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CHAP. this attempt to procure for France immense domin

ions at the south of our republic, through the agency 1564. of a Huguenot colony, has been very frequently nar

rated ;' in the history of human nature it forms a dark picture of vindictive bigotry.

The French were hospitably welcomed by the natives; a monument, bearing the arms of France, was crowned with laurels and its base encircled with baskets of corn. What need is there of minutely relating the simple manners of the natives; the dissensions of rival tribes; the largesses, offered to the strangers to secure their protection or their alliance; the improvident prodigality with which careless soldiers wasted the supplies of food; the certain approach of scarcity; the gifts and the tribute, levied from the Indians by entreaty, menace, or force ? By degrees, the confidence of the natives was exhausted; they had welcomed powerful guests, who promised to become their benefactors, and who now robbed their humble granaries.

i There are four original ac- parison of these four accounts; counts by eye-witnesses. Laudon- consulting also the admirable De niere, in Hakluyt, v. ii. p. 384— Thou, a genuine worshipper at the 419. Le Moyne, in de Bry, part shrine of truth, 1. xliv.; the diffuse ii., together with the Epistola Sup- Barcia's Ensayo Cronologico, p. plicatoria, from the widows and 42—94; the elaborate and circumorphans of the sufferers, to Charles stantial narrative of Charlevoix, IX.; also in de Bry, part ii. Chal- N. Fr. t. i. p. 24–106; and the lus, or Challusius of Dieppe, account of Lescarbot, t. i. c. viii.whose account I have found an- xviii. t. i. p. 62–129. The acnexed to Calveto's Nov. Nov. Orb. counts do not essentially vary. Hist, under the title, De Gallorum Voltaire and many others have Expeditione in Floridam, p. 433— repeated the tale. Purchas, v. i. 469. And the Spanish account by p. 358, and v. iv. p. 1604; Roberts' Solis de las Meras, the brother- Florida, p. 81–85; Hewitt's Carin-law and apologist of Melen- olina and Georgia, v. i. p. 18 dez, in Ensayo Cronologico, p. 85 –20; Williamson's North-Caro-90. On Solis, compare Cri- lina, v. i. p. 17–34.; Chalmers, sis del Ensayo, p. 22, 23. I have p. 513. These have given no drawn my narrative from a com- new ideas.




Dec. 8.

But the worst evil in the new settlement was the CHAP character of the emigrants. Though patriotism and religious enthusiasm had prompted the expedition, 1564. the inferior class of the colonists was a motley group of dissolute men. Mutinies were frequent. The men were mad with the passion for sudden wealth; and a party, under the pretence of desiring to escape from famine, compelled Laudonniere to sign an order, permitting their embarkation for New-Spain. No 1564. sooner were they possessed of this apparent sanction of the chief, than they equipped two vessels, and began a career of piracy against the Spanish. Thus the French were the aggressors in the first act of hostility in the New World ; an act of crime and temerity, which was soon avenged.

The pirate vessel was taken ; and most of the men disposed of as prisoners or slaves. A few escaped in a boat; these could find no shelter but at fort Carolina, where Laudonniere sentenced the ring-leaders to death.

Meantime, the scarcity became extreme; and the 1565. friendship of the natives was entirely forfeited by unprofitable severity. March was gone, and there were no supplies from France; April passed away, and the expected recruits had not arrived; May came, but it brought nothing to sustain the hopes of the exiles. It was resolved to return to Europe in such miserable brigantines, as despair could construct. Just then, Sir John Hawkins,' the slave

Aug. merchant, arrived from the West Indies. He came



1 Hawkins, in Hakluyt, v. iii. p. 615, 616.




CHAP. fresh from the sale of a cargo of Africans, whom he

had kidnapped with signal ruthlessness; and he now 1565. displayed the most generous sympathy, not only

providing a liberal supply of provisions, but relin

quishing a vessel from his own fleet. Preparations Aug. were continued; the colony was on the point of

embarking, when sails were descried. Ribault had arrived to assume the command; bringing with him supplies of every kind, emigrants with their families, garden seeds, implements of husbandry, and the various kinds of domestic animals. The French, now wild with joy, seemed about to acquire a home, and Calvinism to become fixed in the inviting regions of Florida.

But Spain had never relinquished her claim to that territory; where, if she had not planted colonies, she had buried many hundreds of her bravest sons. Should the proud Philip II. abandon a part of his dominions to France ? Should he suffer his commercial monopoly to be endangered by a rival settlement in the vicinity of the West Indies ? Should the bigotted Romanist permit the heresy of Calvinism to be planted in the neighborhood of his Catholic provinces ? There had appeared at the Spanish court a bold commander, well fitted for acts of reckless hostility. Pedro Melendez de Avilès had, in a long career of military service, become accustomed to scenes of blood; and his natural ferocity had been confirmed by his course of life. The wars against the Protestants of Holland had nourished his bigotry; and, as a naval commander, often encoun






tering pirates, whom the laws of nations exclude CHAP. from mercy, he had become inured to acts of prompt and unsparing vengeance. He had acquired wealth 1565. in Spanish America, which was no school of benevolence; and his conduct there had provoked an inquiry, which, after a long arrest, ended in his conviction. The nature of his offences is not apparent; the justice of the sentence is confirmed, for the king, who knew him well, esteemed his bravery and received him again into his service, remitted only a moiety of his fine. The heir of Melendez had been shipwrecked among the Bermudas; the father desired to return and search among the islands for tidings of his only son. Philip II. suggested the conquest and Mar. colonization of Florida ; and a compact was soon framed and confirmed, by which Melendez, who desired an opportunity to retrieve his honor, was constituted the hereditary governor of a territory of almost unlimited extent.

The terms of the compact are curious. Melendez, on his part, promised, at his own cost, in the following May, to invade Florida with at least five hundred men; to complete its conquest within three years; to explore its currents and channels, the dangers of its coasts, and the depth of its havens ; to establish a colony of at least five hundred persons, of whom one hundred should be married men; to introduce at least twelve ecclesiastics, besides four jesuits. It was further stipulated, that he should transport to his province all kinds of domestic


1 Ensayo Cronolog. p. 57—65.

2 sbid, p. 66.


CHAP. animals. The bigotted Philip II. had no scruples

respecting slavery; Melendez contracted to import 1565. into Florida five hundred negro slaves. The sugar

cane was to become a staple of the country.

The king, in return, promised the adventurer various commercial immunities; the office of governor for life, with the right of naming his son-inlaw as his successor; an estate of twenty-five square leagues in the immediate vicinity of the settlement; a salary of two thousand ducats, chargeable on the revenues of the province; and a fifteenth part of all royal perquisites.

Meantime, news arrived, as the French writers assert, through the treachery of the court of France, that the Huguenots had made a plantation in Florida, and that Ribault was preparing to set sail with reinforcements. The cry was raised, that the heretics must be extirpated; the enthusiasm of fanaticism was kindled, and Melendez readily obtained all the forces, which he required. More than twenty-five hundred persons, soldiers, sailors, priests, jesuits, married men with their families, laborers and mechanics, and, with the exception of three hundred soldiers, all at the cost of Melendez, engaged in the

invasion. After delays, occasioned by a storm, the July. expedition set sail; and the trade winds soon bore

them rapidly across the Atlantic. A tempest scattered the fleet on its passage; it was with only one third

part of his forces, that Melendez arrived at the Aug.

harbor of St. John in Porto Rico. But he esteemed celerity the secret of success; and, refusing to await


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