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The First English Colony

Se English Claim to America—Voyages of Frobisher—Exploits of Sir Francis Drake-Sir Humphrey Gilbert-Intends to Found a Colony in America—Is Lost at Sea—Sir Walter Raleigh Obtains a Patent of Colonization-Discoveries of Amidas and Barlow-Raleigh Sends Out a Colony to Virginia -- Settlement on Roanoke Island—Its Failure -Arrival of Grenville-Second Effort of Raleigh to Colonize Virginia—Roanoke Island Again Settled— The "City of Raleigh”–Virginia Dare-Fate of the Colony-Death of Raleigh-Other Voyages of the English.


HOUGH England had made no large mass of yellow earth was found which

effort to colonize America during was believed to contain gold. The ships. the long period we have been con- were loaded with this, and all sail was made

sidering, she never abandoned her for home, only to find on reaching England claims to that region, claims which were that their cargo was but a heap of worthless based upon the discoveries and explorations dirt. A third voyage with fifteen ships was of John and Sebastian Cabot. The voy attempted in 1578, but no gold was found, ages of her fishermen to Newfoundland kept and the extreme northern latitudes were the country fresh in the minds of the sea- ascertained to be too bleak for colonization. faring Englishmen, and from time to time Between the years 1577 and 1580 Sir voyages were made to the American coast Francis Drake sailed to the Pacific, and by for the purpose of trading with the savages. levying exactions upon the Spanish settleUnder Elizabeth, who pursued the wise pol. ments on the western coast of America icy of fosterirg her navy, a race of hardy and acquired an immense treasure. As Bancroft daring sailors grew up in England, and car- well observes, this part of Drake's career ried the flag of their country into every sea. "was but a splendid piracy against a nation

In this reign Martin Frobisher with two with which his sovereign and his country small ships made a voyage to the frozen professed to be at peace.” Having acquired regions of Labrador in search of the north- this enormous wealth Drake applied himself west passage. He failed to find it, but pene- to the more useful task of discovery. Crosstrated farther north than any European had ing the equator he sailed northward, as far yetgone, A. D. 1576. His second voyage was as the southern part of Oregon, in the hope made the next year, and was undertaken in of finding a northern passage between the the hope of finding gold, as one of the stones

The cold seemed very great to voyhe had brought home on his first cruise had agers just from the tropics, and he abandoned been pronounced by the refiners of London to his attempt and returned southward to a contain the precious metal.

harbor on the coast of Mexico. Here he The fleet did not advance as far north as refitted his ship, and then returned to EngFrobisher had done on his first attempt, as a land through the seas of Asia, having


circumnavigated the globe, a feat which had | lieved that a lucrative trade might be opened been accomplished only by the ship of with the new world by the planting of a colMagellan.

ony within its limits. He obtained authority It was not the splendid but demoralizing from Queen Elizabeth to establish such a achievements of Drake which led the way to colony in the vicinity of the fisheries.

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the establishment of the English power in In 1578 he sailed to America on a voyAmerica. That was the work of the hum age of discovery, and in August of that year ble fishermen who sailed on their yearly landed at St. Johns, Newfoundland and took voyages to the banks of Newfoundland. The formal possession of the country for England.

. · progress of this valuable industry was closely He then sailed to the southward, exploring watched by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who be the coast, but lost his largest ship with all board. This made it necessary for him Sir Humphrey Gilbert. He was given ample to return home, as the two vessels which re- powers over the region he proposed to colmained to him were too small to attenpt a onize, as its feudal lord, and was bound to protracted voyage. One of them, called the maintain the authority of the queen and “Squirrel,” was a mere boat of ten tons. church of England in his possessions. Unwilling to expose his men to a danger

An Inviting Country. which he would not face, Sir Humphrey took

He fitted out two vessels, commanded re passage in the “ Squirrel " instead of in the

spectively by Philip Amidas and Arthur Bar larger and safer vessel.

low, and sent them to explore the region Terrific Storm.

granted to him, and to obtain accurate inforOn the homeward voyage the ships en

mation concerning it. They reached the countered a terrific storm. In the midst of

In the midst of coast of North Carolina at Ocracock Inlet, the gale the people on the “ Hind,” the larger They partially explored Albemarle and Pam

and took formal possession of the country. ship, saw Sir Humphrey sitting at the stern of his little vessel, which was laboring pain

lico Sounds, together with the neighboring fully in the heavy seas. He was calmly reading a book, perhaps that sublimest of books, from which he had drawn the pure principles that guided his whole life. As the “Hind” passed him he called out to those on board of her, “ We are as near to heaven by sea as by land.” That night the lights of the “Squirrel” suddenly disappeared, and the good Sir Humphrey was seen no more. The " Hind” continued her voyage, and reached Falmouth in safety.

Sir Walter Raleigh, Gilbert's half brother, had been interested in this expedition, but its ill success did not dishearten him. He was one of the noblest spirits of his age,

and has laid the world under heavy obligations to him by his many noble services in the cause of humanity. He had served in the army of the Huguenots of France under Coligni, and had heard from the voyagers

SIR WALTER RALEIGH. sent out by that leader of the richness and beauty of Carolina.

coast and islands. It was the month of July, Undaunted by the sad fate of Sir Hum- and the climate was delightful, the sea was phrey Gilbert, Raleigh determined to plant calm, the atmosphere clear, and the heat was a colony in the region from which the tempered by the delicious sea-breeze.. The Huguenots had been driven. He had no woods abounded with birds and echoed with difficulty in obtaining from the queen a pat- their carols, and wild grapes were found in ent as liberal as that which had been granted the greatest profusion.


The explorers were enchanted with this mand of the fleet, and Ralph Lane, who was delightful region, and returning to England also a man of considerable distinction, was published glowing accounts of it. They made governor of the colony. took with them two Indians, named Wan- The fleet sailed from Plymouth on the chese and Manteo, the latter of whom after- ninth of April, 1585, and after a long and wards did good service to the colonists as an trying voyage reached Ocracock Inlet in interpreter. Queen Elizabeth deemed her June. Passing through the inlet, a settlereign honored by the discoveries of Amidas ment was established on Roanoke Island,

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and Barlow, and gave to the new region the lying between Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. name of Virginia in honor of England's vir- Expeditions were sent out to explore the gin queen.

surrounding country, and in one of these a Raleigh at once set to work to organize a silver cup was stolen by an Indian, and its colony. Emigrants volunteered readily, and restoration was delayed. With thoughtless in a short time a fleet of seven vessels, con- cruelty Grenville punished this fault by the taining one hundred and eight persons, apart destruction of the village to which the culprit from the crews, was in readiness. Sir Rich- belonged, and also of all the standing corn. ard Grenville, a friend of Raleigh, and a man This inconsiderate revenge made the Indians of tried skill and bravery, was given the com- the enemies of the whites, and brought great future suffering upon the colony. A little the inhabitants. Many of the plants were later, having seen the colonists successfully strange to them. Among these were the established on Roanoke Island, Grenville Indian corn, tobacco and the sweet potato. returned to England with the fleet, captur- | Hariot, “the inventor of the system of nota.

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ing a rich Spanish prize on the voyage | tion in modern algebra, the historian of the home.

expedition," observed these plants and their Left to themselves the colonists began to culture with great minuteness, and became a explore the country, and to observe the firm believer in the healing virtues of productions of the soil, and the character of tobacco. He has left an interesting account

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