| Our Empire Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Vivid and picturesque account of the principal events in the building of the British Empire. Traces the development of the British colonies from days of discovery and exploration through settlement and establishment of government. Includes stories of the five chief portions of the Empire: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India. Ages 10-16 |
THE FOUNDING OF QUEBEC
 THE little colony at Port Royal had to be given up, but in less than a year Champlain was back again. This time he
did not go to Acadie but to the St. Lawrence. Up the great river he sailed, until he reached a place called,
in the Indian language, Kebec, which means narrows. There, on 3rd July 1608 A.D., he landed. The first tree
was felled upon that wild and unknown river bank, and on the rocky heights above, the foundations of the first
house of the town of Quebec were dug. Once again a few brave, white men built their home, and settled down to
live far from their friends, among the wild Indians.
The Red Indians were divided roughly into two great tribes, the Iroquois and the Algonquins. These two tribes
hated each other bitterly and were nearly always at war. Both the Iroquois and the Algonquins were divided
into clans or families, each clan having its own name. But in war they all took sides, either with the
Iroquois or with the Algonquins. The Iroquois are sometimes called the Five Nations, from the five chief clans
of which they were made up. They are also sometimes called the Long House from the shape of their huts.
The Red Indians were among the most fierce and cruel of all savages. After a battle they held wild orgies, at
which the prisoners were tortured with dreadful cruelty,
 and which often ended with a sickening feast upon the dead bodies of the enemy. One of the horrible things
they did was to scalp their enemies, that is, with their stone hatchets, called tomahawks, they would cut off
part of the skin of the head with the hair upon it. The more scalps a warrior could gather the greater and
braver was he thought. Often a chiefs cloak would be decorated with a fringe of the scalps which he had taken.
Before the Indians went to battle, they would paint their faces and bodies and often shave their heads, but
the "scalp lock" was always left as a kind of challenge and defiance to the enemy.
Champlain was filled with two great ideas; to found a colony, by means of which the fur trade might be carried
on, and to explore and claim for France the vast unknown regions of Canada. He saw that to do this he must be
friendly with one or other of the tribes of Indians. The Algonquins had their homes along the St. Lawrence and
around Quebec, so Champlain made friends with them, and promised to help them in their battles against the
Iroquois. But Champlain did not know then, as he found out later, that the Iroquois were far stronger and more
clever than the Algonquins.
About a year after the founding of Quebec, Champlain set out with the Algonquins to help them against their
enemies, as he had promised. They travelled together, Champlain and two or three Frenchmen in a flat-bottomed
boat and the Indians in their canoes, far up the River Richlieu and along the lake since called Lake
Champlain. All went well for some time. Then one day the Red Men had a quarrel among themselves, and in hot
anger more than half of them went home, leaving only about sixty braves to fight the enemy. These however went
on, nothing daunted, every day coming nearer and nearer
 the country of the Iroquois. Then they travelled with great caution, paddling up the river during the night,
and hiding in the forests the most of the day. At last one evening they saw a great crowd of canoes filled
with savages coming towards them. These were Iroquois. Each side greeted the other with yells of hatred. They
did not, however, begin to fight at once, but spent the night dancing, singing, and shouting insults at each
When day came Champlain and his few white men lay down in the bottom of the canoes to watch the savages land
and begin the fight. Both sides advanced slowly, uttering their horrible war shout or scalp cry,
"aw-oh-aw-oh-aw-o-o-o-o-h." But suddenly the ranks of the Algonquins opened, and Champlain with his loaded gun
marched down the centre. The Iroquois, who had never before seen a white man, paused in fear and astonishment.
Champlain took aim, fired, and two chiefs fell dead. Then the fear which took hold upon the savages was great
indeed. What was this awful thunder and lightning which struck men dead in a moment? They knew not. Never
before had they seen such magic. Champlain paused to reload, and one of his men fired. Again a savage fell
dead. Then fear was turned into wild terror. The Red Men took to their heels and ran madly to the shelter of
the forest, pursued by their shrieking, victorious enemies.
So ended the first battle between the French and the Indians. It was fought at a place called Ticonderoga,
which means the meeting of the waters, and which afterwards became famous for another great battle.
The Algonquins took many prisoners, whom they treated with abominable cruelty. Champlain at last cried out in
horror against it, and himself shot one prisoner dead, rather than see him tortured more.
 To the French this battle was but the firing of a few shots. To the Iroquois it meant the beginning of a
bitter hatred, a hatred which was never to be allowed to sleep. Ever after this day they were the enemies of
the French and the friends of their old foes, the English.
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