Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

all the necessaries of life, our author speaks in the same terms of commendation as the Arabian travellers eight centuries before.” But it is remarkable, that although the Maldives are all fertile, and nearly in the same climate, yet the gifts of nature are so unequally distributed among them, that their productions are generally different, and they feel the necessity of a mutual commerce. This diversity of produce, and the social obligations which result from it, are still farther increased by the native custom which separates the artificers as strictly as if they belonged to different castes; the weavers all dwelling in one island, the goldsmiths in another, and so through the whole list of trades. The islanders are remarkably ingenious and industrious: they are all used to the water; few being so poor as not to possess a boat. The women are extremely handsome, and frequently as fair as Europeans. Subsistence being once provided (an easy task in those islands), pleasure is the chief occupation of the people. De Laval had already spent five years in these islands, and despaired of being ever able to escape from them, when, in the month of February, 1607, he dreamed that he had recovered his liberty. This dream made a great impression on his mind; and he vowed to go in pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James of Gallicia, if it should prove true. His vow was heard. The king of Bengal invaded the Maldives shortly after with a fleet of sixteen sail, and our author, on satisfying the conqueror that he was not a Portuguese, was kindly treated and brought back to India, whence, after undergoing some persecutions from the Jesuits, he effected his return to Europe, and performed his vow.

* See vol. i. p. 165.

CHAP. XIV.

SETTLE airexts in North AMERICA.

success of THE NEwfour DLAND FISHERY. — RAPID INCREASE of ENG LisH shu PFING. – PATENT GRANTED TO siR WALTER 1. A leic H. – voy. AGE OF AMAIDAS AND EURLow. - THEY Liscovert woko KEN is LAND. – Tro AIDE witH TELE NATIves. - virigin IA. - colony PLANTED ey sin RICHARD GREENvii. LE. the coast ExPlois ED. - the Colonists suffer: ritomi wo A. N.T. - RETURN Homi E witH sIR FRANCIs Dr. A KE. – second COLONY. — Its FATE. – THIRD COLONY. — PERISHEs Faoxi wa Nr.—RALEIGH’s PLANs of CONQUEST.-EL DoRADo. - He takes TRINIDAD. - Ascle NIDs THE on Inoco. – FALLs of CAROLI. - INTER cou RSE WITH THE NATIVES. - RESULT of THE EXPEDITION.-vin GINIA AGAIN Exploited. - colony Esta BLISHED At JAMES-Town. - A LovENTUREs of cAPTAir SMith. – TAKEN ex the INDIANs. - HIS LIFE SAVED BY to E PRINCEss Poco Hon TAs. - SHE MARRIES MR. Rolf E. Conses to ExcLAND. - HER DEATH...-Lori D DELAWARE APPoinTED Gover Nort. — THE sum MERs' Islands TAKEN PossESSION OF. - CULTIVATION OF Toba CCO. - NEW PLYMoUTH FOUNDED BY THE BROWNIST.S. – VOYAGE OF CARTIER TO THE St. LAWRENCE.- HE ASCENDS THE RIVER TO MONTREAL.suffek INGS OF HIS CREW. - HIS RETURN.-FRENCH ColoNies. .*

It seems to be the destiny of mankind to rise into civilisation by continual struggles with difficulties which demand foresight and perseverance, and to nurture its virtues by industry and toil. In political experience, as well as in that of private life, few examples can be adduced of advantages won without labour ever arriving at a happy conclusion. In the history of Spain and Portugal the commencement of decay seems to be coeval with the extension of those Indian dominions which were supposed to be fountains of inexhaustible wealth. But, on the other hand, the most extraordinary instance of prosperous colonisation that occurs in the annals of the world, is to be seen in the long-neglected and comparatively unpromising region of North America, where

nature's richest treasures could only be unlocked by the exertions of persevering industry. The advantages of the Newfoundland fishery were soon fully appreciated by European states, and all those which possessed a marine hastened to secure a participation in it. About the year 1578, the English vessels employed in this fishery were about fifty in number. Above a hundred Spanish vessels at the same time were annually employed on those banks: there were fifty Portuguese, a hundred and fifty French, and twenty or thirty Biscayan ships; the last being chiefly engaged in the whale fishery. Among all these the English had a decided superiority in the equipment of their vessels; and they seem also to have asserted a sovereignty over those seas, founded perhaps on the discoveries of Sebastian Cabot, which was generally acquiesced in by the foreign fishermen.” But the settlement made in Newfoundland by sir Humphrey Gilbert fixed the title and confirmed the predominance of the English in that quarter: and towards the close of queen Elizabeth's reign, the English fishing-vessels frequenting the Newfoundland banks exceeded two hundred sail, and employed above eight thousand seamen. The death of that gallant gentleman threatened to put a check to those schemes of settlement which required not only ability to conduct, but a romantic imagination even to conceive and enter upon them in the first instance. But the influence and the projects of sir Humphrey Gilbert descended upon one not inferior to him in the ardour or boldness of his genius. His half-brother, sir Walter Raleigh, easily procured in 1584 the renewal of his patents, in terms quite as ample; the territory granted being any 200 miles in every direction of such “ remote, heathen, and barbarous lands” as were not yet taken possession of by any Christian people. He immediately equipped two ships for the purpose of discovery ; and, being too much engaged in court intrigues to conduct the expedition himself, he entrusted

* Harris. Collection of Travels, 1753, vol. ii.

it to the command of two experienced officers, captains Amadas and Burlow. They chose the circuitous course of the Canaries and West India islands. As they approached the coast of Florida, they were delighted with the odour which was wafted from the land long before it was in sight. On discovering the continent, they sailed along the coast forty leagues, till they came to a river, where, going on shore, they took possession of the country in the name of the queen and of their employers. Ascending the summit of a hill, they found that they had landed on an island (Wokoken, on the coast of New Carolina) of about twenty miles in length, and six in breadth. They met a native, whom they treated kindly; and he, to show his gratitude, divided among them a boat-load of fish, the produce of his day's industry. Soon after, they were visited by the king of the country, surrounded by forty or fifty chiefs. His fancy was particularly caught by a pewter dish, which he purchased for twenty deer-skins; and making a hole in the rim, he suspended it from his neck as a breastplate, intimating by signs that it would protect him from the arrows of his enemies. For a copper kettle he gave fifty valuable skins. But the articles which he most coveted were swords, and to procure these he offered to leave a box of pearls in pledge; the English, however, cautiously avoided furnishing the savages with arms, or discovering the value that they attached to pearls before they knew whence they were procured. They were told of a great city, six days’ journey in the interior, where the king resided, but did not attempt to reach it; and being satisfied with the success of their voyage, they returned to England in September. They represented the country which they had discovered as a perfect paradise, uniting the most romantic scenery with unequalled fertility. The queen, charmed with this description, was pleased to call the newly discovered land Virginia; a name which at that time comprehended nearly all the territories of North America to which the English made pretensions.

In the following year, 1585, sir Walter Raleigh sent out a second expedition, under sir Richard Greenville, a man of chivalrous bravery and disinterested character. He landed 108 men at Roenoke, opposite the island of Wokoken; and taking a prize on his return, raised the expectation of his employers still higher by the prosperous issue of his voyage. The settlers, in the mean time, who were left on the American continent, exerted themselves, in conformity with the advice of Raleigh, in examining the coast; and followed it 80 miles to the south, and 130 to the north, without being able to find a harbour of any importance. In these excursions they ventured too far up the rivers, and exposed themselves to the ambuscades of the savages: a great many of them were in consequence cut off. They also neglected, from ignorance of the climate, to gather food such as the country supplied, in proper season. As no provisions arrived from England in the following year, they were severely pressed by famine, and reduced to utter despair, when at length they descried a fleet, which proved to be that of sir Francis Drake returning triumphant from his expedition to the West Indies. They solicited and obtained permission to embark on board his fleet; and precipitately abandoning the settlements, returned to England. Raleigh in the mean time had not forgotten them, though prevented by unavoidable delays from sending them timely relief. Sir Richard Greenville arrived at Roenoke immediately after the departure of the colony. Though grieved and surprised to see the place abandoned, he was not deterred from his plan of settlement; and he accordingly left behind him fifty men, with provisions for two years. This new colony likewise perished through neglect. In 1587, the buildings were found all destroyed; and the bones of a man lying exposed upon the ground offered the only evidence as to the fate of the unhappy colonists. Captain White, who visited Roenoke in that year, made a third effort to effect a settlement; but the colonists had so little industry, their minds were so wholly turned

« ForrigeFortsett »