ePub 版


CHAP. again remembered, till after the discomfiture of the

invincible Armada. 1588. Even when complete success against the Spanish

fileet, had crowned the arms of England, Sir Walter Raleigh found himself unable to continue the attempts at colonizing Virginia; for he had already incurred a fruitless expense of forty thousand pounds. Yet he did not despair of ultimate success; he admired the invincible constancy, which would bury the remembrance of past dangers in the glory of annexing fertile provinces to his country; and as his fortune did not permit him to renew his exertions, he used the privilege of his patent to form a company of merchants and adventurers, who were endowed by his liberality with large concessions, and who, it was hoped, would replenish Virginia with settlers. Among the men, who thus obtained an assignment of the proprietary's rights in Virginia, is found the name of Richard Hakluyt; it is the connecting link between the first efforts of England in NorthCarolina and the final colonization of Virginia.

The colonists at Roanoke had emigrated with a 1589. charter; the new instrument was not an assign

ment of Raleigh's patent; but extended a grant, already held under its sanction, by increasing the number to whom the rights of that charter belonged.

Yet the enterprize of the adventurers languished,

for it was no longer encouraged by the profuse liber1590. ality of Raleigh. More than another year elapsed,

Mar. 7.

1 Hazard, v. i. p. 42-45.




before White' could return to search for his colony CHAP. and his daughter; and then the island of Roanoke was a desert. An inscription on the bark of a tree 1590. pointed to Croatan; but the season of the year and the dangers from storms were pleaded as an excuse for an immediate return. Had the emigrants already perished? Or had they escaped with their lives to Croatan, and, through the friendship of Manteo, become familiar with the Indians ? The conjecture has been hazarded, that the deserted colony, neglected by their own countrymen, were hospitably adopted into the tribe of Hatteras Indians, and became amalgamated with the sons of the forest. This was the tradition of the natives at a later day, and was thought to be confirmed by the physical character of the tribe, in which the English and the Indian race seemed to have been blended. Raleigh long cherished the hope of discovering some vestiges of their existence; and though he had abandoned the design of colonizing Virginia, he yet sent at his own charge, and, it is said, at five several times, to search for his liege-men. But it was all in vajn; imagination received no help in its attempts to trace the fate of the colony of Roanoke.

The name of Raleigh stands highest among the statesmen of England, who advanced the colonization of the United States; and his fame belongs to American history. No Englishman of his age possessed so various or so extraordinary qualities. Cour

i White, in Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 348, 349, and 350_357.

2 Lawson's N. Carolina, p. 62. 3 Purchas, v. iv. p. 1653.


CHAP. age, which was never daunted, mild self-possession

and fertility of invention, ensured him glory in his profession of arms, and his services in the conquest of Cadiz, or the capture of Fayal, were alone sufficient to establish his fame as a gallant and successful commander. In every danger his life was distinguished by valor, and his death was ennobled by true magnanimity.

He was not only admirable in active life as a soldier; he was an accomplished scholar. No statesman in retirement ever expressed the charms of tranquil leisure more beautifully than Raleigh; and it was not entirely with the language of grateful friendship, that Spenser described his “sweet verse, as sprinkled with nectar,” and rivalling the melodies of “the summer's nightingale.” When an unjust

" verdict, contrary to probability and the evidence, " against law and against equity,' on a charge, which seems to have been a pure invention, left him to languish for years in prison, with the sentence of death suspended over his head, his active genius plunged into the depths of erudition ; and he, who

; had been a soldier, a courtier, and a seaman, now became the elaborate author of a learned history of the world.

His career as a statesman was honorable to the pupil of Coligny and the contemporary of L’Hopital. In his public policy he was thoroughly an English

[ocr errors]

1 Sonnet prefixed to Faery verses 68–75, and Faery Queen, Queen. Faery Queen, b. ii. Int. b. iii. c. vii. st. 36–41. st. iv. Compare, also, Spenser's 2 The words are from Hume, an Colin Clout's come home again, enemy to Raleigh's fame.




patriot; jealous of the honor, the prosperity, and CHAP. the advancement of his country; the inexorable antagonist of the pretensions of Spain. In parliament he defended the freedom of domestic industry. When, by the operation of unequal laws, taxation was a burden upon industry rather than wealth, he argued for a change ;' himself possessed of a lucrative monopoly, he gave his vote for the repeal of all monopolies; and, while he pertinaciously used his influence with his sovereign, to mitigate the severity of the judgments against the non-conformists, as a legislator he resisted the sweeping enactment of persecuting laws.

In the career of discovery, his perseverance was never baffled by losses. He joined in the risks of Gilbert's expedition; contributed to the discoveries of Davis in the northwest ; and himself personally explored “the insular regions and broken world” of Guiana. The sincerity of his belief in the wealth of the latter country has been unreasonably questioned. If Elizabeth had hoped for a hyperborean Peru in the arctic seas of America, why might not Raleigh expect to find the city of gold on the banks of the Oronoco? His lavish efforts in colonizing the soil of our republic, his sagacity which enjoined a settlement within the Chesapeake bay, the publications of Hariot and Hakluyt which he countenanced, if followed by losses to himself, diffused over England a knowledge of America, and an inter

1 Tytler, p. 238, 239.

4 Thomson, p. 55; Oldys, p. 2 D'Ewes, p. 646; Tytler, p. 239. 165, 166 ; D'Éwes, p. 517; Tytler, 3 Oldys, p. 137—139.

p. 122.


CHAP. est in its destinies, and sowed the seeds, of which

the fruits were to ripen during his lifetime, though not for him.

Raleigh had suffered from palsy before his last expedition. He returned broken-hearted by the defeat of his hopes, by the decay of his health, and by the death of his eldest son. What shall be said of King James, who would open to an aged paralytic no other hope of liberty but through success in the discovery of mines in Guiana ? What shall be said of a monarch, who could at that time, under a sentence which was originally unjust, and which had slumbered for fifteen years, order the execution of the decrepid man, whose genius and valor shone brilliantly through the ravages of physical decay, and whose English heart, within a palsied frame, still beat with an undying love for his country?

The judgments of the tribunals of the Old World are often reversed at the bar of public opinion in the New. The family of the chief author of early colonization in the United States was reduced to beggary by the government of England, and he

himself was beheaded. After a lapse of nearly two 1792. centuries, the state of North-Carolina, by a solemn

act of legislation, revived in its capital, “THE CITY OF RALEIGH,"3 and thus expressed its confidence in the

1 Thomson's Appendix, note U. and the biographies of Raleigh, The original document.

proves him to have been, on his 2 Hume, Rapin, Lingard are less trial, a victim of jealousy, and favorable to Raleigh. Even Hal- entirely innocent of crime. No lam, v. i. p. 482—484, vindicates doubt he despised King James. him with wavering boldness. A See Tytler, p. 285–290. careful comparison of the ac- 3 Laws of North-Carolina, sescounts of these historians, the trial, sion of 1792, c. xiv.

« 上一頁繼續 »