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food, and determined not to remain. Fear of an CHAP. assault from the Indians, who had ceased to be
1602. friendly, the want of provisions, and jealousy respecting the distribution of the risks and profits, defeated the design. The whole party soon set sail and bore for England. The return voyage lasted June but five weeks; and the expedition was completed in less than four months, during which entire health had prevailed.
Gosnold and his companions spread the most favorable reports of the regions, which he had visited. Could it be, that the voyage was so safe, the climate so pleasant, the country so inviting? The merchants of Bristol, with the ready assent of Raleigh,” and at the instance of Richard Hakluyt, the enlightened friend and able documentary historian of these commercial enterprizes, a man, whose fame should be vindicated and asserted in the land which he helped to colonize, determined to pursue the career of investigation. The Speedwell, a small ship of fifty tuns and thirty men, the Discoverer, a bark of twenty-six tuns and thirteen men, under the command of Martin Pring, set sail for America, a 1603.
April few days after the death of the queen. It was a
was a pri
pri- *10. vate undertaking, and therefore not retarded by that event. The ship was well provided with trinkets and merchandize, suited to a traffic with the natives;
1 On the voyage, see the origin- Brierton's Relation, in Smith, v. i.
CHAP. and this voyage also was successful. It reached the
American coast among the islands, which skirt the harbors of Maine. The mouth of the Penobscot offered good anchorage and fishing. Pring made a discovery of the eastern rivers and harbors; the Saco, the Kennebunk, and the York; and the channel of the Piscataqua was examined for three or four leagues. Meeting no sassafras, he steered for the south; doubled Cape Ann; and went on shore in Massachusetts; but, being still unsuccessful, he again pursued a southerly track, and finally anchored in Old Town harbor, on Martha's Vineyard. The
whole absence lasted about six months, and was 1606. completed without disaster or danger. Pring, a
few years later, repeated his voyage, and made a more accurate survey of Maine.
Enterprizes for discovery were now continuous. Bartholomew Gilbert, returning from the West Indies, made an unavailing search for the colony of Raleigh. It was the last attempt to trace the remains of those unfortunate men. But as the testimony of Pring had confirmed the reports of Gos
nold, the career of navigation was vigorously pursued. 1605. An expedition, promoted by the earl of Southampton
and Lord Arundel, of Wardour, and commanded by George Weymouth, who, in attempting a northwest passage, had already explored the coast of Labrador, now discovered the Penobscot river. Weymouth left England in March ; and, in about six weeks,
1 See the original account, in ography, v. ii. p. 123–133 ; WilPurchas, v. iv. p. 1654–1656. liamson's Maine, v. i. p. 185–187. Compare Belknap's American Bi- 2 Purchas, v. iv. p. 1656-1658. 1 On the voyage, see Rosier's can Biography, v. ii. p. 134_150; Virginian Voyage, &c. in Purchas, Williamson's Maine, v. i. p. 191– v. iv. p. 1659—1667; Sir Ferdi- 195. It is strange with what nand Gorges' Brief Narration, c. ii. reckless confidence Oldıixon, v. p. 3. Compare Belknap's Ameri- i. p. 219, 220, can blunder.
came in sight of the American continent near Cape CHAP. Cod. Turning to the north, he approached the coast of Maine, and ascended the western branch of the Penobscot beyond Belfast bay; where the deep channel of the broad stream, the abundance of its spacious harbors, the neighboring springs and copious rivulets, compelled the experienced mariner to admire the noble river, which is just now beginning to have upon its banks and in its ports the flourishing settlements and active commerce, that it is by nature so well adapted to sustain. Five natives were decoyed on board the ship, and Weymouth, returning to England, gave three of them to Sir Ferdinand Gorges, a friend of Raleigh, and governor of Plymouth."
Such were the voyages, which led the way to the colonization of the United States. The daring and skill of these earliest adventurers upon the ocean deserve the highest admiration. The difficulties of crossing the Atlantic were new, and it required the greater courage to encounter hazards, which ignorance exaggerated. The character of the prevalent winds and currents was unknown. The possibility of making a direct passage was but gradually discovered. The imagined dangers were infinite; the real dangers, exceedingly great. The ships, at first employed for discovery, were generally of less than one hundred tons burthen; Frobisher sailed in a
CHAP. vessel of but twenty-five tons; two of those of Co
lumbus were without a deck; and so perilous were the voyages deemed, that the sailors were accustomed, before embarking, to perform solemn acts of devotion, as if to prepare for eternity. The anticipation of disasters was not visionary; Columbus was shipwrecked twice, and once remained for eight months on an island, without any communication with the civilized world; Hudson was turned adrift in a small boat, by a crew, whom suffering had rendered mutinous; Willoughby perished with cold; Roberval, Parmenius, Gilbert, -and how many others ? — went down at sea; and such was the state of the art of navigation, that intrepidity and skill were unavailing against the elements without the favor of Heaven.
COLONIZATION OF VIRGINIA.
The period of success in planting colonies in CHAP. Virginia had arrived; yet not till changes had occurred, affecting the character of European pol- 1606. itics and society, and moulding the forms of colonization. The reformation had interrupted the uniformity of religious opinion in the west of Europe ; and differences in the church began to constitute the basis of political parties. Commercial intercourse equally sustained a revolution. It had been conducted on the narrow seas and by land; it now launched out upon the broadest waters; and, after the East Indies had been reached by doubling the southern promontory of Africa, the great commerce of the world was performed upon the ocean. The art of printing had become known; and the press diffused intelligence and multiplied the facilities of instruction. The feudal forms of society, which had been preserved from the middle ages, began to yield. Productive industry had, on the one side, built
the fortunes and extended the influence of the active classes; while habits of indolence and of expense had impaired the estates and diminished the power of the nobility. These changes also