Cartier in Hochelaga
Donnacona’s two sons learned to speak French over the several months they’d spent as Jacques Cartier’s captives. Taignoagny and Dom Agoya acted as interpreters upon return to their father’s village in the spring of 1535.
Cartier, however, suspected that Taignoagny wasn’t in fact presenting his father’s views, but his own, or that there was some treachery in the translation.
Taignoagny told Cartier that his father was vexed because the French were so heavily armed, while the natives were not. “The Captain replied that for all Donnacona’s grief, he would not cease to carry them since such was the custom in France as Taignoagny well knew.”
After promising to accompany Cartier up the St. Lawrence to Hochelaga, Taignoagny then refused, saying the river wasn’t worth exploring. The French became convinced that Taignoagny “was a worthless fellow, who was intent on nothing but treason and malice.”
As Cartier became more intent about going up the river to Hochelaga, Donnacona and his sons became more resistant to the idea. It’s possible that they wanted a binding trade deal with Cartier before he dealt with other bands.
Donnacona may have wanted to control trade with the Europeans. Perhaps he simply resented the intrusion into the interior in so bold a manner. The two sons had spent a year in France and they might have glimpsed the imperial aims of Cartier’s backer. They also glimpsed the power the church held for the French.
“On the next day,” Cartier reported, “they devised a great ruse to prevent us still from going to Hochelaga. They dressed up three men as devils, arraying them in black and white dog-skins, with horns as long as one’s arm and their faces coloured black as coal.”
They passed by the ship in a canoe then returned to shore where Donnacona and his men grabbed them and carried them into the wood. Taignoagny and Dom Agaya emerged from the trees, feigning astonishment.
Taignoagny cried, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” and stared toward heaven. Domagaya joined in, calling out, “Jesus, Maria, Jacques Cartier” and he too, looked upward.
A religious face-off ensued, with Donnacona’s sons saying that their God, Cudouagny, had warned them that there would be enough snow and ice at Hochelaga to kill everyone. It was late September with no sign of winter and this prediction didn’t carry much weight with the French.
Cartier responded that Cudouagny was a fool; Jesus would keep them safe. Despite that reassurance, Taignoagny and Dom Agaya said that Donnacona refused to let them them accompany Cartier to Hochelaga unless Cartier would leave behind a hostage. Cartier decided to move on without them.
Continuing alone was a risk for Cartier, as the seasons were turning, but he was sure to soon be arriving in the Orient, leaving the treacherous winter behind.
- The Best Jewelry At The 2023 Met Gala On Dua Lipa, Rihanna, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Lily Collins And More
- 27 Men's Jewelry Brands for Drip That Doesn't Quit
- Meghan Markle Wears Symbolic Jewelry on a Hike in California After the Coronation
- Cartier Names Elle Fanning as Face of Grain de Café Collection
- Meghan Markle news: Duchess spent £25,540 on a necklace she's only worn once