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CHAP. his own countrymen. The adventurers in New Spain
a would endure no independent neighbor : the governor 1518. of Jamaica became involved in a career, which, as it
ultimately tempted him to dispute the possession of a province with Cortes, led him to the loss of fortune and an inglorious death. The progress of discovery along the southern boundary of the United States was but little advanced by the expedition, of which the cir
cumstances have been variously related. 1520. A voyage for slaves brought the Spaniards still fur
ther upon the northern coast. A company of seven, of whom the most distinguished was Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, fitted out two slave ships from St. Domingo, in quest of laborers for their plantations and mines. From the Bahama Islands, they passed to the coast of South Carolina, a country which was called Chicora. The Combahee? River received the name of the Jordan : the name of St. Helena, given to a cape, now belongs to the sound. The natives of this region had not yet had cause to fear Europeans; their natural fastnesses had not yet been invaded; and if they fled at the approach of men from the slave ships, it was rather from timid wonder than from a sense of peril. Gists were interchanged; a liberal hospitality was offered to the strangers ; confidence was established. At length the natives were invited to visit the ships; they came in cheerful throngs; the decks were covered. Immediately the ships weighed anchor; the sails were unfurled, and the prows turned towards St. Domingo. Husbands were torn from their wives, and children from their parents. Thus the seeds of war were lavishly
i Peter Martyr, d. v. l. i. Go- T. Southey's History of the West mara, c. xlvii. Ensayo Cronologico, Indies, i. 135. 3, 4. Herrera, d. ii. I. iii. c. vii. 2 Holmes's Annals, i. 47.
scattered where peace only had prevailed, and enmity Chap was spread through the regions where friendship had a been cherished. The crime was unprofitable, and was 1520 finally avenged. One of the returning ships foundered at sea, and the guilty and guiltless perished; many of the captives in the other sickened and died.
The events that followed mark the character of the times. Vasquez, repairing to Spain, boasted of his expedition, as if it entitled him to reward, and the emperor, Charles V., acknowledged his claim. In those days, the Spanish monarch conferred a kind of appointment, which, however strange its character may appear, still has its parallel in history. Not only were provinces granted; countries were distributed to be subdued; and Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon begged to be appointed to the conquest of Chicora. After long entreaty, he obtained his suit.
The issue of the new and bolder enterprise was 1524 disastrous to the undertaker. He wasted his fortune in preparations; his largest ship was stranded in the 1525. River Jordan; many of his men were killed by the natives, whom wrongs had quickened to active resistance; he himself escaped only to suffer from wounded pride; and, conscious of having done nothing worthy of being remembered, the sense of humiliation is said to have hastened his death."
The love of adventure did not wholly extinguish the 1524 desire for maritime discovery. When Cortes was able to pause from his success in Mexico, and devise further schemes for ingratiating himself with the Spanish monarch, he proposed to solve the problem of a north
i Peter Martyr, d. vii. c. ii. Go- luyt, iv. 429. Ensayo Cronologico, mara, c. xlii. Herrera, d. iii. l. viii. 4, 5, 6. 8, 9, and 160. Roberts's c. viii. Herrera's West Indies, in Florida, 27, 28. The Portuguese Purchas, iv. 869, Galvano, in Hak- Relation, c. xiv.
CHAP. west passage—the secret which has so long baffled
the enterprise of the most courageous and persevering 1524. navigators. He deemed the existence of the passage
unquestionable, and, by simultaneous voyages along the American coast, on the Pacific, and on the Atlantic, he hoped to complete the discovery, to which Sebastian Cabot had pointed the way.
The design of Cortes remained but the offer of 1525. loyalty. A voyage to the north-west was really under
taken by Stephen Gomez, an experienced naval officer, who had been with Magellan in the first memorable passage into the Pacific Ocean. The expedition was decreed by the council for the Indies, in the hope of discovering the northern route to India, which, notwithstanding it had been sought for in vain, was yet universally believed to exist. His ship entered the bays of New York and New England; on old Spanish maps, that portion of our territory is marked as the Land of Gomez. Failing to discover a passage, and fearful to return without success and without a freight, he filled his vessel with robust Indians, to be sold as slaves. Brilliant expectations had been raised; and the conclusion was esteemed despicably ludicrous. The Spaniards scorned to repeat their voyages to the cold and frozen north ; in the south, and in the south only, they looked for “ great and exceeding riches." 2 The adventure of Gomez had no political results. It had been furthered by the enemies of Cabot, who was, at that time, in the service of Spain ; and it established the reputation of the Bristol mariner.3
1 Quarta Carta, o Relacion de 2 Peter Martyr, d. viii. 1. x. Don Fernando Cortes. S. xix. in 3 Peter Martyr, d. vi. 1. x., and d. Barcia's Historiadores Primitivos, i. viii. 1. x. Gomara, c. xl. Herrera, 151, 152. The same may be found d. iii. 1. viii. c. viii. in the Italian of Ramusio, ii. fol. 294, ed. 1665.
But neither the fondness of the Spanish monarch for CHAP extensive domains, nor the desire of the nobility for an new governments, nor the passion of adventurers for 1525 undiscovered wealth, would permit the abandonment of the conquest of Florida. Permission to invade that 1526. territory was next sought for and obtained by Pamphilo de Narvaez, a man of no great virtue or reputation. This is the same person who had been sent by the jealous governor of Cuba to take Cortes prisoner, and who, after having declared him an outlaw, was himself easily defeated. He lost an eye in the affray, and his own troops deserted him. When brought into the presence of the man whom he had promised to arrest, he said to him, “ Esteem it great good fortune, that you have taken me captive.” Cortes replied, and with truth, “It is the least of the things I have done in Mexico.” 1
The territory, placed at the mercy of Narvaez, extended to the River of Palms; further, therefore, to the west, than the territory which was afterwards included in Louisiana. His expedition was as adventurous as his attempt against Cortes, but it was memorable for its disasters. Of three hundred men, of 1528. whom eighty were mounted, but four or five returned. The valor of the natives, thirst, famine, and pestilence, the want of concert between the ships and the men set on shore, the errors of judgment in the commanders, rapidly melted away the unsuccessful company. It is not possible to ascertain, with exactness, the point where Narvaez first landed in Florida; probably it April. was at a bay a little east of the meridian of Cape St. Antonio, in Cuba; it may have been, therefore, not far
1 Cortes, Carta de Relacion, c. i. 44. Gomara, Cronica de la Nueva S. XXXV.-xxxyii. in Barcia, i. 36- España, c. xcvi.-ci.
FLORIDA-PAMPHILO DE NARVAEZ.
CHAP. from the bay now called Appalachee. The party soon
a struck into the interior; they knew not where they 1528. were, nor whither they were going; and followed the
directions of the natives. These, with a sagacity careful to save themselves from danger, described the distant territory as full of gold, and freed themselves from the presence of troublesome guests, by exciting a
hope that covetousness could elsewhere be amply gratJune. ified. The town of Appalachee, which was thought to
contain immense accumulations of wealth, proved to be an inconsiderable collection of wigwams. It was probably in the region of the Bay of Pensacola, that the remnant of the party, after a ramble of eight hundred
miles, finally came again upon the sea, in a condition Sept. of extreme penury. Here they manufactured rude
boats, in which none but desperate men would have embarked ; and Narvaez and most of his companions, after having passed nearly six months in Florida, per
ished in a storm near the mouths of the Mississippi. Oct. One ship's company was wrecked upon an island; most 1528 of those who were saved died of famine. The four 1536, who ultimately reached Mexico by land succeeded only
after years of hardships. The simple narrative of their
wanderings, their wretchedness, and their courageous 1536, enterprise, could not but have been full of marvels; ay their rambles, extending across Louisiana and the
northern part of Mexico to the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Sonora, were almost as wide as those of Lewis and Clark to the sources of the Missouri and the mouth of the Columbia River; the story, which one of them published, and of which the truth was affirmed, on oath, before a magistrate, is disfigured by bold exaggerations
i Prince, 86, a safe interpreter.