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CHAP. connexion. A single town often constituted a govan ernment; a collection of ten or twenty wigwams
was an independent state. The greatest chief in the whole country could not muster more than seven or eight hundred fighting men. In the interior of Europe at the present day, it is not uncommon to find adjacent villages so little connected, that their language becomes respectively tinged with local peculiarities; to Hariot, the dialect of each government seemed different from any other. The wars among themselves rarely led them to the open battlefield ; they were accustomed rather to sudden surprises at daybreak or by moonlight, to ambushes and the subtle devices of cunning falsehood. Destitute of the arts, they yet displayed excellency of wit in all which they attempted. Nor were they entirely ignorant of religion; but to the credulity of polytheism, they joined a confused belief in the existence of one supreme power. It is natural to the human mind to desire immortality; the natives of Carolina believed in continued existence after death and in retributive justice. The mathematical instruments, the burning-glass, guns, clocks, and the use of letters, seemed the works of gods, rather than of men ; and the English were reverenced as the pupils and favorites of heaven. In every town which Hariot entered, he displayed the bible and explained its truths; the Indians revered the volume rather than its doctrines; and with a fond superstition, they embraced the book, kissed it, and held it to their breasts and heads, as if it had been an amu
ILL SUCCESS OF THE ENGLISH COLONY.
let. As the colonists enjoyed uniform health and CHAP. had no women with them, there were some among the Indians, who imagined the English were not
1585. born of woman, and therefore not mortal ; that they were men of an old generation, risen to immortality. The terrors of fire-arms the natives could neither comprehend nor resist; every sickness, which now prevailed among them, was attributed to wounds from invisible bullets, discharged by unseen agents, with whom the air was supposed to be peopled. They prophecied, that “there were more of the English generation yet to come, to kill theirs and take their places ;” and some believed, that the purpose of extermination was already matured and its execution begun.'
Was it strange, then, that the natives desired to 1586. be delivered from the presence of guests, by whom they feared to be supplanted? The colonists were mad with the passion for gold; and a wily savage Mar. invented, respecting the river Roanoke’ and its banks, extravagant tales, which nothing but cupidity could have credited. The river, it was said, gushed forth from a rock, so near the Pacific ocean, that the surge of the sea sometimes dashed into its fountain ; its banks were inhabited by a nation, skilled in the arts of refining the rich ore, in which the country abounded. Lane was so credulous, that he attempted to ascend the rapid current of the Roanoke; and his followers, infatuated with greedy avarice, would
2 Then called Moratuck.
1 Hariot, in Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 324340. VOL. I.
CHAP. not return, till their stores of provisions were ex
hausted and they had killed and eaten the very dogs 1586. which bore them company.
On this attempt to explore the interior, the English hardly advanced higher up the river than some point near the present
village of Williamstown. April. The Indians had hoped to destroy the English
by thus dividing them, but the prompt return of Lane prevented open hostilities. They next conceived the plan of leaving their lands unplanted; and they were willing to abandon their fields, if famine would in consequence compel the departure of their too powerful guests. The conspiracy was defeated by the moderation of one of their aged
chiefs; but the feeling of enmity could not be May. restrained. The English believed that a general
conspiracy was preparing ; that fear of a foreign enemy was now teaching the natives the necessity of union; and that a grand alliance was forming, of which the object would be the destruction of the strangers by a general massacre. Perhaps the English, whom avarice had certainly rendered credulous, were now precipitate in giving faith to the suggestions of jealousy; it is certain, that in the contest of dissimulation, they proved themselves the more successful adepts. Desiring an audience of Wingina,
the most active among the native chiefs, Lane and June his attendants were quickly admitted to his presence.
No hostile intentions were displayed by the Indians ; their reception of the English was proof of their confidence. Immediately a preconcerted watchword
ILL SUCCESS OF THE ENGLISH COLONY.
was given; and the Christians, falling upon the CHAP. unhappy king and his principal followers, put them an without mercy to death.
It was evident that Lane did not possess the qualities suited to his station. He had not the sagacity, which could rightly interpret the stories or the designs of the natives; and the courage, like the eye,
of a soldier, differs from that of a traveller. His discoveries were inconsiderable ; to the south they had extended only to Secotan, in the present county of Carteret, between the Pamlico and the Neuse; to the north they reached no farther than the small river Elizabeth, which joins the Chesapeake bay below Norfolk; in the interior, the Chowan had been examined beyond the junction of the Meherrin and the Nottaway; and we have seen, that the hope of gold attracted Lane to make a short excursion up the Roanoke. Yet some general results of importance were obtained. The climate was found to be salubrious ; during the year but four men had died,
; and of these, three brought the seeds of their disease from Europe. The hope of finding better harbors at the north was confirmed; and the bay of Chesapeake was already regarded as the fit theatre for early colonization. But in the island of Roanoke the men began to despond; they looked in vain towards the ocean for supplies from England; they were sighing for the luxuries of the cities in their native land; when of a sudden it was rumored, that June the sea was white with the sails of three and twenty
1 Hariot, in Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 340; True Declaration of Virginia, p. 32.
CHAP. ships; and within three days Sir Francis Drake had
anchored his fleet outside of Roanoke inlet, in the 1586. road of their bad harbor.”
He had come, on his way from the West Indies to England, to visit the colony of his friend. With the celerity of genius, he discovered the measures, which the exigency of the case required; and supplied the wants of Lane to the uttermost; giving him a bark of seventy tons, with pinnaces and small boats. Above all, he induced two experienced seacaptains to remain in the colony and employ themselves in the action of discovery. Every thing was furnished to complete the surveys along the coast and the rivers; and, in the last resort, if suffering became extreme, to transport the colony to England.
At this time an unwonted storm suddenly arose and had nearly wrecked the fleet, which lay in a most dangerous position. The bark, that had been laden with provisions for the colony, was driven out to sea; the fleet had no security but in weighing anchor and standing away from the shore; and when the tempest was over, nothing could be found of the boats and the bark, which had been set apart for the colony. The humanity of Drake was not weary; he instantly devised measures for supplying the colony with the means of continuing their discoveries; but Lane shared the despondency of his men; and
Drake yielded to their unanimous desire of permisJune sion to embark in his ships for England. Thus
ended the first actual settlement of the English in America. The exiles of a year had