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[108] desert. An inscription on the bark of a tree pointed to
Chap III.} 1590.
Croatan; but the season of the year and the dangers from storms were pleaded as an excuse for an immediate return. Had the emigrants already perished? or had they escaped with their lives to Croatan, and, through the friendship of Manteo, become familiar with the Indians? The conjecture has been hazarded,1 that the deserted colony, neglected by their own countrymen, were hospitably adopted into the tribe of Hatteras Indians, and became amalgamated with the sons of the forest. This was the tradition of the natives at a later day, and was thought to be confirmed by the physical character of the tribe, in which the English and the Indian race seemed to have been blended. Raleigh long cherished the hope of discovering some vestiges of their existence and though he had abandoned the design of colonizing Virginia, he yet sent at his own charge, and, it is said, at five several times,2 to search for his liege-men. But it was all in vain; imagination received no help in its attempts to trace the fate of the colony of Roanoke.

The name of Raleigh stands highest among the statesmen of England, who advanced the colonization of the United States; and his fame belongs to American history. No Englishman of his age possessed so various or so extraordinary qualities. Courage which was never daunted, mild self-possession, and fertility of invention, insured him glory in his profession of arms; and his services in the conquest of Cadiz, or the capture of Fayal, were alone sufficient to establish his fame as a gallant and successful commander. In every danger, his life was distinguished by valor, and his death was ennobled by true magnanimity.

1 Lawson's N. Carolina, 62.

2 Purchas, IV. 1653

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