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THIS COUNTRY OF OURS

The Story of the United States

by Henrietta Elizabeth MARSHALL - 1917


Parts  1 - 2       Chapters 1-21 Parts  5 - 6       Chapters 45-63
Parts  3 - 4       Chapters 22-44 Part  7       Chapters 64-99
Part 1: Chapter:      1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12 Part 2: Chapter:     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20     21

Truth 1 Introduction         I first come across this searching for something or other on a search engine, back about 2003. I thought it was excellent. In fact, I think it deserves prominent distribution and reading, as perhaps a core historical account, but with other or competing authors and writings on the same material, such as Wikipedia, myself, of course, and others, too. I'll list the books/references as they come along. I will likely be making additions where they seem most important. Many areas will remain untouched.  I believe, though I can not guarantee that copyrights have expired after 75 years in 1982. I publish this on my Related Info site not to infringe, but to honor the top notch work of H E Marshall. I add some material for a broader more rounded view of info.

I link to the original place where this is to be found:    http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/marshall/country/country.html

I wanted to add in navigation aids as well, so that one could bounce back and forth between chapter headings and the chapters as I do on all my pages. I place the Table of Contents next so as to let you get right to work reading. But just after that Table, will be the first pages as they appear on the U of Penn website and likely the book, too. I am most grateful for the work of U of Penn and H E Marshall. You should be, too. This is not the sort of work you want to ignore. This is relatively more recent history it has secrets to be given up, if we want to search for them and we should want to and be willing to expend great effort to do so. We did not get to where we are by accident. If you believe in God, then you also believe in the devil and both have been in a struggle that God will ultimately win. It was and is God's will that we know fully what is going on and how to prepare so that we do not get caught by surprise. Marshall will take it from here.


CONTENTS

PART I    STORIES OF EXPLORERS AND PIONEERS

1. HOW THE VIKINGS OF OLD SOUGHT AND FOUND NEW LANDS
2. THE SEA OF DARKNESS AND THE GREAT FAITH OF COLUMBUS
3. HOW COLUMBUS FARED FORTH UPON THE SEA OF DARKNESS AND CAME TO PLEASANT LANDS BEYOND
4. HOW COLUMBUS RETURNED HOME IN TRIUMPH
5. HOW AMERICA WAS NAMED
6. HOW THE FLAG OF ENGLAND WAS PLANTED ON THE SHORES OF THE NEW WORLD
7. HOW THE FLAG OF FRANCE WAS PLANTED IN FLORIDA
8. HOW THE FRENCH FOUNDED A COLONY IN FLORIDA
9. HOW THE SPANIARDS DROVE THE FRENCH OUT OF FLORIDA
10. HOW A FRENCHMAN AVENGED THE DEATH OF HIS COUNTRYMEN
11. THE ADVENTURES OF SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT
12. ABOUT SIR WALTER RALEIGH'S ADVENTURES IN THE GOLDEN WEST

PART II    STORIES OF VIRGINIA

13. THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH
14. MORE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH
15. HOW THE COLONY WAS SAVED
16. HOW POCAHONTAS TOOK A JOURNEY OVER THE SEAS
17. HOW THE REDMEN FOUGHT AGAINST THEIR WHITE BROTHERS
18. HOW ENGLISHMEN FOUGHT A DUEL WITH TYRANNY
19. THE COMING OF THE CAVALIERS
20. BACON'S REBELLION
21. THE STORY OF THE KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE


A Celebration of Women Writers


This Country of Ours: The Story of the United States
by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall (1876-1941).
New York: George H. Doran Company, 1917.

This book may be viewed as a single file or chapter by chapter.


[Frontispiece]


THE DEPARTURE OF THE MAYFLOWER
With tears streaming down their faces the Pilgrims
knelt upon the shore and saw the Mayflower go.


[Title Page]

THIS COUNTRY
OF OURS

The Story of the United States

by
H. E. MARSHALL

AUTHOR OF "OUR ISLAND STORY," "OUR EMPIRE STORY,"
"A HISTORY OF FRANCE," ETC.

WITH PICTURES IN COLOUR BY
A. C. MICHAEL

NEW YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY


COPYRIGHT, 1917,
BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


TO
PEGGY STEWARDSON
AND ALL THE OTHER CHILDREN, BIG AND LITTLE,
WHO MADE MY SOJOURN IN THE UNITED STATES
A TIME OF HAPPY MEMORIES


PREFACE

DEAR PEGGY,

Four years have come and gone since first you asked me to write a Story of the United States "lest you should grow up knowing nothing of your own country." I think, however, that you are not yet very grown up, not yet too "proud and great" to read my book. But I hope that you know something already of the history of your own country. For, after all, you know, this is only a play book. It is not a book which you need knit your brows over, or in which you will find pages of facts, or politics, and long strings of dates. But it is a book, I hope, which when you lay it down will make you say, "I'm glad that I was born an American. I'm glad that I can salute the stars and stripes as my flag."

Yes, the flag is yours. It is in your keeping and in that of every American boy and girl. It is you who in the next generation must keep it flying still over a people free and brave and true, and never in your lives do aught to dim the shining splendour of its silver stars.

Always your friend,

H. E. MARSHALL.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

During my residence in California the Trustees of the A. K. Smiley Library, Redlands, with charming hospitality procured for me (sometimes sending the whole breadth of the continent for them) the many books necessary for the writing of this sketch of American history. Without this courtesy and kindness on their part it would have been impossible for me to continue my work while in California, and it gives me much pleasure thus publicly to acknowledge my indebtedness to them.

H. E. MARSHALL.



PART I: STORIES OF EXPLORERS AND PIONEERS


Back to Top
CHAPTER 1
HOW THE VIKINGS OF OLD SOUGHT AND FOUND NEW LANDS

IN days long long ago there dwelt in Greenland a King named Eric the Red. He was a man mighty in war, and men held him in high honour.

Eric the Red

Now one day to the court of Eric there came Bjarni the son of Heriulf. This Bjarni was a far traveller. He had sailed many times upon the seas, and when he came home he had ever some fresh tale of marvel and adventure to tell. But this time he had a tale to tell more marvellous than any before. For he told how far away across the sea of Greenland, where no man had sailed before, he had found a new, strange land.

Bjarni the Traveller

But when the people asked news of this unknown land Bjarni could tell them little, for he had not set foot upon those far shores. Therefore the people scorned him.

 

"Truly you have little hardihood," they said, "else you had gone ashore, and seen for yourself, and had given us good account of this land."

 

But although Bjarni could tell nought of the new strange land, save that he had seen it, the people thought much about it, and there was great talk about voyages and discoveries, and many longed to sail forth and find again the land which Bjarni the Traveller had seen. But more than any other in that kingdom, Leif the son of Eric the Red, longed to find that land. So Leif went to Eric and said:

Lief longs to sail on unknown seas

"Oh my father, I fain would seek the land which Bjarni the Traveller has seen. Give me gold that I may buy his ship and sail away upon the seas to find it."

 

Then Eric the Red gave his son gold in great plenty. "Go, my son," he said, "buy the ship of Bjarni the Traveller, and sail to the land of which he tells."

 

Then Leif, quickly taking the gold, went to Bjarni and bought his ship.

 

Leif was a tall man, of great strength and noble bearing. He was also a man of wisdom, and just in all things, so that men loved and were ready to obey him.

 

Now therefore many men came to him offering to be his companions in adventure, until soon they were a company of thirty-five men. They were all men tall and of great strength, with fair golden hair and eyes blue as the sea upon which they loved to sail, save only Tyrker the German.

 

Long time this German had lived with Eric the Red and was much beloved by him. Tyrker also loved Leif dearly, for he had known him since he was a child, and was indeed his foster father. So he was eager to go with Leif upon this adventurous voyage. Tyrker was very little and plain. His forehead was high and his eyes small and restless. He wore shabby clothes, and to the blue-eyed, fair-haired giants of the North he seemed indeed a sorry-looking little fellow. But all that mattered little, for he was a clever craftsman, and Leif and his companions were glad to have him go with them.

Tyrker

Then, all things being ready, Leif went to his father and, bending his knee to him, prayed him to be their leader.

 

But Eric the Red shook his head. "Nay, my son," he said, "I am old and stricken in years, and no more able to endure the hardships of the sea."

 

"Yet come, my father," pleaded Leif, "for of a certainty if you do, good luck will go with us."

 

Then Eric looked longingly at the sea. His heart bade him go out upon it once again ere he died. So he yielded to the prayers of his son and, mounting upon his horse, he rode towards the ship.

 

When the sea-farers saw him come they set up a shout of welcome. But when Eric was not far from the ship the horse upon which he was riding stumbled, and he was thrown to the ground. He tried to rise but could not, for his foot was sorely wounded.

 

Seeing that he cried out sadly, "It is not for me to discover new lands; go ye without me."

 

So Eric the Red returned to his home, and Leif went on his way to his ship with his companions.

 

Now they busied themselves and set their dragon-headed vessel in order. And when all was ready they spread their gaily-coloured sails, and sailed out into the unknown sea.

The Vikings set sail

Westward and ever westward they sailed towards the setting of the sun. For many days they sailed yet they saw no land: nought was about them but the restless, tossing waves. But at length one day to their watching eyes there appeared a faint grey line far on the horizon. Then their hearts bounded for joy. They had not sailed in vain, for land was near.

 

"Surely," said Leif, as they drew close to it, "this is the land which Bjarni saw. Let it not be said of us that we passed it by as he did."

They see land 1000 A.D.

So, casting anchor, Leif and his companions launched a boat and went ashore. But it was no fair land to which they had come. Far inland great snow-covered mountains rose, and between them and the sea lay flat and barren rock, where no grass or green thing grew. It seemed to Leif and his companions that there was no good thing in this land.

 

"I will call it Helluland or Stone Land," said Leif.

 

Then he and his companions went back to the ship and put out to sea once more. They came to land again after some time, and again they cast anchor and launched a boat and went ashore. This land was flat. Broad stretches of white sand sloped gently to the sea, and behind the level plain was thickly wooded.

 

"This land," said Leif, "shall also have a name after its nature." So he called it Markland or Woodland.

 

Then again Leif and his companions returned to the ship, and mounting into it they sailed away upon the sea. And now fierce winds arose, and the ship was driven before the blast so that for days these seafarers thought no more of finding new lands, but only of the safety of their ship.

 

But at length the wind fell, and the sun shone forth once more. Then again they saw land, and launching their boat they rowed ashore.

 

To the eyes of these sea-faring men, who for many days had seen only the wild waste of waters, the land seemed passing fair. For the grass was green, and as the sun shone upon it seemed to sparkle with a thousand diamonds. When the men put their hands upon the grass, and touched their mouths with their hands, and drank the dew, it seemed to them that never before had they tasted anything so sweet. So pleasant the land seemed to Leif and his companions that they determined to pass the winter there. They therefore drew their ship up the river which flowed into the sea, and cast anchor.

 

Then they carried their hammocks ashore and set to work to build a house

 

When the house was finished Leif called his companions together and spoke to them.

They build a house

"I will now divide our company into two bands," he said, "so that we may explore the country round about. One half shall stay at home, and the other half shall explore the land. But they who go to explore must not go so far away that they cannot return home at night, nor must they separate from each other, lest they be lost."

 

And as Leif said so it was done. Each day a company set out to explore, and sometimes Leif went with the exploring party, and sometimes he stayed at home. But each day as evening came they all returned to their house, and told what they had seen.

 

At length, however, one day, when those who had gone abroad returned, one of their number was missing, and when the roll was called it was found that it was Tyrker the German who had strayed. Thereat Leif was sorely troubled, for he loved his foster-father dearly. So he spoke sternly to his men, reproaching them for their carelessness in letting Tyrker separate from them, and taking twelve of his men with him he set out at once to search for his foster-father. But they had not gone far when, to their great joy, they saw their lost comrade coming towards them.

 

"Why art thou so late, oh my foster-father?" cried Leif, as he ran to him. "Why hast thou gone astray from the others?"

 

But Tyrker paid little heed to Leif's questions. He was strangely excited, and rolling his eyes wildly he laughed and spoke in German which no one understood. At length, however, he grew calmer and spoke to them in their own language. "I did not go much farther than the others," he said. "But I have found something new. I have found vines and grapes."

Tyrker finds grapes

"Is that indeed true, my foster-father?" said Leif.

 

"Of a certainty it is true," replied Tyrker. "For I was born where vines grow freely."

 

This was great news; and all the men were eager to go and see for themselves the vines which Tyrker had discovered. But it was already late, so they all returned to the house, and waited with what patience they could until morning.

 

Then, as soon as it was day, Tyrker led his companions to the place where he had found the grapes. And when Leif saw them he called the land Vineland because of them. He also decided to load his ship with grapes and wood, and depart homeward. So each day the men gathered grapes and felled trees, until the ship was full. Then they set sail for home.

 

The winds were fair, and with but few adventures they arrived safely at home. There they were received with great rejoicing. Henceforth Leif was called Leif the Lucky, and he lived ever after in great honour and plenty, and the land which he had discovered men called Vineland the Good.

They return home

In due time, however, Eric the Red died, and after that Leif the Lucky sailed no more upon the seas, for his father's kingdom was now his, and he must needs stay at home to rule his land. But Leif's brother Thorvald greatly desired to go to Vineland so that he might explore the country still further.

 

Then when Leif saw his brother's desire he said to him, "If it be thy will, brother, thou mayest go to Vineland in my ship."

 

At that Thorvald rejoiced greatly, and gathering thirty men he set sail, crossed the sea without adventure, and came to the place where Leif had built his house.

Thorvald sets forth

There he and his company remained during the winter. Then in the spring they set forth to explore the coast. After some time they came upon a fair country where there were many trees.

 

When Thorvald saw it he said, "It is so fair a country that I should like to make my home here."

 



THE LANDING OF THE VIKINGS
It seemed to Leif and his companions that there
was no good thing in this land. "I will call it
Helluland or Stone Land," said Leif.


Until this time the Norsemen had seen no inhabitants of the land. But now as they returned to their ship they saw three mounds upon the shore. When the Norsemen came near they saw that these three mounds were three canoes, and under each were three men armed with bows and arrows, who lay in wait to slay them. When the Norsemen saw that, they divided their company and put themselves in battle array. And after a fierce battle they slew the savages, save one who fled to his canoe and so escaped.

 

When the fight was over the Norsemen climbed upon a, high headland and looked round to see if there were signs of any more savages. Below them they saw several mounds which they took to be the houses of the savages, and knew that it behooved them therefore to be on their guard. But they were too weary to go further, and casting themselves down upon the ground where they were they fell into a heavy sleep.

 

Suddenly they were awakened by a great shout, and they seemed to hear a voice cry aloud, "Awake, Thorvald, thou and all thy company, if ye would save your lives. Flee to thy ship with all thy men, and sail with speed from this land."

 

So Thorvald and his companions fled speedily to their ship, and set it in fighting array. Soon a crowd of dark-skinned savages, uttering fearful yells, rushed upon them. They cast their arrows at the Norsemen, and fought fiercely for some time. But seeing that their arrows availed little against the strangers, and that on the other hand many of their braves were slain, they at last fled.

A fight with Red men

Then, the enemy being fled, Thorvald, turning to his men, asked, "Are any of you wounded?"

 

"Nay," they answered, "we are all whole."

 

"That is well," said Thorvald. "As for me, I am wounded in the armpit by an arrow. Here is the shaft. Of a surety it will cause my death. And now I counsel you, turn homeward with all speed. But carry me first to that headland which seemed to me to promise so pleasant a dwelling-place, and lay me there. Thus it shall be seen that I spoke truth when I wished to abide there. And ye shall place a cross at my feet, and another at my head, and call it Cross Ness ever after."

 

So Thorvald died. Then his companions buried him as he had bidden them in the land which had seemed to him so fair. And as he had commanded they set a cross at his feet and another at his head, and called the place Cross Ness. Thus the first white man was laid to rest in Vineland the Good.

Thorvald dies

Then when spring came the Norsemen sailed home to Greenland. And there they told Leif of all the things they had seen and done, and how his brave brother had met his death.

 

Now when Leif's brother Thorstein heard how Thorvald had died he longed to sail to Vineland to bring home his brother's body. So once again Leif's ship was made ready, and with five and twenty tall, strong men Thorstein set forth, taking with him his wife Gudrid.

Thorstein sets forth

But Thorstein never saw Vineland the Good. For storms beset his ship, and after being driven hither and thither for many months, he lost all reckoning, and at last came to land in Greenland once more. And there Thorstein died, and Gudrid went home to Leif.

 

Now there came to Greenland that summer a man of great wealth named Thorfinn. And when he saw Gudrid he loved her and sought her in marriage, and Leif giving his consent to it, Thorfinn and Gudrid were married.

Thorfinn

At this time many people still talked of the voyages to Vineland, and they urged Thorfinn to journey thither and seek to find out more about these strange lands. And more than all the others Gudrid urged him to go. So at length Thorfinn determined to undertake the voyage. But it came to his mind that he would not merely go to Vineland and return home again. He resolved rather to settle there and make it his home.

 

Thorfinn therefore gathered about sixty men, and those who had wives took also their wives with them, together with their cattle and their household goods.

 

Then Thorfinn asked Leif to give him the house which he had built in Vineland. And Leif replied, "I will lend the house to you, but I will not give it."

 

So Thorfinn and Gudrid and all their company sailed out to sea, and without adventures arrived safely at Leif's house in Vineland.

Thorfinn sets forth

There they lived all that winter in great comfort. There was no lack of food either for man or beast, and the cattle they had brought with them roamed at will, and fed upon the wide prairie lands.

 

All winter and spring the Norsemen dwelt in Vineland, and they saw no human beings save themselves. Then one day in early summer they saw a great troop of natives come out of the wood. They were dark and little, and it seemed to the Norsemen very ugly, with great eyes and broad cheeks. The cattle were near, and as the savages appeared the bull began to bellow. And when the savages heard that sound they were afraid and fled. For three whole weeks nothing more was seen of them, after that time however they took courage again and returned. As they approached they made signs to show that they came in peace, and with them they brought huge bales of furs which they wished to barter.

 

The Norsemen, it is true, could not understand the language of the natives, nor could the natives understand the Norsemen; but by signs they made known that they wished to barter their furs for weapons. This, however, Thorfinn forbade. Instead he gave them strips of red cloth which they took very eagerly and bound about their heads. Thorfinn also commanded his men to take milk to the savages. And when they saw it they were eager to buy and drink it. So that it was said many of them carried away their merchandise in their stomachs.

 

Thus the days and months passed. Then one summer day a little son was born to Thorfinn and Gudrid. They called him Snorri, and he was the first white child to be born on the Continent which later men called the New World. Thus three years went past. But the days were not all peaceful. For quarrels arose between the newcomers and the natives, and the savages attacked the Norsemen and killed many of them.

 

Then Thorfinn said he would no longer stay in Vineland, but would return to Greenland. So he and all his company made ready their ship, and sailed out upon the seas, and came at length safely to Greenland.

Thorfinn returns home

Then after a time Thorfinn sailed to Iceland. There he made his home for the rest of his life, the people holding him in high honour. Snorri also, his son who had been born in Vineland, grew to be a man of great renown.

 

Such are some of the old Norse stories of the first finding of America. The country which Leif called Helluland was most likely Labrador, Markland Newfoundland, and Vineland Nova Scotia.

 

Besides these there were many other tales of voyages to Vineland. For after Leif and his brothers many other Vikings of the North sailed, both from Greenland and from Norway, to the fair western lands. Yet although they sailed there so often these old Norsemen had no idea that they had discovered a vast continent. They thought that Vineland was merely an island, and the discovery of it made no stir in Europe. By degrees too the voyages thither ceased. In days of wild warfare at home the Norsemen forgot the fair western land which Leif had discovered. They heard of it only in minstrel tales, and it came to be for them a sort of fairy-land which had no existence save in a poet's dream.

Vineland is forgotten

But now wise men have read these tales with care, and many have come to believe that they are not mere fairy stories. They have come to believe that hundreds of years before Columbus lived the Vikings of the North sailed the western seas and found the land which lay beyond, the land which we now call America.

 


Back to Top
CHAPTER 2
THE SEA OF DARKNESS AND THE GREAT FAITH OF COLUMBUS

IN those far-off times besides the Vikings of the North other daring sailors sailed the seas. But all their sailings took them eastward. For it was from the east that all the trade and the riches came in those days. To India and to far Cathay sailed the merchant through the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, to return with a rich and fragrant cargo of silks and spices, pearls and priceless gems.

 

None thought of sailing westward. For to men of those days the Atlantic Ocean was known as the Outer Sea or the Sea of Darkness. There was nothing to be gained by venturing upon it, much to be dreaded. It was said that huge and horrible sea-dragons lived there, ready to wreck and swallow down any vessel that might venture near. An enormous bird also hovered in the skies waiting to pounce upon vessels and bear them away to some unknown eyrie. Even if any foolhardy adventurers should defy these dangers, and escape the horror of the dragons and the bird, other perils threatened them. For far in the west there lay a bottomless pit of seething fire. That was easy of proof. Did not the face of the setting sun glow with the reflected light as it sank in the west? There would be no hope nor rescue for any ship that should be drawn into that awful pit.

The Sea of Darkness

Again it was believed that the ocean flowed downhill, and that if a ship sailed down too far it would never be able to get back again. These and many other dangers, said the ignorant people of those days, threatened the rash sailors who should attempt to sail upon the Sea of Darkness. So it was not wonderful that for hundreds of years men contented themselves with the well-known routes which indeed offered adventure enough to satisfy the heart of the most daring.

 

But as time passed these old trade-routes fell more and more into the hands of Turks and Infidels. Port after port came under their rule, and infidel pirates swarmed in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean until no Christian vessel was safe. At every step Christian traders found themselves hampered and hindered, and in danger of their lives, and they began to long for another way to the lands of spice and pearls.

Turks and Infidels

Then it was that men turned their thoughts to the dread Sea of Darkness. The less ignorant among them had begun to disbelieve the tales of dragons and fiery pits. The world was round, said wise men. Why then, if that were so, India could be reached by sailing west as well as by sailing east.

 

Many men now came to this conclusion, among them an Italian sailor named Christopher Columbus. The more Columbus thought about his plan of sailing west to reach India, the more he believed in it, and the more he longed to set out. But without a great deal of money such an expedition was impossible, and Columbus was poor. His only hope was to win the help and friendship of a king or some other great and wealthy person.

Christopher Columbus, 1435-1506;

The Portuguese were in those days a sea-faring people, and their ships were to be found wherever ships dared go. Indeed Prince Henry of Portugal did so much to encourage voyages of discovery that he was called Henry the Navigator. And although he was by this time dead, the people still took great interest in voyages of discovery. So at length Columbus determined to go to King John of Portugal to tell him of his plans, and ask for his aid.

 

King John listened kindly enough, it seemed, to what Columbus had to say. But before giving him any answer he said that he must consult his wise men. These wise men looked upon the whole idea of sailing to the west to reach the east as absurd. So King John refused to give Columbus any help.

he goes to Portugal, 1470;

Yet although most of King John's wise men thought little of the plan, King John himself thought that there was something in it. But instead of helping Columbus he meanly resolved to send out an expedition of his own. This he did, and when Columbus heard of it he was so angry that he left Portugal, which for more than ten years he had made his home. He was poor and in debt, so he left the country secretly, in fear of the King, and of those to whom he owed money.

 

When Columbus thus fled from Portugal, penniless and in debt, he was a man over forty. He was a bitterly disappointed man, too, but he still clung to his great idea. So he sent his brother Bartholomew to England to beg King Henry VII to help him, while he himself turned towards Spain. Bartholomew, however, reached England in an evil hour for his quest. For Henry VII had but newly wrested the crown from Richard III, and so had no thought to spare for unknown lands. Christopher also arrived in Spain at an unfortunate time. For the Spaniards were carrying on a fierce warfare against the Moors, and King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella had little thought or money to spare for any other undertaking. Therefore, although Ferdinand listened to what Columbus had to say, for the time being he could promise no help.

he goes to Spain;

So years passed. Columbus remained in Spain. For in spite of all his rebuffs and disappointments he did not despair. As the court moved from place to place he followed it, hoping always that the day would come when the King and Queen would listen to him, and believe in his great enterprise.

 

Meanwhile he lived in want and misery, and just kept himself from starvation by making and selling maps. To the common people he seemed a madman, and as he passed through the streets in his worn and threadbare garments children jeered and pointed fingers of scorn at him.

he lives in poverty;

Yet in spite of mockery and derision Columbus clung to his faith. Indeed it burned in him so strongly that at length he made others share it too, and men who were powerful at court became his friends.

 

At last the war with the Moors ended victoriously for Spain. Then these friends persuaded Queen Isabella to listen again to what Columbus had to say. To this the Queen consented, and when she heard how poor Columbus was she sent him some money, so that he might buy clothes fit to appear at court.

 

When Columbus heard the good news he was overjoyed. As quickly as might be he bought new clothes, and mounting upon a mule he rode towards Granada. But when Columbus arrived he found the court still in the midst of rejoicings to celebrate victory. Among the light-hearted, gaily dressed throng there was no one who had a thought to spare for the melancholy, white-haired dreamer who passed like a dark shadow amidst them. With his fate, as it were, trembling in the balance, Columbus had no heart for rejoicing. So he looked on "with indifference, almost with contempt."

 

But at length his day came. At length all the jubilation was over, and Ferdinand and Isabella turned their thoughts to Columbus. He came before them and talked so earnestly of his great project that they could not but believe in it. The day was won. Both King and Queen, but more especially the Queen, were willing to help the great enterprise. Now however Columbus himself all but wrecked his chances. He had dreamed so long about this splendid adventure, he was so filled with belief in its grandeur, that he demanded conditions such as would hardly have been granted to the greatest prince in the land.

he is received by the King and the Queen, 1492;

Columbus demanded that he should be made admiral and viceroy of all the lands he might discover, and that after his death this honour should descend to his son and to his son's son for ever and ever. He also demanded a tenth part of all the pearls, precious stones, gold, silver and spices, or whatever else he might gain by trade or barter.

his proud demands

At these demands the grandees of Spain stood aghast. What! This shabby dreamer, this penniless beggar aspired to honour and dignities fit for a prince! It was absurd, and not to be thought of. If this beggarly sailor would have Spain assist him he must needs be more humble in suit.

 

But not one jot would Columbus abate of his demands. So the Council broke up, and Columbus, with anger and disappointment in his heart, mounted his mule and turned his face towards the Court of France. All the seven long years during which he had waited, and hoped, and prayed, in Spain had been wasted. Now he would go to the King of France, and make his last appeal there.

They are refused

He leaves Spain

But Columbus had left friends behind him, friends who had begun to picture to themselves almost as vividly as he the splendours of the conquest he was to make. Now these friends sought out the Queen. In glowing words they painted to her the glory and the honour which would come to Spain if Columbus succeeded. And if he failed, why, what were a few thousand crowns, they asked. And as the Queen listened her heart beat fast; the magnificence of the enterprise took hold upon her, and she resolved that, come what might, Columbus should go forth on his adventure.

 

Ferdinand, however, still looked coldly on. The war against the Moors had been long and bitter, his treasury was empty. Whence, he asked himself, was money forthcoming for this mad scheme? Isabella, however, had done with prudence and caution. "If there is not money enough in Aragon," she cried, "I will undertake this adventure for my own kingdom of Castile, and if need be I will pawn my jewels to do it."

The Queen's resolve

While these things were happening Columbus, sick at heart, was slowly plodding on the road to France. But he only went a little way on his long journey. For just as he was entering a narrow pass not far from Granada, where the mountains towered above him, he heard the thud of horses' hoofs.

 

It was a lonely and silent spot among the hills, where robbers lurked, and where many a man had been slain for the money and jewels he carried. Columbus, however, had nothing to dread: he carried with him neither gold nor jewels. He went forth from Spain a beggar, even as he had come. But if fear he had any, it was soon turned to incredulous joy. For when the horsemen came up they told Columbus that his friends had won the day for him, and that he must return.

 

At first Columbus hesitated. He found it hard to believe that truly at last he had his heart's desire. When, however, the messenger told him that the Queen herself bade him return, he hesitated no longer. Joyfully turning his mule he hastened back to Granada.

Columbus returns to Spain

At last Columbus had won his heart's desire, and he had only to gather ships and men and set forth westward. But now a new difficulty arose. For it was out upon the terrible Sea of Darkness that Columbus wished to sail, and men feared to face its terrors.

 

Week after week went past and not a ship or a man could Columbus get. He persuaded and implored in vain: no man was brave enough to follow him to the unknown horrors of the Sea of Darkness. Therefore as entreaty and persuasion proved of no avail, Columbus sought help from the King, who gave him power to force men to go with him.

 

Even then all sorts of difficulties were thrown in the way. Columbus, however, overcame them all, and at length his three ships were ready. But it had taken many months. It was February when he turned back so gladly to Granada; it was the third of August before everything was in order.

 

Before dawn upon the day he sailed Columbus entered the church, in the little sea-faring town of Palos where his ships lay at anchor. There he humbly confessed his sins, received the Sacrament, and committed himself to God's all-powerful guidance. The crew, wild, rough fellows, many of them, followed his example. Then Columbus stepped on board his ship, the Santa Maria, and turned his face westward.

 

He was filled with exaltation. But all Palos was filled with gloom, and upon the shore a great crowd gathered to bid a last farewell to these daring adventurers. And as the ships spread their sails and sped forth in the morning light the people wept and lamented sorely, for they never thought again to see their loved ones, who were about to adventure forth upon the terrible Sea of Darkness.

He sets forth upon the Sea of Darkness, 3rd Aug., 1492


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CHAPTER 3
HOW COLUMBUS FARED FORTH UPON THE SEA OF DARKNESS AND CAME TO PLEASANT LANDS BEYOND

AT first the voyage upon which Columbus and his daring companions now set forth lay through seas already known; but soon the last land-mark was left behind, and the three little vessels, smaller than river craft of today, were alone upon the trackless waste of waters. And when the men saw the last trace of land vanish their hearts sank, and they shed bitter tears, weeping for home and the loved ones they thought never more to see.

 

On and on they sailed, and as day after day no land appeared the men grew restless. Seeing them thus restless, and lest they should be utterly terrified at being so far from home upon this seemingly endless waste of waters, Columbus determined to keep them from knowing how far they had really gone. So he kept two reckonings. One, in which the real length of the ships' daily journey was given he kept to himself: the other, in which the journey was given as much shorter, he showed to the sailors.

Columbus keeps two reckonings

A month went past, six weeks went past, and still there was no trace of land. Then at length came signs. Snow birds which never ventured far to sea flew round the ships. Now the waves bore to them a rudely carved stick, now the ships ploughed a way through masses of floating weeds. All these signs were at first greeted with joy and hope, and the sailors took heart. But as still the days went past and no land appeared, they lost heart again.

 

The fields of weeds which they had at first greeted with joy now became an added terror. Would they not be caught in this tangle of weeds, they asked, and never more win a way out of it? To their fearful and superstitious minds the very breeze which had borne them softly onward became a menace. For if the wind always blew steadily from the east how was it possible ever to return to Spain? So Columbus was almost glad when a contrary wind blew. For it proved to his trembling sailors that one at least of their fears was groundless. But it made little difference. The men were now utterly given over to gloomy terrors.

The sailors are filled with terror

Fear robbed them of all ambition. Ferdinand and Isabella had promised a large sum of money to the man who should first discover land. But none cared now to win it. All they desired was to turn home once more.

 

Fear made them mutinous also. So they whispered together and planned in secret to rid themselves of Columbus. It would be easy, they thought, to throw him overboard some dark night, and then give out that he had fallen into the sea by accident. No one would know. No one in Spain would care, for Columbus was after all but a foreigner and an upstart. The great ocean would keep the secret. They would be free to turn homeward.

 

Columbus saw their dark looks, heard the murmurs of the crews, and did his best to hearten them again. He spoke to them cheerfully, persuading and encouraging, "laughing at them, while in his heart he wept."

 

Still the men went sullenly about their work. But at length one morning a sudden cry from the Pinta shook them from out their sullen thoughts.

 

It was the captain of the Pinta who shouted. "Land, land, my lord!" he cried. "I claim the reward."

Land! Land!

And when Columbus heard that shout his heart was filled with joy and thankfulness, and baring his head he sank upon his knees, giving praise to God. The crew followed his example. Then, their hearts suddenly light and joyous, they swarmed up the masts and into the rigging to feast their eyes upon the goodly sight.

 

All day they sailed onward toward the promised land. The sun sank and still all night the ships sped on their joyous way. But when morning dawned the land seemed no nearer than before. Hope died away again, and sorrowfully as the day went on the woeful truth that the fancied land had been but a bank of clouds was forced upon Columbus.

A delusion

Again for days the ships sailed on, and as still no land appeared the men again began to murmur. Then one day when Columbus walked on deck he was met, not merely with sullen looks, but with angry words. The men clamoured to return. And if the Admiral refused, why, so much the worse for him. They would endure no longer.

 

Bravely the Admiral faced the mutineers. He talked to them cheerfully. He reminded them of what honour and gain would be theirs when they returned home having found the new way to India, of what wealth they might win by trading. Then he ended sternly:

Mutiny

"Complain how you may," he said, "I have to go to the Indies, and I will go on till I find them, so help me God."

 

For the time being the Admiral's stern, brave words cowed the mutineers. But not for much longer, Columbus knew right well, would they obey him if land did not soon appear. And in his heart he prayed God that it might not be long delayed.

 

The next night Columbus stood alone upon the poop of the Santa Maria. Full of anxious thoughts he gazed out into the darkness. Then suddenly it seemed to him that far in the distance he saw a glimmering light appear and disappear once and again. It was as if some one walking carried a light. But so fearful was Columbus lest his fervent hopes had caused him to imagine this light that he would not trust his own eyes alone. So he called to one of his officers and asked him if he saw any light.

The light

"Yes," replied the officer, "I see a light."

 

Then Columbus called a second man. He could not at first see the light, and in any case neither of them thought much of it. Columbus, however, made sure that land was close, and calling the men about him he bade them keep a sharp look-out, promising a silken doublet to the man who should first see land.

 

So till two o'clock in the morning the ships held on their way. Then from the Pinta there came again a joyful shout of "Land! Land!"

Land at last

This time it proved no vision, it was land indeed; and at last the long-looked-for goal was reached. The land proved to be an island covered with beautiful trees, and as they neared the shore the men saw naked savages crowding to the beach.

 

In awed wonder these savages watched the huge white birds, as the ships with their great sails seemed to them. Nearer and nearer they came, and when they reached the shore and folded their wings the natives fled in terror to the shelter of the forest. But seeing that they were not pursued, their curiosity got the better of their fear, and returning again they stood in silent astonishment to watch the Spaniards land.

 

First of all came Columbus; over his glittering steel armour he wore a rich cloak of scarlet, and in his hand he bore the Royal Standard of Spain. Then, each at the head of his own ship's crew, came the captains of the Pinta and the Nina, each carrying in his hand a white banner with a green cross and the crowned initials of the King and Queen, which was the special banner devised for the great adventure. Every man was dressed in his best, and the gay-coloured clothes, the shining armour, and fluttering banners made a gorgeous pageant. Upon it the sun shone in splendour and the blue sky was reflected in a bluer sea: while scarlet flamingoes, startled at the approach of the white men, rose in brilliant flight.

 



THE VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS
Again for days the ships sailed on, and as still no
land appeared the men began to murmur.


As Columbus landed he fell upon his knees and kissed the ground, and with tears of joy running down his cheeks he gave thanks to God, the whole company following his example. Then rising again to his feet, Columbus drew his sword, and solemnly took possession of the island in the name of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Columbus takes possession of the land for Spain, Oct. 12th, 1492;

When the ceremony was over the crew burst forth into shouts of triumph and joy. They crowded round Columbus, kneeling before him to kiss his hands and feet praying forgiveness for their insolence and mutiny, and promising in the future to obey him without question. For Columbus it was a moment of pure joy and triumph. All his long years of struggle and waiting had come to a glorious end.

 

Yet he knew already that his search was not finished, his triumph not yet complete. He had not reached the eastern shores of India, the land of spice and pearls. He had not even reached Cipango, the rich and golden isle. But he had at least, he thought, found some outlying island off the coast of India, and that India itself could not be far away. He never discovered his mistake, so the group of islands nowhere near India, but lying between the two great Continents of America, are known as the West Indies.

 

Columbus called the island upon which he first landed San Salvador, and for a long time it was thought to be the island which is still called San Salvador or Cat Island. But lately people have come to believe that Columbus first landed upon an island a little further south, now called, Watling Island.

 

From San Salvador Columbus sailed about and landed upon several other islands, naming them and taking possession of them for Spain. He saw many strange and beautiful fruits: "trees of a thousand sorts, straight and tall enough to make masts for the largest ships of Spain." He saw flocks of gaily coloured parrots and many other birds that sang most sweetly. He saw fair harbours so safe and spacious that he thought they might hold all the ships of the world.

 

But of such things Columbus was not in search. He was seeking for gold and jewels, and at every place he touched he hoped to find some great eastern potentate, robed in splendour and seated upon a golden throne; instead everywhere he found only naked savages. They were friendly and gentle, and what gold they had–but it was little indeed–they willingly bartered for a few glass beads, or little tinkling bells.

he seeks for gold;

By signs, however, some of these savages made Columbus understand that further south there was a great king who was so wealthy that he ate off dishes of wrought gold. Others told him of a land where the people gathered gold on the beach at night time by the light of torches; others again told him of a land where gold was so common that the people wore it on their arms and legs, and in their ears and noses as ornaments. Others still told of islands where there was more gold than earth. But Columbus sought these lands in vain.

 

In his cruisings Columbus found Cuba, and thought at first it must be the island of Cipango, but finding himself mistaken he decided at length that he had landed upon the most easterly point of India. He could not be far, he thought, from the palace of the Grand Khan, and choosing out two of his company he sent them as ambassadors to him. But after six days the ambassadors returned, having found no gold; and instead of the Grand Khan having seen only a savage chieftain.

he discovers Cuba;

These ambassadors found no gold, but, had they only known it, they found something quite as valuable. For they told how they had met men and women with firebrands in their hands made of herbs, the end of which they put in their mouths and sucked, blowing forth smoke. And these fire-brands they called tabacos.

tobacco;

The Spaniards also discovered that the natives of these islands used for food a root which they dug out of the earth. But they thought nothing of these things. For what were roots and dried herbs to those who came in search of gold, and gems, and precious spices? So they brought home neither potatoes nor tobacco.

potatoes

So far the three little vessels had kept together, but now the captain of the Pinta parted company with the others, not because of bad weather, says Columbus in his diary, but because he chose, and out of greed, for he thought "that the Indians would show him where there was much gold." This desertion grieved Columbus greatly, for he feared that Pinzon might find gold, and sailing home before him cheat him of all the honour and glory of the quest. But still the Admiral did not give up, but steered his course "in the name of God and in search of gold and spices, and to discover land."

 

So from island to island he went seeking gold, and finding everywhere gentle, kindly savages, fair birds and flowers, and stately trees.

potatoes


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CHAPTER 4
HOW COLUMBUS RETURNED HOME IN TRIUMPH

CHRISTMAS Eve came, and the Admiral, being very weary, went below to sleep, leaving a sailor to steer the ship. But this sailor thought he too would like to sleep, so he gave the tiller in charge of a boy.

 

Now throughout the whole voyage the Admiral had forbidden this. Whether it was stormy or calm he had commanded that the helm was never to be entrusted to a boy. This boy knew very little of how to steer a ship, and being caught in a current it was cast upon a sand-bank and wrecked. By good luck every one was saved and landed upon the island of Haiti. But Columbus had now only one little vessel, and it was not large enough to carry all the company. Many of them, however, were so delighted with the islands that they wanted to stay there, and they had often asked the Admiral's leave to do so.

The wreck of the Santa Maria

Columbus therefore now determined to allow some of his men to remain to found a little colony, and trade with the Indians, "and he trusted in God that when he came back from Spain–as he intended to do–he would find a ton of gold collected by them, and that they would have found a gold mine, and such quantities of spices that the Sovereigns would in the space of three years be able to undertake a Crusade and conquer the Holy Sepulchre."

 

So out of the wreck of the Santa Maria Columbus built a fort, and from the many who begged to be left behind he chose forty-four, appointing one of them, Diego de Arana, as Governor. He called the fort La Navida or The Nativity in memory of the day upon which it was founded. The island itself he called Española or Little Spain.

 

Then on Friday the 4th of January, 1493, the Nina spread her sails and slowly glided away, leaving in that far island amid the unknown seas the first colony of white men ever settled in the west.

Columbus sails homeward

Two days after Columbus set forth upon his homeward voyage, he fell in again with the Pinta. The master had found no gold, so he determined to join Columbus once more. He now came on board and tried to make his peace with Columbus, but the Admiral received him coldly, for he had little faith in his excuses. And now once more together, the two little vessels sailed homeward. But soon storms arose, the ships were battered by wind, tossed about hither and thither by waves, and at length separated again. More than once Columbus feared that his tiny vessel would be engulfed in the stormy seas, and the results of his great enterprise never be known. But at length the shores of Portugal were sighted, and on Friday, the 15th of March, 1493, he landed again at Palos, in Spain, from whence he had set forth more than seven months before.

 

The people of Palos had hardly hoped to see again those who had sailed away on so desperate an adventure. Now, when they saw only one of the three vessels return their joy was mingled with grief. When, however, they learned that Columbus returned in triumph, and that India had been reached, their joy knew no bounds. Shops were closed, bells were rung, and all the people in holiday attire thronged to the harbour, and with shouts and cheers they bore Columbus in triumph to the church, there to give thanks to God for his safe and glorious return. And ere the shouts had died away, a second vessel was seen approaching. It was the Pinta which, though parted from the Nina, had also weathered the storms and now came safely to port.

The arrival

At once on landing Columbus had sent a letter to the King and Queen telling them of his return. Now he received an answer; it was addressed to Don Christopher Columbus, our Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy and Governor of the Islands discovered in the Indies. It bade him to come at once to court. It told him that a new expedition would immediately be fitted out; so with a heart overflowing with joy and pride, Columbus set forth to Barcelona where the King and Queen then were.

 

The great news of his voyage and discovery had outsped him, and the people of Barcelona received him with every mark of respect and honour. As he passed through the streets, riding on a splendid horse and surrounded by the greatest nobles of Spain, they cheered him again and again. They gazed in wonder also at the dark-skinned savages, the gaily coloured parrots, and other strange things he had brought with him from out the Sea of Darkness.

 

Sitting on a throne of state beneath a canopy of cloth of gold, with the young Prince of Spain beside them , the King and Queen received Columbus. At his approach they rose, and standing they welcomed back to their realm as a mighty prince he who had gone forth a simple sailor. And as Columbus would have knelt to kiss their hands they raised him, and bade him be seated beside them as an equal. Seldom did the haughty rulers of Spain show such great honour even to the proudest nobles in the land.

Columbus is received in state by the King and Queen;

And so while King, and Queen, and courtiers listened breathlessly Columbus told of all he had done, of all the marvels he had seen, of the richness and fairness of the lands he had found and claimed for Spain. And when he had finished the King and Queen fell upon their knees, and clasping their hands they raised eyes filled with tears of joy to heaven, giving thanks to God for His great mercies. The courtiers too fell upon their knees and joined their prayers to those of the King and Queen, while over all the triumphant notes of the Te Deum rang out.

 

So ended the great voyage of Columbus. He had shown the way across the Sea of Darkness; he had proved that all the stories of its monsters and other dangers were false. But even he had no idea of the greatness of his discovery. He never realised that he had shown the way to a new world; he believed to the day of his death that he had indeed found new islands, but that his greatest feat was that of finding a new way to the Old World. Yet now being made a noble, he took for his coat of arms a, group of golden islands in an azure sea, and for motto the words, "To Castile and Leon, Columbus gave a New World."

 

Now began a time of pomp and splendour for Columbus. He who had gone forth a penniless sailor now rode abroad in gorgeous array; often he might be seen with the Queen on one hand and John, the young Prince of Spain, on the other. Sometimes even the King himself would ride with him, and seeing him so high in royal favour all the greatest and proudest nobles of the land were eager to make much of him. So they fêted him, flattered him, and spread banquets for him. But some were jealous of the great fame of Columbus, and they made light of his discoveries.

he lives in splendour;

It is told how, one day at a banquet when every one talked of these wonderful deeds, one of the guests spoke slightingly of them. "It is all very well," he said to Columbus, "but in a great country like Spain, where there are such numbers of daring sailors and learned folk besides, many another man might have done the same as you. We should have found the Indies even if you had not."

 

To this speech Columbus answered nothing, but he asked for an egg to be brought to him. When it was brought he placed it on the table saying, "Sirs, I will lay a wager with any of you that you cannot make this egg stand up without anything at all to support it."

 

One after the other they tried, but no one could do it. At length it came round to Columbus again. And he, taking it in his hand, struck it sharply on the table so that one end was chipped a little, and it stood upright.

 

"That, my lord, is my answer," he said, looking at the courtier who had scoffed. And all the company were silent. For they saw he was well answered. Columbus had shown that after a deed is once done it is simple, and every one knows how to do it. What he had done in sailing across the Sea of Darkness was only wonderful because no one else had thought of doing it.

he rebukes a scoffer

Portugal was now very jealous of Spain's success, and King Ferdinand of Spain was fearful lest King John of Portugal should seize the new islands which Columbus had discovered. So he appealed to the Pope to settle the matter. And the Pope decided that all new lands discovered west of an imaginary line drawn through the Atlantic Ocean west of the Azores and from pole to pole should belong to Spain. All discoveries east of this line should belong to Portugal. If you will look at a map of the world you will see that this gave to Spain all the Americas with their islands (except a little bit of Brazil) and to Portugal the whole of Africa.

The Pope's decree

But almost before this matter was settled Columbus had set forth again on another voyage across the great ocean, now no longer the Sea of Darkness: this time he had no difficulty in getting a company. For every one was eager to go with him, even many of the sons of great nobles. This time too the passage was made without any doubts and fears, but with joyful expectations.

Columbus sets forth again;

Columbus had hoped great things of the little colony that he had left behind him. But when he cast anchor one night before the fort his heart sank. All was dark and silent on shore. Yet still hoping, he ordered two cannon to be fired as a signal to the colonists. The cannon boomed through the still, warm darkness of the night, and slowly the echoes died away. But there was no answer save the sighing of the sea, and the scream of the startled birds. From the fort there came no sound or any sign of life, and with sad forebodings the Spaniards waited for the dawn.

 

Then it was seen that the fort was a ruin. It had been burned and sacked. Torn clothing and broken vessels were strewn around, but as the Spaniards wandered sadly among the ruins they found no trace of their companions save eleven graves with the grass growing above them.

finds his fort in ruins

At first no natives would come near the white men, for they feared their anger. But at length, tempted by the offer of gifts and other friendly signs, they came. They told how the Spaniards had quarreled amongst themselves, how the fort had been attacked by unfriendly Indians from another island, and how all the white men had been slain.

 

Thus ended the first white colony ever planted in Western lands. All traces of it have vanished, and upon the spot where La Navida stood there is now a little fishing village called Petit Anse.

 

Columbus founded other colonies, but they succeeded no better than the first one. In all he made four voyages across the Atlantic, and in the third he landed upon the coast of South America, near the mouth of the Orinoco. But Columbus did not know that at last he had discovered the great double Continent of America. He thought that he had merely discovered another island, and he named it La Isla Santa. Afterwards he was so delighted at the beauty of the land that he thought he must have found the Garden of Eden, so he became certain that he had landed on the eastern corner of Asia.

Columbus discovers South America;

In 1506 Columbus died. And it is sad to think that he who, by his great faith and great daring, led the way across the Sea of Darkness, and gave a New World to the Old died in poverty and neglect. The men who had wept for joy at the news of his discovery shed no tear over his grave. He died "unwept, unhonoured and unsung." Years passed before men recognised what a great man had dwelt among them: years passed before any monument was raised to his memory. But indeed he had scarce need of any, for as has been well said, "The New World is his monument." And every child of the New World must surely honour that monument and seek never to deface it.

he dies neglected


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CHAPTER 5
HOW AMERICA WAS NAMED

"THE New World is his monument." And yet the New World does not bear the name of Columbus. So in this chapter I am going to tell you how America was named.

 

As soon as Columbus had shown the way across the Sea of Darkness many were eager to follow in his footsteps. "There is not a man," he says himself, "down to the very tailors, who does not beg to be allowed to become a discoverer." Among the many who longed to sail the seas there was a man named Amerigo Vespucci.

 

Like Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian. He was born in Florence and there for nearly forty years he lived quietly, earning his living as a clerk in the great merchant house of Medici. But although he was diligent at business his thoughts were not wholly taken up with it, and in his leisure hours he loved to read books of geography, and pore over maps and charts.

Amerigo Vespucci, 1451-1512;

After a time business took Amerigo to Spain. He was there when Columbus returned from his famous first voyage, and very likely saw him pass through the streets of Barcelona on his day of triumph. Just when Amerigo and Columbus met we do not know. But very soon we find Amerigo in the service of the merchant who supplied Columbus with food and other necessaries for his second voyage. It has been thought by some that Vespucci went with Columbus on this voyage, but that is not very likely. It was about this time, however, that Vespucci went on his first voyage in which he explored the coast of Venezuela or of Central America. It is very doubtful which. Before going on this voyage he had been in Spain about four years, and not having succeeded very well as a merchant he decided to give up trading and take to a sea life.

meets Columbus;

No voyages perhaps have been more written about and fought over than those of Amerigo Vespucci. Some will have it that he went only two voyages, and say he was a braggart and a vainglorious fool if he said he went more. Others think that he went at least four voyages and probably six. And most people are now agreed that these last are right, and that he who gave his name to the great double Continent of America was no swaggering pretender but an honest and upright man.

his voyages disputed;

In the first two voyages that he made Vespucci sailed under the flag of Spain. In the second two he sailed in the service of the King of Portugal. But after his fourth voyage he returned again to Spain. There he received a large salary and the rank of captain. Later he was made Pilot Major of Spain, and was held in high honour till his death.

 

Yet in all the voyages Vespucci went, whether under the flag of Portugal or of Spain, he was never leader. He went as astronomer, or as pilot, while other men captained the expeditions.

 

It is from Amerigo's letters alone that we gather the little we know about his voyages. For although he says in one of his letters that he has written a book called "The Four Voyages" it has never been found, and perhaps was never published. One long letter, however, which he wrote to an old schoolfellow was so interesting that it was published and read by many people all over Europe. It was, says an old English writer, "abrode in every mannes handes."

his letters

mentioned in Sir Thomas More's "Utopia"

Amerigo's voyages led him chiefly to Central and South America and he became convinced that South America was a continent. So soon, what with the voyages of Vespucci and the voyages of other great men, it became at last quite certain that there was a vast continent beyond the Atlantic ocean. Map-makers, therefore, began to draw a huge island, large enough to form in itself a continent, south of the Equator. They called it the New World, or the land of the Holy Cross, but the Northern Continent was still represented on the maps by a few small islands, or as a part of Asia.

 

Thus years passed. Daring sailors still sailed the stormy seas in search of new lands, and learned men read the tales of their adventures and wrote new books of geography.

 

Then one day a professor who taught geography at the Monastery of St. Dié in Alsace published a little book on geography. In it he spoke of Europe, Asia and Africa, the three parts of the world as known to the ancients. Then he spoke of the fourth part which had been discovered by Amerigo Vespucci, by which he meant what we now call South America. "And," continues this professor, "I do not see what is rightly to hinder us calling this part Amerige or America, that is, the land of Americus after its discoverer Americus."

Waldsee-Müller calls the newly discovered land America, 1507;

This is the first time the word America was ever used, and little did this old German professor, writing in his quiet Alsatian College, think that he was christening the great double continent of the New World. And as little did Amerigo think in writing his letter to his old school fellow that he was to be looked upon as the discoverer of the New World.

 

At first the new name came slowly into use and it appears for the first time on a map made about 1514. In this map America is shown as a great island continent lying chiefly south of the Equator.

 

All the voyages which Columbus had made had been north of the Equator. No man yet connected the land south of the Equator with him, and it was at first only to this south land that the name America was given.

 

Thirty years and more went by. Many voyages were made, and it became known for certain that Columbus had not reached the shores of India by sailing west, and that a great continent barred the way north as well as south of the Equator.

 

Then a famous map-maker gave the name of America to both continents.

 

But many Spaniards were jealous for the fame of Columbus, and they thought that the Northern Continent should be called Colonia or Columbiana. One, anxious that the part in the discovery taken by Ferdinand and Isabella should not be forgotten, even tried to make people call it Fer-Isabelica.

other names suggested

But all such efforts were in vain. America sounded well, people liked it, and soon every one used it.

 

Amerigo Vespucci himself had nothing to do with the choice, and yet because others gave his name to the New World many hard things have been said of him. He has been called in scorn a "land lubber," "a beef and biscuit contractor," and other contemptuous names. Even one of the greatest American writers has poured scorn on him. "Strange," he says, "that broad America must wear the name of a thief. Amerigo Vespucci, the pickle dealer of Seville . . . whose highest naval rank was a boatswain's mate in an expedition that never sailed, managed in this lying world to supplant Columbus and baptise half the earth with his own dishonest name."

Ralph Waldo Emerson's opinion of Americus

But it was the people of his day, and not Vespucci, who brought the new name into use. Vespucci himself had never any intention of being a thief or of robbing Columbus of his glory. He and Columbus had always been friends, and little more than a year before he died Columbus wrote a letter to his son Diego which Vespucci delivered. In this letter Columbus says, "Amerigo Vespucci, the bearer of this letter . . . has always been wishful to please me. He is a very honest man. . . . He is very anxious to do something for me, if it is in his power."

Vespucci a friend of Columbus

It was only accident which gave the name of America to the New World, and perhaps also the ingratitude of the great leader's own generation.

 

Later generations, however, have not been so unmindful of Columbus and his deeds; Americans have not allowed his great name to be wholly forgotten. The district in which the capital of the United States is situated is called Columbia. In Canada too there is the great province of British Columbia, and in South America the United States of Colombia, besides many towns all named in honour of the great discoverer.

 


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CHAPTER 6
HOW THE FLAG OF ENGLAND WAS PLANTED ON THE SHORES OF THE NEW WORLD

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS showed the way across the Sea of Darkness; Amerigo Vespucci gave his name to the great double continent, but it was another Italian, John Cabot, who first landed on the Continent of North America.

John Cabot 1425-98 (?)

Like Columbus, Cabot was born in Genoa. When, however, he left his own land he did not go to Spain like Columbus, but to England.

 

He had been living in England for some years when the news of the first great voyage of Columbus was brought there. Soon every one was talking about the wonderful discovery from the King and his court downward.

 

Cabot was a trader and a daring sailor, well used to sailing on the stormy seas. Yet even he was awed by what Columbus had done. To find that way never known before, and by sailing west to reach the east "where the spices grow" seemed to him "a thing more divine than human." And he too longed to follow Columbus, and maybe discover new lands.

 

King Henry VII was eager to claim new lands as the Kings of Spain and Portugal were doing. So he listened to the persuasions of John Cabot. And in spite of the Pope–who had divided all the undiscovered world between the Kings of Spain and Portugal–gave him leave to sail forth to "the seas of the east and west and north" and to plant the banner of England upon any islands, countries or regions belonging to heathens or infidels which he might discover. He bade his "well-beloved John Cabot" take five ships and set forth on the adventure at his "own proper costs and charges." For Henry was a King "wise but not lavish," and although he wanted England to have the glory of new discoveries he was not eager to spend his gold on them.

Henry VII has him set forth

But where could a poor sailor find money enough for so great an adventure?

 

So a year went past, and although Cabot had the King's leave to go he did not set out. But he did not let the King forget. And at length close-fisted Henry listened to "the busy request and supplication" of the eager sailor, and consented to fit out one small ship.

 

So at five o'clock one sweet May morning a frail little vessel called the Matthew, with a crew of but eighteen men, sailed out from Bristol harbour. Many people came to see the vessel sail. For they were nearly all Bristol men who were thus venturing forth on the unknown deep, and their friends crowded to the harbour to wish them godspeed.

The Matthew sets sail

It was a great occasion for Bristol, and indeed for all England, for it was the first voyage of discovery with which the English king and people had to do. So the tiny whitesailed ship put out to sea, followed by the prayers and wishes of those left behind. With tear-dimmed eyes they watched it till it faded from view. Then they turned homewards to pray for the return of their loved ones.

 

Round the coast of Ireland the vessel sped. But at last its green shores faded from sight and the little company of eighteen brave men were alone upon the trackless waves.

 

Westward and ever westward they sailed,

"Over the hazy distance,
Beyond the sunset's rim."

 

 

Week after week went by. Six weeks and then seven, and still no land appeared. Those were days of anxiety and gloom. But still the hope of the golden west lured Cabot on, and at length one day in June he heard the glad cry of "Land! Land!"

 

So on St. John's Day, in 1497, John Cabot landed somewhere on the coast of America. He called the land Prima Tierra Vista or First Land Seen, and because of the day upon which it was found he called an island near to it St. John's Isle.

Land is found

We cannot tell exactly where Cabot east anchor: it may have been at Cape Breton or somewhere on the coast of Labrador. But wherever it was that he landed he there set up a great cross and unfurled the flag of England, claiming the land for King Henry.

 

When Cabot set out he was full of the ideas of Columbus. He had hoped to find himself on the coast of Asia and in the land of gold and spices. Now he knew himself mistaken. He did not see any natives, but he knew the land was inhabited, for he found notched trees, snares for wild animals and other signs of habitation which he took home.

 

He had found no "golden cities," he had had speech with no stately potentate. Yet he was not utterly disappointed. For the country he had found seemed to him fair and fertile, and the quantities of fish which swarmed in the seas amazed both himself and his men. They had no need of lines or even of nets. They had but to let down a basket weighted with a stone and draw it up again to have all the fish they wanted.

 

Cabot stayed but a short time in the new-found land. He would fain have stayed longer and explored further, but he feared lest his provisions would give out, and so regretfully he turned homeward.

 

Great was the excitement in Bristol when the tiny ship came to anchor there once more, little more than three months after it had sailed away. And so strange were the tales Master Cabot had to tell that the folk of Bristol would hardly have believed him (for he was a poor man and a foreigner) had not his crew of honest Bristol men vouched for the truth of all he said. Every one was delighted. Even thrifty King Henry was so much pleased that he gave Cabot £10. It seems a small enough sum for one who had found "a new isle." But we must remember that it was worth more than £100 would be worth to-day.

The return

Cabot at any rate found it enough with which to buy a suit of silk. And dressed in this new splendour he walked about the streets of Bristol followed by gaping crowds. He was now called the Great Admiral, and much honour was paid to him. Every one was eager to talk with him, eager to go with him on his next voyage: and that even although they knew that many of the crew would be thieves and evil-doers. For the King had promised to give Cabot for sailors all prisoners except those who were confined for high treason.

 

We know little more of John Cabot. Later King Henry gave him a pension of £20 a year. It seems likely that the following year he set out again across the broad Atlantic, taking his sons with him. "The rest is silence."

 

How John Cabot ended his life, where he lies taking his rest, we do not know.

"He sleeps somewhere in sod unknown,
Without a slab, without a stone."

 

 

We remember him chiefly because he was the first to lead Englishmen across the Atlantic, the first to plant the flag of England upon the Continent of North America, which, in days to come, was to be the home of two great English speaking peoples.

Cabot's claim to fame


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CHAPTER 7
HOW THE FLAG OF FRANCE WAS PLANTED IN FLORIDA

AS years went on many voyages of discovery and exploration were made to the New World by both the Spaniards and the Portuguese, but chiefly by the Spaniards. America was the land of golden hopes, the land of splendid adventure, and the haughty knights of Spain, thirsting for gold and for fame, were lured thither. They sought the fabled seven cities of gold, they sought the fountain of eternal youth. Through the dark pathless forests, across the wide prairies they flashed in glittering array, awaking the vast silences with the clash of arms. They came in all the pomp and splendour of warfare; they brought also the Cross of Christ, threatening the heathen with death if they did not bow to Him and be baptised. And it seemed for a time as if they, and they only, would possess the vast continent. But expedition after expedition ended in disaster. The Spaniards found neither the far-famed seven cities nor the fountain of youth. And the Redmen, instead of accepting their religion, hated them and it with a deep hatred.

Spanish knights seek gold and fame;

But the Spaniards were not long left in undisputed possession of America. The French King too desired to have new lands across the seas, and he saw no reason why Spain and Portugal should divide the New World between them.

the French desire new lands;

"I would fain see Father Adam's will," he said, "in which he made you the sole heirs to so vast an inheritance. Until I do see that, I shall seize as mine whatever my good ships may find upon the ocean. "

 

From France, therefore, daring men sailed forth to the New World. And there they set up the arms of their country, claiming broad lands for their King.

 

And now came the time when all Christian lands were torn asunder by religious strife. The Reformation had begun, and everywhere there was discord between the people who followed the old religion and those who followed the new. In France those who followed the new religion were called Huguenots. They were often hardly used, and were denied freedom to worship God in their own way. Many of them therefore longed to get away from France, and go to some new country where they would have the freedom they desired.

the Huguenots

So a few grave, stern men gathered together and determined to set out for some place in the New World where they might make a home.

 

Then one February day in 1562 two little ships sailed away from France. Westward they sailed until about two and a half months later they landed in what is now Florida.

set sail 1562;

It was May Day, the sun shone and all the world seemed gay and green, and these Protestant adventurers thought they had never seen so fair a land. It was, they said, the fairest, fruitfullest and pleasantest of all the world, "abounding in honey, venison and wildfowl." The natives were friendly and told the newcomers by signs that the seven golden cities were not far off. That rejoiced their hearts, for even those stern old Huguenots were not above following the quest for gold.

they arrive in Florida

Here then in this far-off land the Huguenots set up a stone pillar carved with the arms of the King of France. And kneeling round it they gave thanks to God for having brought them to so fair a country. Then returning to their ships they sailed northward along the coast. For they had not come to settle, but merely to explore, and find out a good spot on which to found a colony.

 

But the land seemed so fair, the air so balmy, that they were ready to settle there at once, and never return to France.

 

At length after inspecting several places the adventurers reached a spot not far from what is now Beaufort in South Carolina. Here they landed, and knowing that many of the men were already eager to remain in this beautiful country, Jean Ribaut, their leader, resolved to found a colony. So he called them all together, and speaking wise and brave words to them asked who among them would remain.

 

"Declare your minds freely unto me," he said, "and remember that if you decide to remain you will for ever be famous, and be known as the first white men who inhabited this land."

Ribaut founds a colony;

Ribaut had scarcely finished speaking when nearly all the men replied with a shout, "We ask nothing better than to remain in this beautiful country."

 

Indeed so many were anxious to remain that Ribaut had enough to do to persuade a sufficient number to man the ships to return with him.

 

In the end thirty men were chosen to remain. At once they set about building a fort which they called Charlesfort in honour of the boy King, Charles IX, who was then upon the throne.

 

The men worked so well that in a very few days the fort was so far finished that it was fit to live in. Food and ammunition were brought from the ships, and a man named Albert de la Pierria was chosen as Governor. Then for the last time Ribaut gathered all the men together and took leave of those to be left behind.

 

"Captain Albert," he said, "I have to ask you in the presence of all these men, to quit yourself so wisely in your charge, that I shall be able to commend you to your King.

he takes his leave

"And you," he said, turning to the soldiers, "I beg you to esteem Captain Albert as if he were myself, and to yield to him that obedience that a true soldier owes to his general and captain. I pray you live as brethren together without discord. And in so doing God will assist you, and bless your enterprises."

 

Then farewells were said, and Ribaut sailed away, leaving the thirty white men alone in the wilderness.

 

From north to south, from east to west, in all the vast continent there were no white men save themselves. The little company was made up of young nobles, sailors, merchants and artisans. There were no farmers or peasants among them, and when they had finished their fort none of them thought of clearing the land and sowing corn. There was no need: Ribaut would soon return, they thought, bringing with him all they required. So they made friends with the Indians, and roamed the forest wilds in search of gold and of adventures, without care for the future.

 

But the days and weeks passed and Ribaut did not return. For when he arrived home he found that France was torn with civil war, and that it was impossible to get ships fitted out to sail to America.

 

Soon the little colony began to feel the pangs of hunger. Daily they scanned the pitiless blue sea for a glimpse of Ribaut's returning sail. No sail appeared, and daily their supplies dwindled away. Had it not been for the friendly Redmen they might all have perished. For the Indians were generous, and as long as they had food themselves they shared it with their white friends. But at length they could spare no more. Indeed they had already given the Pale-faces so much food that they themselves, they said, would be forced to roam the woods in search of roots and herbs to keep them from starving until harvest was ripe. They told the Frenchmen, however, of two rich and powerful chiefs who held sway over land which lay to the south, where they might obtain endless supplies of corn and vegetables.

The colonists begin to starve;

This was indeed good news to the Frenchmen. And guided by their Indian friends they lost no time in setting out to beg food from those dusky potentates.

 

When the Frenchmen reached the wigwams of one of these chiefs they were received with great honour. They found that their Redskin friends had spoken truly. Here there was food in abundance; and after a great feast they returned joyfully to the fort, carrying with them a great supply of corn and beans, and–what was still better–a promise from the friendly chief that he would give them more food whenever they had need of it.

they seek food from the Indians

Once more the colonists rejoiced in plenty. But not for long. For the very night they arrived home their storehouse took fire, and all the food which they had brought with such joy was destroyed.

 

Again famine stared them in the face. In their plight they once more appealed to the savage chief who supplied their wants as generously as before; promising them that as long as his meal should last they should never want. So for the time being the colonists were saved from starvation.

 

But another danger now threatened them, for quarrels arose among the men. Albert de Pierria who had been set over them as captain proved to be cruel and despotic. He oppressed the men in many ways, hanging and imprisoning at will those who displeased him. Soon the men began to murmur under his tyranny. Black looks greeted Albert de Pierria: he answered them with blacker deeds. At length one day for some misdeed he banished a soldier to a lonely island, and left him there to die of hunger. This was more than the colonists could well bear. Their smouldering anger burst forth, and seizing the tyrant they put him to death. Then they chose one of their number called Nicolas Barre to be their captain.

Pierria proves a tyrant;

he is slain

They were rid of their tyrant, and that brought peace for a time to the little colony. But the men had grown to hate the place. The land which had once seemed to them so fair now seemed no better than a prison, and they longed to escape from it.

 

They had, however, no ship, and although all around them tall trees grew no one of them knew anything of ship building. Still, so strong was their desire to leave the hated spot that they resolved to build one.

 

They set to work with. a will. Soon the sound of saw and hammer awoke the silence of the forest. High and low, noble and peasant, all worked together, the Indians, even, lending a hand.

The colonists build a ship

At length their labours were over and the rough little ship was afloat. It made but a sorry appearance. The planks were rough-hewn by the hatchet, and caulked with the moss which grew in long streamers on the trees. The cordage was Indian made, and the sails were patched together from shirts and bedclothes. Never before had men thought to dare the ocean waves in so crazy a craft. But the colonists were in such eagerness to be gone that they chose rather to risk almost certain death upon the ocean than remain longer in their vast prison house.

 

So they loaded the ship with as much food as they could collect, and saying farewell to their Indian friends, they spread their patchwork sails, and glided out to sea drunken with joy at the thought of returning to France.

 

At first the wind blew fair, and the little ship sped gaily homeward. Then came a calm. The sun burned overhead, no faintest breeze stirred the slack sails, and the ship lay as if at anchor upon the glassy waters. And as the ship lay motionless the slender stock of food grew less and less. Soon there was nothing left but maize, and little of that. At first a tiny handful was each man's daily portion; then it was counted by grains. But jealously hoarded although it was the maize at length gave out, and there was nothing left to eat but their leather shoes and jerkins.

They set sail for home

They are becalmed

Then to the pain of hunger was added the pain of thirst, for the water barrels were emptied to the last drop. Unable to endure the torture some drank the sea, water and so died in madness. Beneath the burning sun every timber of the crazy little ship warped and started, and on all sides the sea flowed in. Still through all their agony the men clung to life. And sick with hunger, maddened with thirst as they were they laboured unceasingly bailing out the water. But they laboured now with despair in their hearts, and they gave up hope of ever seeing their beloved France again. Then at length the pitiless sun was overcast, a wild wind arose, and the glassy sea, whipped to fury, became a waste of foam and angry billows. The tiny vessel was tossed about helplessly and buffeted this way and that.

 

"In the turning of a hand," says an old writer, "the waves filled their vessel half full of water, and bruised it upon one side."

A storm arises

The wretched men now gave themselves up for lost. They cared no longer to bail, but cast themselves down into the bottom of the boat, and let it drift where it would. Only one man among them did not utterly lose heart. He set himself now to encourage the others, telling them that if only the wind held, in three days they would see the shores of France.

 

This man was so full of hope that at length he aroused the others from their despair. Once more they began the weary work of bailing, and in spite of all the fury of the wind and waves the little vessel kept afloat.

 

At last the storm passed. Once more the fainting wanderers righted their vessel, and turned the prow towards the shores of France. But three days passed, and no land was seen, and they became more despairing than before.

 

For now the last grain of corn was eaten, the last drop of water drunk. Mad with thirst, sick with hunger, the men strained their weary eyes over the rolling waste of waters. No land was in sight. Then a terrible thought crept into one mind after another. In a low hoarse whisper one man and then another spoke out his thought–that one man should die for his fellows.

 

So deep were they sunk in woe that all were of one mind. So lots were cast, and the man upon whom the lot fell was killed.

 

These tortured wayfarers had become cannibals.

They become cannibals

Kept alive in this terrible fashion the men sailed on, and at length a faint grey streak appeared on the horizon. It was the long-looked-for shore of France. But the joy was too great for their over-strained minds. The sight of land seemed to rob them of all power of thought or action. With salvation in sight they let the little vessel drift aimlessly this way and that.

 

While they thus drifted aimlessly a white sail hove in sight, and an English vessel bore down upon them. In the English vessel there happened to be a Frenchman who had sailed with Ribaut on his first voyage to Florida. He soon recognised his countrymen in spite of their sorry plight, and they were brought aboard the English vessel. And when they had been given food and drink, and were somewhat revived, they told their tale of misery.

They are rescued

The Englishmen were in doubt for some time as to what it was best to do. In the end they decided to set the most feeble on the shores of France, and to carry the others prisoners to the Queen of England, who at that time was about to send an expedition to Florida.

 

So ended the first attempt of the French to found a colony in North America.

 


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CHAPTER 8
HOW THE FRENCH FOUNDED A COLONY IN FLORIDA

TWO years after Ribaut's ill-fated expedition another company of Frenchmen set sail for America. This time René de Laudonnière was captain. He had been with Ribaut two years before, and now again he landed on the same spot where Ribaut had first landed, and set up the arms of France.

Laudonnière sets out, 1564;

As they saw his ship come the Indians ran down to the beach welcoming him with cries of excitement and joy, and taking him by the hand the chief led him to the pillar which Jean Ribaut had set up. It was wreathed in flowers, and baskets of corn stood before it. For the Indians looked upon it as an idol, and made offerings to it. They kissed it with a great show of reverence, and begged the Frenchmen to do the same. "Which we would not deny them," says Laudonnière, who himself tells the story, "to the end we might draw them to be more in friendship with us."

 

Laudonnière was so delighted with the natives' friendly greeting that he resolved to found his colony among these kindly Indians. So a little way up the river which Ribaut had named the river of May, but which is now the St. John's, he built a fort.

the Frenchmen land

It was late one evening in June when the Frenchmen reached the spot where they intended to build the fort; wearied with their long march through the forest they lay down upon the ground and were soon fast asleep.

 

But at day-break Laudonnière was astir. He commanded a trumpet to be sounded, and when all the men were aroused and stood together he bade them give thanks to God for their safe arrival. So standing beneath the waving palms, with the deep blue sky arching overhead, the men sang a psalm of thanksgiving and praise. Then kneeling they prayed long and earnestly.

 

The prayer ended, the men arose, and full of happy courage turned to their work. Every one took part with right good will. Some brought earth, some cut logs; there was not a man who had not a shovel or hatchet or some tool in his hand. The work went on merrily, and soon above the banks of the river the fort rose, secure and strong, fenced and entrenched on every side. In honour of their King Charles these new colonists called their fort Caroline, just as Ribaut had called his Charlesfort.

 

But as the native Chief Satouriona watched the fort grow he began to be uneasy. He wondered what these pale-faced strangers were about, and he feared lest they should mean evil towards him. So he gathered his warriors together, and one day the Frenchmen looked up from their labours to see the heights above them thick with savages in their war paint.

Satouriona

At once the Frenchmen dropped their tools and prepared to defend themselves. But Satouriona, making signs of peace, and leaving most of his warriors behind him, came down into the camp followed by a band of twenty musicians who blew ear-piercing blasts upon discordant pipes.

 

Having reached the camp Satouriona squatted on his haunches, showing that he wanted to take counsel with the Frenchmen. Then with many signs and gestures he told the Frenchmen that his great enemies the Thimagoes were near, and that if the Frenchmen wished to continue in friendship with him they must promise to help him against these powerful and hated foes.

 

Laudonnière feared to lose Satouriona's friendship. And thereupon with signs, helped out now and again with a word or two, a, treaty was made between the Indians and the Frenchmen, Laudonnière promising to help Satouriona against his enemies, the Thimagoes. With this treaty Satouriona was delighted, and he commanded his warriors to help the Frenchmen in building their fort, which they very readily did.

Laudonnière makes a treaty with the Indians

Then, mindful of his promise, as soon as the fort was finished, Laudonnière sent off some of his followers under one of his officers to find out who the Thimagoes really were of whom Satouriona spoke with such hate. Guided by some Indians, this officer soon came upon the Thimagoes. But instead of fighting with them he made friends with them, which greatly disgusted his Indian guides.

 

Meanwhile Satouriona, delighted at the idea of being able to crush his enemies with the Frenchmen's help, had gathered all his braves together and made ready for war.

 

Ten chiefs and five hundred warriors, fearful in war paint and feathers, gathered at the call. Then seeing that Laudonnière was not making any preparations for war, he sent messengers to him.

 

"Our chief has sent us," they said, "and he would know whether you will stand by your promise to show yourself a friend of his friends, an enemy of his enemies and go with him to war."

 

"Tell your chief," replied Laudonnière, "that I am not willing to purchase his friendship with the enmity of another. Notwithstanding I will go with him. But first I must gather food for my garrison, neither are my ships ready. An enterprise such as this needs time. Let your chief abide two months, then if he hold himself ready I will fulfil my promise to him."

 

The Indian carried this answer to the Chief who, when he heard it, was filled with wrath. He was not, however, to be stayed from war, and he determined to go alone.

 

With great ceremony he prepared to set out. In an open space near the river a huge fire was lit. In a wide circle round this the warriors gathered. Their faces were fearful with paint, and their hair was decorated with feathers, or the heads of wolves and bears and other fierce animals. Beside the fire was placed a large bowl of water, and near it Satouriona stood erect, while his braves squatted at his feet. Standing thus he turned his face, distorted with wrath and hatred, towards the enemy's country. First he muttered to himself, then he cried aloud to his god the Sun. And when he had done this for half an hour he put his hand into the bowl of water, and sprinkled the heads of his braves. Then suddenly, as if in anger, he cast the rest of the water into the fire, putting it out. As he did so he cried aloud:

The Indians prepare for war;

"So may the blood of our enemies be poured out and their lives extinguished."

 

In reply a hoarse yell went up from the savage host, and all the woods resounded with the fiendish noise.

 

Thus Satouriona and his braves set forth for battle. In a few days they returned singing praises to the Sun, and bringing with them twenty-four prisoners and many scalps.

they return triumphant

And now Laudonnière made Satouriona more angry than ever with him. For he demanded two of these prisoners. Laudonnière wanted them so that he might send them back to the chief of the Thimagoes as a proof that he at least was still friendly, for he already regretted his unwise treaty. But when Satouriona heard Laudonnière's request he was very angry and treated it with scorn.

Laudonnière demands two prisoners;

"Tell your chief," he said, "that he has broken his oath, and I will not give him any of my prisoners."

 

When Laudonnière heard this answer he in his turn was very angry, and he resolved to frighten Satouriona into obeying him. So taking twenty soldiers with him he went to the chief's village. Leaving some of the soldiers at the gate, and charging them to let no Indians go in or out, he went into Satouriona's hut with the others. In perfect silence he came in, in perfect silence he sat down and remained so for a long time which, says Laudonnière, put the chief "deeply in the dumps."

 

At length when he thought that Satouriona was completely frightened, Laudonnière spoke.

 

"Where are your prisoners?" he said. "I command them to be brought before me." Thereupon the chief, "angry at the heart and astonied wonderfully," stood a long time without making any answer. But when at last he spoke it was boldly and without fear.

 

"I cannot give you my prisoners," he said. "For seeing you coming in such warlike guise they were afraid and fled to the woods. And not knowing what way they went we could not by any means find them again."

 

Laudonnière, however, pretended that he did not understand what the chief said, and again he asked for the prisoners.

 

The chief then commanded his son to go in search of them, and in about an hour he returned bringing them with him. As soon as they were brought before Laudonnière the prisoners greeted him humbly. They lifted up their hands to heaven, and then threw themselves at his feet. But Laudonnière raised them at once, and led them away to the fort, leaving Satouriona very angry.

 

Laudonnière now sent the prisoners back to the Thimagoes' chief, who was greatly delighted at the return of his braves. He was still more delighted when the Frenchmen marched with him against another tribe who were his enemies, and defeated them.

he sends them back to their chief

But while Laudonnière was thus making both friends and enemies among the Indians all was not peace in the colony itself. Many of the adventurers had grown tired of the loneliness and sameness of the life. The food was bad, the work was hard, and there seemed little hope that things would ever be better. And for all their hardships it seemed to them the Governor was to blame. So they began to murmur and be discontented, gathering together in groups, whispering that it would be a good deed to put an end to Laudonnière and choose another captain.

Discontent in the colony

And now when the discontent was at its height Laudonnière fell ill. Then one of the ringleaders of the discontent urged the doctor to put poison in his medicine. But the doctor refused. Next they formed a plot to hide a barrel of gunpowder under his bed and blow him up. But Laudonnière discovered that plot, and the ringleader fled to the forest.

 

About this time a ship arrived from France bringing food for the colony, so that for a time things went a little better. And when the ship sailed again for home Laudonnière sent the worst of the mutineers back in it. In their place the captain left behind some of his sailors. But this proved a bad exchange. For these sailors were little better than pirates, and very soon they became the ringleaders in revolt. They persuaded some of the older colonists to join them. And one day they stole a little ship belonging to the colony, and set off on a plundering expedition to the West Indies.

Mutineers set off on plundering expedition

On the seas they led a wild and lawless life, taking and plundering Spanish ships. But after a time they ran short of food, and found themselves forced to put into a Spanish port. Here in order to make peace with the Spaniards they told all they knew about the French colony.

 

Thus it was that for the first time the Spaniards learned that the heretic Frenchmen had settled in their land, and speedily the news was sent home to Spain.

 

Meanwhile Laudonnière was greatly grieved for the loss of his ship. And as days passed, and there was no sign of the mutineers' return, he set his men to work to build two new ships.

 

For a time the work went well. But soon many of the men grew tired of it and they began to grumble. Why should men of noble birth, they asked, slave like carpenters? And day by day the discontent increased.

 

At last one Sunday morning the men sent a message to Laudonnière asking him to come out to the parade ground to meet them. Laudonnière went, and he found all the colony waiting for him with gloomy faces. At once one of them stepped forward, and asked leave to read a paper in the name of all the others. Laudonnière gave permission. The paper was read. It was full of complaints about the hard work, the want of food, and other grievances. It ended with a request that the men should be allowed to take the two ships which were being built and sail to Spanish possessions in search of food. In fact they wanted to become pirates like those mutineers who had already sailed away.

More discontent in the colony

Laudonnière refused to listen to this request. But he promised that as soon as the two ships were finished they should be allowed to set out in search of gold mines.

 

The mutineers separated with gloomy faces; they were by no means satisfied with Laudonnière's answer, and the discontent was as deep as ever. Laudonnière now again became very ill and the malcontents had it all their own way. Soon nearly every one in the fort was on their side, and they resolved to put an end to Laudonnière's tyranny.

 

Late one night about twenty men all armed to the teeth gathered together and marched to Laudonnière's hut. Arrived there they beat loudly on the door demanding entrance. But Laudonnière and his few remaining friends knew well what this loud summons meant, and they refused to open the door. The mutineers, however, were not to be easily held back; they forced open the door, wounding one man who tried to hinder them, and in a few minutes with drawn swords in hand, and angry scowls on their faces, they crowded round the sick man's bed. Then holding a gun at his throat they commanded him to give them leave to set forth for Spanish waters. But the stern old Huguenot knew no fear. Even with the muzzle of the gun against his throat he refused to listen to the demands of the lawless crew.

 

His calmness drove them to fury. With terrible threats, and more terrible oaths, they dragged him from his bed. Loading him with fetters they carried him out of the fort, threw him into a boat and rowed him out to the ship which lay anchored in the river. All the loyal colonists had by this time been disarmed, and the fort was completely in the hands of the mutineers. Their leader then drew up a paper giving them leave to set forth to Spanish possessions. And this he commanded Laudonnière to sign.

Mutineers imprison Laudonnéire

Laudonnière was completely in the power of the mutineers. He was a prisoner and ill, but his spirit was unbroken, and he refused to sign. Then the mutineers sent him a message saying that if he did not sign they would come on board the ship and cut his throat. So, seeing no help for it, Laudonnière signed.

 

The mutineers were now greatly delighted at the success of their schemes. They made haste to finish the two little ships which they had been building, and on the 8th of December they set sail. As they went they flung taunts at those who stayed behind, calling them fools and dolts and other scornful names, and threatening them with all manner of punishments should they refuse them free entrance to the fort on their return.

They sail away;

As soon as the mutineers were gone Laudonnière's friends rowed out to him, set him free from his fetters, and brought him back to the colony.

 

They were now but a very small company, but they were at peace with each other, and there was plenty to do. So the weeks went quickly by. They finished the fort, and began to build two new ships to take the place of those which the mutineers had stolen. But they never thought of tilling the ground and sowing seed to provide bread for the future. Thus more than three months passed. Then one day an Indian brought the news that a strange ship was in sight. Laudonnière at once sent some men to find out what ship this might be, and whether it was friend or foe.

peace in the colony

It proved to be a Spanish vessel which the mutineers had captured and which was now manned by them. But the mutineers who had sailed away full of pride and insolence now returned in very humble mood. Their buccaneering had not succeeded as they had hoped. They were starving, and instead of boldly demanding entrance, and putting in force their haughty threats, they were eager to make terms. But Laudonnière was not sure whether they really came in peace or not. So he sent out a little boat to the mutineers' ship. On the deck of it there was an officer with one or two men only. But below, thirty men, all armed to the teeth, were hidden. Seeing only these one or two men in the boat the mutineers let her come alongside. But what was their astonishment when armed men suddenly sprang from the bottom of the boat and swarmed over the sides of their vessel. Many of the mutineers were stupid with drink, all of them were weak with hunger, and before they could seize their arms, or make any resistance, they were overpowered and carried ashore.

The mutineers return;

There a court-martial was held, and four of the ringleaders were condemned to death. But these bold bad men were loath to die.

 

"Comrades," said one, turning to the loyal soldiers near, "will you stand by and see us die thus shamefully?"

 

"These," replied Laudonnière, sharply, "are no comrades of mutineers and rebels."

 

All appeals for mercy were in vain. So the men were shot and their bodies hanged on gibbets near the mouth of the river as a lesson to rebels.

their punishment

After this there was peace for a time in Fort Caroline. But it soon became peace with misery, for the colony began to starve. The long-expected ship from France did not come. Rich and fertile land spread all round them, but the colonists had neither ploughed nor sown it. They trusted to France for all their food. Now for months no ships had come, and their supplies were utterly at an end.

 

So in ever increasing misery the days passed. Some crawled about the meadows and forest, digging for roots and gathering herbs. Others haunted the river bed in search of shell-fish. One man even gathered up all the fish bones he could find and ground them to powder to make bread. But all that they scraped together with so much pain and care was hardly enough to keep body and soul together. They grew so thin that their bones started through the skin. Gaunt, hollow-eyed spectres they lay about the fort sunk in misery, or dragged themselves a little way into the forest in search of food. Unless help came from France they knew that they must all soon die a miserable death. And amid all their misery they clung to that last hope, that help would come from France. So, however feeble they were, however faint with hunger, they would crawl in turns to the top of the hill above the fort straining their dimming eyes seaward. But no sail appeared.

The colonists starve;

At length they gave up all hope, and determined to leave the hated spot. They had the Spanish ship which the mutineers had captured, and another little vessel besides which they had built. But these were not enough to carry them all to France, so gathering all their last energy they began to build another boat. The hope of getting back to France seemed for a time to put a little strength into their famine stricken bodies. And while they worked Laudonnière sailed up the river in search of food. But he returned empty-handed. Famishing men cannot work, and soon the colonists began to weary of their labours.

they long to return home

The neighbouring Indians, too, who might have given them food, were now their enemies. They indeed now and again brought scant supplies of fish to the starving men. But they demanded so much for it that soon the colonists were bare of everything they had possessed. They bartered the very shirts from their backs for food. And if they complained of the heavy price the Indians laughed at them.

 

"If thou makest so great account of thy merchandise," they jeered, "eat it and we will eat our fish."

The Indians jeer at them

But summer passed. The grain began to ripen, and although the Indians sold it grudgingly the colony was relieved from utter misery for the time being.

 

But now fresh troubles arose, for the Frenchmen quarreled with the chief of the Thimagoes for whose sake they had already made enemies of Satouriona and his Indians.

 

Thinking themselves treated in an unfriendly manner by the Thimagoes the Frenchmen seized their chief, and kept him prisoner until the Indians promised to pay a ransom of large quantities of grain.

 

The Indians agreed only because they saw no other means of freeing their chief. They were furiously angry with the Frenchmen and, seething with indignation against them, they refused to pay an ounce of grain until their chief had been set free: and even then they would not bring it to Fort Caroline, but forced the Frenchmen to come for it. The Frenchmen went, but they very quickly saw that they were in great danger. For the village swarmed with armed warriors who greeted the colonists with scowls of deepest hatred. After a few days, therefore, although only a small portion of the ransom had been paid, the Frenchmen decided to make for home as fast as possible.

 

It was a hot July morning on which they set off. Each man besides his gun carried a sack of grain, so the progress was slow. They had not gone far beyond the village when a wild war whoop was heard. It was immediately followed by a shower of arrows. The Frenchmen replied with a hot fire of bullets. Several of the Indians fell dead, and the rest fled howling into the forest.

they are attacked by Indians

Then the Frenchmen marched on again. But they had scarcely gone a quarter of a mile when another war whoop was heard in front. It was answered from behind, and the Frenchmen knew themselves surrounded. But they stood their ground bravely. Dropping their bags of corn they seized their guns. A sharp encounter followed, and soon the Indians fled again into the forest. But again and again they returned to the attack, and the Frenchmen had to fight every yard of the way. At nine o'clock the fight began, and the sun was setting when at length the Indians gave up the pursuit. When the Frenchmen reached their boats they counted their losses. Two had been killed, and twenty-two injured, some of them so badly that they had to be carried on board the boats. Of all the bags of grain with which they had started out only two remained. It was a miserable ending to the expedition.

 

The plight of the colony was now worse than ever. The two sacks of grain were soon consumed; the feeble efforts at building a ship had come to nothing. But rather than stay longer the colonists resolved to crowd into the two small vessels they had, and sail homeward if only they could gather food enough for the voyage. But where to get that food none knew.

 

One day full of troubled, anxious thoughts Laudonnière climbed the hill and looked seaward. Suddenly he saw something which made his heart beat fast, and brought the colour to his wasted cheeks. A great ship, its sails gleaming white in the sunlight was making for the mouth of the river. As he gazed another and still another ship hove in sight. Thrilling with excitement Laudonnière sent a messenger down to the fort with all speed to tell the news, and when they heard it the men who had seemed scarce able to crawl arose and danced for joy. They laughed, and wept, and cried aloud, till it seemed as if joy had bereft them of their wits.

Ships in sight

But soon fear mingled with their joy. There was something not altogether familiar about the cut and rig of the ships. Were they really the long-looked-for ships from France, or did they belong to their deadly and hated enemies, the Spaniards? They were neither one nor the other. That little fleet was English, under command of the famous admiral, John Hawkins, in search of fresh water of which they stood much in need. The English Admiral at once showed himself friendly. To prove that he came with no evil intent he landed with many of his officers gaily clad, and wearing no arms. The famine-stricken colonists hailed him with delight, for it seemed to them that he came as a deliverer.

John Hawkins, 1532-95

Gravely and kindly Hawkins listened to the tale of misery, yet he was glad enough when he heard that the Frenchmen had decided to leave Florida, for he wanted to claim it for Queen Elizabeth and England. When, however, he saw the ships in which they meant to sail homewards he shook his head. "It was not possible," he said, "for so many souls to cross the broad Atlantic in those tiny barques." So he offered to give all the Frenchmen a free passage to France in his own ships. This Laudonnière refused. Then Hawkins offered to lend him, or sell him, one of his ships. Even this kindness Laudonnière hesitated to accept.

 

Thereupon there arose a great uproar among the colonists, they crowded round him clamouring to be gone, threatening that if he refused the Englishman's offer they would accept it and sail without him.

 

So Laudonnière yielded. He told Hawkins that he would buy the ship he offered, but he had no money. The Englishman, however, was generous. Instead of money he took the cannon and other things now useless to the colonists. He provided them with food enough for the voyage, and seeing many of the men ragged and barefoot, added among other things fifty pairs of shoes.

The Englishmen give the colonists a ship

Then with kindly good wishes Hawkins said farewell and sailed away, leaving behind him many grateful hearts. As soon as he was gone the Frenchmen began to prepare to depart also. In a few days all was ready, and they only waited for a fair wind in order to set sail. But as they waited, one day, the fort was again thrown into a state of excitement by the appearance of another fleet of ships. Again the question was asked, were they friends or foes, Spaniards or Frenchmen? At length, after hours of sickening suspense, the question was answered, they were Frenchmen under the command of Ribaut.

 

The long-looked-for help had come at last. It had come when it was no longer looked for, when it was indeed unwelcome to many. For the colonists had grown utterly weary of that sunlit cruel land, and they only longed to go home. France with any amount of tyranny was to be preferred before the freedom and the misery of Florida.

Help comes from France

But to abandon the colony was now impossible, for besides supplies of food the French ships had brought many new colonists. This time, too, the men had not come alone but had brought their wives and families with them. Soon the fort which had been so silent and mournful was filled with sounds of talk and laughter. Again, the noise of hatchet and hammer resounded through the woods, and the little forsaken corner of the world awoke once more to life.

 


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CHAPTER 9
HOW THE SPANIARDS DROVE THE FRENCH OUT OF FLORIDA

SCARCELY a week had passed before the new peace and happiness of the French colony was brought to a cruel end.

 

Late one night the men on board the French ships saw a great black hulk loom silently up out of the darkness. It was followed by another and another. No word was spoken, and in eerie silence the strange ships crept stealthily onwards, and cast anchor beside the French. The stillness grew terrible. At length it was broken by a trumpet call from the deck of one of the silent new-comers.

Strange ships appear;

Then a voice came through the darkness. "Gentlemen," it asked, "whence does this fleet come?"

 

"From France," was the reply.

 

"What are you doing here?" was the next question.

 

"We are bringing soldiers and supplies for a fort which the King of France has in this country, and for many which he soon will have."

 

"Are you Catholics or Lutherans?"

 

The question came sharply across the dark water. It was answered by many voices.

 

"We are Lutherans," cried the French, "we are of the new religion."

 

Then it was the Frenchmen's turn to ask questions.

 

"Who are you," I they cried, "and whence come ye?"

 

"I am Pedro Menendez," replied the voice out of the darkness. "I am Admiral of the fleet of the King of Spain. And I am come into this country to hang and behead all Lutherans whom I may find by land or by sea. And my King has given me such strict commands that I have power to pardon no man of them. And those commands I shall obey to the letter, as you will see. At dawn I shall come aboard your ship. And if there I find any Catholic he shall be well-treated, but every heretic shall die."

they are Spanish;

In reply to this speech a shout of wrath went up from the Frenchmen.

 

"If you are a brave man," they cried, "why wait for dawn? Come on now, and see what you will get."

 

Then in their anger they heaped insults upon the Spaniards, and poured forth torrents of scoffing words. Thereupon Menendez was so enraged that he swore to silence those Lutheran dogs once and for ever. So the order was given, and his great ship slowly moved towards the French.

 

The threats of the French had been but idle boasting; they could not withstand the Spaniards, for their leader was ashore with most of his soldiers. So cutting their cables they fled out to sea pursued by the foe.

 

There was a mad chase through the darkness. But the heretic devils, as the Spaniards called them, were skilful sailors. Menendez could not catch them, and when day dawned he gave up the chase and moodily turned back to Fort Caroline.

they chase the French ships

Here he found the French ready for him, and they seemed so strong that he would not attack, but sailed away southwards until he reached the river of Dolphins.

 

Here Menendez landed and took possession of the country in the name of the King of Spain. While cannon boomed and trumpets blew he stepped on shore followed by his officers and gentlemen. In all the gay trappings of knighthood, with many-coloured banners fluttering in the breeze, they marched. Then as they advanced another procession came toward them. At the head of it was a priest in all the pomp and splendour of his priestly robes. He carried a gilded crucifix in his hand, and as he marched he sang a Te Deum.

 

When the two processions met Menendez and all his company knelt, and baring their heads kissed the crucifix. So was the land claimed for Spain and the Catholic faith, and St. Augustine, the oldest town in the United States, was founded.

St. Augustine is founded, 1565

Meanwhile, the fleeing French ships had turned, followed the Spaniards, and seen them land. Then they went back to Fort Caroline with the news.

 

While these things had been happening Laudonnière had been very ill. He was still in bed when Ribaut, followed by several of his chief officers, came to his room to tell him the news which the returning ships had just brought. And beside his sickbed they held a council of war. It was decided to attack the Spaniards and drive them from the land. But how?

 

First one plan and then another was discussed, and to each some one objected. But at length it was decided to go by sea and attack the Spaniards suddenly in their newly-founded fort.

The French resolve to attack

So almost every man who could hold a gun set forth with Ribaut, and Laudonnière was left in the fort with the feeble and sick, and scarcely a man besides who had ever drawn a sword or fired a shot. Their leader was as sick and feeble as any of them. But he dragged himself from his bed to review his forces. They were poor indeed, but Laudonnière made the best of them. He appointed each man to a certain duty, he set a watch night and day, and he began to repair the broken-down walls of the fort, so that they would be able to make some show of resistance in case of attack.

 

While Laudonnière was thus ordering his poor little garrison the ships carrying the rest of the colonists sailed on their way. The wind was fair, and in the night they crept close to where the Spanish vessels lay.

 

But when day dawned and the Spaniards saw the French vessels close to them they fled to the shelter of their harbour. And a sudden storm arising the French were driven out to sea again.

They are driven out to sea

As Menendez watched them from the shore he rejoiced. He knew by the number of the ships that most of the French colonists must be in them, and he hoped that they would all be lost in the storm.

 

Then as he watched a sudden thought came to him. While the Frenchmen were battling with wind and waves he resolved to move quickly over land and take Fort Caroline. For he knew that it must be almost, if not quite, unprotected.

 

One of the French mutineers who had deserted Laudonnière was now in the Spanish fort. He would show the way. Full of this splendid idea, eager to carry it out at once, he ordered Mass to be said, then he called a council and laid his plan before his officers. They, however, met his eagerness with coldness. It was a mad and hopeless plan, they thought, and they did their best to dissuade Menendez from it. But Menendez was determined to go.

 

"Comrades," he said, "it is now that we must show our courage and our zeal. This is God's war, and we must not turn our backs upon it. It is war against heretics, and we must wage it with blood and with fire."

 

But the Spanish leader's eager words awoke no response in the hearts of his hearers. They answered him only with mutterings. Still Menendez insisted. The debate grew stormy, and angry words were flung this way and that.

 

At length, however, Menendez had his way. The clamour was stilled, the officers gave a grudging consent, and preparations for the march were begun. In a few days all was ready, and the expedition set out. It was a simple matter. There was no great train of sumpter mules or baggage wagons. Each man carried his own food and ammunition, and twenty axemen marched in front of the little army to cleave a way through the forest.

The Spaniards set out to attack the French;

The storm still raged. Rain fell in torrents, and the wind howled ceaselessly as on and on the men trudged. They plunged through seas of mud, and grass which grew waist high, and threaded their way along the narrow paths cloven for them by the axemen.

 

So for three days they toiled onward. Their food was gone, their ammunition soaked, they were drenched to the skin, footsore and famishing, when upon the third night they lay down upon the muddy ground, cursing their leader for having brought them forth to died thus miserably. But while the men cursed Menendez prayed. All night he prayed. And before day dawned he called his officers to a council. They were now within a mile of Fort Caroline, and he was eager to attack.

 

But his officers were sick of the whole business. The men were utterly disheartened; one and all they clamoured to return.

 

Yet once again Menendez bent them to his will. In the darkness of the forest he spoke to the wretched, shivering, rain-drenched men. He taunted, he persuaded, and at length wrung from them a sullen consent to follow him.

 

So once again the miserable march was begun, and when day dawned they stood on the hill above the fort .

they reach Fort Caroline

No sound came from it, no watchman stood upon the ramparts. For towards morning, seeing that it rained harder than ever, the captain of the guard had sent his men to bed, for they were soaked to the skin and he was sorry for them. In such rain and wind what enemy would venture forth? he asked himself. It was folly to stay abroad on such a night he thought. So he dismissed the guard, and went off to bed.

 

Thus none heard or saw the approach of the Spaniards. Then suddenly the silence of the dawn was broken with fierce war cries.

 

"At them," shouted the Spaniards, "God is with us!"

 

The sleeping Frenchmen started from their beds in terror. Half naked they sprang to arms. On every side the Spaniards poured in. The dim light of dawn showed the dark cruel faces, and the gleam of drawn swords. Then clash of steel, screams of frightened women and children, curses, prayers, all mingled together in terrible confusion.

The Frenchmen are asleep

At the first alarm Laudonnière sprang from his bed, and seizing his sword called his men to follow him. But the Spaniards surrounded him, his men were slain and scattered, and he himself was forced back into the yard of his house. Here there was a tent. This stopped his pursuers, for they stumbled over the cordage and became entangled with it. The confusion gave Laudonnière a few minutes' respite in which he escaped through a breach in the ramparts, and took refuge in the forest. A few others fleeing this way and that escaped likewise. But some, the first moment of terror past, resolved to return and throw themselves on the mercy of the Spaniards rather than face starvation in the woods.

The fort is taken

"They are men," said one; "it may be when their fury is spent they will spare our lives. Even if they slay us what of that? It is but a moment's pain. Better that than to starve here in the woods or be torn to pieces by wild beasts."

 

Still some held back, but most agreed to throw themselves upon the mercy of the Spaniards.

 

So unarmed and almost naked as they were, they turned back to give themselves up. But little did these simple Frenchmen understand the fury of the foe. When they neared the fort the Spaniards rushed out upon them and, unheeding their cries for mercy, slew them to a man. Those who had held back, when they saw the fate of their companions, fled through the forest. Some sought refuge among the Indians. But even from that refuge the Spaniards hunted them forth and slew them without pity. Thus the land was filled with bloodshed and ruin. Many were slain at once by the sword, others were hanged on trees round the fort, and over them Menendez wrote, "I do this not as to Frenchmen but as to Lutherans." Only a few miserable stragglers, after untold sufferings, reached the little ship which still lay at anchor in the river. Among these was Laudonnière.

 

Their one desire now was to flee homewards, and unfurling their sails they set out for France.

 

The colony of Fort Caroline was wiped out, and rejoicing at the success of his bold scheme, Menendez marched back to St. Augustine where a Te Deum was sung in honour of this victory over heretics.

The colony is destroyed

Meanwhile the Frenchmen who had set forth to attack St. Augustine by sea had been driven hither and thither by the storm, and at length were wrecked. But although the ships were lost all, or nearly all, of the men succeeded in reaching the shore in safety. And not knowing what had happened at Fort Caroline they set out in two companies to try to reach the fort by land.

The French ships are wrecked

But they never reached the fort. For one morning scarcely ten days after the destruction of Fort Caroline some Indians came to Menendez with the news that they had seen a French ship wrecked a little to the south.

 

The news delighted Menendez, and he at once set out to capture the shipwrecked men. It was not long before he saw the lights of the French camp in the distance. But on coming nearer it was seen that they were on the other side of an arm of the sea, so that it was impossible to reach them. Hiding, therefore, in the bushes by the water's edge Menendez and his men watched the Frenchmen on the other side. The Spaniards soon saw that their enemies were in distress. They suspected that they were starving, for they could be seen walking up and down the shore seeking shellfish. But Menendez wanted to make sure of the state they were in, and he made up his mind to get nearer to the Frenchmen. So he put off his fine clothes, and dressing himself like a common sailor, got into a boat and rowed across the water.

Menendez resolves to capture the shipwrecked Frenchmen

The French are starving;

Seeing him come one of the Frenchmen swam out to meet him. As he drew near Menendez called out to him: "Who are you, and whence come ye?"

 

"We are followers of Ribaut, Viceroy of the King of France," answered the Frenchman."

 

"Are you Catholics or Lutherans?" asked Menendez.

 

"We are Lutherans," answered the man.

 

Then after a little more talk Menendez told who he was.

 

With this news the man swam back to his companions. But he soon returned to the boat to say that five of the French leaders wished to speak with the Spanish leader, and begged for safe conduct to his camp.

 

To this Menendez readily agreed, and returning to his own side he sent the boat back to bring the Frenchmen over.

 

When they landed Menendez received them courteously. And after returning his ceremonious greetings the Frenchmen begged the Spaniards to lend them a boat so that they might cross the river which lay between them and Fort Caroline.

they beg help from the Spaniards;

At this request Menendez smiled evilly. "Gentlemen," he said, "it were idle for you to go to your fort. It has been taken, and every man is slain."

 

But the Frenchmen could not at first believe that he spoke the truth. So in proof of his words the Spanish leader bade his men show the heretics the plunder which had been taken from their fort. As they looked upon it the hearts of the Frenchmen sank.

 

Then ordering breakfast to be sent to them Menendez left them, and went to breakfast with his own officers.

 

Breakfast over he came back to the Frenchmen, and as he looked at their gloomy faces his heart rejoiced. "Do you believe now," he asked, "that what I told you is true?"

 

"Yes," replied the Frenchmen, "we believe. It would be useless now to go to the fort. All we ask of you is to lend us ships so that we may return home."

 

"I would gladly do so," replied Menendez, "if you were Catholics, and if I had ships. But I have none."

 

Then seeing that he would give them no help to reach home, the Frenchmen begged Menendez at least to let them stay with his people until help came to them from France. It was little enough to ask, they thought, as France and Spain were at peace. But there was no pity or kindliness in the Spanish general's heart.

 

"All Catholics," he replied sternly, "I would defend and succour. But as for you, you are Lutherans, and I must hold you as enemies. I will wage war against you with blood and fire. I will wage it fiercely, both by land and sea, for I am Viceroy for my King in this country. I am here to plant the holy Gospel in this land , that the Indians may come to the light and knowledge of the Holy Catholic, faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, as taught by the Roman Church. Give up your banners and your arms, and throw yourselves on my mercy, and I will do with you as God gives me grace. In no other way can you have truce or friendship with me."

all help refused

To this the Frenchmen knew not what to say. First they consulted together, then some of them went back across the water to take counsel with those who waited there. They talked long, and anxiously those on the Spanish side awaited their return. At length one of their messengers returned, and going to Menendez he offered him a large sum of money if he would swear to spare their lives.

 

But Menendez would promise nothing. The Frenchmen were helpless. They were starving and in his hands. And both he and they knew it. They saw no hope anywhere, so they yielded to the Spanish general's demands.

 

Once more the boat was sent across the water, and this time it came back laden with banners, arms and armour. Then guarded by Spanish soldiers the Frenchmen were brought across by tens. As each batch landed they found themselves prisoners; their arms were taken from them and their hands were tied behind their backs.

The Frenchmen give themselves up;

All day, hour after hour, the boat plied to and fro: and when all the Frenchmen had been brought over they were ordered to march forward. The Spanish general walked in front. But he did not go far, for the sun was already setting, and it was time to camp for the night. So but a little way from the shore he stopped, and drew a line in the sand. And when the wretched Frenchmen reached that line, weaponless and helpless as they were, they were one and all put to death. Then, glorying in his deed, Menendez returned to St. Augustine.

they are all slain

But he had not yet completely wiped out the French colony. For besides those he had so ruthlessly slain there was another large party under Ribaut, who, ignorant of all that had happened, were still slowly making their way to Fort Caroline. But again news of their whereabouts was brought to Menendez by Indians, and again he set off to waylay them.

 

He found them on the same spot as he had found the first party. But this time the Frenchmen had made a raft, and upon this they were preparing to cross the water when the Spaniards came upon them. The Frenchmen were in such misery that many of them greeted the appearance of their enemies with joy. But others were filled with misgiving. Still they resolved to try to make terms with the Spaniards. So first one of his officers, and then Ribaut himself, rowed across the strip of water to parley with the Spanish leader. They found him as pitiless as their companions had found him. And seeing that they could make no terms with him many of the Frenchmen refused to give themselves up, and they marched away. But after much parleying, and many comings and goings across the river, Ribaut, believing that Menendez would spare their lives, yielded up himself and the rest of his company to the Spaniards.

Menendez meets a second party of Frenchmen

They give themselves up to him

He was soon undeceived. For he was led away among the bushes, and his hands were tied behind his back. As his followers came over they, too, were bound and led away. Then as trumpets blew and drums beat the Spaniards fell upon their helpless prisoners and slew them to a man.

 

When Ribaut saw that his hour was come he did not flinch. "We are but dust," he said, "and to dust we must return: twenty years more or less can matter little." So with the words of a psalm upon his lips he met the swordthrust.

They are all slain

Not till every man lay dead was the fury of the Spaniards sated. Then, his horrible labour ended, Menendez returned once more in triumph to his fort.

 

Those of the French who had refused to give themselves up to Menendez now wandered back to the shore where their ship had been wrecked. Out of the broken pieces they tried to build a ship in which they might sail homeward. But again news of their doings was brought to Menendez by the Indians. And again he set out to crush them. When the Frenchmen saw the Spaniards come they fled in terror. But Menendez sent a messenger after them promising that if they yielded to him he would spare their lives. Most of them yielded. And Menendez kept his promise. He treated his prisoners well. But, when an opportunity arrived, he sent them home to end their lives as galley slaves.

 


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CHAPTER 10
HOW A FRENCHMAN AVENGED THE DEATH OF HIS COUNTRYMEN

WHEN the news of these terrible massacres reached France it was greeted with a cry of horror. Even the boy King, Charles IX, Catholic though he was, demanded redress. But the King of Spain declared that the Frenchmen had been justly served. The land upon which they had settled was his, he said, and they had no right to be there. He was sorry that they were Frenchmen, but they were also pirates and robbers, and had received only the just reward of their misdeeds.

The news reaches France

Neither Charles nor his mother, who was the real ruler in France at this time, wished to quarrel with the King of Spain. So finding that no persuasions would move him, and that instead of being punished Menendez was praised and rewarded, they let the matter drop.

 

But there was one man in France who would not thus tamely submit to the tyranny of Spain. His name was Dominique de Gourges. He hated the Spaniards with a deadly hatred. And when he heard of the Florida massacre he vowed to avenge the death of his countrymen. He sold all that he had, borrowed what money he could, and with three ships and a goodly company of soldiers and sailors set sail.

Dominique de Gourges determines to avenge his countrymen, 1567;

At first, however, he kept his real object secret. Instead of steering straight for Florida he steered southward, making believe that he was going to Africa for slaves. But after encountering storms and contrary winds he turned westward, and when off the coast of Cuba he gathered all his men together and told them what he had set out to do.

 

In vivid, terrible words he recounted to them the horrible slaughter. "Shall we let such cruelty go unpunished?" he asked. "What fame for us if we avenge it! To this end I have given my fortune, and I counted on you to help me. Was I wrong?"

 

"No," they all cried, "we will go with you to avenge our countrymen!"

 

So with hearts filled with thoughts of vengeance they sailed onward to Fort Caroline.

 

The Spaniards had repaired the fort and now called it Fort Mateo. They had also built two small forts nearer the mouth of the river to guard the entrance to it. Now one afternoon the men in these forts saw three ships go sailing by. These were the French ships bringing Gourges and his companions. But the men in the forts thought that they were Spanish ships and therefore fired a salute. Gourges did not undeceive them. He fired a salute in reply and, sailing on as if he were going elsewhere, was soon lost to sight.

he reaches Florida;

At length, having found a. convenient place out of sight of the forts, he drew to the shore. But when he would have landed he saw that the whole beach was crowded with savages armed with bows and arrows and ready for war. For the Indians, too, had taken the strange ships to be Spanish. And as they had grown to hate the Spaniards with a deadly hatred they were prepared to withstand their landing.

 

Fortunately, however, Gourges had on board a trumpeter who had been in Florida with Laudonnière. So now he sent him on shore to talk with the Indians. And as soon as they recognised him they greeted him with shouts of joy. Then they led him at once to their chief who was no other than Satouriona, Laudonnière's one-time friend.

 

So amid great rejoicings the Frenchmen landed. Then Satouriona poured into their ears the tale of his wrongs. He told them how the Spaniards stole their corn, drove them from their huts and their hunting grounds, and generally ill-treated them. "Not one peaceful day," he said, "have the Indians known since the Frenchmen went away."

 

When Gourges heard this he was well pleased. "If you have been ill-treated by the Spaniards," he said, "the French will avenge you."

makes friends with the Indians;

At this Satouriona leaped for joy.

 

"What!" he cried, "will you fight the Spaniards?"

 

"Yes," replied Gourges, "but you must do your part also."

 

"We will die with you," cried Satouriona, "if need be."

 

"That is well," said Gourges. "How soon can you be ready? For if we fight we should fight at once."

 

"In three days we can be ready," said the Indian.

 

"See to it then," said Gourges, "that you are secret in the matter so that the Spaniards suspect nothing."

 

"Have no fear," replied Satouriona; "we wish them more ill than you do."

 

The third day came and, true to his word, Satouriona appeared surrounded by hundreds of warriors, fearful in paint and feathers. Then some by water, some by land, the French and Indians set forth, and after many hardships and much toil they reached one of the forts which the Spaniards had built near the river's mouth. From the shelter of the surrounding trees they gazed upon it.

 

"There!" cried Gourges, "there at last are the thieves who have stolen this land from our King. There are the murderers who slew our countrymen."

 

At his words the men were hardly to be restrained. In eager whispers they begged to be led on. So the word was given, and the Frenchmen rushed upon the fort.

 

The Spaniards had just finished their mid-day meal when a cry was heard from the ramparts. "To arms! to arms! the French are coming!"

attacks the Spaniards;

They were taken quite unawares, and with but short resistance they fled. The French and Indians pursued them and hemmed them in so that not one man escaped. In like manner the second fort was also taken, and every man slain or made prisoner.

 

The next day was Sunday, and Gourges spent it resting, and making preparations to attack Fort Mateo.

 

When the Spaniards in Fort Mateo saw the French and their great host of yelling, dancing Indians they were filled with fear. And in order to find out how strong the force really was one of them dressed himself as an Indian and crept within the French lines. But almost at once he was seen by a young Indian chief. And his disguise being thus discovered he was seized and questioned. He owned that there were scarce three hundred men in the fort and that, believing the French to number at least two thousand, they were completely terror-stricken. This news delighted Gourges, and next morning he prepared to attack.

 

The fort was easily taken. When the Spaniards saw the French attack, panic seized them and they fled into the forest. But there the Indians, mad with the desire of blood and vengeance, met them. Many fell before the tomahawks; others turned back choosing rather to die at the hands of the French than of the Indians. But which way they turned there was no escape. Nearly all were slain, a few only were taken prisoner.

defeats them utterly;

When the fight was over Gourges brought all the prisoners from the three forts together. He led them to the trees where Menendez had hanged the Frenchmen a few months before. There he spoke to them.

 

"Did you think that such foul treachery, such abominable cruelty would go unpunished?" he said. "Nay, I, one of the most lowly of my King's subjects, have taken upon myself to avenge it. There is no name shameful enough with which to brand your deeds, no punishment severe enough to repay them. But though you cannot be made to suffer as you deserve you shall suffer all that an enemy may honourably inflict. Thus your fate shall be an example to teach others to keep the peace and friendly alliance, which you have broken so wickedly."

 

And having spoken thus sternly to the trembling wretches Gourges ordered his men to hang them on the very same trees upon which Menendez had hanged the Frenchmen. And over their heads he nailed tablets of wood upon which were burned the words "Not as Spaniards or as Mariners, but as Traitors, Robbers and Murderers."

the prisoners are hanged

Then at length the vengeance of Gourges was satisfied. But indeed it was scarce complete, for Menendez the chief mover and leader of the Spaniards was safe in Europe, and beyond the reach of any private man's vengeance. The Spaniards, too, were strongly entrenched at St. Augustine, so strongly indeed that Gourges knew he had not force enough to oust them. He had not even men enough to keep the three forts he had won. So he resolved to destroy them.

 

This delighted the Indians, and they worked with such vigour that in one day all three forts were made level with the ground. Then, having accomplished all that he had come to do, Gourges made ready to depart. Whereupon the Indians set up a wail of grief. With tears they begged the Frenchmen to stay, and when they refused they followed them all the way to the shore, praising them and giving them gifts, and praying them to return.

The forts are destroyed

So leaving the savages weeping upon the shore the Frenchmen sailed away, and little more than a month later they reached home.

Gourges sails back to France

When they heard of what Gourges had done the Huguenots rejoiced, and they greeted him with honour and praise. But Philip of Spain was furiously angry. He demanded that Gourges should be punished, and offered a large sum of money for his head. King Charles, too, being in fear of the King of Spain, looked upon him coldly, so that for a time he was obliged to flee away and hide himself.

 

Gourges had used all his money to set forth on his expedition, so for a few years he lived in poverty. But Queen Elizabeth at length heard of him and his deeds. And as she, too, hated the Spaniards she was pleased at what he had done, and she asked him to enter her service. Thus at length he was restored to honour and favour. And in honour and favour he continued all the rest of his life.

 


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CHAPTER 11
THE ADVENTURES OF SIR HUMPHREY GILBERT

THE terrible disasters in Florida did not altogether stop French adventurers from going to the New World. But to avoid conflict with Spain they sailed henceforth more to the northern shores of America, and endeavoured to found colonies there. This made Englishmen angry. For by right of Cabot's voyages they claimed all America from Florida to Newfoundland, which, says a writer in the time of Queen Elizabeth, "they bought and annexed unto the crowne of England." The English, therefore, looked upon the French as interlopers and usurpers. The French, however, paid little attention to the English claims. They explored the country, named mountains, rivers, capes, and bays, and planted colonies where they liked. Thus began the long two hundred years' struggle between the French and English for possession of North America.

 

The French had already planted a colony on the St. Lawrence when an Englishman, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, determined also to plant one in North America.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 1539(?)-83.

He was the first Englishman ever to attempt to found a colony in America. Many Englishmen had indeed sailed there before him. But they had only gone in quest of gold and of adventures, and without any thought of founding a New England across the seas. This now, with Queen Elizabeth's permission, was what Sir Humphrey hoped to do.

 

He set out with a little fleet of five ships. One of these was called the Raleigh, and had been fitted out by the famous Sir Walter Raleigh who was Gilbert's step-brother. Walter Raleigh, no doubt, would gladly have gone with the company himself. But he was at the time in high favour with Good Queen Bess, and she forbade him to go on any such dangerous expedition. So he had to content himself with helping to fit out expeditions for other people.

he sets sail for the new world;

The Raleigh was the largest ship of the little fleet, and Sir Walter spared no cost in fitting it out. But before they had been two days at sea the Captain of the Raleigh and many of his men fell ill. This so greatly discouraged them that they turned back to Plymouth.

 

Sir Humphrey was sad indeed at the loss of the largest and best-fitted ship of his expedition, but he held on his way undaunted. They had a troublous passage. Contrary winds, fogs and icebergs delayed them. In a fog two of the ships named the Swallow and the Squirrel separated from the others. But still Sir Humphrey sailed on.

 

At length land came in sight. But it was a barren, unfriendly coast, "nothing but hideous rocks and mountains, bare of trees, and void of any green herbs," says one who went with the expedition. And seeing it so uninviting they sailed southward along the coast, looking for a fairer land.

 

And now to their great joy they fell in again with the Swallow. The men in the Swallow were glad, too, to see the Golden Hind and the Delight once more. They threw their caps into the air and shouted aloud for joy.

 

Soon after the re-appearance of the Swallow the Squirrel also turned up, so the four ships were together again. Together they sailed into the harbour of St. John's in Newfoundland. Here they found fishermen from all countries. For Newfoundland had by this time become famous as a fishing-ground, and every summer ships from all countries went there to fish.

 

Sir Humphrey, armed as he was with a commission from Queen Elizabeth, was received with all honour and courtesy by these people. And on Monday, August 5th, 1583, he landed and solemnly took possession of the country for two hundred leagues north, south, east and west, in the name of England's Queen.

he claims Newfoundland for England, 1583;

First his commission was read aloud and interpreted to those of foreign lands who were there. Then one of Sir Humphrey's followers brought him a twig of a hazel tree and a sod of earth, and put them into his hands, as a sign that he took possession of the land and all that was in it. Then proclamation was made that these lands belonged to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England by the Grace of God. "And if any person shall utter words sounding to the dishonour of her Majesty, he shall lose his ears, and have his ship and goods confiscated." The arms of England, engraved on lead and fixed to a pillar of wood, were then set up, and after prayer to God the ceremony came to an end. Thus Newfoundland became an English possession, and by right of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's claims it is the oldest colony of the British Empire.

 

Sir Humphrey Gilbert had taken possession of the land. But it soon became plain that it would be impossible to found a colony with the wild riff-raff of the sea of which his company was formed. Troubles began at once. A few indeed went about their business quietly, but others spent their time in plotting mischief. They had no desire to stay in that far country; so some hid in the woods waiting a chance to steal away in one or other of the ships which were daily sailing homeward laden with fish. Others more bold plotted to steal one of Sir Humphrey's ships and sail home without him. But their plot was discovered. They, however, succeeded in stealing a ship belonging to some other adventurers. It was laden with fish and ready to depart homeward. In this they sailed away leaving its owners behind.

his attempt to found a colony fails;

The rest of Sir Humphrey's men now clamoured more than ever to be taken home. And at length he yielded to them. But the company was now much smaller than when he set out. For besides those who had stolen away, many had died and many more were sick. There were not enough men to man all four ships. So the Swallow was left with the sick and a few colonists who wished to remain, and in the other three Sir Humphrey put to sea with the rest of his company.

 

He did not, however, sail straight homeward. For he wanted to explore still further, and find, if he could, an island to the south which he had heard was very fertile. But the weather was stormy, and before they had gone far the Delight was wrecked, and nearly all on board were lost.

sets sail once more

"This was a heavy and grievous event, to lose at one blow our chief ship freighted with great provision, gathered together with much travail, care, long time, and difficulty. But more was the loss of our men to the number almost of a hundred souls." So wrote Master Edward Hay who commanded the Golden Hind, and who afterwards wrote the story of the expedition.

The Delight is wrecked

After this "heavy chance" the two ships that remained beat up and down tacking with the wind, Sir Humphrey hoping always that the weather would clear up and allow him once more to get near land. But day by day passed. The wind and waves continued as stormy as ever, and no glimpse of land did the weary sailors catch.

 

It was bitterly cold, food was growing scarce, and day by day the men lost courage. At length they prayed Sir Humphrey to leave his search and return homeward. Sir Humphrey had no wish to go, but seeing his men shivering and hungry he felt sorry for them, and resolved to do as they wished.

Storms continue

"Be content," he said. "We have seen enough. If God send us safe home we will set forth again next spring."

 

So the course was changed, and the ships turned eastward. "The wind was large for England," says Hay, "but very high, and the sea, rough." It was so rough that the Squirrel in which Sir Humphrey sailed was almost swallowed up. For the Squirrel was only a tiny frigate of ten tons. And seeing it battered to and fro, and in danger of sinking every moment, the captain of the Golden Hind and many others prayed Sir Humphrey to leave it and come aboard their boat. But Sir Humphrey would not.

 

"I will not forsake my little company going homeward," he said. "For I have passed through many storms and perils with them."

 

No persuasions could move him, so the captain of the Golden Hind was fain to let him have his way. One afternoon in September those in the Golden Hind watched the little Squirrel anxiously as it tossed up and down among the waves. But Sir Humphrey seemed not a whit disturbed. He sat in the stern calmly reading. And seeing the anxious faces of his friends he cheerfully waved his hand to them.

 

"We are as near to heaven by sea as by land," he called, through the roar of waves.

 

Then the sun went down. Darkness fell over the wild sea, and the ships could only know each other's whereabouts by the tossing lights.

 

Suddenly to the men on the Golden Hind it seemed as if the lights of the little frigate went out. Immediately the watch cried out that the frigate was lost.

The Squirrel is lost

"It was too true. For in that moment the frigate was devoured and swallowed up by the sea."

 

Yet the men on the Golden Hind would not give up hope. All that night they kept watch, straining their eyes through the stormy darkness in the hope of catching sight of the frigate or of some of its crew. But morning came and there was no sign of it on all the wide waste of waters. Still they hoped, and all the way to England they hailed every small sail which came in sight, trusting still that it might be the Squirrel. But it never appeared. Of the five ships which set forth only the Golden Hind returned to tell the tale. And thus ended the first attempt to found an English colony in the New World.

 


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CHAPTER 12
ABOUT SIR WALTER RALEIGH'S ADVENTURES IN THE GOLDEN WEST

THE first attempt to found an English colony in America had been an utter failure. But the idea of founding a New England across the seas had now taken hold of Sir Humphrey's young step-brother, Walter Raleigh. And a few months after the return of the Golden Hind he received from the Queen a charter very much the same as his brother's. But although he got the Charter Raleigh himself could not sail to America, for Queen Elizabeth would not let him go. So again he had to content himself with sending other people.

 

It was on April 27th, 1584, that his expedition set out in two small ships. Raleigh knew some of the great Frenchmen of the day, and had heard of their attempt to found a colony in Florida. And in spite of the terrible fate of the Frenchmen he thought Florida would be an excellent place to found an English colony.

Raleigh sends out another expedition, 1584;

So Raleigh's ships made their way to Florida, and landed on Roanoke Island off the coast of what is now North Carolina. In those days of course there was no Carolina, and the Spaniards called the whole coast Florida right up to the shores of Newfoundland.

 

The Englishmen were delighted with Roanoke. It seemed to them a fertile, pleasant land, "the most plentiful, sweete, fruitfull and wholesome of all the worlde." So they at once took possession of it "in the right of the Queen's most excellent Majesty as rightful Queen and Princess of the same."

 

The natives, too, seemed friendly "and in their behaviour as mannerly and civil as any man of Europe." But the Pale-faces and the Redskins found it difficult to understand each other.

 

"What do you call this country?" asked an Englishman.

 

"Win gan da coa," answered the Indian.

 

So the Englishmen went home to tell of the wonderful country of Wingandacoe. But what the Indian had really said was "What fine clothes you have!"

 

However, the mistake did not matter much. For the Englishmen now changed the name of the land from whatever it had been to Virginia in honour of their Queen.

 

This first expedition to Roanoke was only for exploring, and after a little the adventurers sailed home again to tell of all that they had seen. But Raleigh was so pleased with the report of Roanoke Island which they brought home to him that he at once began to make plans for founding a colony there. And the following April his ships were ready and the expedition set out under his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville.

the expedition returns

But now almost as soon as they landed troubles began with the Indians. One of them stole a silver cup, and as it was not returned the Englishmen in anger set fire to the corn-fields and destroyed them. This was a bad beginning. But the Englishmen had no knowledge yet of how cruel and revengeful the Redman could be. So it was with no misgivings that Sir Richard left a colony of over a hundred men in the country. And promising to return with fresh supplies in the following spring he sailed homeward.

Sir Richard Grenville, 1541(?)-91

The Governor of this colony was named Ralph Lane. He was wise and able, but he was soon beset with difficulties. He found that the place chosen for a colony was not a good one, For the harbour was bad, the coast dangerous, and many of the Indians were now unfriendly. So he set about exploring the country, and decided as soon as fresh supplies came from England to move to a better spot.

Ralph Lane

Spring came and passed, and no ships from England appeared. The men began to starve. And seeing this the Indians who had feared them before, now began to be scornful and taunt them.

 

"Your God is not a true god," they said, "or he would not leave you to starve."

 

They refused to sell the colonists food no matter what price was offered. Their hatred of the English was so great indeed that they resolved to sow no corn in order that there should be no harvest; being ready to suffer hunger themselves if they might destroy the colony utterly.

 

As the days passed the Englishmen daily felt the pinch of hunger more and more. Then Lane divided his company into three, and sent each in a different direction so that they might gather roots and herbs and catch fish for themselves, and also keep a lookout for ships.

 

But things went from bad to worse; the savages grew daily bolder and more insolent, and the colonists lived constantly in dread of an attack from them.

 

At length, although he had tried hard to avoid it, Lane was forced to fight them. They were easily overcome, and fled to the woods. But Lane knew well that his advantage was only for the moment. Should help not come the colony would be wiped out. Then one day, about a week after the fight with the Indians, news was brought to Lane that a great fleet of twenty-three ships had appeared in the distance.

 

Were they friends, or were they foes? That was the great question. The English knew the terrible story of Fort Caroline. Were these Spanish ships? Fearing that they might be Ralph Lane looked to his defenses, and made ready to withstand the enemy, if enemy they proved to be, as bravely as might be.

 

But soon it was seen that their fears were needless, the ships were English, and two days later Sir Francis Drake anchored in the wretched little harbour.

Sir Francis Drake, 1540-96;

Drake had not come on purpose to relieve the colony. He had been out on one of his marauding expeditions against the Spaniards. He had taken and sacked St. Domingo, Cartagena, and Fort St. Augustine. And now, sailing home in triumph, chance had brought him to Raleigh's colony at Roanoke. And when he saw the miserable condition of the colonists, and heard the tale of their hardships, he offered to take them all home to England. Or, he said, if they chose to remain he would leave them a ship and food and everything that was necessary to keep them from want until help should come.

 

Both Lane and his chief officers who were men of spirit wanted to stay. So they accepted Drake's offer of the loan of a ship, agreeing that after they had found a good place for a colony and a better harbour, they would go home to England and return again the next year.

 

Thus the matter was settled. Drake began to put provisions on board one of his ships for the use of the colony. The colonists on their side began writing letters to send home with Drake's ships. All was business and excitement. But in the midst of it a great storm arose. It lasted for four days and was so violent that most of Drake's ships were forced to put out to sea lest they should be dashed to pieces upon the shore.

he gives the colonists a ship;

Among the ships thus driven out to sea was that which Drake had promised to give Ralph Lane. And when the storm was over it was nowhere to be seen.

it disappears in a storm

So Drake offered another ship to Lane. It was a large one, too large to get into the little harbour, but the only one he could spare. Lane was now doubtful what was best to do. Did it not seem as if by driving away their ship God had stretched out His hand to take them from thence? Was the storm not meant as a sign to them?

 

So not being able to decide by himself what was best to do, Lane called his officers and gentlemen together, and asked advice of them.

 

They all begged him to go home. No help had come from Sir Richard Grenville, nor was it likely to come, for Drake had brought the news that war between Spain and England had been declared. They knew that at such a time every Englishman would bend all his energies to the defeat of Spain, and that Raleigh would have neither thoughts nor money to spare for that far-off colony.

 

At length it was settled that they should all go home. In haste then the Englishmen got on board, for Drake was anxious to be gone from the dangerous anchorage "which caused him more peril of wreck," says Ralph Lane, "than all his former most honourable actions against the Spaniards."

 

So on the 19th of June 1586, the colonists set sail and arrived in England some six weeks later. They brought with them two things which afterward proved to be of great importance. The first was tobacco. The use of it had been known ever since the days of Columbus, but it was now for the first time brought to England. The second was the potato. This Raleigh planted on his estates in Ireland, and to this day Ireland is one of the great potato growing countries of the world.

The colonists sail home with Drake;

But meanwhile Raleigh had not forgotten his colonists, and scarce a week after they had sailed away, a ship arrived laden "with all manner of things in most plentiful manner for the supply and relief of his colony."

help arrives after they have gone;

For some time the ship beat up and down the coast searching vainly for the colony. And at length finding no sign of it, it returned to England. About a fortnight later Sir Richard Grenville also arrived with three ships. To his astonishment when he reached Roanoke he saw no sign of the ship which he knew had sailed shortly before him. And to his still greater astonishment he found the colony deserted. Yet he could not believe that it had been abandoned. So he searched the country up and down in the hope of finding some of the colonists. But finding no trace of them he at length gave up the search and returned to the forsaken huts. And being unwilling to lose possession of the country, he determined to leave some of his men there. So fifteen men were left behind, well provided with everything necessary to keep them for two years. Then Sir Richard sailed homeward.

fifteen men are left at Roanoke

In spite of all these mischances Raleigh would not give up his great idea. And the following year he fitted out another expedition. This time there were a few women among the colonists, and John White, who had already been out with Lane, was chosen as Governor.

 

It was now decided to give up Roanoke which had proved such an unfortunate spot, and the new company of colonists was bound for Chesapeake Bay. But before they settled there they were told to go to Roanoke to pick up the fifteen men left by Sir Richard Grenville and take them to Chesapeake also.

 

When, however, they reached Roanoke the Master of the vessels, who was by birth a Spaniard, and who was perhaps in league with the Spanish, said that it was too late in the year to go seeking another spot. So whether they would or not he landed the colonists, and sailed away, leaving only one small boat with them.

 

Thus perforce they had to take up their abode in the old spot. They found it deserted. The fort was razed to the ground, and although the huts were still standing they were choked with weeds and overgrown with wild vines, while deer wandered in and out of the open doors. It was plain that for many months no man had lived there. And although careful search was made, saving the bones of one, no sign was found of the fifteen men left there by Sir Richard. At length the new colonists learned from a few friendly Indians that they had been traitorously set upon by hostile Indians. Most of them were slain; the others escaped in their boat and went no man knew whither.

New colonists arrive

The Englishmen were very angry when they heard that, and wanted to punish the Indians. So they set out against them. But the Indians fled at their coming, and the Englishmen by mistake killed some of the friendly Indians instead of their enemies. Thus things were made worse instead of better.

 

And now amid all these troubles on the 18th of August, 1587, a little girl was born. Her father was Ananias Dare, and her mother was the daughter of John White, the Governor. The little baby was thus the grand-daughter of the Governor, and because she was the first English child to be born in Virginia she was called Virginia.

Virginia Dare

But matters were not going well in the colony. Day by day the men were finding out things which were lacking and which they felt they must have if they were not all to perish. So a few days after Virginia was christened all the chief men came to the Governor and begged him to go back to England to get fresh supplies, and other things necessary to the life of the colony. John White, however, refused to go. The next day not only the men but the women also came to him and again begged him to go back to England. They begged so hard that at last the Governor consented to go.

 

All were agreed that the place they were now in was by no means the best which might be chosen for a colony, and it had been determined that they should move some fifty miles further inland. Now it was arranged that if they moved while the Governor was away they should carve on the trees and posts of the door the name of the place to which they had gone, so that on his return he might be able easily to find them. And also it was arranged that if they were in any trouble or distress they should carve a cross over the name.

Governor White sails for home, 1587

All these matters being settled John White set forth. And it was with great content that the colonists saw their Governor go. For they knew that they could send home no better man to look after their welfare, and they were sure he would bring back the food and other things which were needed.

 

But when White arrived in England he found that no man, not even Raleigh, had a thought to spare for Virginia. For Spain was making ready all her mighty sea power to crush England. And the English were straining every nerve to meet and break that power. So John White had to wait with what patience he could. Often his heart was sick when he thought of his daughter and his little grand-daughter, Virginia Dare, far away in that great unknown land across the sea. Often he longed to be back beside them. But his longings were of no avail. He could but wait. For every ship was seized by Government and pressed into the service of the country. And while the Spaniards were at the gate it was accounted treason for any Englishman to sail to western lands.

England and Spain at war

Governor White cannot return to Virginia

So the summer of 1588 passed, the autumn came, and at length the great Armada sailed from Spain. It sailed across the narrow seas in pride and splendour, haughtily certain of crushing the insolent sea dogs of England. But "God blew with His breath and they were scattered." Before many days were over these proud ships were fleeing before the storm, their sails torn, their masts splintered. They were shattered upon the rocky shores of Scotland and Ireland. They were swallowed by the deep.

 

The sea power of Spain was broken, and the history of America truly began. For as has been said "the defeat of the Invincible Armada was the opening event in the history of the United States."

"The Opening Event in the History of the United States," 1588

Free now from the dread of Spain, ships could come and go without hindrance. But another year and more passed before John White succeeded in getting ships and provisions and setting out once more for Virginia.

 

It was for him an anxious voyage, but as he neared the place where the colony had been, his heart rejoiced, for he saw smoke rising from the land. It was dark, however, before they reached the spot, and seeing no lights save that of a huge fire far in the woods the Governor sounded a trumpet call. The notes of the trumpet rang through the woods and died away to silence. There was no answer. So the men called and called again, but still no answer came. Then with sinking heart John White bade them sing some well-known English songs. For that, he thought, would surely bring an answer from the shore.

 

So through the still night air the musical sound of men's voices rang out. But still no answer came from the silent fort. With a heart heavy as lead the Governor waited for the dawn. As soon as it was light he went ashore. The fort was deserted. Grass and weeds grew in the ruined houses. But upon a post "in fair capital letters" was carved the word "Croatoan." This was the name of a neighbouring island inhabited by friendly Indians. There was no cross or sign of distress carved over the letters. And when the Governor saw that he was greatly comforted.

Governor White finds Roanoke deserted

He spent some time searching about for other signs of the colonists. In one place he found some iron and lead thrown aside as if too heavy to carry away, and now overgrown with weeds. In another he found five chests which had evidently been buried by the colonists, and dug up again by the Indians.

 

They had been burst open and the contents lay scattered about the grass. Three of these chests John White saw were his own, and it grieved him greatly to see his things spoiled and broken. His books were torn from their covers, his pictures and maps were rotten with the rain, and his armour almost eaten through with rust.

 

At length, having searched in vain for any other signs of the colonists, the English returned to the ships and set sail for Croatoan.

 

But now they encountered terrible storms. Their ships were battered this way and that, their sails were torn, their anchors lost. And at length in spite of all entreaties, the captain resolved to make sail for England. So John White never saw Croatoan, never knew what had become of his dear ones. And what happened to little Virginia Dare, the first English girl to be born on the soil of the United States, will never be known. But years afterwards settlers were told by the Indians that the white people left at Roanoke had gone to live among the Indians. For some years it was said they lived in a friendly manner together. In time, however, the medicine men began to hate the Pale-faces, and caused them all to be slain, except four men, one young woman, and three boys. Was the young woman perhaps Virginia Dare? No one can tell.

Fate of Virginia Dare

All Raleigh's attempts at founding a colony had thus come to nothing. Still he did not despair. Once again he sent out an expedition. But that too failed and the leader returned having done nothing. Even this did not break Raleigh's faith in the future of Virginia. "I shall yet live to see it an English nation," he said.

 

But although Raleigh's faith was as firm as before, his money was gone. He had spent enormous sums on his fruitless efforts to found a colony. Now he had no more to spend.

Raleigh's faith

And now great changes came. Good Queen Bess died and James of Scotland reigned in her stead. Raleigh fell into disgrace, was imprisoned in the Tower, and after a short release was beheaded there. Thus an end came to all his splendid schemes. Never before perhaps had such noble devotion to King and country been so basely requited. At the time it was said that "never before was English justice so injured or so disgraced" as by the sentence of death passed upon Raleigh. No man is perfect, nor was Raleigh perfect. But he was a great man, and although all his plans failed we remember him as the first great coloniser, the first Englishman to gain possession of any part of North America.

Elizabeth dies, 1606

Raleigh beheaded, 1618


PART II: STORIES OF VIRGINIA


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CHAPTER 13
THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH

RALEIGH was the true father of England beyond the seas. He was a great statesman and patriot. But he was a dreamer too and all his schemes failed. Other men followed him who likewise failed. But it would take too long to tell of them all, of Bartholomew Gosnold who discovered and named Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod; of Bartholomew Gilbert, brave Sir Humphrey's son, who was slain by Indians, and of many more besides.

 

Again and again men tried to plant a colony on the shores of America. Again and again they failed. But with British doggedness they went on trying, and at length succeeded.

 

Raleigh lay in the Tower of London, a prisoner accused of treason. All his lands were taken from him. Virginia, which had been granted to him by Queen Elizabeth was the King's once more to give to whom he would. So now two companies were formed, one of London merchants called the London Company, one of Plymouth merchants called the Plymouth Company. And both these companies prayed King James to grant them permission to found colonies in Virginia. Virginia therefore was divided into two parts; the right to found colonies in the southern half being given to the London Company, the right to found colonies in the northern half being given to the Plymouth Company upon condition that the colonies founded must be one hundred miles distant from each other.

The London Company and the Plymouth Company, 1606

These companies were formed by merchants. They were formed for trade, and in the hope of making money, in spite of the fact that up to this time no man had made money by trying to found colonies in America, but on the contrary many had lost fortunes.

 

Of the two companies now formed it was only the London Company which really did anything. The Plymouth Company indeed sent out an expedition which reached Virginia. But the colony was a failure, and after a year of hardships the colonists set sail for England taking home with them such doleful accounts of their sufferings that none who heard them ever wished to help to found a colony.

The expedition sets sail

The expedition of the London Company had a better fate. It was in December, 1606, that the little fleet of three ships, the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery, put out from England, and turned westward towards the New World.

 

With the expedition sailed Captain John Smith. He was bronzed and bearded like a Turk, a swaggering, longheaded lovable sort of man, ambitious, too, and not given to submit his will to others. Since a boy of sixteen he had led a wandering adventurous life–a life cramful of heroic deeds, of hairbreadth escapes of which we have no space to tell here. But I hope some day you will read his own story of these days. For he was a writer as well as a warrior, and "what his sword did his pen wrote." Every American boy and girl should read his story, for he has been called the first American writer.

Captain John Smith, 1580-1631

Now with this saucy, swaggering fellow on board, troubles were not far to seek. The voyage was long and tedious. For six weeks adverse winds kept the little fleet prisoner in the English Channel within sight of English shores, a thing trying to the tempers of men used to action, and burning with impatience to reach the land beyond the seas. They lay idle with nothing to do but talk. So they fell to discussing matters about the colony they were to found. And from discussing they fell to disputing until it ended at length in a bitter quarrel between Smith and another of the adventurers, Captain Edward Wingfield.

 

Captain Wingfield was twice John Smith's age, and deemed that he knew much better how a colony ought to be formed than this dictatorial youth of twenty-seven. He himself was just as dictatorial and narrow into the bargain. So between the two the voyage was by no means peaceful.

Captain Wingfield

Good Master Hunt, the preacher who went with the expedition, in spite of the fact that he was so weak and ill that few thought he would live, did his best to still the angry passions.

Master Hunt

To some extent he succeeded. And when a fair wind blew at length the ships spread their sails to it and were soon out of sight of England. Two months of storm and danger passed before the adventurers sighted the West Indies. Here they went ashore on the island of San Dominica. Delighted once more to see land and escape from the confinement of the ship, they stayed three weeks among the sunny islands. They hunted and fished, traded with the savages, boiled pork in hot natural springs, feasted on fresh food and vegetables, and generally enjoyed themselves.

 

But among all this merry-making Wingfield did not forget his anger against John Smith. Their quarrels became so bad that Wingfield decided to end both quarrels and John Smith. So he ordered a gallows to be set up and, having accused Smith of mutiny, made ready to hang him. But John Smith stoutly defended himself. Nothing could be proved against him. He laughed at the gallows, and as he quaintly puts it "could not be persuaded to use them."

John Smith is imprisoned

Nevertheless, although nothing could be proved against him, there were many who quite agreed that Captain John Smith was a turbulent fellow. So to keep him quiet they clapped him in irons and kept him so until their arrival in Virginia. After leaving the West Indies the adventurers fell into more bad weather, and lost their course; but finally they arrived safely in Chesapeake Bay.

America is reached

They named the capes on either side Henry and Charles, in honour of the two sons of their King. Upon Cape Henry they set up a brass cross upon which was carved "Jacobus Rex" and thus claimed the land for England. Then they sailed on up the river which they named James River, in honour of the King himself. Their settlement they named Jamestown, also in his honour. Jamestown has now disappeared, but the two capes and the river are still called by the names given them by these early settlers.

 

Before this expedition sailed the directors of the Company had arranged who among the colonists were to be the rulers. But for some quaint reason they were not told. Their names, together with many instructions as to what they were to do, were put into a sealed box, and orders were given that this box was not to be opened until Virginia was reached.

 

The box was now opened, and it was found that John Smith was named among the seven who were to form the council. The others were much disgusted at this, and in spite of all he could say, they refused to have him in the council. They did, however, set him free from his fetters. Of the council Wingfield was chosen President. All the others, except John Smith, took oath to do their best for the colony. Then at once the business of building houses was begun. While the council drew plans the men dug trenches and felled trees in order to clear space on which to pitch their tents, or otherwise busied themselves about the settlement.

Jamestown founded

The Indians appeared to be friendly, and often came to look on curiously at these strange doings. And Wingfield thought them so gentle and kindly that he would not allow the men to build any fortifications except a sort of screen of interwoven boughs.

 

Besides building houses one of the colonists' first cares was to provide themselves with a church. But indeed it was one of the quaintest churches ever known. An old sail was stretched beneath a group of trees to give shelter from the burning sun. And to make a pulpit a plank of wood was nailed between two trees which grew near together. And here good Master Hunt preached twice every Sunday while the men sat on felled trunks reverently listening to his long sermons.

The Church

While the houses were being built Smith, with some twenty others, was sent to explore the country. They sailed up the river and found the Indians to all appearance friendly. But they found no gold or precious stones, and could hear nothing of a passage to the Pacific Ocean which they had been told to seek. So they returned to Jamestown. Arriving here they found that the day before the Indians had attacked the settlement and that one Englishman lay slain and seventeen injured.

Indians attack the fort

This was a bitter disappointment to Wingfield who had trusted in the friendliness of the Indians. But at length he was persuaded to allow fortifications to be built. Even then, however, the colonists were not secure, for as they went about their business felling trees or digging the ground the savages would shoot at them from the shelter of the surrounding forest. If a man strayed from the fort he was sure to return wounded if he returned at all; and in this sort of warfare the stolid English were no match for the wily Indians. "Our men," says Smith, "by their disorderly straggling were often hurt when the savages by the nimbleness of their heels well escaped."

 

So six months passed, and the ships which had brought out the colonists were ready to go back to England with a cargo of wood instead of the gold which the Company had hoped for. But before the ships sailed Smith, who was still considered in disgrace, and therefore kept out of the council, insisted on having a fair trial. For he would not have Captain Newport go home and spread evil stories about him.

Smith is tried

Smith's enemies were unwilling to allow the trial. But Smith would take no denial. So at length his request was granted, the result being that he was proved innocent of every charge against him, and was at length admitted to the council.

 

Now at last something like peace was restored, and Captain Newport set sail for home. He promised to make all speed he could and to be back in five months' time. And indeed he had need to hasten. For the journey outward had been so long, the supply of food so scant, that already it was giving out. And when Captain Newport sailed it was plain that the colonists had not food enough to last fifteen weeks.

Captain Newport sails for home

Such food it was too! It consisted chiefly of worm-eaten grain. A pint was served out daily for each man, and this boiled and made into a sort of porridge formed their chief food. Their drink was cold water. For tea and coffee were unknown in those days, and beer they had none. To men used to the beer and beef of England in plenty this indeed seemed meagre diet. "Had we been as free of all sins as gluttony and drunkenness," says Smith, "we might have been canonised as saints, our wheat having fried some twenty-six weeks in the ship's hold, contained as many worms as grains, so that we might truly call it rather so much bran than corn. Our drink was water, our lodging castles in the air."

 

There was fish enough in the river, game enough in the woods. But the birds and beasts were so wild, and the men so unskilful and ignorant in ways of shooting and trapping, that they succeeded in catching very little. Besides which there were few among the colonists who had any idea of what work meant. More than half the company were "gentlemen adventurers," dare devil, shiftless men who had joined the expedition in search of excitement with no idea of labouring with their hands.

 

Badly fed, unused to the heat of a Virginian summer the men soon fell ill. Their tents were rotten, their houses yet unbuilt. Trees remained unfelled, the land untilled, while the men lay on the bare ground about the fort groaning and in misery. Many died, and soon those who remained were so feeble that they had scarce strength to bury the dead or even to crawl to the "common kettle" for their daily measure of porridge.

 

In their misery the men became suspicious and jealous, and once more quarrels were rife. Wingfield had never been loved. Now many grew to hate him, for they believed that while they starved he kept back for his own use secret stores of oil and wine and other dainties. No explanations were of any avail, and he was deposed from his office of President and another chosen in his place.

Wingfield deposed

As autumn drew on the misery began to lessen. For the Indians, whose corn was now ripe, began to bring it to the fort to barter it for chisels, and beads, and other trifles. Wild fowl too, such as ducks and geese, swarmed in the river.

 

So with good food and cooler weather the sick soon began to mend. Energy returned to them, and once more they found strength to build and thatch their houses. And led by Smith they made many expeditions among the Indians, bringing back great stores of venison, wild turkeys, bread, and grain in exchange for beads, hatchets, bells and other knick-knacks.

 

But all the misery through which the colonists had passed had taught them nothing. They took no thought for the time to come when food might again be scarce. They took no care of it, but feasted daily on good bread, fish and fowl and "wild beasts as fat as we could eat them," says Smith.

 

Now one December day Smith set out on an exploring expedition up the Chickahominy River. It was a hard journey, for the river was so overgrown with trees that the men had to hew a path for the little vessel. At length the barque could go no further, so Smith left it, and went on in a canoe with only two Englishmen, and two Indians as guides.

Smith goes exploring

For a time all went well. But one day he and his companions went ashore to camp. While the others were preparing a meal, Smith, taking one of the Indians with him, went on to explore a little further. But he had not gone far when he heard the wild, blood-curdling war whoop of the Indians. Guessing at once that they had come against him he resolved to sell his life as dearly as might be. So seizing the Indian guide he tied his arm fast to his own with his garters. Then with pistol in his right hand, and holding the Indian in front of him as a shield, he pushed as rapidly as he could in the direction of the camp.

is attacked by Indians

Arrows flew round him thick and fast, but Smith's good buff coat turned them aside. The whole forest was alive with Indians, but although from the shelter of the trees they showered arrows upon Smith none dared approach him to take him. For they knew and dreaded the terrible fire stick which he held in his hand. Smith fired again and yet again as he retreated, and more than one Indian fell, never more to rise. He kept his eyes upon the bushes and trees trying to catch glimpses of the dusky figures as they skulked among them, and paid little heed to the path he was taking. So suddenly he found himself floundering in a quagmire.

 

Still he fought for dear life, and as long as he held his pistol no Redman dared come near to take him. But at length, chilled and wet, and half dead-with cold, unable to go further, he saw it was useless to resist longer. So he tossed away his pistol. At once the savages closed in upon and, dragging him out of the quagmire, led him to their chief.

 

Smith had given in because he knew that one man stuck in a quagmire could not hope to keep three hundred Indians long at bay. But he had sharp wits as well as a steady hand, and with them he still fought for his life. As soon as he was brought before the chief he whipped out his compass, and showing it to the chief, explained to him that it always pointed north, and thus the white men were able to find their way through the pathless desert.

he uses his wits;

To the Indians this seemed like magic; they marvelled greatly at the shining needle which they could see so plainly and yet not touch. Seeing their interest Smith went on to explain other marvels of the sun, and moon, and stars, and the roundness of the earth, until those who heard were quite sure he was a great "medicine man."

 

Thus Smith fought for his life. But at length utterly exhausted, he could say no more. So while the chief still held the little ivory compass, and watched the quivering needle, his followers led Smith away to his own camp fire. Here lay the other white men dead, thrust through with many arrows. And here the Indians warmed and chafed his benumbed body, and treated him with all the kindness they knew. But that brought Smith little comfort. For he knew it was the Indian way. A famous warrior might be sure of kindness at their hands if they meant in the end to slay him with awful torture.

 

And so, thoroughly warmed and restored, in less than an hour Smith found himself fast bound to a tree, while grim warriors, terribly painted, danced around him, bows and arrows in hand. They were about to slay him when the chief, holding up the compass, bade them lay down their weapons. Such a medicine man, he had decided, must not thus be slain. So Smith was unbound.

 

For some weeks Smith was marched hither and thither from village to village. He was kindly enough treated, but he never knew how long the kindness would last, and he constantly expected death. Yet he was quite calm. He kept a journal, and in this he set down accounts of many strange sights he saw, not knowing if indeed they would ever be read.

 

At length Smith was brought to the wigwam of the great Powhatan*, the chief of chiefs, or Emperor, as these simple English folk called him. To receive the white prisoner the Powhatan put on his greatest bravery. Feathered and painted, and wearing a wide robe of raccoon skins he sat upon a broad couch beside a fire. On either side of him sat one of his wives and behind in grim array stood his warriors, row upon row. Behind them again stood the squaws. Their faces and shoulders were painted bright red, about their necks they wore chains of white beads, and on their heads the down of white birds.

is brought before the Powhatan;

It was a weird scene, and the flickering firelight added to its strangeness. Silent and still as statues the warriors stood. Then as John Smith was led before the chief they raised a wild shout. As that died away to silence one of the Powhatan's squaws rose and brought a basin of water to Smith. In this he washed his hands, and then another squaw brought him a bunch of feathers instead of a towel, with which to dry them.

 

After this the Indians feasted their prisoner with savage splendour. Then a long consultation took place. What was said Smith knew not. He only knew that his life hung in the balance. The end of the consultation he felt sure meant life or death for him.

is feasted

At length the long talk came to an end. Two great stones were placed before the chief. Then as many as could lay hands on Smith seized him, and dragging him to the stones, they threw him on the ground, and laid his head upon them. Fiercely then they brandished their clubs and Smith knew that his last hour had come, and that the Indians were about to beat out his brains.

 

But the raised clubs never fell, for with a cry Pocahontas, the chief's young daughter, sprang through the circle of warriors. She stood beside the prisoner pleading for his life. But the Indians were in no mood to listen to prayers for mercy. So seeing that all her entreaties were in vain she threw herself upon her knees beside Smith, put her arms about his neck, and laid her head upon his, crying out that if they would beat out his brains they should beat hers out too.

Pocahontas saves Smith's life;

Of all his many children the Powhatan loved this little daughter best. He could deny her nothing. So Smith's life was saved. He should live, said the Powhatan, to make hatchets for him, and bells and beads for his little daughter.

 

Having thus been saved, Smith was looked upon as one of the tribe. Two days later he was admitted as such with fearsome ceremony.

 

Having painted and decorated himself as frightfully as he could, the Powhatan caused Smith to be taken to a large wigwam in the forest. The wigwam was divided in two by a curtain and in one half a huge fire burned. Smith was placed upon a mat in front of the fire and left alone. He did not understand in the least what was going on, and marvelled greatly what this new ceremony might mean. But he had not sat long before the fire when he heard doleful sounds coming from the other side of the curtain. Then from behind it appeared the Powhatan with a hundred others as hideously painted as himself, and told Smith that now that they were brothers he might go back to his fort.

he is received into the tribe;

So with twelve guides Smith set out. Yet in spite of all their feasting and ceremonies Smith scarcely believed in the friendship of the Indians, and no one was more surprised than himself when he at length reached Jamestown in safety.

he is set free

 



* This chief's name was Wahunsunakok, the name of the tribe Powhatan and the English called the chief the Powhatan.

 

 


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CHAPTER 14
MORE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH

SMITH had been away from the settlement nearly a month, and he returned to find the colony in confusion and misery. Many had died, and those who remained were quarrelling among themselves. Indeed some were on the point of deserting and sneaking off to England in the one little ship they had. They were not in the least pleased to see Smith return, and they resolved once more to get rid of him. So they accused him of causing the death of the two men who had gone with him, and condemned him to death. Thus Smith had only escaped from the hands of the Indians to be murdered by his own people.

 

The order went forth. He was to be hanged next day.

 

But suddenly all was changed, for a man looking out to sea saw a white sail. "Ship ahoy!" he shouted, "ship ahoy!"

 

At the joyful sound the, men forgot their bickerings, and hurrying to the shore welcomed the new arrival. It was Captain Newport with his long promised help. He soon put a stop to the hanging business, and also set poor Captain Wingfield free. For he had been kept prisoner ever since he had been deposed.

Smith again escapes hanging

Newport had brought food for the colony, but he had also brought many new settlers. Unfortunately, too, one day the storehouse was set on fire, and much of the grain was destroyed. So that in spite of the new supplies the colony would soon again have been in the old starving condition had it not been for Pocahontas. She was resolved that her beloved white chief should want for nothing, and now every four or five days she came to the fort laden with provisions. Smith also took Captain Newport to visit the Powhatan, and great barter was made of blue beads and tinsel ornaments for grain and foodstuffs.

 

After a time Captain Newport sailed home again, taking the deposed President Wingfield with him. He took home also great tales of the savage Emperor's might and splendour. And King James was so impressed with what he heard that he made up his mind that the Powhatan should be crowned. So in autumn Captain Newport returned again to Jamestown, bringing with him more settlers, among them two women. He also brought a crown and other presents to the Powhatan from King James, together with a command for his coronation. So Smith made a journey to the Powhatan's village and begged him to come to Jamestown to receive his presents. But the Powhatan refused to go for he was suspicious and stood upon his dignity.

 

"If your King has sent me presents," he said, "I also am a king, and this is my land. Eight days will I wait here to receive them. Your Father Newport must come to me, not I to him."

The Powhatan's pride;

So with this answer Smith went back, and seeing nothing else for it Captain Newport set out for the Powhatan's village with the presents. He did not in the least want to go, but the King had commanded that the Powhatan was to be crowned. And the King had to be obeyed. He arrived safely at Weronocomoco, and the next day was appointed for the coronation.

 

First the presents were brought out and set in order. There was a great four-poster bed with hangings and curtains of damask, a basin and ewer and other costly novelties such as never before had been seen in these lands.

 

After the gifts had been presented the Englishmen tried to place a fine red cloak on the Powhatan's shoulders. But he would not have it. He resisted all their attempts until at last one of the other chiefs persuaded him that it would not hurt him, so at last he submitted.

his coronation;

Next the crown was produced. The Powhatan had never seen a crown, and had no idea of its use, nor could he be made to understand that he must kneel to have it put on.

 

"A foul trouble there was," says one of the settlers who writes about it. No persuasions or explanations were of any avail. The Englishmen knelt down in front of him to show him what he must do. They explained, they persuaded, until they were worn out. It was all in vain. The Powhatan remained as stolid as a mule. Kneel he would not.

 

So at length, seeing nothing else for it, three of them took the crown in their hands, and the others pressed with all their weight upon the Powhatan's shoulders so that they forced him to stoop a little, and thus, amid howls of laughter, the crown was hastily thrust on his head. As soon as it was done the soldiers fired a volley in honour of the occasion. At the sound the newly-crowned monarch started up in terror, casting aside the men who held him. But when he saw that no one was killed, and that those around him were laughing, he soon recovered from his fright. And thanking them gravely for their presents he pompously handed his old shoes and his raccoon cloak to Captain Newport as a present for King James. Thus this strangest of all coronations came to an end.

he sends a present to King James

This senseless ceremony did no good, but rather harm. The Powhatan had resisted being crowned with all his might, but afterwards he was much puffed up about it, and began to think much more of himself, and much less of the white people.

 

Among others, Smith thought it was nothing but a piece of tomfoolery and likely to bring trouble ere long.

 



THE CROWNING OF POWHATAN
The Powhatan, they had heard, was a king, a sort
of Emperor, . . . they . . . pictured him as
living in a stately palace, wearing a golden crown
and velvet robes.


For some months now he had been President, and as President he wrote to the London Company, "For the coronation of Powhatan," he said, "by whose advice you sent him such presents I know not, but this give me leave to tell you, I fear they will be the confusion of us all, ere we hear from you again."

 

Smith told the Company other plain truths. They had been sending out all sorts of idle fine gentlemen who had never done a day's work in their lives. They could not fell a tree, and when they tried the axe blistered their tender fingers. Some of them worked indeed cheerfully enough, but it took ten of them to do as much work as one good workman. Others were simply stirrers up of mischief. One of these Smith now sent back to England "lest the company should cut his throat." And Smith begged the Company to keep those sort of people at home in the future, and send him carpenters and gardeners, blacksmiths and masons, and people who could do something.

Fine gentlemen of little use to the colony

Captain Newport now sailed home, and Smith was left to govern the colony and find food for the many hungry mouths. He went as usual to trade with the Indians. But he found them no longer willing to barter their corn for a little copper or a handful of beads. They now wanted swords and guns. The Powhatan too grew weary of seeing the Pale-faces squatting on the land of which he was crowned king. He forgot his vows of friendship with Smith. All he wanted was to see the Pale-faces leave his country. And the best way to get rid of them was to starve them.

 

But although the Powhatan had grown tired of seeing the Pale-faces stride like lords through his land, he yet greatly admired them. And now he wanted more than anything else to have a house, a palace as it seemed to him, with windows and fireplaces like those they built for themselves at Jamestown. For in the little native houses which his followers could build there was no room for the splendid furniture which had been sent to him for his coronation. So now he sent to Smith asking him to send white men to build a house. Smith at once sent some men to begin the work, and soon followed with others.

The Powhatan desires a palace

On their way to the Powhatan's town Smith and his companions stopped a night with another friendly chief who warned them to beware of the Powhatan.

 

"You will find him use you well," he said. "But trust him not. And be sure he hath no chance to seize your arms. For he hath sent for you only to cut your throats."

The Pale-faces are warned against the Powhatan

However in spite of this warning Smith decided to go on. So he thanked the friendly chief for his good counsel, and assuring him that he would love him always for it, he went on his way.

 

It was winter time now, and the rivers were half frozen over, the land was covered with snow, and icy winds blew over it. Indeed the weather was so bad that for a week Smith and his men could not go on, but had to take refuge with some friendly Indians. Here in the warm wigwams they were cosy and jolly. The savages treated them kindly, and fed them well on oysters, fish, game and wild-fowl. Christmas came and went while they were with these kindly savages, and at length, the weather becoming a little better, they decided to push on. After many adventures they reached the Powhatan's village. They were very weary from their long cold journey, and taking possession of the first houses they came to they sent a message to the Powhatan, telling him that they had come, and asking him to send food.

 

This the old chief immediately did, and soon they were dining royally on bread, venison and turkeys. The next day, too, the Powhatan sent them supplies of food. Then he calmly asked how long they were going to stay, and when they would be gone.

 

At this Smith was greatly astonished, for had not the Powhatan sent for him?

 

"I did not send for you," said the wily old savage, "and if you have come for corn I have none to give you, still less have my people. But," he added slyly, "if perchance you have forty swords I might find forty baskets of corn in exchange for them."

The Powhatan wants swords

"You did not send for me?" said Smith in astonishment. "How can that be? For I have with me the messengers you sent to ask me to come, and they can vouch for the truth of it. I marvel that you can be so forgetful."

 

Then, seeing that he could not fool the Pale-faces the old chief laughed merrily, pretending that he had only been joking. But still he held to it that he would give no corn except in exchange for guns and swords.

 

"Powhatan," answered Smith, "believing your promises to satisfy my wants, and out of love to you I sent you my men for your building, thereby neglecting mine own needs. Now by these strange demands you think to undo us and bring us to want indeed. For you know well as I have told you long ago of guns and swords I have none to spare. Yet steal from you or wrong you I will not, nor yet break that friendship which we have promised each other, unless by bad usage you force me thereto."

Smith refuses to give them

When the Powhatan heard Smith speak thus firmly he pretended to give way and promised that within two days the English should have all the corn he and his people could spare. But he added, "My people fear to bring you corn seeing you are all armed, for they say you come not hither for trade, but to invade my country and take possession of it. Therefore to free us of this fear lay aside your weapons, for indeed here they are needless, we being all friends."

 

With such and many more cunning words the Powhatan sought to make Captain Smith and his men lay aside their arms. But to all his persuasions Smith turned a deaf ear.

 

"Nay," he said, "we have no thought of revenge or cruelty against you. When your people come to us at Jamestown we receive them with their bows and arrows. With you it must be the same. We wear our arms even as our clothes."

 

So seeing that he could not gain his end, the old chief gave in. Yet one more effort he made to soften the Englishman's heart.

 

"I have never honoured any chief as I have you," he said, with a sigh, "yet you show me less kindness than any one. You call me father, but you do just as you like."

 

Smith, however, would waste no more time parleying, and gave orders for his men to fetch the corn. But while he was busy with this the Powhatan slipped away and gathered his warriors. Then suddenly in the midst of their business Smith and one or two others found themselves cut off from their comrades, and surrounded by a yelling crowd of painted savages. Instantly the Englishmen drew their swords and, charging into the savages, put them to flight. Seeing how easily their warriors had been routed and how strong the Pale-faces were, the savage chiefs tried to make friends with them again, pretending that the attack upon them was a mistake, and that no evil against them had been intended.

The Indians surround the Englishmen

The Englishmen, however, put no more trust in their words and sternly, with loaded guns and drawn swords in hand, bade them to talk no more, but make haste and load their boat with corn. And so thoroughly cowed were the savages by the fierce words and looks of the Pale-faces that they needed no second bidding. Hastily laying down their bows and arrows they bent their backs to the work, their one desire now being to get rid as soon as possible of these fierce and powerful intruders.

 

When the work was done, however, it was too late to sail that night, for the tide was low. So the Englishmen returned to the house in which they lodged, to rest till morning and wait for high water.

 

Meanwhile the Powhatan had by no means given up his desire for revenge, and while the Englishmen sat by their fire he plotted to slay them all. But as he talked with his braves Pocahontas listened. And when she heard that the great Pale-face Chief whom she loved so dearly was to be killed, her heart was filled with grief, and she resolved to save him. So silently she slipped out into the dark night and, trembling lest she should be discovered, was soon speeding through the wild lonesome forest towards the Englishmen's hut. Reaching it in safety she burst in upon them as they sat in the firelight waiting for the Powhatan to send their supper.

The Powhatan plots to slay all the Pale-faces

"You must not wait," she cried, "you must go at once. My father is gathering all his force against you. He will indeed send you a great feast, but those who bring it have orders to slay you, and any who escape them he is ready with his braves to slay. Oh, if you would live you must flee at once," and as she spoke the tears ran down her cheeks.

They are warned by Pocahontas

The Englishmen were truly grateful to Pocahontas for her warning. They thanked her warmly, and would have laden her with gifts of beads and coloured cloth, and such things as the Indians delighted in, but she would not take them.

 

"I dare not take such things," she said. "For if my father saw me with them he would know that I had come here to warn you, and he would kill me." So with eyes blinded with tears, and her heart filled with dread, she slipped out of the fire-lit hut, and vanished into the darkness of the forest as suddenly and silently as she had come.

 

Left alone, the Englishmen, cocking their guns and drawing their swords, awaited the coming of the foe. Presently eight or ten lusty fellows arrived, each bearing a great platter of food steaming hot and excellent to smell. They were very anxious that the Englishmen should at once lay aside their arms and sit down to supper. But Captain Smith would take no chances. Loaded gun in hand he stood over the messengers and made them taste each dish to be certain that none of them were poisoned. Having done this he sent the men away. "And bid your master make haste," he said, "for we are ready for him."

They are ready for the foe

Then the Englishmen sat down to supper; but they had no thought of sleep and all night long they kept watch.

 

Powhatan too kept watch, and every now and again he would send messengers to find out what the Englishmen were about. But each time they came the savages found the Englishmen on guard, so they dared not attack. At last day dawned, and with the rising tide the Englishmen sailed away, still to all seeming on friendly terms with the wily Indians.

They depart in safety

Smith had now food enough to keep the colony from starvation for a short time at least. But his troubles were by no means over. The Indians were still often unfriendly, and the colonists themselves lazy and unruly. Some indeed worked well and cheerfully, but many wandered about idly, doing nothing.

 

At length it came about that thirty or forty men did all the work, the others being simply idle loiterers. Seeing this, Smith called all the colonists together one day and told them that he would suffer the idleness no longer. "Every one must do his share," he said, "and he who will not work shall not eat." And so powerful had he grown that he was obeyed. The idle were forced to work, and soon houses were built and land cleared and tilled.

Another misfortune

At length there seemed good hope that the colony would prosper. But now another misfortune befell it. For it was found that rats had got into the granaries and eaten nearly all the store of corn. So once again expeditions set forth to visit the Indians and gather more from them. But their supply, too, was running short; harvest was still a long way off, and all the colonists could collect was not enough to keep them from starvation. So seeing this Smith divided his men into companies, sending some down the river to fish, and others into the woods to gather roots and wild berries. But the lazy ones liked this little. They would have bartered away their tools and firearms to the savages for a few handfuls of meal rather than work so hard. They indeed became so mutinous that Smith hardly knew what to do with them. But at length he discovered the ringleader of these "gluttonous loiterers." Him he "worthily punished," and calling the others together, he told them very plainly that any man among them who did not do his share should be banished from the fort as a drone, till he mended his ways or starved.

 

To the idlers Smith seemed a cruel task-master; still they obeyed him. So the colony was held together, although in misery and hunger and without hope for the future.

 

At length one day to the men on the river there came a joyful sight. They saw a ship slowly sailing towards them. They could hardly believe their eyes, for no ship was expected; but they greeted it with all the more joy. It was a ship under Captain Samuel Argall, come, it is true, not to bring supplies, but to trade. Finding, however, that there was no hope of trade Captain Argall shared what food he had with the famished colonists, and so for a time rescued them from starvation. He also brought the news that more ships were setting out from home bringing both food and men.

Captain Samuel Argall, 1580-1626

In June, 1609, this fleet of nine ships really did set out. But one ship was wrecked on the way, another, the Sea Venture, was cast ashore on the Bermudas; only seven arrived at length at Jamestown, bringing many new colonists. Unfortunately among these new arrivals there were few likely to make good colonists. They were indeed for the most part wild, bad men whose friends had packed them off to that distant land in the hope of being rid of them forever. "They were," said one of the old colonists who wrote of them, "ten times more fit to spoil a Commonwealth than either to begin one or but help to maintain one."

New colonists arrive

Now with all these "unruly gallants" poured into his little commonwealth Smith found his position of President even more difficult than before. Still, for a time, if he could not keep them altogether in order he at least kept them in check.

 

Then one day by a terrible accident his rule was brought to a sudden end. He was returning from an expedition up the James River when, through some carelessness, a bag of gunpowder in his boat was exploded. Smith was not killed by it, but he was sorely hurt. In great pain, and no longer able to think and act for others, he was carried back to Jamestown.

An accident befalls Smith;

Here there was no doctor of any kind, and seeing himself then only a useless hulk, and in danger of death, Smith gave up his post, and leaving the colony, for which during two and a half years he had worked and thought and fought so hard, he sailed homeward.

 

Many of the unruly sort were glad to see him go, but his old companions with whom he had shared so many dangers and privations were filled with grief. "He ever hated baseness, sloth, pride and indignity," said one of them. "He never allowed more for himself than for his soldiers with him. Upon no danger would he send them where he would not lead them himself. He would never see us want what he either had or could by any means get us. He loved action more than words, and hated falsehood and covetousness worse than death."

he sails homeward

So, loved and hated, but having all unknown to himself made a name which would live forever in the history of his land, the first great Virginian sailed from its shores. He returned no more. Some twenty years later he died in London, and was buried in the church of St. Sepulchre there. Upon his tomb was carved a long epitaph telling of his valiant deeds. But in the great Fire of London the tomb was destroyed, and now no tablet marks the resting-place of the brave old pioneer.

 


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CHAPTER 15
HOW THE COLONY WAS SAVED

AFTER Smith left, the colony of Jamestown fell into wild disorder. Every one wanted to go his own way. A new President named Percy had indeed been chosen. But although an honest gentleman he was sickly and weak, and quite unfit to rule these turbulent spirits. So twenty or more would-be presidents soon sprang up, and in the whole colony there was neither obedience nor discipline.

 

No work was done, food was recklessly wasted, and very quickly famine stared the wretched colonists in the face. The terrible time afterwards known as the Starving Time had begun. When their stores were gone the settlers tried to get more in the old way from the natives. But they, seeing the miserable plight of the Pale-faces, became insolent in their demands, and in return for niggardly supplies of food exacted guns and ammunition, swords and tools.

The Starving Time

And now there was no man among the colonists who knew how to manage the Indians as Smith had managed them. There was no man among them who thought of the future. All they wanted was to stay for a time the awful pangs of hunger. So they bartered away their muskets and powder, their tools, and everything of value of which they were possessed. But even so the food the Indians gave them in return was not enough to keep body and soul together.

 

The colony became a place of horror, where pale skeleton-like creatures roamed about eyeing each other suspiciously, ready to kill each other for a crust or a bone. They quarreled among themselves, and they quarreled with the natives. And the natives, now no longer filled with awe, lay in wait for them and killed them almost without resistance if they ventured to crawl beyond the walls of the fort. Many more died of hunger and of disease brought on by hunger.

 

So less than eight months after Smith had sailed away, of the five hundred men he had left behind him but sixty remained alive. The colony was being wiped out, and the little town itself was disappearing; for the starving wretches had no strength or energy to fell trees and hew wood, and as soon as a man died his house was pulled down by his comrades and used as firewood. Already, too, weeds and briers overgrew the land which had been cleared for corn. Greater misery and desolation it is hard to imagine. Yet the unhappy beings sank into a still deeper horror. Unable to relieve the pangs of hunger, they turned cannibal and fed upon each other. Thus the last depths of degradation were sounded, the last horrors of the Starving Time were reached.

Many colonists die

Then at length one May day two ships came sailing up the James River and anchored in the harbour. From their decks bronzed men in patched and ragged garments looked with astonished eyes upon the desolate scene.

 

These were the men of the wrecked Sea Venture, who had been cast ashore upon the Bermudas. Their ship had gone down, but they had been able to save both themselves and nearly everything out of her. Some of the best men of the expedition had sailed in the Sea Venture. Their leaders were brave and energetic; so instead of bemoaning their fate they had set to work with right good will, and after ten months' labour had succeeded in building two little ships which they named the Patience and the Deliverance. Then, having filled them with such stores as they could muster, they set sail joyfully to join their comrades at Jamestown. But now what horror and astonishment was theirs! They had hoped to find a flourishing town, surrounded by well tilled fields. Instead they saw ruins and desolation. They had hoped to be greeted joyfully by stalwart, prosperous Englishmen. Instead a few gaunt, hollow-cheeked spectres, who scarce seemed men, crawled to meet them.

The Patience and the Deliverance arrive

The surprise of the newcomers

Lost in amazement the newcomers landed, and as they listened to the tragic tale pity filled their hearts. They gave the starving wretches food, and comforted them as best they could. They had no great stores themselves, and they saw at once that with such scant supplies as they had it would be impossible to settle at Jamestown.

 

Even if they could get through the summer, the autumn would bring no relief, for the fields, where the corn for the winter's use should already have been sprouting, lay neglected and overgrown with weeds and briers. The houses where the newcomers might have lodged had disappeared. The very palisading which surrounded the settlement as a bulwark against the Indians had been pulled down for firewood. All the tools and implements which might have been used to rebuild the place had been bartered away to the Indians. The Indians themselves were no longer friendly, but hostile. Whichever way they looked only misery and failure stared them in the face.

 

The Captains of the Patience and Deliverance talked long together, but even they could see no ray of hope. So with heavy hearts they resolved once more to abandon Virginia. They were loath indeed to come to this decision, loath indeed to own themselves defeated. But there seemed no other course left open to them.

They resolve to abandon Virginia

So one day early in June the pitiful remnant of the Jamestown Colony went on board the two waiting ships. Sir Thomas Gates, the brave and wise captain of the expedition, was the last to leave the ruined town. With backward looks he left it, and ere he weighed anchor he fired a last salute to the lost colony. Then the sails were set, and the two little ships drifted down stream towards the open sea, carrying the beaten settlers back to old England.

 

Another attempt to plant a New England beyond the seas had failed.

 

But next day as the little ships dropped down stream the sailors on the lookout saw a boat being rowed towards them. Was it an Indian canoe? Did it come in peace or war? It drew nearer. Then it was seen that it was no Indian canoe, but an English tug boat manned by English sailors. With a shout they hailed each other, and news was exchanged. Wonderful news it was to which the brokenhearted colonists listened.

 

Lord Delaware, the new Governor of Virginia, had arrived. His three good ships, well stored with food and all things necessary for the colony, were but a little way down stream. There was no need for the settlers to flee home to escape starvation and death.

Lord Delaware arrives, 1610;

It may be that to some this news was heavy news. It may be that some would gladly have turned their backs forever upon the spot where they had endured so much misery. But for the most part the colonists were unwilling to own defeat, and they resolved at once to return. So the ships were put about, and three days after they had left Jamestown, as they believed forever, the colonists once more landed there.

the colonists turn back to Virginia

As Lord Delaware stepped on shore he fell upon his knees giving thanks to God that he had come in time to save Virginia. After that the chaplain preached a sermon, then the new Governor, with all his company about him, read aloud the commission given to him by King James.

 

This was the first royal commission ever given to a governor of an English colony in America. In it Lord Delaware was given the power of life and death over "all and every person and persons now inhabiting, or which shall hereafter inhabit within the precincts of the said colony." The colonists were in fact to be his subjects. And having read aloud his commission, and having thus as it were shown his authority, Lord Delaware next spoke sternly to his new subjects. He warned them that he would no longer endure their sluggish idleness or haughty disobedience. And if they did not amend their ways they might look to it that the most severe punishment of the law would come upon them. Having thus spoken his mind plainly, to cheer them he told of the plentiful and good stores he had brought with him, of which all those who worked well and faithfully should have a share.

 

Now a new life began for the colony. All the settlers were made to work for some hours every day. Even the gentlemen among them, "whose breeding never knew what a day's labour meant," had to do their share. Soon the houses were rebuilt, the palisades stood again in place, two forts were erected to guard against attacks by the Indians, and at length the colony seemed to be on the fair way to success.

A new life begins

Of course this did not all happen at once. The idlers were not easily turned into diligent workers, or unruly brawlers into peaceful citizens. Indeed it was only through most stern, and what would seem to us now most cruel punishments, that the unruly were forced to keep the law.

 

The winter after Lord Delaware came out as Governor, although not so hard as that of the Starving Time, was yet severe, and many of the colonists died. Lord Delaware, too, became so ill that in the spring he sailed home to England, and after a little time Sir Thomas Dale took his place as Deputy Governor.

Lord Delaware returns home

Sir Thomas Dale was both a soldier and a statesman. He was full of energy and courage. Far-seeing and dogged, he was merciless to the evildoers, yet kindly to those who tried to do well. Under his stern yet righteous rule the colony prospered.

Sir Thomas Dale

At first only men settlers had come out, then one or two women joined them, and now many more women came, so that the men, instead of all living together, married and had homes of their own. Then, too, at first all a man's labour went into the common stock, and the men who worked little fared as well as those who worked a great deal. So the lazy fellow did as little as he could. "Glad when he could slip from his labour," says an old writer, "or slumber over his task he cared not how."

 

Thus most of the work of the colony was left to the few who were industrious and willing. Sir Thomas Dale changed that. In return for a small yearly payment in corn he gave three acres of land to every man who wished it, for his own use. So, suddenly, a little community of farmers sprang up. Now that the land was really their own, to make of it what they would, each man tilled it eagerly, and soon such fine crops of grain were raised that the colony was no longer in dread of starvation. The settlers, too, began to spread and no longer kept within the palisade round Jamestown, "more especially as Jamestown," says an old writer, "was scandalised for an unhealthy aire." And here and there further up the river little villages sprang up.

1614

The colony begins to prosper

Since Smith had gone home the Indians had remained unfriendly, and a constant danger to the colonists. And now as they became thus scattered the danger from the Indians became ever greater. Old Powhatan and his men were constantly making raids upon the Pale-faces with whom he had once been so friendly. And in spite of the watch they kept he often succeeded in killing them or taking them prisoner. He had also by now quite a store of swords, guns and tools stolen from the English. And how to subdue him, or force him to live on friendly terms with them once more, none knew.

The Indians are unfriendly

Pocahontas, who had been so friendly and who had more than once saved the Pale-faces from disaster, might have helped them. But she now never came near their settlement; indeed she seemed to have disappeared altogether. So the English could get no aid from her.

 

But now it happened one day that one of the adventurers, Samuel Argall, who was, it is written, "a good Marriner, and a very civil gentleman," went sailing up the Appomattox in search of corn for the settlement. He had to go warily because no one could tell how the Indians would behave, for they would be friends or foes just as it suited them. If they got the chance of killing the Pale-faces and stealing their goods they would do so. But if they were not strong enough to do that they would willingly trade for the coloured cloths, beads and hatchets they so much wanted.

Argall goes in search of corn;

Presently Argall came to the country of one of the chiefs with whom he had made friends. While here he was told that Pocahontas, the great Powhatan's daughter, was living with the tribe. As soon as he heard this Captain Argall saw at once that here was a means of forcing the Powhatan to make peace, and he resolved at all costs to get possession of Pocahontas. So sending for the chief he told him he must bring Pocahontas on board his ship.

he hears of Pocahontas;

resolves to get possession of her

But the chief was afraid and refused to do this.

 

"Then we are no longer brothers and friends," said Argall.

 

"My father," said the chief, "be not wroth. For if I do this thing the Powhatan will make war upon me and upon my people."

 

"My brother," said Argall," have no fear; if so be that the Powhatan shall make war upon you I will join with you against him to overthrow him utterly. I mean, moreover, no manner of hurt to Pocahontas, but will only keep her as hostage until peace be made between the Powhatan and the Pale-faces. If therefore you do my bidding I will give to you the copper kettle which you desire so much."

 

Now the chief longed greatly to possess the copper kettle. So he promised to do as Argall asked, and began to cast about for an excuse for getting Pocahontas on board. Soon he fell upon a plan. He bade his wife pretend that she was very anxious to see the Englishman's ship. But when she asked to be taken on board he refused to go with her. Again and again she asked. Again and again the chief refused. Then the poor lady wept with disappointment and at length the chief, pretending to be very angry, swore that he would beat her if she did not cease her asking and her tears. But as she still begged and wept he said he would take her if Pocahontas would go too.

The plot

To please the old woman Pocahontas went. Captain Argall received all three very courteously, and made a great feast for them in his cabin. The old chief, however, was so eager to get his promised kettle that he could little enjoy the feast, but kept kicking Captain Argall under the table as much as to say, "I have done my part, now you do yours."

Pocahontas goes on board Argall's ship

At length Captain Argall told Pocahontas that she must stay with him until peace was made between her father and the white men. As soon as the old chief and his wife heard that they began to howl, and cry, and make a great noise, so as to pretend that they knew nothing about the plot. Pocahontas too began to cry. But Argall assured her that no harm was intended her, and that she need have no fear. So she was soon comforted and dried her eyes.

she is made prisoner

As for the wily old Indians they were made quite happy with the copper kettle and a few other trifles, and went merrily back to the shore.

 

A messenger was then sent to the Powhatan telling him that his daughter, whom he loved so dearly, was a prisoner, and that he could only ransom her by sending back all the Pale-faces he held prisoner, with all their guns, swords and tools which he had stolen.

 

When Powhatan got this news he was both angry and sorry. For he loved his daughter very dearly, but he loved the Englishmen's tools and weapons almost more. He did not know what to do, so for three months he did nothing. Then at last he sent back seven of his prisoners, each one carrying a useless gun.

The Powhatan is angry

"Tell your chieftain," he said, "that all the rest of the arms of the Pale-faces are lost, or have been stolen from me. But if the Pale-faces will give back my daughter I will give satisfaction for all the other things I have taken, together with five hundred bushels of corn, and will make peace forever."

 

But the Englishmen were not easily deceived. They returned a message to the chief saying, "Your daughter is well used. But we do not believe the rest of our arms are either lost or stolen, and therefore until you send them we will keep your daughter."

 

The Powhatan was so angry when he got this message that for a long time he would have no further dealings with the Pale-faces, but continued to vex and harass them as much as he could.

 

At length Sir Thomas Dale, seeking to put an end to this, took Pocahontas, and with a hundred and fifty men sailed up the river to the Powhatan's chief town.

Sir Thomas resolves to visit the Powhatan

As soon as the savages saw the white men they came down to the river's bank, jeering at them and insulting them, haughtily demanding why they had come.

 

"We have brought the Powhatan's daughter," replied the Englishmen. "For we are come to receive the ransom promised, and if you do not give it willingly we will take it by force."

 

But the savages were not in the least afraid at that threat. They jeered the more.

 

"If so be," they cried, "that you are come to fight you are right welcome, for we are ready for you. But we advise you, if you love your lives, to retire with haste. Else we will serve you as we have served others of your countrymen."

 

"Oh," answered the Englishmen, "we must have a better answer than that," and driving their ship nearer to the shore they made ready to land.

 

But as soon as they were within bow shot the savages let fly their arrows. Thick and fast they fell, rattling on the deck, glancing from the men's armour, wounding not a few. This reception made the Englishmen angry, so without more ado they launched their boats and made for the shore. The savages fled at their coming, and so enraged were the colonists against them that they burned their houses, and utterly destroyed their town. Then they sailed on up the river in pursuit of the Redmen.

A fight

Next day they came up again with the savages. They were now not so insolent and sent a messenger to ask why the Pale-faces had burned their town.

 

"Why did you fire upon us?" asked the Englishmen, sternly.

 

"Brothers," replied the Redmen, "we did not fire upon you. It was but some stray savages who did so. We intend you no hurt and are your friends."

 

With these and many other fair words they tried to pacify the Pale-faces. So the Englishmen, who had no wish to fight, made peace with them. Then the Indians sent a messenger to the Powhatan who was a day's journey off; and the Englishmen were told they must wait two days for his answer.

 

Meanwhile the Englishmen asked to see their comrades whom the Indians had taken prisoner.

Indian wiles

"We cannot show them to you," replied the wily Redmen, "for they have all run away in fear lest you should hang them. But the Powhatan's men are pursuing after them, and will doubtless bring them back."

 

"Then where are the swords and guns which you have stolen from us?" demanded the Englishmen.

 

"These you shall have to-morrow," replied the Redmen.

 

But, as the Englishmen well knew, this was all idle talk and deceit, and next day no message came from the Powhatan, neither were any swords nor guns forthcoming. So once more the Englishmen set sail and went still further up the river.

 

Here quite close to another village belonging to the Powhatan they came upon four hundred Indians in war paint. When they saw the Englishmen the Indians yelled and danced, and dared them to come ashore. This the Englishmen, nothing daunted, accordingly did. The Redmen on their side showed no fear, but walked boldly up and down among the Englishmen, demanding to speak with their captain.

 

So the chiefs were brought to Sir Thomas.

 

"Why do you come against us thus?" they asked. "We are friends and brothers. Let us not fight until we have sent once again to our King to know his pleasure. Then if he sends not back the message of peace we will fight you and defend our own as best we may."

 

The Englishmen knew well that by all this talk of peace the Indians wanted but to gain time so that they might be able to carry away and hide their stores. Still they had no desire to fight if by any other means they might gain their end. So they promised a truce until noon the day following. "And if we then decide to fight you, you shall be warned of it by the sounding of our drums and trumpets," they said.

A truce

The truce being settled Pocahontas' two brothers came on board the Englishmen's ships to visit their sister. And when they saw that she was well cared for, and appeared to be quite happy they were very glad, for they had heard that she was ill treated and most miserable. But finding her happy they promised to persuade their father to ransom her, and make friends again with the Pale-faces.

 

Seeing them thus friendly Sir Thomas suggested that Pocahontas' two brothers should stay on board his vessel as hostages while he sent two of his company to parley with the Powhatan. This was accordingly done, and Master John Rolfe and Master Sparkes set off on their mission. When, however, they reached the village where the Powhatan was hiding they found him still in high dudgeon, and he refused to see them, or speak with them. So they had to be content with seeing his brother, who treated them with all courtesy and kindness and promised to do his best to pacify the Powhatan.

Messengers are sent to the Powhatan

It was now April, and high time for the colonists to be back on their farms sowing their corn. So with this promise they were fain to be content in the meantime. And having agreed upon a truce until harvest time they set sail once more for Jamestown, taking Pocahontas with them.

 

One at least among the company of Englishmen was glad that the negotiations with the Powhatan had come to nothing, and that Pocahontas had not been ransomed. That was Master John Rolfe. For Pocahontas, although a savage, was beautiful and kind, and John Rolfe had fallen madly in love with her. So he had no desire that she should return to her own tribe, but rather that she should return to Jamestown and marry him.

Master John Rolfe loves Pocahontas

Pocahontas, too, was quite fond of John Rolfe, although she had never forgotten her love for the great White Chief whose life she had saved. The Englishmen, however, told her that he had gone away never to come back any more, and that very likely he was dead. Pocahontas was then easily persuaded to marry John Rolfe. But he himself, although he loved her very much, had some misgivings. For was this beautiful savage not a heathen?

 

That difficulty was, however, soon overcome. For Pocahontas made no objection to becoming a Christian. So one day there was a great gathering in the little church at Jamestown when the heathen princess stood beside the fort, and the water of Christian baptism was sprinkled on her dark face, and she was given the Bible name of Rebecca.

 

And now when the Powhatan heard that his daughter was going to marry one of the Pale-faces he was quite pleased. He forgot all his anger and sulkiness, sent many of his braves to be present at the wedding, and swore to be the friend and brother of the Pale-faces forever more.

 

Sir Thomas Dale was delighted. So every one was pleased, and one morning early in April three hundred years ago all the inhabitants of the country round, both Redman and White, gathered to see the wedding. And from that day for eight years, as long as the Powhatan lived, there was peace between him and his brothers, the Pale-faces.

The wedding, 1614


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CHAPTER 16
HOW POCAHONTAS TOOK A JOURNEY OVER THE SEAS

AT peace with the Indians, the colonists could till their fields without fear of attack. And now, besides corn, they began to grow tobacco.

 

You remember that Columbus had noticed how the natives of his "India" smoked rolled-up dried leaves. But, no one paid much attention to it. Then the men of Raleigh's expedition again noticed it. They tried it themselves, found it comforting, and brought both tobacco and the habit home with them. And soon not only the seafaring adventurers but many a man who was never likely to see the ocean, or adventure beyond his native town, had taken to smoking. That, too, despite his king's disgust at it. For James thought smoking was "a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black smoking fumes thereof nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless." He indeed wrote a little book against it, which he called "A Counterblaste to Tobacco." But no one paid much attention to him. The demand for tobacco became greater and greater, and soon the Virginian farmers found that there was a sale for as much tobacco as they could grow, and that a crop of it paid better than anything else.

Tobacco

Up till now the colony had been a constant disappointment to the "adventurers"–that is, to the people who had given the money to fit out the expeditions–the shareholders we would now call them.

 

Most of them had adventured their money, not with any idea of founding a New England beyond the seas where men should settle down as farmers and tillers of the soil. They had adventured it rather for the finding of gold and pearls, jewels and spices, so that it might be repaid quickly, and a hundredfold. But year by year passed, and all these glittering hopes were doomed to disappointment. No gold was found. The adventurers saw their money being swallowed up for nought. They grew discontented and grumbled, some of them refused to pay any more, refused to throw more away on an empty dream. They little knew that they were helping to found a new State which in time was to become one of the world's greatest powers. They little knew that in days to come their money should produce a harvest a thousand, thousandfold, and that from the broad land, of which they had helped to settle a tiny corner, was to come wealth such as in their wildest imaginings, they had never dreamt.

The adventurers discontented

Meanwhile, anything a Virginian wanted he could buy with tobacco. Indeed, after a time the Virginians threw themselves with such complete enthusiasm into the growing of tobacco that they were reproached for neglecting everything else because of it.

 

The English were not the only people who had set forth to find golden wealth and broad lands beyond the seas. Both the French and the Dutch had carried their standard across the ocean, and planted it upon the further shores. Already, too, the struggle for possession began.

 

Captain Argall, in one of his many expeditions, sailing northward to the Bay of Fundy, found a French colony settled there. Argall swooped down upon them, and claiming the whole continent by right of Cabot's discovery, he utterly destroyed the colony, burning the houses to the ground, and carrying off the cattle.

Argall destroys a French colony

Argall next found a Dutch colony on the Hudson River. Here he contented himself with ordering the Governor to pull down the Dutch flag and run up the English one. To save his colony the Dutchman did as he was commanded. But as soon as the arrogant Englishman was out of sight he calmly ran up his own flag once more.

 

Meanwhile under Sir Thomas Dale Virginia continued to prosper. Then after five years' rule Sir Thomas went home and the colony was left to a new ruler. With him went John Rolfe and his wife Pocahontas, together with their little baby son.

 

Now began a wonderful new life for the beautiful Indian. Only a few years before she had been a merry, little, half naked savage, turning cart wheels all over the Jamestown fort, and larking with the boys. Now she found herself treated as a great lady.

Pocahontas goes to England, 1616

In those days the people in England had very little idea of the life out in the wilds. The Powhatan, they had heard, was a king, a sort of emperor, indeed, and they doubtless pictured him as living in a stately palace, wearing a golden crown and velvet robes. That a "king" should be a half-naked savage, living in a mud hut, wearing a crown of feathers on his head, and a string of beads about his neck, they could not imagine. As the Powhatan was a king then his daughter was a princess, and as such must be treated with all respect.

 

It is even said that John Rolfe was roundly scolded by King James for daring to marry a princess without first asking leave.

 

"For," he gravely pointed out, "if the Powhatan was a king and Pocahontas his daughter, when the Powhatan died Rolfe or his baby son might become King of Virginia. It was not meet or right that a commoner should thus lightly take upon himself to marry the daughter of a brother sovereign."

 

Every one, then, was ready to treat Pocahontas with deference. Besides this John Smith wrote to the Queen relating all that she had done for the Colony of Virginia and begging her to be kind to the Indian girl who had done so much for England. For that or some other reason the Queen took an interest in the little dusky Princess. Pocahontas was presented to her, and was often seen at the theatre or other entertainment with her. The ladies of the court were made to treat Pocahontas with great ceremony. They addressed her as "Princess" or "Lady," remained standing before her, and walked backwards when they left her presence; famous artists painted her portrait; poets wrote of her, and in one of his plays Ben Johnson calls her

                              The Blessed
Pokahontas, as the historian calls her
And great King's daughter of Virginia.

 

The Queen is kind to her

In fact she became the rage. She was the talk of the town. Even coffee-houses and taverns were named after her,–La Belle Sauvage (the beautiful savage). And it is interesting to remember that a great publishing house in London takes its name from one of these old taverns. Books go out to all the world from the sign of La Belle Sauvage, thus forming a link between the present and that half-forgotten American "princess" of so long ago.

She becomes the rage

In spite of all the homage and flattery poured upon her, Pocahontas yet remained modest and simple, enchanting all who met her. And among all the new delights of England she had the joy of seeing once again the great White Chief she had loved and called her father in days gone by.

 

Her joy was all the greater because she had believed him to be dead. When Smith first came to see her, her feelings were so deep that at first she could not speak. She greeted him in silence, then suddenly turning away, she hid her face and wept. But after a little she recovered herself, and began to speak of the old days, and of how she had thought he was dead. "I knew no other," she said, "until I came to Plymouth."

She meets John Smith again

In many ways Pocahontas showed her joy at again recovering her old friend. But when she found that Smith was not going to treat her as an old friend, but as if she were a great lady, and call her Princess like all the others round her, she was hurt.

 

"You did promise the Powhatan that what was yours should be his, and he did promise the like to you," she said. "A stranger in his land you called him father, and I shall do the same by you."

 

"Lady," replied Smith, "I dare not allow that title, for you are a King's daughter."

 

But from the man who had known her in those strange, wild days in far-off Virginia, from the man she had looked upon as a great and powerful chief, Pocahontas would have no such nonsense. She laughed at him.

 

"You were not afraid," she said defiantly, "to come into my father's country, and cause fear in him, and in all his people, save me. And fear you here that I should call you father? I tell you then I will. And you shall call me child. And so I will be forever and ever your countryman."

 

Pocahontas took all the strangeness of her new surroundings very simply. But some of her attendants were utterly overwhelmed with wonder and awe at the things they saw. One man in particular, who was accounted a very clever man among his own people, had been sent by the Powhatan to take particular note of everything in England. Among other things he had been charged to count the people! So on landing at Plymouth he provided himself with a long stick and proceeded to make a notch in it for every man he met. But he met so many people that he could not make notches fast enough; so in a very short time he grew weary of that and threw his stick away.

The Indian's astonishment at the wonders of England

Coming to London he was more amazed than ever. Never had he seen so great a city nor so many folk all gathered together, and among them not one familiar face. So he welcomed Captain John Smith like an old friend, and eagerly questioned him as to the wonders of this strange country. More especially he asked to see God, the King and Queen, and the Prince.

 

Captain Smith tried as best he could to explain to the poor heathen about God, telling him He could not be seen. As, to the King, he added, "you have seen him."

 

"No," said the Indian, "I have not seen your great King."

 

Then when Captain Smith explained that the little man with a jeweled feather in his cap and sword by his side, who had one day spoken to him was the King, the Indian was much disappointed.

 

"You gave Powhatan a white dog," he said, "which Powhatan fed as himself. But your King gave me nothing."

 

However if the old Indian was disappointed with the manner in which the King had received him he was much made of by others. For every one was eager to see this wild savage. And often to please these new friends he would sing to them and make their blood creep by his wild dances.

 

Pocahontas loved England where she was so kindly treated. She took to the new life so well that it is said she soon "became very formal and civil after our English manner." But she who had been used to roam the wild woods could not live in the confinement of towns, and soon she became very ill. So she made up her mind at length, sorely against her will, to go back to Virginia with her husband. Captain Argall was about to return there as Deputy Governor. So Pocahontas and her husband took passages in his boat.

Pocahontas loves England;

But Pocahontas was never again to see her native shore. She went on board Captain Argall's boat, the George, and indeed set sail from London, but before she reached Gravesend she became so ill that she had to be taken ashore, and there she died. She was buried in the chancel of the Parish Church. Later the Church was burned down, but it was rebuilt, and as a memorial to Pocahontas American ladies have placed a stained glass window there, and also a pulpit made of Virginian wood.

her death, 1617

John Rolfe returned alone to Virginia, leaving his little son Thomas behind him in the care of an uncle. He remained in England until he was grown up, and then went to his native land. There he married, and had a daughter, and became the ancestor of several Virginian families who are to this day proud to trace their descent from beautiful Pocahontas and her English husband.

 


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CHAPTER 17
HOW THE REDMEN FOUGHT AGAINST THEIR WHITE BROTHERS

THE Colony of Virginia which had prospered so greatly under Sir Thomas Dale had fallen again on evil days. For Samuel Argall, who now governed, proved a tyrant. Dale had been autocratic, but he had been autocratic for the good of the colony. Argall was autocratic for his own gains. He extorted money and tribute from the colonists to make himself rich, and profits which should have gone to the company went into his pocket. Again and again the colonists sent home complaints of Argall's doings. At length these complaints became so loud and long that the company once more sent Lord Delaware out as Governor.

Samuel Argall a tyrant

But on the way Lord Delaware died, and the party of settlers he was bringing out arrived without him. On their arrival Argall at once took possession of Lord Delaware's private papers, and much to his disgust he found among them one telling Lord Delaware to arrest Argall and send him back to England.

 

This made Argall very angry; it also made him more despotic and cruel than ever. In consequence still more bitter complaints reached home from the colonists.

 

At this time the company at home were quarrelling among themselves. But in the end they sent out a new Governor called Sir George Yeardley. He, too, had orders to arrest Argall and send him home. But Argall somehow came to know of it, and he made up his mind not to go home a prisoner. So before the new Governor could arrive he packed up his goods, and leaving the colony to take care of itself, sailed gaily off to England.

Sir George Yeardley arrives, 1619

Argall flees home

The Virginians now were heartily tired of despots, and thought that it was time that they had some say in the matter of governing themselves. At the head of the company at home there was at this time a wise man named Sandys. He also thought that it would be best for the colony to be self-governing.

 

And so on July 30th, 1619, the first General Election was held in Virginia, and the first Parliament of Englishmen in America met. There were by this time about two thousand people living in the colony, and the settlements were scattered about on both sides of the river for sixty miles or so above Jamestown. So the colony was divided into eleven parts or constituencies, each constituency sending two members to the little parliament. These members were called burgesses, and the parliament was called the House of Burgesses. But there was no special building in which the burgesses could gather, so the meetings were held in the little wooden church at Jamestown. And thus with such small beginnings were the first foundations of a free and independent nation laid. And because of the founding of this House of Burgesses 1619 stands out as the year most to be remembered in all the early days of Virginia.

The House of Burgesses is instituted

But 1619 has to be remembered for another, and this time a sad reason: for it saw not only the beginnings of freedom, but the beginnings of slavery.

 

Just a month after the opening of the House of Burgesses a Dutch vessel anchored at Jamestown. The captain had been on a raiding expedition off the coast of Africa, and he had on board a cargo of negroes, whom he had stolen from their homes. Twenty of these he sold to the farmers. And thus slavery was first introduced upon the Virginian plantations.

Slavery introduced

In 1619, too, there arrived the first ship-load of women colonists. Nearly all the settlers were men. A few indeed had brought their wives and daughters with them, but for the most part the colony was a community of men. Among these there were many who were young, and as they grew rich and prosperous they wanted to marry and have homes of their own. But there was no one for them to marry. So at length some one at home fell upon the plan of persuading young women to go out to Virginia to settle there, and in 1619 a ship-load of ninety came out. As soon as they arrived they found many young men eager to marry them, and sometimes they must have found it difficult to make a choice. But as soon as a young man was accepted he had to pay the Company 120 lbs., afterwards raised to 150 lbs., of tobacco as the price of his bride's passage across the seas. Then they were free to marry as soon as they pleased.

Wives for the colonists

After this from time to time women went out to the colony. Sometimes we read of "a widow and eleven maids," or again of "fifty maids for wives." And always there came with them a letter from the company at home to the old men of the colony reminding them that these young women did not come to be servants. "We pray you therefore to be fathers to them in their business, not enforcing them to marry against their wills, neither send them to be servants," they wrote. And if the girls did not marry at once they were to be treated as guests and "put to several householders that have wives till they can be provided of husbands."

 

Helped in this quaint fashion and in others the colony prospered and grew ever larger. It would have prospered even more had it not been for the outbreak of a kind of plague, which the colonists simply called "the sickness." It attacked chiefly the new settlers, and was so deadly that in one year a thousand of them died. Doctors were not very skilful in those days, and although they did their best, all their efforts were of little use, till at length the dread disease wore itself out.

"The sickness"

But in spite of all difficulties the colony grew, the settlements extended farther and farther in a long line up and down both banks of the James from Chesapeake Bay to what is now Richmond. Had the Indians been unfriendly, the colony could not have stretched out in this fashion without great danger to the settlers. But for eight years the Redmen had been at peace with their white brothers, and the settlers had lost all fear of attack from them. The Indians, indeed, might be seen wandering freely about the towns and farms. They came into the houses, and even shared the meals of the farmer and his household. Nothing, to all outward seeming, could be more friendly than the relations between the Redmen and the settlers.

 

Then after eight years, old Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas, died, and his brother became chief of the tribe. It may be that this new chief was known not to be so friendly to the Pale-faces as his brother had been. In any case the Governor took the precaution of sending a messenger to him with renewed expressions of friendship.

Powhatan dies

Opekankano received the messenger kindly and sent him back to his master. "Tell the Pale-faces," he said, "that I hold the peace so sure that the skies shall fall sooner than it should be broken."

 

But at this very time he and his people were plotting utterly to destroy the settlers. Yet they gave no hint of it. They had planned a general massacre, yet two days before the 22nd of March, the day fixed for it, some settlers were safely guided through the woods by the Indians. They came as usual, quite unarmed, into the settlers' houses, selling game, fish and furs in exchange for glass beads and such trifles. Even on the night of the 21st of March they borrowed the settlers' boats so that many of their tribe could get quickly across the river. Next morning in many places the Indians were sitting at breakfast with the settlers and their families when suddenly, as at a given signal, they sprang up, and, seizing the settlers' own weapons, killed them all, sparing neither men, women nor children. So sudden was the onslaught that many a man fell dead without a cry, seeing not the hand which smote him. In the workshops, in the fields, in the gardens, wherever they were, wherever their daily work took them, they were thus suddenly and awfully struck down.

An Indian attack, 1622

For days and weeks the Indians had watched the habits of the settlers until they knew the daily haunts of every man. Then they had planned one swift and deadly blow which was to wipe out the whole colony. And so cunning was their plot, so complete and perfect their treachery, that they might have succeeded but for the love of one faithful Indian. This Indian, named Chanco, lived with one of the settlers named Pace, and had become his servant. But Pace treated him more as a son than as a servant, and the Indian had become very devoted to him. When, then, this Indian was told that his chief commanded him to murder his master he felt that he could not do it. Instead, he went at once to Pace and told him of the plot. Pace then made ready to defend himself, and sent warnings to all the other settlers within reach. Thus a great many of the colonists were saved from death, but three hundred and fifty were cruelly slain.

Chanco, the faithful Indian

This sudden and treacherous attack, after so many years of peace, enraged the white men, and they followed the Redmen with a terrible vengeance. They hunted them like wild beasts, tracking them down with bloodhounds, driving them mercilessly from place to place, until, their corn destroyed, their houses burned, their canoes smashed to splinters, the Indians were fain to sue for mercy, and peace once more was restored for more than twenty years.

 


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CHAPTER 18
HOW ENGLISHMEN FOUGHT A DUEL WITH TYRANNY

AT last Virginia prospered. But while it prospered the man who had first conceived the idea of this New England beyond the seas had fallen on evil days. Sir Walter Raleigh had been thrown into prison by King James. There for twelve long years he languished, only to be set free at length on condition that he should find a gold-mine for his King. He failed to find the mine, and by his efforts only succeeded in rousing to greater heights than before the Spanish hatred against him. For Spain claimed the land and gold of which Raleigh had gone in search. And now the King of Spain demanded that he should be punished. And James, weakly yielding to his outcry, condemned Sir Walter to death. So on 29th of October, 1618, this great pioneer laid his head upon the block, meeting death as gallantly as ever man died.

The death of Raleigh

"I shall yet live to see it (Virginia) an English nation," he had said, after his own fifth failure to found a colony, and his words had come true. But long ere his death Raleigh had ceased to have any connection with Virginia. And perhaps there was scarce a man among those who had made their homes there who remembered that it was Raleigh who had prepared the way, that but for Raleigh a new Spain and not a New England might have been planted on the American shores.

 

So the death of Raleigh made no difference to the fortunes of Virginia. But the same stupidity, that same "wonderful instinct for the wrong side of every question" which made James kill his great subject, also made him try to stifle the infant colony. So while in spite of sickness and massacre the colony prospered, the company at home was passing through strenuous times. The head or treasurer of the company was still that Sir Edwin Sandys who had been the chief mover in giving the colony self-government. King James, who was full of great ideas about the divine right of kings, had never forgiven him that. He was as eager as any of his people to build up a colonial Empire, but he desired that it should be one which should be dependent on himself. He had no intention of allowing colonies to set themselves up against him.

Sir Edwin Sandys

Now the time came to elect a new treasurer, and the company being very pleased with Sandys, decided to elect him again. But when King James heard that, he was very angry. He called the company a school of treason and Sandys his greatest enemy. Then, flinging himself out of the room in a terrible passion, he shouted "Choose the Devil if you will, but not Sir Edwin Sandys."

The King's anger;

Still in spite of the King's anger the company decided to go its own way. They had their charter sealed with the King's seal, signed with the King's name, which gave them the right of freely electing their own officers, and not even the King should be allowed to interfere with that right.

 

On the day of the election nearly five hundred of the "adventurers" gathered together. Three names were put up for election, Sir Edwin's heading the list. But just as the voting was about to begin a messenger from the King arrived.

 

"It is not the King's pleasure that Sir Edward Sandys should be chosen," he said, "so he has sent to you a list of four, one of which you may choose."

his message to the company

At this, dead silence fell upon the company, every man lost in amazement at this breach of their charter. For minutes the heavy silence lasted. Then there arose murmurs which grew ever louder until amid cries of anger it was proposed to turn the King's messengers out.

 

"No," said the Earl of Southampton, "let the noble gentlemen keep their places. Let them stay and see that we do everything in a manner which is fair and above board. For this business is of so great concernment that it can never be too solemnly, too thoroughly or too publicly examined."

 

Others agreed that this was right. So the messengers stayed. Then there came impatient cries from every part of the hall, "The Charter! The Charter! God save the King!"

 

So the charter was brought and solemnly read.

 

Then the secretary stood up. "I pray you, gentlemen," he said, "to observe well the words of the charter on the point of electing a Governor. You see it is thereby left to your own free choice. This I take it is so very plain that we shall not need to say anything more about it. And no doubt these gentlemen when they depart will give his Majesty a just information of the case."

 

This speech was received with great noise and cheering. In the midst of it a friend of Sir Edwin's stood up and begged for silence. And when the noise had abated a little he said, "Sir Edwin asks me to say that he withdraws his name for election. I therefore propose that the King's messengers choose two names and that we choose a third. Then let all these three names be set upon the balloting box. And so go to the election in God's name. And let His will be done."

 

Thereupon with one voice the whole assembly cried out, "Southampton! Southampton!"

 

The King's messengers then pretended that they were quite pleased. "The King," they said, "had no desire to infringe their rights. He desired no more than that Sir Edwin Sandys should not be chosen."

 

Then they named two from the King's list, and the ballot was immediately taken; the result being that one of the King's men had two votes, the other but one, and the Earl of Southampton all the rest.

 

When the King heard of this result he was a little anxious and apologetic. The messengers, he said, had mistaken his intention. He had only meant to recommend his friends, and not to forbid the company to elect any other. But once again Englishmen had fought a duel with tyranny, and won.

 

From this day, however, the King's hatred of the company became deadly. He harassed it in every way and at last in 1624 took its charter away, and made Virginia a Crown Colony. Henceforth in theory at least self-government was taken away from Virginia, and to the King alone belonged the right of appointing the Governor and Council. But in fact the change made little difference to the colony. For in the spring of 1625 King James died, and his son Charles I, who succeeded him upon the throne, had so much else to trouble him that he paid little heed to Virginia.

Virginia a crown colony, 1624


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CHAPTER 19
THE COMING OF THE CAVALIERS

WITH a new King on the throne life in Virginia went on much as it had done. Governors came and went, were good or bad, strong or weak. There were troubles with the Indians, and troubles at home about the sale of tobacco; still the colony lived and prospered. The early days of struggle were over.

 

Virginia now was no longer looked upon as a place of exile where with luck one could make a fortune and return home to England to enjoy it. Men now began to find Virginia a pleasant place, and look upon it as their home. The great woods were full of game, the streams were full of fish, so that the Englishman could shoot and angle to his heart's content. The land was so fertile that he did not need to work half so hard to earn a living as he had to do at home; while the climate was far kindlier.

 

So the colony prospered. And it was to this prosperous colony that in 1642 Sir William Berkeley was appointed Governor. He was a courtly, hot-tempered, imperious gentleman, a thorough cavalier who dressed in satin and lace and ruled like a tyrant. He did not believe in freedom of thought, and he spent a good deal of time persecuting the Puritans who had found refuge in Virginia.

Sir William Berkeley;

For just about the time of Berkeley's appointment a fierce religious war between Cavalier and Puritan was beginning in England, and already some Puritans had fled to Virginia to escape persecution at home. But Berkeley soon showed them that they had come to the wrong place and bade them "depart the Colony with all convenience."

 

Berkeley did not believe in freedom of thought, and he disapproved just as much of education, for that had encouraged freedom of thought. "I thank God," he said some years later, "there are no free schools in Virginia or printing, and I hope we shall not have them these hundred years. For learning has brought disobedience and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both."

his ideas about education

In England the quarrel between King and people grew ever fiercer and more bitter. Virginia so far away heard the echo of it, and there, as in England, men took sides. The men in Virginia were ready enough to stand up to the King and speak their mind when he threatened their liberties. But when they heard that the people in England had taken the King prisoner and were talking of beheading him they were horrified. To lay hands upon his person, to lead him to the block, to take his life! That seemed to them very terrible. And when at length the news of the King's death reached Virginia the Virginians forgot their grievances, they became King's men. And Berkeley, a fervent Royalist, wrote to his brother Royalists at home asking them to come out to Virginia, there to find new homes far from the rule of the hated "usurper" Cromwell.

King Charles beheaded, 1649

Many came, fleeing from their native land "in horror and despairs at the bloody and bitter stroke." Before the year was out at least a thousand Cavaliers had found a home in Virginia. They were kindly, even affectionately, received. Every house was open to them, every hand stretched out to help.

 

In October the House of Burgesses met and at once declared that the beheading of "the late most excellent and now undoubtedly sainted King" was treason. And if any one in Virginia dared to defend "the late traitorous proceedings against the aforesaid King of most happy memory" they too would be found guilty of treason and worthy of death. Worthy of death too should be any one who seemed by word or deed to doubt the right of "his Majesty that now is" to the Colony of Virginia. Thus Charles II, a homeless wanderer, was acknowledged King of Virginia.

Charles II acknowledged King in Virginia

In this manner did little Virginia fling down the gauntlet to Great Britain. It was a daring deed, and one not likely to go unheeded by the watchful Cromwell. Yet two years and more passed. Then British ships appeared off Jamestown. At once the Virginians made ready to resist; cannon were mounted; the gay Cavaliers turned out in force, sword by side, gun in hand. Then a little boat flying a white flag was seen to put off for the shore. It was a messenger from the British captain.

 

It would be much better for them, he said, to yield peacefully than to fight and be beaten. For hold out against the great strength of Britain they could not. His words had weight with the Virginians. Yet long and seriously they debated. Some would have held out, but others saw only misery and destruction in such a course. So at length they surrendered to the might of Cromwell.

 

The conditions were not severe. They had to submit, and take the oath of allegiance to the British Parliament. Those who refused were given a year's time in which to leave the colony. And as for their love of the King? Why, they might pray for him, and drink his health in private, and no man would hinder them. Only in public such things would not be tolerated.

The Virginians yield to Cromwell, 1652

In bitterness of heart the Cavalier Governor gave up his post, sold his house in Jamestown, and went away to live in his great country house at Green Spring. Here amid his apple-trees and orchards he lived in a sort of rural state, riding forth in his great coach, and welcoming with open arms the Cavaliers who came to him for aid and comfort in those evil times.

Governor Berkeley retires

These Cavaliers were men and women of good family. They came from the great houses of England, and in their new homes they continued to lead much the same life as they had done at home. So in Virginia. there grew up a Cavalier society, a society of men and women accustomed to command, accustomed to be waited upon; who drove about in gilded coaches, and dressed in silks and velvets. Thus the plain Virginian farmer became a country squire. From these Cavalier families were descended George Washington, James Madison and other great men who helped to make America.

 

The years of the Commonwealth passed quietly in Virginia. Having made the colonists submit, the Parliament left them to themselves, and Virginia for the first time was absolutely self-governing. But the great Protector died, the Restoration followed, when the careless, pleasure-loving King, Charles II was set upon the throne.

The Restoration, 1660

In Virginia too there was a little Restoration. When the news was brought the Cavaliers flung up their caps and shouted for joy. Bonfires were lit, bells were rung and guns fired, and to the sound of drum and trumpet Charles by the Grace of God King of England, Scotland, France, Ireland and Virginia was proclaimed to all the winds of heaven. A new seal was made upon which were the words "En dat Virginia quintum" meaning "Behold Virginia gives the fifth [dominion]." Henceforth Virginia was often called by the name of the "Old Dominion."

The fifth dominion

Nor was that all. For with the Restoration of the Stuarts Berkeley too was restored. The haughty Cavalier left his country manor house and came back to rule at Jamestown once more, as Governor and Captain General of Virginia.

Berkeley returns;

During the Commonwealth there had been little change made in the government of Virginia, except that the right of voting for the Burgesses had been given to a much larger number of people.

 

That did not please Sir William Berkeley at all. He took away the right from a good many people. When he came back to power too he found the House of Burgesses much to his liking. So instead of having it re-elected every year he kept the same members for fourteen years lest the people should elect others who would not do his bidding.

 

This made the people discontented. But they soon had greater causes for discontent. First there was the Navigation Law. This Law had been passed ten years before, but had never really been put in force in America. By this Law it was ordered that no goods should be exported from the colonies in America except in British ships. Further it was ordered that the colonies should not trade with any country save England and Ireland or "some other of His Majesty's said plantations." It was a foolish law, meant to hurt the Dutch, and put gold into the pockets of British merchants. Instead it drove the colonies to rebellion.

the Navigation Law passed, 1660

Virginia had yet another grievance. Virginia, which for eight years had been self-governing, Virginia which had begun to feel that she had a life of her own, a place of her own among the nations, suddenly found herself given away like some worthless chattel to two of the King's favourites–the Earl of Arlington and Lord Culpeper.

Virginia is given to two of the King's friends, 1673

The careless, laughter-loving King owed much to his friends who had rescued him from beggary, and set him upon his father's throne. Here was an easy way of repaying two of them. If they really desired that wild land beyond the seas, where only savages lived, and where the weed which his pompous grandfather had disliked so much grew, why they should have it! So he carelessly signed his royal name and for a yearly rent of forty shillings "all that dominion of land and water commonly called Virginia" was theirs for the space of thirty-one years.

 

It was but a scratch of the pen to the King. It was everything to the Virginians, and when news of it reached them all Virginia was ablaze. They who had clung to the King in his evil days, they who had been the last people belonging to England to submit to the Commonwealth to be thus tossed to his favourites like some useless toy, without so much as a by your leave! They would not suffer it. And they sent a messenger to England to lay their case before the King.

 

As to Charles, he was lazily astonished to find that any one objected to such a little trifle. And with his usual idle good nature he promised that it should be altered. But he had no intention of hurrying. Meanwhile out in Virginia events were hastening.

 


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CHAPTER 20
BACON'S REBELLION

FOR some time now the Indians had been an increasing terror to the white men. They had grown restless and uneasy at the constantly widening borders of the settlements. Day by day the forest was cleared, the cornfields stretched farther and farther inland, and the Redman saw himself driven farther and farther from his hunting-ground.

 

So anger arose in the Redman's heart. He lurked in the forests which girded the lonely farms and, watching his opportunity, crept stealthily forth to slay and burn. Settler after settler was slain in cold blood, or done to death with awful tortures, and his pleasant homestead was given to the flames. Day by day the tale of horror grew, till it seemed at length that no farm along the borders of the colony was safe from destruction. Yet the Governor did nothing.

The wrath of the Indians

Helplessly the Virginians raged against his sloth and tyranny. He was a traitor to his trust, they declared, and feared to wage war on the Indians lest it should spoil his fur trade with them. But that was not so. A deadlier fear than that kept Berkeley idle. He knew how his tyranny had made the people hate him, and he feared to arm them and lead them against the Indians, lest having subdued these foes they should turn their arms against him.

 

But the men of Virginia were seething with discontent and ripe for rebellion. All they wanted was a leader, and soon they found one. This leader was Nathaniel Bacon, a young Englishman who had but lately come to the colony. He was dashing and handsome, had winning ways and a persuasive tongue. He was the very man for a popular leader, and soon at his back he had an army of three hundred armed settlers, "one and all at his devotion."

Nathaniel Bacon;

Bacon then sent to the Governor asking for a commission to go against the Indians. But Berkeley put him off with one excuse after another; until at length goaded into rebellion Bacon and his men determined to set out, commission or no commission.

 

But they had not gone far when a messenger came spurring behind them in hot haste. He came with a proclamation from the Governor denouncing them all as rebels, and bidding them disperse at once on pain of forfeiting their lands and goods. Some obeyed, but the rest went on with Bacon, and only returned after having routed the Indians. Their defeat was so severe that the battle is known as the Battle of Bloody Run, because it was said the blood of the Indians made red the stream which flowed near the battlefield.

he is proclaimed a rebel

Battle of Bloody Run, 1676

The Indians for the time were cowed, and Bacon marched slowly home with his men.

 

Meanwhile Berkeley had gathered horses and men and had ridden out to crush this turbulent youth. But hearing suddenly that the people had risen in revolt, he hastened back to Jamestown with all speed. He saw he must do something to appease the people. So he dissolved the House of Burgesses which for fourteen years had done his bidding, and ordered a new election. This pacified the people somewhat. But they actually elected the rebel Bacon as one of the members of the House.

The Assembly dissolved, 1676

Bacon was not, however, altogether to escape the consequences of his bold deeds. As soon as he returned he was taken prisoner and led before the Governor. The stern old Cavalier received this rebel with cool civility.

 

"Mr. Bacon," he said, "have you forgot to be a gentleman?"

 

"No, may it please your honour," answered Bacon,

 

"Then," said the Governor, "I will take your parole."

 

So Bacon was set free until the House of Burgesses should meet. Meantime he was given to understand that if he made open confession of his misdeeds in having marched against the Indians without a commission, he would be forgiven, receive his commission, and be allowed to fight the Indians. It was not easy to make this proud young man bend his knee. But to gain his end Bacon consented to beg forgiveness for what he deemed no offence. The Governor meant it to be a solemn occasion, one not lightly to be forgotten. So when the burgesses and council were gathered the Governor stood up.

 

"If there be joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth," he said, "there is joy now, for we have a penitent sinner come before us. Call Mr. Bacon."

Bacon is called before the House of Burgesses

The doors were thrown wide open and in marched Bacon, tall and proud, looking grave indeed but little like a repentant sinner. At the bar of the House he knelt on one knee, and reading from a paper written out for him confessed his crimes, begging pardon from God, the King, and the Governor.

 

When his clear young voice ceased the old Governor spoke.

 

"God forgive you," he said, solemnly. "I forgive you." Three times he repeated the words and was silent.

 

"And all that were with him?" asked one of the council.

 

"Yea," said the Governor, "and all that were with him."

 

Thus the matter seemed ended. There was peace again and the House could now proceed to further business.

 

Part of that business was to settle what was to be done about the Indian war. Some of the people hoped that they might get help from friendly Indians. So the Indian Queen, Pamunky, had been asked to come to the Assembly and say what help she would give. Her tribe was the same as that over which the Powhatan had ruled so long ago. And although it was now but a shadow of its former self she had still about a hundred and fifty braves at command whose help the Englishmen were anxious to gain.

Queen Pamunky

Queen Pamunky entered the Assembly with great dignity, and with an air of majesty walked slowly up the long room. Her walk was so graceful, her gestures so courtly, that every one looked at her in admiration. Upon her head she wore a crown of black and white wampum. Her robe was made of deer skin and covered her from shoulders to feet, the, edges of it being slit into fringes six inches deep. At her right hand walked an English interpreter, at her left her son, a youth of twenty.

 

When Queen Pamunky reached the table she stood still looking at the members coldly and gravely, and only at their urgent request did she sit down. Beside her, as they had entered the room, stood her son and interpreter on either hand.

 

When she was seated the chairman asked her how many men she would send to help them against the enemy Indians. All those present were quite sure that she understood English, but she would not speak to the chairman direct, and answered him through her interpreter, bidding him speak to her son.

 

The young Indian chieftain however also refused to reply. So again the Queen was urged to say how many men she could send.

 

For some minutes she sat still, as if in deep thought. Then in a shrill high voice full of passionate fervour, and trembling as if with tears, she spoke in her own tongue, and ever and anon amid the tragic torrent of sound the words "Tatapatamoi chepiack, Tatapatamoi chepiack" could be heard.

she reproaches the white men;

Few present understood her. But one of the members did, and shook his head sadly.

 

"What she says is too true, to our shame be it said," he sighed. "My father was general in that battle of which she speaks. Tatapatamoi was her husband, and he led a hundred men against our enemies, and was there slain with most of his company. And from that day to this no recompense has been given to her. Therefore she upbraids us, and cries, 'Tatapatamoi is dead.'"

 

When they heard the reason for the Indian Queen's anger many were filled with sympathy for her.

 

The chairman however was a crusty old fellow, and he was quite unmoved by the poor Queen's passion of grief and anger. Never a word did he say to comfort her distress, not a sign of sympathy did he give. He rudely brushed aside her vehement appeal, and repeated his question.

 

"What men will you give to help against the enemy Indians?"

 

With quivering nostrils, and flashing eyes, the Indian Queen drew herself up scornfully, she looked at him, then turned her face away, and sat mute.

 

Three times he repeated his question.

 

Then in a low disdainful voice, her head still turned away, she muttered in her own language "Six."

 

This would never do. The lumbering old chairman argued and persuaded, while the dusky Queen sat sullenly silent. At length she uttered one word as scornfully as the last. "Twelve," she said. Then rising, she walked proudly and gravely from the hall.

 

Thus did the blundering old fellow of a chairman, for the lack of a few kindly words, turn away the hearts of the Indians, and lose their help at a moment when it was sorely needed.

she leaves the Assembly in anger

The new House had many other things to discuss besides the Indian wars, and the people, who had been kept out of their rights for so long, now made up for lost time. They passed laws with feverish haste. They restored manhood suffrage, did away with many class privileges, and in various ways instituted reforms. Afterwards these laws were known as Bacon's Laws.

Bacon's Laws

But meanwhile Bacon was preparing a new surprise for every one.

 

One morning the town was agog with news. "Bacon has fled, Bacon has fled!" cried every one.

Bacon flees from Jamestown;

It was true. Bacon had grown tired of waiting for the commission which never came. So he was off to raise the country. A few days later he marched back again at the head of six hundred men.

 

At two o'clock one bright June day the sounds of drum and trumpet were heard mingled with the tramp of feet and the clatter of horses' hoofs; and General Bacon, as folk began to call him now, drew up his men not an arrow's flight from the State House.

he returns;

The people of Jamestown rushed to the spot. Every window and balcony was crowded with eager excited people. Men, women and children jostled each other on the green, as Bacon, with a file of soldiers on either hand, marched to the State House.

 

The white-haired old Governor, shaking with anger, came out to meet the insolent young rebel. With trembling fingers he tore at the fine lace ruffles of his shirt, baring his breast.

 

"Here I am!" he cried. "Shoot me! 'Fore God 'tis a fair mark. Shoot me! Shoot me!" he repeated in a frenzy.

 

But Bacon answered peaceably enough. "No, may it please your honour," he said, "we will not hurt a hair of your head, nor of any other man's. We are come for a commission to save our lives from the Indians which you have so often promised. And now we will have it before we go."

he demands a commission;

But when the stern old Cavalier refused to listen to him, Bacon too lost his temper, and laying his hand on his sword, swore he would kill the Governor, Council, Assembly and all, rather than forego his commission. His men, too, grew impatient and filled the air with their shouts.

 

"We will have it, we will have it!" they cried, at the same time pointing their loaded guns at the windows of the State House.

 

Minute by minute the uproar increased, till at length one of the Burgesses, going to a window, waved his handkerchief ("a pacifeck handkercher" a quaint old record calls it) and shouted, "You shall have it, you shall have it."

 

So the tumult was quieted. A commission was drawn up making Bacon Commander-in-Chief of the army against the Indians, and a letter was written to the King praising him for what he had done against them. But the stern old Governor was still unbending, and not till next day was he browbeaten into signing both papers.

 

The young rebel had triumphed. But Berkeley was not yet done with him, for the same ship which carried the letter of the Burgesses to the King also carried a private letter from Berkeley in which he gave his own account of the business. "I have for above thirty years governed the most flourishing country the sun ever shone over," he wrote, "but am now encompassed with rebellion like waters."

he triumphs;

And as soon as Bacon was safely away, and at grips once more with the Indians, the Governor again proclaimed him and his followers to be rebels and traitors.

is again proclaimed a rebel;

Bacon had well-nigh crushed the Indian foe when this news was brought to him. He was cut to the quick by the injustice.

 

"I am vexed to the heart," he said, "for to think that while I am hunting Indian wolves, tigers, and foxes which daily destroy our harmless sheep and lambs, that I, and those with me, should be pursued with a full cry, as a more savage and no less ravenous beast."

 

So now in dangerous mood he marched back to Jamestown. Things were looking black for him, but his men were with him heart and soul. When one of them, a Scotsman named Drummond, was warned that this was rebellion he replied recklessly, "I am in over shoes, I will be in over boots."

 

His wife was even more bold. "This is dangerous work," said some one, "and England will have something to say to it."

 

Then Sarah Drummond picked up a twig, and snapping it in two, threw it down again. "I fear the power of England no more than that broken straw," she cried.

 

Bacon now issued a manifesto in reply to Berkeley's proclamation, declaring that he and his followers could not find in their hearts one single spot of rebellion or treason. "Let Truth be bold," he cried, "and let all the world know the real facts of this matter." He appealed to the King against Sir William, who had levied unjust taxes, who had failed to protect the people against the Indians, who had traded unjustly with them, and done much evil to his Majesty's true subjects.

 

So far there had only been bitter words between the old Governor and the young rebel, and Bacon had never drawn his sword save against the Indians. Now he turned it against the Governor, and, marching on Jamestown, burned it to the ground, and Berkeley, defeated, fled to Accomac.

he burns Jamestown

Everywhere Bacon seemed successful, and from Jamestown he marched northward to settle affairs there also "after his own measures." But a grim and all-conquering captain had now taken up arms against this victorious rebel–Captain Death, whom even the greatest soldier must obey. And on October 1st, 1676, Bacon laid down his sword for ever. He had been the heart and soul of the rebellion, and with his death it collapsed swiftly and completely.

 

Bacon was now beyond the Governor's wrath, but he wreaked his vengeance on those who had followed him. For long months the rebels were hunted and hounded, and when caught they were hanged without mercy. The first to suffer was Colonel Thomas Hansford. He was a brave man and a gentleman, and all he asked was that he might be shot like a soldier, and not hanged like a dog. But the wrathful Governor would not listen to his appeal, and he was hanged. On the scaffold he spoke to those around, praying them to remember that he died a loyal subject of the King, and a lover of his country. He has been called the first martyr to American liberty.

Thomas Hansford

Another young Major named Cheesman was condemned to death, but died in prison, some say by poison.

 

The Governor, when he was brought before him, asked fiercely: "What reason had you for rebellion?"

 

But before the Major could reply his young wife stepped from the surrounding crowd, and threw herself upon her knees before the Governor. "It was my doing," she cried. "I persuaded him, and but for me he would never have done it. I am guilty, not he. I pray you therefore let me be hanged, and he be pardoned."

A brave lady

But the old Cavalier's heart was filled to overflowing with a frenzy of hate. He was utterly untouched by the poor lady's brave and sad appeal, and answered her only with bitter, insulting words.

 

Drummond too was taken. He was indeed "in over boots" and fearless to the last. The Governor was overjoyed at his capture, and with mocking ceremony swept his hat from his head, and, bowing low, cried exultantly, "Mr. Drummond, you are very welcome. I am more glad to see you than any man in Virginia. Mr. Drummond, you shall be hanged in half an hour."

 

"What your honour pleases," calmly replied Drummond. And so he died.

 

It seemed as if the Governor's vengeance would never be satisfied. But at length the House met, and petitioned him to spill no more blood. "For," said one of the members, "had we let him alone he would have hanged half the country."

 

News of his wild doings, too, were carried home, and reached even the King's ears. "The old fool," cried he, "has hanged more men in that naked country than I did for the murder of my father." So Berkeley was recalled.

Berkeley is recalled, 1677;

At his going the whole colony rejoiced. Guns were fired and bonfires lit to celebrate the passing of the tyrant.

 

Berkeley did not live long after his downfall. He had hoped that when he saw the King, and explained to him his cause, that he would be again received into favour. But his hopes were vain. The King refused to see him, and he who had given up everything, even good name and fame, in his King's cause died broken-hearted, a few months later.

he dies heartbroken


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CHAPTER 21
THE STORY OF THE KNIGHTS OF THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE

BACON was driven into rebellion by evil government and tyranny. But the rising did little good. Bacon's Laws were done away with and Lord Culpeper, one of the two nobles to whom Charles II had given Virginia, came out as Governor. He soon showed himself a greedy tyrant, caring nothing for the happiness of his people, and bent only on making money for himself.

Lord Culpeper

Other governors followed him, many of them worthless, some never taking the trouble to come to Virginia at all. They stayed at home, accepting large sums of money, and letting other people do the work. But they were not all worthless and careless. Some were good, and one of the best was a Scotsman, Alexander Spotswood. He was a lieutenant governor. That is, the Governor in name was the Earl of Orkney, who was given the post as a reward for his great services as a soldier. But he never crossed the Atlantic to visit his noble province. Instead he sent others to rule for him. They were in fact the real governors, although they were called lieutenant governors.

Alexander Spotswood, Governor from 1710-22

Spotswood loved Virginia, and he did all he could to make the colony prosperous. He saw that the land was rich in minerals, and that much could be done with iron ore. So he built smelting furnaces, and altogether was so eager over it that he was called the Tubal Cain of Virginia. For Tubal Cain, you remember, "was an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron."

 

Spotswood also planted vines, and brought over a colony of Germans to teach the people how to grow them properly, and make wine. It was he, too, who first explored "the West."

 

Virginia up till now had lain between the sea and the blue range of mountains which cut it off from the land behind. To the English that was a land utterly unknown. All they knew was that the French were claiming it. But Governor Spotswood wanted to know more. So one August he gathered a company of friends, and set forth on an exploring expedition. With servants and Indian guides they made a party of about fifty or so, and a jolly company they were. They hunted by the way, and camped beneath the stars. There was no lack of food and drink, and it was more like a prolonged picnic than an exploring expedition.

The unknown West

The explorers reached the Blue Ridge, and, climbing to the top of a pass, looked down upon the beautiful wild valley beyond, through which wound a shining river. Spotswood called the river the Euphrates. But fortunately the name did not stick, and it is still called by its beautiful Indian name of Shenandoah.

 

Spotswood named the highest peak he saw Mount George in honour of the King, and his companions gave the next highest peak the name of Mount Alexander in honour of the Governor whose Christian name was Alexander. Then they went down into the valley below, and on the banks of the river they buried a bottle, inside which they had put a paper declaring that the whole valley belonged to George I, King by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, Ireland and Virginia.

 

After that the merry party turned homewards. They climbed to the top of the gap, took a last look at the fair valley of the unknown West, and then went down once more into the familiar plains of Virginia.

 

For this expedition all the horses were shod with iron, a thing very unusual in Virginia where there were no hard or stony roads. So as a remembrance of their pleasant time together Spotswood gave each of his companions a gold horseshoe set with precious stones for nails. Graven upon them were the Latin words, Sic juvat transcendere montes which mean, "Thus it is a pleasure to cross the mountains." Later all those who took part in the expedition were called Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.

 

Up to about this time the people in Virginia had been altogether English. Now a change came.

 

In France Louis XIV was persecuting the Protestants, or Huguenots, as they were called. He ordered them all to become Catholics or die, and he forbade them to leave the country. But thousands of them refused to give up their religion, and in spite of the King's commands they stole away from the country by secret ways. Many of them found a refuge in America.

Huguenots come to Virginia, 1700

In the north of Ireland, which had been settled chiefly by Scotsmen, the Presbyterians were being persecuted by the Church of England; at the same time the English Parliament was hampering their trade with unfair laws. So to escape from this double persecution many Scotch-Irish fled to America.

Irish come to Virginia

In Germany too the Protestants were being persecuted by the Catholic Princes. They too fled to America.

Germans come to Virginia

All these widely varying refugees found new homes in other colonies as well as in Virginia, as we shall presently hear. In Virginia it was chiefly to the Shenandoah Valley that they came, that valley which Spotswood and his knights of the Golden Horseshoe had seen and claimed for King George. The coming of these new people changed Virginia a good deal.

 

After the death of King Charles the coming of the Cavaliers had made Virginia Royalist and aristocratic, so now the coming of those persecuted Protestants and Presbyterians tended to make it democratic. That is, the coming of the Cavaliers increased the number of those who believed in the government of the many by the few. The coming of the European Protestants increased the number of those who believed in the government of the people by the people.

 

So in the House of Burgesses there were scenes of excitement. But these were no longer in Jamestown, for the capital had been removed to Williamsburg. Jamestown, you remember, had been burned by Bacon. Lord Culpeper however rebuilt it. But a few years later it was again burned down by accident. It had never been a healthy spot; no one seemed very anxious to build it again, so it was forsaken, and Williamsburg became and remained the capital for nearly a hundred years.

Williamsburg becomes the capital, 1705

To-day all that is left of Jamestown, the first home of Englishmen in America, is the ivy-grown ruin of the church.