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· The attack of the fiery Gascon was but a passing storm. Charles IX. disowned the expedition, and abandoned all pretensions to Florida. Spain, in the meantime, seized, and grappled it to her bosom ; and if its first discovery conferred a right, her claim, unquestionably, was just. Not only Florida, but North America itself, was thenceforward annexed to the Spanish crown, and thus included within her empire.
The amount paid by Atahualpa for his ransom, may be collected from the following facts, stated by Robertson : “ The apartment in which the Inca was confined, was twentytwo feet in length, and sixteen in breadth. This he undertook to fill with vessels of gold as high as he could reach; and a line was drawn upon the walls of the chamber, to mark the stipulated height to which the treasure was to rise. It amounted to eight thousand pesos, (equal in effective value, to as many pounds stirling,) to each horseman, and half that sum to each foot soldier ; and to the officers, dividends in proportion to the dignity of their rank. These wages of iniquity, the spoils of an innocent people, procured by deceit, extortion and cruelty, were distributed with religious rites, on the festival of St. James, the patron Saint of Spain ; and Atahualpa, after a mock trial, and receiving baptism, was strangled by order of Pizarro. The spoils of Cusco, probably exceeded the amount received for Atahualpa's ransom."
Colonization of Virginia-English and Dutch settlements, how material-Henry VII.
-John Cabot-Sebastian Cabot-Henry VIII.-Queen Elizabeth-Attempts to discover the northwest passage-Sir Hunphrey Gilbert-Martin Frobisher-Sir Francis Drake-English commerce and fisheries--Sir Walter Raleigh-His attempts to colonize North Carolina-Its failure-London Company-Its charter-James I.John Smith-Captain Newport-James Town settled-Powhattan-Pocahontas John Rolfe-Lord Delaware-Sir Thomas Dale-Sir Thomas Gates-Petition to Parliament for aid, rejected-Charter amended-Yeardly appointed captain-general --First colonial Assembly-Sir Edwin Sandye-Young ladies sent to Virginia Earl of Southampton-Virginia freedom.
While the Spaniards, (despising the petty range of Europe, as too limited for their ambition,) were pursuing a career of glory in South America—without regard to principle—that cast other nations in the shade, and every sea, and coast, and island, was resounding with their fame; England was neither inattentive to, nor entirely regardless of, the passing scene. No sooner had Columbus announced the discovery of another world, whose sands it was said sparkled with gold, than England, France, and Holland, saw in prospect the glittering bait, and felt new energies within. Their exertions, however, in comparison with those of Spain, were at first tardy and ineffective.
The history of the English and Dutch settlements upon the Atlantic coast, is important here, because it furnishes matter for serious reflection. It is from thence that we are principally descended ; our population, with the exception of a few persons from abroad, who have recently migrated hither, is made up of eastern and southern emigrants. Our laws and our religion, our habits, our mode of thinking and rules of action, our code of morals and political sentiments, are from them mostly derived. An attempt, therefore, to write the history of Illinois, without adverting to the pilgrims of New-England, the burghers of New Amsterdam, the plan. ters of Virginia, and to others who, at an early day, settled on the Atlantic rivers and bays, would be like the attempt of a lawyer to recover in ejectment without producing his patent. Although a title may, in law, be presumed, and frequently is so, by the lapse of time, the production of the title-deeds is always desirable, and courts and jurors are unwilling to presume what is capable of direct and positive proof.
Every citizen in this country being regarded as a sovereign, and his patent derived from the King of Kings, no one need blush for his origin, although a pilgrim, a burgher, or a planter, may have been his ancestor. We are not, then, called upon to vindicate the American character from
injurious aspersions; nor, because our origin is unpretending, is it from thence to be inferred that our
“ Ignoble blood
There is also another point of view from which the colonies of England and Holland may be seen to advantage, and this renders their early history exceedingly instructive. The principles of the American Revolution were early implanted there. The germ of independence, in thought, word, and deed, soon after their establishment, took deep and enduring root in their soil; and the capacity of man for self-government was, at an early day, thus partially tested. Their origin, progress, principles and hopes, then, are essentially ours, and therefore legitimate subjects of consideration.
When the American Continent was discovered by Columbus, the “wars of the Roses” had ceased, and Henry VII., during whose reign the great discoverer had opened new and unexplored worlds to European cupidity, was undisputed “ lord of the isles." By his prudent severity, the industry and tranquillity of England had been restored. Her ports were then filled with Lombard adventurers ; her nautical skill had been tested in every sea, and her northern fisheries, and her intercourse with Iceland, had made her seamen familiar with storms.
The achievement of Columbus, “ more divine than human," having kindled a desire in her mariners to tread in his footsteps, and gather laurels in other seas; and the politic King of England, willing to repair the error he had committed, in refusing to patronize an expedition which had reflected so much honor on the Spanish crown and king; and desirous also, as it was said, to share with his subjects in the profits of mercantile . adventure; John Cabot, a Venetian merchant, then residing at Bristol, had no great difficulty in bringing the English monarch into his views. He accordingly submitted to the king a plan of discovery which met his ap. probation. “Being the most ancient American state-paper of England in existence,” and being, also, in other respects, an extraordinary docu. ment, it deserves a moment's attention.
On the 5th of March, 1496, John Cabot obtained from the king a patent, empowering him and his three sons, (of whom Sebastian Cabot, afterward the celebrated navigator, was one,) their heirs, and assigns, to sail in the eastern, western, and northern seas, with a fleet of five ships, at their own proper expense and charges; to search for islands, provinces and regions, before unseen by Christian people ; to affix the banner of England on any city, island or continent, that they should discover, and, as vassals of the English crown, to possess and occupy the same. The patentees (and their successors, of course,) were required to land at Bristol, and pay to the king a fifth part of all the profits realized from each adventure ; and the exclusive right of visiting and trading with the countries to be thus discovered, was reserved in the same grant, uncon. ditionally, to the Cabots and their family for ever. Under this patent, John Cabot and his son Sebastian embarked for the west, and discovered the Continent of North America on the 24th of June, 1497, near Labra. dor, in latitude 56° north. This was some time before Columbus, in his third voyage, came in sight of the Continent, and two years before Ame. rigo Vespucci sailed west of the Canaries. It seems, then, that the American Continent was first discovered by a Bristol merchant, without any aid or assistance whatever from the crown. Although the Cabots derived little or no benefit from the expedition, England acquired a title to North America, which she afterward successfully asserted. The fact of its having been first seen by a Bristol mariner, from the deck of a vessel bearing her flag, though fitted out for private adventure, conferring, in the opinion of a British Parliament, (after the Reformation,) a better title than the grant of a Roman pontiff.
John Cabot having made, as he supposed, an important discovery, hastened home without landing on its coast, to announce his success; and on the 3rd of February, 1498, a new patent was issued, and another voyage undertaken by Sebastian Cabot, for purposes of traffic, in which the frugal king became a partner. Sebastian Cabot was a man of great benevolence and courtesy, daring in conception, and patient in execution. He guided, for more than half a century, the commercial enterprise of Europe with the western Continent. Having, in his second voyage, arrived upon the coast of Labrador, in latitude 58° north, he was induced by the severity of the climate to sail to the south, and did so, as far as Maryland, and thence he returned, for want of provisions, directly to England. At a subsequent period, he received the title of pilot-major from Charles V., and was much applauded by the Spaniards for his achievements and skill. He also advanced the commerce of England, on his return thither, and after a life of peril, was gathered to his fathers in extreme old age. Although he had given a Continent to his adopted country, such was the ingratitude of its monarch, that “the old veteran seaman,” the hero of a thousand storms, was buried somewhere, it is said, in England, but where is still uncertain. No monument marks the spot where “the hero was laid.”
Adventures without profit soon languished; and during the reign of Henry VIII., scarce anything in the way of discovery was effectedHenry and his celebrated minister, Cardinal Woolsey, having other business in hand: a few efforts, it is true, were made, but none deserving of record.
A new era, however, was approaching. English commerce was about to burst its fetters, and English valor to display its glory. Her sailors no longer feared the heat and fevers of the south, nor the cold and icebergs of the north ; and her merchants sought competition in every clime. The restraints imposed by religion-the ambition which avarice had inspired-and a desire for strange adventures, which had engrossed the thoughts of the high, the low, and the brave, having previously driven the boldest and most daring spirits of Castile to the newly-discovered world in search of fame, and fortune; and their deeds being recorded by Span. ish historians, and now emblazoned forth in England, in consequence of the matrimonial alliance contracted between Philip of Spain, and Mary, Queen of England, induced the merchants and mariners of the latter, to vic with those of the former on the ocean and the land—the marriage of Philip and Mary having tended, as it undoubtedly did, to excite the emulation it was intended to check.
The firmness of Elizabeth, aided in a great degree the efforts of her subjects; and the ascendency of the Protestant religion, unquestionably completed what she had begun. The celebrated Armada having been defeated, the hopes and expectations of the Spanish monarch were checked for a time, and England (no longer the ally, but the antagonist of Philip,) aspired to be mistress of the northern seas. She therefore strengthened her navy-filled her arsenals—and encouraged the building of ships. Her privateers soon visited the harbors of Spanish America in hostile array, and the rich galleons of Spain, laden with extorted treasures, decorated her ports.
The discovery of a northwest passage to India, or Cathay, as it was then called, having excited considerable attention, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, reposing from the toils of war, wrote a treatise upon the subject, which met with universal favor. Martin Frobisher, in 1576, followed in his wake, esteeming it, as he quaintly observes, “the only thing of the world that was yet left undone, by which a notable mind might be made famous and fortunate.” Too poor to fit out an expedition at his own expense, he sought aid of his friends—tendered his services to merchants, and finally to his sovereign, but all in vain. Dudley, Earl of Warwick, at last promoted his design, and fitted out a squadron for that purpose, consisting of three vessels, (if such they could be called,) one of twenty-five tons, one of twenty, and a pinnace of ten tons. With this humble armament, Frobisher was to traverse unknown seas, and to battle with storms. As he dropped down the Thames, on the 8th of June, 1576, Queen Elizabeth “ waved her hand in token of favor;" and the admiral, standing on the deck of his flag-ship of twenty-five tons, responded to his sovereign, (who had not advanced a shilling to defray the expenses,) and departed in quest of other worlds. The pinnace, overtaken by a storm, was swal. lowed up by the sea. The commander of the Michael became terrified and returned ; and the brave old admiral was left to pursue his voyage alone. After enduring hardships apparently incredible, he arrived on the coast of Labrador, entered the bay now called Frobisher's Bay, took possession of the country in the name of his sovereign, erected the stand. ard of England on its coast, gathered stones and rubbish from the shore, seized one of the natives for exhibition on his return, and arrived safely in England. This is the most extraordinary, well-attested, naval expedition on record.