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the St. Johns. They offered songs of thanksgiving to God CHAP. for his guiding care, and trusted to his promises for the future. They built another fort, which like the first they 1564. called Carolina. The true character of some of the colo- June. nists soon began to appear,—these had joined the enterprise with no higher motive than gain. They were mutinous, idle, and dissolute, wasting the provisions of the company. They robbed the Indians, who became hostile, and refused to furnish the colony with provisions.
Under the pretext of avoiding famine, these fellows of the baser sort asked permission of Laudonière to go to New Spain. He granted it, thinking it a happy riddance for himself and the colony. They embarked, only to become pirates. The Spaniards, whom they attacked, took their vessel and made most of them slaves ; the remainder escaped in a boat. They knew of no safer place than Fort Carolina. When they returned Laudonière had them arrested for piracy; they were tried, and the ringleaders condemned and executed ;-a sufficient evidence that their conduct was detested by the better portion of the colonists.
Famine now came pressing on. Month after month passed away, and still there came no tidings—no supplies from home. Just at this time arrived Sir John Hawkins from the West Indies, where he had disposed of a cargo of negroes as slaves. He was the first Englishman, it is said, who had engaged in that unrighteous traffic. Though hard-hearted toward the wretched Africans, he manifested much sympathy for the famishing colonists ; supplied them with provisions, and gave them one of his ships. They continued their preparations to leave for home, when suddenly the cry was raised that ships were coming into the Aug. harborIt was Ribault returning with supplies and families of emigrants. He was provided with domestic animals, seeds and implements for cultivating the soil. The scene was now changed ;- all were willing to remain, and
CHAP. the hope of founding a French Protestant State in the
New World was revived. 1564. Philip II., the cruel and bigoted King of Spain, heard
that the French French Protestants—had presumed to make a settlement in Florida ! Immediately plans were laid to exterminate the heretics. The king found a fit instrument for the purpose in Pedro Melendez; a man familiar with scenes of carnage and cruelty, whose life was stained with almost every crime. The king knew his desperate character; gave him permission to conquer Florida at his own expense, and appointed him its governor for life, with the right to name his successor. His colony was to consist of not less than five hundred persons, one hundred of whom should be married men. He was also to introduce the sugar-cane, and five hundred negro slaves to cultivate it. The expedition was soon under way. Melendez first saw the land on the day consecrated to St. Augustine ; some days after, sailing along the coast, he discovered a fine harbor and river, to which he gave the name of that saint. From the Indians he learned where the Huguenots had established themselves. They were much surprised at the appearance of a fleet, and they inquired of the stranger who
he was and why he came ; he replied, “I am Melendez, of Sept. Spain, sent by my sovereign with strict orders to be head
and gibbet every Protestant in these regions; the Catholic shall be spared, but every Protestant shall die !” The French fleet, unprepared for a conflict, put to sea; the Spaniards pursued but did not overtake it. Melendez then returned to St. Augustine. After a religious festival in honor of the Virgin Mary, he proceeded to mark out the boundaries for a town. St. Augustine is, by inore than forty years, the oldest town in the United States.
His determination was now to attack the Huguenots by land, and carry out his cruel orders. The French supposing the Spaniards would come by sea, set sail to meet them. Melendez found the colonists unprepared and de
fenceless ; their men were nearly all on board the fileet. A CHAP. short contest ensued; the French were overcome, and the fanatic Spaniards massacred nearly the whole number,– 1564. . men, women, and children ; they spared not even the aged and the sick. A few were reserved as slaves, and a few escaped to the woods. To show to the world upon what principles he acted, Melendez placed over the dead this inscription :-“I do not this as unto Frenchmen, but as unto heretics." Mass was celebrated, and on the ground still reeking with the blood of the innocent victims of religious bigotry and fanaticism, he erected a cross and marked out a site for a church the first on the soil of the United States.
Among those who escaped, were Laudonière and Le Moyne, an artist, sent by Coligny to make drawings of the most interesting scenery of the country; and Challus, who afterward wrote an account of the calamity. When they seemed about to perish in the forests from hunger, they questioned whether they should appeal to the mercy of their conquerors. “No," said Challus, “let us trust in the mercy of God rather than of these men.” during many hardships, they succeeded in reaching two small French vessels which had remained in the harbor, and thus escaped to France. A few of their companions, who threw themselves upon the mercy of the Spaniards, were instantly murdered.
While these scenes of carnage were in progress, a terrible storm wrecked the French fleet ; some of the soldiers and sailors were enabled to reach the shore, but in a destitute condition. These poor men when invited, surrendered themselves to the promised clemency of Melendez. They were taken across the river in little companies ; as they landed their hands were tied behind them, and they driven to a convenient place, where at a given signal they were all murdered. Altogether nine hundred persons perished by shipwreck and violence. It is the office of
CHAP. history to record the deeds of the past—the evil and the
good ; let the one be condemned and avoided, the other 1564. commended and imitated. May we not hope that the day
of fanatic zeal and religious persecution has passed away forever?
The French government was indifferent, and did not avenge the wrongs of her loyal and good subjects ; but the Huguenots, and the generous portion of the nation, were roused to a high state of indignation at such wanton, such unheard-of cruelty. This feeling found a representative in Dominic de Gourges, a native of Gascony. He fitted out, at his own expense, three ships, and with one hundred and fifty men sailed for Florida. He suddenly came
upon the Spaniards and completely overpowered them. *568. Near the scene of their former cruelty he hanged about
two hundred on the trees; placing over them the inscription, "I do not this as unto Spaniards and mariners, but as unto traitors, robbers, and murderers !" Gourges immediately returned to France, when the “ Most Christian" king set a price upon his head ; and he who had exposed his life, and sacrificed his fortune to avenge the insalt offered to his country, was obliged to conceal himself to escape the gallows. Thus perished the attempt of the noble Coligny and the Huguenots to found a French Protestant State in the New World.
After the unsuccessful expeditions of Cartier and Roberval, French fishermen, in great numbers, continued to visit the waters around Newfoundland. As the government had relinquished its claim to Florida, the idea was once more revived of colonizing on the shores of the St. Lawrence.
The Marquis de la Roche obtained a commission for this purpose. His colonists, like those of Roberval, were criminals taken from the prisons of France : like his, this enterprise proved an utter failure. The efforts of some mer
PORT ROYAL SETTLEMENT.
chants, who obtained by patent a monopoly of the fur- CHAP. trade, also failed.
At length, a company of merchants of Rouen engaged 1603. in the enterprise with more success. That success may be safely attributed to Samuel Champlain, a man of comprehensive mind, of great energy of character, cautious in all his plans ; a keen observer of the habits of the Indians, and an unwearied explorer of the country.
In the latter part of this same year, a patent, exclusive in its character, was given to a Protestant, the excellent and patriotic Sieur De Monts. The patent conferred on him the sovereignty of the country called Acadie—a territory extending from Philadelphia on the south, to beyond Montreal on the north, and to the west indefinitely. It granted him a monopoly of the fur-trade and other branches of commerce; and freedom in religion to the Huguenots who should become colonists. It was enjoined upon all idlers, and men of no profession, and banished persons to aid in founding the colony.
The expedition was soon under way in two ships. In due time they entered a spacious harbor on the western part of Nova Scotia, which they named Port Royal, since Annapolis. The waters abounded in fish, and the country was fertile and level-advantages that induced some of the emigrants to form a settlement. Others went to an island at the mouth of the St. Croix, but the next spring 1607. they removed to Port Royal. This was the first permanent French settlement in the New World; and these were the ancestors, of those unfortunate Acadiens whose fate, nearly a century and a half later, forms a melancholy episode in American history.
Among the influences exerted upon the Indians was that of the Jesuits, who, a few years afterward, were sent as missionaries to the tribes between the Penobscot and the Kennebec in Maine. These tribes became the allies of the French, and remained so during all their contests