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[68]

Meantime, news arrived, as the French writers assert,

Chap. II.} 1565.
through the treachery of the court of France, that the Huguenots had made a plantation in Florida, and that Ribault was preparing to set sail with reinforcements. The cry was raised, that the heretics must be extirpated, the enthusiasm of fanaticism was kindled, and Melendez readily obtained all the forces which he required. More than twenty-five hundred persons— soldiers, sailors, priests, Jesuits, married men with their families, laborers, and mechanics, and, with the exception of three hundred soldiers, all at the cost of Melendez—engaged in the invasion. After delays occasioned by a storm, the .expedition set sail; and the trade-
July.
winds soon bore them rapidly across the Atlantic. A tempest scattered the fleet on its passage; it was with only one third part of his forces, that Melendez arrived at the harbor of St. John in Porto Rico. But he es-
Aug 9.
teemed celerity the secret of success; and, refusing to await the arrival of the rest of his squadron, he sailed for Florida. It had ever been his design to explore the coast; to select a favorable site for a fort or a settlement; and, after the construction of fortifications, to attack the French. It was on the day which the cus-
Aug. 28.
toms of Rome have consecrated to the memory of one of the most eloquent sons of Africa, and one of the most venerated of the fathers of the church, that he came in sight of Florida.1 For four days, he sailed along the coast, uncertain where the French were established; on the fifth day, he landed, and gathered
Sept. 2.
from the Indians accounts of the Huguenots. At the same time, he discovered a fine haven and beautiful river; and, remembering the saint, on whose day he came upon the coast, he gave to the harbor and to the

1 Ensayo Cronolog. 68—70.

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