« PreviousContinue »
had been discovered during the reign of a virgin queen, she called it Virginia.
The next year, Raleigh sent from England a fleet of seven vessels, commanded by Sir Richard Grenville, and carrying upwards of one hundred persons, destined to begin a settlement. They were left under Ralph Lane, on Roanoke island. The success of the Spaniards in finding gold in South America, led these adventurers to employ their time in a fruitless search for it here. In 1586, they were visited by Sir Francis Drake, who, at their request, conveyed them back to England. Lane carrying home a quantity of tobacco, the Indian custom of smoking it was adopted by Raleigh, a man of gaiety and fashion, and introduced at court.
Soon after Drake departed, Grenville again arrived with provisions for the settlement. Finding it abandoned, he left fifteen men to keep possession of the country. In 1587, three other ships were sent to the same place, but the men who had been left could not be found, having probably been murdered by the savages. After remaining a few weeks on the coast, the ships returned to England, leaving one hundred and seventeen men on the islands. War then existing between England and Spain, two years elapsed before the coast was again visited. In that period the whole number perished; but in what manner has never been ascertained. Thus ended the exertions of Raleigh to plant a colony in America.
These successive misfortunes withdrew for several years the attention of the English from distant regions. In 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold made a voyage to America. Instead of taking the circuitous, but usual route, by the West India islands, he steered directly west from England, shortening the voyage at least one third, and arrived, in May, on the coast of Massachusetts. He discovered a head land, and taking a great quantity of cod fish near it, called it Cape Cod. Proceeding southwardly, he passed Gay Head, entered Buzzard's bay, and upon an island within it erected a small fort, the ruins of which were visible so late as 1797. After trading a while with the Indians he returned home.
The report made by Gosnold revived the spirit of adventure. In 1603 and 1605, two voyages were made in the same direction, and Penobscot bay, Massachusetts bay and the rivers between them were discovered. The accounts given by the last navigators confirmed the report of Gosnold, and led to a more extensive scheme of colonization than had yet been attempted.
Of this scheme Mr. Richard Hakluyt was the most active promoter. By his persuasion an association of gentlemen, in different parts of the kingdom, was formed for the
of sending colonies to America. Upon their application to king James, he, by letters patent, dated in 1606, divided the country of Virginia, then considered as extending from the southern boundary of North Carolina to the northern boundary of Maine, into two districts, and constituted two companies for planting colonies within them.
The Southern district he granted to Sir Thomas Gates and his associates, chiefly residentin London, and therefore styled the London company.
The Northern district he granted to Thomas Hanhan and his associates, who were styled the Plymouth company. The two districts were called South and North Virginia. The members of these companies were principally merchants; their objects were the extension of commerce and the discovery of mines of the precious metals which were supposed to abound in North as well as in South America.
For the supreme government of the colonies a grand council was instituted, the members of which were to reside in England, and to be appointed by the king. The subordinate jurisdiction was committed to a council in each colony, the members of which were to be appointed by the grand council in England, and to be governed by its instructions. To the emigrants and their descendants were secured the enjoyment of all the rights of denizens or citizens, in the same manner and to the same extent as if they had remained or been born in England.
Before the date, however, of these letters patent, the king of France granted to the Sieur De Monts all the territory from the 40th to the 46th degree of north latitude, or from New Jersey to Nova Scotia, then called Acadie. By virtue of this grant a settlement was made in 1604, on the south eastern side of the bay of Fundy, and called Port Royal. In 1608, Samuel Champlain, the agent of De Monts, laid the foundation of Quebec, the capital of Canada. From these possessions of the French, the colonies of New England and New York were, for more than a century, frequently and cruelly annoyed.
HISTORY OF VIRGINIA.
The London company, soon after its incorporation in 1606, despatched to America three ships, having on board one hundred and five
destined to begin a settlement in South Virginia.. Christopher Newport commanded the squadron; he was accompanied by Captain Gosnold, and other distinguished individuals ; some allured by. curiosity, and some by the prospect of gain, to visit a country said to be inhabited by a new race of beings, and to abound in silver and gold.
A sealed box was delivered to Newport, with directions that it should not be opened until twenty-four hours after the emigrants had landed in America. During the voyage, violent dissentions arose among the principal personages on board the squadron. Of most of them, John Smith, one of the adventurers, incurred the distrust and hatred. His superior talents, and the fame he had acquired by his exploits in war, excited their envy, and probably caused him to claim for himself greater deference than they were willing or bound to yield.
In his youth, he had been a merchant's apprentice. At the age of fifteen he quitted his master, and travelled in France, the Netherlands, Egypt,
and Germany. Having joined the army of the emperor of Austria, who was then at war with the Turks, he received as a reward for successful stratagem, the command of a troop of horse.
In three personal combats with Turkish champions, he came off victorious, at each time killing his adversary. In a battle which subsequently took place, he was wounded and taken prisoner. After his recovery he was sent as a slave to Constantinople. He had fallen into the hands of a cruel master; but his mistress, captivated by his fine appearance and heroic character, and commiserating his fate, sent him, in the absence of her husband, to her brother who dwelt near the sea of Asoph. He, disregarding her directions, assigned to Smith degrading and laborious tasks, and beat him without mercy whenever he failed to perform them.
Seizing a favourable opportunity, he killed his new master, and fled into Russia. After visiting Germany, France, Spain and Morocco, he returned to England, became acquainted with Gosnold, and was easily persuaded to embark in an expedition to a country he had not yet visited, in search of new scenes and new adventures. While yet at sea, he was accused of an intention to murder the council, usurp the government, and make himself king of Virginia ; and upon this absurd accusation was put in confinement.
The place of their destination was the disastrous position at Roanoke. A storm fortunately drove them to the mouth of Chesapeake bay, which they entered on the 26th of April,