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Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

Champlain's Description of Scurvy

"During the winter, an illness attacked many of our people. It is called land-sickness, otherwise known as scurvy... There developed in the mouths of those who had it, large pieces of excess fungus flesh which caused a great rot. This increased to such a degree that they could hardly eat anything except in very liquid form. Their teeth barely held in place, and could be removed with the fingers without causing pain. This excess flesh was often cut away, which caused them to bleed extensively from the mouth. Afterwards, severe pain developed in the arms and legs, which became swollen and very hard and covered with spots like fleabites. They could not walk due to the tightness of the nerves. Consequently, they had almost no strength and suffered unbearable pain. They also had severe cramps in the loins, stomach and bowels, together with a very bad cough and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, we could find no remedy with which to cure these symptoms."

(French quotations are from vol.1 of Champlain Society's 1971 ed., of Champlain's 1613 ed., Voyages du Sieur de Champlain. The 17th century French has been transcribed into modern usage.)

Moving On

“In order to escape the cold and dreadful winter we experienced on Saint Croix Island, Sieur de Mons decided to move the settlement to another location. Having... found no port that was acceptable to us... we outfitted two pinnacles to transport the woodwork of the homes on Saint Croix Island to Port Royal... where we judged the climate to be much more agreeable and mild.”

(French quotations are from vol.1 of Champlain Society's 1971 ed., of Champlain's 1613 ed., Voyages du Sieur de Champlain. The 17th century French has been transcribed into modern usage.)

In the fall of 1605, Sieur de Mons returned to France. De Mons continued his involvement with Acadie but never returned.

Nobleman and soldier-courtier Jean de Biencourt Sieur de Poutrincourt obtained arms and soldiers for Sieur de Mons' expedition. He accompanied de Mons to Acadie in 1604 but returned to France before winter. In 1606, de Poutrincourt returned to Acadie to take charge of the Port-Royal Habitation.