- 39,00 kr
The manuscript, of which the following is a translation, as literal as the idioms of the two languages admit, is in the possession of Monsieur Féret, the learned and extremely obliging librarian of the Public Library at Dieppe. Of its originality and authenticity there can be no doubt; the internal evidence of similarity in style, diction, and orthography even, with the published account of Champlain's Voyages in New France, would alone suffice to establish those points.
M. Féret obtained this valuable document from a resident in Dieppe, where it has been for an unknown time; and it is more than probable that it had been in the possession of M. de Chastes, governor of the town and castle of Dieppe, who was Champlain's chief friend and protector, under whose auspices he had been employed in the war in Brittany against the League, and by whom, after his return from the West Indies, he was sent to Canada. To him, it is most likely that Champlain would present a narrative of his voyage. On M. de Chastes' death, the manuscript probably passed into the possession of the Convent of the Minimes at Dieppe, to which he was a great benefactor during his life, and by testament after his death. He was also, by his desire, buried in the church of the convent. The library of the Minime fathers was, with the rest of their property, and that of the other convents of the town, dispersed at the great Revolution; but most of the books remained at Dieppe, as may be seen by a reference to the numerous works which have gradually found their way, by gift or purchase, to the "Public Library" of that town, bearing inscriptions as having belonged to the convent.
The readers of Champlain's Voyages in New France, will remember the allusion to the expedition which is the subject of the following narrative: "Sur ces entrefaites," he says, speaking of the projects of Monsieur de Chastes for the Canadian voyage, "je me trouvais en cour, venu fraischement des Indes Occidentales, où j'avois été près de deux ans et demy après que les Espagnols furent partis de Blavet, et la paix foict en France, où pendant les guerres j'avais servi sa dicte majesté (Henry IV) souz Messeigneurs le Mareschal d'Aumont de St. Luc, et le Mareschal de Brissac."
The relation of this voyage was never published, and this should rather confirm the supposition that the manuscript had been presented to M. Chastes. It was evidently finished in haste; as the omission of several drawings, which are mentioned but not inserted, and the character of the writing, shews. Champlain returned from this voyage early in 1602, and before the autumn of the year was occupied in making preparations for his first voyage to Canada, before his return from which in the next year, 1603, M. de Chastes had died. Had Champlain kept the manuscript of his West India voyage, he would surely have published it in 1604, at the same time that the account of his first expedition to Canada was printed, and to none is it so likely that he would have given his "Brief Discourse" as to his best friend and patron, at whose death (he died at Dieppe) it would pass into private hands, or the Minime Convent, and be lost sight of.