Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

it ;. and holding its key themselves, acted under an impression that they had a right to exclude whom they pleased.

During the first fifteen years after the settlement of Plymouth, twenty. one thousand two hundred persons, or about four thousand families, mi. grated hither, and but few thereafter. Their descendants at the present time exceed four millions.

The refinements of chivalry constituted no part of their character. Their ideas of national grandeur were predicated on universal education. Liberty and equality, industry and economy, were their polar stars-and piety was the sun that kept everything in order, and attracted everything above, around, and within them, to a common centre.

Hume, the historian, states that John Hampden, Oliver Cromwell, and others, having resolved “to abandon their native country and fly to the extremity of the globe, where they might enjoy lectures and discourses of any length or form which pleased them,” went on board a ship to embark for New England, and were detained by an order of the privy council, in 1637, of which the king (Charles I.) had reason to repent. Hume's authority, however, for this assertion, is exceedingly questionable. Hampden, who, as Lord Clarendon observes, possessed “a head to contrive, a tongue to persuade, and a hand to execute ;” and Cromwell, who sought the office of high constable of England, in order to keep the peace, were never, it is believed, in this country, nor did they ever embark for the purpose of coming hither. The ships, in which it is said they em. barked in order to come, were detained but for a few days, and were then authorized to proceed on their voyage. The passengers arrived in safety, but no mention is made of Hampden, Cromwell, Hazelrig, or Pym, being of their number. Sir Harry Vane, who was a member of the long Parliament in 1653, to whom Cromwell, when he prorogued it, said : “ The Lord has done with you, and has chosen other instruments for carrying on his work :” and on Vane's remonstrating against his proceeding, replied:

Oh, Sir Harry Vane! Sir Harry Vane! the Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane!” had previously been in this country, and was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1636.

Hugh Peters, afterward chaplain to Cromwell, executed in the reign of Charles II. for treason, was a settled minister at Salem, in Massachusetts, for several years. Some of the regicides of Charles I. came also to New. England, and were concealed or protected from arrest, and thus saved from the effects of royal indignation.

Inasmuch as the people of northern and southern Illinois are scarcely acquainted with each other, an introduction through some common me. dium, it is hoped, will be serviceable. And as their ancestors once min. gled their blood on the fields of Saratoga and at Yorktown, in defence of a common object, (the liberties we now enjoy,) it is hoped, that by mutual and more frequent intercourse, and the aid of a common interest, they will shortly become united in one common feeling.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

French fisheries-French navigators—DenysVerrazani — Cartier-Roberval-De la

Roque-Chauvin-Champlain-Founds Quebec, in 1608— Jesuits in Canada-In Europe-Reformation--Martin Luther-Henry VIII.-Ignatius Loyola founds the Society of Jesuits-Allouez-James Marquette-Joliet - Marquette discovers the Mississippi, 1673–Returns to Chicago-Dies in Michigan, 1675—Robert Cavalier De la Salle-Arrives in Canada, 1667–Commander of Fort Frontenac-Builds a vessel on Lake Erie-Discovers the Ilinois river, and builds a fort, Creve Coeur, near Peoria-Father Hennepin ascends the Mississippi to the Falls of St. Anthony, 1608_Tonti-Cominands on the Illinois-La Salle visits Canada-Returns-Descends the Mississippi to its mouth, 1682—Returns-Founds Kaskaskia and Cahokia, 1983, the oldest towns on the Mississippi-Revisits France-Embarks for the Mississippi, 1684—Passes its mouth, January, 1685—Disembarks at Matagorda, in Texas—Joutel—Texas, a part of Louisiana-La Salle enters the confines of Mexico, 1686—Massacred near Trinity River, March 20, 1687—His character.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

FRANCE, at an early day, saw and felt the importance of the American fisheries; and the banks of Newfoundland, soon after Columbus's first voyage, became familiar 10 the mariners of Brittany. The Island of Cape Breton acquired from them its name, and from thence the fishermen of Normandy derived experience, wealth, and fame. Denys, a practical navigator, and a citizen of Honfleur, in 1506, drew a map of the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and in 1522, John Verrazani, a Florentine mariner, of great skill, in the service of Francis I., King of France, with a caraval called the “Dolphin,” explored the American coast from Wilmington, in North Carolina, to Nova Scotia ; landed at New York, at Newport, in Rhode Island, and elsewhere; and was received by the aboriginees, " the goodliest people he had ever seen,” with great hospitality. In July, 1524, he returned to France, having advanced, to a considerable extent, the knowledge of geography ; and furnished the French monarch with a pretext for claiming the whole country, as an appendage of France.

The misfortunes of Francis, at the disastrous battle of Pavia, in which he was taken prisoner by the emperor, Charles V., although for a time fatal to any further efforts at discovery, on the part of France, did not for a moment repress the energy or activity of her seamen.

As early as August, 1527, an English captain, writing from St. Johns, in New. foundland, to Henry the VIII. of England, observes that he found in one harbor, eleven sail of Normans, and one Breton, engaged in the fisheries.

Shortly thereafter, (in 1534) Chabot, Admiral of France, a man of ex. traordinary bravery, engaged the king, (Francis I.) in another attempt to explore the Continent, and James Cartier, of St. Malo, was selected to

lead the expedition. He was the first Frenchman who had directed the attention of France to the river St. Lawrence, and to the inland seas that roll in solemn grandeur their mighty foods through its channel to the ocean. In April, 1534, he left the harbor of St. Malo in two ships, and in twenty days thereafter, reached the Island of Newfoundland. He there raised upon an elevated spot of ground a cross, bearing a shield, inscribed with the lilies of France, and an appropriate inscription. From thence, he sailed up the river till he could " discover land on either side.” Being unprepared to remain for the winter, he weighed anchor, and in September following, entered the harbor of St. Malo in safety.

The French court listened with intense interest to the recital of his adventures, and a new commission was thereupon issued. Three well furnished ships were provided by the king, and some even of the nobility, joined the expedition. Solemn preparations were made for their departure. Religion lent her aid, and the whole company repairing to the cathedral, received absolution, and a blessing from the bishop. On the 19th of May, 1534, the squadron, full of hope and expectation, sailed for America, and the territory thus sought to be colonized, thenceforward became known and distinguished as New-France.

Arriving in sight of Newfoundland, and passing to the west of it on the day of St. Lawrence, (August 10, 1535,) he gave the name of that martyr to the wide expanded gulf that lay before him ; and in September following, he ascended the stream as far as the Isle of Orleans. Leaving his ships safely moored, Cartier visited in a boat, accompanied by a single guide, the chief Indian settlement, which lay at the foot of a hill on the Island of Hoehelaga, and climbing the hill, was moved to admira. tion by the prospect before him. Realizing, in imagination, its impor. tance, and filled with anticipations of its future glory, he gave it the name of Montreal, since transferred to the island, and after erecting there a cross, bearing the arms of France, he embarked for Europe.

Cartier's description rather checked, than otherwise, emigration thither. The intense severity of its climate, terrified the inhabitants of France; and as neither silver nor gold, precious stones nor diamonds, were promised, some time elapsed before any further attempts at its colonization were made. It was deemed, however, unworthy of a gallant nation to abandon the enterprise, and Francis De La Roque, a nobleman of Picardy, Lord of Roberval, sought and obtained a commission to colonize it.

He found it, however, easier to confer provinces upon parchment, than to plant, colonies in the forests; and as Cartier had already learned something from experience, Roberval sought his aid. In order to facili. tate the expedition, Cartier was authorized to ransack the prisons, to rescue the unfortunate and criminal, and to supply himself with a crew, and with emigrants, from their number. The felon, the spendthrift, and the bankrupt; the debtors to justice and its victims; prisoners rightfully and wrongfully detained; were thus congregated together, and required to act in concert. Cartier sought the honor of a discoverer, and

Roberval its fruits. Jealous of each other, they neither embarked in company, nor acted in unison. In May, 1541, Cartier ascended the St. Lawrence, and erected for his security a small fort near the site of Que. bec, and after passing the next winter in sullennness and gloom, returned to France in June, 1542. Roberval arrived with reinforcements shortly thereafter, spent a year in America, and finding estates in Picardy better than titles or power in the forest, abandoned his possessions, and returned without effecting any permanent results. It is said that he embarked again for New-France in 1549, with a numerous train of adventurers; but as he was never heard of more, it is supposed that he perished at sea.

During the next half century, no further discoveries were attempted by the government or nation. Involved in civil wars with the Huguenots, or followers of Calvin, in defence of Catholicism, and with the feudal barons in defence of royal prerogatives, the monarchs of France had neither leisure nor means to explore uncivilized regions, or to send colonists or emigrants thither; and it is a matter of doubt with many, at the present time, whether a government that could devise, or a people that could aid in such a massacre, as that of St. Bartholomew's eve, in 1572, deserved either colonies or empires. During the reign of Henry the IV. the clouds of civil discord, treachery and war, were for a moment dispersed, and France awoke to liberty and glory. Another attempt to found an empire in America was thereupon made, and a commission was granted to the Marquis De La Roque, a nobleman of Brittany, for its accomplishment. The contents of her prisons were again disgorged, and a settlement commenced with extraordinary toil on the Isle of Sable. The wretched exiles, however, sighed for their dungeons; and in a few years the survivors received a pardon-a temporary residence amid storms and tempests, being regarded, by the king, as an atonement for almost every crime.

The trade in furs with the natives being profitable, an ample patent in 1600 was granted to Chauvin, whose death alone, in 1601, prevented the establishment of a colony.

In 1603, a company of merchants at Rouen was formed under the patronage of the Governor of Dieppe, and Samuel Champlain of Brouage, “who delighted marvellously in adventures," was intrusted with its direction. Champlain was a marine officer in the French service, of great ability; clear in his perceptions, cautious in all his movements, indefatigable in his efforts, untiring in his exertions, and fearless of danger, he seemed fitted by nature for the emergency, and the emergency for him; and may, therefore, without disparagement to any other, be justly regarded as the father of the French settlements in Canada. He founded Quebec in 1608; that is, he erected a few cottages there, cleared a few fields, and planted one or two gardens. In 1609, attended by two European adventurers, he joined a party of Hurons from Montreal, and Al. gonquins from Quebec, against the Iroquois, better known as the five confederated nations which inhabited New.York, ascended the Sorel, and

explored the lake which bears his name and perpetuates his memory. Wounded and repulsed, without guides, he afterward spent a winter with the Hurons, and carried the language, the religion, and the influence of France, to the distant hamlets of the Algonquins.

When “the Pilgrims” were leaving Leyden, to establish a colony in New. England, in 1620, Champlain was building a fort on the site of Quebec; and when the merchants (his employers,) complained of the expense, “ It is not best,” said he, “to yield to the passions of men: they sway but for a season—it is our duty to respect the future.” The castle of St. Louis, for a long time the place of council against the Iroquois and New-Eng. land, arose as if by magic at his command, and the French authority was established in New-France. The benedictions of a Roman pontiff were subsequently bestowed on Jesuit missionaries sent thither, selfexiled, to evangelize the infidels. The celebrated Mary of Medici ad. vanced funds to defray the expense; and the order of Jesuits was enriched by duties levied upon fish and furs. The natives, touched with the confiding humanity of the Jesuits, listened reverentially to the mes. sage of redemption, and matins and vespers were regularly chanted, around a cross erected in every hamlet. While some Jesuit missionaries were carrying their Redeemer's cross in triumph to the Ganges, others were assisting to plant its foot amid the forests and along the banks of Lake Superior. The fishermen of Normandy and Brittany, it would seem then, laid the foundation of a French empire in America, equal in extent to one half of Europe; where the followers of Luther and of Cal. vin, and the disciples of Loyola, met afterward in hostile array, with Indians for their allies, and Europeans spectators of the bloody scene.

Christianity in its primitive state, excluded from thrones and struggling for existence, assumed for a while the meekness of its founder. The followers of Jesus were content for many years to travel in his footsteps. Twelve humble disciples, mostly fishermen of Judea, were at first his principal companions. To them he revealed the astounding mystery that "his kingdom was not of this world.” Notwithstanding, however, the declaration of its author, when the religion he taught and practiced assumed the purple, and its professors commanded armies, many thought the Saviour was mistaken. The Bishop of Rome was of that opinion, and being, by the consent of Christendom,“ the supreme head of the church," and a temporal prince, having fleets and armies at his command, the titles of " sovereign pontiff," " the successor of St. Peter," " King of Naples," and "fisherman of Bethsaida,' were strangely intermingled. Europe, for eight centuries previous to the Reformation, constituted one vast sacerdotal empire—the sovereign pontiff being head over all. Princes held their crowns as tenants at sufferance, and kings decreed judgments in obedience to his will. Though France, and even England and Germany, at times resisted her audacious pretensions, Rome in the end prevailed, and all Christendom saw, with remorse, her temporal princes converted into executioners of her unjust and terrible decrees.

« ZurückWeiter »