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[90] eve of his departure, received from Elizabeth a golden
Chap. III.} 1583.
anchor guided by a lady, a token of the queen's regard; a man of letters from Hungary accompanied the expedition; and some part of the United States would have then been colonized, had not the unhappy projector of the design been overwhelmed by a succession of disasters. Two days after leaving Plymouth, the largest
June 13.
ship in the fleet, which had been furnished by Raleigh, who himself remained in England, deserted, under a pretence of infectious disease, and returned into harbor. Gilbert was incensed, but not intimidated. He sailed for Newfoundland; and, entering St. Johns, he sum-
Aug. 5.
moned the Spaniards and Portuguese, and other strangers, to witness the feudal ceremonies by which he took possession of the country for his sovereign. A pillar, on which the arms of England were infixed, was raised as a monument; and lands were granted to the fishermen in fee, on condition of the payment of a quit-rent. The ‘mineral-man’ of the expedition, an honest and religious Saxon, was especially diligent; it was generally agreed that ‘the mountains made a show of mineral substance;’ the Saxon protested on his life that silver ore abounded; he was charged to keep the discovery a profound secret; and, as there were so many foreign vessels in the vicinity, the precious ore was carried on board the larger ship with such mystery, that the dull Portuguese and Spaniards suspected nothing of the matter.

It was not easy for Gilbert to preserve order in the little fleet. Many of the mariners, infected with the vices which at that time degraded their profession, were no better than pirates, and were perpetually bent upon pillaging whatever ships fell in their way. At length, having abandoned one of their barks, the

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