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MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

 

in their advance; but, their first surprise over, they rushed forward again to the attack.

This armour-clad white man was Samuel Champlain, the first European to behold the sheet of water which bears his name. In his journal he gives an account of what followed his appearance in front of the Iroquois war party. He writes: "I looked at them, and they looked at me. When I saw them getting ready to shoot their arrows at us, I levelled my arquebuse, which I had loaded with four balls, and aimed straight at one of the three chiefs. The shot brought down two, and wounded another. On this, our Indians set up such a yelling that one could not have heard a thunderclap, and all the while the arrows flew thick on both sides. The Iroquois were greatly astonished and frightened to see two of their men killed so quickly, in spite of their arrow-proof armour. As I was reloading, one of my companions fired a shot from the woods, which so increased their astonishment that, seeing their chiefs dead, they abandoned the field and fled into the depths of the forest."

Champlain by attacking the Iroquois won the friend-ship of the Algonquians and Hurons. But unfortunately those tribes were no match for the Iroquois, and Champlain's act was destined, in the end, to result disastrously for New France. Years of savage reprisals resulted in the loss of valuable lives, in indescribable atrocities, and in disastrous destruction of property.

In June, 1610, accompanied by a few Frenchmen and a number of friendly Indians, Champlain left Quebec for a second expedition into the Iroquois country. A fight took place near the mouth of the Richelieu river, in which a defeat was inflicted upon the Iroquois, Champlain's party losing three men killed and about fifty wounded, including among the latter Champlain himself. But the first ambitious military expedition of the French regime was Champlain's foray into the central part of the Iroquois country in 1615. In midsummer, he set out from Montreal accompanied by twelve Frenchmen and a


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