Friends and Allies of Champlain
Guillaume le Testu
In order to explore the new continent, Samuel de Champlain formed alliances with the Native Peoples. Without the help of the Native Peoples, progress across the territory would not have been possible.
An adolescent who explored ahead of his boss, Samuel de Champlain, the famous Étienne Brűlé scouted the country. After Quebec was founded, Champlain hired four French adolescents, who became cartographers, explorers and truchements (interpreters of the Amerindian languages) for future voyages. Brűlé was one of these four courageous young voyageurs.
Etienne Brulé's Last Lap of the Portage to Lake Ontario, 1615
National Archives of Canada/1970-99/Detail
Champlain later saw Étienne Brűlé as a traitor because he acted as a guide for the English and took them to Tadoussac, Quebec. When Quebec City was captured in 1629, Brűlé became useless to the English, so he returned to his Native friends in Huronia. In 1633, the English gave Quebec City back to France. Some say that during this same year the Native Peoples killed Brűlé. Many rumours have circulated on this subject.
Louis Hébert was the first French colonist to establish himself in New France. He originally settled in Acadia and then moved his entire family to Quebec City. The Native Peoples respected him. While cultivating his land, he practiced his first career as an apothecary. He is considered to be the first pharmacist of the colony.
Marc Lescarbot, an artistic type, amused the first inhabitants with his Théâtre de Neptune en la Nouvelle-France at Port Royal in Nova Scotia. It was quite a spectacle, as the show was played on small boats by firelight. Writing came easy to Marc Lescarbot. In 1609, he wrote the first history of New France, Histoire de Nouvelle-France, and even wrote a poem in honour of Champlain.
Faith was definitely important to Champlain, and he wanted to spread it throughout New France by inviting Jesuits and especially Récollets to mission in the colony.
"Champlain […] proved to be a friend to the missionaries throughout his entire career. His confidence in them was so great that he always consulted them during difficult circumstances. He often took them along on his voyages back to France, to explain to the king the spiritual needs of the young colony. This friendship never failed."
Quotation taken from N.E. Dionne, Samuel Champlain, p. 369.
Savignon was a young Native befriended by Champlain. In 1609, Champlain took him to France with the specific goal of showing the Europeans that other peoples had settled in North America. When he returned to New France, Savignon accompanied Champlain in his exploration of the Ottawa region and served as his guide, showing him which waterways to follow.
It is worth mentioning that some refer to him as Savignon and others refer to him as Sauvignon.
Guillaume le Testu
Jean Duval, the king's locksmith, plotted with four rogues to kill Champlain. Their plan: to sound a false alarm in Quebec City during the night and, amid the confusion, suffocate him or fire one shot of a harquebus at him. Then Duval planned to take the necessary supplies and run to Spain.
After one of the hoodlums had had one drink too many, he revealed the plot to Captain le Testu. He, in turn, informed Champlain immediately. Champlain had to act quickly because the attempt was to occur that night. He took matters into his own hands and invited the four men to a feast. Rather than celebrating, they were handcuffed and confronted. The scoundrels admitted their intent to murder Champlain, and all of them turned to the real culprit, Jean Duval, the originator of the plan. The jury decided that Jean Duval would be "hanged and strangled at the location known as Quebec City, his head would be stuck on the end of a spike and placed in the most prominent location in the fort." It was the second hanging in the history of Canada. The three other men appeared before a jury in France and were pardoned after admitting their mistake.
This severe punishment served as an example. There was never another attempt of this type towards Champlain.