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thin planks, so that the least shock would have broken chaP. them in pieces. Thus provided, in seventeen days a the fugitives reached the Gulf of Mexico; the distance 1543.
July seemed to them two hundred and fifty leagues, and 2–18. was not much less than five hundred miles. They were the first to observe, that for some distance from the mouth of the Mississippi the sea is not salt, so great is the volume of fresh water which the river discharges. Following, for the most part, the coast, it was more than fifty days before the men, who finally escaped, Sept. now no more than three hundred and eleven in number, entered the River Panuco.
Such is the history of the first visit of Europeans to the Mississippi ; the honor of the discovery belongs, without a doubt, to the Spaniards. There were not wanting adventurers, who desired to make one more 1544 attempt to possess the country by force of arms; their request was refused. Religious zeal was more per
1 On Soto's expedition, by far sarily skeptical. The French transthe best account is that of the Por- lator of Vega has not a word of tuguese Eve-witness, first published valuable criticism. Of English auin 1537, and by Hakluyt, in Eng- thors, neither Purchas nor Harris lish, in 1609. There is an imper- has furnished any useful illusfect abridgment of it in Purchas, trations. Of books published in iv. 1528–1556; and a still more America, Belknap, in Am. Biog. i. imperfect one in Roberts's Florida, 185—195, comments with his usual 33–79. This narrative is remark- care. McCulloh, in his Researches, ably good, and contains internal Appendix, iji. 523—5:31, makes an evidence of its credibility. Nuttall earnest attempt to trace the route erroneously attributes it to Vega. of Soto. So Nuttall, in his Travels In the work of Vega, numbers and in Arkansas, Appendix, 247–267. distances are magnified; and every Nuttall had himself roved through thing embellished with great bold- the same regions, and his opinions ness. His history is not without its are justly entitled to much defervalue, but must be consulted with ence. Flint only glances at the extreme caution. Herrera, d. vi. l. subject. Stoddard, in his Sketches, vii. c. ix.-xii., and d. vii. I. vii. c. i. 4, is vague and without detail. Í ---xi, is not an original authority. have compared all these authors: The Ensayo Cronologico contains the account in Hakluyt, with good nothing of moment on the subject modern maps, can lead to firm conL'Escarbot, N. Fr. i. 36, De Laet, clusions. 1. iv. c. iv.-ix., and Charlevoix, 2 Ensayo Cronologico, Año N. Fr. i. 24, and iii. 403, offer no MDXLIV. new views. Du Pratz is unneces
SPANISH MISSIONARIES IN FLORIDA.
CHAP. severing; Louis Cancello, a missionary of the Domin
a ican order, gained, through Philip, then heir apparent 1547. in Spain, permission to visit Florida, and attempt the 28. peaceful conversion of the natives. Christianity was
to conquer the land against which so many expeditions had failed. The Spanish governors were directed to favor the design; all slaves, that had been taken from the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico, were to
be manumitted and restored to their country. A 1549 ship was fitted out with much solemnity; but the
priests, who sought the first interview with the natives, were feared as enemies, and, being immediately attacked, Louis and two others fell martyrs to their zeal.
Florida was abandoned. It seemed as if death guarded the avenues to the country. While the Castilians were every where else victorious, Florida was wet with the blood of the invaders, who had still been unable to possess themselves of her soil. The coast of our republic on the Gulf of Mexico was not, at this time, disputed by any other nation with Spain ; while that power claimed, under the name of Florida, the wbole seacoast as far as Newfoundland, and even to the remotest north. In Spanish geography, Canada was a part of Florida. Yet within that whole extent, not a Spanish fort was erected, not a harbor was occupied, not one settlement was begun. The first permanent establishment of the Spaniards in Florida was the result of jealous bigotry.
1 Ensayo Cronologico, 25, 26; Narratio eorum quæ in Florida Gallis Vega, l. vi. c. xxii.; Gomara, c. acciderunt. Thuani Hist. 1. xliv. xlv.; Urbani Calvetonis de Gallo- 2 Gom. c. xlv.; Vega, 1. vi. c. xxii. rum in Floridam Expeditione Brevis 3 Herrera's West Indies, c. viii. Historia, c. i., annexed to Nov. in Purchas, iv. 868. Nov. Orbis Ilist. 432, 433; Eden 4 Bolvio á la Florida Champlain; and Willes, fol. 229; De Bry's in- entrò en Quebec, &c. Ensayo troduction and parergon to his Brevis Cronologico, 179.
For France had begun to settle the region with a CHAP colony of Protestants; and Calvinism, which, with the an special coöperation of Calvin himself, had, for a short 1562. season, occupied the coasts of Brazil and the harbor of 1555 Rio Janeiro,' was now to be planted on the borders of Florida. Coligny had long desired to establish a refuge for the Huguenots, and a Protestant French empire, in America. Disappointed in his first effort, by the apostasy and faithlessness of his agent, Villegagnon, he still persevered; moved alike by religious zeal, and by a passion for the honor of France. The expedition which he now planned was intrusted to the 1562 command of John Ribault of Dieppe, a brave man, of maritime experience, and a firm Protestant, and was attended by some of the best of the young French nobility, as well as by veteran troops. The feeble Charles IX. conceded an ample commission, and the Feb. squadron set sail for the shores of North America. 18. Desiring to establish their plantation in a genial clime, land was first made in the latitude of St. Augustine; the fine river which we call the St. Johns, was discovered, and named the River of May. It is the St. May Matheo 3 of the Spaniards. The forests of mulberries were admired, and caterpillars readily mistaken for silkworms. The cape received a French name; as the ships sailed along the coast, the numerous streams were called after the rivers of France; and America, for a while, had its Seine, its Loire, and its Garonne. In searching for the Jordan or Combahee, they came upon Port Royal entrance, which seemed the outlet
i De Thou's Hist. 1. xvi. Lery, 2 Compare the criticism of Hist. Nav. in Bras. An abridg. Holmes's Annals, i. 567. ment of the description, but not of 3 Ensayo Cronologico, p. 43. the personal narrative, appears in 4 Laudonniere, in Hakluyt, iii. 373. Purchas, iv. 1325—1347. L'Escar The description is sufficiently minute bot, N. F. i. 143—214; Southey's and accurate; removing all doubt. Brazil, part i. c. ix.
Before the geography of the coun
CHAP. of a magnificent river. The greatest ships of France ha and the argosies of Venice could ride securely in the 1562. deep water of the harbor. The site for a first settle
ment is apt to be injudiciously selected; the local advantages which favor the growth of large cities, are revealed by time. It was perhaps on Lemon Island, that a monumental stone, engraved with the arms of France, was proudly raised; and as the company looked round upon the immense oaks, which were venerable from the growth of centuries, the profusion of wild fowls, the groves of pine, the flowers so fragrant that the whole air was perfumed, they already regarded the country as a province of their native land. Ribault determined to leave a colony; twenty-six composed the whole party, which was to keep possession of the con
inent. Fort Charles, the Carolina,' so called in honor of Charles IX. of France, first gave a name to the country, a century before it was occupied by the English. The name remained, though the early colony
perished. July Ribault and the ships arrived safely in France. But
the fires of civil war had been kindled in all the provinces of the kingdom; and the promised reinforcements for Carolina were never levied. The situation of the French became precarious. The natives were friendly; but the soldiers themselves were insubordi nate; and dissensions prevailed. The commandant at Carolina repressed the turbulent spirit with arbitrary cruelty, and lost his life in a mutiny which his ungovernable passion had provoked. The new commander
try was well known, there was room is confused and inaccurate. Comfor the error of Charlevoix, Nouv. Fr. pare Johnson's Life of Greene, i. 477. i. 25, who places the settlement at 1 Munitionem Carolinam, de rethe mouth of the Edisto, an error gis nomine dictuin. De Thou, i which is followed by Chalmers, 513. xliv. 531, edition of 1626. It is no reproach to Charlevoix, that 2 Hening, i. 552; and Thurloe, his geography of the coast of Florida i. 273, 274
succeeded in restoring order. But the love of his CHAP native land is a passion easily revived in the breast of a Frenchman; and the company resolved to embark in 1562 such a brigantine as they could themselves construct. Intoxicated with joy at the thought of returning home, 1563 they neglected to provide sufficient stores; and they were overtaken by famine at sea, with its attendant crimes. A small English bark at length boarded their vessel, and, setting the most feeble on shore upon the coast of France, carried the rest to the queen of England. Thus fell the first attempt of France in French Florida, near the southern confines of South Carolina. The country was still a desert.
After the treacherous peace between Charles IX. 1564. and the Huguenots, Coligny renewed his solicitations for the colonization of Florida. The king gave consent; three ships were conceded for the service; and Laudonniere, who, in the former voyage, had been upon the American coast, a man of great intelligence, though a seaman rather than a soldier, was appointed to lead forth the colony. Emigrants readily appeared ; for the climate of Florida was so celebrated, that, according to rumor, the duration of human life was doubled under its genial influences;2 and men still dreamed of rich mines of gold in the interior. Coligny was desirous of obtaining accurate descriptions of the country; and James le Moyne, called De Morgues, an ingenious painter, was commissioned to execute colored drawings of the objects which might engage his curi- April osity. A voyage of sixty days brought the fleet, by 22. to the way of the Canaries and the Antilles, to the shores 22.
1 Laudonniere, in Hakluyt, iii. logico, 42—45; L'Escarbot, Nouv. 371-384. Compare De Thou, a Fr. i. 41-62. contemporary, 1. xliv.; Charlevoix, De Thou, 1. xliv.; Hakluyt, iv. N. Fr. i. 24_35; Ensayo Crono- 389.