courtesy, and had given him permission to bring to Tadousac his two adopted girls, Esperance and Charite. It was a favour wholly unexpected, especially as by one of the clauses of the act of capitulation he renounced claim to them. Champlain, however, was ready to buy their liberty, if necessary, as he wished to civilize them and convert them to Christianity. Having no desire to stay longer in a place where even the beauties of the sunset seemed to remind him of his humiliation, Champlain only resided temporarily at Tadousac, and was anxious to reach France. He left Quebec on July 24th, and on the following day he perceived a vessel sailing near Murray Bay. This was Emery de Caen’s ship, which, as we have already stated, was proceeding to Quebec to claim the peltry in the storehouse which belonged to his uncle. This vessel, as has been described, was captured by Kirke, and the same fate happened to Captain Daniel, who had crossed the ocean from Dieppe with four vessels and a barque laden with provisions and ammunition. Having heard on the passage that a Scottish fisherman named James Stuart, had erected a fort on Cape Breton, in a place called Port-aux-Baleines, to protect his countrymen during the fishing season, Daniel went out of his way to destroy this fort, and to build one at Grand Cibou to check the intruders, instead of proceeding directly to Quebec, as was his duty. He left at this place forty men and two Jesuits, Father Vimont and Father de Vieux-Pont, and then having set up the arms of France, he returned to his country without having taken any care of the Quebec habitation. This was his first fault, but nevertheless it was a great misfortune.