Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything


Books Menu

Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog


- Thomas Hariot - 4/22 -

encouraged. This delicate question between France and Spain was, however, soon settled by the well known course of events with which England had nothing to do but to stand aside till the contest was over, and then in due course of time, like an independent powerful neutral, step in and reap the rewards.

It is well known that Laudonnière's followers were not altogether harmonious. Some restless spirits seceded, and seizing one of the colony's ships, entered successfully in the autumn and winter of 1564-65 into piracy on the rich commerce of Spain in the West Indies. These French spoliations had been a sore point with the owners of West India commerce since the days of Verrazano, so much so that the Spanish Government had instituted a fleet of coastguards among the islands to intercept and destroy the pirates. This fleet for some time had been under the charge of an experienced, trusted, and efficient officer named Pedro Menendez de Avilés. No doubt the provocation was great, and the new piracy was not to be endured. The home government of Spain had been kept informed of the Huguenot encroachments in Florida, a country which had long ago been granted to Ponce de Leon, Ayllon and others, and had been coasted by Estevan Gomez, but these encroachments had hitherto been so long winked at that the French colonists began to feel themselves to be in tolerable security.

French piracy and Calvinism, however, coming together were two provocations too much for the patriotism and piety of the zealous Roman Catholic Spanish commander in the West Indies. Besides, there was a sorrow which roused his Spanish bigotry and induced him more than ever to serve God and his king by exterminating heresy. Don Pedro, with his new honors and high hopes, had left Cadiz on the 31st of May 1564, as Captain-General of the West India, the Terra Firma, the Peruvian, and the New-Spain fleets, his son under him commanding the ships to Vera Cruz. This son on the homeward voyage in the autumn had been lost on the rocks of Bermuda. This circumstance, with the Florida pirates, the heretic French and his Spanish love of barbaric gold, fired his zeal.

The General rushed home to Spain for new powers. Early in 1565 he stood again before Philip petition in hand. Besides his present dignities he would be Adelantado of Florida. Florida in Spanish eyes extended not only to St. Mary's or the Bay of Chesapeake, but even to Newfoundland, so as to embrace the whole northern continent west of the line of demarcation. Philip had heard not only of Laudonnière and the French Huguenots the last year, but was informed of Ribault's new reinforcing expedition from Dieppe. He at once not only granted the General's request, but enlarged his powers from time to time as additional news came in of the French. Don Pedro became indeed a royal favourite. He was now a veteran of forty-seven, who had done Philip and his father personal service. He had cruised against blockaders and corsairs in early youth, had convoyed richly-laden plate fleets from the Indies; had turned the scale of victory at StQuintin in 1557 by suddenly throwing Spanish troops into Flanders greatly to the advantage of Philip; was the commanding general of the armada in which the king returned in 1559 from Flanders to Spain; had been made in 1560 captain-general of the convoy or protecting fleets between Spain and the West Indies, in which there was much active business in guarding Spanish commerce from corsairs. In spoiling these spoilers the general amassed much wealth, and was acknowledged the protector of the islands and their commerce. In 1561 he had fallen into some difficulty which caused his arrest by the Council of the Indies, but the king came to his rescue, restored his appointments, and promoted him in 1562 and 1563, and still more, as we have seen, in 1564. In 1565 Philip gave him almost unlimited power over Florida, with directions to conquer, colonize, Christianize, explore and survey, and all these too at his own expense. Such is the fascination of royal grants. He was given three years to perform these wonders, in which so many others had failed. He was to survey the coasts up to Chesapeake Bay, explore inlets and find out the hidden straits to Cathay. Thus armed and instructed this Spanish pioneer of Virginia history and geography returned to his native Asturias, raised an army, manned and fitted out a fleet with many soldiers and sailors, and 500 negro slaves. He embarked at Cadiz with eleven ships on the 29th of June 1565, a fortnight after Ribault with his seven ships had left Portsmouth. From Porto Rico the Adelantado, in his hot haste to forestall the French, took a new route north of StDomingo, through the Lucayan islands and the Bahamas, to the coast of Florida at the River of StJohn, on the 28th of August, the day after the arrival of the French a few miles north. Here Menendez entered the inlet, landed his five hundred African negro slaves, founded a town, the first in what is now the United States, and named it StAugustine, because he made his land-fall on the saint's-day of the great African bishop. Thus StAugustine became the patron saint of this first town in the United States. Here slavery struck root, and here the Spanish Papist and the French Huguenot, brought out of civilized and Christianized Europe were set down blindfolded on the wild and inhospitable shores of Florida, like two game-cocks, to fight out their religious and implacable hatred. It was here that these 'children of the sun' showed the red men of the American forests that they too were human and mortal. Here, a few days later, the Spaniards began that merciless cut-throat religious butchery of Huguenots, to the astonishment of the savages of the primeval forests of America which finds a parallel on the pages of history only in the lesson which it taught in refined Paris just seven years later on StBartholomew's day.

All the world knows how the swift vengeance of Pedro Menendez de Aviles descended upon the unfortunate colonists of Laudonnière and Ribault and destroyed them, with very few exceptions, in September 1565. On the other hand, every one has heard how the Spaniards, almost all except the absent leader, expiated their murderous cruelty in April 1568, under the retributive justice of De Gourgues. The Spanish settlers of Florida were thus as completely exterminated by the French as the French three years before had been exterminated by the Spaniards.

After this till 1574, the Spaniards maintained possession of Florida, as far north as the Chesapeake Bay, under Menendez, who had been appointed at first Adelantado of Florida, and subsequently also Governor of Cuba. He caused an elaborate and official survey of the whole coast to be made and recorded, both in writing and in charts. Barcia tells the whole interesting story, but the charts seem to have been lost, though the description, or parts of it, remains. Menendez returned to Spain and died in 1574, just as he had been invested with the command of an 'invincible' armada of three hundred ships, and twenty thousand men to act against England and Flanders. All his North American acquisitions and surveys seem to have at once fallen into neglect. Not a Spanish town had been founded north of StAugustine. His Spanish missionaries sent among the Indians had gained no solid foot hold. Spain however still claimed possession, on paper, of the whole coast up to Newfoundland, though she could not boast of a single place of actual occupation.

England at this time began to see the coast clear for the spread of her protestant principles in America, and for her occupation of some of those vast countries she now professed to have been the first to discover by the Cabots. No friendly power any longer stood in her way. Her relations with Spain had settled into patriotic hatred and open war. The voyages of Hawkins and Drake into the West Indies had revealed to Englishmen the enormous wealth of the Spanish trade thither, as well as the weakness of the Spanish Government in those plundered papal possessions. Frobisher had matured his plans, secured his grant, and in 1576 made his first voyage to find the north west passage. The same year the half-brother of Raleigh, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, published his 'discourse for a discouerieof a new passage to Catai,' with a map showing the coast of North America, and the passage to China. This was the result of years of study, and though the elaborate work was written out hastily at last, we know that while others were advocating the north east passage, Sir Humphrey always persisted in the north western. Frobisher's expedition is said to have been an outgrowth of Gilbert's efforts and petitions. These projects were long in hand, but Gilbert, in June 1578, obtained his famous patent from Elizabeth for two hundred leagues of any American coast not occupied by a Christian prince. This grant was limited to six years, to expire the eleventh of June 1584 in case no settlement was made or colony founded. The story of Gilbert's efforts, expenditures of himself and friends, his unparalleled misfortunes and death, need not be retold here. Part of his rights and privileges fell to his half-brother Walter Raleigh who had participated somewhat in the enterprise. After Gilbert's death and before the expiration of the patent, Raleigh succeeded in obtaining from Elizabeth another patent, with similar rights, privileges, and limitations, dated the 25th of March 1584, leaving the whole unoccupied coast open to his selection. On the 27th of April, only a month later, he despatched two barks under the command of Captains Amadas and Barlow, to reconnoitre the coast, as Ribault had done, for a suitable place to plant a colony, somewhere between Florida and Newfoundland. This patent also, like Gilbert's, in case of negligence or non-success, was limited to six years. But it required the confirmation of Parliament. Though there were many rival interests, some of which had perhaps to be conciliated, the patent was confirmed.

It ought perhaps to be mentioned here that five of Gilbert's six years having already expired without his obtaining success or possession, several others, anticipating a forfeiture of the patent, began agitation for rival patents in 1583. Carleil, Walsingham, Sidney, Peckham, Raleigh, and perhaps others were eager in the strife. Mostof the papers are given in Hakluyt's 1589 edition. The ' Golden Hinde ' returned in September 1583 with the news of the utter failure of the expedition and the death of Sir Humphrey. Raleigh succeeded in obtaining the royal grant, and then all the rest joined him in getting the patent confirmed by Parliament.

Raleigh was now thirty-three, a man of position, of large heart and large income, a popular courtier high in royal favor, a man of foreign travel, great experience and extensive acquirements. He had served under Coligni with his protestant friends in France; subsequently served under William of Orange in Flanders; had served his Queen in Ireland; under Gilbert's patent, contemplated a voyage to Newfoundland in 1578; and in 1583 was ready to embark himself again, but by some happy accident did not go, though he fitted out and sent a large ship at his own cost bearing his own name, which ship however put back on account of the outbreak of some contagion. Fully alive to the wants, plans, and desires of the Huguenots, he had not only informed himself of their Florida schemes, but had promoted the publication of their history, and secured the interest and active co-operation of the most important survivor of them all, Jaques LeMoyne, the painter, who having escaped landed destitute in Wales, and subsequently entered the service of Raleigh who had him safely lodged in the Blackfriars. He had also, how or when precisely is not known, secured the active aid and facile pen of the geographical Richard Hakluyt, who wrote for him, as no man else could write, in 1584, a treatise on Western Planting, a work intended probably to prime the ministry and the Parliament, to enable Raleigh first to secure the confirmation of his patent, and afterwards the co-operation and active interest of the nobility and gentry in his enterprise. This important hitherto unpublished volume of sixty-three large folio pages in the hand writing of Hakluyt, after having probably served its purpose and lain dormant for nearly three centuries, was bought at Earl Mountnorris's sale at Arley Castle in December 1852, by Mr Henry Stevens of Vermont, who, as he himself informs us, after partly copying it, and endeavouring in vain to place it in some public or private library in England or the United States, threw it into auction, where it was sold by Messrs Puttick and Simpson in May 1854, for £44, as lot 474, Sir Thomas Phillipps being the purchaser. The manuscript still adorns the Phillipps library at Cheltenham. In 1868 a copy of this most suggestive volume was obtained by the late Dr Leonard Woods for the Maine Historical Society, and has since been edited with valuable notes by Mr Charles Deane of Cambridge and with an Introduction by Dr Woods. It

Thomas Hariot - 4/22

Previous Page     Next Page

  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   20   22 

Schulers Books Home

 Games Menu

Dice Poker
Tic Tac Toe


Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything