Pathfinders of the West eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 313 pages of information about Pathfinders of the West.
from Anticosti went south to Isle Percee.  Here a Jesuit just out from France bore the message to them that no ship would come.  The promise had been a put-off to rid France of the enthusiast.  New France had treated them with injustice.  Old France with mockery.  Which way should they turn?  They could not go back to Three Rivers.  This attempt to go to Hudson Bay without a license laid them open to a second fine.  Baffled, but not beaten, the explorers did what ninety-nine men out of a hundred would have done in similar circumstances—­they left the country.  Some rumor of their intention to abandon New France must have gone abroad; for when they reached Cape Breton, their servants grumbled so loudly that a mob of Frenchmen threatened to burn the explorers.  Dismissing their servants, Radisson and Groseillers escaped to Port Royal, Nova Scotia.

[Illustration:  Martello Tower of Refuge in Time of Indian Wars—­Three Rivers.]

In Port Royal they met a sea-captain from Boston, Zechariah Gillam, who offered his ship for a voyage to Hudson Bay, but the season was far spent when they set out.  Captain Gillam was afraid to enter the ice-locked bay so late in summer.  The boat turned back, and the trip was a loss.  This run of ill-luck had now lasted for a year.  They still had some money from the Northern trips, and they signed a contract with ship-owners of Boston to take two vessels to Hudson Bay the following spring.  Provisions must be laid up for the long voyage.  One of the ships was sent to the Grand Banks for fish.  Rounding eastward past the crescent reefs of Sable Island, the ship was caught by the beach-combers and totally wrecked on the drifts of sand.  Instead of sailing for Hudson Bay in the spring of 1665, Radisson and Groseillers were summoned to Boston to defend themselves in a lawsuit for the value of the lost vessel.  They were acquitted; but lawsuits on the heels of misfortune exhausted the resources of the adventurers.  The exploits of the two Frenchmen had become the sensation of Boston.  Sir Robert Carr, one of the British commissioners then in the New England colonies, urged Radisson and Groseillers to renounce allegiance to a country that had shown only ingratitude, and to come to England.[3] When Sir George Cartwright sailed from Nantucket on August 1, 1665, he was accompanied by Radisson and Groseillers.[4] Misfortune continued to dog them.  Within a few days’ sail of England, their ship encountered the Dutch cruiser Caper.  For two hours the ships poured broadsides of shot into each other’s hulls.  The masts were torn from the English vessel.  She was boarded and stripped, and the Frenchmen were thoroughly questioned.  Then the captives were all landed in Spain.  Accompanied by the two Frenchmen, Sir George Cartwright hastened to England early in 1666.  The plague had driven the court from London to Oxford.  Cartwright laid the plans of the explorers before Charles II.  The king ordered 40s. a week paid to Radisson and Groseillers for the winter.  They took chambers in London.  Later they followed the court to Windsor, where they were received by King Charles.

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Pathfinders of the West from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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