Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

chapTER fornia. He entered the bay of San Francisco, called by

1580.

1583.

August.

the English after his name; but, disappointed in finding
a passage to the eastward, he directed his course to the
Cape of Good Hope, whence he returned to England, thus
completing the second circumnavigation of the globe.
Notwithstanding the loud complaints of the Spanish em-
bassador, Drake not only went unpunished, but was
favorably received at court; and hostilities with Spain
now became open and flagrant.
Just before the expiration of the six years limited in
his patent, Gilbert undertook a second voyage. He
reached Newfoundland with three ships, and found in
the harbor of St. John's thirty-six vessels of different na-
tions employed in the fishery. In presence of the crews,
he took possession of the island in the name of Queen
Elizabeth; imposed a contribution of provisions upon the
vessels; made grants of land, with a reservation of rent
to himself; declared the Church of England to be the
established religion; and the attempting any thing
against the queen's title to be treason. He then set sail
for the continent; but, as he approached the shore, his
largest vessel struck a shoal or ledge, and was lost. Dis-
heartened at this accident, the other two ships put about
and steered for England, but that which carried Gilbert
foundered on the passage.
The scheme of American colonization was immediately
taken up by Walter Raleigh, Gilbert's half brother, per-
haps the companion of his first voyage, and certainly a
partner in the second—then a young man just coming
forward, the most restless and ambitious, as he was the
most versatile and accomplished, of all Elizabeth's cour-
tiers. Raleigh easily obtained from the queen, with
whom he had suddenly become a great favorite, a pat-
ent nearly in the terms of that granted to Gilbert; but

an additional clause, suggested doubtless by the remon- chapTER strances of the merchants engaged in the Newfoundland trade, expressly forbade any interference with the fisher- 1584. men there. Placed thus under the necessity of selecting for his colony a more southerly latitude, and having persuaded several others to unite with him in the enterprise, Raleigh dispatched two experienced commanders, Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow, to reconnoiter the coast.

After a prosperous voyage by way of the Canaries and the West Indies, these commanders made the land in the vicinity of Cape Fear. Coasting northeasterly in search of a harbor—not easily to be found on that coast —they reached Ocracoke Inlet, and landed at a spot which the natives called Wococon, the point of a long, July 13. narrow island, which separates Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic. Here they were soon visited by the Indians of the neighborhood, who received them with hospitality, and were eager to trade. By their invitation the vessels entered the sound, and visited Roanoke, a low and sandy island situate in the passage from the Sound of Pamlico to that of Albemarle, names, however, as yet unknown. At this island, the seat of an Indian village, an advantageous traffic was opened with the natives, who feasted their visitors on venison, fish, berries, and hominy—made of Indian corn broken and boiled—a dish still familiar throughout the Southern States. Two of the tribe even volunteered to visit England.

The vigorous vegetation of these sandy islands, so much in contrast with the stunted growth of Newfoundland, concealed the poverty of the soil. The stately oaks, the cedars, cypresses, pines, bays, magnolias, and other evergreens, gave a deceptive idea of great fertility. The ships were loaded with cedar, to which were added skins and furs purchased of the Indians, and sassafras, which

chosen the Spaniards had already found in Florida, and intro

1584.

Dec.

1585. April.

June.

duced into Europe as a medicinal and precious aromatic. The explorers, on their return, made a flattering report of their discoveries, and the name VIRGINLA was bestowed on this promising region, it is uncertain whether by the virgin queen herself or by the dexterous Raleigh. Raleigh was knighted, his patent was confirmed by act of Parliament, and, according to the queen's fashion of enriching her courtiers by the gift of monopolies, she conferred upon him the exclusive sale of sweet wines, the profits of which might aid him in planting a colony. Thus encouraged, Raleigh soon fitted out seven vessels well furnished with every requisite for a settlement. Grenville, a successful cruiser against the Spaniards, was naval commander ; Lane, knighted subsequently by Queen Elizabeth for his military services, was to be governor; Hariot, a man of science, was appointed to investigate the native productions and natural history of the colony; Wythe, an ingenious painter, went as draftsman. With all the expenses of this expedition on his shoulders, Raleigh contributed also to fit out his friend Davis, who renewed, about this time, the search for a northwest passage to India, and, penetrating toward the polar circle, first explored the entrance into Baffin's Bay. Grenville sailed by way of the West Indies, where he cruised awhile for Spanish prizes. Following the coast of Florida toward the north, he narrowly escaped shipwreck on Cape Fear, which now first received that ominous name. The ships reached Wococon in safety, but one grounded while entering the sound. The colonists were landed on the Island of Roanoke. Manteo, one of the Indians carried to England, and now brought back as guide and interpreter, was sent to the main land to announce their arrival. The Indians were still friendly, and, under their guidance, the shores of the sound were chores explored and several Indian villages were visited. Unfortunately, at one of these villages a silver cup was sto- 1585. len; Grenville returned to demand it, and, when its restoration was evaded or delayed, with the reckless violence characteristic of the adventurers of that age, and, indeed, of most voyagers among savage nations, he burned the village and destroyed the standing corn. Having forfeited, by this rash and hasty act, the good will of the Indians, so essential to the infant colony, Grenville presently sailed on his return voyage. On his way home he captured a rich Spanish prize. The plunder of the Spaniards seems indeed to have attracted more of his attention than the settlement of the colony. Left behind with an hundred and ten men, Lane employed himself in exploring the neighborhood. In a southwest direction he penetrated as far as Secotan, an Indian town between the Pamlico and the Neuse. In the district north of Albemarle Sound he found the tribe of the Chesapeakes, from whom he obtained some vague account of the great bay, still known by their name. He also examined the western extremity of the sound, and ascended the Chowan as high as the junction of its two principal branches. The River Roanoke attracted his attention; the Indian chief of that neighborhood, anxious, perhaps, to get rid of these intruders, told a marvelous tale, suggested, no doubt, by the questions put to him, of a pearl fishery, a gold mine, and a western ocean —so at least his story was interpreted—near the shores of which the River Roanoke had its rise. The Spanish pearl fishery at the Island of Margarita, on the southern coast of the Caribbean Sea, and the gold and silver of the Spanish colonies, encouraged all the adventurers of that day with the hope of similar discoveries every

chapter where in America. Commerce on the great scale of the III,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

present times was still unknown. So far as the intercourse of distant nations was concerned, trade was limited to a few articles of rare and precious character. It was articles of that sort which made the commerce to India seem so great an object, and the discovery of a western passage thither so important. Seduced by delusive tales which seemed to him sufficiently credible, Lane attempted to ascend the Roanoke; nor did he give over the enterprise till he and his companions had nearly perished with hunger.

As summer approached, the stores of the Indians were exhausted, and because they omitted to re-plant their corn-fields in the Island of Roanoke, they were accused of a treacherous design to starve out the colomists. A leading chief of that district, suspected of a plot to murder the English, was drawn into an ambush under pretense of a parley, and treacherously slain, with eight of his warriors. The scarcity of provisions having obliged the colonists to disperse in search of food, a small party on Cape Look-out, much to their surprise, descried at sea a fleet of twenty-three sail. It was Sir Francis Drake, on his way home from a new plundering expedition, in the course of which he had levied contributions on Carthagena, St. Domingo, and the little town of St. Augustine in Florida. Aware of the existence of Raleigh's colony, he had followed the shore in hopes of discovering it. The signals waved from Cape Look-out were presently seen, and Drake opened a communication with Lane, and gave him a ship, a pinnace, and several boats, with a supply of provisions. He also persuaded two of his captains to remain in the colony. But a sudden storm arose, against which the open roadstead where

Drake's vessels lay at anchor afforded no protection. To

« ПредишнаНапред »