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ENGLAND TAKES POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES.
CHAP. The attempts of the French to colonize Florida, a though unprotected and unsuccessful, were not without
an important influence on succeeding events. About the time of the return of De Gourgues, Walter Raleigh,
a young Englishman, had abruptly left the university 1569 of Oxford, to take part in the civil contests between the 1575. Huguenots and the Catholics in France, and with the
prince of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV., was learning the art of war under the veteran Coligny. The Protestant party was, at that time, strongly excited with indignation at the massacre which De Gourgues had avenged; and Raleigh could not but gather from his associates and his commander intelligence respecting Florida and the navigation to those regions. Some of the miserable men who escaped from the first expedition, had been conducted to Elizabeth,” and had kindled in the public mind in England a desire for the possession of the southern coast of our republic; the reports of Hawkins, who had been the benefactor of the French on the River May, increased the national excitement; and De Morgues,o the painter, who had sketched in Florida the most remarkable appearances of nature, ultimately found the opportunity of finishing his designs, through the munificence of Raleigh.
i Oldys' Raleigh, 16, 17. Tytler's Raleigh, 19_23.
Hakluyt, iii. 384
3 Ibid. iii. 612_617.
4 Hakluyt, iii. 364. Compare a marginal note to iii. 425.
The progress of English maritime enterprise had chap
III. prepared the way for vigorous efforts at colonization. ama The second expedition of the Cabots was, as we have 1498 seen, connected with plans for settlements. Other commissions, for the same object, were issued by Henry VII. In the patent, which an American histo- 1501 rian has recently published, the design of establishing 191 emigrants in the New World is distinctly proposed, and encouraged by the concession of a limited monopoly of the colonial trade and of commercial privi leges. It is probable, that at least one voyage was made under the authority of this commission; for in The year after it was granted, natives of North Ameri- 1502 ca, in their wild attire, were exhibited to the public wonder of England.
Yet if a voyage was actually made, its success was inconsiderable. A new patent, with larger conces- 1502 sions, was issued, in part to the same patentees; and Dec. there is reason to believe, that the king now favored by gratuities 4 the expedition, which no longer appeared to promise any considerable returns. Where no profits followed adventure, navigation soon languished. Yet the connection between England and the New-Found Land was never abandoned. Documentary evidence exists of voyages5 favored by the English, till the time when the Normans, the Biscayans, and the Bretons, began to frequent the fisheries on the American coast. Is it probable, that English mariners ever wholly resigned to a rival nation the benefits arising from their own discoveries ?
1509 Nor was the reign of Henry VIII. unfavorable to 1547
| Memoir of Cabot, 3064314. 2 Stow, An. 1502, 483, 484.
3 Rymer's Fædera, xiii. 37–42. Bacon's Henry VII.
4 Mem. of Cabot, 226. Note. 5 Mem. of Cabot, 229, 230.
CHAP. the mercantile interests of his kingdom; and that
monarch, while his life was still unstained by profligacy, and his passions not yet hardened into the stubborn selfishness of despotism, considered the discovery of the north as his " charge and duty," and made such experiments as the favorable situation of England ap
peared to demand. An account has already been 1517. given of the last voyage of discovery in which Sebas
tian Cabot was personally engaged for his native land. Is it not probable, that other expeditions were made, with the favor of King Henry and of Wolsey, although
no distinct account of them has been preserved? Of 1527. one such voyage for the discovery of a north-west pas
sage, there exists a relation,' written by Rut, the commander of one of the ships, and forwarded from the haven of St. John in Newfoundland. This implies a direct and established intercourse between England and the American coast. Some part of the country was explored; for the English never abandoned the hope of planting a colony on the continent which Cabot had discovered. .
The jealousy of the Spanish nation was excited, and already began to fear English rivalry in the New World. Henry VIII. was vigorous in his attempts to check piracy; and the navigation of his subjects was extended under the security of his protection. The banner of St. George was often displayed in the harbors of Northern Africa and in the Levant;4 and when commerce, emancipated from the confinement of the inner seas, went boldly forth to make the ocean its chief highway, England became more emulous to
i Thorne's letter, in 1527, to 3 Herrera, d. ii. 1. v. c. iii. ComHenry VIII., in Hakluyt, i. 236. pare Oviedo, l. xix. c. xii. in Ra
2 Purchas, ii. 809. Hakluyt, iii. musio, iii. fol. 204. 167, 168. Mem. of S. Cabot, part 4 Hill's Naval History, 267 ii. c. ix.
engage in a competition, in which her position gave chaP
111. her a pledge of success. When voyages for traffic an were already made by English merchants between 1530 the coasts of Africa and Brazil, it may be safely believed, that the nearer shores of North America were not neglected.
An account exists of one expedition, which was conducted by Hore, and “ assisted by the good countenance of Henry VIII.” But the incidents, as they were related to the inquisitive Hakluyt by “the only man then alive, that had been in the discovery,” are embellished with improbable aggravations of distress. Memory, at all periods of life, is easily deceived by the imagination; and men who relate marvellous tales of . personal adventure, are the first to become the dupes of their own inventions. The old sailor, perhaps, believed his story, in which frequent repetition may have gradually deepened the shades of horror. Cannibalism 1536 is the crime of famine at sea; men do not often devour one another on shore, least of all on a coast abounding in wild fowl and fish. The English may have suffered from want; and as a French ship, a well furnished with vittails,” approached Newfoundland, they obtained possession of it by a stroke of “ policie,” which, if dishonest, seems not to have been regarded as disgraceful, and set sail for England. The French followed in the English ship, and complained of the exchange. It shows the favor of Henry VIII. to maritime enterprise, that he pardoned his subjects the wrong, and of his own private purse “ made full and royal recompense to the French.” 1
The statute books of England soon gave proof, that 1541 the “new land” of America had engaged the attention
i Hakluyt, iii. 168–170.
VOYAGE IN SEARCH OF A NORTH-EAST PASSAGE.
CHAP. of parliament;' and, after the accession of Edward, the
a fisheries of Newfoundland obtained the protection of a 1548. special act. The preamble to this latter statute de
clares the navigation to have been burdened for years by exactions from the officers of the admiralty; and its enactments forbid the continuance of the oppression. An active commerce must have long existed, since exactions, levied upon it, had almost become prescriptive.
But India was still esteemed the great region of wealth ; and England, then having no anticipation of one day becoming the sovereign of Ilindostan, hoped for a peaceful intercourse only by the discovery of a new and nearer avenue to Southern Asia. Thrice, at least, perhaps thrice by Cabot alone, the attempt at a
north-western passage had been made, and always in 1553. vain. A north-east course was now proposed; the fieet
of Willoughby and Chancellor was to reach the rich lands of Cathay by doubling the northern promontory of Lapland. The ships parted company. The fate of Willoughby was as tragical as the issue of the voyage of Chancellor was successful. The admiral, with one of the ships, was driven, by the severity of the polar autumn, to seek shelter in a Lapland harbor, which afforded protection against storms, but not against the rigors of the season. When search was
made for him in the following spring, Willoughby him1554. self was found dead in his cabin; and his journal, de
tailing his sufferings from the polar winter, was complete probably to the day when his senses were suspended by the intolerable cold. His ship's company lay dead in various parts of the vessel, some alone, some in groups. The other ship reached the harbor
1 33 Henry VIII., c. ii. Ruff- 412. Hakluyt, iii. 170 Hazard, i. head, ii. 304.
22, 23. 2 2 Edward VI., in Ruffhead, ii.