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RALEIGH'S COLONY IN NORTH CAROLINA.
ville ordered the village to be burnt and the standing chap.
III. corn to be destroyed. Not long after this action of inconsiderate revenge, the ships, having landed the 1585. colony, sailed for England; a rich Spanish prize, made 25. by Grenville on the return voyage, secured him a courteous welcome as he entered the harbor of Plymouth. The transport ships of the colony were at the same time privateers.
The employments of Lane and his colonists, after the departure of Sir Richard Grenville, could be none other than to explore the country; and in a letter, which he wrote while his impressions were yet fresh, he expressed himself in language of enthusiastic ad- Sept. miration. “It is the goodliest soil under the cope of heaven; the most pleasing territory of the world; the continent is of a huge and unknown greatness, and very well peopled and towned, though savagely. The climate is so wholesome, that we have not one sick, since we touched the land. If Virginia had but horses and kine, and were inhabited with English, no realm in Christendom were comparable to it."
The keenest observer was Hariot; and he was often employed in dealing with “the natural inhabitants." He carefully examined the productions of the country, those which would furnish commodities for commerce, and those which were in esteem among the natives. He observed the culture of tobacco; accustomed himself to its use, and was a firm believer in its healing virtues. The culture of maize, and the extraordinary productiveness of that grain, especially attracted his admiration; and the tuberous roots of the potato, when boiled, were found to be very good food. The inhab
NATIVE INHABITANTS OF NORTH CAROLINA.
CHAP. itants are described as too feeble to inspire terror,
an clothed in mantles and aprons of deer-skins; having no 1585. weapons but wooden swords and bows of witch-hazel
with arrows of reeds; no armor but targets of bark and sticks wickered together with thread. Their towns were small; the largest containing but thirty dwellings. The walls of the houses were made of bark, fastened to stakes; and sometimes consisted of poles fixed upright, one by another, and at the top bent over and fastened; as arbors are sometimes made in gardens. But the great peculiarity of the Indians consisted in the want of political connection. A single town often constituted a government; a collection of ten or twenty wigwams was an independent state. The greatest chief in the whole country could not muster more than seven or eight hundred fighting inen. The dialect of each government seemed a language by itself. The country which Hariot explored was on the boundary of the Algonquin race; where the Lenni Lenape tribes melted into the widely-differing nations of the south. The wars among themselves rarely led them to the open battle-field; they were accustomed rather to sudden surprises at daybreak or by moonlight, to ambushes and the subtle devices of cunning falsehood. Destitute of the arts, they yet displayed excellency of wit in all which they attempted. Nor were they entirely ignorant of religion; and to the credulity of fetichism they joined an undeveloped conception of the unity of the Divine Power. It is natural to the human mind to desire immortality; the natives of Carolina believed in continued existence after death, and in retributive justice. The mathematical instruments, the burning-glass, guns, clocks, and the use of letters, seemed the works of gods, rather than of men;
and the English were reverenced as the pupils and chap. favorites of Heaven. In every town which Hariot a entered, he displayed the Bible, and explained its 1585 truths; the Indians revered the volume rather than its doctrines; and, with a fond superstition, they embraced the book, kissed it, and held it to their breasts and heads, as if it had been an amulet. As the colonists enjoyed uniform health, and had no women with them, there were some among the Indians who imagined the English were not born of woman, and therefore not mortal ; that they were men of an old generation, risen to immortality. The terrors of fire-arms the natives could neither comprehend nor resist; every sickness which now prevailed among them, was attributed to wounds from invisible bullets, discharged by unseen agents, with whom the air was supposed to be peopled. They prophesied, that “ there were more of the English generation yet to come, to kill theirs and take their places ;” and some believed, that the purpose of extermination was already matured, and its execution begun.
Was it strange, then, that the natives desired to be 1586 delivered from the presence of guests by whom they feared to be supplanted? The colonists were mad with the passion for gold; and a wily savage invented, Mar respecting the River Roanoke and its banks, extravagant tales, which nothing but cupidity could have credited. The river, it was said, gushed forth from a rock, so near the Pacific Ocean, that the surge of the sea sometimes dashed into its fountain ; its banks were inhabited by a nation skilled in the art of refining the rich ore in which the country abounded. The walls of the city were described as glittering from the abun
1 Hariot, in Hakluyt, inn. 324–310.
ILL SUCCESS OF THE ENGLISH COLONY
CHAP. dance of pearls. Lane was so credulous, that he at
ar tempted to ascend the rapid current of the Roanoke ; 1586. and his followers, infatuated with greedy avarice, would
not return till their stores of provisions were exhausted, and they had killed and eaten the very dogs which bore them company. On this attempt to explore the interior, the English hardly advanced higher up the river than some point near the present village of Wil
liamstown. April. The Indians had hoped to destroy the English by
thus dividing them; but the prompt return of Lane prevented open hostilities. They next conceived the plan of leaving their lands unplanted; and they were willing to abandon their fields, if famine would in consequence compel the departure of their too powerful guests. The suggestion was defeated by the modera
tion of one of their aged chiefs; but the feeling of May. enmity could not be restrained. The English believed
that a wide conspiracy was preparing; that fear of a foreign enemy was now teaching the natives the necessity of union; and that a grand alliance was forming to destroy the strangers by a general massacre. Perhaps the English, whom avarice had certainly rendered credulous, were now precipitate in giving faith to the whispers of jealousy; it is certain that, in the contest of dissimulation, they proved themselves the more successful adepts. Desiring an audience of Wingina,
the most active among the native chiefs, Lane and his June attendants were quickly admitted to his presence. No
hostile intentions were displayed by the Indians; their reception of the English was proof of their confidence. Immediately a preconcerted watchword was given; and the Christians, falling upon the unhappy king and his principal followers, put them without mercy to death.
VISIT OF DRAKE.
It was evident that Lane did not possess the quali- CHAP. ties suited to his station. He had not the sagacity na which could rightly interpret the stories or the designs 1586 of the natives; and the courage, like the eye, of a soldier, differs from that of a traveller. His discoveries were inconsiderable: to the south they had extended only to Secotan, in the present county of Craven, between the Pamlico and the Neuse ; to the north they reached no farther than the small River Elizabeth, which joins the Chesapeake Bay below Norfolk ; in the interior, the Chowan had been examined beyond the junction of the Meherrin and the Nottaway; and we have seen, that the hope of gold attracted Lane to make a short excursion up the Roanoke. Yet some general results of importance were obtained. The climate was found to be salubrious; during the year not more than four men had died, and of these, three brought the seeds of their disease from Europe. The hope of finding better harbors at the north was confirmed; and the Bay of Chesapeake was already regarded as the fit theatre for early colonization. But in the Island of Roanoke, the men began to despond ; they looked in vain towards the ocean for supplies from England; they were sighing for the luxuries of the cities in their native land; when of a sudden it was rumored, that
Jure the sea was white with the sails of three-and-twenty 8. ships ; and within three days, Sir Francis Drake had anchored his fleet at sea outside of Roanoke Inlet, in “the wild road of their bad harbor.”
He had come, on his way from the West Indies to England, to visit the domain of his friend. With the celerity of genius, he discovered the measures which the exigency of the case required, and supplied the
1 Hariot, in Hakluyt, iii. 340. True Declaration of Virginia, 32.