the attempts of the French
to colonize Florida
though unprotected and unsuccessful, were not without an important influence on succeeding events.
About the time of the return of De Gourgues
, Walter Raleigh
a young Englishman, had abruptly left the university of Oxford
, to take part in the civil contests between the
Huguenots and the Catholics in France
, and with the prince of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV., was learning the art of war under the veteran Coligny
The Protestant party was, at that time, strongly excited with indignation at the massacre which De Gourgues
had avenged; and Raleigh
could not but gather from his associates and his commander intelligence respecting Florida
and the navigation to those regions.
Some of the miserable men who escaped from the first expedition, had been conducted to Elizabeth,2
and had kindled in the public mind in England
a desire for the possession of the southern coast of our republic; the reports of Hawkins
who had been the benefacton of the French
on the River
May, increased the national excitement; and De Morgues,4
the painter, who had sketched in Florida
the most remarkable appearances of nature, ultimately found the opportunity of finishing his designs, through the munificence of Raleigh
The expeditions of the Cabots, though they had
revealed a continent of easy access, in a temperate zone, had failed to discover a passage to the Indies; and their fame was dimmed by that of Vasco de Gama
, whose achievement made Lisbon
the emporium of Europe
, of Bristol
, visited Newfoundland
probably in 1502; in that year, savages in their wild attire were exhibited to the king; but North America
as yet invited no colony, for it promised no sudden wealth, while the Indies more and more inflamed commercial cupidity.
In March, 1501, Henry
granted an exclusive privilege of trade to a company composed half of Englishmen, half of Portuguese, with leave to sail towards any point in the compass, and the incidental right to inhabit the regions which should be found; there is, however, no proof that a voyage was made under the authority of this commission.
In December of the following year, a new grant in part to the same patentees, promised a forty years monopoly of trade, an equally wide scope for adventure, and larger favor to the alien associates; but even these great privileges seem not to have been followed by an expedition.
The only connection which as yet existed between England
and the New World was with Newfoundland
and its fisheries.
The idea of planting agricultural colonies in the temperate regions of America
was slowly developed, and could gain vigor only from a long succession of efforts and a better knowledge of the structure of the globe.
The last voyage of Columbus
still had for its purpose a western passage to India
; with which he, to his dying hour, believed that the lands of his discovery were connected.
In the conception of Europe
the new continent was very slowly disengaged from
the easternmost lands of Asia
, and its colonization was
not earnestly attempted till its separate existence was clearly ascertained.
VII., as a Catholic, could not wholly disregard the bull of the pope, which gave to Spain
a paramount title to the North American
world; and as a prince he sought a counterpoise to France
in an intimate Spanish alliance, which he hoped to confirm by the successive marriage of one of his sons after the other to Catharine of Aragon, youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella.
VIII., on his accession, surrendered to his father-in-law the services of Sebastian Cabot
Once, perhaps in 1517, the young king promoted a voyage of discovery, but it ‘tooke no full effect.’
To avoid interference with Spain
, Robert Thorne
, of Bristol
, who had long resided in Seville
, proposed voyages to the east by way of the north; believing that there would be found an open sea near the pole, over which, during the arctic continuous day, Englishmen might reach the land of spices without travelling half so far as by the way of the Cape of Good Hope
In 1527 an expedition, favored by Henry VIII.
, sailed from Plymouth
for the discovery of the northwest passage.
But the larger ship was lost in July among icebergs in a great storm; in August, accounts of the disaster were forwarded to the king and to the cardinal from the haven of St. John
, in Newfoundland
The fisheries of that region were already frequented not by the English
only, but also by Normans, Biscayans, and Bretons.
The repudiation of Catharine of Aragon by Henry VIII.
sundered his political connection with Spain
, which already began to fear English rivalry in
the New World.
He was vigorous in his attempts to
suppress piracy; and the navigation of his subjects flourished under his protection.
The banner of St. George
was often displayed in the harbors of Northern Africa
and in the Levant
; and now that commerce, emancipated from the limits of the inner seas, went boldly forth upon the oceans, the position of England
gave her a pledge of superiority.
An account exists of an expedition to the northwest in 1536, conducted by Hore, of London
, and ‘assisted by the good countenance of Henry VIII.’
But the two ships, the Trinity
and the Minion, were worn out by a troublesome voyage of more than two months, before they reached a harbor in Newfoundland
There the disheartened adventurers wasted away, from famine and misery.
In the extremity of their distress, a French ship arrived, ‘well furnished with vittails:’ of this they obtained possession by a stroke of ‘policie,’ and set sail for England
, following in the English ship, complained of the exchange, upon which Henry VIII., of his own private purse, ‘made them full and royal recompense.’
In 1541, the fisheries of ‘Newland
’ were favored by an act of parliament, the first which refers to America.
The accession of Edward, in 1547, and the consequent ascendency of Protestantism, marks the era when England
began to foreshadow her maritime superiority.
In the first year of his reign the council advanced a hundred pounds for Cabot
, ‘a pilot, to come out of Hispain to serve and inhabit in England
In the next year, the fisheries of Newfoundland
, which had suffered from exactions by the officers of the Admiralty
, obtained the protection of a special act, ‘to
the intent that merchants and fishermen might use
the trade of fishing freely without such charges.’
In 1549 Sebastian Cabot
was once more in England
, brought over at the cost of the exchequer; and pensioned as grand pilot; nor would he again return to Seville
, though his return was officially demanded by the emperor.
He obtained of the king a copy of the patent to his family, of which the original had been lost, but neither proposed new voyages to our shores nor cherished plans of colonization.
He seemed to set no special value on his discovery of North America
To find a shorter route to the land of spices he had sailed in 1498 from Bristol
; in 1527, had led forth a Spanish expedition
, which reached La Plata
and the Parana
Still haunted by the dream of his youth, he was again to fail, yet not without unexpectedly making known the avenue by sea to Muscovy.
He had vainly tried the northwest and the southwest; he now advised to attempt a passage by the northeast, and was made president of the company of merchants who undertook the enterprise.
In May, 1553, the fleet of three ships, under the command of Sir Hugh Willoughby
, following the instructions of Cabot
, now almost an octogenarian, dropped down the Thames
with the intent to reach China
by doubling the northern promontory of Norway
The admiral, separated from his companions in a storm, was driven by the cold in September to seek shelter in a Lapland
When search was made for him in the following spring, his whole company had perished from cold; Willoughby
himself, whose papers showed that he had survived till January, was found dead in his cabin.
, in one of the other ships, reached the harbor
This was ‘the discovery of Russia
and the commencement of maritime commerce with that empire.
A Spanish writer calls the result of the voyage ‘a discovery of new Indies
nation, one of the oldest and least mixed in Europe
now awakening from a long lethargy, emerged into political distinction.
We have seen that, about eleven years from this time, the first town in the United States
' territory was permanently built.
So rapid are the changes on the theatre of nations!
One of the leading powers of the age, but about two and a half centuries ago became known to Western Europe
; another had not then one white man within its limits.
The principle of joint stock companies, so favorable to every enterprise of uncertain result, by dividing the risks, and by nourishing a spirit of emulous zeal in behalf of an inviting scheme, was applied to the purposes of navigation; and a company of merchant adventurers
was incorporated for the discovery of unknown lands.6
For even the intolerance of Queen Mary
check the passion for maritime adventure.
The sea was becoming the element on which English valor was to display its greatest boldness; English sailors neither feared the sultry heats and consuming fevers of the tropics, nor the intense severity of northern cold.
The trade to Russia
, now that the port of Archangel had been discovered, gradually increased and became very lucrative; and a regular and as yet an innocent
commerce was carried on with Africa
of Mary with the king of Spain
tended to excite the emulation which it was designed to check.
awakened by the brilliant pageantry with
which King Philip was introduced into London
, excited Richard Eden8
to gather into a volume the history of the most memorable maritime expeditions.
Religious restraints, the thirst for rapid wealth, the desire of strange adventure, had driven the boldest spirits of Spain
to the New World; their deeds had been commemorated by the copious and accurate details of the Spanish
historians; and the English
, through the alliance of their sovereign made familiar with the Spanish
language and literature, became emulous of Spanish success beyond the ocean.
The firmness of Elizabeth seconded the enterprise
of her subjects.
They were rendered the more proud and intractable for the short and unsuccessful effort to make England
an appendage to Spain
; and the triumph of Protestantism, quickening the spirit of nationality, gave a new impulse to the people.
, no longer the ally, but the antagonist of Philip, claimed the glory of being the mistress of the northern seas, and prepared to extend its commerce to every clime.
The queen strengthened her navy, filled her arsenals, and encouraged the building of ships in England
: she animated the adventurers to Russia
and to Africa
by her special protection; and while her subjects were en-
deavoring to penetrate into Persia
by land, and enlarge their commerce with the East9
by combining the use of ships and caravans, the harbors of Spanish America were at the same time visited by their privateers in pursuit of the rich galleons of Spain
, and at least from thirty to fifty English ships came annually to the bays
and banks of Newfoundland
The possibility of effecting a north-west passage had
ever been maintained by Cabot
The study of geography had now become an interesting pursuit; the press teemed with books of travels, maps and descriptions of the earth; and Sir Humphrey Gilbert
, reposing from the toils of war, engaged deeply in the science of cosmography.
A judicious and well-written argument11
in favor of the possibility of a north-western passage was the fruit of his literary industry.
The same views were entertained by one of the
boldest men who ever ventured upon the ocean.
For fifteen years, Martin Frobisher
, an Englishman, well versed in various navigation, had revolved the design of accomplishing the discovery of the north-western passage; esteeming it ‘the only thing of the world, that was yet left undone, by which a notable minde might be made famous and fortunate.’12
Too poor himself to provide a ship, it was in vain that he conferred with friends; in vain he offered his services to merchants.
After years of desire, his representations found a hearing at court; and Dudley
, earl of Warwick
, liberally promoted his design.13
Two small barks of twenty-five and of twenty tons', with a pinnace of ten tons' burden, composed the whole fleet, which was to enter gulfs that none before him had visited.
dropped down the Thames
, Queen Elizabeth waved her hand in token of favor, and, by an honorable message, transmitted her approbation of an adventure which her own treasures had not contributed to advance During a storm on the voyage, the pinnace was swallowed up by the sea; the mariners in the Michael became terrified, and turned their prow home
wards; but Frobisher
, in a vessel not much surpassing
in tonnage the barge of a man-of-war, made his way. fearless and unattended, to the shores of Labrador
and to a passage or inlet north of the entrance of Hudson's Bay.
A strange perversion has transferred the scene of his discoveries to the eastern coast of Greenland
it was among a group of American islands, in the latitude of sixty-three degrees and eight minutes, that he entered what seemed to be a strait.
Hope suggested that his object was obtained; that the land on the south was America
; on the north was the continent of Asia
; and that the strait opened into the immense Pacific.
Great praise is due to Frobisher
for penetrating far beyond all former mariners into the bays and among the islands of this Meta Incognita, this unknown goal of discovery.
Yet his voyage was a failure.
To land upon an island, and, perhaps, on the main; to gather up stones and rubbish, in token of having taken possession of the country for Elizabeth: to seize one of the natives of the north for exhibition to the gaze of Europe
;—these were all the results which he accomplished.
What followed marks the insane passions of the age.
America and mines were always thought of together.
A stone, which had been brought from the frozen regions, was pronounced by the refiners of London
to contain gold.
The news excited the wakeful avarice of the city: there were not wanting those who endeavored to purchase of Elizabeth
a lease of the new lands, of which the loose minerals were so full of the precious metal.
A fleet was immediately fitted out, to procure more of the gold, rather than to make any
further research for the passage into the Pacific
the queen, who had contributed nothing to the voyage of discovery, sent a large ship of her own to join the expedition, which was now to conduct to infinite opulence.
More men than could be employed volunteered their services; those who were discharged resigned their brilliant hopes with reluctance.
The mariners, having received the communion, embarked
for the arctic El Dorado
, ‘and with a merrie wind’ soon arrived at the Orkneys.
As they reached the
north-eastern coast of America
, the dangers of the polar seas became imminent; mountains of ice encompassed them on every side; but as the icebergs were brilliant in the high latitude with the light of an almost perpetual summer's day, the worst perils were avoided.
Yet the mariners were alternately agitated with fears of shipwreck and joy at escape.
At one moment they expected death; and at the next they looked for gold.
The fleet made no discoveries; it did not advance so far as Frobisher
alone had done.15
But it found large heaps of earth, which, even to the incredulous, seemed plainly to contain the coveted wealth; besides, spiders abounded; and ‘spiders were affirmed to be true signs of great store of gold.’16
In freighting the ships, the admiral himself toiled like a painful laborer.
How strange, in human affairs, is the mixture of sublime courage and ludicrous folly!
What bolder maritime enterprise, than, in that day, a voyage to lands lying north of Hudson's Straits!
What folly more egregious, than to have gone there for a lading of useless earth!
But credulity is apt to be self-willed.
What is there which the passion for gold will not prompt?
danger, and laughs at obstacles; it resists loss, and anti-
cipates treasures; unrelenting in its pursuit, it is deaf to the voice of mercy, and blind to the cautions of judgment; it can penetrate the prairies of Arkansas
, and covet the moss-grown barrens of the Esquimaux.
I have now to relate the first attempt of the English
under the patronage of Elizabeth, to plant an establishment in America
It was believed that the rich mines of the polar regions would countervail the charges of a costly adventure; the hope of a passage to Cathay
increased, and for the security of the newly-discovered lands, soldiers and discreet men were selected to become their inhabitants.
A magnificent fleet of fifteen sail was assembled, in part at the expense of Elizabeth; the sons of the English
gentry embarked as volunteers; one hundred persons were chosen to form the colony, which was to secure to England
a country more desirable than Peru
, a country too inhospitable to produce a tree or a shrub, yet where gold lay, not charily concealed in mines, but glistening in heaps upon the surface.
Twelve vessels were to return immediately with cargoes of the ore; three were ordered to remain and aid the settlement.
The north-west passage was now become of less consideration; Asia
itself could not vie with the riches of this hyperborean archipelago
But the entrance to these wealthy islands was ren-
1578. May 31, to Sept. 28.
dered difficult by frost; and the fleet of Frobisher
, as it now approached the American
coast, was bewildered among, immense icebergs, which were so vast, that, as they melted, torrents poured from them in sparkling water falls.
One vessel was crushed and sunk, though the men on board were saved.
In the dangerous
mists, the ships lost their course, and came into the
straits which have since been called Hudson
's, and which lie south of the imagined gold regions.
The admiral believed himself able to sail through to the Pacific
, and resolve the doubt respecting the passage.
But his duty as a mercantile agent controlled his desire of glory as a navigator.
He struggled to regain the harbor where his vessels were to be laden; and, after encountering peril of every kind; ‘getting in at one gap and out at another;’ escaping only by miracle from hidden rocks and unknown currents, ice, and a lee shore, which was, at one time, avoided only by a prosperous breath of wind in the very moment of extreme danger,—he at last arrived at the haven in the Countess
of Warwick's Sound.
The zeal of the volunteer colonists had moderated; and the disheartened sailors were ready to mutiny.
One ship, laden with provisions for the colony, deserted and returned; and an island was discovered with enough of the black ore ‘to suffice all the gold-gluttons of the world.’
The plan of the settlement was abandoned.
It only remained to freight the home-bound ships with a store of minerals.
They who engage in a foolish project, combine, in case of failure, to conceal their loss; for a confession of the truth would be an impeachment of their judgment; so that unfortunate speculations are promptly consigned to oblivion.
The adventurers and the historians of the voyage are silent about the disposition which was made of the cargo of the fleet.
The knowledge of the seas was not extended; the credulity of avarice met with a rebuke; and the belief in regions of gold among the Esquimaux was dissipated; but there remained a firm conviction, that a passage to the
might yet be threaded among the icebergs
and northern islands of America
was thus attempting to obtain wealth and fame on the north-east coast of America
, the western limits of the territory of the United States
Embarking on a voyage in quest of fortune, Francis Drake
acquired immense treasures as
a freebooter in the Spanish
harbors on the Pacific
, and, having laden his ship with spoils, gained for himself enduring glory by circumnavigating the globe.
But before following in the path which the ship of Magellan
had thus far alone dared to pursue, Drake
determined to explore the north-western coast of America
, in the hope of discovering the strait which connects the oceans.
With this view, he crossed the equator, sailed beyond the peninsula of California
, and followed the continent to the latitude of forty-three degrees, corresponding to the latitude of the southern borders of New Hampshire
Here the cold seemed
intolerable to men who had just left the tropics.
Despairing of success, he retired to a harbor in a milder latitude, within the limits of Mexico
; and, having refitted his ship, and named the country New Albion, he sailed for England
, through the seas of Asia
Thus was the southern part of the Oregon territory
first visited by Englishmen, yet not till after a voyage of the Spanish
, commanded by
Cabrillo, a Portuguese, had traced the American
continent to within two and a half degrees of the mouth of Columbia River
while, thirteen years after the
voyage of Drake
, John de Fuca
, a mariner from the
Isles of Greece
, then in the employ of the viceroy of Mexico
, sailed into the bay which is now known as the Gulf
, and, having for twenty days steered through its intricate windings and numerous islands, returned with a belief, that the entrance to the long-desired passage into the Atlantic
had been found.21
The lustre of the name of Drake
is borrowed from
In itself, this part of his career was but a splendid piracy against a nation with which his sovereign and his country professed to be at peace.
Oxenham, a subordinate officer, who had ventured to imitate his master, was taken by the Spaniards and hanged; nor was his punishment either unexpected or censured in England
The exploits of Drake
, except so far as they nourished a love for maritime affairs, were injurious to commerce; the minds of the sailors were debauched by a passion for sudden acquisitions; and to receive regular wages seemed base and unmanly, when, at the easy peril of life, there was hope of boundless plunder.
Commerce and colonization lest on regular industry; the humble labor of the English
fishermen, who now frequented the Grand Bank
, bred mariners for the navy of their country, and prepared the way for its settlements in the New World.
Already four hundred vessels came annually from the harbors of Portugal
, of France
, to the shores of Newfoundland
were not there in such numbers as other nations, for they still frequented the fisheries of Iceland
yet they ‘were commonly lords in the harbors,’ and
in the arrogance of naval supremacy, exacted payment 1578 for protection.22
It is an incident honorable to the humanity of the early voyagers, that, on one of the American
islands, not far from the fishing stations, hogs and horned cattle were purposely left, that they might multiply and become a resource to some future generation of colonists.23
While the queen and her adventurers were dazzled by the glittering prospects of mines of gold in the frozen regions of the remote north, Sir Humphrey Gilbert
, with a sounder judgment and a better knowledge, watched the progress of the fisheries, and formed healthy plans for colonization.
He had been a soldier and a member of parliament.
He was a judicious writer on navigation;24
and though censured for his ignorance of the principles of liberty,25
he was esteemed for the sincerity of his piety.
He was one of those who alike despise fickleness and fear: danger never turned him aside from the pursuit of honor or the service of his sovereign; for he knew that death is inevitable, and the fame of virtue immortal.26
It was not difficult for Gilbert
to obtain a liberal patent,27
formed according to
commercial theories of that day, and to be of perpetual efficacy, if a plantation should be established within six years. To the people who might belong to his colony, the rights of Englishmen were promised; to Gilbert
, the possession for himself or his assigns of the soil which he might discover, and the sole jurisdiction, both civil and criminal, of the territory within two
hundred leagues of his settlement, with supreme exec-
utive and legislative authority.
Thus the attempts at colonization, in which Cabot
had failed, were renewed under a patent that conferred every Immunity on the leader of the enterprise, and abandoned the colonists themselves to the mercy of an absolute proprietary.
Under this patent, Gilbert
began to collect a company of volunteer adventurers, contributing largely from his own fortune to the preparation.
Jarrings and divisions ensued, before the voyage was begun; many abandoned what they had inconsiderately undertaken; the general and a few of his assured friends—among them, perhaps, his step-brother, Walter Raleigh
—put to sea:
one of his ships was lost; and misfortune compelled the remainder to return.28
The vagueness of the accounts of this expedition is ascribed to a conflict with a Spanish fleet, of which the issue was unfavorable to the little squadron of emigrants.29 Gilbert
attempted to keep his patent alive by making grants of lands.
None of his assigns succeeded in establishing a colony; and he was himself too much impoverished to renew his efforts.
But the pupil of Coligny
was possessed of an active genius, which delighted in hazardous adventure.
To prosecute discoveries in the New World, lay the foundation of states, and acquire immense domains, appeared to the daring enterprise of Raleigh
as easy designs, which would not interfere with the pursuit of favor and the career of glory in England
Before the limit of the charter had expired, Gilbert
, assisted by his brother, equipped a new squadron.
The fleet em-
barked under happy omens; the commander, on the
eve of his departure, received from Elizabeth a golden
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
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.
was incensed, but not intimidated.
He sailed for Newfoundland
; and, entering St. Johns
, he sum-
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
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
, now in three vessels only, sailed on further
discoveries, intending to visit the coast of the United States
But they had not proceeded towards the 1583 south beyond the latitude of Wiscasset
, when the largest ship, from the carelessness of the crew, struck and was wrecked.
Nearly a hundred men perished;
the ‘mineral-man’ and the ore were all lost; nor was it possible to rescue Parmenius
, the Hungarian
scholar, who should have been the historian of the expedition.
It now seemed necessary to hasten to England
had sailed in the Squirrel
, a bark of ten tons only, and therefore convenient for entering harbors and approaching the coast.
On the homeward voyage, the brave admiral would not forsake his little company, with whom he had encountered so many storms and perils.
A desperate resolution!
The weather was extremely rough; the oldest mariner had never seen ‘more outrageous seas.’
The little frigate, not more than twice as large as the long-boat of a merchantman, ‘too small a bark to pass through the ocean sea at that season of the year,’ was nearly wrecked.
The general, sitting abaft with a book in his hand, cried out to those in the Hind
, ‘We are as neere to heaven by sea as by land.’
That same night, about twelve o'clock, the lights of the Squirrel
suddenly disappeared; and neither the vessel, nor any of its crew, was ever again seen.
The Hind reached Falmouth
The bold spirit of Raleigh
was not disheartened by
the sad fate of his step-brother; but his mind revolved a settlement in a milder climate; and he was determined
to secure to England
those delightful countries
Chap. III.} 1584. Mar. 25.
from which the Protestants of France
had been expelled.
Having presented a memorial, he readily obtained from Elizabeth a paten31
as ample as that which had been conferred on Gilbert
It was drawn according to the principles of feudal law, and with strict regard to the Christian
faith, as professed in the church of England.
was constituted a lord proprietary, with almost unlimited powers; holding his territories by homage and an inconsiderable rent, and possessing jurisdiction over an extensive region, of which he had power to make grants according to his pleasure.
Expectations rose high, since the balmy regions of the south were now to be colonized; and the terrors of icy seas were forgotten in the hope of gaining a province in a clime of perpetual fertility, where winter hardly intruded to check the productiveness of nature.
Two vessels, well laden with men and provisions, under the command of Philip Amidas
and Arthur Barlow
, buoyant with hope, set sail for the New World.
They pursued the circuitous route by the Canaries and the islands of the West Indies
; after a short stay in those islands, they sailed for the north, and were soon opposite the shores of Carolina
As they drew near
land, the fragrance was ‘as if they had been in the midst of some delicate garden, abounding with all kinds of odoriferous flowers.’
They ranged the coast for a distance of one hundred and twenty miles, in search of a convenient harbor; they entered the first haven which offered, and, after thanks to God for their safe arrival, they landed to take possession of the coun-
try for the queen of England
The spot on which this ceremony was performed,
was in the Island of Wocoken
, the southernmost of the
islands forming Ocracock Inlet.
The shores of North Carolina
, at .some periods of the year, cannot safely be approached by a fleet, from the hurricanes which sweep the air in those regions, and against which the formation of the coast offers no secure roadsteads and harbors.
But in the month of July, the sea was tranquil; the skies were clear; no storms were gathering; the air was agitated by none but the gentlest breezes; and the English
commanders were in raptures with the beauty of the ocean, seen in the magnificence of repose, gemmed with islands, and expanding in the clearest transparency from cape to cape.
The vegetation of that southern latitude struck the beholders with admiration; the trees had not their paragons in the world; the luxuriant vines, as they clambered up the loftiest cedars, formed graceful festoons; grapes were so plenty upon every little shrub, that the surge of the ocean, as it lazily rolled in upon the shore with the quiet winds of summer, dashed its spray upon the clusters; and natural arbors formed an impervious shade, that not a ray of the suns of July could penetrate.
The forests were filled with birds; and, at the discharge of an arquebuss, whole flocks would arise, uttering a cry, which the many echoes redoubled, till it seemed as if an army of men had shouted together.
The gentleness of the tawny inhabitants appeared in harmony with the loveliness of the scene.
The desire of traffic overcame the timidity of the natives, and the English
received a friendly welcome.
On the Island of Roanoke
, they were entertained by the wife of Granganimeo, father of Wingina, the king, with the refinements of Arcadian hospitality.
‘The people were most gentle, loving and faithful, void of all guile
and treason, and such as lived after the manner of the
They had no cares but to guard against the moderate cold of a short winter, and to gather such food as the earth almost spontaneously produced.
And yet it was added, with singular want of comparison, that the wars of these guileless men were cruel and bloody; that domestic dissensions had almost exterminated whole tribes; that they employed the basest stratagems against their enemies; and that the practice of inviting men to a feast, that they might be murdered in the hour of confidence, was not merely a device of European
bigots, but was known to the natives of Secotan.
, too, were solicited to engage in a similar enterprise, under promise of lucrative booty.
The adventurers were satisfied with observing the general aspect of the new world; no extensive examination of the coast was undertaken; Pamlico
and Albemarle Sound
and Roanoke Island
were explored, and some information gathered by inquiries from the Indians; the commanders had not the courage or the activity to survey the country with exactness.
Having made but a short stay in America
, they arrived in September in the west of England
, accompanied by Manteo
and Wanchese, two natives of the wilderness; and the returning voyagers gave such glowing descriptions of their discoveries, as might be expected from men who had done no more than sail over the smooth waters of a summer's sea, among ‘the hundred islands’ of North Carolina
, as she heard their reports,
esteemed her reign signalized by the discovery of the
enchanting regions, and, as a memorial of her state of life, named them Virginia
Nor was it long before Raleigh
, elected to represent in parliament the county of Devon
, obtained a bill
confirming his patent of discovery;33
and while he received the honor of knighthood, as the reward of his valor, he also acquired a lucrative monopoly of wines, which enabled him to continue with vigor his schemes of colonization.34
The prospect of becoming the proprietary of a delightful territory, with a numerous tenantry, who should yield him not only a revenue, but allegiance, inflamed his ambition; and, as the English
nation listened with credulity to the descriptions of Amidas
, it was not difficult to gather a numerous company of emigrants.
While a new paten35
was issued to his friend, for the discovery of the northwestern passage, and the well-known voyages of Davis
, sustained, in part, by the contributions of Raleigh
himself, were increasing the acquaintance of Europe
with the Arctic sea
, the plan of colonizing Virginia
was earnestly and steadily pursued.
The new expedition was composed of seven vessels,
and carried one hundred and eight colonists to the shores of Carolina
Ralph Lane, a man of considerable distinction, and so much esteemed for his services as a soldier, that he was afterwards knighted by Queen Elizabeth, was willing to act for Raleigh
as governor of the colony.
Sir Richard Grenville
, the most able and celebrated of Raleigh
's associates, distinguished for bravery among the gallant spirits of a gallant age, as-
sumed the command of the fleet.
It sailed from Plymouth
accompanied by several men of merit, whom the
world remembers;—by Cavendish
, who soon after cir-1585.
cumnavigated the globe; Hariot
, the inventor of the system of notation in modern algebra,36
the historian of the expedition; and White
, an ingenious painter, whose sketches37
of the natives, their habits and modes of life, were taken with beauty and exactness, and were the means of encouraging an interest in Virginia
, by diffusing a knowledge of its productions.
To sail by the Canaries and the West Indies
, to conduct a gainful commerce with the Spanish
ports by intimidation; to capture Spanish vessels;—these were but the expected preliminaries of a voyage to Virginia
At length the fleet fell in with the main land of Florida
; it was in great danger of being wrecked on the cape which was then first called the Cape of Fear
; and two days after it came to anchor at Wocoken.
The perils of the navigation on the shoals of that coast became too evident; the largest ship of the squadron, as it entered the harbor, struck, but was not lost.
It was through Ocracock Inlet that the fleet made its way to Roanoke
But the fate of this colony was destined to be influenced by the character of the natives.
, the friend of the English
, and who returned with the fleet from a visit to England
, was sent to the main to announce their arrival.
, accompanied by Lane
, and others, in an excursion of eight
days, explored the coast as far as Secotan, and, as they relate, were well entertained of the savages.
At one of the Indian
towns, a silver cup had been stolen; its restoration was delayed; with hasty cruelty, Grenville
ordered the village to be burnt and the standing
corn to be destroyed.
Not long after this action of inconsiderate revenge, the ships, having landed the colony, sailed for England
; a rich Spanish prize, made by Grenville
on the return voyage, secured him a courteous welcome as he entered the harbor of Plymouth
The transport ships of the colony were at the same time privateers.38
The employments of Lane
and his colonists, after the departure of Sir Richard Grenville
, could be none other than to explore the country; and in a letter, which he wrote while his impressions were yet fresh, he expressed himself in language of enthusiastic ad-
‘It is the goodliest soil under the cope of heaven; the most pleasing territory of the world; the continent is of a huge and unknown greatness, and very well peopled and towned, though savagely.
The climate is so wholesome, that we have not one sick, since we touched the land.
had but horses and kine, and were inhabited with English
, no realm in Christendom were comparable to it.’39
The keenest observer was Hariot
; and he was often employed in dealing with ‘the natural inhabitants.’
He carefully examined the productions of the country, those which would furnish commodities for commerce, and those which were in esteem among the natives.
He observed the culture of tobacco; accustomed himself to its use, and was a firm believer in its healing virtues.
The culture of maize, and the extraordinary productiveness of that grain, especially attracted his admiration; and the tuberous roots of the potato, when boiled, were found to be very good food.
are described as too feeble to inspire terror,
clothed in mantles and aprons of deer-skins; having no 1585 weapons but wooden swords and bows of witch-hazel with arrows of reeds; no armor but targets of bark and sticks wickered together with thread.
Their towns were small; the largest containing but thirty dwellings.
The walls of the houses were made of bark, fastened to stakes; and sometimes consisted of poles fixed upright, one by another, and at the top bent over and fastened; as arbors are sometimes made in gardens.
But the great peculiarity of the Indians consisted in the want of political connection.
A single town often constituted a government; a collection of ten or twenty wigwams was an independent state.
The greatest chief in the whole country could not muster more than seven or eight hundred fighting men. The dialect of each government seemed a language by itself.
The country which Hariot
explored was on the boundary of the Algonquin race; where the Lenni Lenape
tribes melted into the widely-differing nations of the south.
The wars among themselves rarely led them to the open battle-field; they were accustomed rather to sudden surprises at daybreak or by moonlight, to ambushes and the subtle devices of cunning falsehood.
Destitute of the arts, they yet displayed excellency of wit in all which they attempted.
Nor were they entirely ignorant of religion; and to the credulity of fetichism they joined an undeveloped conception of the unity of the Divine Power
It is natural to the human mind to desire immortality; the natives of Carolina
believed in continued existence after death, and in retributive justice.
The mathematical instruments
, the burning-glass, guns, clocks, and the use of letters, seemed the works of gods, rather than of men,
and the English
were reverenced as the pupils and
favorites of Heaven.
In every town which Hariot
entered, he displayed the Bible
, and explained its truths; the Indians revered the volume rather than its doctrines; and, with a fond superstition, they embraced the book, kissed it, and held it to their breasts and heads, as if it had been an amulet.
As the colonists enjoyed uniform health, and had no women with them, there were some among the Indians who imagined the English
were not born of woman, and therefore not mortal; that they were men of an old generation, risen to immortality.
The terrors of fire-arms the natives could neither comprehend nor resist; every sickness which now prevailed among them, was attributed to wounds from invisible bullets, discharged by unseen agents, with whom the air was supposed to be peopled.
They prophesied, that
there were more of the English generation yet to come, to kill theirs and take their places; and some believed, that the purpose of extermination was already matured, and its execution begun.
Hariot, in Hakluyt, III. 324—340.
Was it strange, then, that the natives desired to be
delivered from the presence of guests by whom they feared to be supplanted?
The colonists were mad with the passion for gold; and a wily savage invented,
respecting the River Roanoke
and its banks, extravagant tales, which nothing but cupidity could have credited.
The river, it was said, gushed forth from a rock, so near the Pacific Ocean
, that the surge of the sea sometimes dashed into its fountain; its banks were inhabited by a nation skilled in the art of refining the rich ore in which the country abounded.
The walls of the city were described as glittering from the abundance
was so credulous, that he at-
tempted to ascend the rapid current of the Roanoke
; and his followers, infatuated with greedy avarice, would not return till their stores of provisions were exhausted, and they had killed and eaten the very dogs which bore them company.
On this attempt to explore the interior, the English
hardly advanced higher up the river than some point near the present village of Williamstown
had hoped to destroy the English
thus dividing them; but the prompt return of Lane
prevented open hostilities.
They next conceived the plan of leaving their lands unplanted; and they were willing to abandon their fields, if famine would in consequence compel the departure of their too powerful guests.
The suggestion was defeated by the moderation of one of their aged chiefs; but the feeling of enmity could not be restrained.
that a wide conspiracy was preparing; that fear of a foreign enemy was now teaching the natives the necessity of union; and that a grand alliance was forming to destroy the strangers by a general massacre.
Perhaps the English
, whom avarice had certainly rendered credulous, were now precipitate in giving faith to the whispers of jealousy; it is certain that, in the contest of dissimulation, they proved themselves the more successful adepts.
Desiring an audience of Wingina, the most active among the native chiefs, Lane
and his June attendants were quickly admitted to his presence.
hostile intentions were displayed by the Indians; their reception of the English
was proof of their confidence.
Immediately a preconcerted watchword was given; and the Christians, falling upon the unhappy king and his principal followers, put them without mercy to death
It was evident that Lane
did not possess the quali-
ties suited to his station.
He had not the sagacity which could rightly interpret the stories or the designs of the natives; and the courage, like the eye, of a soldier, differs from that of a traveller.
His discoveries were inconsiderable: to the south they had extended only to Secotan, in the present county of Craven
, between the Pamlico
and the Neuse
; to the north they reached no farther than the small River Elizabeth, which joins the Chesapeake Bay
; in the interior, the Chowan
had been examined beyond the junction of the Meherrin
and the Nottaway
; and we have seen, that the hope of gold attracted Lane
to make a short excursion up the Roanoke
Yet some general results of importance were obtained.
The climate was found to be salubrious; during the year not more than four men had died, and of these, three brought the seeds of their disease from Europe
The hope of finding better harbors at the north was confirmed; and the Bay of Chesapeake
was already regarded as the fit theatre for early colonization.
But in the Island of Roanoke
, the men began to despond; they looked in vain towards the ocean for supplies from England
; they were sighing for the luxuries of the cities in their native land; when of a sudden it was rumored, that the sea was white with the sails of three-and-twenty
ships; and within three days, Sir Francis Drake
had anchored his fleet at sea outside of Roanoke Inlet, in ‘the wild road of their bad harbor.’
He had come, on his way from the West Indies
, to visit the domain of his friend.
With the celerity of genius, he discovered the measures which the exigency of the case required, and supplied the
wants of Lane
to the uttermost; giving him a bark of
seventy tons, with pinnaces and small boats, and all needed provisions for the colony.
Above all, he induced two experienced sea-captains to remain and employ themselves in the action of discovery.
Every thing was furnished to complete the surveys along the coast and the rivers, and, in the last resort, if suffering became extreme, to reconvey the emigrants to England
At this time, an unwonted storm suddenly arose, and had nearly wrecked the fleet, which lay in a most dangerous position, and which had no security but in weighing anchor and standing away from the shore.
When the tempest was over, nothing could be found of the boats and the bark, which had been set apart for the colony.
The humanity of Drake
was not weary; he instantly devised measures for supplying the colony with the means of continuing their discoveries; but Lane
shared the despondency of his men; and Drake
yielded to their unanimous desire of permission to embark in his ships for England
ended the first actual settlement of the English
The exiles of a year had grown familiar with the favorite amusement of the lethargic Indians
; and they introduced into England
the general use of tobacco.41
The return of Lane
was a precipitate desertion; a little delay would have furnished the colony with ample supplies.
A few days after its departure, a ship arrived, laden with all stores needed by the infant settlement.
It had been despatched by Raleigh
; but finding ‘the
paradise of the world’ deserted, it could only return to England
Another fortnight had hardly elapsed, when Sir Richard Grenville
appeared off the coast with three well-furnished ships, and renewed the vain search for the departed colony.
Unwilling that the English
should lose possession of the country, he left fifteen men on the Island of Roanoke
, to be the guardians of English rights.42
was not dismayed by ill success, nor borne
down by losses.
The enthusiasm of the people of England
was diminished by the reports of the unsuccessful company of Lane
; but the decisive testimony of Harlot to the excellence of the country still rendered it easy to collect a new colony for America
The wisdom of Raleigh
was particularly displayed in the policy which he now adopted.
He determined to plant an agricultural state; to send emigrants with wives and families, who should at once make their homes in the New World; and, that life and property
might be secured, he granted a charter of incorporation for the settlement, and established a municipal government for ‘the city of Raleigh
was appointed its governor; and to him, with eleven assistants, the administration of the colony was intrusted.
A fleet of transport ships was prepared at the expense of the proprietary; ‘Queen Elizabeth, the godmother of Virginia
,’ declined contributing ‘to its education.’
The company, as it embarked, was cheered by the
presence of women; and an ample provision of the implements of husbandry gave a pledge for successful industry.
In July, they arrived on the coast of North
Carolina; they were saved from the dangers of Cape
Fear; and, passing Cape Hatteras
, they hastened to the Isle of Roanoke
, to search for the handful of men whom Grenville
had left there as a garrison.
They found the tenements deserted and overgrown with weeds; human bones lay scattered on the field; wild deer were reposing in the untenanted houses, and were feeding on the productions which a rank vegetation still forced from the gardens.
The fort was in ruins.
No vestige of surviving life appeared.
The miserable men whom Grenville
had left, had been murdered by the Indians.
The instructions of Raleigh
had designated the place for the new settlement on the Bay
of the Chesapeake
It marks but little union, that Fernando, the naval officer, eager to renew a profitable traffic in the West Indies
, refused his assistance in exploring the coast, and White
was compelled to remain on Roanoke
The fort of Governor Lane
, ‘with sundry decent dwelling-houses,’ had been built at the northern extremity of the island; it was there that the foundations
of the city of Raleigh
The Island of Roanoke
is now almost uninhabited; commerce has selected securer harbors for its pursuits; the intrepid pilot and the hardy ‘wrecker,’ rendered adventurously daring by their familiarity with the dangers of the coast, and in their natures wild as the storms to which their skill bids defiance, unconscious of the associations by which they are surrounded, are the only tenants of the spot where the inquisitive stranger may yet discern the ruins of the fort, round which the cottages of the new settlement were erected.
But disasters thickened.
A tribe of savages dis-
played implacable jealousy, and murdered one of the
The mother and the kindred of Manteo
welcomed the English
to the Island of Croatan
; and a mutual friendship was continued.
But even this alliance was not unclouded.
A detachment of the English
, discovering a company of the natives whom they esteemed their enemies, fell upon them by night, as the harmless men were sitting fearlessly by their fires; and the havoc was begun, before it was perceived that these were friendly Indians
The vanities of life were not forgotten in the New
World; and Manteo
, the faithful Indian chief, ‘by the commandment of Sir Walter Raleigh
,’ received Christian baptism, and was invested with the rank of a feudal baron, as the Lord
It was the first peerage erected by the English
, and remained a solitary dignity, till Locke
suggested the establishment of palatinates in Carolina
, and Manteo
shared his honors with the admired philosopher of his age.
As the time for the departure of the ship for England
drew near, the emigrants became gloomy with apprehensions; they were conscious of their dependence on Europe
; and they, with one voice, women as well as men, urged the governor to return and use his vigorous intercession for the prompt despatch of reinforcements and supplies.
It was in vain that he pleaded a sense of honor, which called upon him to remain and share in person the perils of the colony, which he was appointed to govern.
He was forced to yield to the general importunity.
Yet, previous to his departure, his daughter, Eleanor Dare, the wife of one of the assistants, gave birth to a
female child, the first offspring of English parents on the soil of the United States
The infant was named
from the place of its birth.
The colony, now com-
posed of eighty-nine men, seventeen women, and two children, whose names are all preserved, might reasonably hope for the speedy return of the governor, who, as he sailed for England
, left with them, as hostages,
his daughter and his grandchild, Virginia Dare.
And yet even those ties were insufficient.
The colony received no seasonable relief; and the further history of this neglected plantation is involved in gloomy uncertainty.
The inhabitants of ‘the city of Raleigh
,’ the emigrants from England
and the firstborn of America
, failed, like their predecessors, in establishing an enduring settlement; but, unlike their predecessors, they awaited death in the land of their adoption.
had no English town, it soon had English graves.43
For when White
, he found its whole attention absorbed by the threats of an invasion from Spain
; and Grenville
, and Lane
, not less than Frobisher
, and Hawkins
, were engaged in planning measures of resistance.
, whose patriotism did not diminish his generosity, found means to despatch White
in two vessels.
But the company, desiring a gainful voyage rather than a safe one, ran in chase of prizes; till, at last, one of them fell in with men-of-war from Rochelle
, and, after a bloody fight, was boarded and rifled.
Both ships were compelled to return immediately to England
, to the ruin of the colony and the displeasure of its author.44
The delay was fatal; the independence of the English
kingdom, and the security
of the Protestant reformation, were in danger; nor
could the poor colonists of Roanoke
be again remembered, till after the discomfiture of the Invincible Armada
Even when complete success against the Spanish fleet had crowned the arms of England
, Sir Walter Raleigh
, who had already incurred a fruitless expense of forty thousand pounds, found himself unable to continue the attempts at colonizing Virginia
Yet he did not despair of ultimate success; he admired the invincible constancy which would bury the remembrance of past dangers in the glory of annexing fertile provinces to his country; and as his fortune did not permit him to renew his exertions, he used the privilege of his patent to form a company of merchants and adventurers, who were endowed by his liberality with large concessions, and who, it was hoped, would replenish Virginia
Among the men who thus obtained an assignment of the proprietary's rights in Virginia
, is found the name of Richard Hakluyt
; it is the connecting link between the first efforts of England
in North Carolina
and the final colonization of Virginia
The colonists at Roanoke
had emigrated with a charter; the new instrument45
was not an assignment of Raleigh
's patent, but extended a grant, already held under its sanction, by increasing the number to whom the rights of that charter belonged.
Yet the enterprise of the adventurers languished for it was no longer encouraged by the profuse liberality of Raleigh
More than another year elapsed, before
could return to search for his colony and his daughter; and then the Island of Roanoke
An inscription on the bark of a tree pointed to 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,47
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.
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,48
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.
He was not only admirable in active life as a sol-
dier; he was an accomplished scholar.
No statesman in retirement ever expressed the charms of tranquil leisure more beautifully than Raleigh
; and it was not entirely with the language of grateful friendship, that Spenser
described his ‘sweet verse as sprinkled with nectar,’ and rivaling the melodies of ‘the summer's nightingale.’49
When an unjust verdict, contrary to probability and the evidence, ‘against law and against equity,’ on a charge which seems to have been a pure invention, left him to languish for years in prison, with the sentence of death suspended over his head, his active genius plunged into the depths of erudition; and he who had been a soldier, a courtier, and a seaman, now became the elaborate author of a learned History of the World.
His career as a statesman was honorable to the pupil of Coligny
and the contemporary of L'Hopital.
In his public policy, he was thoroughly an English patriot; jealous of the honor, the prosperity, and the advancement of his country; the inexorable antagonist of the pretensions of Spain
In parliament, he defended the freedom of domestic industry.
When, by the operation of unequal laws, taxation was a burden upon industry rather than wealth, he argued for a change:50
himself possessed of a lucrative monopoly, he gave his voice for the repeal of all monopolies;51
and, while he pertinaciously used his influence with his sovereign to mitigate the severity of the judgments against the nonconformists,52
as a legislator he resisted the sweeping enactment of persecuting laws.53
In the career of discovery, his perseverance was
never baffled by losses.
He joined in the risks of Gilbert
's expedition; contributed to the discoveries of Davis
in the north-west; and himself personally explored ‘the insular regions and broken world’ of Guiana
The sincerity of his belief in the wealth of the latter country has been unreasonably questioned.
If Elizabeth had hoped for a hyperborean Peru
in the arctic seas of America
, why might not Raleigh
expect to find the city of gold on the banks of the Oronoco?
His lavish efforts in colonizing the soil of our republic, his sagacity which enjoined a settlement within the Chesapeake Bay
, the publications of Hariot
which he countenanced, if followed by losses to himself, diffused over England
a knowledge of America
, as well as an interest in its destinies, and sowed the seeds, of which the fruits were to ripen during his lifetime, though not for him.
had suffered from pals54
before his last expedition.
He returned broken-hearted by the defeat of his hopes, by the decay of his health, and by the death of his eldest son. What shall be said of King James, who would open to an aged paralytic no other hope of liberty but through success in the discovery of mines in Guiana
What shall be said of a monarch who could, at that time, under a sentence which was originally unjust,55
and which had slumbered for fifteen years, order the execution of the decrepit man, whose genius and valor shone brilliantly through the ravages
of physical decay, and whose English heart, within a
palsied frame, still beat with an undying love for his country?
The judgments of the tribunals of the Old World are often reversed by public opinion in the New
. The family of the chief author of early colonization in the United States
was reduced to beggary by the government of England
, and he himself was beheaded.
After a lapse of nearly two centuries, the state of North
Carolina, by a solemn act of legislation, revived in its capital ‘the city of Raleigh
;’ thus expressing its
grateful respect for the memory of the extraordinary man, who united in himself as many kinds of glory as were ever combined in an individual.
The enthusiasm of Raleigh
pervaded his countrymen.
Imagination already saw beyond the Atlantic
a people whose mother idiom should be the language of England
‘Who knows,’ exclaimed Daniel
, the poet laureate of that kingdom—
“Who in time knows whither we may vent
The treasures of our tongue?
To what strange shores
This gain of our best glory shall be sent
Ta enrich unknowing nations with our stores?
What worlds, in th' yet unformed Occident,
May 'come refined with th' accents that are ours?”
Already the fishing of Newfoundland
as the stay of the west countries.
Some traffic may
nave continued with Virginia
Thus were men trained for the career of discovery; and in 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold
, who, perhaps, had already sailed to Virginia
, with the usual route, by the Canaries and West Indies
, conceiving the idea of a direct voyage to America
, with the concurrence of Raleigh
, had well nigh secured to New England
the honor of the first permanent English colony.
Steering, in a small bark, directly
across the Atlantic
, in seven weeks he reached the
continent of America
in the Bay
Chap. III.} 1602. May 14.
far to the north of Nahant
He failed to observe a good harbor, and, standing for the south, discovered the promontory which he called Cape Cod
—a name which would not yield to that of the next monarch of England
Here he and four of his men landed; Cape Cod
was the first spot in New England
ever trod by Englishmen.
Doubling the cape, and passing Nantucket
, they again landed on a little island, now called No
Man's land, and afterwards passed round the promontory of Gay Head
, naming it Dover Cliff.
At length they entered Buzzard's Bay
—a stately sound, which they called Gosnold
The westernmost of the islands was named Elizabeth
, from the queen—a name which has been transferred to the whole group.
Here they beheld the rank vegetation of a virgin soil; the noble forests; the wild fruits and the flowers, bursting from the earth; the eglantine, the thorn, and the honeysuckle, the wild pea, the tansy, and young sassafras; strawberries, raspberries, grape-vines, all in profusion.
There is on the island a pond, and within it lies a rocky islet; this was the position which the adventurers selected for their residence.
Here they built their storehouse and their fort; and here the foundations of the first New England
colony were to be laid.
The natural features remain unchanged; the island, the pond, the islet, are all yet visible; the forests are gone; the shrubs are as luxuriant as of old; but the ruins of the fort can no longer be discerned.
A traffic with the natives on the main land, soon enabled Gosnold
to complete his freight, which consisted chiefly of sassafras root, then greatly esteemed in pharmacy as a sovereign panacea.
band, which was to have nestled on the Elizabeth
Islands, finding their friends about to embark for Europe
, despaired of obtaining seasonable supplies of food, and determined not to remain.
Fear of an assault from the Indians, who had ceased to be friendly, the want of provisions, and jealousy respecting the distribution of the risks and profits, defeated the de sign.
The whole party soon set sail and bore for England
The return voyage lasted but five weeks;
and the expedition was completed in less than four months, during which entire health had prevailed.57
and his companions spread the most favorable reports of the regions which he had visited.
Could it be that the voyage was so safe, the climate so pleasant, the country so inviting?
The merchants of Bristol
, with the ready assent of Raleigh
and at the instance of Richard Hakluyt
, the enlightened friend and able documentary historian of these commercial enterprises, a man whose fame should be vindicated and asserted in the land which he helped to colonize, determined to pursue the career of investigation.
, a small ship of fifty tons and thirty men, the Discoverer
, a bark of twenty-six tons and thirteen men, under the command of Martin
Pring, set sail for America
a few days after the death of the queen.
It was a private undertaking, and therefore not retarded by that event.
The ship was well provided with trinkets and merchandise, suited to a traffic with the natives; and this voyage also was successful.
It reached the American
coast among the
islands which skirt the harbors of Maine
of the Penobscot
offered good anchorage and fishing Pring made a discovery of the eastern rivers and harbors—the Saco
, the Kennebunk, and the York
; and the channel of the Piscataqua
was examined for three or four leagues.
Meeting no sassafras, he steered for the south; doubled Cape Ann
; and went on shore in Massachusetts
; but, being still unsuccessful, he again pursued a southerly track, and finally anchored in Old Town harbor
, on Martha's Vineyard
The whole absence lasted about six months, and was completed without disaster or danger.59
Pring, a few years later,
repeated his voyage, and made a more accurate survey of Maine
Enterprises for discovery were now continuous.
returning from the West Indies
, made an unavailing search for the colony of Raleigh
It was the last attempt to trace the remains of those unfortunate men. But as the testimony of Pring had confirmed the reports of Gosnold
, the career of navigation was vigorously pursued.
An expedition, pro-
moted by the Earl
and Lord Arundel, of Wardour, and commanded by George Weymouth
, who, in attempting a north-west passage, had already explored the coast of Labrador
, now discovered the Penobscot River
in March, and, in about six weeks, came in sight of the American
continent near Cape Cod
Turning to the north, he approached the coast of Maine
, and ascended the western branch of the Penobscot
beyond Belfast Bay
; where the deep channel of the broad stream, the abundance of its spacious harbors, the neighboring
springs and copious rivulets, compelled the experienced
mariner to admire the noble river, which is just now beginning to have upon its banks and in its ports the flourishing settlements and active commerce that it is by nature so well adapted to sustain.
Five natives were decoyed on board the ship, and Weymouth
, returning to England
, gave three of them to Sir Ferdinand Gorges
, a friend of Raleigh
, and governor of Plymouth
Such were the voyages which led the way to the colonization of the United States
The daring and skill of these earliest adventurers upon the ocean deserve the highest admiration.
The difficulties of crossing the Atlantic
were new, and it required the greater courage to encounter hazards which ignorance exaggerated.
The character of the prevalent winds and currents was unknown.
The possibility of making a direct passage was but gradually discovered.
The imagined dangers were infinite; the real dangers, exceedingly great.
The ships at first employed for discovery were generally of less than one hundred tons burthen; Frobisher
sailed in a vessel of but twenty-five tons; two of those of Columbus
were without a deck; and so perilous were the voyages deemed, that the sailors were accustomed, before embarking, to perform solemn acts of devotion, as if to prepare for eternity.
The anticipation of disasters was not visionary; Columbus
was shipwrecked twice, and once remained for eight months on an island, without any communication with the civilized world;
was turned adrift in a small boat by a crew
whom suffering had rendered mutinous; Willoughby
perished with cold; Roberval
,— and how many others?—went down at sea; and such was the state of the art of navigation, that intrepidity and skill were unavailing against the elements without the favor of Heaven.