Great Epochs in American History, Vol. II - The Planting Of The First Colonies: 1562—1733
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(The Planting of the First Colonies)

After the discoverers and explorers of the sixteenth century came (chiefly in the seventeenth) the founders of settlements that grew into States—French Huguenots in Florida and Carolina; Spaniards in St. Augustine; English Protestants in Virginia and Massachusetts; Dutch and English in New York; Swedes in New Jersey and Delaware; Catholic English in Maryland; Quaker English and Germans in Pennsylvania; Germans and Scotch-Irish in Carolina; French Catholics in Louisiana; Oglethorpe's debtors in Georgia.

To some of these came disastrous failures—to the Huguenots and Spaniards in Florida, to the English in Roanoke, Cuttyhunk and Kennebee. Others who survived had stern and precarious first years—the English in Jamestown and Plymouth, the Dutch in New York, the French in New Orleans. Chief among leaders stand John Smith, Bradford, Penn, Bienville and Oglethorpe, and chief among settlements, Jamestown, Plymouth, New York, Massachusetts Bay, Wilmington, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Savannah. The several movements, in their failures as in their successes, were distributed over a century and three-quarters, but since the coming of Columbus a much longer period had elapsed. From the discovery to the arrival of Oglethorpe lie 240 years, or a hundred years more than the period that separates our day from the years when America gained her independence from England.

Each center of settlement had been inspired by an impulse separate from that of others. Alike as some of them were, in having as a moving cause a desire to escape from persecution, religious or political, or otherwise to better conditions, they were divided by years, if not by generations, in time; the settlers came from lands isolated and remote from one another; they were different as to race, form of government, and religious and political ideals, and, once communities had been founded, each expanded on lines of its own and knew little of its neighbors.

The Spaniards who founded St. Augustine continued long to live there, but of social and political growth in Spanish Florida there was none. Spain, in those eventful European years, was fully absorbed elsewhere in Continental wars which taxed all her strength, especially that furious war, waged for forty years against Holland, and from which Spain retired ultimately in failure. In those years also was overthrown Philip's Armada, an event in which the scepter of maritime-empire passed from Spain to England.

Of the French settlements the chief was New Orleans, French from the beginning, and so to remain in racial preponderance, religious beliefs, and political ideals, for a century and a half after Bienville founded it—so, in fact, it still remains in our day. But elsewhere the French gave to the United States no permanent settlements. Numbers of them came to Florida, only to perish by the sword; others in large numbers settled in South Carolina, only to become merged with other races, among whom the English, with their speech and their laws, became supreme.

On Manhattan Island and in the valleys of the Hudson and lower Mohawk settled the Dutch a few years after the English at Jamestown. They erected forts on Manhattan Island and at Albany, Hartford and near Philadelphia; they partitioned vast tracts of fertile lands among favorite patroons; they built up a successful trade in furs with the Indians—and sent the profits home. Real settlements they did not found—at least, not settlements that were infused with the spirit of local enterprise, or animated by vital ambitions looking to growth in population and industry. After forty years of prosperity in trade they had failed to become a settled and well-ordered colonial state, looking bravely forward to permanence, expansion and eventual statehood. The first free school in America is credited to their initiative, and they were tolerant of other religions than their own, but they planted no other seeds from which a great State could grow.

As Coligny before him had sought to plant in Florida a colony of French Huguenots, so Raleigh, who had served under that great captain in the religious wars of the Continent, sought to found in Virginia a Protestant state. Much private wealth and many of his best years were given by Raleigh to the furtherance of a noble ambition, but all to futile immediate results. Raleigh's work, however, like all good work nobly done, was not lost. Out of his failure at Roanoke came English successes in later years—John Smith at Jamestown, the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

Oldest of permanent English settlements in America is Jamestown, but the English failures at Cuttyhunk and Kennebec antedate it by a few years, and the failure at Roanoke by a quarter of a century. At Jamestown, ten years after the arrival of the first settlers, a legislative assembly was organized—a minature parliament, modeled after the English House of Commons, and the first legislative body the new world ever knew. Here, too, in Jamestown began negro slavery in the United States, and in the same, or the next, year. Thus legislative freedom and human slavery had their beginning in America at the same time and in the same place.

Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, next among the English settlements, followed in due time the failure of Gosnold at Cuttyhunk and the description of New England John Smith wrote and printed in 1614 after a voyage of exploration along her coast. After several years Plymouth contained only about 300 souls, but the Bay colony, founded ten years later, increased rapidly. By 1634 nearly 4,000 of Winthrop's followers had arrived, many of them college graduates. From this great parent colony went forth Roger Williams to Rhode Island, Hooker to Hartford, Davenport to New Haven, so that by the middle of the seventeenth century five English colonies had been planted within the borders of New England.

Long after all these came the Maryland and Pennsylvania settlements, founded by Lord Baltimore and William Penn as lords proprietor, owners of vast tracts of land and possessing privileges more extensive than ever before were bestowed on British subjects. In the new century arrived Oglethorpe, with his insolvent debtors, soon to find Spaniards from St. Augustine hostile to his enterprise. But Oglethorpe was a soldier as well as a colonizer; he had served in Continental wars, and, after laying siege to St. Augustine further aggressions from that source ceased.

Thus at last, in the New World, the English race, their flag, their language and their laws, had displaced the Spaniards in that world-important contest for dominion and power, of which the second issue was soon to be fought out on many bloody fields with France.






I. The Account by John A. Doyle

II. Mendoza's Account


I. The Account by John A. Doyle

II. The Return of the Colonists with Sir Francis Drake. By Ralph Lane

III. The Birth of Virginia Dare. By John White


I. By Gabriel Archer, One of Gosnold's Companions

II. Gosnold's Own Account

THE FOUNDING OF JAMESTOWN (1607). By Captain John Smith



I. In the West Indies (1518). By Sir Arthur Helps

II. Its Beginnings in the United States (1620). By John A. Doyle


THE FIRST VOYAGE OF THE "MAYFLOWER" (1620). By Governor William Bradford

THE FIRST NEW YORK SETTLEMENTS (1623-1628). By Nicolas Jean de Wassenaer




LORD BALTIMORE IN MARYLAND (1633). By Contemporary Writers

ROGER WILLIAMS IN RHODE ISLAND (1636). By Nathaniel Morton

THE FOUNDING OF CONNECTICUT (1633-1636). By Alexander Johnston

WITCHCRAFT IN NEW ENGLAND (1647-1696). By John G. Palfrey


BACON'S REBELLION IN VIRGINIA (1676). By an Anonymous Writer

KING PHILIP'S WAR (1676). By William Hubbarrd


I. Penn's Account of the Colony (1684)

II. Penn's Treaty with the Indians (1683). His Own Account

III. The Reality of Penn's Treaty. By George E. Ellis



OGELETHORPE IN GEORGIA (1733). By Joel Chandler Harris







In 1562 the French Huguenot party, headed by Coligny, made another attempt[2] to secure themselves a refuge in the New World. Two ships set sail under the command of Jean Ribault, a brave and experienced seaman, destined to play a memorable and tragic part in the history of America. Ribault does not seem to have set out with any definite scheme of colonization, but rather, like Amidas and Barlow, to have contented himself with preliminary exploration. In April he landed on the coast of Florida....

After he had laid the foundations of a fort, called in honor of the king Charlefort, Ribault returned to France. He would seem to have been unfortunate in his choice alike of colonists and of a commander. The settlers lived on the charity of the Indians, sharing in their festivities, wandering from village to village and wholly doing away with any belief in their superior wisdom and power which might yet have possest their savage neighbors....

France was torn asunder by civil war, and had no leisure to think of an insignificant settlement beyond the Atlantic. No supplies came to the settlers, and they could not live forever on the bounty of their savage neighbors. The settlers decided to return home. To do this it was needful to build a bark with their own hands from the scanty resources which the wilderness offered. Whatever might have been the failings of the settlers, they certainly showed no lack of energy or of skill in concerting means for their departure. They felled the trees to make planks, moss served for calking, and their shirts and bedding for sails, while their Indian friends supplied cordage. When their bark was finished they set sail. Unluckily in their impatience to be gone, they did not reckon what supplies they would need. The wind, at first favorable, soon turned against them, and famine stared them in the face. Driven to the last resort of starving seamen, they cast lots for a victim, and the lot, by a strange chance, fell upon the very man whose punishment had been a chief count against De Pierria. Life was supported by this hideous relief, till they came in sight of the French coast. Even then their troubles were not over. An English privateer bore down upon them and captured them. The miseries of the prisoners seem, in some measure, to have touched their enemies. A few of the weakest were landed on French soil. The rest ended their wanderings in an English prison.

The needs of the abandonment of the colony did not reach France till long after the event. Before its arrival a fleet was sent out to the relief of the colony. Three ships were dispatched, the largest of a hundred and twenty tons, the least of sixty tons, under the command of Rene Laudonniere, a young Poitevin of good birth. On their outward voyage they touched at Teneriffe and Dominica, and found ample evidence at each place of the terror which the Spaniards had inspired among the natives. In June the French reached the American shore south of Port Royal. As before, their reception by the Indians was friendly. Some further exploration failed to discover a more suitable site than that which had first presented itself, and accordingly a wooden fort was soon built with a timber palisade and bastions of earthen work. Before long the newcomers found that their intercourse with the Indians was attended with unlooked-for difficulties. There were three tribes of importance, each under the command of a single chief, and all more or less hostile to the other. In the South the power of the chiefs seems to have been far more dreaded, and their influence over the national policy more authoritative than among the tribes of New England and Canada. Laudonniere, with questionable judgment, entangled himself in these Indian feuds, and entered into an offensive alliance with the first of these chiefs whom he encountered, Satouriona....

A new source of trouble, however, soon beset the unhappy colonists. Their quarrels had left them no time for tilling the soil, and they were wholly dependent on the Indians for food. The friendship of the savages soon proved but a precarious means of support. The dissensions in the French camp must have lowered the new-corners in the eyes of their savage neighbors. They would only part with their supplies on exorbitaut terms. Laudonniere himself throughout would have adopted moderate and conciliatory measures, but his men at length became impatient and seized one of the principal Indian chiefs as a hostage for the good behavior of his countrymen. A skirmish ensued, in which the French were victorious. It was clear, however, that the settlement could not continue to depend on supplies extorted from the Indians at the point of the sword. The settlers felt that they were wholly forgotten by their friends in France, and they decided, tho with heavy hearts, to forsake the country which they had suffered so much to win....

Just, however, as all the preparations for departure were made, the long-expected help came. Ribault arrived from France with a fleet of seven vessels containing three hundred settlers and ample supplies. This arrival was not a source of unmixed joy to Laudonniere. His factious followers had sent home calumnious reports about him, and Ribault brought out orders to send him home to stand his trial. Ribault himself seems to have been easily persuaded of the falsity of the charges, and prest Laudonniere to keep his command; but he, broken in spirit and sick in body, declined to resume office.

All disputes soon disappeared in the face of a vast common misfortune. Whatever internal symptoms of weakness might already display themselves in the vast fabric of the Spanish empire, its rulers showed as yet no lack of jealous watchfulness against any attempts to rival her successes in America. The attempts of Cartier and Roberval[3] had been watched, and the Spanish ambassador at Lisbon had proposed to the King of Portugal to send out a joint armament to dispossess the intruders. The king deemed the danger too remote to be worth an expedition, and the Spaniards unwillingly acquiesced. An outpost of fur traders in the ice-bound wilderness of Canada might seem to bring little danger with it. But a settlement on the coast of Florida, within some eight days' sail of Havana, with a harbor whence privateers might waylay Spanish ships and even attack Spanish colonies, was a rival not to be endured. Moreover, the colonists were not only foreigners but Huguenots, and their heresy served at once as a pretext and stimulus to Spanish zeal.

The man to whose lot it fell to support the monopoly of Spain against French aggression was one who, if we may judge by his American career, needed only a wider field to rival the genius and the atrocities of Alva. Pedro de Menendez, when he had scarcely passed from boyhood, had fought both against the French and the Turks, and had visited America and returned laden with wealth. He then did good service in command of the Spanish fleet in the French war, and his prompt cooperation with the land force gave him a share in the glories of St. Quentin.[4] A second voyage to America was even more profitable than the first, but his misconduct there brought him into conflict with the Council of the Indies, by whom he was imprisoned, and heavily fined. His previous services, however, had gained him the favor of the court. Part of his fine was remitted, and he was emboldened to ask not merely for pardon, but for promotion. He proposed to revive the attempt of De Soto and to extend the Spanish power over Florida. The expedition was to be at Menendez's own cost; he was to take out five hundred colonists, and in return to be made Governor of Florida for life and to enjoy certain rights for free trade with the West Indies and with the mother country....

The military genius of Menendez rose to the new demands made upon it. He at once decided on a bold and comprehensive scheme which would secure the whole coast from Port Royal to Chesapeake Bay, and would ultimately give Spain exclusive possession of the South Seas and the Newfoundland fisheries. The Spanish captain had a mind which could at once conceive a wide scheme and labor at the execution of details. So resolutely were operations carried on that by June, 1565, Menendez sailed from Cadiz with thirty-four vessels and four thousand six hundred men. After a stormy voyage he reached the mouth of the St. John's river. Ribault's party was about to land, and some of the smaller vessels had crossed the harbor, while others yet stood out to sea. Menendez hailed the latter, and after some parley told them that be had come there with orders from the king of Spain to kill all intruders that might be found on the coast. The French being too few to fight, fled. Menendez did not for the present attack the settlement, but sailed southward till he reached a harbor which be named St. Augustine. There the Spaniards disembarked and threw up a fortification destined to grow into the town of St. Augustine, the first permanent Spanish settlement north of the Gulf of Mexico. Various attempts had been made, and with various motives. The slave-hunter, the gold-seeker, the explorer had each tried his fortunes in Florida, and each failed. The difficulties which had baffled them all were at length overcome by the spirit of religious hatred.

Meanwhile a council of war was sitting at the French settlement, Charlefort. Ribault, contrary to the wishes of Laudonniere and the rest, decided to anticipate the Spaniards by an attack from the sea. A few sick men were left with Laudonniere to garrison the fort; all the rest went on board. Just as everything was ready for the attack, a gale sprang up, and the fleet of Ribault, instead of bearing down on St. Augustine, was straggling in confusion off an unknown and perilous coast. Menendez, relieved from immediate fear for his own settlement, determined on a bold stroke. Like Ribault, he bore down the opposition of a cautious majority, and with five hundred picked men marched overland through thirty miles of swamp and jungle against the French fort. Thus each commander was exposing his own settlement in order to menace his enemies.

In judging, however, of the relative prudence of the two plans, it must be remembered that an attack by land is far more under control, and far less liable to be disarranged by unforeseen chances than one by sea. At first it seemed as if each expedition was destined to the same fate. The weather was as unfavorable to the Spanish by land as to the French by sea. At one time a mutiny was threatened, but Menendez succeeded in inspiring his men with something of his own enthusiasm, and they persevered. Led by a French deserter, they approached the unprotected settlement. So stormy was the night that the sentinels had left the walls. The fort was stormed; Laudonniere and a few others escaped to the shore and were picked up by one of Ribault's vessels returning from its unsuccessful expedition. The rest, to the number of one hundred and forty, were slain in the attack or taken prisoners. The women and children were spared, the men were hung on trees with an inscription pinned to their breasts: "Not as to Frenchmen, but as to Lutherans."

The fate of Ribault's party was equally wretched. All were shipwrecked, but most apparently succeeded in landing alive. Then began a scene of deliberate butchery, aggravated, if the French accounts may be believed, by the most shameless treachery. As the scattered bands of shipwrecked men wandered through the forest, seeking to return to Fort Caroline, they were mercilessly entrapped by friendly words, if not by explicit promises of safety. Some escaped to the Indians, a few were at last spared by the contemptuous mercy of the foes. Those of the survivors who profest themselves converts were pardoned, the rest were sent to the galleys. Ribault himself was among the murdered. If we may believe the story current in France, his head, sawn in four parts, was set up over the corners of the fort of St. Augustine, while a piece of his beard was sent as a trophy to the king of Spain....

Dominic de Gourgues had already known as a prisoner of war the horrors of the Spanish galleys. Whether he was a Huguenot is uncertain. Happily in France, as the history of that and all later ages proved, the religion of the Catholic did not necessarily deaden the feelings of the patriot. Seldom has there been a deed of more reckless daring than that which Dominic de Gourgues now undertook. With the proceeds of his patrimony he bought three small ships, manned by eighty sailors and a hundred men-at-arms. He then obtained a commission as a slaver on the coast of Guinea, and in the summer of 1567 set sail. With these paltry resources he aimed at overthrowing a settlement which had already destroyed a force of twenty times his number, and which might have been strengthened in the interval....

Three days were spent in making ready, and then De Gourgues, with a hundred and sixty of his own men and his Indian allies, marched against the enemy. In spite of the hostility of the Indians the Spaniards seem to have taken no precaution against a sudden attack. Menendez himself had left the colony. The Spanish force was divided between three forts, and no proper precautions were taken for keeping up the communications between them. Each was successively seized, the garrison slain or made prisoners, and as each fort fell those in the next could only make vague guesses as to the extent of the danger. Even when divided into three the Spanish force outnumbered that of De Gourgues, and savages with bows and arrows would have counted for little against men with firearms and behind walls. But after the downfall of the first fort a panic seemed to seize the Spaniards, and the French achieved an almost bloodless victory. After the death of Ribault and his followers nothing could be looked for but merciless retaliation, and De Gourgues copied the severity, though not the perfidy, of his enemies. The very details of Menendez's act were imitated, and the trees on which the prisoners were hung bore the inscription: "Not as Spaniards, but as traitors, robbers, and murderers." Five weeks later De Gourgues anchored under the walls of Rochelle, and that noble city, where civil and religious freedom found a home In their darkest hour, received him with the honor he deserved.

[1] From Doyle's "English Colonies in America." By permission of the publishers, Henry Holt & Co.

[2] Coligny's first attempt was made in 1555, when two shiploads of Huguenot immigrants (290 persons), under Villegagnon, were sent to Brazil. This settlement was soon destroyed by the Portuguese.

Menendez's expedition of 1565 followed the earlier Spanish expeditions by Ponce de Leon, Narvaez and De Soto. It sailed from Cadiz and comprized eleven ships. Twenty-three other vessels followed, the entire company numbering 2,646 persons. The aim of Menendez was to begin a permanent settlement in Florida. On arrival he found a colony of French Huguenots already in possession, having been there three years. A conflict was inevitable, and one which forms a most melancholy chapter in the early history of American colonization. Menendez hanged Huguenots, "not as Frenchmen, but as heretics," while Gourgues hanged Spaniards "not as Spaniards, but as traitors, robbers and murderers." After the conflicts closed the Spaniards maintained themselves in St. Augustine until 1586, when St. Augustine was completely destroyed by Sir Francis Drake. Two years later the Armada of Spain was overthrown in the English Channel, largely as the work of Drake.

[3] In the valley of the St. Lawrence as described in Volume I.

[4] St. Quentin is a town in northeastern France, near which on August 10, 1557, the army of Philip II, Spain, won a great victory over the combined armies of France and England.



We saw two islands, called the Bahama Islands. The shoals which lie between them are so extensive that the billows are felt far out at sea. The general gave orders to take soundings. The ship purchased at Porto Rico got aground that day in two and a half fathoms of water. At first we feared she might stay there; but she soon got off and came to us. Our galley, one of the best chips afloat, found herself all day in the same position, when suddenly her keel struck three times violently against the bottom. The sailors gave themselves up for lost, and the water commenced to pour into her hold. But, as we had a mission to fulfil for Jesus Christ and His blessed mother, two heavy waves, which struck her abaft, set her afloat again, and soon after we found her in deep water, and at midnight we entered the Bahama Channel.

On Saturday, the 25th, the captain-general (Menendez) came to visit our vessel and get the ordnance for disembarkment at Florida. This ordnance consisted of two rampart pieces, of two sorts of culverins, of very small caliber, powder and balls; and he also took two soldiers to take care of the pieces. Having armed his vessel, he stopt and made us an address, in which he instructed us what we had to do on arrival at the place where the French were anchored. I will not dwell on this subject, on which there was a good deal said for and against, although the opinion of the general finally prevailed. There were two thousand (hundred) Frenchmen in the seaport into which we were to force an entrance. I made some opposition to the plans, and begged the general to consider that he had the care of a thousand souls, for which he must give a good account....

On Tuesday, the 4th, we took a northerly course, keeping all the time close to the coast. On Wednesday, the 5th, two hours before sunset, we saw four French ships at the mouth of a river.[2] When we were two leagues from them the first galley joined the rest of the fleet, which was composed of four other vessels. The general concerted a plan with the captains and pilots, and ordered the flag-ship, the San Pelayo, and a chaloupe to attack the French flag-ship, the Trinity, while the first galley and another chaloupe would attack the French galley, both of which vessels were very large and powerful. All the ships of our fleet put themselves in good position; the troops were in the best of spirits, and full of confidence in the great talents of the captain-general. They followed the galley; but, as our general is a very clever and artful officer, he did not fire, nor seek to make any attack on the enemy. He went straight to the French galley, and cast anchor about eight paces from her. The other vessels went to the windward, and very near the enemy. During the maneuvers, which lasted until about two hours after sunset, not a word was said on either side. Never in my life have I known such stillness. Our general inquired of the French galley, which was the vessel nearest his, "Whence does this fleet come?" They answered, "From France." "What are you doing here?" said the Adelantado. "This is the territory of King Philip II. I order you to leave directly; for I neither know who you are nor what you want here."

The French commander then replied, "I am bringing soldiers and supplies to the fort of the King of France." He then asked the name of the general of our fleet, and was told, "Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Captain-general of the King of Spain, who have come to hang all Lutherans I find here." Our general then asked him the name of his commander, and he replied, "Lord Gasto." While this parleying was going on, a long-boat was sent from the galley to the flag-ship. The person charged with this errand managed to do it so secretly that we could not hear what was said; but we understood the reply of the French to be, "I am the admiral," which made us think he wished to surrender, as they were in so small a force. Scarcely had the French made this reply, when they slipped their cables, spread their sails, and passed through our midst. Our admiral, seeing this, followed the French commander, and called upon him to lower his sails, in the name of King Philip, to which he received an impertinent answer. Immediatly our admiral gave an order to discharge a small culverin, the ball from which struck the vessel amidship, and I thought she was going to founder. We gave chase, and some time after he again called on them to lower their sails. "I would sooner die first than surrender!" replied the French commander. The order was given to fire a second shot, which carried off five or six men; but, as these miserable devils are very good sailors, they maneuvered so well that we could not take one of them; and, notwithstanding all the guns we fired at them, we did not sink one of their ships. We only got possession of one of their large boats, which was of great service to us afterward. During the whole night our flag-ship (the San Pelayo) and the galley chased the French flag-ship (Trinity) and galley....

The next morning, being fully persuaded that the storm had made a wreck of our galley, or that, at least, she had been driven a hundred leagues out to sea, we decided that so soon as daylight came we would weigh anchor, and withdraw in good order, to a river (Seloy) which was below the French colony, and there disembark, and construct a fort, which we would defend until assistance came to us.

On Thursday, just as day appeared, we sailed toward the vessel at anchor, passed very close to her, and would certainly have captured her, when we saw another vessel appear on the open sea, which we thought was one of ours. At the same moment, however, we thought we recognized the French admiral's ship. We perceived the ship on the open sea: it was the French galley of which we had been in pursuit. Finding ourselves between these two vessels, we decided to direct our course toward the galley, for the sake of deceiving them and preventing them from attacking us, so as not to give them any time to wait. This bold maneuver having succeeded, we sought the river Seloy and port, of which I have spoken, where we had the good fortune to find our galley, and another vessel which had planned the same thing we had. Two companies of infantry now disembarked: that of Captain Andres Soyez Patino, and that of Captain Juan de San Vincente, who is a very distinguished gentleman. They were well received by the Indians, who gave them a large house belonging to a chief, and situated near the shore of a river. Immediately Captain Patino and Captain San Vincente, both men of talent and energy, ordered an intrenchment to be built around this house, with a slope of earth and fascines, these being the only means of defense possible in that country, where stones are nowhere to be found. Up to to-day we have disembarked twenty-four pieces of bronze guns of different calibers, of which the least weighed fifteen hundred weight. Our fort is at a distance of about fifteen leagues from that of the enemy (Fort Carolin). The energy and talents of those two brave captains, joined to the efforts of their brave soldiers, who had no tools with which to work the earth, accomplished the construction of this fortress of defence; and, when the general disembarked he was quite surprized with what had been done.

On Saturday, the 8th, the general landed with many banners spread, to the sound of trumpets and salutes of artillery. As I had gone ashore the evening before, I took a cross and went to meet him, singing the hymn Te Deum laudamus. The general marched up to the cross, followed by all who accompanied him, and there they all kneeled and embraced the cross. A large number of Indians watched these proceedings and imitated all they saw done. The same day the general took formal possession of the country in the name of his Majesty, and all the captains took the oath of allegiance to him, as their general and governor of the country....

Our general was very bold in all military matters, and a great enemy of the French. He immediately assembled his captains and planned an expedition to attack the French settlement and fort on the river with five hundred men; and, in spite of the opinion of a majority of them, and of my judgment and of another priest, he ordered his plan to be carried out. Accordingly, on Monday, September 17, he set out with five hundred men, well provided with fire-arms and pikes, each soldier carrying with him a sack of bread and supply of wine for the journey. They also took with them two Indian chiefs, who were the implacable enemies of the French, to serve as guides....

I have previously stated that our brave captain-general set out on the 17th of September with five hundred arquebusiers and pikemen, under the guidance of two Indian chiefs, who showed them the route to the enemy's fort. They marched the whole distance until Tuesday evening, the 17th of September, 1565, when they arrived within a quarter of a league of the enemy's fort (Carolin), where they remained all night up to their waists in water. When daylight came, Captains Lopez, Patino, and Martin Ochoa had already been to examine the fort, but, when they went to attack the fort, a greater part of the soldiers were so confused they scarcely knew what they were about.

On Thursday morning our good captain-general, accompanied by his son-in-law, Don Pedro de Valdes, and Captain Patino, went to inspect the fort. He showed so much vivacity that he did not seem to have suffered by any of the hardships to which he had been exposed, and, seeing him march off so brisk, the others took courage, and without exception followed his example. It appears the enemy did not perceive their approach until the very moment of the attack, as it was very early in the morning and had rained in torrents. The greater part of the soldiers of the fort were still in bed. Some arose in their shirts, and others, quite naked, begged for quarter; but, in spite of that, more than one hundred and forty were killed. A great Lutheran cosmographer and magician was found among the dead. The rest, numbering about three hundred, scaled the walls, and either took refuge in the forest or on their ships floating in the river, laden with treasures, so that in an hour's time the fort was in our possession, without our having lost a single man, or even had one wounded. There were six vessels on the river at the time. They took one brig, and an unfinished galley and another vessel, which had been just discharged of a load of rich merchandise, and sunk. These vessels were placed at the entrance to the bar to blockade the harbor, as they expected we would come by sea. Another, laden with wine and merchandise, was near the port. She refused to surrender, and spread her sails, when they fired on her from the fort, and sunk her in a spot where neither the vessel nor cargo will be lost.

The taking of this fort gained us many valuable objects, namely, two hundred pikes, a hundred and twenty helmets, a quantity of arquebuses and shields, a quantity of clothing, linen, fine cloths, two hundred tons of flour, a good many barrels of biscuit, two hundred bushels of wheat, three horses, four asses, and two she-asses, hogs, tallow, books, furnace, flour-mill, and many other things of little value. But the greatest advantage of this victory is certainly the triumph which our Lord has granted us, and which will be the means of the holy Gospel being introduced into this country, a thing necessary to prevent the loss of many souls....

When we had reached the sea, we went about three leagues along the coast in search of our comrades. It was about ten o'clock at night when we met them, and there was a mutual rejoicing at having found each other. Not far off we saw the camp fires of our enemies, and our general ordered two of our soldiers to go and reconnoiter them, concealing themselves in the bushes, and to observe well the ground where they were encamped, so as to know what could be done. About two o'clock the men returned, saying that the enemy was on the other side of the river, and that we could not get at them. Immediately the general ordered two soldiers and four sailors to return to where we bad left the boats, and bring them down the river, so that we might pass over to where the enemy was. Then he marched his troops forward to the river, and we arrived before daylight. We concealed ourselves in a hollow between the sandhills, with the Indians who were with us; and, when it became light, we saw a great many of the enemy go down to the river to get shell-fish for food. Soon after we saw a flag hoisted, as a war-signal.

Our general, who was observing all that, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, said to us, "I intend to change these clothes for those of a sailor, and take a Frenchman with me (one of those whom we had brought with us from Spain), and we will go and talk with these Frenchmen. Perhaps they are without supplies, and would be glad to surrender without fighting." He had scarcely finished speaking before he put his plan into execution. As soon as he had called to them, one of them swam toward and spoke to him; told him of their having been shipwrecked, and the distress they were in; that they had not eaten bread for eight or ten days; and, what is more, stated that all, or at least the greater part of them, were Lutherans. Immediately the general sent him back to his countrymen, to say they must surrender, and give up their arms, or he would put them all to death. A French gentleman, who was a sergeant, brought back the reply that they would surrender on condition their lives should be spared. After having parleyed a long time, our brave captain-general answered "that he would make no promises, that they must surrender unconditionally, and lay down their arms, because, if he spared their lives, he wanted them to be grateful for it, and, if they were put to death, that there should be no cause for complaint." Seeing that there was nothing else left for them to do, the sergeant returned to the camp; and soon after he brought all their arms and flags, and gave them up to the general, and surrendered unconditionally. Finding they were all Lutherans, the captain-general ordered them all to be put to death; but, as I was a priest, and had bowels of mercy, I begged him to grant me the favor of sparing those whom we might find to be Christians. He granted it; and I made investigations, and found ten or twelve of the men Roman Catholics, whom we brought back. All the others were executed, because they were Lutherans and enemies of our Holy Catholic faith. All this took place on Saturday (St. Michael's Day), September 29, 1565.[3]

[1] Francisco Lopez de Mendoza was the chaplain of the expedition. His account is printed in "Old South Leaflets."

[2] These ships, commanded by Ribault,—seven in number, with 500 men besides families of artizans on board,—had arrived at the mouth of the St. John's River on August 29, 1565. The four left outside, as seen by Menendez, were at the time disembarking their passengers.

[3] When the French Government learned of this massacre, the event did not arouse any particular interest. Indeed, the colony seems not to have had any special protection from the home authorities. Had the contrary been the case, it would have been easily possible for the French to have built up a flourishing colony in America nearly half a century before the English were ever established in the new world.





The task in which Gilbert[2] had failed was to be undertaken by one better qualified to carry it out. If any Englishman in that age seemed to be marked out as the founder of a colonial empire, it was Raleigh. Like Gilbert, he had studied books; like Drake, he could rule men. The pupil of Coligny, the friend of Spenser, traveler-soldier, scholar, courtier, statesman, Raleigh with all his varied graces and powers rises before us, the type and personification of the age in which he lived. The associations of his youth, and the training of his early manhood, fitted him to sympathize with the aims of his half-brother Gilbert, and there is little reason to doubt that Raleigh had a share in his undertaking and his failure.

In 1584 he obtained a patent precisely similar to Gilbert's. His first step showed the thoughtful and well-planned system on which he began his task. Two ships were sent out, not with any idea of settlement, but to examine and report upon the country. Their commanders were Arthur Barlow and Philip Amidas. To the former we owe the extant record of the voyage: the name of the latter would suggest that he was a foreigner. Whether by chance or design, they took a more southerly course than any of their predecessors....

Coasting along for about a hundred and twenty miles the voyagers reached an inlet and with some difficulty entered. They solemnly took possession of the land in the Queen's name, and then delivered it over to Raleigh according to his patent. They soon discovered that the land upon which they had touched was an island about twenty miles long and not above six broad, named, as they afterward learned, Roanoke. Beyond, separating them from the mainland, lay an enclosed sea, studded with more than a hundred fertile and well-wooded islets....

Barlow and Amidas returned to England in the middle of September. With them they brought two of the savages, named Wanchese and Manteo. A probable tradition tells us that the Queen herself named the country Virginia, and that Raleigh's knighthood was the reward and acknowledgement of his success. On the strength of this report Raleigh at once made preparations for a settlement. A fleet of seven ships was provided for the conveyance of a hundred and eight settlers. The fleet was under the command of Sir Richard Grenville, who was to establish the settlement and leave it under the charge of Ralph Lane....

On the 20th of June the fleet reached the coast of Florida, and three days later narrowly escaped being cast away off Cape Fear. In a few days more they anchored at Wococon, an island near Roanoke. In entering the harbor the largest ship, the Tiger, struck a sand-bar, and was nearly lost, either through the clumsiness or treachery of the pilot, Simon Fernando, a Portuguese. On the 11th of July Grenville, with forty others, including Lane, Amidas, and the chief men of the expedition, crossed over to the mainland. Taking northerly direction, they explored the coast as far as Secotan, an Indian town some sixty miles mouth of Roanoke, where they were hospitably received by the savages. It is melancholy, after the bright picture of the intercourse between the natives and the English drawn by Barlow, to have to record hostilities, in which by far the greater share of blame lay with our countrymen. On the voyage back to Roanoke a silver cup was stolen from the English at one of the Indian villages. In revenge the English put the inhabitants to flight, burnt the village and destroyed the crops. On the 3d of August one ship sailed home, and on the 25th Grenville left the colony, followed, as it would seem, during the course of the next month by the rest of the fleet[3]....

The site of the settlement was at the northeast corner of the island of Roanoke, whence the settlers could command the strait. There, even now, choked by vines and underwood, and here and there broken by the crumbling remains of an earthen bastion, may be traced the outlines of the ditch which enclosed the camp, some forty yards square, the home of the first English settlers in the New World....

If the failure of his colony was likely to deter Raleigh from further efforts, this was more than outweighed by the good report of the country given both by Lane and Heriot. Accordingly, in the very next year, Raleigh put out another and a larger expedition under the leadership of John White. The constitution of White's expedition would seem to show that it was designed to be more a colony, properly speaking, than Lane's settlement at Roanoke. A government was formed by Raleigh, consisting of White and twelve others, incorporated as the governor and assistants of the city of Raleigh. Of the hundred and fifty settlers seventeen were women, of whom seven seem to have been unmarried. The emigrants evidently did not go as mere explorers or adventurers; they were to be the seed of a commonwealth....

On the 2d of July the fleet reached Haterask, the port at which Grenville had landed on his last voyage. There White took fifty men ashore to search for the fifteen whom Grenville had left there. They found nothing but the bones of one man, slain, as they afterward learned, by the Indians. The rest had disappeared, and it was not till some time afterward that their countrymen learned any tidings of their fate. Ignorant, no doubt, of the altered feelings of the natives, Grenvile's men had lived carelessly, and kept no watch. Pemissapan's warriors had seized the opportunity to revenge the death of their chief, and had sent a party of thirty men against the English settlement. Two of the chief men were sent forward to demand a parley with two of the English. The latter fell into the trap, and sent out two of their number. One of these was instantly seized and killed, whereupon the other fled. The thirty Indians then rushed out and fired the house, in which the English settlers took refuge. The English, thus dislodged, forced their way out, losing one man in the skirmish, and at last, after being sorely prest by the arrows of their enemies, and by their skill in fighting behind covert, they reached the boat and escaped to Haterask. After this neither Indians nor English ever heard of them again....

A more hopeful omen might be drawn from the birth of a child five days later, the first born to English parents in the New World. Her father, Ananias Dare, was one of the twelve assistants, and her mother, Eleanor, was the daughter of John White. Each event, the birth of Virginia Dare, the baptism and ennobling of Manteo, was trivial in itself, yet when brought together, the contrast gives a solemn meaning. It seemed as if within five days the settlement of Roanoke had seen an old world pass away, a new world born.

In August White wished to send home two of the assistants to represent the state of the colony, but, for some reason, none of them were willing to go. The wish of the colony generally seemed to be that White himself should undertake the mission. After some demur, chiefly on the ground that his own private interests required his presence in the settlement, White assented, and on the 27th of August he sailed....

Soon after White's return Raleigh fitted out a fleet under the command of Grenville. Before that fleet could sail Raleigh and Grenville were called off to a task even more pressing than the relief of the Virginia plantation. Yet, notwithstanding the prospect of a Spanish invasion, White persuaded Raleigh to send out two small vessels, with which White himself sailed from Bideford on the 25th of April, 1588. The sailors, however, fell into the snare so often fatal to the explorers of that age. In the words of a later writer, whose vigorous language seemed to have been borrowed from some contemporary chronicler, the captains, "being more intent on a gainful voyage than the relief of the colony, ran in chase of prizes; till at last one of them, meeting two ships of war, was, after a bloody fight, overcome, boarded and rifled. In this maimed, ransacked, and ragged condition she returned to England in a month's time; and in about three weeks after the other also returned, having perhaps tasted of the same fare, at least without performing her intended voyage, to the distress, and, as it proved, the utter destruction of the colony of Virginia, and to the great displeasure of their patron at home."

Raleigh had now spent forty thousand pounds on the colonization of Virginia, with absolutely no return. In March, 1589, he made an assignment, granting to Sir Thomas Smith, White and others the privilege of trading in Virginia, while he proved at the same time that he had not lost his interest in the undertaking by a gift of a hundred pounds for the conversion of the natives. The unhappy colonists gained nothing by the change. For a whole year no relief was sent. When, at length, White sailed with three ships, he or his followers imitated the folly of their predecessors, and preferred buccaneering among the Spaniards in the West Indies to conveying immediate relief to the colonists. On their arrival nothing was to be seen of the settlers. After some search the name Croaton was seen carved on a post, according to an arrangement made with White before his departure, by which the settlers were thus to indicate the course they had taken. Remnants of their goods were found, but no trace of the settlers themselves. Years afterward, when Virginia had been at length settled by Englishmen, a faint tradition found its way among them of a band of white captives, who, after being for years kept by the Indians in laborious slavery, were at length massacred. Such were the only tidings of Raleigh's colonists that ever reached the ears of their countrymen. White, with his three ships, returned, and the colonization of Virginia was for a time at an end. Even Raleigh's indomitable spirit gave way, and he seems henceforth to have abandoned all hope of a plantation. Yet he did not, till after fifteen years of disappointment and failure, give up the search for his lost settlers. Before he died the great work of his life had been accomplished, but by other hands. In spite of the intrigues of the Spanish court and the scoffs of playwrights, Virginia had been settled and had become a flourishing colony. A ship had sailed into London laden with Virginia goods, and an Indian princess,[4] the wife of an Englishman, had been received at court, and had for a season furnished wonder and amusement to the fashionable world.

[1] From Doyle's "English Colonies in America." By permission of the publishers, Henry Holt & Co.

[2] Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a half-brother of Raleigh, is here referred to. In 1578 he had obtained royal permission to found a colony in America, but his expedition, after starting, turned back, a failure. In 1588 he again set out, landing at St. John's, Newfoundland, where he established the first English colony in North America. On returning home his ship was lost in a storm off the Azores.

[3] See in the next chapter an account of Lane's return with Drake.

[4] Pocahontas, married to John Rolfe, went to England with Rolfe and there died about a year later. She left a son who returned to Virginia, where he left descendants, among whom was the famous John Randolph of Roanoke. John Smith's account of the saving of his life by Pocahontas is printed in Volume I of "The Best of the World's Classics."





This fell out the first of June, 1586, and the eight of the same came advertisement to me from captaine Stafford, lying at my lord Admirals Island, that he had discovered a great fleet of three and twentie sailes: but whether they were friends or foes, he could not yet discerne. He advised me to stand upon as good guard as I could.

The ninth of the sayd moneth he himselfe came unto me, having that night before, and that same day travelled by land twenty miles: and I must truely report of him from the first to the last; hee was the gentleman that never spared labour or perill either by land or water, faire weather or foule, to performe any service committed unto him.

He brought me a letter from the Generall Sir Francis Drake, with a most bountifull and honourable offer for the supply of our necessities to the performance of the action wee were entred into; and that not only of victuals, munition, and clothing, but also of barks, pinnesses, and boats; they also by him to be victualled, manned and furnished to my contentation.

The tenth day he arrived in the road of our bad harborow: and comming there to an anker, the eleventh day I came to him, whom I found in deeds most honourably to performe that which in writing and message he had most curteously offered, he having aforehand propounded the matter of all the captaines of his fleet, and got their liking and consent thereto.

With such thanks unto him and his captaines for his care both of us and of our action, not as the matter deserved, but as I could both for my company and myselfe, I (being aforehand prepared what I would desire) craved at his hands that it would please him to take with him into England a number of weake and unfit men for any good action, which I would deliver to him; and in place of them to supply me of his company with oare-men, artificers, and others.

That he would leave us so much shipping and victuall, as about August then next following would cary me and all my company into England, when we had discovered somewhat, that for lacke of needfull provision in time left with us as yet remained undone.

That it woulde please him withall to leave some sufficient Masters not onely to cary us into England, when time should be, but also to search the coast for some better harborow, if there were any, and especially to helpe us to some small boats and oare-men. Also for a supply of calievers, hand weapons, match and lead, tooles, apparell, and such like.

He having received these my requests, according to his usuall commendable maner of government (as it was told me) calling his captains to counsell; the resolution was that I should send such of my officers of my company as I used in such matters, with their notes, to goe aboord with him; which were the Master of the victuals, the Keeper of the store, and the Vicetreasurer: to whom he appointed forthwith for me The Francis, being a very proper barke of 70 tun, and tooke present order for bringing of victual aboord her for 100 men for foure moneths, with all my other demands whatsoever, to the uttermost.

And further, he appointed for me two pinnesses, and foure small boats: and that which was to performe all his former liberality toward us, was that he had gotten the full assents of two of as sufficient experimented Masters as were any in his fleet, by judgment of them that knew them, with very sufficient gings to tary with me, and to employ themselves most earnestly in the action, as I should appoint them, untill the terme which I promised of our returne into England againe. The names of one of those Masters was Abraham Kendall, the other Griffith Herne.

While these things were in hand, the provision aforesaid being brought, and in bringing aboord, my sayd Masters being also gone aboord, my sayd barks having accepted of their charge, and mine owne officers, with others in like sort of my company with them (all which was dispatched by the sayd Generall the 12 of the sayde moneth) the 13 of the same there arose such an unwoonted storme, and continued foure dayes, that had like to have driven all on shore, if the Lord had not held his holy hand over them, and the Generall very providently foreseene the woorst himselfe, then about my dispatch putting himselfe aboord: but in the end having driven sundry of the fleet to put to Sea the Francis also with all my provisions, my two Masters, and my company aboord, she was seene to be free from the same, and to put cleere to Sea.

This storme having continued from the 13 to the 16 of the moneth, and thus my barke put away as aforesayd, the Generall comming ashore made a new proffer unto me; which was a ship of 170 tunne, called The barke Bonner, with a sufficient Master and guide to tary with me the time appointed, and victualled sufficiently to cary me and my company into England, with all provisions as before: but he tolde me that he would not for any thing undertake to have her brought into our harbour, and therefore he was to leave her in the road, and to leave the care of the rest unto my selfe, and advised me to consider with my company of our case, and to deliver presently unto him in writing what I would require him to doe for us; which being within his power, he did assure me as well for his Captaines as for himselfe, shoulde be most willingly performed.

Heereupon calling such Captaines and gentlemen of my company as then were at hand, who were all as privy as my selfe to the Generals offer; their whole request was to me, that considering the case that we stood in, the weaknesse of our company, the small number of the same, the carying away of our first appointed barke, with those two speciall Masters, with our principall provisions in the same, by the very hand of God as it seemed, stretched out to take us from thence; considering also, that his second offer, though most honourable of his part, yet of ours not to be taken, insomuch as there was no possibility for her with any safety to be brought into the harbour: seeing furthermore, our hope for supply with Sir Richard Greenville, so undoubtedly promised us before Easter, not yet come, neither then likely to come this yeere, considering the doings in England for Flanders, and also for America, that therefore I would resolve my selfe with my company to goe into England in that fleet, and accordingly to make request to the Generall in all our names, that he would be pleased to give us present passage with him. Which request of ours by my selfe delivered unto him, hee most readily assented unto: and so he sending immediately his pinnesses unto our Island for the fetching away of a few that there were left with our baggage, the weather was so boisterous, and the pinnesses so often on ground, that the most of all we had, with all our Cards, Books and writings were by the Sailers cast overboard, the greater number of the fleet being much agrieved with their long and dangereus abode in that miserable road.

From whence the Generall in the name of the Almighty, weying his ankers (having bestowed us among his fleet) for the reliefe of whom hee had in that storme susteined more perill of wracke then in all his former most honourable actions against the Spanyards, with praises unto God for all, set saile the nineteenth of June 1596, and arrived in Portsmouth the seven and twentieth of July the same yeere.

[1] Ralph Lane went out to Virginia in 1585 with the ships dispatched in that year by Raleigh and commanded by Sir Richard Grenville, the company numbering one hundred householders. After landing at Roanoke, Grenville returned to England for supplies, leaving the colony in charge of Lane. Lane has left an important account of the experiences and sufferings of the colonists during the absence of Grenville, whose return was delayed. Drake, meanwhile coming up from St. Augustine, which he had just destroyed, put in at Roanoke in 1586, and the whole company returned to England with him. Grenville afterward arrived in Roanoke, finding no one there. He then returned to England, leaving on the island fifteen men. In the following year Raleigh sent out to Roanoke John White. When White arrived he found that these men had all been massacred by the Indians. Other expeditions were sent out later, but none was able to establish any colony at Roanoke. Lane's account is printed In "Old South Leaflets."





The two and twentieth day of July we came safely to Cape Hatteras, where our ship and pinnace anchored. The Governor went aboard the pinnace accompanied by forty of his best men, intending to pass up to Roanoke. He hoped to find those fifteen Englishmen whom Sir Richard Grenville had left there the year before. With these he meant to have a conference concerning the state of the country and the savages, intending then to return to the fleet and pass along the coast to the Bay of Chesapeake. Here we intended to make our settlement and fort according to the charge given us among other directions in writing under the hand of Sir Walter Raleigh. We passed to Roanoke and the same night at sunset went ashore on the island, in the place where our fifteen men were left. But we found none of them, nor any sign that they had been there, saving only that we found the bones of one of them, whom the savages had slain long before.

The Governor with several of his company walked the next day to the north end of the island, where Master Ralph Lane, with his men the year before, had built his fort with sundry dwelling houses. We hoped to find some signs here, or some certain knowledge of our fifteen men.

When we came thither we found the fort razed, but all the houses standing unhurt, saving that the lower rooms of them, and of the fort also, were overgrown with melons of different sorts, and deer were in rooms feeding on those melons. So we returned to our company without the hope of ever seeing any of the fifteen men living.

The same day an order was given that every man should be employed in remodelling those houses which we found standing, and in making more cottages.

On the eighteenth a daughter was born in Roanoke to Eleanor, the daughter of the Governor and the wife of Ananias Dare. This baby was christened on the Sunday following, and because this child was the first Christian born in Virginia she was named Virginia Dare.

By this time our shipmasters had unloaded the goods and victuals of the planters and taken wood and fresh water, and were newly calking and trimming their vessels for their return to England. The settlers also prepared their letters and news to send back to England.

[1] Virginia Dare was the first child of English parentage born in America. Her father was Ananias Dare. She was named Virginia after the colony which had already received the name in compliment to Queen Elizabeth.





The said captain [Gosnold] did set sail from Falmouth the day and year above written accompanied with thirty-two persons, whereof eight mariners and sailors, twelve purposing upon the discovery to return with the ship for England, the rest remain there for population. The fourteenth of April following, we had sight of Saint Mary's, an island of the Azores....

The fifteenth day of May we had again sight of the land, which made ahead, being as we thought an island, by reason of a large sound that appeared westward between it and the main, for coming to the west end thereof, we did perceive a large opening, we called it Shoal Hope. Near this cape we came to anchor in fifteen fathoms, where we took great store of codfish, for which we altered the name, and called it Cape Cod.[2] Here we saw sculls of herring, mackerel, and other small fish, in great abundance. This is a low sandy shoal, but without danger, also we came to anchor again in sixteen fathoms, fair by the land in the latitude of 42 degrees. This cape is well near a mile broad, and lieth north-east by east. The captain went here ashore and found the ground to be full of pease, strawberries, whortleberries, &c., as then unripe, the sand also by the shore somewhat deep, the firewood there by us taken in was of cypress, birch, witch-hazel and beech. A young Indian came here to the captain, armed with his bow and arrows, and had certain plates of copper hanging at his ears; he showed a willingness to help us in our occasions.

The sixteenth, we trended the coast southerly, which was all champaign and full of grass, but the island somewhat woody. Twelve leagues from Cape Cod, we descried a point with some breach, a good distance off, and keeping our luff to double it, we came on the sudden into shoal water, yet well quitted ourselves thereof. This breach we called Tucker's Terror, upon his exprest fear. The point we named Point Care; having passed it we bore up again with the land, and in the night came with it anchoring in eight fathoms, the ground good.

The seventeenth, appeared many breaches round about us, so as we continued that day without remove. The eighteenth, being fair we sent forth the boat, to sound over a breach, that in our course lay of another point, by us called Gilbert's Point, who returned us four, five, six, and seven fathoms over. Also, a discovery of divers islands which after proved to be hills and hammocks, distinct within the land. This day there came unto the ship's side divers canoes, the Indians apparelled as aforesaid, with tobacco and pipes steeled with copper, skins, artificial strings and other trifles to barter; one had hanging about his neck a plate of rich copper, in length a foot, in breadth half a foot for a breastplate, the ears of all the rest had pendants of copper. Also, one of them had his face painted over, and head stuck with feathers in manner of a turkey-cock's train. These are more timorous than those of the Savage Rock, yet very thievish.

The nineteenth, we passed over the breach of Gilbert's Point in four or five fathoms, and anchored a league or somewhat more beyond it; between the last two points are two leagues, the interim, along shoal water, the latitude here is 41 degrees two third parts.

The twentieth, by the ship's side, we there killed penguins, and saw many sculls of fish. The coast from Gilbert's Point to the supposed isles lieth east and by south. Here also we discovered two inlets which might promise fresh water, inwardly whereof we perceived much smoke, as though some population had there been. This coast is very full of people, for that as we trended the same savages still run along the shore, as men much admiring at us.

The one-and-twentieth, we went coasting from Gilbert's Point to the supposed isles, in ten, nine, eight, seven, and six fathoms, close aboard the shore, and that depth lieth a league off. A little from the supposed isles, appeared unto us an opening, with which we stood, judging it to be the end which Captain Gosnold descried from Cape Cod, and as he thought to extend some thirty or more miles in length, and finding there but three fathoms a league off, we omitted to make further discovery of the same, calling it Shoal Hope.

From this opening the main lieth southwest, which coasting along we saw a disinhabited island, which so afterward appeared unto us: we bore with it, and named it Martha's Vineyard; from Shoal Hope it is eight leagues in circuit, the island is five miles, and hath 41 degrees and one quarter of latitude. The place most pleasant; for the two-and-twentieth, we went ashore, and found It full of wood, vines, gooseberry bushes, whortleberries, raspberries, eglantines, &c. Here we had cranes, stearnes, shoulers, geese, and divers other birds which there at that time upon the cliffs being sandy with some rocky stones, did breed and had young. In this place we saw deer: here we rode in eight fathoms near the shore where we took great store of cod,—as before at Cape Cod, but much better.

The three-and-twentieth we weighed, and toward night came to anchor at the northwest part of this island, where the next morning offered unto us fast running thirteen savages apparelled as aforesaid, and armed with bows and arrows without any fear. They brought tobacco, deer-skins, and some sodden fish. These offered themselves unto us in great familiarity, who seemed to be well-conditioned. They came more rich in copper than any before. This island is sound, and hath no danger about it.

The four-and-twentieth, we set sail and doubled the Cape of another island next unto it, which we called Dover Cliff, and then came into a fair sound[3], where we rode all night; the next morning we sent off one boat to discover another cape, that lay between us and the main, from which were a ledge of rocks a mile into the sea, but all above water, and without danger; we went about them, and came to anchor in eight fathoms, a quarter of a mile from the shore, in one of the stateliest sounds that ever I was in. This called we Gosnold's Hope; the north bank whereof is the main, which stretcheth east and west. This island Captain Gosnold called Elizabeth's isle, where we determined our abode; the distance between every one of these islands is, viz, from Martha's Vineyard to Dover Cliff, half a league over the sound, thence to Elizabeth's isle[4], one league distant. From Elizabeth's island unto the main is four leagues. On the north side, near adjoining unto the island Elizabeth, is an islet in compass half a mile, full of cedars, by me called Hill's Hap, to the northward of which, in the mouth of an opening on the main, appeareth another the like, that I called Hap's Hill, for that I hope much hap may be expected from it.

The eight-and-twentieth we entered counsel about our abode and plantation, which was concluded to be in the west part of Elizabeth's island. The north-east thereof running from out our ken. The south and north standeth in an equal parallel....

The one-and-thirtieth, Captain Gosnold, desirous to see the main because of the distance, he set sail over; where coming to anchor, went ashore with certain of his company, and immediately there presented unto him men, women, and children, who, with all courteous kindness entertained him, giving him certain skins of wild beasts, which may be rich furs, tobacco, turtles, hemp, artificial strings colored, chains, and such like things as at the instant they had about them. These are a fair-conditioned people. On all the sea-coast along we found mussel shells that in color did represent mother-of-pearl, but not having means to dredge, could not apprehend further knowledge thereof. This main is the goodliest continent that ever we saw, promising more by far than we any way did expect; for it is replenished with fair fields, and in them fragrant flowers, also meadows, and hedged in with stately groves, being furnished also with pleasant brooks, and beautified with two main rivers that (as we judge) may haply become good harbors, and conduct us to the hopes men so greedily do thirst after....

The first of June we employed ourselves in getting sassafras, and the building of our fort. The second, third, and fourth, we wrought hard to make ready our house for the provision to be had ashore to sustain us till our ship's return. This day from the main came to our ship's side a canoe, with their lord or chief commander, for that they made little stay only pointing to the sun, as in sign that the next day he would come and visit us, which he did accordingly.

The fifth, we continued our labor, when there came unto us ashore from the main fifty savages, stout and lusty men with their bows and arrows; amongst them there seemed to be one of authority, because the rest made an inclining respect unto him. The ship was at their coming a league off, and Captain Gosnold aboard, and so likewise Captain Gilbert, who almost never went ashore, the company with me only eight persons. These Indians in hasty manner came toward us, so as we thought fit to make a stand at an angle between the sea and a fresh water; I moved myself toward him seven or eight steps, and clapt my hands first on the sides of mine head, then on my breast, and after presented my musket with a threatening countenance, thereby to signify unto them, either a choice of peace or war, whereupon he using me with mine own signs of peace, I stept forth and embraced him; his company then all sat down in manner like greyhounds upon their heels, with whom my company fell a bartering. By this time Captain Gosnold was come with twelve men more from aboard, and to show the savage seignior that he was our Captain, we received him in a guard, which he passing through, saluted the seignior with ceremonies of our salutations, whereat he nothing moved or altered himself. Our Captain gave him a straw hat and a pair of knives; the hat awhile he wore, but the knives he beheld with great marveling, being very bright and sharp; this our courtesy made them all in love with us....

The eighth we divided the victuals, namely, the ship's store for England, and that of the planters, which by Captain Gilbert's allowance could be but six weeks for six months, whereby there fell out controversy, the rather, for that some seemed secretly to understand of a purpose Captain Gilbert had not to return with supply of the issue, those goods should make by him to be carried home. Besides, there wanted not ambitious conceits in the minds of some wrangling and ill-disposed persons who overthrew the stay there at that time, which upon consultation thereof had, about five days after was fully resolved all for England again. There came in this interim aboard unto us, that stayed all night, an Indian, whom we used kindly, and the next day sent ashore; he showed himself the most sober of all the rest, we held him sent as a spy. In the morning, he filched away our pothooks, thinking he had not done any ill therein; being ashore we bid him strike fire, which with an emerald stone (such as the glaziers use to cut glass) he did. I take it to be the very same that in Latin is called smiris, for striking therewith upon touch-wood that of purpose he had, by means of a mineral stone used therein, sparkles proceeded and forthwith kindled with making of flame. The ninth, we continued working on our storehouse, for as yet remained in us a desired resolution of making stay. The tenth, Captain Gosnold fell down with the ship to the little islet of cedars, called Hill's Hap, to take in cedar wood, leaving me and nine more in the fort, only with three meals meat, upon promise to return the next day....

The thirteenth, began some of our company that before vowed to stay, to make revolt: whereupon the planters diminishing, all was given over. The fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth, we spent in getting sassafras and fire-wood of cedar, leaving house and little fort, by ten men in nineteen days sufficient made to harbor twenty persons at least with their necessary provisions.

The seventeenth, we set sail, doubling the rocks of Elizabeth's island, and passing by Dover Cliff, came to anchor at Martha's Vineyard, being five leagues distant from our fort, where we went ashore, and had young cranes, herneshowes, and geese, which now were grown to pretty bigness.

The eighteenth, we set sail and bore for England, cutting off our shallop, that was well able to land five and twenty men or more, a boat very necessary for the like occasions. The winds do range most commonly upon this coast in the summer time, westerly. In our homeward course we observed the foresaid floating weeds to continue till we came within two hundred leagues of Europe. The three-and-twentieth of July we came to anchor before Exmouth.[5]

[1] Gosnold sailed from Falmouth, England, in 1602, Raleigh being interested in the expedition. He reached the New England coast in May of the same year, and discovered Cape Cod, to which, because of the abundance of codfish in neighboring waters he gave the name it bears. He afterward discovered Martha's Vineyard, and on the neighboring island of Cuttyhunk founded a settlement called Elizabeth, the first ever made in New England by Englishmen. This settlement lasted only a few weeks, the settlers returning to England.

[2] The entire group of islands, of which Cuttyhunk is one, are now known as the Elizabeth Islands. The township which these islands comprize bears Gosnold's name. Gosnold became active afterward in promoting the expedition which In 1607 resulted in the settlement of Jamestown. The report of the expedition to Cape Cod, from which this account is taken, is known as "The Relation of Captain Gosnold's Voyage." It was "delivered by Gabriel Archer, a gentleman in the said voyage." Archer's account is printed in "Old South Leaflets."

[3] Vineyard Sound.

[4] Now Cuttyhunk, the westermost of the chain of islands called the Elizabeth Islands, which separate Buzzard's Bay from Vineyard Sound.

[5] From Exmouth the ship sailed for Portsmouth, her real destination.



I was in good hope that my occasions would have allowed me so much liberty, as to have come unto you before this time; otherwise I would have written more at large concerning the country from whence we lately came, than I did: but not well remembering what I have already written (though I am assured that there is nothing set down disagreeing with the truth), I thought it fittest not to go about to add anything in writing, but rather to leave the report of the rest till I come myself; which now I hope shall be shortly, and so soon as with conveniency I may. In the mean time, notwithstanding whereas you seem not to be satisfied by that which I have already written, concerning some especial matters; I have here briefly (and as well as I can) added these few lines for your further satisfaction....

We cannot gather, by anything we could observe in the people, or by any trial we had thereof ourselves, but that it is as healthful a climate as any can be. The inhabitants there, as I wrote before, being of tall stature, comely proportion, strong, active, and some of good years, and as it should seem very healthful, are sufficient proof of the healthfulness of the place. First, for ourselves (thanks be to God) we had not a man sick two days together in all our voyage; whereas others that went out with us, or about that time on other voyages (especially such as went upon reprisal,) were most of them infected with sickness, whereof they lost some of their men, and brought home a many sick, returning notwithstanding long before us. But Verazzano, and others (as I take it, you may read in the Book of Discoveries), do more particularly entreat of the age of the people in that coast.

The sassafras which we brought we had upon the islands; where though we had little disturbance, and reasonable plenty; yet for that the greatest part of our people were employed about the fitting of our house, and such like affairs, and a few (and those but easy laborers) undertook this work, the rather because we were informed before our going forth, that a ton was sufficient to cloy England, and further, for that we had resolved upon our return, and taken view of our victual, we judged it then needful to use expedition; which afterward we had more certain proof of; for when we came to an anchor before Portsmouth, which was some four days after we made the land, we had not one cake of bread, nor any drink, but a little vinegar left: for these and other reasons we returned no otherwise laden than you have heard. And thus much I hope shall suffice till I can myself come to give you further notice, which though it be not so soon as I could have wished, yet I hope it shall be in convenient time.

[1] From a letter to his father, dated September 1, 1602.





Captaine Bartholomew Gosnoll, one of the first movers of this plantation, having many yeares solicited many of his friends, but found small assistants; at last prevailed with some Gentlemen, as Captaine Iohn Smith, Master Edward-maria Wingfield, Master Robert Hunt, and divers others, who depended a yeare vpon his proiects, but nothing could be effected, till by their great charge and industrie, it came to be apprehended by certaine of the Nobilitie, Gentry, and Marchants, so that his Maiestie by his letters patents, gaue commission for establishing Councels, to direct here; and to governe, and to execute there. To effect this, was spent another yeare, and by that, three ships were provided, one of 100 Tuns, another of 40, and a Pinnace of 20. The transportation of the company was committed to Captaine Christopher Newport, a Marriner well practised for the Westerne parts of America. But their orders for government were put in a box, not to be opened, nor the governours knowne vntill they arrived in Virginia.... On the 19 of December, 1606, we set sayle from Blackwell, but by vnprosperous winds, were kept six weekes in the sight of England; all which time, Master Hunt our Preacher, was so weake and sicke, that few expected his recovery.

We watered at the Canaries, we traded with the Salvages at Dominica; three weekes we spent in refreshing our selues amongst these west-India Isles; in Gwardalupa we found a bath so hot, as in it we boyled Porck as well as over the fire. And a little Isle called Monica, we tooke from the bushes with our hands, neare two hogsheads full of Birds in three or foure houres. In Mevis, Mona, and the Virgin Isles, we spent some time; where, with a lothsome beast like a Crocodil, called a Gwayn, Tortoises, Pellicans, Parrots, and fishes, we daily feasted.

Gone from thence in search of Virginia, the company was not a little discomforted, seeing the Marrinershad 3 dayes passed their reckoning and found no land; so that Captaine Ratliffe (Captaine of the Pinnace) rather desired to beare vp the helms to returns for England, then make further search. But God the guider of all good actions, forcing them by an extreame storme to hull all night, did driue them by his providence to their desired Port, beyond all their expectations; for never any of them had seene that coast.

The first land they made they called Cape Henry; where thirtie of them recreating themselues on shore, were assaulted by fiue Salvages, who hurt two of the English very dangerously.

That night was the box opened, and the orders read, in which Bartholomew Gosnoll, Iohn Smith, Edward Wingfield, Christopher Newport, Iohn Ratliffe, Iohn Martin, and George Kendall, were named to be the Councell, and to choose a President amongst them for a year, who with the Councell should governs. Matters of moment were to be examined by a Iury, but determined by the maior part of the Councell, in which the President had two voyces.

Untill the 13 of May they sought a place to plant in; then the Councell was sworne, Master Wingfield was chosen President, and an Oration made, why Captain Smith was not admitted of the Councell as the rest.

Now falleth every man to works, the Councell contriue the Fort, the rest cut downe trees to make place to pitch their Tents; some provide clapbord to relade the ships, some make gardens, some nets, &c. The Salvages often visited vs kindly. The Presidents overweening iealousie would admit no exercise at armes, or fortification but the boughs of trees cast together in the forms of a halfe moons by the extraordinary paines and diligence of Captaine Kendall.

Newport, Smith, and twentie others, were sent to discover the head of the river: by divers small habitations they passed, in six dayes they arrived at a Towns called Powhatan, consisting of some twelue houses, pleasantly seated on a hill; before it three fertile Iles, about it many of their cornefields, the place is very pleasant, and strong by nature, of this place the Prince is called Powhatan, and his people Powhatans. To this place the river is navigable: but higher within a myle, by reason of the Rocks and Isles, there is not passage for a small Boat, this they call the Falles[2]. The people in all parts kindly intreated them, till being returned within twentie myles of Iames towns, they gaue iust cause of iealousie: but had God not blessed the discoverers otherwise than those at the Fort, there had then beene an end of that plantation; for at the Fort, where they arrived the next day, they found 17 men hurt, and a boy slaine by the Salvages, and had it not chanced a crosse barre shot from the Ships strooke downe a bough from a tree amongst them, that caused them to retire, our men had all beene slams, being securely all at works, and their armes in dry fats.

Herevpon the President was contented the Fort should be pallisadoed, the Ordnance mounted, his men armed and exercised: for many were the assaults, and ambuscadoes of the Salvages, and our men by their disorderly stragling were often hurt, when the Salvages by the nimblenesse of their heels well escaped.

What toyle we had, with so small a power to guard our workemen adayes, watch all night, resist our enemies, and effect our businesse, to relade the ships, cut downe trees, and prepare the ground to plant our Corne, &c. I referre to the Readers consideration. Six weekes being spent in this manner, Captaine Newport (who was hired onely for our transportation) was to returne with the ships....

Being thus left to our fortunes, it fortuned that within ten days scarce ten amongst vs could either goe, or well stand, such extreame weaknes and moknes oppressed vs. And thereat none need marvaile, if they consider the cause and reason, which was this.

Whilst the ships stayed, our allowance was somewhat bettered, by a daily proportion of Bisket, which the sailers would pilfer to sell, giue, or exchange with vs, for money, Saxefras, furres, or loue. But when they departed, there remained neither taverne, beere house, nor place of reliefe, but the common Kettell. Had we beene as free from all sinnes as gluttony, and drunkennesse, we might haue beene canonized for Saints; But our President would never haue beene admitted, for ingrossing to his private, Oatmeale, Sacks, Oyle, Aquavitoe, Beefs, Egges, or what not, but the Kettell; that indeed he allowed equally to be distributed, and that was halfe a pint of wheat, and as much barley boyled with water for a man a day, and this having fryed some 6 weekes in the ships hold, contained as many wormes as graines; so that we might trudy call it rather so much bran than corns, our drinks was water, our lodgings Castles in the ayre.

With this lodging and dyet, our extreame toils in bearing and planting Pallisadoes, so strained and bruised vs, and our continuall labour in the extremitie of the heat had so weakened vs, as were cause sufficient to haue made vs as miserable in our natiue Countrey, or any other place in the world.

From May, to September, those that escaped, lined vpon Sturgeon, and Sea-crabs, fiftie in this time we buried, the rest seeing the Presidents projects to escape these miseries in our Pinnace by flight (who all this time had neither felt want nor sicknes) so moved our dead spirits, as we deposed him; and established Ratcliffe in his place, (Gosnoll being dead) Kendall deposed. Smith newly recovered, Martin and Ratcliffe was by his care preserved and relieued, and the most of the souldiers recovered with the skilfull diligence of Master Thomas Wotton our Chirurgian generall.

But now was all our provision spent, the Sturgeon gone, all helps abandoned, each houre expecting the fury of the Salvages; when God the patron of all good indevours, in that desperate extremitie so changed the hearts of the Salvages, that they brought such plenty of their fruits, and provision, as no man wanted....

The new President, and Martin, being little beloved, of weake iudgement in dangers, and lesse industrie in peace, committed the managing of all things abroad to Captaine Smith: who by his owne example, good words, and faire promises, set some to mow, others to binde thatch, some to build houses, others to thatch them, himselfe alwayes bearing the greatest tasks for his owns share, so that in short time, he provided most of them lodgings, neglecting any for himselfe.

This done, seeing the Salvages superfluitie beginne to decrease (with some of his workmen) shipped himselfe in the Shallop to search the Country for trade. The want of the language, knowledge to mannage his boat without sailes, the want of a sufficient power (knowing the multitude of the Salvages), apparell for his men, and other necessaries, were infinite impediments.

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