It being certain that during the reign of king Francis I, several of his subjects, amateurs of shipping and of discoveries, in imitation of the Portuguese and the Spaniards, made the voyage, where they found the great cod bank. The quality of birds frequenting this sea where they always find food, caused them to heave the lead, and bottom was found and the said great bank.
He got an opinion on the nearest lands, and other curious persons desired to go farther, and discovered Cape Breton, Virginia and Florida. Some even inhabited and took possession of the divers places, abandoned since, through misunderstanding of the commanders and their poor skill in knowing how to keep on good terms with the indians of those countries, who, good natured all at the beginning, could not suffer the rigor with which it was wanted to subjugate them, so that after a short occupation, they left to return to Europe. And since, the Spaniards and the English successfully have taken possession of the land and all the coasts that the said English have kept until this day to much advantage, so that Frenchmen who have returned since have been obliged to settle at Cape Breton and Acadia.
About the year 1540, the said Cape Breton was fortified by Jacques Carrier, captain of St Malo, who afterward entered the river St. Lawrence up to 7 or 8 leagues above Quebec, where desiring to know more, the season also being too far advanced he stopped off to winter at a small river which bears his name and which forms the boundary of M. de Becancourt’s land whom he knew; he made sociable a number of Indians who came aboard his ship and brought back beaver pretty abundantly.
Since, he made another voyage with Saintonge men which did not prevent several other ships to go after the said beaver; men from Dieppe, Brittany and La Rochelle, some with a passport and others by fraud and piracy, especially the latter, the Civil war having carried away persons out of dutifulness, the Admiralty and the Marine being then held in very little consideration, which lasted a long time.
However, I believe for having heard it said, that the lands after new discoveries were given since to M. Chabot or to M. Ventadour, where a certain gentleman from Saintonge named M. du Champlain, had very free admittance and who may have mingled with those of his country who had navigated with Carrier and had given him a longing to see that of which he had only heard speak.
He was a proper man for such a scheme; a great courage, wisdom, sensible, pious, fair and of great experience; a robust body which would render him indefatigable and capable to resist hunger, cold and heat.