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CHAP, with the English. De Monts explored the coast and rivers
of New England as far south as Cape Cod, intending 1608. somewhere in that region to make a settlement; but disas
ter followed disaster, till the project was finally abandoned.
Meantime, Champlain, whose ambition was to establish a State, had founded Quebec, that is, it was the centre of a few cultivated fields and gardens. Huguenots were among the settlers ; they had taken an active part in the enterprise ; but there were also others who were of the Catholic faith. Soon religious disputes as well as commercial jealousies arose, which retarded the progress of the colony. Champlain, the soul of the enterprise, was not
idle ; he made many exploring expeditions, and discovered 1609. the beautiful lake which bears his name. In spite of the
quarrels between the Jesuits and the Huguenots, and the restlessness of the Indians and disappointments of various
kinds, the persevering Champlain succeeded in establish1634. ing a French colony on the banks of the St. Lawrence.
For one hundred and twenty years it remained under the dominion of his native France, and then passed into the hands of her great rival.
si: Humphrey Gilbert.—The Fisheries.—St. Johns, Newfoundland.—Sir
Walter Raleigh.—Exploring Expedition.-Virginia ; failures to colonize.-Contest with Spain.-Death of Sir Walter.
ENGLAND never relinquished her claims to North America; they were based upon the discovery and explorations 1569. of Sebastian Cabot. According to the received rules of the times, she was right, as he was undoubtedly the 1497. first discoverer. For many reasons, she was not prepared to avail herself of these claims, till nearly ninety years after that discovery. This time was not passed by the English sailors in maritime idleness. During the reign of Henry VIII., intercourse was kept up with the fisheries of Newfoundland, that school of English seamen, in which were trained the men who gave to that nation the supremacy of the ocean,—the element upon which the military glory of England was to be achieved. The king cherished his Davy, and took commerce under his special protection.
The reign of Mary, of bloody memory, saw the struggle commence between England and Spain for the supremacy on the ocean. She married Philip II., the most powerful monarch of the age: he designed to subject the English nation to himself, and its religion to the church of Rome. When this became known, the Protestant spirit rose in opposition. This spirit pervaded the entire people ;
CHAP. they exerted their energies to the utmost. Instead of sub
mitting to the dictation of Spain, England boldly assumed 1570. the position of an antagonist. There was a marked con
trast between the two nations. The navy of the one was immense, that of the other was small, but brave and efficient: the one drew her wealth from mines of gold and silver in the New World—the other obtained hers by the slow process of industry and economy. The one became proud and indolent, luxurious and imbecile—the other may have become proud, but certainly not indolent; luxurious, but certainly not imbecile.
On her accession, Queen Elizabeth pursued the policy
of her father Henry VIII., towards her navy and comFrom merce.
While some of her subjects were trading by land 1549
with the east, others were on the ocean cruising against the Spaniards : some were prosecuting the fisheries around Newfoundland and in the seas northwest of Europe ; some were exploring the western coast of America, and the eastern coast of Asia : others were groping their way among the islands of the extreme north, in a vain search for the north-west passage.
Explorers were still haunted with the idea that mines of exhaustless wealth were yet to be found in the New World. Great was the exultation when a "mineral-man” of London declared that a stone brought by an English sailor from the Polar regions, contained gold. England was to find in the region of eternal snow mines of the precious metal, more prolific than Spain had found in Mexico. Soon fifteen vessels set sail for this northern island, where there was “ore enough to suffice all the gold-gluttons of
the world.” They returned laden, not with golden ore, but 1578. with worthless yellow stones.
Meanwhile, the fisheries around Newfoundland had become a certain, though a slow source of wealth. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a gentleman of distinction and of upright principles, obtained a commission from the Queen to
SIR WALTER RALEIGH,
plant a colony in the vicinity of these fisheries. He CHAP landed at St. Johns, Newfoundland, and there in the presence of the fishermen of other nations, took formal Aug.,
1578. possession of the territory in the name of his sovereign. He then passed further south, exploring the coast—but losing his largest ship with all on board, he found it necessary to sail for home. Only two vessels remained, one of which, the Squirrel, was a mere boat of ten tons, used to explore the shallow bays and inlets. The closing acts of Sir Humphrey's life afford proofs of his piety and nobleness of character. Unwilling that the humblest of his men should risk more danger than himself, he chose to sail in the boat rather than in the larger and safer vessel. A terrible storm arose ; he sat calmly reading a book-doubtless that book from which he drew consolation in times of sorrow and trial. To encourage those who were in the other vessel, he was heard to cry to them, we are as near to heaven on sea as on land,”—the reality of this cheering thought he was soon to experience. That night, those on the larger vessel saw the lights of the little boat suddenly disappear.
The next attempt at colonization was made by Gilbert's 1534. half-brother, Sir Walter Raleigh, one of the noblest of that age of noble spirits : gallant and courteous in his manners; a scholar, a poet, a benefactor of his race ; his name should ever be held in grateful remembrance by the people of this country. He studied the art of war with Coligny, the high admiral of France. When in that country, he determined to plant a colony in those delightful regions from which the Huguenots had been driven by the hand of violence. He had learned from them of the charming climate, where winter lingered only for a short time,—where the magnificent trees and fragrant woods bloomed during nearly all the year,—where the gushing fountains, noble rivers, and fertile soil invited the industrious to enjoy the fruits of their labor. When Sir Walter returned home from France, he found the people prepared to enter upon schemes of
CHAP. colonization in the south. They, too, had heard of those
delightful regions” from the Huguenots, who at sea had 1584. been rescued from death, and brought to England. Ra
leigh without difficulty obtained a commission, granting him ample powers, as proprietor of the territories he was about to colonize. He first sent an exploring expedition, consisting of two ships, under Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow, to obtain more definite information of the country. They sailed the usual route, by the Canaries and the West Indies, came first upon the coast of North Carolina, landed upon one of the islands forming Ocracock inlet, and took formal possession of the country. They partially explored Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, and the islands and coast in the vicinity, and then sailed for home. They took with them two of the natives, Wanchese and Manteo ; the latter was afterward very useful to the colonists as an interpreter. Amidas and Barlow on their return, confirmed what the Huguenots had reported of the excellence of the country. They saw it in the month of July. They described the unruffled ocean, dotted with beautiful islands; the clearness of the atmosphere; the luxuriant forests vocal with the songs of birds ; the vineš draping the trees, and the grapes hanging in clusters. This sunny land, in all its virgin beauty, appeared to these natives of foggy England, as the very paradise of the world. Elizabeth, delighted with the description, named the country Virginia, in honor of herself, as she took pride in being known as the
Virgin Queen. April
It was not difficult now to obtain colonists; soon a fleet of seven vessels was equipped, containing one hundred and eight persons, who intended to form a settlement. Sir Richard Grenville, a friend of Raleigh, and a man of eminence, commanded the fleet, and Ralph Lane was appointed governor of the colony. After a tedious voyage, they landed, in June, fifteen hundred and eightyfive, on an island called Roanake, lying between Albemarle