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The cry was immediately raised that all heretics must be extirpated. Fanaticism lent its aid, and the ranks of Melendez were immediately filled. More than two thousand five hundred persons-soldiers, sailors, priests, jesuits, married men, with their families, laborers and mechanics; and, with the exception of two hundred soldiers, all at the cost of Melen. dez, embarked. After some delay, occasioned by a storm, and encountering on his passage a tempest, which scattered his feet, he arrived at Porto Rico on the 9th of August, 1565, with about one-third of his forces. He sailed for Florida without waiting for the residue, and on the 28th came upon its coast. On the 2nd of September, he discovered a fine har. bor and a beautiful river, into which he entered, and gathered from the natives some account of the Huguenots. The 28th of August having been consecrated to the memory of one of the most eloquent and vene. rated fathers of the church, a son of Africa, and Bishop of Carthage, he gave to the harbor and stream the name of St. Augustine. Sailing north, he discovered the French fleet, lying at anchor, and in answer to a demand made by the French commander, of his name and objects, he replied:
“I am Melendez, of Spain, sent hither with strict orders from the king, to gibbet and behead all Protestants in these regions. The Frenchman, who is a Catholic, I will spare-every heretic shall die.”
The French, unprepared for action, cut their cables and fled. Melendez thereupon returned to the harbor of St. Augustine, and arrived there on the evening of the 7th, preceding the festival of the nativity of the blessed Virgin. On the following day, (September 8th, 1565,) at noon, he went on shore, and took possession of the whole Continent in the name of his king, and proclaimed Philip II. of Spain, monarch of North Amer. ica. A solemn mass was performed, and the foundation of St. Augustine, (the oldest town in the United States,) was immediately laid. This took place more than forty years before any effectual settlement was made in Virginia ; and houses, it is said, are now standing in St. Augustine, erected before any French or English settlement was made upon the Continent.
Melendez had no sooner landed and performed the usual ceremones on such occasions, than, with an indifference to toil that ever marked his character, he led his troops through lakes, marshes and forests, to St. John's, where he surprised the French governor-anticipating, and of course fearing no danger, except from toward the sea; and massacred in cold blood, men, women and children, about two hundred in all—the old and the young, the sick in their beds, and the soldier in armor. A few, and among them, Laudonniere, escaped to the woods-death, how. ever, met them there. It seemed as though Heaven and earth, the sea and the savage, had conspired against them. A part surrendered to the Spaniards, and were immediately murdered ; others found their way to the coast, after enduring the severest hardships, and were received on board a French vessel, remaining in the harbor; and the Spaniards,
angry that any should escape, vented their malignant fury upon the bodies of the slain.
This massacre took place on the 21st of September, 1565, on the festival of St Matthew. The slaughter being completed, religious services were performed, a cross was raised, and the site of a church selected on ground yet smoking with human gore.
Those who had escaped being shipwrecked on the coast, were soon discovered. Wasted by fatigues at sea, and half famished for want of food, they were invited by Melendez to rely on his mercy. They accordingly surrendered; and as they stepped on shore, their hands were tied behind them, and they were thus driven to St. Augustine, like sheep to a slaughter-house. As they approached the fort, a signal was given, the trumpet was sounded, and the Spaniards fell upon them; disarmed, and unable to resistivith the exception of a few Catholics, who were spared, and a few mechanics, who were reserved as slaves—all were massacred, “not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans.” About nine hun. dred, including those who had previously been slain, were thus sacrificed on the altar of religious zeal. It was before the massacre of St. Bartholomews, in France, and partook strongly of its character.
The French government, equally bigoted with that of Spain, heard of the outrage, and listened to its horrid details with heartless indifference. Not even a remonstrance was made. The nation, however, awoke to vengeance, and the Huguenots especially, felt the wound in every pore.
There lived at that time in Gascony, a bold and reckless soldier, whose life had been a series of adventures. His name was Dominic de Gourguis. He was at one time a private in the army of France; at another, a prisoner and galley-slave in Spain. He was taken by the Turks, sold as a captive, and redeemed from thence by the commander of the Knights of Malta. He had now returned to his native province, and burned for revenge. The honor of his country, and his own—the blood of his slaughtered relatives, and the cries of his persecuted brethren, called aloud for vengeance. Having sold his property in France, and received contributions from his friends, he fitted out three ships, in which he embarked for Florida, accompanied by one hundred and fifty gallant men. A favorable breeze soon wafted him thither. He landed immediately, and surprised two Spanish forts near the mouth of the St. Mattheo ; and as terror magnified his numbers, and courage and revenge both nerved his arm, he was enabled to get possession, almost without a struggle, of the principal fort, near the spot where his friends and relatives had previously been massacred. Too weak to maintain his position, he weighed anchor immediately for Europe, having first hanged all his prisoners upon the trees, and placed over them this inseription : “I do not this as unto Spaniards, but as unto traitors, robbers and murderers."
The Indians, who had suffered much from the French and Spaniards both, looked on with delight, and seemed to enjoy the spectacle.
The attack of the fiery Gascon was but a passing storm. Charles IX. disowned the expedition, and abandoned all pretensions to Florida. Spain, in the meantime, seized, and grappled it to her bosom ; and if its first discovery conferred a right, her claim, unquestionably, was just. Not only Florida, but North America itself, was thenceforward annexed to the Spanish crown, and thus included within her empire.
The amount paid by Atahualpa for his ransom, may be collected from the following facts, stated by Robertson : “ The apartment in which the Inca was confined, was twentytwo feet in length, and sixteen in breadth. This he undertook to fill with vessels of gold as high as he could reach; and a line was drawn upon the walls of the chamber, to mark the stipulated height to which the treasure was to rise. It amounted to eight thousand pesos, (equal in effective value, to as many pounds stirling,) to each horseman, and half that sum to each foot soldier ; and to the officers, dividends in proportion to the dignity of their rank. These wages of iniquity, the spoils of an innocent people, procured by deceit, extortion and cruelty, were distributed with religious rites, on the festival of St. James, the patron Saint of Spain; and Atahualpa, after a mock trial, and receiving baptism, was strangled by order of Pizarro. The spoils of Cusco, probably exceeded the amount received for Atahualpa's ransom."
Colonization of Virginia-English and Dutch settlements, how material—Henry VII.
-John Cabot-Sebastian Cabot-Henry VIII.--Queen Elizabeth-Attempts to discover the northwest passage—Sir Humphrey Gilbert-Martin Frobisher-Sir Francis Drake-English commerce and fisheries--Sir Walter Raleigh-His attempts to colonize North Carolina-Its failure-London Company—Its charter- James I.John Smith-Captain Newport-James Town settled-Powhattan-PocahontasJohn Rolfe-Lord Delaware—Sir Thomas Dale-Sir Thomas Gates-Petition to Parliament for aid, rejected Charter amended-Yeardly appointed captain-general --First colonial Assembly—Sir Edwin Sandye-Young ladies sent to VirginiaEarl of Southampton_Virginia freedom.
WHILE the Spaniards, (despising the petty range of Europe, as too limited for their ambition,) were pursuing a career of glory in South America-without regard to principle—that cast other nations in the shade, and every sea, and coast, and island, was resounding with their fame; England was neither inattentive to, nor entirely regardless of, the passing scene. No sooner had Columbus announced the discovery of another world, whose sands it was said sparkled with gold, than Eng. land, France, and Holland, saw in prospect the glittering bait, and felt new energies within. Their exertions, however, in comparison with those of Spain, were at first tardy and ineffective.
The history of the English and Dutch settlements upon the Atlantic coast, is important here, because it furnishes matter for serious reflection. It is from thence that we are principally descended ; our population, with the exception of a few persons from abroad, who have recently migrated hither, is made up of eastern and southern emigrants. Our laws and our religion, our habits, our mode of thinking and rules of action, our code of morals and political sentiments, are from them mostly derived. An attempt, therefore, to write the history of Illinois, without adverting to the pilgrims of New-England, the burghers of New Amsterdam, the plan. ters of Virginia, and to others who, at an early day, settled on the Atlantic rivers and bays, would be like the attempt of a lawyer to recover in ejectment without producing his patent. Although a title may, in law, be presumed, and frequently is so, by the lapse of time, the production of the title-deeds is always desirable, and courts and jurors are unwilling to presume what is capable of direct and positive proof.
Every citizen in this country being regarded as a sovereign, and his patent derived from the King of Kings, no one need blush for his origin, although a pilgrim, a burgher, or a planter, may have been his ancestor. We are not, then, called upon to vindicate the American character from
injurious aspersions; nor, because our origin is unpretending, is it from thence to be inferred that our
There is also another point of view from which the colonies of England and Holland may be seen to advantage, and this renders their early history exceedingly instructive. The principles of the American Revolution were early implanted there. The germ of independence, in thought, word, and deed, soon after their establishment, took deep and enduring root in their soil; and the capacity of man for self-government was, at an early day, thus partially tested. Their origin, progress, principles and hopes, then, are essentially ours, and therefore legitimate subjects of consideration.
When the American Continent was discovered by Columbus, the “ of the Roses” had ceased, and Henry VII., during whose reign the great discoverer had opened new and unexplored worlds to European cupidity, was undisputed “ lord of the isles.” By his prudent severity, the industry and tranquillity of England had been restored. Her ports were then filled with Lombard adventurers ; her nautical skill had been tested in every sea, and her northern fisheries, and her intercourse with Iceland, had made her seamen familiar with storms.
The achievement of Columbus, “ more divine than human, having kindled a desire in her mariners to tread in his footsteps, and gather laurels in other seas; and the politic King of England, willing to repair the error he had committed, in refusing to patronize an expedition which had reflected so much honor on the Spanish crown and king; and desirous also, as it was said, to share with his subjects in the profits of mercantile adventure; John Cabot, a Venetian merchant, then residing at Bristol, had no great difficulty in bringing the English monarch into his views. He accordingly submitted to the king a plan of discovery which met his approbation. Being the most ancient American state-paper of England in existence," and being, also, in other respects, an extraordinary document, it deserves a moment's attention.
On the 5th of March, 1496, John Cabot obtained from the king a patent, empowering him and his three sons, (of whom Sebastian Cabot, afterward the celebrated navigator, was one,) their heirs, and assigns, to sail in the eastern, western, and northern seas, with a fleet of five ships, at their own proper expense and charges; to search for islands, provinces and regions, before unseen by Christian people; to affix the banner of Eng. land on any city, island or continent, that they should discover, and, as vassals of the English crown, tu possess and occupy the såme.
The patentees (and their successors, of course,) were required to land at Bristol, and pay to the king a fifth part of all the profits realized from each adventure ; and the exclusive right of visiting and trading with the countries to be thus discovered, was reserved in the same grant, uncon.