A Brief History of the United States
by Barnes & Co.
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The experience of all teachers testifies to the lamentable deficiency in historical knowledge among their pupils; not that children dislike the incidents and events of history, for, indeed, they prefer them to the improbable tales which now form the bulk of their reading, but because the books are "dry." Those which are interesting are apt to be lengthy, and the mind consequently becomes confused by the multitude of details, while the brief ones often contain merely the dry bones of fact, uninviting and unreal. An attractive book which can be mastered in a single term, is the necessity of our schools. The present work is an attempt to meet this want in American histories. In its preparation there has been an endeavor to develop the following principles:

1. To precede each Epoch by questions and a map, so that the pupil may become familiar with the location of the places named in the history he is about to study.

2. To select only the most important events for the body of the text, and then, by foot-notes, to give explanations, illustrations, minor events, anecdotes, &c.

3. To classify the events under general topics, which are given in distinct type at the beginning of each paragraph; thus impressing the leading idea on the mind of the pupil, enabling him to see at a glance the prominent points of the lesson, and especially adapting the book to that large and constantly increasing class of teachers, who require topical recitations.

4. To select, in the description of each battle, some characteristic in which it differs from all other battles—its key-note, by which it can be recollected; thus not only preventing a sameness, but giving to the pupil a point around which he may group information obtained from fuller descriptions and larger histories.

5. To give only leading dates, and, as far as possible, to associate them with each other, and thus assist the memory in their permanent retention; experience having proved the committing of many dates to be the most barren and profitless of all school attainments.

6. To give each campaign as a whole, rather than to mingle several by presenting the events in chronological order. Whenever, by the operations of one army being dependent on those of another, this plan might fail to show the inter-relation of events, to prevent such a result by so arranging the campaigns that the supporting event shall precede the supported one.

7. To give something of the philosophy of history, the causes and effects of events, and, in the case of great battles, the objects sought to be attained; thus leading pupils to a thoughtful study of history, and to an appreciation of the fact that events hinge upon each other.

8. To insert, in foot-notes, sketches of the more important personages, especially the Presidents, and thereby enable the student to form some estimate of their characters.

9. To use language, a clause or sentence of which cannot be selected or committed as an answer to a question, but such as, giving the idea vividly, will yet compel the pupil to express it in his own words.

10. To assign to each Epoch its fair proportion of space; not expanding the earlier ones at the expense of the later; but giving due prominence to the events nearer our own time, especially to the Civil War.

11. To write a National history by carefully avoiding all sectional or partisan views.

12. To give the new States the attention due to their importance by devoting space to each one as it is admitted into the Union, and becomes a feature in the grand national development.

13. To lead to a more independent use of the book, and the adoption of the topical mode of recitation and study, as far as possible, by placing the questions at the close of the work, rather than at the bottom of each page.

14. To furnish, under the title of Historical Recreations, a set of review questions which may serve to awaken an interest in the class and induce a more comprehensive study of the book.

Finally—this work is offered to American youth in the confident belief that as they study the wonderful history of their native land, they will learn to prize their birthright more highly, and treasure it more carefully. Their patriotism must be kindled when they come to see how slowly, yet how gloriously, this tree of liberty has grown, what storms have wrenched its boughs, what sweat of toil and blood has moistened its roots, what eager eyes have watched every out-springing bud, what brave hearts have defended it, loving it even unto death. A heritage thus sanctified by the heroism and devotion of the fathers can but elicit the choicest care and tenderest love of the sons.


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[Entered according to Act of Congress, A. D. 1872, by A. S. Barnes & Co., in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.]

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The following method of using this work has been successfully employed by many teachers. At the commencement of the study let each pupil be required to draw an outline map of North America, at least 18 x 24 inches in size. This should contain only physical features, viz., coast-line, mountains, lakes, and rivers. If desired, they may be marked very faintly at first, and shaded and darkened when discovered in the progress of the history. As the pupils advance in the text let them mark on their maps, day by day, the places discovered, the settlements, battles, political divisions, etc., with their dates. They will thus see the country growing afresh under their hand and eye, and the geography and the history will be indissolubly linked. At the close of the term their maps will show what they have done, and each name, with its date, will recall the history which clusters around it.

Recitations and examinations may be conducted by having a map drawn upon the blackboard with colored crayons, and requiring the class to fill in the names and dates, describing the historical facts as they proceed. In turn, during review, the pupil should be able, when a date or place is pointed out, to state the event associated with it.

It will be noticed that the book is written on an exact plan and method of arrangement. The topics of the epochs, chapters, sections and paragraphs form a perfect analysis; thus, in each Presidential Administration, the order of subjects is uniform, viz.: Domestic Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Political Parties—the subsidiary topics being grouped under these heads. The teacher is therefore commended to place on the board the analysis of each Epoch, and conduct the recitation from that without the use of the book in the class.


WHO FIRST SETTLED AMERICA?—It was probably first peopled from Asia, the birth-place of man. In what way this happened, we do not know. Chinese vessels, coasting along the shore according to the custom of early voyagers, may have been driven by storms to cross the Pacific Ocean, while the crews were thankful to escape a watery grave by settling an unknown country or, parties wandering across Behring Strait in search of adventure, and finding on this side a pleasant land, may have resolved to make it their home.

AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.—In various parts of the continent, remains are found of the people who settled the country in prehistoric times. Through the Mississippi valley, from the Lakes to the Gulf, extends a succession of defensive earthworks.

[Footnote: It is a singular fact that banks of earth grassed over are more enduring than any other work of man. The grassy mounds near Nineveh and Babylon have remained unchanged for centuries. Meantime massive buildings of stone have been erected, have served long generations, and have crumbled to ruin.]

Similar ruins are found in various other sections of the United States. The largest forest trees are often found growing upon them. The Indians have no tradition as to the origin of these structures. They generally crown steep hills, and consist of embankments, ditches, &c., indicating considerable acquaintance with military science. At Newark, Ohio, a fortification exists which covers an area of more than two miles square, and has over two miles of embankment from two to twenty feet high.

Mounds, seemingly constructed as great altars for religious purposes or as monuments, are also numerous. One, opposite St. Louis, covers eight acres of ground, and is ninety feet high. There are said to be 10,000 of these mounds in Ohio alone.

A peculiar kind of earthwork has the outline of gigantic men or animals. An embankment in Adams County, Ohio, represents very accurately a serpent 1000 feet long. Its body winds with graceful curves, and in its wide-extended jaws lies a figure which the animal seems about to swallow. In Mexico and Peru, still more wonderful remains have been discovered. They consist not alone of defensive works, altars, and monuments, but of idols, ruined temples, aqueducts, bridges, and paved roads.

THE MOUND BUILDERS is the name given to the people who erected the mounds of North America. They seem to have emigrated to Central America, and there to have developed a high civilization. They built cities, wove cotton, worked in gold, silver, and copper, labored in the fields, and had regular governments.

THE INDIANS who were found on this continent east of the Mississippi, by the first European settlers, did not exceed 200,000 in number. In Mexico, Peru, and the Indies, however, there was an immense population. The Indians were the successors of the Mound Builders, and were by far their inferiors in civilization. We know not why the ancient race left, nor whence the Indians came. It is supposed that the former were driven southward by the savage tribes from the north.


[Footnote: This description applies to the Indians inhabiting the present limits of the United States.]

Arts and Inventions.—The Indian has been well termed the "Red Man of the Forest." He built no cities, no ships, no churches, no school-houses. He constructed only temporary bark wigwams and canoes. He made neither roads nor bridges, but followed foot-paths through the forest, and swam the streams. His highest art was expended in a simple bow and arrow.

Progress and Education.—He made no advancement, but each son emulated the prowess of his father in the hunt and the fight. The hunting-ground and the battle-field embraced everything of real honor or value. So the son was educated to throw the tomahawk, shoot the arrow, and catch fish with the spear. He knew nothing of books, paper, writing, or history.

[Footnote: Some tribes and families seem to have been further advanced than others and to have instructed then children, especially those young men who hoped to become chiefs, in the history and customs of their nation.]

Domestic Life.—The Indian had no cow, or domestic beast of burden. He regarded all labor as degrading, and fit only for women. His squaw, therefore, built his wigwam, cut his wood, and carried his burdens when he journeyed. While he hunted or fished, she cleared the land for his corn by burning down the trees, scratched the ground with a crooked stick or dug it with a clam-shell, and dressed skins for his clothing. She cooked his food by dropping hot stones into a tight willow basket containing materials for soup. The leavings of her lord's feast sufficed for her, and the coldest place in the wigwam was her seat.

[Footnote: This cut represents a species of picture-writing occasionally used by the Indians. Some Indian guides wished to inform their comrades that a company of fourteen whites and two Indians had spent the night at that point. Nos. 9, 10 indicate the white soldiers and their arms; No. 1 is the captain, with a sword; No. 2 the secretary, with the book; No. 3 the geologist, with a hammer; Nos. 7, 8 are the guides, without hats; Nos. 11,12 show what they ate in camp; Nos. 13,14,15 indicate how many fires they made.]

Disposition.—In war the Indian was brave and alert, but cruel and revengeful, preferring treachery and cunning to open battle. At home, he was lazy, improvident, and an inveterate gambler. He delighted in finery and trinkets, and decked his unclean person with paint and feathers. His grave and haughty demeanor repelled the stranger; but he was grateful for favors, and his wigwam stood hospitably open to the poorest and meanest of his tribe.

Endurance.—He could endure great fatigue, and in his expeditions often lay without shelter in the severest weather. It was his glory to bear the most horrible tortures without a sign of suffering.

Religion.—If he had any ideas of a Supreme Being, they were vague and degraded. His dream of a Heaven was of happy hunting-grounds or of gay feasts, where his dog should join in the dance. He worshipped no idols, but peopled all nature with spirits, which dwelt not only in birds, beasts and reptiles, but also in lakes, rivers and waterfalls. As he believed that these had power to help or harm men, he lived in constant fear of offending them. He apologized, therefore, to the animals he killed, and made solemn promises to fishes that their bones should be respected. He placed great stress on dreams, and his camp swarmed with sorcerers and fortune-tellers.

THE INDIAN OF THE PRESENT.—Such was the Indian two hundred years ago, and such he is to-day. He opposes the encroachments of the settler, and the building of railroads. But he cannot stop the tide of immigration. Unless he can be induced to give up his roving habits, and to cultivate the soil, he is doomed to destruction. It is to be earnestly hoped that the red man may yet be Christianized, and taught the arts of industry and peace.

THE NORTHMEN (inhabitants of Norway and Sweden) claim to have been the original discoverers of America. According to their traditions, this continent was seen first about the year 1000, by one Biorne, who had been driven to sea by a tempest. Afterward other adventurers made successful voyages, established settlements, and bartered with the natives. Snorre, son of one of these settlers, is said to have been the first child born of European parents upon our shore.

[Footnote: Snorre was the founder of an illustrious family. One of his descendants is said to have been Albert Thorwaldsen, the great Danish sculptor of the present century. The beautiful photographs of Thorwaldsen's "Day," "Night," and "The Seasons," which hang in so many American parlors, thus acquire a new interest by being linked with the pioneer boy born on New England shores so many centuries ago.]

The Northmen claim to have explored the coast as far south as Florida. How much credit is to be given to these traditions is uncertain. Many historians reject them, while others think there are traces of the Northmen yet remaining, such as the old tower at Newport, R.I., and the singular inscriptions on the rock at Dighton, Mass. Admitting, however, the claims of the Northmen, the fact is barren of all results. No permanent settlements were made, the route hither was lost, and even the existence of the continent was forgotten.

[Footnote: See "The Old Mill at Newport" in Scribner's Magazine, March, 1879, and the Magazine of American History, September, 1879.]

The true history of this country begins with its discovery by Columbus in 1492. It naturally divides itself into six great epochs.



This epoch extends from the discovery of America in 1492 to the settlement at Jamestown, Va., in 1607. During this period various European nations were exploring the continent, and making widely scattered settlements.



This epoch extends from the settlement at Jamestown, Va., in 1607, to the breaking out of the Revolutionary War in 1775. During this period the scattered settlements grew into thirteen flourishing colonies, subject to Great Britain.



This epoch extends from the breaking out of the Revolutionary War in 1775, to the adoption of the Constitution in 1787. During this period the colonies threw off the government of England, and established their independence.



This epoch extends from the adoption of the Constitution in 1787, to the breaking out of the Civil War in 1861. During this period the States increased in number from thirteen to thirty-four, and grew in population and wealth until the United States became the most prosperous nation in the world.



This epoch extends from the breaking out of the Civil War in 1861, to the surrender of Lee's army in 1865. During this period a gigantic strife was carried on between the Northern and the Southern States, the former struggling for the perpetuation of the Union, and the latter for its division.



This epoch extends from the close of the Civil War to the present time. During this period the seceding States have been restored to their rights in the Union, peace has been fully established, and many interesting events have occurred.


The following works will be found valuable for reference and additional information. It is not the intention to give a catalogue of U. S. Histories and biographies of celebrated Americans, but simply to name a few works which will serve to interest a class and furnish material for collateral reading. Bancroft's and Hildreth's Histories, Irving's Life of Washington, and Sparks's American Biographies, are supposed to be in every school library, and to be familiar to every teacher. They are therefore not referred to in this list. The Lives of the Presidents, the Histories of the different States, and all works of local value are useful, and should be secured, if possible. The Magazine of American History will be found serviceable for reference on disputed points of American History and Biography. Holmes's American Annals is invaluable, and the early volumes of the North American Review contain a great deal of interesting historical matter. The American Cyclopaedia and Thomas's Dictionary of Biography are exceedingly serviceable in preparing essays and furnishing anecdotes. With a little effort a poem, a good prose selection, or a composition on some historical topic may be offered by the class each day to enliven the recitation.

Beamish's Discovery of America by the Northmen.—Bradford's American Antiquities.—Baldwin's Ancient America.—Squier and Davis's American Antiquities and Discoveries in the West—Sinding's History of Scandinavia.-Cattin's North American Indians. —Thatcher's Indian Biography.—Stone's Life and Times of Red Jacket, and Life of Brandt—Cooper's Leather Stocking Tales—Morgan's League of the Iroquois.—Schoolcraft's Memoirs of Residence Among the Indians, and other works by the same author. —Foster's Prehistoric Races of the United States of America. —Bancroft's Native Races—Matthew's Behemoth, a Legend of the Mound Builders (Fiction).—Lowell's Chippewa Legend (Poetry). —Whittier's Bridal of Penacook (Poetry).—Jones's Mound-Builders of Tennesee.—Goodrich's So-called Columbus.—Ancient Monuments in America, Harper's Magazine, vol. 21.



GEOGRAPHICAL KNOWLEDGE IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.—The people of Europe had then never heard of America. About that time, a great desire for geographical knowledge was awakened. The compass and the astrolabe—an instrument for reckoning latitude—had been already invented. Voyagers were no longer compelled to creep along the shore, but began to strike out boldly into the open sea. The art of printing had just come into use, and books of travel were eagerly read.

[Footnote: Questions on the Geography of the First Epoch.—In the accompanying map there are no divisions of the continent, as none existed at that time. When they are called for in the following questions, the object is to test the pupil's geographical knowledge.

Locate the West Indies. San Salvador (now called Guanahani, gwah-nah-hah'-ne, and Cat Island). Cuba. Hispaniola or Hayti (he-te), name given to the island in 1803 by Dessalines. (See Lipp. Gazetteer.) Newfoundland. Cape Breton. Roanoke Island. Manhattan Island.

Describe the Orinoco River. Mississippi River. St. Lawrence River. James River. Ohio River. Colorado River. Columbia River. St. John's River (see map for Epoch V).

Where is Labrador? Central America? Florida? Mexico? New Mexico? California? Oregon? Peru?

Locate St Augustine. Santa Fe (sahn-tah-fay). New York. Montreal. Quebec. Albany. Jamestown. Port Royal. Isthmus of Darien. Cape Henry. Cape Charles. Cape Cod. Chesapeake Bay. Hudson Bay.

Marco Polo and other adventurers returning from the East, told wonderful stories of the wealth of Asiatic cities. Genoa, Florence, and Venice, commanding the commerce of the Mediterranean, had become enriched by trade with the East. The costly shawls, spices, and silks of Persia and India were borne by caravans to the Red Sea, thence on camels across the desert to the Nile, and lastly by ship over the Mediterranean to Europe.]

The great problem of the age was how to reach the East Indies by sea, and thus give a cheaper route to these rich products.

COLUMBUS conceived that by sailing west he could reach the East Indies. He believed the earth to be round, which was then a novel idea. He, however, thought it much smaller than it really is, and that Asia extends much further round the world to the east than it does. Hence, he argued that by going a few hundred leagues west he would touch the coast of Eastern Asia. He was determined to try this new route, but was too poor to pay for the necessary ships, men, and provisions.

[Footnote: Several facts served to strengthen the faith of Columbus in the correctness of his theory. The Azores and the Cape de Verde islands were the most westerly lands then known. There had been washed on their shores by westerly winds, pieces of wood curiously carved, trees, and seeds of unknown species, and especially the bodies of two men of strange color and visage.]

[Footnote: Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, 1435. He was trained for the sea from his childhood. Being the eldest of four children, and his father a poor wool-comber, much care devolved upon him. It is said that at thirty his hair was white from trouble and anxiety. His kind and loving disposition is proved by the fact that in his poorest days he saved part of his pittance to educate his young brothers and support his aged father. Columbus was determined, shrewd, and intensely religious. He believed and announced himself to be divinely called to "carry the true faith into the uttermost parts of the earth." Inspired by this thought, no discouragement or contumely could drive him to despair utterly. It was eighteen years from the conception to the accomplishment of his plan. During all this time his life was a marvel of patience, and of brave devotion to his one purpose. His sorrows were many; his triumph was brief. Evil men maligned him to Ferdinand and Isabella. Disregarding their promise that he should be governor-general over all the lands he might discover, the king and queen sent out another governor, and by his order Columbus was sent home in chains! No wonder that the whole nation was shocked at such an indignity to such a man. It is sad to know that although Ferdinand and Isabella endeavored to soothe his wounded spirit by many attentions, they never restored to him his lawful rights. From fluent promises they passed at last to total neglect, and Columbus died a grieved and disappointed old man. At his request, his chains were buried with him, a touching memorial of Spanish ingratitude.]

COLUMBUS AT THE COURT OF PORTUGAL.—He accordingly laid his plan before King John of Portugal, who, being pleased with the idea, referred it to the geographers of his court. They pronounced it a visionary scheme. With a lurking feeling, however, that there might be truth in it, the king had the meanness to dispatch a vessel secretly to test the matter. The pilot had the charts of Columbus, but lacked his heroic courage. After sailing westward from Cape de Verde islands for a few days, and seeing nothing but a wide waste of wildly tossing waves, he returned, ridiculing the idea.

COLUMBUS AT THE COURT OF SPAIN.—Columbus, disheartened by this treachery, betook himself to Spain. During seven long years he importuned King Ferdinand for a reply. All this while he was regarded as a visionary fellow, and when he passed along the streets, even the children pointed to their foreheads and smiled. At last, the learned council declared the plan too foolish for further attention. Turning away sadly, Columbus determined to go to France.

[Footnote: "It is absurd," said those wise men. "Who is so foolish as to believe that there are people on the other side of the world, walking with their heels upward, and their heads hanging down? And then, how can a ship get there? The torrid zone, through which they must pass, is a region of fire, where the very waves boil. And even if a ship could perchance get around there safely, how could it ever get back? Can a ship sail up hill?" All of which sounds very strange to us now, when hundreds of travelers make every year the entire circuit of the globe.]

COLUMBUS SUCCESSFUL.—His friends at the Spanish court, at this juncture, laid the matter before Queen Isabella, and she was finally won to his cause. The king remained indifferent, and pleaded the want of funds. The queen in her earnestness exclaimed, "I pledge my jewels to raise the money." But her sacrifice was not required. St. Angel, the court treasurer, advanced most of the money, and the friends of Columbus the remainder,—in all about $20,000, equal to six times that amount at the present day. Columbus had succeeded at last.

COLUMBUS'S EQUIPMENT.—Though armed with the king's authority, Columbus obtained vessels and sailors with the greatest difficulty. The boldest seamen shrank from such a desperate undertaking. At last, three small vessels were manned; the Pinta (peen'tah), Santa Maria (ma-re-ah), and Ninah (ne-nah). They sailed from Palos, Spain, Aug. 3, 1492.

INCIDENTS OF THE VOYAGE.—When the ships struck out boldly westward on the untried sea, and the sailors saw the last trace of land fade from their sight, many, even of the bravest, burst into tears. As they proceeded, their hearts were wrung by superstitious fears. To their dismay, the compass no longer pointed directly north, and they believed that they were coming into a region where the very laws of nature were changed. They came into the track of the trade-wind, which wafted them steadily westward. This, they were sure, was carrying them to destruction, for how could they ever return against it? Signs of land, such as flocks of birds and fresh, green plants, were often seen, and the clouds near the horizon assumed the look of land, but they disappeared, and only the broad ocean spread out before them as they advanced. The sailors, so often deceived, lost heart, and insisted upon returning home. Columbus, with wonderful tact and patience, explained all these appearances. But the more he argued, the louder became their murmurs. At last they secretly determined to throw him overboard. Although he knew their feelings, he did not waver, but declared that he would proceed till the enterprise was accomplished.

Soon, signs of land silenced their murmurs. A staff artificially carved, and a branch of thorn with berries floated near. All was now eager expectation. In the evening, Columbus beheld a light rising and falling in the distance, as of a torch borne by one walking. Later at night, the joyful cry of "Land!" rang out from the Pinta. In the morning the shore, green with tropical verdure, lay smiling before them.

THE LANDING.—Columbus, dressed in a splendid military suit of scarlet embroidered with gold, and followed by a retinue of his officers and men bearing banners, stepped upon the new world, Friday, Oct. 12, 1492. He threw himself upon his knees, kissed the earth, and with tears of joy gave thanks to God. He then formally planted the cross, and took possession of the country in the name of Ferdinand and Isabella.

The wondering natives, who crowded the shore, gazed on them with awe. They supposed the ships to be huge white-winged birds, and the Spaniards to have come from heaven. How sadly and how soon these simple people were undeceived!

FURTHER DISCOVERIES.—Columbus found the land to be an island, which he named St. Salvador. He supposed that he had reached the islands lying off the eastern coast of India, and he therefore called the dark-hued natives, Indians. Careful inquiries were also made concerning the rich products of the East, such as spices, precious stones, and especially gold. The simple people had only a few golden ornaments. These they readily bartered for hawks' bells. Cuba, Hayti, and other islands were discovered and visited in the vain hope of securing Oriental treasures. Columbus even sent a deputation into the interior of Cuba to a famous chief, supposing him to be the great king of Tartary!

At last, urged by his crew, he relinquished the search, and turned his vessels homeward.

HIS RECEPTION, on his return, was flattering in the extreme. The whole nation took a holiday. His appearance was hailed with shouts and the ringing of bells. The king and queen were dazzled by their new and sudden acquisition. As Columbus told them of the beautiful land he had discovered, its brilliant birds, its tropical forests, its delicious climate, and above all, its natives waiting to be converted to the Christian faith, they sank upon their knees, and gave God thanks for such a signal triumph.

[Footnote: The body of Columbus was deposited in the Convent of San Francisco, Valladohd, Spain. It was thence transported, in 1513, to the Carthusian Monastery of Seville where a handsome monument was erected, by command of Ferdinand and Isabella with the simple inscription—"To Castile and Leon, Colon gave a new world." In 1536 his body, and that of his son Diego, were removed to the city of Saint Domingo, Hayti, and interned in the principal chapel. But they were not permitted to rest even there, for in 1796 they were brought to Havana with imposing ceremonies. His final resting place in the Cathedral is marked by a slab elaborately carved, on which is inscribed in Spanish,

"Oh, rest thou, image of the great Colon, Thousand centuries remain, guarded in the urn, And in the remembrance of our nation."]

SUBSEQUENT VOYAGES.—Columbus afterward made three voyages. In 1498 he discovered the mainland, near the Orinoco River. He never, however, lost the delusion that it was the eastern coast of Asia, and died ignorant of the grandeur of his discovery.

HOW THE CONTINENT WAS NAMED.—Americus Vesputius (a-mer-i-cus ves-pu-she-us), a friend of Columbus, accompanied a subsequent expedition to the new world. A German named Waldsee-Mueller published an interesting account of his adventures, in which he suggested that the country should be called America. This work, being the first description of the new world, was very popular, and the name was soon adopted by geographers.

JOHN CAB'-OT, a navigator of Bristol, England, by studying his charts and globes, decided that since the degrees of longitude diminish in length as they approach the pole, the shortest route to India must be by sailing northwest instead of west, as Columbus had done. He easily obtained royal authority to make the attempt. After a prosperous voyage, he came in sight of the sterile region of Labrador, and sailed along the coast for many leagues. This was fourteen months before Columbus discovered the continent. Cabot supposed that he had reached the territory of the "Great Cham," king of Tartary. Nevertheless, he landed, planted a banner, and took possession in the name of the king of England. On his return home he was received with much honor, was dressed in silk, and styled the "Great Admiral." The booty which he brought back consisted of only two turkeys and three savages.

[Footnote: There is a map of Cabot's preserved at Paris, on which the land he first saw, and named Prima Vista, corresponds with Cape Breton. On it is the date 1494. If this be authentic, it will give the priority of the discovery of the American continent to Cabot by four years, and decide that Cape Breton, and not Labrador nor the Orinoco River, was first seen by European eyes. Very little is definitely known of John Cabot, and even the time and place of his birth and death are matters of conjecture.]

SEBASTIAN CABOT continued his father's discoveries. During the same summer in which Columbus reached the shore of South America, Sebastian, then a youth of only twenty-one, discovered Newfoundland, and coasted as far south as Chesapeake Bay. As he found neither the way to India, nor gold, precious stones, and spices, his expedition was considered a failure. Yet, by his discoveries, England acquired a title to a vast territory in the new world. Though he gave to England a continent, no one knows his burial-place.

We shall now follow the principal explorations made within the limits of the future United States, by the SPAINIARDS, FRENCH, ENGLISH, and DUTCH. The Spaniards explored mainly the southern portion of North America, the French the northern, and the English the middle portion along the coast.


Feeling in Spain.—America, at this time, was to the Spaniard a land of vague, but magnificent promise, where the simple natives wore unconsciously the costliest gems, and the sands of the rivers sparkled with gold. Every returning ship brought fresh news to quicken the pulse of Spanish enthusiasm. Now, Cortez had taken Mexico, and reveled in the wealth of the Montezumas; now, Pizarro had conquered Peru, and captured the riches of the Incas; now, Magellan, sailing through the straits which bear his name, had crossed the Pacific, and his vessel returning home by the Cape of Good Hope, had circumnavigated the globe. Men of the highest rank and culture, warriors, adventurers, all flocked to the new world. Soon Cuba, Hispaniola, Porto Rico, and Jamaica were settled, and ruled by Spanish governors. Among the Spanish explorers of the sixteenth century we notice the following:

PONCE DE LEON (pon'-tha-da-la-on') was a gallant soldier, but an old man, and in disgrace. He coveted the glory of conquest to restore his tarnished reputation, and, besides, he had heard of a magical fountain in this fairy land, where one might bathe and be young again. Accordingly he equipped an expedition, and sailed in search of this fabled treasure. On Easter Sunday (Pascua Florida, in Spanish), 1512, he came in sight of a land gay with spring flowers. In honor of the day, he called it Florida. He sailed along the coast, and landed here and there, but returned home at last, an old man still, haying found neither youth, gold, nor glory.

[Footnote: About eight years afterward, De Ayllon (da-ile-yon') made a kidnapping expedition to what is now known as South Carolina. Desiring to obtain laborers for the mines and plantations in Hayti, he invited some of the natives on board his vessels, and, when they were all below, he suddenly closed the hatches and set sail. The speculation, however, did not turn out profitably. One vessel sank with all on board, and many, preferring starvation to slavery, died on the voyage. History tells us that in 1525, when De Ayllon went back with the intention of settling the country, the Indians practised upon him the lesson of cruelty he had taught them. His men were lured into the interior. Their entertainers, falling upon them at night, slew the larger part, and De Ayllon was only too glad to escape with his life.]

BALBOA crossed the Isthmus of Darien the next year, and from the summit of the Andes beheld the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Wading into its waters with his naked sword in one hand, and the banner of Castile (kas-teel) in the other, he solemnly declared that the ocean, and all the shores which it might touch, belonged to the crown of Spain forever.

DE NARVAEZ (nar-vah-eth) received a grant of Florida, and (1528) with 300 men attempted its conquest. Striking into the interior, they wandered about, lured on by the hope of finding gold. Wading through swamps, crossing deep rivers by swimming and by rafts, fighting the lurking Indians who incessantly harassed their path, and nearly perishing with hunger, they reached at last the Gulf of Mexico. Hastily constructing some crazy boats, they put to sea. After six weeks of peril and suffering, they were shipwrecked, and De Narvaez was lost. Six years afterward, four—the only survivors of this ill-fated expedition—reached the Spanish settlements on the Pacific coast.

FERDINAND DE SOTO, undismayed by these failures, undertook anew the conquest of Florida. He set out with 600 choice men, amid the fluttering of banners, the flourish of trumpets, and the gleaming of helmet and lance. For month after month this procession of cavaliers, priests, soldiers, and Indian captives strolled through the wilderness, wherever they thought gold might be found. They traversed what is now Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. In the third year of their wanderings (1541) they emerged upon the bank of the Mississippi. After another year of fruitless explorations, De Soto died. (See Map, Epoch I). At the dead of night his followers sank his body in the river, and the sullen waters buried his hopes and his ambition. "He had crossed a large part of the continent," says Bancroft, "and found nothing so remarkable as his burial-place." De Soto had been the soul of the company. When he died, the other adventurers were anxious only to get home in safety. They constructed boats and descended the river, little over half of this gallant array finally reaching the settlements in Mexico.

MELENDEZ (ma-len-deth), wiser than his predecessors, on landing (1565) forthwith laid the foundations of a colony. In honor of the day, he named it St. Augustine. This is the oldest town in the United States.

[Footnote: Many Spanish remains still exist. Among these is Fort Marion, once San Marco, which was founded in 1565 and finished in 1755. It is built of coquina—a curious stone composed of small shells.]


California, in the sixteenth century, was a general name applied to all the region northwest of Mexico. It is said to have originated in an old Spanish romance very popular in the time of Cortez, in which appeared a character called California, queen of the Amazons. The Mexicans told the Spaniards that most of their gold and precious stones came from a country far to the northwest. Cortez, therefore, immediately turned his attention to that direction, and sent out several expeditions to explore the Californias. All these adventurers returned empty-handed from the very region where, three centuries afterward, the world was startled by the finding of an El Dorado such as would have satisfied the wildest dreams of Cortez and his credulous followers.

CABRILLO (1542) made the first voyage along the Pacific coast, going as far north as the present limits of Oregon.

NEW MEXICO was explored and named by Espejo (es-pay'-ho) who (1582) founded Santa Fe, which is the second oldest town in the United States. This was seventeen years after the settlement of St. Augustine.


Spain, at the close of the sixteenth century, held possession not only of the West Indies, but of Yucatan, Mexico, and Florida.

[Footnote: A writer of that time locates Quebec in Florida, and a map of Henry II. gives that name to all North America.]

The Spanish explorers had traversed a large portion of the present Southern States, and of the Pacific coast. All this vast territory they claimed by the rights of discovery and possession.

[Footnote: The conquests of the new world enriched Spain, which became the wealthiest and most powerful country in Europe. This made other nations all the more anxious to find the western passage to India. The routes by the Cape of Good Hope and by the Straits of Magellan were long and dangerous. To find the shorter northwestern route now became the great wish of all maritime nations, and has been anxiously sought down to the present time.]


The French were eager to share in the profits which Spain was acquiring in the new world. Within seven years after the discovery of the continent, the fisheries of Newfoundland were frequented by their mariners.

[Footnote: Cape Breton was named by the fishermen in remembrance of their home in Brittany, France.]

VER-RA-ZA-NI (zah-ne), a Florentine, was the first navigator sent by the French king to find the new way to the Indies. Sailing westward from Madeira (1524), he reached land near the present harbor of Wilmington.

[Footnote: A letter of Verrazani's giving an account of this voyage, and, until of late, thought to be reliable, is now considered by many to be a forgery perpetrated by some Italian anxious to secure for his country the glory of the discovery.]

He supposed this had never been seen by Europeans, although we know that Cabot had discovered it nearly thirty years before. He coasted along the shores of Carolina and New Jersey, entered the harbors of New York and Newport, and returned with the most glowing description of the new lands he had found. He named the country New France. This term was afterwards confined to Canada.

CARTIER (kar-te-a) ascended the River St. Lawrence (1535) to the Indian village of Hochelaga (ho-she-lah-ga) the present site of Montreal. The town was pleasantly situated at the foot of a lofty hill which Cartier climbed. Stirred by the magnificent prospect, he named it Mont Real (Mong Ra-al), Regal Mountain.

[Footnote: Cartier had discovered and named the Gulf and River St. Lawrence the previous year. In 1541-2, he and Lord Roberval attempted to plant a colony near Quebec. It was composed chiefly of convicts and proved a failure.]

JOHN RIBAUT (re-bo) led the first expedition (1562) under the auspices of Coligny.

[Footnote: Jean Ribaut, as his name is given in Coligny's Ms. and in his own journal published in 1563, was an excellent seaman.]

[Footnote: Coligny (ko-lon-ye) was an admiral of France, and a leader of the Huguenots (Hu-ge-nots), as the Protestants were then called. He had conceived a plan for founding an empire in America. This would furnish an asylum for his Huguenot friends, and at the same time advance the glory of the French. Thus religion and patriotism combined to induce him to send out colonists to the new world.]

The company landed at Port Royal, S.C. So captivated were they, that when volunteers were called for to hold the country for France, so many came forward "with such a good will and joly corage," wrote Ribaut, "as we had much to do to stay their importunitie." They erected a fort, which they named Carolina in honor of Charles IX., king of France. The fleet departed, and this little band of thirty were left alone on the continent. From the North Pole to Mexico, they were the only civilized men. Food became scarce. They tired of the eternal solitude of the wilderness, and finally built a rude ship, and put to sea. Here a storm shattered their vessel. Famine overtook them, and, in their extremity, they killed and ate one of their number. A vessel at last hove in sight, and took them on board only to carry them captives to England. Thus perished the colony, but the name still survives.

[Footnote: The most feeble were landed in France. It is said that Queen Elizabeth while conversing with those sent to England, first thought of colonizing the new world]

LAUDONNIERE (Lo-don-yare), two years after, built a fort, also called Carolina, on the St. John's River.

[Footnote: The history of this colony records an amusing story concerning the long life of the natives. A party visited a chief in the midst of the wilderness who gravely assured them that he was the father of five generations, and had lived 250 years. Opposite him, in the same hut, sat his father, a mere skeleton, whose "age was so great that the good man had lost his sight, and could speak one onely word but with exceeding great paine." The credulous Frenchmen gazed with awe on this wonderful pair, and congratulated themselves on having come to such a land,—where certainly there would be no need of Ponce de Leon's fabled fountain.]

Soon the colonists were reduced to the verge of starvation.

[Footnote: Their sufferings were horrible. Weak and emaciated, they fed themselves with roots, sorrel, pounded fish-bones, and even roasted snakes. "Oftentimes," says Laudonniere, "our poor soldiers were constrained to give away the very shirts from their backs to get one fish. If at any time they shewed unto the savages the excessive price which they tooke, these villaines would answer them roughly: 'If thou make so great account of thy merchandise, eat it, and we will eat our fish;' then fell they out a laughing, and mocked us with open throat."]

They were on the point of leaving, when they were reinforced by Ribaut. The French now seemed fairly fixed on the coast of Florida. The Spaniards, however, claimed the country. Melendez, about this time, had made a settlement in St. Augustine. Leading an expedition northward through the wilderness, in the midst of a fearful tempest, he attacked Fort Carolina and massacred almost the entire population.

CHAMPLAIN (sham-plane), at the beginning of the seventeenth century, crossed the Atlantic in two pigmy barks—one of twelve, the other of fifteen tons—and ascended the St. Lawrence on an exploring tour. At Hochelaga all was changed. The Indian town had vanished, and not a trace remained of the savage population which Cartier saw there seventy years before.

[Footnote: This fact illustrates the frequent and rapid changes which took place among the aboriginal tribes.]

Champlain was captivated by the charms of the new world, and longed to plant a French empire and the Catholic faith amid its savage wilds.

DE MONTS (mong) received a grant of all the territory between the fortieth and forty-sixth parallels of latitude.

[Footnote: Between the sites of Philadelphia and Montreal.]

This tract was termed Acadia, a name afterward confined to New Brunswick and the adjacent islands, and now to Nova Scotia. With Champlain, he founded Port Royal, N. S., in 1605. This was the first permanent French settlement in America. It was three years before a cabin was built in Canada, and two before the James River was discovered.

CHAMPLAIN RETURNED in 1608, and established a trading post at Quebec. This was the first permanent French settlement in Canada. The next summer, in his eager desire to explore the country, he joined a war party of the Hurons against the Iroquois, or Five Nations of Central New York.

[Footnote: The interference of Champlain with the Indians secured the inveterate hostility of the Iroquois tribes. Not long after, they seized the missionaries who came among them, tortured and put them to death. This cut off any farther explorations toward the south. The French, therefore, turned their attention toward the west.]

On this journey he discovered that beautiful lake which bears his name. Amid discouragements which would have overwhelmed a less determined spirit, Champlain firmly established the authority of France on the banks of the St. Lawrence. "The Father of New France," as he has been termed, reposes in the soil he won to civilization.

THE JESUIT MISSIONARIES.—The explorers of the Mississippi valley were mostly Jesuit priests. The French names which they gave still linger throughout that region. Their hope was to convert the Indians to the Christian faith. They pushed their way through the forest with unflagging energy. They crept along the northern shore of Lake Ontario. They traversed the Great Lakes. In 1668 they founded the mission of St. Mary, the oldest European settlement in Michigan. Many of them were murdered by the savages; some were scalped; some were burned in rosin-fire; some scalded with boiling water. Yet, as soon as one fell out of the ranks, another sprang forward to fill the post. We shall name but two of these patient, indefatigable pioneers of New France.

FATHER MARQUETTE (mar-ket), hearing from some wandering Indians of a great river which they termed the "Father of Waters," determined to visit it. He floated in a birch-bark canoe down the Wisconsin to the Mississippi (1673), and thence to the mouth of the Arkansas.

[Footnote: Soon after, while on another expedition, he went ashore for the purpose of quiet devotion. After waiting long for his return, his men, seeking him, found that he had died while at prayer. He was buried near the mouth of the Marquette. Years after, when the tempest raged, and the Indian was tossing on the angry waves, he would seek to still the storm by invoking the aid of the pious Marquette.]

LA SALLE was educated as a Jesuit, but had established a trading post at the outlet of Lake Ontario. He undertook various expeditions full of romantic adventure. Inflamed with a desire to find the mouth of the Mississippi, he made his way (1682) to the Gulf of Mexico. He named the country Louisiana, in honor of Louis XIV., king of France.

RESULTS OF FRENCH ENTERPRISE.—Before the close of the seventeenth century, the French had explored the Great Lakes, the Fox, Maumee, Wabash, Wisconsin and Illinois Rivers, and the Mississippi from the Falls of St. Anthony to the Gulf. They had traversed a region including what is now known as Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, the Canadas and Acadia.

[Footnote: As we shall see hereafter, the English at this time clung to a narrow strip along the Atlantic coast.]

In 1688 it had a population of 11,000.

* * * * *


We have seen how the Cabots, sailing under an English flag, discovered the American continent, exploring its coast from Labrador to Albemarle Sound. Though the English claimed the northern part of the continent by right of this discovery, yet during the sixteenth century they paid little attention to it. At the close of that period, however, maritime enterprise was awakened and British sailors cruised on every sea. Like the other navigators of the day, they were eager to discover the western passage to Asia.

FROBISHER made the first of these attempts to go north of America to Asia—Cabot's plan repeated. He pushed through unknown waters, threading his perilous way among icebergs, until (1576) he entered Baffin Bay. Here he heaped a pile of stones, declared the country an appendage of the British crown, and returned home.

[Footnote: One of the sailors brought back a stone which was thought to contain gold. A fleet of fifteen vessels was forthwith equipped for this new El Dorado The northwest passage to Cathay was forgotten. After innumerable perils incident to Arctic regions, the ships were loaded with the precious ore and returned. Unfortunately history neglects to tell us what became of the cargo.]

SIR FRANCIS DRAKE was a famous sailor. In one of his expeditions on the Isthmus of Panama, he climbed to the top of a lofty tree, whence he saw the Pacific Ocean. Looking out on its broad expanse, he resolved to "sail an English ship on those seas." Returning to England he equipped a squadron. He sailed through the Straits of Magellan, coasting along the Pacific shore to the southern part of Oregon. He refitted his ship in San Francisco harbor, and thence sailing westward, returned home (1579) by the Cape of Good Hope.

[Footnote: He was thus the first Englishman who explored the Pacific coast, and the second European who circumnavigated the globe.]

SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT was not a sailor, but he had studied the accounts of American discoveries, and concluded that instead of random expeditions after gold and spices, companies should be sent out to form permanent settlements. His attempts to colonize the new world, however, ended fatally. Sailing home in a bark of only ten-tons burden, in the midst of a fearful storm the light of his little vessel suddenly disappeared. Neither ship nor crew was ever seen again.

SIR WALTER RALEIGH was a half-brother of Gilbert, and adopted his views of American colonization. Being a great favorite with Queen Elizabeth, he easily obtained from her a patent of an extensive territory, which was named Virginia in honor of Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen.

[Footnote: Raleigh was not only a man of dauntless courage, but he also added to a handsome person much learning and many accomplishments. Meeting Queen Elizabeth one day while she was walking, he spread his mantle over a wet place in the path for her to tread upon. She was so pleased with his gallantry that she admitted him to court, and he continued a favorite during her entire lifetime. Conversing with her one day upon the singular properties of tobacco, the new Indian weed which was coming into use, he assured her that he could tell the exact weight of smoke in any quantity consumed. The incredulous Queen dared him to a wager. Accepting it, Raleigh weighed his tobacco, smoked it, and then carefully weighing the ashes, stated the difference. Paying the bet, Elizabeth remarked that she "had before heard of turning gold into smoke, but he was the first who had turned smoke into gold." This incident illustrates the friendly relations between Raleigh and the Queen. After her death, he was accused by James I. of treason, was imprisoned for many years, and at the age of 65 was executed. On the scaffold he asked for the axe, and feeling the edge, observed, with a smile, "This is a sharp medicine, but a sound cure for all diseases." Then composedly laying his bead on the block, and moving his lips as in prayer, he gave the fatal signal.]

Raleigh's first attempt to plant a colony was on Roanoke Island. The settlers made no endeavor to cultivate the soil, but spent most of their time in hunting for gold and pearls.

[Footnote: They believed the Roanoke River had its head-waters in golden rocks, by the Pacific Ocean. The walls of a great city near its fountain were affirmed to be thickly studded with pearls.]

At last they were nearly starved, when Drake, happening to stop there on one of his exploring tours, took pity on them and carried them home. They had lived long enough in America to learn the use of tobacco and the potato. These they introduced into England. The custom of "drinking tobacco," as it was called, soon became the fashion.

[Footnote: An amusing story is told of Raleigh while he was learning to smoke. On entering his study one morning to bring his master a cup of ale, his servant saw a cloud of smoke issuing from Sir Walter's mouth. Frantically dashing the liquor in his face, he rushed down stairs imploring help, for his master would soon be burnt to ashes!]

Raleigh's Second Attempt.—Raleigh, undiscouraged by this failure, still clung to his colonizing scheme. The next time he sent out families, instead of single men. John White was appointed governor of the city of Raleigh, which they were to found on Chesapeake Bay. A granddaughter of Governor White, born soon after they reached Roanoke Island, was the first English child born in America. The governor, on returning to England to secure supplies, found the public attention absorbed by the threatened attack of the Spanish Armada. It was three years before he was able to come back. Meanwhile, his family, and the colony he had left alone in the wilderness, had perished. How, we do not know. The imagination can only picture what history has failed to record.

Raleigh had now spent about $200,000, a great sum for that day, on this American colony; and, disheartened, transferred his patent to other parties.

TRADING VOYAGES.—Fortunately for American interests, trading ventures were more profitable than colonizing ones. English vessels frequented the Banks of Newfoundland, and probably occasionally visited Virginia.

[Footnote: The English ships were at that time accustomed to steer southward along the coast of Spain, Portugal, and Africa, as far as the Canary Islands, then they followed the track of Columbus to the West India Islands, and thence along the coast of Florida]

Gosnold, a master of a small bark (1602), discovered and named Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and other neighboring localities. Loading his vessel with sassafras-root, which was then highly esteemed as a medicine, he returned home to publish the most favorable reports of the region he had visited. Some British merchants accordingly sent out the next year a couple of vessels under Captain Pring. He discovered several harbors in Maine, and brought back his ships loaded with furs and sassafras.

[Footnote: northward to the point they wished to reach. Navigators knew this was a roundabout way, but they were afraid to try the northern route straight across the Atlantic. Gosnold made the voyage directly from England to Massachusetts, thus shortening the route 3,000 miles. This gave a great impulse to colonization, since it was in effect bringing America 3,000 miles nearer England.]

As the result of these various explorations, many felt an earnest desire to colonize the new world. James I. accordingly granted the vast territory of Virginia, as it was called, to two companies, the London and the Plymouth.

THE LONDON COMPANY, whose principal men resided at London, had the tract between the thirty-fourth and thirty-eighth degrees of latitude. This was called South Virginia. They sent out a colony in 1607 under Captain Newport. He made at Jamestown the first permanent English settlement in the United States.

[Footnote: The river was called James, and the town Jamestown, in honor of the king of England. The headlands received the names of Cape Henry and Cape Charles from the king's sons; and the deep water for anchorage "which put the emigrants in good comfort," gave the name Point Comfort.]

THE PLYMOUTH COMPANY, whose principal men resided in Plymouth, had the tract between the forty-first and forty-fifth degrees of latitude. This was called North Virginia.

[Footnote: They sent out a colony under Captain Popham (poo-am), in the same year with the London Company. He settled at the mouth of the Kennebec, but the entire party returned home the next spring, discouraged by the severity of the climate.]

THE CHARTER granted to these companies was the first under which English colonies were planted in the United States. It is therefore worthy of careful study. It contained no idea of self-government. The people were not to have the election of an officer. The king was to appoint a council which was to reside in London, and have general control of all the colonies; and also a council to reside in each colony, and have control of its local affairs. The Church of England was the established religion. Moreover, for five years, all the proceeds of the colonial industry and commerce were to be applied to a common fund, no one being allowed the fruits of his individual labor.


During all this time, the Dutch manifested no interest in the new world. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, Captain Henry Hudson, an English navigator in the Dutch service, entered the harbor of New York. Hoping to reach the Pacific Ocean, he afterward ascended the noble river which bears his name (1609).

On this discovery, the Dutch based their claim to the region extending from the Delaware River to Cape Cod. They gave to it the name of New Netherland.


1. The Spaniards confined their settlements and explorations to the West Indies and the adjacent mainland, and in the United States made settlements only in Florida and New Mexico.

2. The French claimed the whole of New France, and made their first settlements in Acadia and Canada.

3. The English explored the Atlantic coast at various points, and claimed this vast territory, which they termed Virginia, having made their first settlement at Jamestown.

[Footnote: After this time, the English is the only nation that directly influences the history of the United States. The country was settled mainly by emigrants from Great Britain, and in the next epoch all the colonies become dependencies of that empire.]

4. The Dutch laid claim to New Netherland, but made no settlement till 1613.

The Rival Claims.—These four claims overlapped one another, and necessarily produced much confusion. While the first few settlements were separated by hundreds of miles of savage forests, this was of little account. But as the settlements increased, the rival claims became a source of constant strife, and were decided principally by the sword.

[Footnote: It is noticeable that the English grants all extended westward to the Pacific Ocean, the French southward from the St. Lawrence to the Gulf, and the Spanish northward to the Arctic Ocean. None of the European nations had any idea of the immense territory they were donating.]

Two Centuries of Exploration and One of Settlement.—These explorations had lasted during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and at the close of the sixteenth century, the only permanent settlements were those of the Spaniards at St. Augustine and Santa Fe. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, permanent settlements multiplied. They were made by

The FRENCH at Port Royal, N S., in 1605;

The ENGLISH at Jamestown, in 1607;

The FRENCH at Quebec, in 1608;

The DUTCH at New York, in 1613;

The ENGLISH at Plymouth, in 1620.

[Footnote: Here lay the shaggy continent from Florida to the Pole, outstretched in savage slumber. On the bank of the James River was a nest of woebegone Englishmen, a handful of fur-traders at the mouth of the Hudson, and a few shivering Frenchmen among the snowdrifts of Acadia; while amid still wilder desolation Champlain upheld the banner of France over the icy rock of Quebec. These were the advance guard of civilization, the messengers of promise to a desert continent. Yet, not content with inevitable woes, they were rent by petty jealousies and miserable quarrels, while each little fragment of rival nationalities, just able to keep up its own wretched existence on a few square miles, begrudged to all the rest the smallest share in a domain which all the nations of Europe could not have sufficed to fill.—Parkman.]

Summary of the History of the First Epoch, arranged in Chronological Order.

1492. Columbus discovered the New World, October 12 1497. The Cabots discovered Labrador, July 3 1498. The Cabots explored the Atlantic Coast South America was discovered by Columbus, August 10 Vasco de Gama sailed round the Cape of Good Hope and discovered a passage to India 1512. Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, April 6 1513. Balboa saw the Pacific Ocean, September 29 1519-21. Cortez conquered Mexico 1520. Magellan discovered and sailed through the straits which bear his name, into the Pacific Ocean; and his vessel returning home by the Cape of Good Hope, had made the first circumnavigation of the globe 1524. Verrazani explored the coast of North America 1528. Narvaez explored part of Florida 1534-35. Cartier discovered the Gulf of St. Lawrence and ascended the river to Montreal 1539-41. De Soto rambled over the Southern States and in 1541 discovered the Mississippi River 1540-42. Cabrillo explored California and sailed along the Pacific Coast 1541-42. Roberval attempted to plant a colony on the St. Lawrence, but failed 1562. Ribaut attempted to plant a Huguenot colony at Port Royal, but failed 1564. Laudonniere attempted to plant a Huguenot colony on the St. John's River. It was destroyed by the Spaniards 1565. Melendez founded a colony at St. Augustine, Florida; first permanent settlement in the United States 1576-7. Frobisher tried to find a northwest passage; entered Baffin Bay, and twice attempted to found a colony in Labrador, but failed 1578-80. Drake sailed along Pacific Coast to Oregon; wintered in San Francisco, and circumnavigated the globe 1582. Espejo founded Santa Fe; second oldest town in the United States 1583. Gilbert was lost at sea 1583-7. Raleigh twice attempted to plant a colony in Virginia 1602. Gosnold discovered Cape Cod, May 14 1605 De Monts established a colony at Port Royal, Nova Scotia first permanent French settlement in America 1607 The English settled Jamestown first permanent English settlement in America, May 23 1608 Champlain planted a colony at Quebec first permanent French settlement in Canada, 1609 Hudson discovered the Hudson River, Champlain discovered Lake Champlain, 1613 Settlement of New York by the Dutch, 1620 Pilgrims settled at Plymouth first English settlement in New England December 21


Irving's Columbus-Parkman's Pioneers of France Jesuits in North America, and Discovery of the Great West—Longfellow's Sir Humphrey Gilbert (Poem)—De Vere's Romance of American History—Abbott's Biography of Illustrious Men and Women—T. Irving's De Soto in Florida—Help's Spanish Conquest of America-Biddle's Sebastian Cabot—Nicholls's John Cabot—Barlow's Vision of Columbus (Poem) and Poems on Columbus by Samuel Rogers and F R Lowell-Simms's Damsel of Danen (Poem)—Scibner's Monthly, Nov 1874 art, Pictures from Florida—Harper's Magazine, Nov etc 1874, art The first Century of the Republic—Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella (Columbus)—Hawk's History of North Carolina (Lost Colony of Roanoke)—Shea's Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley—Wallace's Fair God (Fiction)—Barnes's Popular History of United States



* * * * *

From 1607—the Founding of Jamestown, To 1775—the Breaking out of the Revolution.

This Epoch traces the early history of the thirteen colonies—Virginia, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Georgia. The Cavaliers land in Virginia, and the Puritans in Massachusetts. Immigration increases and the settlements multiply along the whole coast. The colonies, however, still have little history in common. Each by itself struggles with the wilderness, contends with the Indian, and develops the principles of liberty.

[Footnote: Questions on the Geography of the Second Epoch.—Names of places in italic letters may be found on the map for Epoch III. Locate Jamestown. Salem. Charlestown. Boston. Cambridge. Swanzea. Providence. Bristol. Hadley. Hatfield. Portsmouth. Dover. Hartford. Wethersfield. New Haven. Windsor. Saybrook. New York. Albany. Schenectady. Elizabethtown. Wilminton. Philadelphia. St. Mary's. Edenton. Charleston. Savannah. Haverhill. Deerfield. St. Augustine. Quebec. Louisburg.

Locate Fort Venango. Oswego. Presque Isle. Fort Le Boeuf. Crown Point. Fort Ticonderoga. Fort Niagara. Fort du Quesne. Fort William Henry. Fort Edward.

Describe the Ohio River. Monongahela River. French Creek. Chowan River. Ashley River, Cooper River. River St. John. Potomac River. James River. Hudson River. Connecticut River. Mohawk River. Delaware River. Kennebec River. Penobscot River. Mystic River. Miami River. St. Lawrence River.

Locate Manhattan Island. Alleghany Mountains. Cape Breton. Massachusetts Bay. Albemarle Sound. Chesapeake Bay.]


THE CHARACTER of the colonists was poorly adapted to endure the hardships incident to a settlement in a new country. They were mostly gentlemen by birth, unused to labor. They had no families, and came out in search of wealth or adventure, expecting, when rich, to return to England. The climate was unhealthy, and before the first autumn half of their number had perished.

JOHN SMITH saved the colony from ruin. First as a member of the council, and afterward as president, his services were invaluable. He persuaded the settlers to erect a fort and to build log huts for the winter. He made long voyages, carefully exploring Chesapeake Bay, securing the friendship of the Indians, and bringing back boat-loads of supplies. He trained the tender gentlemen till they learned how to swing the axe in the forest. He declared that "he who would not work, might not eat." He taught them that industry and self-reliance are the surest guarantees to fortune.

[Footnote: Captain John Smith was born to adventure. While yet a boy he leaves his home in Lincolnshire, England, to engage in Holland wars. After a four-years service he builds a lodge of boughs in a forest, where he hunts, rides, and studies military tactics. Next we hear of him on his way to fight the Turks. Before reaching France he is robbed, and escapes death from want only by begging alms. Having embarked for Italy, a fearful storm arises; he, being a heretic, is deemed the cause, and is thrown overboard, but he swims to land. In the East, a famous Mussulman wishes to fight some Christian knight "to please the ladies;" Smith offers himself and slays three champions in succession. Taken prisoner in battle and sold as a slave, his head is shaved and his neck bound with an iron ring; he kills his master, arrays himself in the dead man's garments, mounts a horse and spurs his way to a Russian camp. Having returned to England, he embarks for the new world. On the voyage he excites the jealousy of his fellows and is landed in chains; but his worth becomes so apparent that he is finally made president of the colony. His marvelous escapes seem now more abundant than ever. A certain fish inflicts a dangerous wound, but he finds an antidote and afterward eats part of the same fish with great relish. He is poisoned, but overcomes the dose and severely beats the poisoner. His party of fifteen is attacked by Opechancanough (Op-e-kan-ka-no), brother and successor of Powhatan, with seven hundred warriors; Smith drags the old chief by his long hair into the midst of the Indian braves, who, amazed at such audacity, immediately surrender. He is shockingly burned on a boat by the explosion of a bag of powder at his side; but he leaps into the water, where he barely escapes death by drowning. These and many other wonderful exploits he published in a book after his return to England. Historians very generally discredit them, and even the story of his rescue by Pocahontas (p. 48) is considered very doubtful. His services were, however, of unquestionable value to Virginia; and his disinterestedness appears from the fact that he never received a foot of land in the colony his wisdom had saved. Of his last years we know little. He died near London, 1631.]

Smith's Adventures were of the most romantic character. In one of his expeditions up the Chickahommy he was taken prisoner by the Indians. With singular coolness he immediately attempted to interest his captors by explaining the use of his pocket compass and the motions of the moon and stars. At last they permitted him to write a letter to Jamestown. When they found that this informed his friends of his misfortune, they were filled with astonishment.

They could not understand by what magical art he could make a few marks on paper express his thoughts. They considered him a being of a superior order, and treated him with the utmost respect. He was carried from one tribe to another, and at last brought to the great chief, Powhatan, by whom he was condemned to die. His head was laid on a stone, and the huge war-club of the Indian executioner was raised to strike the fatal blow. Suddenly Pocahantas, the young daughter of the chief, who had already become attached to the prisoner, threw herself upon his neck and pleaded for his pardon (see note, p. 46). The favorite of the tribe was given her desire. Smith was released, and soon sent home with promises of friendship. His little protector was often thereafter to be seen going to Jamestown with baskets of corn for the white men.

[Footnote: This was undertaken by the express order of the company to seek a passage to the Pacific Ocean and thus to India. Captain Newport before his return to England made a trip up the James River for the same purpose but on reaching the falls concluded that the way to India did not lie in that direction. These attempts which seem so preposterous to us now show what inadequate ideas then prevailed concerning the size of this continent.]

[Footnote: His route was over the peninsula, since rendered so famous by McClellan's campaign.]

[Footnote: As another evidence of the simplicity of the Indians, it is said that having seized a quantity of gunpowder belonging to the colonists, they planted it for seed, expecting to reap a full harvest of ammunition for the next contest.]

A SECOND CHARTER was now obtained by the company (1609). This vested the authority in a governor instead of a local council. The colonists were not consulted with regard to the change, nor did the charter guarantee to them any rights.

THE "STARVING TIME."—Unfortunately, Smith was disabled by a severe wound and compelled to return to England. His influence being removed, the settlers became a prey to disease and famine. Some were killed by the Indians. Some, in their despair, seized a boat and became pirates. The winter of 1609-10 was long known as the Starving Time. In six months they were reduced from 490 to 60. At last they determined to flee from the wretched place. "None dropped a tear, for none had enjoyed one day of happiness." The next morning, as they slowly moved down with the tide, to their great joy they met their new governor, Lord Delaware, with abundant supplies and a company of emigrants. All returned to the homes they had just deserted, and Jamestown colony was once more rescued from ruin.

THE THIRD CHARTER.—Up to this time the colony had proved a failure and was publicly ridiculed in London. To quiet the outcry, the charter was changed (1612). The council in London was abolished, and the stockholders were given power to regulate the affairs of the company themselves.

THE MARRIAGE OF POCAHONTAS (1613).—The little Indian girl had now grown to womanhood. John Rolfe, a young English planter, had won her love and wished to marry her. In the little church at Jamestown, rough almost as an Indian's wigwam, she received Christian baptism, and, in broken English, stammered the marriage vows according to the service of the Church of England.

Three years after, with her husband, she visited London. The childlike simplicity and winning grace of Lady Rebecca, as she was called, attracted universal admiration. She was introduced at court and received every mark of attention. As she was about to return to her native land with her husband and infant son, she suddenly died.

[Footnote: This son became a man of wealth and distinction. Many of the leading families of Virginia have been proud to say that the blood of Pocahontas coursed through their veins.]

FIRST COLONIAL ASSEMBLY.—Governor Yeardley (yard'-le) believed that the colonists should have "a hande in the governing of themselves." He accordingly called at Jamestown, June 28, 1619, the first legislative body that ever assembled in America. It consisted of the governor, council, and deputies, or "burgesses," as they were called, chosen from the various plantations, or "boroughs." Its laws had to be ratified by the company in England, but, in turn, the orders from London were not binding unless ratified by the colonial assembly. These privileges were afterward (1621) embodied in a written constitution—the first of the kind in America. A measure of freedom was thus granted the young colony, and Jamestown became a nursery of liberty.

PROSPERITY OF THE COLONY.—The old famine troubles had now all passed. The attempt to work in common had been given up, and each man tilled his own land and had the avails. Tobacco was an article of export. The colonists raised it so eagerly that at one time even the streets of Jamestown were planted with it. Gold-hunting had ceased, and many of the former servants of the company owned plantations. Settlements lined both banks of the James for 140 miles. Best of all, young women of good character were brought over by the company. These sold readily as wives to the settlers. The price was fixed at the cost of the passage—100 pounds of tobacco—but they were in such demand that it soon went up to 150 pounds. Domestic ties were formed. The colonists, having homes, now became Virginians. All freemen had the right to vote. Religious toleration was enjoyed. Virginia became almost an independent republic.

[Footnote: In the early life of this colony, particles of mica glittering in the brook were mistaken for gold dust. "There was no talk, no hope, but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, load gold." Newport carried to England a shipload of the worthless stuff. Smith remonstrated in vain against this folly.]

SLAVERY INTRODUCED.—In 1619 the captain of a Dutch trading vessel sold to the colonists twenty negroes. They were employed in cultivating tobacco. As their labor was found profitable, larger numbers were afterward imported.

[Footnote: From this circumstance, small as it seemed at the time, the most momentous consequences ensued,—consequences that, long after, rent the republic with strife, and moistened its soil with blood.]

INDIAN TROUBLES.—After the death of Powhatan, the firm friend of the English, the Indians formed a plan for the extermination of the colony. So secretly was this managed that on the very morning of the massacre (March 22, 1622) they visited the houses and sat at the tables of those whose murder they were plotting. At a preconcerted moment they attacked the colonists on all their widely-scattered plantations. Over three hundred men, women, and children fell in one day. Fortunately, a converted Indian had informed a friend whom he wished to save, and thus Jamestown and the settlements near by were prepared. A merciless war ensued, during which the colony was reduced from 4,000 to 2,500; but the Indians were so severely punished that they remained quiet for twenty years. Then came a fearful massacre of five hundred settlers (1644), which ended in the natives being expelled from the region.

VIRGINIA A ROYAL PROVINCE.—The majority of the stockholders gladly granted to the infant colony those rights for which they were struggling at home. King James, becoming jealous of the company because of its patriotic sentiments, took away the charter (1624), and made Virginia a royal province. Henceforth the king appointed the governor and council, though the colony still retained its assembly.

A PERIOD OF OPPRESSION.—The British Parliament enforced the Navigation Act (1660), which ordered that the commerce of the colony should be carried on in English vessels, and that their tobacco should be shipped to England. Besides this, their own assembly was composed mainly of royalists, who levied exorbitant taxes, refused to go out of office when their term had expired, fixed their own salary at 250 pounds of tobacco per day, restricted the right of voting to "freeholders and housekeepers," and imposed on Quakers a monthly fine of one hundred dollars for absence from worship in the English Church. Two parties gradually sprung up in their midst; one, the aristocratic party, was composed of the rich planters and the officeholders in the colony; the other comprised the liberty-loving portion of the people, who felt themselves deprived of their political rights.

[Footnote: It is a curious fact that the royalists who fled from England in Cromwell's time took refuge in Virginia, and were hospitably entertained, while the "regicides" (the judges who condemned Charles I) fled to Massachusetts and were concealed from their pursuers.]

BACON'S REBELLION.—These difficulties came to a crisis in 1676, when Governor Berkeley failed to provide for the defence of the settlements against the Indians. At this juncture, Nathaniel Bacon, a patriotic young lawyer, rallied a company, defeated the Indians, and then turned to meet the governor, who had denounced him as a traitor. During the contest which followed, Berkeley was driven out of Jamestown and the village itself burned.

[Footnote: Going up the James River, just before reaching City Point, one sees on the right-hand bank the ruins of an old church. The crumbling tower, with its arched doorways, is almost hidden by the profusion of shrubbery which surrounds it. Its moss covered walls, entwined with ivy planted by loving hands which have since crumbled into dust, look desolately out upon the old churchyard at its back. Here, pushing aside the rank vines and tangled bushes which conceal them, one finds a few weather—beaten tombstones A huge buttomwood tree, taking root below, has burst apart one of these old slabs and now, with its many fellows spreads its lofty branches high over the solitary dead. And this is all that remains of that Jamestown whose struggles we have here recorded.]

In the midst of this success, Bacon died. No leader could be found worthy to take his place, and the people dispersed. Berkeley revenged himself with terrible severity. On hearing of the facts, Charles II. impatiently declared, "He has taken more lives in that naked country than I did for the murder of my father."

* * * * *


THE PLYMOUTH COMPANY made several attempts to explore North Virginia. Captain John Smith, already so famous in South Virginia, examined the coast from Penobscot to Cape Cod, drew a map of it, and called the country NEW ENGLAND. The company, stirred to action by his glowing accounts, obtained a new patent (1620) under the name of the Council for New England. This authorized them to make settlements and laws, and to carry on trade through a region reaching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and comprising over a million square miles. New England, however, was settled with no consent of king or council.


SETTLEMENT.—Landing of the Pilgrims.—One stormy day in the fall of 1620, the Mayflower, with a band of a hundred pilgrims, came to anchor in Cape Cod harbor. The little company, gathering in the cabin, drew up a compact, in which they agreed to enact just and equal laws, which all should obey. One of their exploring parties landed at Plymouth, as it was called on Smith's chart, December 21.

[Footnote: The exact number of the pilgrims was 102.]

[Footnote: This was Dec. 11, Old Style. In 1752, eleven days were added to correct an error in the calendar, thus making this date the 22d. Only 10 days, however, should have been allowed, and therefore the correct date is the 21st, New Style.]

Finding the location suitable for a settlement, they all came ashore, and amid a storm of snow and sleet commenced building their rude huts.

[Footnote: They were called Pilgrims because of their wanderings. About seventy years before this time the state religion of England had been changed from Catholic to Protestant; but a large number of the clergy and people were dissatisfied with what they thought to be a half-way policy on the part of the new church, and called for a more complete purification from old observances and doctrines. For this, they were called Puritans. They still believed in a state church, that is, that the nation of England was the church of England; and that the queen, as the head of both, could appoint church officers and prescribe the form of religious worship. They, however, wanted a change, and desired the government to make it to suit them. The government not only refused, but punished the Puritan clergy for not using the prescribed form of worship. This led some of them to question the authority of the government in religious matters. They came to believe that any body of Christians might declare themselves a church, choose their own officers, and be independent of all external authority. When they began to form these local churches, they separated themselves from the Church of England, and for this reason are called Separatists and Independents. One of these churches of Separatists was at Scrooby, in the east of England. Not being allowed to worship in peace, they fled to Holland (1608), where they lived twelve years. But evil influences surrounded their children, and they longed for a land where they might worship God in their own way and save their families from worldly follies. America offered such a home. They came, resolved to brave every danger, trusting to God to shape their destinies.]

[Footnote: The little shallop sent out to reconnoitre before landing, lost, in a furious storm, its rudder, mast, and sail. Late at night, the party sought shelter under the lee of a small island. They spent the next day in cleaning their rusty weapons and drying their wet garments. Every hour was precious, as the season was late and their companions in the Mayflower were waiting their return; but "being ye last day of ye week, they prepared there to keepe ye Sabbath." No wonder that the influence of such a people has been felt throughout the country, and that "Forefathers' Rock," on which they first stepped, is yet held in grateful remembrance.]

THE CHARACTER of the Pilgrim settlers was well suited to the rugged, stormy land which they sought to subdue. They had come into the wilderness with their families in search of a home where they could educate their children and worship God as they pleased. They were earnest, sober-minded men, actuated in all things by deep religious principle, and never disloyal to their convictions of duty.

THEIR SUFFERINGS during the winter were severe. At one time there were only seven well persons to take care of the sick. Half of the little band died. Yet when spring came, not one of the company thought of returning to England.

THE INDIANS, fortunately, did not disturb them. A pestilence had destroyed the tribe inhabiting the place where they landed. They were startled, however, one day in early spring by a voice in their village crying in broken English, "Welcome!" It was the salutation of Sam'-o-set, an Indian whose chief, Mas-sa-suit, soon after visited them. The treaty then made lasted for fifty years. Ca-non'-i-cus, a Narraganset chief, once sent a bundle of arrows, wrapped in a rattlesnake skin, as a token of defiance. Governor Bradford returned the skin filled with powder and shot. This significant hint was effectual.

The progress of the Colony was slow. Their harvests were insufficient to feed themselves and the new-comers. During the "famine of 1623," the best dish they could set before their friends was a bit of fish and a cup of water.

[Footnote: As an illustration of their pious content it is said that Elder Brewster was wont over a meal consisting only of clams to return thanks to God who "had given them to suck the abundance of the seas, and of the treasures hid in the sands."]

After four years they numbered only 184. The plan of working in common having failed here as at Jamestown, land was assigned to each settler. Abundance ensued. The colony was never organized by royal charter; therefore they elected their own governor, and made their own laws. In 1692, Plymouth was united with Massachusetts Bay colony, under the name of Massachusetts.


SETTLEMENT.—John Endicott and five associates having obtained a grant of land about Massachusetts Bay, secured (1628) a royal charter giving authority to make laws and govern the territory. This company afterward transferred all their rights to the colony. It was a popular measure, and many prominent Puritan families flocked to this land of liberty. Some gathered around Governor Endicott, who had already started Salem and Charlestown, some established colonies at Dorchester and Watertown, and one thousand under Governor Winthrop founded Boston (1630).

RELIGIOUS DISTURBANCES.—The people of Massachusetts Bay, while in England, were Puritans, but not Separatists. Having come to America to establish a Puritan Church, they were unwilling to receive persons holding opinions differing from their own, lest their purpose should be defeated. They accordingly sent back to England those who persisted in using the forms of the Established Church, and allowed only members of their own church to vote in civil affairs.

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