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Pioneers Of France In The New World by Francis Parkman, Jr.

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{etext creator's note: The original text has many footnotes, which have
been preserved in this extext version as 'End Notes', found at the end
of this file. End Notes are marked in the text as [FN#]. }


By Francis Parkman


The springs of American civilization, unlike those of the elder world,
lie revealed in the clear light of History. In appearance they are
feeble; in reality, copious and full of force. Acting at the sources of
life, instruments otherwise weak become mighty for good and evil, and
men, lost elsewhere in the crowd, stand forth as agents of Destiny. In
their toils, their sufferings, their conflicts, momentous questions were
at stake, and issues vital to the future world,--the prevalence of
races, the triumph of principles, health or disease, a blessing or a
curse. On the obscure strife where men died by tens or by scores hung
questions of as deep import for posterity as on those mighty contests of
national adolescence where carnage is reckoned by thousands.

The subject to which the proposed series will be devoted is that of
"France in the New World,"--the attempt of Feudalism, Monarchy, and
Rome to master a continent where, at this hour, half a million of
bayonets are vindicating the ascendency of a regulated freedom;--
Feudalism still strong in life, though enveloped and overborne by
new-born Centralization; Monarchy in the flush of triumphant power;
Rome, nerved by disaster, springing with renewed vitality from ashes and
corruption, and ranging the earth to reconquer abroad what she had lost
at home. These banded powers, pushing into the wilderness their
indomitable soldiers and devoted priests, unveiled the secrets of the
barbarous continent, pierced the forests, traced and mapped out the
streams, planted their emblems, built their forts, and claimed all as
their own. New France was all head. Under king, noble, and Jesuit, the
lank, lean body would not thrive. Even commerce wore the sword, decked
itself with badges of nobility, aspired to forest seigniories and hordes
of savage retainers.

Along the borders of the sea an adverse power was strengthening and
widening, with slow but steadfast growth, full of blood and muscle,--a
body without a head. Each had its strength, each its weakness, each its
own modes of vigorous life: but the one was fruitful, the other barren;
the one instinct with hope, the other darkening with shadows of despair.

By name, local position, and character, one of these communities of
freemen stands forth as the most conspicuous representative of this
antagonism,--Liberty and Absolutism, New England and New France. The
one was the offspring of a triumphant government; the other, of an
oppressed and fugitive people: the one, an unflinching champion of the
Roman Catholic reaction; the other, a vanguard of the Reform. Each
followed its natural laws of growth, and each came to its natural
result. Vitalized by the principles of its foundation, the Puritan
commonwealth grew apace. New England was preeminently the land of
material progress. Here the prize was within every man's reach: patient
industry need never doubt its reward; nay, in defiance of the four
Gospels, assiduity in pursuit of gain was promoted to the rank of a
duty, and thrift and godliness were linked in equivocal wedlock.
Politically she was free; socially she suffered from that subtle and
searching oppression which the dominant opinion of a free community may
exercise over the members who compose it. As a whole, she grew upon the
gaze of the world, a signal example of expansive energy; but she has not
been fruitful in those salient and striking forms of character which
often give a dramatic life to the annals of nations far less prosperous.

We turn to New France, and all is reversed. Here was a bold attempt to
crush under the exactions of a grasping hierarchy, to stifle under the
curbs and trappings of a feudal monarchy, a people compassed by
influences of the wildest freedom,--whose schools were the forest and
the sea, whose trade was an armed barter with savages, and whose daily
life a lesson of lawless independence. But this fierce spirit had its
vent. The story of New France is from the first a story of war: of war
--for so her founders believed--with the adversary of mankind
himself; war with savage tribes and potent forest commonwealths; war
with the encroaching powers of Heresy and of England. Her brave,
unthinking people were stamped with the soldier's virtues and the
soldier's faults; and in their leaders were displayed, on a grand and
novel stage, the energies, aspirations, and passions which belong to
hopes vast and vague, ill-restricted powers, and stations of command.

The growth of New England was a result of the aggregate efforts of a
busy multitude, each in his narrow circle toiling for himself, to gather
competence or wealth. The expansion of New France was the achievement of
a gigantic ambition striving to grasp a continent. It was a vain
attempt. Long and valiantly her chiefs upheld their cause, leading to
battle a vassal population, warlike as themselves. Borne down by numbers
from without, wasted by corruption from within, New France fell at last;
and out of her fall grew revolutions whose influence to this hour is
felt through every nation of the civilized world.

The French dominion is a memory of the past; and when we evoke its
departed shades, they rise upon us from their graves in strange,
romantic guise. Again their ghostly camp-fires seem to burn, and the
fitful light is cast around on lord and vassal and black-robed priest,
mingled with wild forms of savage warriors, knit in close fellowship on
the same stern errand. A boundless vision grows upon us; an untamed
continent; vast wastes of forest verdure; mountains silent in primeval
sleep; river, lake, and glimmering pool; wilderness oceans mingling with
the sky. Such was the domain which France conquered for Civilization.
Plumed helmets gleamed in the shade of its forests, priestly vestments
in its dens and fastnesses of ancient barbarism. Men steeped in antique
learning, pale with the close breath of the cloister, here spent the
noon and evening of their lives, ruled savage hordes with a mild,
parental sway, and stood serene before the direst shapes of death. Men
of courtly nurture, heirs to the polish of a far-reaching ancestry,
here, with their dauntless hardihood, put to shame the boldest sons of

This memorable but half-forgotten chapter in the book of human life can
be rightly read only by lights numerous and widely scattered. The
earlier period of New France was prolific in a class of publications
which are often of much historic value, but of which many are
exceedingly rare. The writer, however, has at length gained access to
them all. Of the unpublished records of the colonies, the archives of
France are of course the grand deposit; but many documents of important
bearing on the subject are to be found scattered in public and private
libraries, chiefly in France and Canada. The task of collection has
proved abundantly irksome and laborious. It has, however, been greatly
lightened by the action of the governments of New York, Massachusetts,
and Canada, in collecting from Europe copies of documents having more or
less relation to their own history. It has been greatly lightened, too,
by a most kind co-operation, for which the writer owes obligations too
many for recognition at present, but of which he trusts to make fitting
acknowledgment hereafter. Yet he cannot forbear to mention the name of
Mr. John Gilmary Shea of New York, to whose labors this department of
American history has been so deeply indebted, and that of the Hon. Henry
Black of Quebec. Nor can he refrain from expressing his obligation to
the skilful and friendly criticism of Mr. Charles Folsom.

In this, and still more must it be the case in succeeding volumes, the
amount of reading applied to their composition is far greater than the
citations represent, much of it being of a collateral and illustrative
nature. This was essential to a plan whose aim it was, while
scrupulously and rigorously adhering to the truth of facts, to animate
them with the life of the past, and, so far as might be, clothe the
skeleton with flesh. If, at times, it may seem that range has been
allowed to fancy, it is so in appearance only; since the minutest
details of narrative or description rest on authentic documents or on
personal observation.

Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research,
however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. Such facts may be
detailed with the most minute exactness, and yet the narrative, taken as
a whole, may be unmeaning or untrue. The narrator must seek to imbue
himself with the life and spirit of the time. He must study events in
their bearings near and remote; in the character, habits, and manners of
those who took part in them, he must himself be, as it were, a sharer or
a spectator of the action he describes.

With respect to that special research which, if inadequate, is still in
the most emphatic sense indispensable, it has been the writer's aim to
exhaust the existing material of every subject treated. While it would
be folly to claim success in such an attempt, he has reason to hope
that, so far at least as relates to the present volume, nothing of much
importance has escaped him. With respect to the general preparation just
alluded to, he has long been too fond of his theme to neglect any means
within his reach of making his conception of it distinct and true.

To those who have aided him with information and documents, the extreme
slowness in the progress of the work will naturally have caused
surprise. This slowness was unavoidable. During the past eighteen years,
the state of his health has exacted throughout an extreme caution in
regard to mental application, reducing it at best within narrow and
precarious limits, and often precluding it. Indeed, for two periods,
each of several years, any attempt at bookish occupation would have been
merely suicidal. A condition of sight arising from kindred sources has
also retarded the work, since it has never permitted reading or writing
continuously for much more than five minutes, and often has not
permitted them at all. A previous work, "The Conspiracy of Pontiac," was
written in similar circumstances.

The writer means, if possible, to carry the present design to its
completion. Such a completion, however, will by no means be essential as
regards the individual volumes of the series, since each will form a
separate and independent work. The present work, it will be seen,
contains two distinct and completed narratives. Some progress has been
made in others.

Boston. January 1,1865.

Part One




The story of New France opens with a tragedy. The political and
religious enmities which were soon to bathe Europe in blood broke out
with an intense and concentrated fury in the distant wilds of Florida.
It was under equivocal auspices that Coligny and his partisans essayed
to build up a Calvinist France in America, and the attempt was met by
all the forces of national rivalry, personal interest, and religious

This striking passage of our early history is remarkable for the
fullness and precision of the authorities that illustrate it. The
incidents of the Huguenot occupation of Florida are recorded by eight
eye-witnesses. Their evidence is marked by an unusual accord in respect
to essential facts, as well as by a minuteness of statement which
vividly pictures the events described. The following are the principal
authorities consulted for the main body of the narrative.

Ribauld, 'The Whole and True Discovery of Terra Florida,' This is
Captain Jean Ribaut's account of his voyage to Florida in 1562. It was
"prynted at London," "newly set forthe in Englishe," in 1563, and
reprinted by Hakluyt in 1582 in his black-letter tract entitled 'Divers
Voyages.' It is not known to exist in the original French.

'L'Histoire Notable de la Floride, mise en lumiere par M. Basanier'
(Paris, 1586). The most valuable portion of this work consists of the
letters of Rene de Laudonniere, the French commandant in Florida in
1564-65. They are interesting, and, with necessary allowance for the
position and prejudices of the writer, trustworthy.

Challeux, Discours de l'Histoire de la Floride (Dieppe, 1566). Challeux
was a carpenter, who went to Florida in 1565. He was above sixty years
of age, a zealous Huguenot, and a philosopher in his way. His story is
affecting from its simplicity. Various editions of it appeared under
various titles.

Le Moyne, Brevis Narratio eorum qucs in Florida Americce Provincia
Gallis acciderunt. Le Moyne was Laudonniere's artist. His narrative
forms the Second Part of the Grands Voyages of De Bry (Frankfort, 1591).
It is illustrated by numerous drawings made by the writer from memory,
and accompanied with descriptive letter-press.

Coppie d'une Lettre venant de la Floride (Paris, 1565). This is a letter
from one of the adventurers under Laudonniere. It is reprinted in the
Recueil de Pieces sur la Floride of Ternaux.-Compans. Ternaux also
prints in the same volume a narrative called Histoire memorable du
dernier Voyage faict par le Capitaine Jean Ribaut. It is of no original
value, being compiled from Laudonniere and Challeux.

Une Bequete au Roy, faite en forme de Complainte (1566). This is a
petition for redress to Charles the Ninth from the relatives of the
French massacred in Florida by the Spaniards. It recounts many incidents
of that tragedy.

La Reprinse de la Floride par le Cappitaine Gourgue. This is a
manuscript in the Bibliotheque Nationale, printed in the Recueil of
Ternaux-Compans. It contains a detailed account of the remarkable
expedition of Dominique de Gourgues against the Spaniards in Florida in

Charlevoix, in his Histoire de la Nouvelle France, speaks of another
narrative of this expedition in manuscript, preserved in the Gourgues
family. A copy of it, made in 1831 by the Vicomte de Gourgues, has been
placed at the writer's disposal.

Popeliniere, De Thou, Wytfleit, D'Aubigne De Laet, Brantome, Lescarbot,
Champlain, and other writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
have told or touched upon the story of the Huguenots in Florida; but
they all draw their information from one or more of the sources named

Lettres et Papiers d' Estat du Sieur de Forguevaulx (Bibliotheque
Nationale). These include the correspondence of the French and Spanish
courts concerning the massacre of the Huguenots. They are printed by
Gaffarel in his Histoire de le Floride Francaise.

The Spanish authorities are the following--Barcia (Cardenas y Cano),
Ensayo Cronologico para la Historia General de la Florida (Madrid,
1723). This annalist had access to original documents of great interest.
Some of them are used as material for his narrative, others are copied
entire. Of these, the most remarkable is that of Solis de las Meras,
Memorial de todas las Jornadas de la Conquista de la Florida.

Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, Relacion de la Jornada de Pedro
Menendez de Aviles en la Florida (Documentos Ineditos del Archivo de
Indias, III. 441). A French translation of this journal will be found in
the Recueil de Pieces sur let Floride of Ternaux-Compans. Mendoza was
chaplain of the expedition commanded by Menendez de Aviles, and, like
Solfs, he was an eye-witness of the events which he relates.

Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Siete Cartas escritas al Rey, Anos de 1565 y
1566, MSS. These are the despatches of the Adelantado Menendez to Philip
the Second. They were procured for the writer, together with other
documents, from the archives of Seville, and their contents are now for
the first time made public. They consist of seventy-two closely written
foolscap pages, and are of the highest interest and value as regards the
present subject, confirming and amplifying the statements of Solis and
Mendoza, and giving new and curious information with respect to the
designs of Spain upon the continent of North America.

It is unnecessary to specify the authorities for the introductory and
subordinate portions of the narrative.

The writer is indebted to Mr. Buckingham Smith, for procuring copies of
documents from the archives of Spain; to Mr. Bancroft, the historian of
the United States, for the use of the Vicomte de Gourgues's copy of the
journal describing the expedition of his ancestor against the Spaniards;
and to Mr. Charles Russell Lowell, of the Boston Athenaeum, and Mr. John
Langdon Sibley, Librarian of Harvard College, for obliging aid in
consulting books and papers.





Towards the close of the fifteenth century, Spain achieved her final
triumph over the infidels of Granada, and made her name glorious through
all generations by the discovery of America. The religious zeal and
romantic daring which a long course of Moorish wars had called forth
were now exalted to redoubled fervor. Every ship from the New World came
freighted with marvels which put the fictions of chivalry to shame; and
to the Spaniard of that day America was a region of wonder and mystery,
of vague and magnificent promise. Thither adventurers hastened,
thirsting for glory and for gold, and often mingling the enthusiasm of
the crusader and the valor of the knight-errant with the bigotry of
inquisitors and the rapacity of pirates. They roamed over land and sea;
they climbed unknown mountains, surveyed unknown oceans, pierced the
sultry intricacies of tropical forests; while from year to year and from
day to day new wonders were unfolded, new islands and archipelagoes, new
regions of gold and pearl, and barbaric empires of more than Oriental
wealth. The extravagance of hope and the fever of adventure knew no
bounds. Nor is it surprising that amid such waking marvels the
imagination should run wild in romantic dreams; that between the
possible and the impossible the line of distinction should be but
faintly drawn, and that men should be found ready to stake life and
honor in pursuit of the most insane fantasies.

Such a man was the veteran cavalier Juan Ponce de Leon. Greedy of honors
and of riches, he embarked at Porto Rico with three brigantines, bent on
schemes of discovery. But that which gave the chief stimulus to his
enterprise was a story, current among the Indians of Cuba and
Hispaniola, that on the island of Bimini, said to be one of the Bahamas,
there was a fountain of such virtue, that, bathing in its waters, old
men resumed their youth.[FN#1] It was said, moreover, that on a
neighboring shore might be found a river gifted with the same beneficent
property, and believed by some to be no other than the Jordan.[FN#2]
Ponce de Leon found the island of Bimini, but not the fountain. Farther
westward, in the latitude of thirty degrees and eight minutes, he
approached an unknown land, which he named Florida, and, steering
southward, explored its coast as far as the extreme point of the
peninsula, when, after some farther explorations, he retraced his course
to Porto Rico.

Ponce de Leon had not regained his youth, but his active spirit was

Nine years later he attempted to plant a colony in Florida; the Indians
attacked him fiercely; he was mortally wounded, and died soon afterwards
in Cuba. [FN#3]

The voyages of Garay and Vasquez de Ayllon threw new light on the
discoveries of Ponce, and the general outline of the coasts of Florida
became known to the Spaniards.[FN#4] Meanwhile, Cortes had conquered
Mexico, and the fame of that iniquitous but magnificent exploit rang
through all Spain. Many an impatient cavalier burned to achieve a
kindred fortune. To the excited fancy of the Spaniards the unknown land
of Florida seemed the seat of surpassing wealth, and Pamphilo de Narvaez
essayed to possess himself of its fancied treasures. Landing on its
shores, and proclaiming destruction to the Indians unless they
acknowledged the sovereignty of the Pope and the Emperor, he advanced
into the forests with three hundred men. Nothing could exceed their
sufferings. Nowhere could they find the gold they came to seek. The
village of Appalache, where they hoped to gain a rich booty, offered
nothing but a few mean wigwams. The horses gave out, and the famished
soldiers fed upon their flesh. The men sickened, and the Indians
unceasingly harassed their march. At length, after two hundred and
eighty leagues [FN#5] of wandering, they found themselves on the
northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico, and desperately put to sea in such
crazy boats as their skill and means could construct. Cold, disease,
famine, thirst, and the fury of the waves, melted them away. Narvaez
himself perished, and of his wretched followers no more than four
escaped, reaching by land, after years of vicissitude, the Christian
settlements of New Spain. [FN#6]

The interior of the vast country then comprehended under the name of
Florida still remained unexplored. The Spanish voyager, as his caravel
ploughed the adjacent seas, might give full scope to his imagination,
and dream that beyond the long, low margin of forest which bounded his
horizon lay hid a rich harvest for some future conqueror; perhaps a
second Mexico with its royal palace and sacred pyramids, or another
Cuzco with its temple of the Sun, encircled with a frieze of gold.
Haunted by such visions, the ocean chivalry of Spain could not long
stand idle.

Hernando de Soto was the companion of Pizarro in the conquest of Peru.
He had come to America a needy adventurer, with no other fortune than
his sword and target. But his exploits had given him fame and fortune,
and he appeared at court with the retinue of a nobleman.[FN#7] Still,
his active energies could not endure repose, and his avarice and
ambition goaded him to fresh enterprises. He asked and obtained
permission to conquer Florida. While this design was in agitation,
Cabeca de Vaca, one of those who had survived the expedition of Narvaez,
appeared in Spain, and for purposes of his own spread abroad the
mischievous falsehood, that Florida was the richest country yet
discovered. De Soto's plans were embraced with enthusiasm. Nobles and
gentlemen contended for the privilege of joining his standard; and,
setting sail with an ample armament, he landed at the bay of Espiritu
Santo, now Tampa Bay, in Florida, with six hundred and twenty chosen
men, a band as gallant and well appointed, as eager in purpose and
audacious in hope, as ever trod the shores of the New World. The clangor
of trumpets, the neighing of horses, the fluttering of pennons, the
glittering of helmet and lance, startled the ancient forest with
unwonted greeting. Amid this pomp of chivalry, religion was not
forgotten. The sacred vessels and vestments with bread and wine for the
Eucharist were carefully provided; and De Soto himself declared that the
enterprise was undertaken for God alone, and seemed to be the object of
His especial care. These devout marauders could not neglect the
spiritual welfare of the Indians whom they had come to plunder; and
besides fetters to bind, and bloodhounds to hunt them, they brought
priests and monks for the saving of their souls.

The adventurers began their march. Their story has been often told. For
month after month and year after year, the procession of priests and
cavaliers, crossbowmen, arquebusiers, and Indian captives laden with the
baggage, still wandered on through wild and boundless wastes, lured
hither and thither by the ignis fatuus of their hopes. They traversed
great portions of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, everywhere
inflicting and enduring misery, but never approaching their phantom El
Dorado. At length, in the third year of their journeying, they reached
the banks of the Mississippi, a hundred and thirty-two years before its
second discovery by Marquette. One of their number describes the great
river as almost half a league wide, deep, rapid, and constantly rolling
down trees and drift-wood on its turbid current.

The Spaniards crossed over at a point above the mouth of the Arkansas.
They advanced westward, but found no treasures,--nothing indeed but
hardships, and an Indian enemy, furious, writes one of their officers,
"as mad dogs." They heard of a country towards the north where maize
could not be cultivated because the vast herds of wild cattle devoured
it. They penetrated so far that they entered the range of the roving
prairie tribes; for, one day, as they pushed their way with difficulty
across great plains covered with tall, rank grass, they met a band of
savages who dwelt in lodges of skins sewed together, subsisting on game
alone, and wandering perpetually from place to place. Finding neither
gold nor the South Sea, for both of which they had hoped, they returned
to the banks of the Mississippi.

De Soto, says one of those who accompanied him, was a "stern man, and of
few words." Even in the midst of reverses, his will had been law to his
followers, and he had sustained himself through the depths of
disappointment with the energy of a stubborn pride. But his hour was
come. He fell into deep dejection, followed by an attack of fever, and
soon after died miserably. To preserve his body from the Indians, his
followers sank it at midnight in the river, and the sullen waters of the
Mississippi buried his ambition and his hopes.

The adventurers were now, with few exceptions, disgusted with the
enterprise, and longed only to escape from the scene of their miseries.
After a vain attempt to reach Mexico by land, they again turned back to
the Mississippi, and labored, with all the resources which their
desperate necessity could suggest, to construct vessels in which they
might make their way to some Christian settlement. Their condition was
most forlorn. Few of their horses remained alive; their baggage had been
destroyed at the burning of the Indian town of Mavila, and many of the
soldiers were without armor and without weapons. In place of the gallant
array which, more than three years before, had left the harbor of
Espiritu Santo, a company of sickly and starving men were laboring among
the swampy forests of the Mississippi, some clad in skins, and some in
mats woven from a kind of wild vine.

Seven brigantines were finished and launched; and, trusting their lives
on board these frail vessels, they descended the Mississippi, running
the gantlet between hostile tribes, who fiercely attacked them. Reaching
the Gulf, though not without the loss of eleven of their number, they
made sail for the Spanish settlement on the river Panuco, where they
arrived safely, and where the inhabitants met them with a cordial
welcome. Three hundred and eleven men thus escaped with life, leaving
behind them the bones of their comrades strewn broadcast through the
wilderness. [FN#7]

De Soto's fate proved an insufficient warning, for those were still
found who begged a fresh commission for the conquest of Florida; but the
Emperor would not hear them. A more pacific enterprise was undertaken by
Cancello, a Dominican monk, who with several brother ecclesiastics
undertook to convert the natives to the true faith, but was murdered in
the attempt. Nine years later, a plan was formed for the colonization of
Florida, and Guido de las Bazares sailed to explore the coasts, and find
a spot suitable for the establishment.[FN#8] After his return, a
squadron, commanded by Angel de Villafane, and freighted with supplies
and men, put to sea from San Juan d'Ulloa; but the elements were
adverse, and the result was a total failure. Not a Spaniard had yet
gained foothold in Florida.

That name, as the Spaniards of that day understood it, comprehended the
whole country extending from the Atlantic on the east to the longitude
of New Mexico on the west, and from the Gulf of Mexico and the River of
Palms indefinitely northward towards the polar sea. This vast territory
was claimed by Spain in right of the discoveries of Columbus, the grant
of the Pope, and the various expeditions mentioned above. England
claimed it in right of the discoveries of Cabot; while France could
advance no better title than might be derived from the voyage of
Verazzano and vague traditions of earlier visits of Breton adventurers.

With restless jealousy Spain watched the domain which she could not
occupy, and on France especially she kept an eye of deep distrust. When,
in 1541, Cartier and Roberval essayed to plant a colony in the part of
ancient Spanish Florida now called Canada, she sent spies and fitted out
caravels to watch that abortive enterprise. Her fears proved just.
Canada, indeed, was long to remain a solitude; but, despite the Papal
bounty gifting Spain with exclusive ownership of a hemisphere, France
and Heresy at length took root in the sultry forests of modern Florida.




In the middle of the sixteenth century, Spain was the incubus of Europe.
Gloomy and portentous, she chilled the world with her baneful shadow.
Her old feudal liberties were gone, absorbed in the despotism of Madrid.
A tyranny of monks and inquisitors, with their swarms of spies and
informers, their racks, their dungeons, and their fagots, crushed all
freedom of thought or speech; and, while the Dominican held his reign of
terror and force, the deeper Jesuit guided the mind from infancy into
those narrow depths of bigotry from which it was never to escape.
Commercial despotism was joined to political and religious despotism.
The hands of the government were on every branch of industry. Perverse
regulations, uncertain and ruinous taxes, monopolies, encouragements,
prohibitions, restrictions, cramped the national energy. Mistress of the
Indies, Spain swarmed with beggars. Yet, verging to decay, she had an
ominous and appalling strength. Her condition was that of an athletic
man penetrated with disease, which had not yet unstrung the thews and
sinews formed in his days of vigor. Philip the Second could command the
service of warriors and statesmen developed in the years that were past.
The gathered energies of ruined feudalism were wielded by a single hand.
The mysterious King, in his den in the Escorial, dreary and silent, and
bent like a scribe over his papers, was the type and the champion of
arbitrary power. More than the Pope himself, he was the head of
Catholicity. In doctrine and in deed, the inexorable bigotry of Madrid
was ever in advance of Rome.

Not so with France. She was full of life,--a discordant and struggling
vitality. Her monks and priests, unlike those of Spain, were rarely
either fanatics or bigots; yet not the less did they ply the rack and
the fagot, and howl for heretic blood. Their all was at stake: their
vast power, their bloated wealth, were wrapped up in the ancient faith.
Men were burned, and women buried alive. All was in vain. To the utmost
bounds of France, the leaven of the Reform was working. The Huguenots,
fugitives from torture and death, found an asylum at Geneva, their city
of refuge, gathering around Calvin, their great high-priest. Thence
intrepid colporteurs, their lives in their hands, bore the Bible and the
psalm-book to city, hamlet, and castle, to feed the rising flame. The
scattered churches, pressed by a common danger, began to organize. An
ecclesiastical republic spread its ramifications through France, and
grew underground to a vigorous life,--pacific at the outset, for the
great body of its members were the quiet bourgeoisie, by habit, as by
faith, averse to violence. Yet a potent fraction of the warlike noblesse
were also of the new faith; and above them all, preeminent in character
as in station, stood Gaspar de Coligny, Admiral of France.

The old palace of the Louvre, reared by the "Roi Chevalier" on the site
of those dreary feudal towers which of old had guarded the banks of the
Seine, held within its sculptured masonry the worthless brood of Valois.
Corruption and intrigue ran riot at the court. Factious nobles, bishops,
and cardinals, with no God but pleasure and ambition, contended around
the throne or the sick-bed of the futile King. Catherine de Medicis,
with her stately form, her mean spirit, her bad heart, and her
fathomless depths of duplicity, strove by every subtle art to hold the
balance of power among them. The bold, pitiless, insatiable Guise, and
his brother the Cardinal of Lorraine, the incarnation of falsehood,
rested their ambition on the Catholic party. Their army was a legion of
priests, and the black swarms of countless monasteries, who by the
distribution of alms held in pay the rabble of cities and starving
peasants on the lands of impoverished nobles. Montmorency, Conde, and
Navarre leaned towards the Reform,--doubtful and inconstant chiefs,
whose faith weighed light against their interests. Yet, amid
vacillation, selfishness, weakness, treachery, one great man was like a
tower of trust, and this was Gaspar de Coligny.

Firm in his convictions, steeled by perils and endurance, calm,
sagacious, resolute, grave even to severity, a valiant and redoubted
soldier, Coligny looked abroad on the gathering storm and read its
danger in advance. He saw a strange depravity of manners; bribery and
violence overriding justice; discontented nobles, and peasants ground
down with taxes. In the midst of this rottenness, the Calvinistic
churches, patient and stern, were fast gathering to themselves the
better life of the nation. Among and around them tossed the surges of
clerical hate. Luxurious priests and libertine monks saw their disorders
rebuked by the grave virtues of the Protestant zealots. Their broad
lands, their rich endowments, their vessels of silver and of gold, their
dominion over souls,--in itself a revenue,--were all imperiled by
the growing heresy. Nor was the Reform less exacting, less intolerant,
or, when its hour came, less aggressive than the ancient faith. The
storm was thickening, and it must burst soon.

When the Emperor Charles the Fifth beleaguered Algiers, his camps were
deluged by a blinding tempest, and at its height the infidels made a
furious sally. A hundred Knights of Malta, on foot, wearing over their
armor surcoats of crimson blazoned with the white cross, bore the brunt
of the assault. Conspicuous among them was Nicolas Durand de
Villegagnon. A Moorish cavalier, rushing upon him, pierced his arm with
a lance, and wheeled to repeat the blow; but the knight leaped on the
infidel, stabbed him with his dagger, flung him from his horse, and
mounted in his place. Again, a Moslem host landed in Malta and beset the
Cite Notable. The garrison was weak, disheartened, and without a leader.
Villegagnon with six followers, all friends of his own, passed under
cover of night through the infidel leaguer, climbed the walls by ropes
lowered from above, took command, repaired the shattered towers, aiding
with his own hands in the work, and animated the garrison to a
resistance so stubborn that the besiegers lost heart and betook
themselves to their galleys. No less was he an able and accomplished
mariner, prominent among that chivalry of the sea who held the perilous
verge of Christendom against the Mussuhuan. He claimed other laurels
than those of the sword. He was a scholar, a linguist, a
controversialist, potent with the tongue and with the pen, commanding in
presence, eloquent and persuasive in discourse. Yet this Crichton of
France had proved himself an associate nowise desirable. His sleepless
intellect was matched with a spirit as restless, vain, unstable, and
ambitious, as it was enterprising and bold. Addicted to dissent, and
enamoured of polemics, he entered those forbidden fields of inquiry and
controversy to which the Reform invited him. Undaunted by his monastic
vows, he battled for heresy with tongue and pen, and in the ear of
Protestants professed himself a Protestant. As a Commander of his Order,
he quarreled with the Grand Master, a domineering Spaniard; and, as
Vice-Admiral of Brittany, he was deep in a feud with the Governor of
Brest. Disgusted at home, his fancy crossed the seas. He aspired to
build for France and himself an empire amid the tropical splendors of
Brazil. Few could match him in the gift of persuasion; and the intrepid
seamen whose skill and valor had run the gantlet of the English fleet,
and borne Mary Stuart of Scotland in safety to her espousals with the
Dauphin, might well be intrusted with a charge of moment so far
inferior. Henry the Second was still on the throne. The lance of
Montgomery had not yet rid France of that infliction. To win a share in
the rich domain of the New World, of which Portuguese and Spanish
arrogance claimed the monopoly, was the end held by Villegagnon before
the eyes of the King. Of the Huguenots, he said not a word. For Coligny
he had another language. He spoke of an asylum for persecuted religion,
a Geneva in the wilderness, far from priests and monks and Francis of
Guise. The Admiral gave him a ready ear; if, indeed, he himself had not
first conceived the plan. Yet to the King, an active burner of
Huguenots, Coligny too urged it as an enterprise, not for the Faith, but
for France. In secret, Geneva was made privy to it, and Calvin himself
embraced it with zeal. The enterprise, in fact, had a double character,
political as well as religious. It was the reply of France, the most
emphatic she had yet made, to the Papal bull which gave all the western
hemisphere to Portugal and Spain; and, as if to point her answer, she
sent, not Frenchmen only, but Protestant Frenchmen, to plant the
fleur-de-lis on the shores of the New World.

Two vessels were made ready, in the name of the King. The body of the
emigration was Huguenot, mingled with young nobles, restless, idle, and
poor, with reckless artisans, and piratical sailors from the Norman and
Breton seaports. They put to sea from Havre on the twelfth of July,
1555, and early in November saw the shores of Brazil. Entering the
harbor of Rio Janeiro, then called Ganabara, Villegagnon landed men and
stores on an island, built huts, and threw up earthworks. In
anticipation of future triumphs, the whole continent, by a strange
perversion of language, was called Antarctic France, while the fort
received the name of Coligny.

Villegagnon signalized his new-born Protestantism by an intolerable
solicitude for the manners and morals of his followers. The whip and the
pillory requited the least offence. The wild and discordant crew,
starved and flogged for a season into submission, conspired at length to
rid themselves of him; but while they debated whether to poison him,
blow him up, or murder him and his officers in their sleep, three Scotch
soldiers, probably Calvinists, revealed the plot, and the vigorous hand
of the commandant crushed it in the bud.

But how was the colony to subsist? Their island was too small for
culture, while the mainland was infested with hostile tribes, and
threatened by the Portuguese, who regarded the French occupancy as a
violation of their domain.

Meanwhile, in France, Huguenot influence, aided by ardent letters sent
home by Villegagnon in the returning ships, was urging on the work. Nor
were the Catholic chiefs averse to an enterprise which, by colonizing
heresy, might tend to relieve France of its presence. Another
embarkation was prepared, in the name of Henry the Second, under
Bois-Lecomte, a nephew of Villegagnon. Most of the emigrants were
Huguenots. Geneva sent a large deputation, and among them several
ministers, full of zeal for their land of promise and their new church
in the wilderness. There were five young women, also, with a matron to
watch over them. Soldiers, emigrants, and sailors, two hundred and
ninety in all, were embarked in three vessels; and, to the sound of
cannon, drums, fifes, and trumpets, they unfurled their sails at
Honfleur. They were no sooner on the high seas than the piratical
character of the Norman sailors, in no way exceptional at that day,
began to declare itself. They hailed every vessel weaker than
themselves, pretended to be short of provisions, and demanded leave to
buy them; then, boarding the stranger, plundered her from stem to stern.
After a passage of four months, on the ninth of March, 1557, they
entered the port of Ganabara, and saw the fleur-de-lis floating above
the walls of Fort Coligny. Amid salutes of cannon, the boats, crowded
with sea-worn emigrants, moved towards the landing. It was an edifying
scene when Villegagnon, in the picturesque attire which marked the
warlike nobles of the period, came down to the shore to greet the sombre
ministers of Calvin. With hands uplifted and eyes raised to heaven, he
bade them welcome to the new asylum of the faithful; then launched into
a long harangue full of zeal and unction. His discourse finished, he led
the way to the dining-hall. If the redundancy of spiritual aliment had
surpassed their expectations, the ministers were little prepared for the
meagre provision which awaited their temporal cravings; for, with
appetites whetted by the sea, they found themselves seated at a board
whereof, as one of them complains the choicest dish was a dried fish,
and the only beverage rain-water. They found their consolation in the
inward graces of the commandant, whom they likened to the Apostle Paul.

For a time all was ardor and hope. Men of birth and station, and the
ministers themselves, labored with pick and shovel to finish the fort.
Every day exhortations, sermons, prayers, followed in close succession,
and Villegagnon was always present, kneeling on a velvet cushion brought
after him by a page. Soon, however, he fell into sharp controversy with
the ministers upon points of faith. Among the emigrants was a student of
the Sorbonne, one Cointac, between whom and the ministers arose a fierce
and unintermitted war of words. Is it lawful to mix water with the wine
of the Eucharist? May the sacramental bread be made of meal of Indian
corn? These and similar points of dispute filled the fort with
wranglings, begetting cliques, factions, and feuds without number.
Villegagnon took part with the student, and between them they devised a
new doctrine, abhorrent alike to Geneva and to Rome. The advent of this
nondescript heresy was the signal of redoubled strife. The dogmatic
stiffness of the Geneva ministers chafed Villegagnon to fury. He felt
himself, too, in a false position. On one side he depended on the
Protestant, Coligny; on the other, he feared the Court. There were
Catholics in the colony who might report him as an open heretic. On this
point his doubts were set at rest; for a ship from France brought him a
letter from the Cardinal of Lorraine, couched, it is said, in terms
which restored him forthwith to the bosom of the Church. Villegagnon now
affirmed that he had been deceived in Calvin, and pronounced him a
"frightful heretic." He became despotic beyond measure, and would bear
no opposition. The ministers, reduced nearly to starvation, found
themselves under a tyranny worse than that from which they had fled.

At length he drove them from the fort, and forced them to bivouac on the
mainland, at the risk of being butchered by Indians, until a vessel
loading with Brazil-wood in the harbor should be ready to carry them
back to France. Having rid himself of the ministers, he caused three of
the more zealous Calvinists to be seized, dragged to the edge of a rock,
and thrown into the sea. A fourth, equally obnoxious, but who, being a
tailor, could ill be spared, was permitted to live on condition of
recantation. Then, mustering the colonists, he warned them to shun the
heresies of Luther and Calvin; threatened that all who openly professed
those detestable doctrines should share the fate of their three
comrades; and, his harangue over, feasted the whole assembly, in token,
says the narrator, of joy and triumph.

Meanwhile, in their crazy vessel, the banished ministers drifted slowly
on their way. Storms fell upon them, their provisions failed, their
water-casks were empty, and, tossing in the wilderness of waves, or
rocking on the long swells of subsiding gales, they sank almost to
despair. In their famine they chewed the Brazil-wood with which the
vessel was laden, devoured every scrap of leather, singed and ate the
horn of lanterns, hunted rats through the hold, and sold them to each
other at enormous prices. At length, stretched on the deck, sick,
listless, attenuated, and scarcely able to move a limb, they descried
across the waste of sea the faint, cloud-like line that marked the coast
of Brittany. Their perils were not past; for, if we may believe one of
them, Jean de Lery, they bore a sealed letter from Villegagnon to the
magistrates of the first French port at which they might arrive. It
denounced them as heretics, worthy to be burned. Happily, the
magistrates leaned to the Reform, and the malice of the commandant
failed of its victims.

Villegagnon himself soon sailed for France, leaving the wretched colony
to its fate. He presently entered the lists against Calvin, and engaged
him in a hot controversial war, in which, according to some of his
contemporaries, the knight often worsted the theologian at his own
weapons. Before the year 1558 was closed, Ganabara fell a prey to the
Portuguese. They set upon it in force, battered down the fort, and slew
the feeble garrison, or drove them to a miserable refuge among the
Indians. Spain and Portugal made good their claim to the vast domain,
the mighty vegetation, and undeveloped riches of "Antarctic France."


1562, 1563.


In the year 1562 a cloud of black and deadly portent was thickening over
France. Surely and swiftly she glided towards the abyss of the religious
wars. None could pierce the future, perhaps none dared to contemplate
it: the wild rage of fanaticism and hate, friend grappling with friend,
brother with brother, father with son; altars profaned, hearth-stones
made desolate, the robes of Justice herself bedrenched with murder. In
the gloom without lay Spain, imminent and terrible. As on the hill by
the field of Dreux, her veteran bands of pikemen, dark masses of
organized ferocity, stood biding their time while the battle surged
below, and then swept downward to the slaughter,--so did Spain watch
and wait to trample and crush the hope of humanity.

In these days of fear, a second Huguenot colony sailed for the New
World. The calm, stern man who represented and led the Protestantism of
France felt to his inmost heart the peril of the time. He would fain
build up a city of refuge for the persecuted sect. Yet Gaspar de
Coligny, too high in power and rank to be openly assailed, was forced to
act with caution. He must act, too, in the name of the Crown, and in
virtue of his office of Admiral of France. A nobleman and a soldier,--
for the Admiral of France was no seaman,--he shared the ideas and
habits of his class; nor is there reason to believe him to have been in
advance of his time in a knowledge of the principles of successful
colonization. His scheme promised a military colony, not a free
commonwealth. The Huguenot party was already a political as well as a
religious party. At its foundation lay the religious element,
represented by Geneva, the martyrs, and the devoted fugitives who sang
the psalms of Marot among rocks and caverns. Joined to these were
numbers on whom the faith sat lightly, whose hope was in commotion and
change. Of the latter, in great part, was the Huguenot noblesse, from
Conde, who aspired to the crown,

"Ce petit homme tant joli,
Qui toujours chante, toujours rit,"

to the younger son of the impoverished seigneur whose patrimony was his
sword. More than this, the restless, the factious, and the discontented,
began to link their fortunes to a party whose triumph would involve
confiscation of the wealth of the only rich class in France. An element
of the great revolution was already mingling in the strife of religions.

America was still a land of wonder. The ancient spell still hung
unbroken over the wild, vast world of mystery beyond the sea,--a land
of romance, adventure, and gold.

Fifty-eight years later the Puritans landed on the sands of
Massachusetts Bay. The illusion was gone,--the ignis fatuus of
adventure, the dream of wealth. The rugged wilderness offered only a
stern and hard won independence. In their own hearts, and not in the
promptings of a great leader or the patronage of an equivocal
government, their enterprise found its birth and its achievement. They
were of the boldest and most earnest of their sect. There were such
among the French disciples of Calvin; but no Mayflower ever sailed from
a port of France. Coligny's colonists were of a different stamp, and
widely different was their fate.

An excellent seaman and stanch Protestant, Jean Ribaut of Dieppe,
commanded the expedition. Under him, besides sailors, were a band of
veteran soldiers, and a few young nobles. Embarked in two of those
antiquated craft whose high poops and tub-like porportions are preserved
in the old engravings of De Bry, they sailed from Havre on the
eighteenth of February, 1562. They crossed the Atlantic, and on the
thirtieth of April, in the latitude of twenty-nine and a half degrees,
saw the long, low line where the wilderness of waves met the wilderness
of woods. It was the coast of Florida. They soon descried a jutting
point, which they called French Cape, perhaps one of the headlands of
Matanzas Inlet. They turned their prows northward, coasting the fringes
of that waste of verdure which rolled in shadowy undulation far to the
unknown West.

On the next morning, the first of May, they found themselves off the
mouth of a great river. Riding at anchor on a sunny sea, they lowered
their boats, crossed the bar that obstructed the entrance, and floated
on a basin of deep and sheltered water, "boyling and roaring," says
Ribaut, "through the multitude of all kind of fish." Indians were
running along the beach, and out upon the sand-bars, beckoning them to
land. They pushed their boats ashore and disembarked,--sailors,
soldiers, and eager young nobles. Corselet and morion, arquebuse and
halberd, flashed in the sun that flickered through innumerable leaves,
as, kneeling on the ground, they gave thanks to God, who had guided
their voyage to an issue full of promise. The Indians, seated gravely
under the neighboring trees, looked on in silent respect, thinking that
they worshipped the sun. "They be all naked and of a goodly stature,
mightie, and as well shapen and proportioned of body as any people in ye
world; and the fore part of their body and armes be painted with pretie
deuised workes, of Azure, red, and blacke, so well and so properly as
the best Painter of Europe could not amende it." With their squaws and
children, they presently drew near, and, strewing the earth with laurel
boughs, sat down among the Frenchmen. Their visitors were much pleased
with them, and Ribaut gave the chief, whom he calls the king, a robe of
blue cloth, worked in yellow with the regal fleur-de-lis.

But Ribaut and his followers, just escaped from the dull prison of their
ships, were intent on admiring the wild scenes around them. Never had
they known a fairer May-day. The quaint old narrative is exuberant with
delight. The tranquil air, the warm sun, woods fresh with young verdure,
meadows bright with flowers; the palm, the cypress, the pine, the
magnolia; the grazing deer; herons, curlews, bitterns, woodcock, and
unknown water-fowl that waded in the ripple of the beach; cedars bearded
from crown to root with long, gray moss; huge oaks smothering in the
folds of enormous grapevines;--such were the objects that greeted them
in their roamings, till their new-discovered land seemed "the fairest,
fruitfullest, and pleasantest of al the world."

They found a tree covered with caterpillars, and hereupon the ancient
black-letter says: "Also there be Silke wormes in meruielous number, a
great deale fairer and better then be our silk wormes. To bee short, it
is a thing vnspeakable to consider the thinges that bee seene there, and
shalbe founde more and more in this incomperable lande." [FN#9]

Above all, it was plain to their excited fancy that the country was rich
in gold and silver, turquoises and pearls. One of these last, "as great
as an Acorne at ye least," hung from the neck of an Indian who stood
near their boats as they re-embarked. They gathered, too, from the signs
of their savage visitors, that the wonderful land of Cibola, with its
seven cities and its untold riches, was distant but twenty days' journey
by water. In truth, it was two thousand miles westward, and its wealth a

They named the river the River of May. It is now the St. John's. "And on
the next morning," says Ribault, "we returned to land againe,
accompanied with the Captaines, Gentlemen, and Souldiers, and others of
our small troope, carrying with us a Pillour or columne of harde stone,
our king's armes graved therein, to plant and set the same in the
enterie of the Porte; and being come thither we espied on the south syde
of the River a place very fitte for that purpose upon a little hill
compassed with Cypres, Bayes, Paulmes, and other trees, with sweete
smelling and pleasant shrubbes." Here they set the column, and then,
again embarking, held their course northward, happy in that benign
decree which locks from mortal eyes the secrets of the future.

Next they anchored near Fernandina, and to a neighboring river, probably
the St. Mary's, gave the name of the Seine. Here, as morning broke on
the fresh, moist meadows hung with mists, and on broad reaches of inland
waters which seemed like lakes, they were tempted to land again, and
soon "espied an innumerable number of footesteps of great Hartes and
Hindes of a wonderfull greatnesse, the steppes being all fresh and new,
and it seemeth that the people doe nourish them like tame Cattell." By
two or three weeks of exploration they seem to have gained a clear idea
of this rich semi-aquatic region. Ribaut describes it as "a countrie
full of hauens, riuers, and Ilands, of such fruitfulnes as cannot with
tongue be expressed." Slowly moving northward, they named each river, or
inlet supposed to be a river, after some stream of France,--the Loire,
the Charente, the Garonne, the Gironde. At length, opening betwixt flat
and sandy shores, they saw a commodious haven, and named it Port Royal.

On the twenty-seventh of May they crossed the bar where the war-ships of
Dupont crossed three hundred years later, passed Hilton Head, and held
their course along the peaceful bosom of Broad River.[FN#10] On the left
they saw a stream which they named Libourne, probably Skull Creek; on
the right, a wide river, probably the Beaufort. When they landed, all
was solitude. The frightened Indians had fled, but they lured them back
with knives, beads, and looking-glasses, and enticed two of them on
board their ships. Here, by feeding, clothing, and caressing them, they
tried to wean them from their fears, thinking to carry them to France,
in obedience to a command of Catherine de Medicis; but the captive
warriors moaned and lamented day and night, and at length made their

Ranging the woods, they found them full of game, wild turkeys and
partridges, bears and lynxes. Two deer, of unusual size, leaped from the
underbrush. Cross-bow and arquebuse were brought to the level; but the
Huguenot captain, "moved with the singular fairness and bigness of
them," forbade his men to shoot.

Preliminary exploration, not immediate settlement, had been the object
of the voyage; but all was still rose-color in the eyes of the voyagers,
and many of their number would gladly linger in the New Canaan. Ribaut
was more than willing to humor them. He mustered his company on deck,
and made them a harangue. He appealed to their courage and their
patriotism, told them how, from a mean origin, men rise by enterprise
and daring to fame and fortune, and demanded who among them would stay
behind and hold Port Royal for the King. The greater part came forward,
and "with such a good will and joly corage," writes the commander, "as
we had much to do to stay their importunitie." Thirty were chosen, and
Albert de Pierria was named to command them.

A fort was begun on a small stream called the Chenonceau, probably
Archer's Creek, about six miles from the site of Beaufort.[FN#11] They
named it Charlesfort, in honor of the unhappy son of Catherine de
Medicis, Charles the Ninth, the future hero of St. Bartholomew.
Ammunition and stores were sent on shore, and on the eleventh of June,
with his diminished company, Ribaut again embarked and spread his sails
for France.

From the beach at Hilton Head, Albert and his companions might watch the
receding ships, growing less and less on the vast expanse of blue,
dwindling to faint specks, then vanishing on the pale verge of the
waters. They were alone in those fearful solitudes. From the north pole
to Mexico there was no Christian denizen but they.

The pressing question was how they were to subsist. Their thought was
not of subsistence, but of gold. Of the thirty, the greater number were
soldiers and sailors, with a few gentlemen; that is to say, men of the
sword, born within the pale of nobility, who at home could neither labor
nor trade without derogation from their rank. For a time they busied
themselves with finishing their fort, and, this done, set forth in quest
of adventures.

The Indians had lost fear of them. Ribaut had enjoined upon them to use
all kindness and gentleness in their dealing with the men of the woods;
and they more than obeyed him. They were soon hand and glove with
chiefs, warriors, and squaws; and as with Indians the adage that
familiarity breeds contempt holds with peculiar force, they quickly
divested themselves of the prestige which had attached at the outset to
their supposed character of children of the Sun. Good-will, however,
remained, and this the colonists abused to the utmost.

Roaming by river, swamp, and forest, they visited in turn the villages
of five petty chiefs, whom they called kings, feasting everywhere on
hominy, beans, and game, and loaded with gifts. One of these chiefs,
named Audusta, invited them to the grand religious festival of his
tribe. When they arrived, they found the village alive with preparation,
and troops of women busied in sweeping the great circular area where the
ceremonies were to take place. But as the noisy and impertinent guests
showed a disposition to undue merriment, the chief shut them all in his
wigwam, lest their Gentile eyes should profane the mysteries. Here,
immured in darkness, they listened to the howls, yelpings, and
lugubrious songs that resounded from without. One of them, however, by
some artifice, contrived to escape, hid behind a bush, and saw the whole
solemnity,--the procession of the medicinemen and the bedaubed and
befeathered warriors; the drumming, dancing, and stamping; the wild
lamentation of the women as they gashed the arms of the young girls with
sharp mussel-shells, and flung the blood into the air with dismal
outcries. A scene of ravenous feasting followed, in which the French,
released from durance, were summoned to share.

After the carousal they returned to Charlesfort, where they were soon
pinched with hunger. The Indians, never niggardly of food, brought them
supplies as long as their own lasted; but the harvest was not yet ripe,
and their means did not match their good-will. They told the French of
two other kings, Ouade and Couexis, who dwelt towards the south, and
were rich beyond belief in maize, beans, and squashes. The mendicant
colonists embarked without delay, and, with an Indian guide, steered for
the wigwams of these potentates, not by the open sea, but by a
perplexing inland navigation, including, as it seems, Calibogue Sound
and neighboring waters. Reaching the friendly villages, on or near the
Savannah, they were feasted to repletion, and their boat was laden with
vegetables and corn. They returned rejoicing; but their joy was short.
Their store-house at Charlesfort, taking fire in the night, burned to
the ground, and with it their newly acquired stock.

Once more they set out for the realms of King Ouade, and once more
returned laden with supplies. Nay, the generous savage assured them
that, so long as his cornfields yielded their harvests, his friends
should not want.

How long this friendship would have lasted may well be doubted. With the
perception that the dependants on their bounty were no demigods, but a
crew of idle and helpless beggars, respect would soon have changed to
contempt, and contempt to ill-will. But it was not to Indian war-clubs
that the infant colony was to owe its ruin. It carried within itself its
own destruction. The ill-assorted band of lands-men and sailors,
surrounded by that influence of the wilderness which wakens the dormant
savage in the breasts of men, soon fell into quarrels. Albert, a rude
soldier, with a thousand leagues of ocean betwixt him and
responsibility, grew harsh, domineering, and violent beyond endurance.
None could question or oppose him without peril of death. He hanged with
his own hands a drummer who had fallen under his displeasure, and
banished a soldier, named La Chore, to a solitary island, three leagues
from the fort, where he left him to starve. For a time his comrades
chafed in smothered fury. The crisis came at length. A few of the
fiercer spirits leagued together, assailed their tyrant, murdered him,
delivered the famished soldier, and called to the command one Nicolas
Barre, a man of merit. Barre took the command, and thenceforth there was

Peace, such as it was, with famine, homesickness, and disgust. The rough
ramparts and rude buildings of Charlesfort, hatefully familiar to their
weary eyes, the sweltering forest, the glassy river, the eternal silence
of the lifeless wilds around them, oppressed the senses and the spirits.
They dreamed of ease, of home, of pleasures across the sea, of the
evening cup on the bench before the cabaret, and dances with kind
wenches of Dieppe. But how to escape? A continent was their solitary
prison, and the pitiless Atlantic shut them in. Not one of them knew how
to build a ship; but Ribaut had left them a forge, with tools and iron,
and strong desire supplied the place of skill. Trees were hewn down and
the work begun. Had they put forth to maintain themselves at Port Royal
the energy and resource which they exerted to escape from it, they might
have laid the cornerstone of a solid colony.

All, gentle and simple, labored with equal zeal. They calked the seams
with the long moss which hung in profusion from the neighboring trees;
the pines supplied them with pitch; the Indians made for them a kind of
cordage; and for sails they sewed together their shirts and bedding. At
length a brigantine worthy of Robinson Crusoe floated on the waters of
the Chenonceau. They laid in what provision they could, gave all that
remained of their goods to the Indians, embarked, descended the river,
and put to sea. A fair wind filled their patchwork sails and bore them
from the hated coast. Day after day they held their course, till at
length the breeze died away and a breathless calm fell on the waters.
Florida was far behind; France farther yet before.

Floating idly on the glassy waste, the craft lay motionless. Their
supplies gave out. Twelve kernels of maize a day were each man's
portion; then the maize failed, and they ate their shoes and leather
jerkins. The water-barrels were drained, and they tried to slake their
thirst with brine. Several died, and the rest, giddy with exhaustion and
crazed with thirst, were forced to ceaseless labor, bailing out the
water that gushed through every seam. Head-winds set in, increasing to a
gale, and the wretched brigantine, with sails close-reefed, tossed among
the savage billows at the mercy of the storm. A heavy sea rolled down
upon her, and burst the bulwarks on the windward side. The surges broke
over her, and, clinging with desperate grip to spars and cordage, the
drenched voyagers gave up all for lost. At length she righted. The gale
subsided, the wind changed, and the crazy, water-logged vessel again
bore slowly towards France.

Gnawed with famine, they counted the leagues of barren ocean that still
stretched before, and gazed on each other with haggard wolfish eyes,
till a whisper passed from man to man that one, by his death, might
ransom all the rest. The lot was cast, and it fell on La Chore, the same
wretched man whom Albert had doomed to starvation on a lonely island.
They killed him, and with ravenous avidity portioned out his flesh. The
hideous repast sustained them till the land rose in sight, when, it is
said, in a delirium of joy, they could no longer steer their vessel, but
let her drift at the will of the tide. A small English bark bore down
upon them, took them all on board, and, after landing the feeblest,
carried the rest prisoners to Queen Elizabeth.[FN#12]

Thus closed another of those scenes of woe whose lurid clouds are
thickly piled around the stormy dawn of American history. It was the
opening act of a wild and tragic drama.




ON the twenty-fifth of June, 1564, a French squadron anchored a second
time off the mouth of the River of May. There were three vessels, the
smallest of sixty tons, the largest of one hundred and twenty, all
crowded with men. Rene de Laudonniere held command. He was of a noble
race of Poiton, attached to the house of Chatillon, of which Coligny was
the head; pious, we are told, and an excellent marine officer. An
engraving, purporting to be his likeness, shows us a slender figure,
leaning against the mast, booted to the thigh, with slouched hat and
plume, slashed doublet, and short cloak. His thin oval face, with curled
moustache and close-trimmed beard. wears a somewhat pensive look, as if
already shadowed by the destiny that awaited him.

The intervening year since Ribaut's voyage had been a dark year for
France. From the peaceful solitude of the River of May, that voyager
returned to a land reeking with slaughter. But the carnival of bigotry
and hate had found a pause. The Peace of Amboise had been signed. The
fierce monk choked down his venom; the soldier sheathed his sword, the
assassin his dagger; rival chiefs grasped hands, and masked their rancor
under hollow smiles. The king and the queen-mother, helpless amid the
storm of factions which threatened their destruction, smiled now on
Conde, now on Guise,--gave ear to the Cardinal of Lorraine, or listened
in secret to the emissaries of Theodore Beza. Coligny was again strong
at Court. He used his opportunity, and solicited with success the means
of renewing his enterprise of colonization.

Men were mustered for the work. In name, at least, they were all
Huguenots yet now, as before, the staple of the projected colony was
unsound,--soldiers, paid out of the royal treasury, hired artisans and
tradesmen, with a swarm of volunteers from the young Huguenot nobles,
whose restless swords had rusted in their scabbards since the peace. The
foundation-stone was forgotten. There were no tillers of the soil. Such,
indeed, were rare among the Huegonots; for the dull peasants who guided
the plough clung with blind tenacity to the ancient faith. Adventurous
gentlemen, reckless soldiers, discontented tradesmen, all keen for
novelty and heated with dreams of wealth,--these were they who would
build for their country and their religion an empire beyond the sea.

On Thursday, the twenty-second of June, Laudonniere saw the low
coast-line of Florida, and entered the harbor of St. Augustine, which he
named the River of Dolphins, "because that at mine arrival I saw there a
great number of Dolphins which were playing in the mouth thereof." Then
he bore northward, following the coast till, on the twenty-fifth, he
reached the mouth of the St. John's or River of May. The vessels
anchored, the boats were lowered, and he landed with his principal
followers on the south shore, near the present village of Mayport. It
was the very spot where he had landed with Ribaut two years before. They
were scarcely on shore when they saw an Indian chief, "which having
espied us cryed very far off, Antipola! Antipola! and being so joyful
that he could not containe himselfe, he came to meet us accompanied with
two of his sonnes, as faire and mightie persons as might be found in al
the world. There was in their trayne a great number of men and women
which stil made very much of us, and by signes made us understand how
glad they were of our arrival. This good entertainment past, the
Paracoussy [chief] prayed me to goe see the pillar which we had erected
in the voyage of John Ribault." The Indians, regarding it with
mysterious awe, had crowned it with evergreens, and placed baskets full
of maize before it as an offering.

The chief then took Laudonniere by the hand, telling him that he was
named Satouriona, and pointed out the extent of his dominions, far up
the river and along the adjacent coasts. One of his sons, a man "perfect
in beautie, wisedome, and honest sobrietie," then gave the French
commander a wedge of silver, and received some trifles in return, after
which the voyagers went back to their ships. "I prayse God continually,"
says Laudonniere, "for the great love I have found in these savages."

In the morning the French landed again, and found their new friends on
the same spot, to the number of eighty or more, seated under a shelter
of boughs, in festal attire of smoke-tanned deer-skins, painted in many
colors. The party then rowed up the river, the Indians following them
along the shore. As they advanced, coasting the borders of a great marsh
that lay upon their left, the St. John's spread before them in vast
sheets of glistening water, almost level with its flat, sedgy shores,
the haunt of alligators, and the resort of innumerable birds. Beyond the
marsh, some five miles from the mouth of the river, they saw a ridge of
high ground abutting on the water, which, flowing beneath in a deep,
strong current, had undermined it, and left a steep front of yellowish
sand. This was the hill now called St. John's Bluff. Here they landed
and entered the woods, where Laudonniere stopped to rest while his
lieutenant, Ottigny, with a sergeant and a few soldiers, went to explore
the country.

They pushed their way through the thickets till they were stopped by a
marsh choked with reeds, at the edge of which, under a great
laurel-tree, they had seated themselves to rest, overcome with the
summer heat, when five Indians suddenly appeared, peering timidly at
them from among the bushes. Some of the men went towards them with signs
of friendship, on which, taking heart, they drew near, and one of them,
who was evidently a chief, made a long speech, inviting the strangers to
their dwellings. The way was across the marsh, through which they
carried the lieutenant and two or three of the soldiers on their backs,
while the rest circled by a narrow path through the woods. When they
reached the lodges, a crowd of Indians came out "to receive our men
gallantly, and feast them after their manner." One of them brought a
large earthen vessel full of spring water, which was served out to each
in turn in a wooden cup. But what most astonished the French was a
venerable chief, who assured them that he was the father of five
successive generations, and that he had lived two hundred and fifty
years. Opposite sat a still more ancient veteran, the father of the
first, shrunken to a mere anatomy, and "seeming to be rather a dead
carkeis than a living body." "Also," pursues the history, "his age was
so great that the good man had lost his sight, and could not speak one
onely word but with exceeding great paine." In spite of his dismal
condition, the visitors were told that he might expect to live, in the
course of nature, thirty or forty years more. As the two patriarchs sat
face to face, half hidden with their streaming white hair, Ottigny and
his credulous soldiers looked from one to the other, lost in speechless

One of these veterans made a parting present to his guests of two young
eagles, and Ottigny and his followers returned to report what they had
seen. Laudonniere was waiting for them on the side of the hill; and now,
he says, "I went right to the toppe thereof, where we found nothing else
but Cedars, Palme, and Baytrees of so sovereigne odour that Baulme
smelleth nothing like in comparison." From this high standpoint they
surveyed their Canaan. The unruffled river lay before them, with its
marshy islands overgrown with sedge and bulrushes; while on the farther
side the flat, green meadows spread mile on mile, veined with countless
creeks and belts of torpid water, and bounded leagues away by the verge
of the dim pine forest. On the right, the sea glistened along the
horizon; and on the left, the St. John's stretched westward between
verdant shores, a highway to their fancied Eldorado. "Briefly," writes
Laudonniere, "the place is so pleasant that those which are
melancholicke would be inforced to change their humour."

On their way back to the ships they stopped for another parley with the
chief Satouriona, and Laudonniere eagerly asked where he had got the
wedge of silver that he gave him in the morning. The chief told him by
signs, that he had taken it in war from a people called Thimagoas, who
lived higher up the River, and who were his mortal enemies; on which the
French captain had the folly to promise that he would join in an
expedition against them. Satouriona was delighted, and declared that, if
he kept his word, he should have gold and silver to his heart's content.

Man and nature alike seemed to mark the borders of the River of May as
the site of the new colony; for here, around the Indian towns, the
harvests of maize, beans, and pumpkins promised abundant food, while the
river opened a ready way to the mines of gold and silver and the stores
of barbaric wealth which glittered before the dreaming vision of the
colonists. Yet, the better to satisfy himself and his men, Laudonniere
weighed anchor, and sailed for a time along the neighboring coasts.
Returning, confirmed in his first impression, he set out with a party of
officers and soldiers to explore the borders of the chosen stream. The
day was hot. The sun beat fiercely on the woollen caps and heavy
doublets of the men, till at length they gained the shade of one of
those deep forests of pine where the dead, hot air is thick with
resinous odors, and the earth, carpeted with fallen leaves, gives no
sound beneath the foot. Yet, in the stillness, deer leaped up on all
sides as they moved along. Then they emerged into sunlight. A meadow was
before them, a running brook, and a wall of encircling forests. The men
called it the Vale of Laudonniere. The afternoon was spent, and the sun
was near its setting, when they reached the bank of the river. They
strewed the ground with boughs and leaves, and, stretched on that sylvan
couch, slept the sleep of travel-worn and weary men.

They were roused at daybreak by sound of trumpet, and after singing a
psalm they set themselves to their task. It was the building of a fort,
and the spot they chose was a furlong or more above St. John's Bluff,
where close to the water was a wide, flat knoll, raised a few feet above
the marsh and the river.[FN#13] Boats came up the stream with laborers,
tents, provisions, cannon, and tools. The engineers marked out the work
in the form of a triangle; and, from the noble volunteer to the meanest
artisan, all lent a hand to complete it. On the river side the defences
were a palisade of timber. On the two other sides were a ditch, and a
rampart of fascines, earth, and sods. At each angle was a bastion, in
one of which was the magazine. Within was a spacious parade, around it
were various buildings for lodging and storage, and a large house with
covered galleries was built on the side towards the river for
Laudonniere and his officers. In honor of Charles the Ninth the fort was
named Fort Caroline.

Meanwhile Satouriona, "lord of all that country," as the narratives
style him, was seized with misgivings on learning these proceedings. The
work was scarcely begun, and all was din and confusion around the
incipient fort, when the startled Frenchmen saw the neighboring height
of St. John's swarming with naked warriors. Laudonniere set his men in
array, and for a season, pick and spade were dropped for arquebuse and
pike. The savage chief descended to the camp. The artist Le Moyne, who
saw him, drew his likeness from memory, a tall, athletic figure,
tattooed in token of his rank, plumed, bedecked with strings of beads,
and girdled with tinkling pieces of metal which hung from the belt which
formed his only garment. He came in regal state, a crowd of warriors
around him, and, in advance, a troop of young Indians armed with spears.
Twenty musicians followed, blowing hideous discord through pipes of
reeds, while he seated himself on the ground "like a monkey," as Le
Moyne has it in the grave Latin of his Brevis Narratio. A council
followed, in which broken words were aided by signs and pantomime; and a
treaty of alliance was made, Laudonniere renewing his rash promise to
aid the chief against his enemies. Satouriona, well pleased, ordered his
Indians to help the French in their work. They obeyed with alacrity, and
in two days the buildings of the fort were all thatched, after the
native fashion, with leaves of the palmetto.

These savages belonged to one of the confederacies into which the native
tribes of Florida were divided, and with three of which the French came
into contact. The first was that of Satouriona; and the second was that
of the people called Thimagoas, who, under a chief named Outina, dwelt
in forty villages high up the St. John's. The third was that of the
chief, cacique, or paracoussy whom the French called King Potanou, and
whose dominions lay among the pine barrens, cypress swamps, and fertile
hummocks westward and northwestward of this remarkable river. These
three confederacies hated each other, and were constantly at war. Their
social state was more advanced than that of the wandering hunter tribes.
They were an agricultural people, and around all their villages were
fields of maize, beans, and pumpkins. The harvest was gathered into a
public granary, and they lived on it during three fourths of the year,
dispersing in winter to hunt among the forests.

They were exceedingly well formed; the men, or the principal among them,
were tattooed on the limbs and body, and in summer were nearly naked.
Some wore their straight black hair flowing loose to the waist; others
gathered it in a knot at the crown of the head. They danced and sang
about the scalps of their enemies, like the tribes of the North; and
like them they had their "medicine-men," who combined the functions of
physicians, sorcerers, and priests. The most prominent feature of their
religion was sun-worship.

Their villages were clusters of large dome-shaped huts, framed with
poles and thatched with palmetto leaves. In the midst was the dwelling
of the chief, much larger than the rest, and sometimes raised on an
artificial mound. They were enclosed with palisades, and, strange to
say, some of them were approached by wide avenues, artificially graded,
and several hundred yards in length. Traces of these may still be seen,
as may also the mounds in which the Floridians, like the Hurons and
various other tribes, collected at stated intervals the bones of their

Social distinctions were sharply defined among them. Their chiefs, whose
office was hereditary, sometimes exercised a power almost absolute. Each
village had its chief, subordinate to the grand chief of the
confederacy. In the language of the French narratives, they were all
kings or lords, vassals of the great monarch Satouriona, Outina, or
Potanou. All these tribes are now extinct, and it is difficult to
ascertain with precision their tribal affinities. There can be no doubt
that they were the authors of the aboriginal remains at present found in
various parts of Florida.

Having nearly finished the fort, Laudonniere declares that he "would not
lose the minute of an houre without employing of the same in some
vertuous exercise;" and he therefore sent his lieutenant, Ottigny, to
spy out the secrets of the interior, and to learn, above all, "what this
Thimagoa might be, whereof the Paracoussy Satouriona had spoken to us so
often." As Laudonniere stood pledged to attack the Thimagoas, the chief
gave Ottigny two Indian guides, who, says the record, were so eager for
the fray that they seemed as if bound to a wedding feast.

The lazy waters of the St. John's, tinged to coffee color by the
exudations of the swamps, curled before the prow of Ottigny's sail-boat
as he advanced into the prolific wilderness which no European eye had
ever yet beheld. By his own reckoning, he sailed thirty leagues up the
river, which would have brought him to a point not far below Palatka.
Here, more than two centuries later, the Bartrams, father and son,
guided their skiff and kindled their nightly bivouac-fire; and here,
too, roamed Audubon, with his sketch-book and his gun. It was a paradise
for the hunter and the naturalist. Earth, air, and water teemed with
life, in endless varieties of beauty and ugliness. A half-tropical
forest shadowed the low shores, where the palmetto and the cabbage palm
mingled with the oak, the maple, the cypress, the liquid-ambar, the
laurel, the myrtle, and the broad glistening leaves of the evergreen
magnolia. Here was the haunt of bears, wild-cats, lynxes, cougars, and
the numberless deer of which they made their prey. In the sedges and the
mud the alligator stretched his brutish length; turtles with
outstretched necks basked on half-sunken logs; the rattlesnake sunned
himself on the sandy bank, and the yet more dangerous moccason lurked
under the water-lilies in inlets and sheltered coves. The air and the
water were populous as the earth. The river swarmed with fish, from the
fierce and restless gar, cased in his horny armor, to the lazy cat-fish
in the muddy depths. There were the golden eagle and the white-headed
eagle, the gray pelican and the white pelican, the blue heron and the
white heron, the egret, the ibis, ducks of various sorts, the whooping
crane, the black vulture, and the cormorant; and when at sunset the
voyagers drew their boat upon the strand and built their camp-fire under
the arches of the woods, the owls whooped around them all night long,
and when morning came the sultry mists that wrapped the river were vocal
with the clamor of wild turkeys.

When Ottigny was about twenty leagues from Fort Caroline, his two Indian
guides, who were always on the watch, descried three canoes, and in
great excitement cried, "Thimagoa! Thimagoa!" As they drew near, one of
them snatched up a halberd and the other a sword, and in their fury they
seemed ready to jump into the water to get at the enemy. To their great
disgust, Ottigny permitted the Thimagoas to run their canoes ashore and
escape to the woods. Far from keeping Laudonniere's senseless promise to
light them, he wished to make them friends; to which end he now landed
with some of his men, placed a few trinkets in their canoes, and
withdrew to a distance to watch the result. The fugitives presently
returned, step by step, and allowed the French to approach them; on
which Ottigny asked, by signs, if they had gold or silver. They replied
that they had none, but that if he would give them one of his men they
would show him where it was to be found. One of the soldiers boldly
offered himself for the venture, and embarked with them. As, however, he
failed to return according to agreement, Ottigny, on the next day,
followed ten leagues farther up the stream, and at length had the good
luck to see him approaching in a canoe. He brought little or no gold,
but reported that he had heard of a certain chief, named Mayrra,
marvellously rich, who lived three days' journey up the river; and with
these welcome tidings Ottigny went back to Fort Caroline.

A fortnight later, an officer named Vasseur went up the river to pursue
the adventure. The fever for gold had seized upon the French. As the
villages of the Thimagoas lay between them and the imagined treasures,
they shrank from a quarrel, and Laudonniere repented already of his
promised alliance with Satouriona.

Vasseur was two days' sail from the fort when two Indians hailed him
from the shore, inviting him to their dwellings. He accepted their
guidance, and presently saw before him the cornfields and palisades of
an Indian town. He and his followers were led through the wondering
crowd to the lodge of Mollua, the chief, seated in the place of honor,
and plentifully regaled with fish and bread. The repast over, Mollua
made a speech. He told them that he was one of the forty vassal chiefs
of the great Outina, lord of all the Thimagoas, whose warriors wore
armor of gold and silver plate. He told them, too, of Potanou, his
enemy, "a man cruell in warre;" and of the two kings of the distant
Appalachian Mountains,--Onatheaqua and Houstaqua, "great lords and
abounding in riches." While thus, with earnest pantomime and broken
words, the chief discoursed with his guests, Vasseur, intent and eager,
strove to follow his meaning; and no sooner did he hear of these
Appalachian treasures than he promised to join Outina in war against the
two potentates of the mountains. Mollua, well pleased, promised that
each of Outina's vassal chiefs should requite their French allies with a
heap of gold and silver two feet high. Thus, while Laudonniere stood
pledged to Satouriona, Vasseur made alliance with his mortal enemy.

On his return, he passed a night in the lodge of one of Satouriona's
chiefs, who questioned him touching his dealings with the Thimagoas.
Vasseur replied that he had set upon them and put them to utter rout.
But as the chief, seeming as yet unsatisfied, continued his inquiries,
the sergeant Francois de la Caille drew his sword, and, like Falstaff,
reenacted his deeds of valor, pursuing and thrusting at the imaginary
Thimagoas, as they fled before his fury. The chief, at length convinced,
led the party to his lodge, and entertained them with a decoction of the
herb called Cassina.

Satouriona, elated by Laudonniere's delusive promises of aid, had
summoned his so-called vassals to war. Ten chiefs and some five hundred
warriors had mustered at his call, and the forest was alive with their
bivouacs. When all was ready, Satouriona reminded the French commander
of his pledge, and claimed its fulfilment, but got nothing but evasions
in return, He stifled his rage, and prepared to go without his fickle

A fire was kindled near the bank of the river, and two large vessels of
water were placed beside it. Here Satouriona took his stand, while his
chiefs crouched on the grass around him, and the savage visages of his
five hundred warriors filled the outer circle, their long hair garnished
with feathers, or covered with the heads and skins of wolves, cougars,
bears, or eagles. Satouriona, looking towards the country of his enemy,
distorted his features into a wild expression of rage and hate; then
muttered to himself; then howled an invocation to his god, the Sun; then
besprinkled the assembly with water from one of the vessels, and,
turning the other upon the fire, suddenly quenched it. "So," he cried,
"may the blood of our enemies be poured out, and their lives
extinguished!" and the concourse gave forth an explosion of responsive
yells, till the shores resounded with the wolfish din.

The rites over, they set out, and in a few days returned exulting, with
thirteen prisoners and a number of scalps. These last were hung on a
pole before the royal lodge; and when night came, it brought with it a
pandemonium of dancing and whooping, drumming and feasting.

A notable scheme entered the brain of Laudonniere. Resolved, cost what
it might, to make a friend of Outina, he conceived it to be a stroke of
policy to send back to him two of the prisoners. In the morning he sent
a soldier to Satouriona to demand them. The astonished chief gave a fiat
refusal, adding that he owed the French no favors, for they had
shamefully broken faith with him. On this, Laudonniere, at the head of
twenty soldiers, proceeded to the Indian town, placed a guard at the
opening of the great lodge, entered with his arquebusiers, and seated
himself without ceremony in the highest place. Here, to show his
displeasure, he remained in silence for half an hour. At length he
spoke, renewing his demand. For some moments Satouriona made no reply;
then he coldly observed that the sight of so many armed men had
frightened the prisoners away. Laudonniere grew peremptory, when the
chief's son, Athore, went out, and presently returned with the two
Indians, whom the French led back to Fort Caroline.

Satouriona, says Laudonniere, "was wonderfully offended with his
bravado, and bethought himselfe by all meanes how he might be revenged
of us." He dissembled for the time, and presently sent three of his
followers to the fort with a gift of pumpkins; though under this show of
good-will the outrage rankled in his breast, and he never forgave it.
The French had been unfortunate in their dealings with the Indians. They
had alienated old friends in vain attempts to make new ones.

Vasseur, with the Swiss ensign Arlac, a sergeant, and ten soldiers, went
up the river early in September to carry back the two prisoners to
Outina. Laudonniere declares that they sailed eighty leagues, which
would have carried them far above Lake Monroe; but it is certain that
his reckoning is grossly exaggerated. Their boat crawled up the hazy St.
John's, no longer a broad lake like expanse, but a narrow and tortuous
stream, winding between swampy forests, or through the vast savanna, a
verdant sea of brushes and grass. At length they came to a village
called Mayarqua, and thence, with the help of their oars, made their way
to another cluster of wigwams, apparently on a branch of the main river.
Here they found Outina himself, whom, prepossessed with ideas of
feudality, they regarded as the suzerain of a host of subordinate lords
and princes, ruling over the surrounding swamps and pine barrens. Outina
gratefully received the two prisoners whom Laudonniere had sent to
propitiate him, feasted the wonderful strangers, and invited them to
join him on a raid against his rival, Potanou. Laudonniere had promised
to join Satouriona against Outina, and Vasseur now promised to join
Outina against Potanon, the hope of finding gold being in both cases the
source of this impolitic compliance. Vasseur went back to Fort Caroline
with five of the men, and left Arlac with the remaining five to fight
the battles of Ontina.

The warriors mustered to the number of some two hundred, and the
combined force of white men and red took up their march. The wilderness
through which they passed has not yet quite lost its characteristic
features,--the bewildering monotony of the pine barrens, with their
myriads of bare gray trunks and their canopy of perennial green, through
which a scorching sun throws spots and streaks of yellow light, here on
an undergrowth of dwarf palmetto, and there on dry sands half hidden by
tufted wire-grass, and dotted with the little mounds that mark the
burrows of the gopher; or those oases in the desert, the "hummocks,"
with their wild, redundant vegetation, their entanglement of trees,
bushes, and vines, their scent of flowers and song of birds; or the
broad sunshine of the savanna, where they waded to the neck in grass; or
the deep swamp, where, out of the black and root-encumbered slough, rise
the huge buttressed trunks of the Southern cypress, the gray Spanish
moss drooping from every bough and twig, wrapping its victims like a
drapery of tattered cobwebs, and slowly draining away their life, for
even plants devour each other, and play their silent parts in the
universal tragedy of nature.

The allies held their way through forest, savanna, and swamp, with
Outina's Indians in the front, till they neared the hostile villages,
when the modest warriors fell to the rear, and yielded the post of honor
to the Frenchmen.

An open country lay before them, with rough fields of maize, beans, and
pumpkins, and the palisades of an Indian town. Their approach was seen,
and the warriors of Potanon swarmed out to meet them; but the sight of
the bearded strangers, the flash and report of the fire-arms, and the
fall of their foremost chief, shot through the brain by Arlac, filled
them with consternation, and they fled within their defences. Pursuers
and pursued entered pell-mell together. The place was pillaged and
burned, its inmates captured or killed, and the victors returned


1564, 1565.


In the little world of Fort Caroline, a miniature France, cliques and
parties, conspiracy and sedition, were fast stirring into life. Hopes
had been dashed, and wild expectations had come to naught. The
adventurers had found, not conquest and gold, but a dull exile in a
petty fort by a hot and sickly river, with hard labor, bad fare,
prospective famine, and nothing to break the weary sameness but some
passing canoe or floating alligator. Gathered in knots, they nursed each
other's wrath, and inveighed against the commandant. Why are we put on
half-rations, when he told us that provision should be made for a full
year? Where are the reinforcements and supplies that he said should
follow us from France? And why is he always closeted with Ottigny,
Arlac, and this and that favorite, when we, men of blood as good as
theirs, cannot gain his ear for a moment?

The young nobles, of whom there were many, were volunteers, who had paid
their own expenses in expectation of a golden harvest, and they chafed
in impatience and disgust. The religious element in the colony--unlike
the former Huguenot emigration to Brazil--was evidently subordinate.
The adventurers thought more of their fortunes than of their faith; yet
there were not a few earnest enough in the doctrine of Geneva to
complain loudly and bitterly that no ministers had been sent with them.
The burden of all grievances was thrown upon Laudonniere, whose greatest
errors seem to have arisen from weakness and a lack of judgment,--fatal
defects in his position.

The growing discontent was brought to a partial head by one La Roquette,
who gave out that, high up the river, he had discovered by magic a mine
of gold and silver, which would give each of them a share of ten
thousand crowns, besides fifteen hundred thousand for the King. But for
Laudonniere, he said, their fortunes would all be made. He found an ally
in a gentleman named Genre, one of Laudonniere's confidants, who, while
still professing fast adherence to his interests, is charged by him with
plotting against his life. "This Genre," he says, "secretly enfourmed
the Souldiers that were already suborned by La Roquette, that I would
deprive them of this great game, in that I did set them dayly on worke,
not sending them on every side to discover the Countreys; therefore that
it were a good deede to dispatch mee out of the way, and to choose
another Captaine in my place." The soldiers listened too well. They made
a flag of an old shirt, which they carried with them to the rampart when
they went to their work, at the same time wearing their arms; and,
pursues Laudonniere, "these gentle Souldiers did the same for none other
ende but to have killed mee and my Lieutenant also, if by chance I had
given them any hard speeches." About this time, overheating himself, he
fell ill, and was confined to his quarters. On this, Genre made advances
to the apothecary, urging him to put arsenic into his medicine; but the
apothecary shrugged his shoulders. They next devised a scheme to blow
him up by hiding a keg of gunpowder under his bed; but here, too, they
failed. Hints of Genre's machinations reaching the ears of Laudonniere,
the culprit fled to the woods, whence he wrote repentant letters, with
full confession, to his commander.

Two of the ships meanwhile returned to France, the third, the "Breton,"
remaining at anchor opposite the fort. The malcontents took the
opportunity to send home charges against Laudonniere of peculation,
favoritism, and tyranny.

On the fourth of September, Captain Bourdet, apparently a private
adventurer, had arrived from France with a small vessel. When he
returned, about the tenth of November, Laudonniere persuaded him to
carry home seven or eight of the malcontent soldiers. Bourdet left some
of his sailors in their place. The exchange proved most disastrous.
These pirates joined with others whom they had won over, stole
Laudonniere's two pinnaces, and set forth on a plundering excursion to
the West Indies. They took a small Spanish vessel off the coast of Cuba,
but were soon compelled by famine to put into Havana and give themselves
up. Here, to make their peace with the authorities, they told all they
knew of the position and purposes of their countrymen at Fort Caroline,
and thus was forged the thunderbolt soon to be hurled against the
wretched little colony.

On a Sunday morning, Francois de la Caille[FN#13] came to Laudonniere's
quarters, and, in the name of the whole company, requested him to come
to the parade ground. He complied, and issuing forth, his inseparable
Ottigny at his side, he saw some thirty of his officers, soldiers, and
gentlemen volunteers waiting before the building with fixed and sombre
countenances. La Caille, advancing, begged leave to read, in behalf of
the rest, a paper which he held in his hand. It opened with
protestations of duty and obedience; next came complaints of hard work,
starvation, and broken promises, and a request that the petitioners
should be allowed to embark in the vessel lying in the river, and cruise
along the Spanish Main, in order to procure provisions by purchase "or
otherwise." In short, the flower of the company wished to turn

Laudonniere refused, but assured them that, as soon as the defences of
the fort should be completed, a search should be begun in earnest for
the Appalachian gold mine, and that meanwhile two small vessels then
building on the river should be sent along the coast to barter for
provisions with the Indians. With this answer they were forced to
content themselves; but the fermentation continued, and the plot
thickened. Their spokesman, La Caille, however, seeing whither the
affair tended, broke with them, and, except Ottigny, Yasseur, and the
brave Swiss Arlac, was the only officer who held to his duty.

A severe illness again seized Laudonniere, and confined him to his bed.
Improving their advantage, the malcontents gained over nearly all the
best soldiers in the fort. The ringleader was one Fourneaux, a man of
good birth, but whom Le Moyne calls an avaricious hypocrite. He drew up
a paper, to which sixty-six names were signed. La Caille boldly opposed
the conspirators, and they resolved to kill him. His room-mate, Le
Moyne, who had also refused to sign, received a hint of the design from
a friend; upon which he warned La Caille, who escaped to the woods. It
was late in the night. Fourneaux, with twenty men armed to the teeth,
knocked fiercely at the commandant's door. Forcing an entrance, they
wounded a gentleman who opposed them, and crowded around the sick man's
bed. Fourneaux, armed with steel cap and cuirass, held his arquebuse to
Laudonniere's throat, and demanded leave to go on a cruise among the
Spanish islands. The latter kept his presence of mind, and remonstrated
with some firmness; on which, with oaths and menaces, they dragged him
from his bed, put him in fetters, carried him out to the gate of the
fort, placed him in a boat, and rowed him to the ship anchored in the

Two other gangs at the same time visited Ottigny and Arlac, whom they
disarmed, and ordered to keep their rooms till the night following, on
pain of death. Smaller parties were busied, meanwhile, in disarming all
the loyal soldiers. The fort was completely in the hands of the
conspirators. Fourneaux drew up a commission for his meditated West
India cruise, which he required Laudonniere to sign. The sick
commandant, imprisoned in the ship with one attendant, at first refused;
but receiving a message from the mutineers, that, if he did not comply,
they would come on board and cut his throat, he at length yielded.

The buccaneers now bestirred themselves to finish the two small vessels
on which the carpenters had been for some time at work. In a fortnight
they were ready for sea, armed and provided with the King's cannon,
munitions, and stores. Trenchant, an excellent pilot, was forced to join
the party. Their favorite object was the plunder of a certain church on
one of the Spanish islands, which they proposed to assail during the
midnight mass of Christmas. whereby a triple end would be achieved:
first, a rich booty; secondly, the punishment of idolatry; thirdly,
vengeance on the arch-enemies of their party and their faith. They set
sail on the eighth of December, taunting those who remained, calling
them greenhorns, and threatening condign punishment if, on their
triumphant return, they should be refused free entrance to the fort.

They were no sooner gone than the unfortunate Laudonniere was gladdened
in his solitude by the approach of his fast friends Ottigny and Arlac,
who conveyed him to the fort and reinstated him. The entire command was
reorganized, and new officers appointed. The colony was wofully
depleted; but the bad blood had been drawn off, and thenceforth all
internal danger was at an end. In finishing the fort, in building two
new vessels to replace those of which they had been robbed, and in
various intercourse with the tribes far and near, the weeks passed until
the twenty-fifth of March, when an Indian came in with the tidings that
a vessel was hovering off the coast. Laudonniere sent to reconnoitre.
The stranger lay anchored at the mouth of the river. She was a Spanish
brigantine, manned by the returning mutineers, starving, downcast, and
anxious to make terms. Yet, as their posture seemed not wholly pacific,
Landonniere sent down La Caille, with thirty soldiers concealed at the
bottom of his little vessel. Seeing only two or three on deck, the
pirates allowed her to come alongside; when, to their amazement, they
were boarded and taken before they could snatch their arms. Discomfited,
woebegone, and drunk, they were landed under a guard. Their story was
soon told. Fortune had flattered them at the outset, and on the coast of
Cuba they took a brigantine laden with wine and stores. Embarking in
her, they next fell in with a caravel, which also they captured. Landing
at a village in Jamaica, they plundered and caroused for a week, and had
hardly re-embarked when they met a small vessel having on board the
governor of the island. She made a desperate fight, but was taken at
last, and with her a rich booty. They thought to put the governor to
ransom but the astute official deceived them, and, on pretence of
negotiating for the sum demanded,--together with "four or six parrots,
and as many monkeys of the sort called sanguins, which are very
beautiful," and for which his captors had also bargained,--contrived to
send instructions to his wife. Hence it happened that at daybreak three
armed vessels fell upon them, retook the prize, and captured or killed
all the pirates but twenty-six, who, cutting the moorings of their
brigantine, fled out to sea. Among these was the ringleader Fourneaux,
and also the pilot Trenchant, who, eager to return to Fort Caroline,
whence he had been forcibly taken, succeeded during the night in
bringing the vessel to the coast of Florida. Great were the wrath and
consternation of the pirates when they saw their dilemma; for, having no
provisions, they must either starve or seek succor at the fort. They
chose the latter course, and bore away for the St. John's. A few casks
of Spanish wine yet remained, and nobles and soldiers, fraternizing in
the common peril of a halter, joined in a last carouse. As the wine
mounted to their heads, in the mirth of drink and desperation, they
enacted their own trial. One personated the judge, another the
commandant; witnesses were called, with arguments and speeches on either

"Say what you like," said one of them, after hearing the counsel for the
defence; "but if Laudonniere does not hang us all, I will never call him
an honest man."

They had some hope of getting provisions from the Indians at the month
of the river, and then putting to sea again; but this was frustrated by
La Caille's sudden attack. A court-martial was called near Fort
Caroline, and all were found guilty. Fourneaux and three others were
sentenced to be hanged.

"Comrades," said one of the condemned, appealing to the soldiers, "will
you stand by and see us butchered?"

"These," retorted Laudonniere, "are no comrades of mutineers and

At the request of his followers, however, he commuted the sentence to

A file of men, a rattling volley, and the debt of justice was paid. The
bodies were hanged on gibbets, at the river's mouth, and order reigned
at Fort Caroline.

1564, 1565.


While the mutiny was brewing, one La Roche Ferriere had been sent out as
an agent or emissary among the more distant tribes. Sagacious, bold, and
restless, he pushed his way from town to town, and pretended to have
reached the mysterious mountains of Appalache. He sent to the fort
mantles woven with feathers, quivers covered with choice furs, arrows
tipped with gold, wedges of a green stone like beryl or emerald, and
other trophies of his wanderings. A gentleman named Grotaut took up the
quest, and penetrated to the dominions of Hostaqua, who, it was
pretended, could muster three or four thousand warriors, and who
promised, with the aid of a hundred arquebusiers, to conquer all the
kings of the adjacent mountains, and subject them and their gold mines
to the rule of the French. A humbler adventurer was Pierre Gambie, a
robust and daring youth, who had been brought up in the household of
Coligny, and was now a soldier under Laudonniere. The latter gave him
leave to trade with the Indians,--a privilege which he used so well that
he grew rich with his traffic, became prime favorite with the chief of
the island of Edelano, married his daughter, and, in his absence,
reigned in his stead. But, as his sway verged towards despotism, his
subjects took offence, and split his head with a hatchet.

During the winter, Indians from the neighborhood of Cape Canaveral
brought to the fort two Spaniards, wrecked fifteen years before on the
southwestern extremity of the peninsula. They were clothed like the
Indians,--in other words, were not clothed at all,--and their uncut
hair streamed loose down their backs. They brought strange tales of
those among whom they had dwelt. They told of the King of Cabs, on whose
domains they had been wrecked, a chief mighty in stature and in power.
In one of his villages was a pit, six feet deep and as wide as a
hogshead, filled with treasure gathered from Spanish wrecks on adjacent
reefs and keys. The monarch was a priest too, and a magician, with power
over the elements. Each year he withdrew from the public gaze to hold
converse in secret with supernal or infernal powers; and each year he
sacrificed to his gods one of the Spaniards whom the fortune of the sea
had cast upon his shores. The name of the tribe is preserved in that of
the river Caboosa. In close league with him was the mighty Oathcaqua,
dwelling near Cape Canaveral, who gave his daughter, a maiden of
wondrous beauty, in marriage to his great ally. But as the bride with
her bridesmaids was journeying towards Calos, escorted by a chosen band,
they were assailed by a wild and warlike race, inhabitants of an island
called Sarrope, in the midst of a lake, who put the warriors to flight,
bore the maidens captive to their watery fastness, espoused them all,
and, we are assured, "loved them above all measure."[FN#15]

Outina, taught by Arlac the efficacy of the French fire-arms, begged for
ten arquebusiers to aid him on a new raid among the villages of Potanou,
--again alluring his greedy allies by the assurance, that, thus
reinforced, he would conquer for them a free access to the phantom gold
mines of Appalache. Ottigny set forth on this fool's errand with thrice
the force demanded. Three hundred Thirnagoas and thirty Frenchmen took
up their march through the pine barrens. Outina's conjurer was of the
number, and had wellnigh ruined the enterprise. Kneeling on Ottigny's
shield, that he might not touch the earth, with hideous grimaces,
howlings, and contortions, he wrought himself into a prophetic frenzy,
and proclaimed to the astounded warriors that to advance farther would
be destruction.[FN#16] Outina was for instant retreat, but Ottigny's
sarcasms shamed him into a show of courage. Again they moved forward,
and soon encountered Potanou with all his host.[FN#17] The arquebuse did
its work,--panic, slaughter, and a plentiful harvest of scalps. But no
persuasion could induce Outina to follow up his victory. He went home to
dance round his trophies, and the French returned disgusted to Fort

And now, in ample measure, the French began to reap the harvest of their
folly. Conquest, gold, and military occupation had alone been their
aims. Not a rod of ground had been stirred with the spade. Their stores
were consumed, and the expected supplies had not come. The Indians, too,
were hostile. Satouriona hated them as allies of his enemies; and his
tribesmen, robbed and maltreated by the lawless soldiers, exulted in
their miseries. Yet in these, their dark and subtle neighbors, was their
only hope.

May-day came, the third anniversary of the day when Ribaut and his
companions, full of delighted anticipation, had first explored the
flowery borders of the St. John's. The contrast was deplorable; for
within the precinct of Fort Caroline a homesick, squalid band, dejected
and worn, dragged their shrunken limbs about the sun-scorched area, or
lay stretched in listless wretchedness under the shade of the barracks.
Some were digging roots in the forest, or gathering a kind of sorrel
upon the meadows. If they had had any skill in hunting and fishing, the
river and the woods would have supplied their needs; but in this point,
as in others, they were lamentably unfit for the work they had taken in
hand. "Our miserie," says Laudonniere, "was so great that one was found
that gathered up all the fish-bones that he could finde, which he dried
and beate into powder to make bread thereof. The effects of this hideous
famine appeared incontinently among us, for our bones eftsoones beganne
to cleave so neere unto the skinne, that the most part of the souldiers
had their skinnes pierced thorow with them in many partes of their
bodies." Yet, giddy with weakness, they dragged themselves in turn to
the top of St. John's Bluff, straining their eyes across the sea to
descry the anxiously expected sail.

Had Coligny left them to perish? Or had some new tempest of calamity,
let loose upon France, drowned the memory of their exile? In vain the
watchman on the hill surveyed the solitude of waters. A deep dejection
fell upon them,--a dejection that would have sunk to despair could
their eyes have pierced the future.

The Indians had left the neighborhood, but from time to time brought in
meagre supplies of fish, which they sold to the famished soldiers at
exorbitant prices. Lest they should pay the penalty of their extortion,
they would not enter the fort, but lay in their canoes in the river,
beyond gunshot, waiting for their customers to come out to them.
"Oftentimes," says Laudonniere, "our poor soldiers were constrained to
give away the very shirts from their backs to get one fish. If at any
time they shewed unto the savages the excessive price which they tooke,
these villaines would answere them roughly and churlishly: If thou make
so great account of thy marchandise, eat it, and we will eat our fish:
then fell they out a laughing, and mocked us with open throat."

The spring wore away, and no relief appeared. One thought now engrossed
the colonists, that of return to France. Vasseur's ship, the "Breton,"
still remained in the river, and they had also the Spanish brigantine
brought by the mutineers. But these vessels were insufficient, and they
prepared to build a new one. The energy of reviving hope lent new life
to their exhausted frames. Some gathered pitch in the pine forests; some
made charcoal; some cut and sawed timber. The maize began to ripen, and
this brought some relief; but the Indians, exasperated and greedy, sold
it with reluctance, and murdered two half-famished Frenchmen who
gathered a handful in the fields.

The colonists applied to Outina, who owed them two victories. The result
was a churlish message and a niggardly supply of corn, coupled with an
invitation to aid him against an insurgent chief, one Astina, the
plunder of whose villages would yield an ample supply. The offer was
accepted. Ottigny and Vasseur set out, but were grossly deceived, led
against a different enemy, and sent back empty-handed and half-starved.

They returned to the fort, in the words of Laudonniere, "angry and
pricked deepely to the quicke for being so mocked," and, joined by all
their comrades, fiercely demanded to be led against Outina, to seize
him, punish his insolence, and extort from his fears the supplies which
could not be looked for from his gratitude. The commandant was forced to
comply. Those who could bear the weight of their armor put it on,
embarked, to the number of fifty, in two barges, and sailed up the river
under Laudonniere himself. Having reached Outina's landing, they marched
inland, entered his village, surrounded his mud-plastered palace, seized
him amid the yells and howlings of his subjects, and led him prisoner to
their boats. Here, anchored in mid-stream, they demanded a supply of
corn and beans as the price of his ransom.

The alarm spread. Excited warriors, bedaubed with red, came thronging
from all his villages. The forest along the shore was full of them; and
the wife of the chief, followed by all the women of the place, uttered
moans and outcries from the strand. Yet no ransom was offered, since,
reasoning from their own instincts, they never doubted that, after the
price was paid, the captive would be put to death.

Laudonniere waited two days, and then descended the river with his
prisoner. In a rude chamber of Fort Caroline the sentinel stood his
guard, pike in hand, while before him crouched the captive chief, mute,
impassive, and brooding on his woes. His old enemy, Satouriona, keen as
a hound on the scent of prey, tried, by great offers, to bribe
Laudonniere to give Outina into his hands; but the French captain
refused, treated his prisoner kindly, and assured him of immediate
freedom on payment of the ransom.

Meanwhile his captivity was bringing grievous affliction on his
tribesmen; for, despairing of his return, they mustered for the election
of a new chief. Party strife ran high. Some were for a boy, his son, and
some for an ambitious kinsman. Outina chafed in his prison on learning
these dissentions; and, eager to convince his over-hasty subjects that
their chief still lived, he was so profuse of promises that he was again
embarked and carried up the river.

At no great distance from Lake George, a small affluent of the St.
John's gave access by water to a point within six French leagues of
Outina's principal town. The two barges, crowded with soldiers, and
bearing also the captive Outina, rowed up this little stream. Indians
awaited them at the landing, with gifts of bread, beans, and fish, and
piteous prayers for their chief, upon whose liberation they promised an
ample supply of corn. As they were deaf to all other terms, Laudonniere
yielded, released his prisoner, and received in his place two hostages,
who were fast bound in the boats. Ottigny and Arlac, with a strong
detachment of arquebusiers, went to receive the promised supplies, for
which, from the first, full payment in merchandise had been offered. On
their arrival at the village, they filed into the great central lodge,
within whose dusky precincts were gathered the magnates of the tribe.
Council-chamber, forum, banquet-hall, and dancing-hall all in one, the
spacious structure could hold half the population. Here the French made
their abode. With armor buckled, and arquebuse matches lighted, they
watched with anxious eyes the strange, dim scene, half revealed by the
daylight that streamed down through the hole at the apex of the roof.
Tall, dark forms stalked to and fro, with quivers at their backs, and
bows and arrows in their hands, while groups, crouched in the shadow
beyond, eyed the hated guests with inscrutable visages, and malignant,
sidelong eyes. Corn came in slowly, but warriors mustered fast. The
village without was full of them. The French officers grew anxious, and
urged the chiefs to greater alacrity in collecting the promised ransom.
The answer boded no good: "Our women are afraid when they see the
matches of your guns burning. Put them out, and they will bring the corn

Outina was nowhere to be seen. At length they learned that he was in one
of the small huts adjacent. Several of the officers went to him,

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