Travel Reference
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where their enemies or friends had passed, which they recognize from
certain marks that the chiefs provide from one nation to another, which
are not always similar). On at least two occasions, Champlain even con-
vinces Amerindians to aid him in drawing primitive maps in order to
assist him in locating different places and thus establishes with them a
form of pictorial communication (55, 218).
Champlain was himself a highly accomplished cartographer, which
Jeffrey Peters sees as the logical outcome of the desire to dominate the
landscape already present in his text: 'Champlain's constant search for
the “smooth,” the “flat,” and the “unified” within the rugged landscape
of “la Nouvelle-France,” as well as his persistent attempts to reduce
cultural difference and plurality, dramatizes the cartographic gesture
that defines his discursive project' (99).
But Champlain did not just map the new land, he also occupied it, and
it is in fact his active influence on the natives and on the landscape that
ultimately distinguishes him from Cartier. On several occasions he suc-
cessfully leads bands composed of Hurons, Algonquins, and Montagnais,
his allies for future trading purposes, into war against their bitter foe,
the Iroquois. Champlain also actively cultivates the land and could
well be considered creator of the 'first garden' in Quebec, a title con-
ferred on Louis Hébert by Anne Hébert (chapter nine). At Quebec City,
for example, Champlain writes: 'Pendant que les charpentiers, scieurs
d'ais et d'autres ouvriers travaillaient à notre logement, je fis mettre
tout le reste à défricher autour de notre habitation, afin de faire des
jardinages pour y semer des grains et graines pour voir comment le
tout succèderait, d'autant que la terre paraissait fort bonne.' (140; While
the carpenters, sawyers and other workers were working on our lodg-
ing, I had the rest clear the land around our dwelling to make gardens
for sowing various seeds to see how they would do, all the more so
since the land appeared very good.) Although he 'plants' a cross on a
gravesite (97) and 'plants' the head of a would-be traitor on a pole out-
side the Quebec settlement (135), while expressing his desire to 'plant
the Christian faith' (15), Champlain is much more likely to plant seeds
in a garden: 'J'y semai quelques graines qui profitèrent bien et j'y pre-
nais un singulier plaisir, mais auparavant il avait bien fallu travailler.'
(73; I sowed a few seeds that are doing well, which gave me a distinct
pleasure, but it took a lot of work prior to that.) And the result is a mag-
nificent garden that imposes order on nature in the French style, with
'fossés pleins d'eau' (ditches full of water), 'un petit reservoir' (a little
pool), 'une petite écluse' (a small lock), and even 'un cabinet avec de
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