A School History of the United States by John Bach McMaster

Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charlie Kirschner and PG Distributed Proofreaders A SCHOOL HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES BY JOHN BACH McMASTER PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA 1897 PREFACE It has long been the custom to begin the history of our country with the discovery of the New World by Columbus. To
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  • 1897
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Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charlie Kirschner and PG Distributed Proofreaders









It has long been the custom to begin the history of our country with the discovery of the New World by Columbus. To some extent this is both wise and necessary; but in following it in this instance the attempt has been made to treat the colonial period as the childhood of the United States; to have it bear the same relation to our later career that the account of the youth of a great man should bear to that of his maturer years, and to confine it to the narration of such events as are really necessary to a correct understanding of what has happened since 1776.

The story, therefore, has been restricted to the discoveries, explorations, and settlements within the United States by the English, French, Spaniards, and Dutch; to the expulsion of the French by the English; to the planting of the thirteen colonies on the Atlantic seaboard; to the origin and progress of the quarrel which ended with the rise of thirteen sovereign free and independent states, and to the growth of such political institutions as began in colonial times. This period once passed, the long struggle for a government followed till our present Constitution–one of the most remarkable political instruments ever framed by man–was adopted, and a nation founded.

Scarcely was this accomplished when the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon involved us in a struggle, first for our neutral rights, and then for our commercial independence, and finally in a second war with Great Britain. During this period of nearly five and twenty years, commerce and agriculture flourished exceedingly, but our internal resources were little developed. With the peace of 1815, however, the era of industrial development commences, and this has been treated with great–though it is believed not too great–fullness of detail; for, beyond all question, _the_ event of the world’s history during the nineteenth century is the growth of the United States. Nothing like it has ever before taken place.

To have loaded down the book with extended bibliographies would have been an easy matter, but quite unnecessary. The teacher will find in Channing and Hart’s _Guide to the Study of American History_ the best digested and arranged bibliography of the subject yet published, and cannot afford to be without it. If the student has time and disposition to read one half of the reference books cited in the footnotes of this history, he is most fortunate.





XXXI. THE NEW WEST (1860-1870)






* * * * *




%1. Nations that have owned our Soil.%–Before the United States became a nation, six European powers owned, or claimed to own, various portions of the territory now contained within its boundary. England claimed the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida. Spain once held Florida, Texas, California, and all the territory south and west of Colorado. France in days gone by ruled the Mississippi valley. Holland once owned New Jersey, Delaware, and the valley of the Hudson in New York, and claimed as far eastward as the Connecticut river. The Swedes had settlements on the Delaware. Alaska was a Russian possession.

Before attempting to narrate the history of our country, it is necessary, therefore, to tell

1. How European nations came into possession of parts of it.

2. How these parts passed from them to us.

3. What effect the ownership of parts of our country by Europeans had on our history and institutions before 1776.

%2. European Trade with the East; the Old Routes.%–For two hundred years before North and South America were known to exist, a splendid trade had been going on between Europe and the East Indies. Ships loaded with metals, woods, and pitch went from European seaports to Alexandria and Constantinople, and brought back silks and cashmeres, muslins, dyewoods, spices, perfumes, ivory, precious stones, and pearls. This trade in course of time had come to be controlled by the two Italian cities of Venice and Genoa. The merchants of Genoa sent their ships to Constantinople and the ports of the Black Sea, where they took on board the rich fabrics and spices which by boats and by caravans had come up the valley of the Euphrates and the Tigris from the Persian Gulf. The men of Venice, on the other hand, sent their vessels to Alexandria, and carried on their trade with the East through the Red Sea.

[Illustration: Routes to India]

%3. New Routes wanted.%–Splendid as this trade was, however, it was doomed to destruction. Slowly, but surely, the Turks thrust themselves across the caravan routes, cutting off one by one the great feeders of the Oriental trade, till, with the capture of Constantinople in 1453, they destroyed the commercial career of Genoa. As their power was spreading rapidly over Syria and toward Egypt, the prosperity of Venice, in turn, was threatened. The day seemed near when all trade between the Indies and Europe would be ended, and men began to ask if it were not possible to find an ocean route to Asia.

Now, it happened that just at this time the Portuguese were hard at work on the discovery of such a route, and were slowly pushing their way down the western coast of Africa. But as league after league of that coast was discovered, it was thought that the route to India by way of Africa was too long for the purposes of commerce.[1] Then came the question, Is there not a shorter route? and this Columbus tried to answer.

[Footnote 1: Read the account of Portuguese exploration in search of a way to India, in Fiske’s _Discovery of America_, Vol. I., pp. 274-334.]

%4. Columbus seeks the East and finds America.%[2]–Columbus was a native of Genoa, in Italy. He began a seafaring life at fourteen, and in the intervals between his voyages made maps and globes. As Portugal was then the center of nautical enterprise, he wandered there about 1470, and probably went on one or two voyages down the coast of Africa. In 1473 he married a Portuguese woman. Her father had been one of the King of Portugal’s famous navigators, and had left behind him at his death a quantity of charts and notes; and it was while Columbus was studying them that the idea of seeking the Indies by sailing due westward seems to have first started in his mind. But many a year went by, and many a hardship had to be borne, and many an insult patiently endured in poverty and distress, before the Friday morning in August, 1492, when his three caravels, the _Santa Maria_ (sahn’-tah mah-ree’-ah), the _Pinta_ (peen’-tah), and the _Nina_ (neen’-yah), sailed from the port of Palos (pah’-los), in Spain.

[Footnote 2: There is reason to believe that about the year 1000 A.D. the northeast coast of America was discovered by a Norse voyager named Leif Ericsson. The records are very meager; but the discovery of our country by such a people is possible and not improbable. For an account of the pre-Columbian discoveries see Fiske’s _Discovery of America_, Vol. I., pp. 148-255.]

[Illustration: Santa Maria]

His course led first to the Canary Islands, where he turned and went directly westward. The earth was not then generally believed to be round. Men supposed it to be flat, and the only parts of it known to Europeans were Iceland, the British Isles, the continent of Europe, a small part of Asia, and a strip along the coast of the northern part of Africa. The ocean on which Columbus was now embarked, and which in our time is crossed in less than a week, was then utterly unknown, and was well named “The Sea of Darkness.” Little wonder, then, that as the shores of the last of the Canaries sank out of sight on the 9th of September, many of the sailors wept, wailed, and loudly bemoaned their cruel fate. After sailing for what seemed a very long time, they saw signs of land. But when no land appeared, their hopes gave way to fear, and they rose against Columbus in order to force him to return.

[Illustration: Nina]

But he calmed their fears, explained the sights they could not understand, hid from them the true distance sailed, and kept steadily on westward till October 7, when a flock of land birds were seen flying to the southwest. Pinzon (peen-thon’), who commanded one of the vessels, begged Columbus to follow the birds, as they seemed to be going toward land. Had the little fleet kept on its way, it would have brought up on the coast of Florida. But Columbus yielded to Pinzon. The ships were headed southwestward, and about ten o’clock on the night of October 11, Columbus saw a light moving in the distance. It was made by the inhabitants going from hut to hut on a neighboring coast. At dawn the shore itself was seen by a sailor, and Columbus, followed by many of his men, hastened to the beach, where, October 12, 1492, he raised a huge cross, and took possession of the country in the name of Ferdinand and Isabella, King and Queen of Spain, who had supplied him with caravels and men.[1] He had landed on one of a group of islands which we call the Bahamas.[2]

[Footnote 1: Columbus called the new land San Salvador (sahn sahl-vah-dor’, Holy Savior), because October 12, the day on which it was discovered, was so named in the Spanish calendar.]

[Footnote 2: Three islands of this group, Cat, Turks, and Watlings, have rival claims as the landing place of Columbus. At present, Watlings Island is believed to be the one on which he first set foot. Read an account of the voyage in Fiske’s _Discovery of America_, Vol. I., pp. 408-442; Irving’s _Life and Voyages of Columbus_, Vol. I., Book III.]

[Illustration: Coat of arms of Columbus]

During ten days he sailed among these islands. Then, turning southward, he coasted along Cuba to the eastern end, and so to Haiti, which he named Hispaniola, or Little Spain. There the _Santa Maria_ was wrecked. The _Pinta_ had by this time deserted him, and, as the _Nina_ could not carry all the men, forty were left at Hispaniola, to found the first colony of Europeans in the New World. Giving the men food enough to last a year, Columbus set sail for Spain on the 3d of January, 1493, and on March 15 was safe at Palos.

Of the greatness of his discovery, Columbus had not the faintest idea. That he had found a new world; that a continent was blocking his way to the East, never entered his mind. He supposed he had landed on some islands off the east coast of Asia, and as that coast was called the Indies, and as the islands were reached by sailing westward, they came to be called the West Indies, and their inhabitants Indians; and the native races of the New World have ever since been called Indians. Although Columbus in after years made three more voyages to the New World, he never found out his mistake, and died firm in the belief that he had discovered a direct route to Asia.[1]

[Footnote 1: Columbus began his second voyage in September, 1493, and discovered Jamaica, Porto Rico (por’-to ree’-co), and the islands of the Caribbean Sea. On his third voyage, in 1498, he discovered the island of Trinidad, off the coast of Venezuela, and saw South America at the mouth of the Orinoco River. During his fourth and last voyage, 1502-1504, he explored the shores of Honduras and the Isthmus of Panama in search of a strait leading to the Indian Ocean. Of course he did not find it, and, going back to Spain, he died poor and broken-hearted on May 20, 1506.]

%5. The Atlantic Coast explored.%–And now that Columbus had shown the way, others were quick to follow. In 1497 and 1498 came John and Sebastian Cabot (cab’-ot), sailing under the flag of England, and exploring our coast from Labrador to Cape Cod; and Pinzon and Solis, with Vespucius[2] for pilot, sailing under the flag of Spain along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, around the peninsula of Florida, and northward to Chesapeake Bay. Between 1500 and 1502 two Portuguese navigators named Cortereal (cor-ta-ra-ahl’) went over much the same ground as the Cabots. For the time being, however, these voyages were fruitless. It was not a new world, but China and Japan, the Indian Ocean, and the spice islands, that Europe was seeking. When, therefore, in 1497, Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon, passed around the end of Africa, reached India, and came back to Portugal in 1499 with his ship laden with the silks and spices of the East, all explorers turned southward, and for eleven years after the visit of the Cortereals no voyages were made to North America.

[Footnote 2: As this man was an Italian, his name was really Amerigo Vespucci (ah-ma’-ree-go ves-poot’-chee), but it is usually given in its Latinized form, Americus Vespucius (a-mer’-i-cus ves-pu’-she-us).]

%6. Why the Continent was called America.%–But some great voyages meantime were made to South America. In 1500 a Portuguese fleet of thirteen vessels, commanded by Cabral, started from Portugal for the East. In place of following the usual route and hugging the west coast of Africa, Cabral went off so far to the westward that one day in April, 1500, he was amazed to see land. It proved to be what is now Brazil, and after sailing along a little way he sent one of his vessels home to Portugal with the news.


He did this because six years before, in June, 1494, Spain and Portugal made a treaty and agreed that a meridian should be drawn 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands and be known as “The Line of Demarcation” All heathen lands discovered, no matter by whom, to the east of this line, were to belong to Portugal; all to the west of it were to be the property of Spain. Now, as the strange coast seemed to be east of the line of demarcation, and therefore the property of Portugal, Cabral sent word to the King that he might explore it.

Accordingly, in May, 1501, the King sent out three ships in charge of Americus Vespucius. Vespucius sighted the coast somewhere about Cape St. Roque, and, finding that it was east of the line of demarcation, explored it southward as far as the mouth of the river La Plata. As he was then west of the line, and off a coast which belonged to Spain, he turned and sailed southeastward till he struck the island of South Georgia, where the Antarctic cold and the fields of floating ice stopped him and sent him back to Lisbon.

The results of this great voyage were many. In the first place, it secured Brazil for Portugal. In the second place, it changed the geographical ideas of the time. The great length of coast line explored proved that the land was not a mere island, but that Vespucius had found a new continent in the southern hemisphere,–off the coast of Asia, as was then supposed. This for a time was called the “Fourth Part” of the world,–the other three parts being Europe, Asia, and Africa. But in 1507 a German professor published a little book on geography, in which he suggested that the new part of the world discovered by Americus, the part which we call Brazil, should be called America.

As Columbus was not supposed to have discovered a new world, but merely a new route to Asia, this suggestion seemed very proper, and soon the word “America” began to appear on maps as the name of Brazil. After a while it was applied to all South America, and finally to North America also.

%7. The Pacific discovered; the Mexican Gulf Coast explored.%–A few years after the publication of the little book which gave the New World the name of America, a Spaniard named Balboa landed on the Isthmus of Panama, crossed it (1513), and from the mountains looked down on an endless expanse of blue water, which he called the South Sea, because when he first saw it he was looking south.

Meantime another Spaniard, named Ponce de Leon (pon’tha da la-on’), sailed with three ships from Porto Rico, in March, 1513, and on the 27th of that month came in sight of the mainland. As the day was Easter Sunday, which the Spaniards call Pascua (pas’-coo-ah) Florida, he called the country Florida.

[Illustration: Map of 1515][1]

[Footnote 1: Showing what was then supposed to be the shape and position of the newly discovered lands.]

Six years later (1519) Pineda (pe-na’-da) skirted the shores of the Gulf from Florida to Mexico.

%8. Spaniards sail round the World.%–In the same year (1519) that Pineda explored the Gulf coast, a Portuguese named Magellan (ma-jel’-an) led a Spanish fleet across the Atlantic. He coasted along South America to Tierra del Fuego, entered the strait which now bears his name, passed well up the western coast, and turning westward sailed toward India. He was then on the ocean which Balboa had discovered and named the South Sea. But Magellan found it so much smoother than the Atlantic that he called it the Pacific. Five ships and 254 men left Spain; but only one ship and fifteen men returned to Spain by way of India and Cape of Good Hope. Magellan himself was among the dead.[1]

[Footnote 1: Magellan was killed by the natives of one of the Philippine Islands. The captain of the ship which made the voyage was greatly honored. The King of Spain ennobled him, and on his coat of arms was a globe representing the earth, and on it the motto “You first sailed round me.”]

%9. Importance of Magellan’s Voyage.%–Of all the voyages ever made by man this was the greatest.[2] In the first place, it proved beyond dispute that the earth is round. In the second place, it proved that South America is a great continent, and that there is no short southwest passage to India.

[Footnote 2: By all means read the account of this voyage by Fiske, in his _Discovery of America_, Vol. II., pp. 190-211.]

%10. Search for a Northwest Passage; our North Atlantic Coast explored.%–All eyes, therefore, turned northward; the quest for a northwest passage began, and in that quest the Atlantic coast of the United States was examined most thoroughly.


1. Towards the close of the fifteenth century the Turks cut off the old route of trade between Asia and Europe.

2. In attempting to find a new way to Asia, the Portuguese then began to explore the west coast of Africa.

3. When at last they got well down the African coast it was thought that such a route was too long.

4. Columbus (1492) then attempted to find a shorter way to Asia by sailing westward across the Atlantic Ocean, and landed on some islands which he supposed to be the East Indies.

5. The explorations of men who followed Columbus proved that a new continent had been discovered and that it blocked the way to India.

6. The attempts to find a southwest passage or a northwest passage through our continent led to the exploration of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

7. The new world was called America, after the explorer Americus.

8. The voyage of Magellan proved that the earth is round.



%11. The Spaniards explore the Southwest.%–Now it must be noticed that up to 1513 no European had explored the interior of either North or South America. They had merely touched the shores. In 1513 the work of exploration began. Balboa then crossed the Isthmus of Panama. In 1519 Cortes (cor’-tez) landed on the coast of Mexico with a body of men, and marched boldly into the heart of the country to the city where lived the great Indian chief or king, Montezuma. Cortes took the city and made himself master of Mexico. This was most important; for the conquest of Mexico turned the attention of the Spaniards from our country for many years, and finally led to the exploration of the Southwest. But the first explorers of what is now the United States came from Cuba in 1528.

[Illustration: Map of 1530, Sloane MS.[1]]

[Footnote 1: Notice that the two continents begin to take shape, and that as the result of Magellan’s voyage is not generally known, North America is placed very near to Java.]

In that year Narvaez (nar-vah-eth), excited by Pineda’s accounts of the Mississippi Indians and their golden ornaments, set forth with 400 men to conquer the north coast of the Gulf of Mexico. At Apalachee Bay he landed, and made a raid inland. On returning to the shore, he missed his ships, and after traveling westward on foot for a month, built five rude vessels, and once more put to sea. For six weeks the little fleet hugged the shore, till it came to the mouth of the Mississippi, where two of the boats were upset and Narvaez was drowned. The rest reached the coast of Texas in safety. But famine and the tomahawk soon reduced the number of the survivors to four. These were captured by bands of wandering Indians, were carried over eastern Texas and western Louisiana, till, after many strange adventures and vicissitudes, they met beyond the Sabine River.[1] Protected by the fame they had won for sorcery, and led by one Cabeza de Vaca, they now wandered westward to the Rio Grande[2] (ree’-o grahn’-da) and on by Chihuahua (chee-wah’-wah) and Sonora to the Gulf of California, and by this to Culiacan, a town near the west coast of Mexico, which they reached in 1536. They had crossed the continent.

[Footnote 1: Now the western boundary of Louisiana.]

[Footnote 2: Rio Grande del Norte—Great River of the North.]

%12. “The Seven Cities of Cibola.”%–The story these men told of the strange country through which they had passed, aroused a strong desire in the Spaniards to explore it, for somewhere in that direction they believed were the Seven Cities. According to an ancient legend, when the Arabs invaded the Spanish peninsula, a bishop of Lisbon with many followers fled to a group of islands in the Sea of Darkness, and on them founded seven cities. As one of the Indian tribes had preserved a story of Seven Caves in which their ancestors had once lived, the credulous and romantic Spaniards easily confounded the two legends. Firmly believing that the seven cities must exist in the north country traversed by Vaca, Mendoza, the Spanish governor of Mexico, selected Fray Marcos, a monk of great ability, and sent him forth with a few followers to search for them. Directed by the Indians through whose villages he passed, he came at last in sight of the seven Zuni (zoo’-nyee) pueblos (pweb’-loz) of New Mexico, all of which were inhabited in his time. But he came no nearer than just within sight of them. For one of the party, who went on in advance, having been killed by the Zuni, Fray Marcos hurried back to Culiacan. Understanding the name of the city he had seen to be Cibola (see’-bo-la), he called the pueblos the “Seven Cities of Cibola,” and against them the next year (1540) Coronado marched with 1100 men. Finding the pueblos were not the rich cities for which he sought, Coronado pushed on eastward, and for two years wandered to and fro over the plains and mountains of the West, crossing the state of Kansas twice.[1]

[Footnote 1: Do not fail to read a delightful little book called _The Spanish Pioneers_, by Charles F. Lummis. In it the story of these great journeys is told on pp. 77-88, 101-143.]

[Illustration: The kind of cities found by Marcos and Coronado in the Rio Grande valley.]

[Illustration: CORONADO’S EXPEDITION 1540]

%13. The Spaniards on the Mississippi.%–In 1537 De Soto was appointed governor of Cuba, with instructions to conquer and hold all the country discovered by Narvaez. On this mission he set out in May, 1539, and landed at Tampa Bay, on the west coast of our state of Florida. He wandered over the swamps and marshes, the moss-grown jungles, and the forests of the Gulf states, and spent the winter of 1541 near the Yazoo River. Crossing the Mississippi in the spring of 1542 at the Chickasaw Bluffs, he wandered about eastern Arkansas, till he died of fever, and was buried in the Mississippi. His followers then built rude boats, floated down the river to the Gulf, steered along the coast of Texas, and in September, 1543, reached Tampico, in Mexico.

More than half a century had now gone by since the first voyage of Columbus. Yet not a settlement, great or small, had been established by Spain within our boundary. Between 1546 and 1561 missionaries twice attempted to found missions and convert the Indians in Florida, and twice were driven away. In 1582 others entered the valleys of the Gila and the Rio Grande, took possession of the pueblos, established missions, preached the Gospel to the Indians, and brought them under the dominion of Spain. But when Santa Fe (sahn’-tah fa’) was founded, in 1582, the only colony of Spain in the United States, besides the missions in Arizona and New Mexico, was St. Augustine in Florida.

[Illustration: A Spanish mission]

%14. St. Augustine.%–St. Augustine was founded by the Spaniards in order to keep out the French, who made two attempts to occupy the south Atlantic coast. The first was that of John Ribault (ree-bo’). He led a colony of Frenchmen, in 1562, to what is now South Carolina, built a small fort on a spot which he called Port Royal, and left it in charge of thirty men while he went back to France for more colonists. The men were a shiftless set, depended on the Indians till the Indians would feed them no longer, and when famine set in, they mutinied, slew their commander, built a crazy ship and went to sea, where an English vessel found them in a starving condition, and took them to London.

In 1564 a second party, under Laudonniere (lo-do-ne-ar’), landed at the St. Johns River in Florida, and built a fort called Fort Caroline in honor of Charles IX. of France. But the King of Spain, hearing that the French were trespassing, sent an expedition under Menendez (ma-nen’-deth), who founded St. Augustine in 1565. There Ribault, who had returned and joined Laudonniere, attempted to attack the Spaniards. But a hurricane scattered his ships, and while it was still raging, Menendez fell suddenly on Fort Caroline and massacred men, women, and children. A few days later, falling in with Ribault and his men, who had been driven ashore south of St. Augustine, Menendez massacred 150 more.[1] For this foul deed a Frenchman named Gourgues (goorg) exacted a fearful penalty. With three small ships and 200 men, he sailed to the St. Johns River, took and destroyed the fort which the Spaniards had built on the site of Fort Caroline, and put to death every human being within it.

[Footnote 1: The story of the French in Florida is finely told in Parkman’s _Pioneers of France in the New World_; also J. Sparks’s _Life of Ribault_; Baird’s _Huguenot Emigration_.]

[Illustration: Gateway at St. Augustine[2]]

[Footnote 2: Remaining from the Spanish occupation of Florida.]


1. From 1492 to 1513 the Europeans who came to America explored the coasts of North and South America, but did not go inland.

2. In 1513 exploration of the interior of the two continents began. Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama, 1513, and Cortes conquered Mexico, 1519-21.

3. In 1528 Narvaez made the first serious attempt to enter the Mississippi valley. He died, and some of his followers, under Cabeza de Vaca, crossed the continent.

4. When the Spanish governor of Mexico heard their story, he sent Fray Marcos to find the “Seven Cities of Cibola”; and began the exploration of the southwestern part of the United States.

5. In 1539-1541 De Soto and his band explored the southeastern part of the United States from Florida to the Mississippi River.

6. By 1582 two Spanish settlements had been made in the United States –St. Augustine, 1565, and Santa Fe, 1582.




1492. Columbus. Islands off the coast. 1493. Columbus. Islands off the coast. 1497. John Cabot. North America. Labrador. 1498. John and Sebastian Cabot. Labrador to Cape Cod. Pinzon and Solis. Florida to Chesapeake Bay. 1500. Cabral. Discovers Brazil.
1501. Vespucius. Explores Brazilian coast. 1500-1502. Cortereals. Explore coast North America. 1513. Ponce de Leon. Discovers and names Florida.


1498. Pinzon and Solis. Explore Gulf of Mexico and coast of Florida.
1519. Pineda. Sails from Florida to Mexico. 1528. Narvaez. Florida to Texas.
1543. Followers of De Soto sail from Mississippi River to Mexico.


1519-21. Cortes. Conquers Mexico.
1534-36. De Vaca. From the Sabine River to the Gulf of California.
1539. Fray Marcos. Search for the Seven Cities. Wanders over New Mexico.
1540-42. Coronado, Gila River, Rio Grande, Colorado River.
1539-41. De Soto. Wanders over Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and reaches the Mississippi River. 1582-1600. Spaniards in the valleys of the Gila and Rio Grande.


1513. Balboa. Discovers the Pacific Ocean. 1520. Magellan. Sails around South America into the Pacific.
1578-1580. Drake. Sails around South America and up the Pacific coast to Oregon. (See p. 26.)



%15. The English Claim to the Seaboard.%–After the Spaniards had thus explored the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and what is now Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, the English attempted to take possession of the Atlantic coast. The voyages of John and Sebastian Cabot in 1497 and 1498 were not followed up in the same way that Spain followed up those of Columbus, and for nearly eighty years the flag of England was not displayed in any of our waters.[1] At last, in 1576, Sir Martin Frobisher set out to find a northwest passage to Asia. Of course he failed; but in that and two later voyages he cruised about the shores of our continent and gave his name to Frobisher’s Bay.[2] Next came Sir Francis Drake, the greatest seaman of his age. He left England in 1577, crossed the Atlantic, sailed down the South American coast, passed through the Strait of Magellan, and turning northward coasted along South America, Mexico, and California, in search of a northeast passage to the Atlantic. When he had gone as far north as Oregon the weather grew so cold that his men began to murmur, and putting his ship about, he sailed southward along our Pacific coast in search of a harbor, which in June, 1579, he found near the present city of San Francisco. There he landed, and putting up a post nailed to it a brass plate on which was the name of Queen Elizabeth, and took possession of the country.[3] Despairing of finding a short passage to England, Drake finally crossed the Pacific and reached home by way of the Cape of Good Hope. He had sailed around the globe.[4]

[Footnote 1: For Cabot’s voyages read Fiske’s _Discovery of America_, Vol. II., pp. 2-15.]

[Footnote 2: See map of 1515.]

[Footnote 3: The white cliffs reminded Drake strongly of the cliffs of Dover, and as one of the old names of England was Albion (the country of the white cliffs), he called the land New Albion.]

[Footnote 4: For Drake read E.T. Payne’s _Voyages of Elizabethan Seamen_.]

%16. Gilbert and Ralegh attempt to found a Colony.%–While Drake was making his voyage, another gallant seaman, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, was given (by Queen Elizabeth) any new land he might discover in America. His first attempt (1579) was a failure, and while on his way home from a landing on Newfoundland (1583), his ship, with all on board, went down in a storm at sea. The next year (1584) his half-brother, Sir Walter Ralegh, one of the most accomplished men of his day and a great favorite with Queen Elizabeth, obtained permission from the Queen to make a settlement on any part of the coast of America not already occupied by a Christian power; and he at once sent out an expedition. The explorers landed on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina, and came home with such a glowing description of the “good land” they had found that the Virgin Queen called it “Virginia,” in honor of herself, and Ralegh determined to colonize it.[1]

[Footnote 1: For Ralegh read E. Gosse’s _Raleigh_ (in English Worthies Series); Louise Creighton’s _Sir W. Ralegh_ (Historical Biographies Series).]

%17. Roanoke Colony; the Potato and Tobacco.%–In 1585, accordingly, 108 emigrants under Ralph Lane left England and began to build a town on Roanoke Island. They were ill suited for this kind of pioneer life, and were soon in such distress that, had not Sir Francis Drake in one of his voyages happened to touch at Roanoke, they would have starved to death. Drake, seeing their helplessness, carried them home to England. Yet their life on the island was not without results, for they took back with them the potato, and some dried tobacco leaves which the Indians had taught them to smoke.

Ralegh, of course, was greatly disappointed to see his colonists again in England. But he was not discouraged, and in 1587 sent forth a second band. The first had consisted entirely of men. The second band was composed of both men and women with their families, for it seemed likely that if the men took their wives and children along they would be more likely to remain than if they went alone. John White was the leader, and with a charter and instructions to build the city of Ralegh somewhere on the shores of Chesapeake Bay he set off with his colonists and landed on Roanoke Island. Here a little granddaughter was born (August 18, 1587), and named Virginia. She was the child of Eleanor Dare, and was the first child born of English parents in America.

[Illustration: Roanoke Island and vicinity]

Governor White soon found it necessary to go back to England for supplies, and, in consequence of the Spanish war, three years slipped by before he was able to return to the colony. He was then too late. Every soul had perished, and to this day nobody knows how or where. Ralegh could do no more, and in 1589 made over all his rights to a joint-stock company of merchants. This company did nothing, and the sixteenth century came to an end with no English colony in America.[1]

[Footnote 1: Doyle’s _English Colonies in America_, Virginia, pp. 56-74; Bancroft’s _History of the United States_, Vol. I., pp. 60-79; Hildreth’s _History of the United States_, Vol. I., pp. 80-87.]

%18. Gosnold in New England.%–With the new century came better fortune. Ralegh’s noble efforts to plant a colony aroused Englishmen to the possibility of founding a great empire in the New World, and especially one named Bartholomew Gosnold.

Instead of following the old route to America by way of the Canary Islands, the West Indies, and Florida, he sailed due west across the Atlantic,[2] and brought up on the shore of a cape which he named Cape Cod.[3] Following the shore southward, he passed through Nantucket Sound and Vineyard Sound, till he came to Cuttyhunk Island, at the entrance of Buzzards Bay. On this he landed, and built a house for the use of colonists he intended to leave there. But when he had filled his ship with sassafras roots and cedar logs, nobody would remain, and the whole company went back to England.[4]

[Footnote 2: By thus shortening the journey 3000 miles, he practically brought America 3000 miles nearer to Europe.]

[Footnote 3: Because the waters thereabout abounded in codfish. For a comparison of Gosnold’s route with those of the other early explorers see the map on p. 15.]

[Footnote 4: Bancroft’s _United States_, Vol. I., pp. 70-83. Hildreth’s _United States,_ Vol. I., p. 90.]

%19. The Two Virginia Companies.%–As a result of this voyage, Gosnold was more eager than ever to plant a colony in Virginia, and this enthusiasm he communicated so fully to others that, in 1606, King James I. created two companies to settle in Virginia, which was then the name for all the territory from what is now Maine to Florida.

1. Each company was to own a block of land 100 miles square; that is, 100 miles along the coast,–50 miles each way from its first settlement,–and 100 miles into the interior.

2. The First Company, a band of London merchants, might establish its first settlement anywhere between 34 deg. and 41 deg. north latitude.

3. The Second Company, a band of Plymouth merchants, might establish its first settlement anywhere between 38 deg. and 45 deg..

4. These settlements were to be on the seacoast.

5. In order to prevent the blocks from overlapping, it was provided that the company which was last to settle should locate at least 100 miles from the other company’s settlement.[1]

[Footnote 1: Over the affairs of each company presided a council appointed by the King, with power to choose its own president, fill vacancies among its own members, and elect a council of thirteen to reside on the company’s lands in America. Each company might coin money, raise a revenue by taxing foreign vessels trading at its ports, punish crime, and make laws which, if bad, could be set aside by the King. All property was to be owned in common, and all the products of the soil deposited in a public magazine from which the needs of the settlers were to be supplied. The surplus was to be sold for the good of the company. The charter is given in full in Poore’s _Charters and Constitutions_, pp. 1888-1893.]

%20. The Jamestown Colony.%–Thus empowered, the two companies made all haste to gather funds, collect stores and settlers, and fit out ships. The London Company was the first to get ready, and on the 19th of December, 1606, 143 colonists set sail in three ships for America with their charter, and a list of the council sealed up in a strong box. The Plymouth Company soon followed, and before the year 1607 was far advanced, two settlements were planted in our country: the one at Jamestown, in Virginia, the other near the mouth of the Kennebec, in Maine. The latter, however, was abandoned the following year (see Chapter IV).

The three ships which carried the Virginia colony reached the coast in the spring of 1607, and entering Chesapeake Bay sailed up a river which the colonists called the James, in honor of the King. When about thirty miles from its mouth, a landing was made on a little peninsula, where a settlement was begun and named Jamestown.[1] It was the month of May, and as the weather was warm, the colonists did not build houses, but, inside of some rude fortifications, put up shelters of sails and branches to serve till huts could be built. But their food gave out, the Indians were hostile, and before September half of the party had died of fever. Had it not been for the energy and courage of John Smith, every one of them would have perished. He practically assumed command, set the men to building huts, persuaded the Indians to give them food, explored the bays and rivers of Virginia, and for two dreary years held the colony together. When we consider the worthless men he had to deal with, and the hardships and difficulties that beset him, his work is wonderful. The history which he wrote, however, is not to be trusted.[2]

[Footnote 1: Nothing now remains of Jamestown but the ruined tower of the church shown in the picture. Much of the land on which the town stood has been washed away by the river, so that its site is now an island.]

[Footnote 2: Read the _Life and Writings of Captain John Smith_, by Charles Dudley Warner; also John Fiske in _Atlantic Monthly_, December, 1895; Eggleston’s _Beginners of a Nation_, pp. 31-38. Smith’s _True Relation_ is printed in _American History Leaflets_, No. 27, and _Library of American Literature_ Vol. I.]

[Illustration: All that is left of Jamestown]

Bad as matters were, they became worse when a little fleet arrived with many new settlers, making the whole number about 500. The newcomers were a worthless set picked up in the streets of London or taken from the jails, and utterly unfit to become the founders of a state in the wilderness of the New World. Out of such material Smith in time might have made something, but he was forced by a wound to return to England, and the colony went rapidly to ruin. Sickness and famine did their work so quickly that after six months there were but sixty of the 500 men alive. Then two small ships, under Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers, arrived at Jamestown with more settlers; but all decided to flee, and had actually sailed a few miles down the James, when, June 8, 1610, they met Lord Delaware with three ships full of men and supplies coming up the river. Delaware came out as governor under a new charter granted in 1609.[1]

[Footnote 1: Read “The Jamestown Experiments,” in Eggleston’s _Beginners of a Nation,_ pp. 25-72.]

[Illustration: Vicinity of Jamestown]

%21. The Virginia Charter of 1609% made a great change in the boundary of the company’s property. By the 1606 charter the colony was limited to 100 miles along the seaboard and 100 miles west from the coast. In 1609 the company was given an immense domain reaching 400 miles along the coast,–200 miles each way from Old Point Comfort,–and extending “up into the land throughout _from sea to sea_, west and northwest.” This description is very important, for it was afterwards claimed by Virginia to mean a grant of land of the shape shown on the map.[1]

[Footnote 1: Read Hinsdale’s _Old Northwest_, pp. 74, 75.]


%22. The First Representative Assembly in America.%–Under the new charter and new governors Virginia began to thrive. More work and less grumbling were done, and a few wise reforms were introduced. One governor, however, Argall, ruled the colony so badly that the people turned against him and sent such reports to England that immigration almost ceased. The company, in consequence, removed Argall, and gave Virginia a better form of government. In future, the governor’s power was to be limited, and the people were to have a share in the making of laws and the management of affairs. As the colonists, now numbering 4000 men, were living in eleven settlements, or “boroughs,” it was ordered that each borough should elect two men to sit in a legislature to be called the House of Burgesses. This house, the first representative assembly ever held by white men in America, met on July 30, 1619, in the church at Jamestown, and there began “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

%23. The Establishment of Slavery in America.%–It is interesting to note that at the very time the men of Virginia thus planted free representative government in America, another institution was planted beside it, which, in the course of two hundred and fifty years, almost destroyed free government. The Burgesses met in July, and a few weeks later, on an August day, a Dutch ship entered the James and before it sailed away sold twenty negroes into slavery. The slaves increased in numbers (there were 2000 in Virginia in 1671), and slavery spread to the other colonies as they were started, till, in time, it existed in every one of them.

%24. Virginia loses her Charter, 1624.%–The establishment of popular government in Virginia was looked on by King James as a direct affront, and was one of many weighty reasons why he decided to destroy the company. To do this, he accused it of mismanagement, brought a suit against it, and in 1624 his judges declared the charter annulled, and Virginia became a royal colony.[1]

[Footnote 1: On the Virginia colony in general read Doyle’s volume on _Virginia_, pp. 104-184; Lodge’s _English Colonies in America_, pp. 1-12; of course, Bancroft and Hildreth. For particular epochs or events consult Channing and Hart’s _Guide to American History_, pp. 248-253.]

%25. Maryland begun.%–A year later James died, and Charles I. came to the throne. As Virginia was now a royal colony, the land belonged to the King; and as he was at liberty to do what he pleased with it, he cut off a piece and gave it to Lord Baltimore. George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, was a Roman Catholic nobleman who for years past had been interested in the colonization of America, and had tried to plant a colony in Newfoundland. The severity of the climate caused failure, and in 1629 he turned his attention to Virginia and visited Jamestown. But religious feeling ran as high there as it did anywhere. The colonists were intolerantly Protestant, and Baltimore was ordered back to England.

Undeterred by such treatment, Baltimore was more determined than ever to plant a colony, and in 1632 obtained his grant of a piece of Virginia. The tract lay between the Potomac River and the fortieth degree of north latitude, and extended from the Atlantic Ocean to a north and south line through the source of the Potomac.[1] It was called Maryland in honor of the Queen, Henrietta Maria.

[Footnote 1: It thus included what is now Delaware, and pieces of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.]


The area of the colony was not large; but the authority of Lord Baltimore over it was almost boundless. He was to bring to the King each year, in token of homage, two Indian arrowheads, and pay as rent one fifth of all the gold and silver mined. This done, the “lord proprietary,” as he was called, was to all intents and purposes a king. He might coin money, make war and peace, grant titles of nobility, establish courts, appoint judges, and pardon criminals; but he was not permitted to tax his people without their consent. He must summon the freemen to assist him in making the laws; but when made, they need not be sent to the King for approval, but went into force as soon as the lord proprietary signed them. Of course they must not be contrary to the laws of England.

%26. Treatment of Catholics.%–The deed for Maryland had not been issued when Lord Baltimore died. It was therefore made out in the name of his son, Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, who, like the first, was a Roman Catholic, and was influenced in his attempts at colonization by a desire to found a refuge for people of his own faith. At that time in England no Roman Catholic was permitted to educate his children in a foreign land, or to employ a schoolmaster of his religious belief; or keep a weapon; or have Catholic books in his house; or sit in Parliament; or when he died be buried in a parish churchyard. If he did not attend the parish church, he was fined L20 a month. But it is needless to mention the ways in which he suffered for his religion. It is enough to know that the persecution was bitter, and that the purpose of Lord Baltimore was to make Maryland a Roman Catholic colony. Yet he set a noble example to other founders of colonies by freely granting to all sects full freedom of conscience. As long as the Catholics remained in control, toleration worked well. But in the year 1691 Lord Baltimore was deprived of his colony because he had supported King James II., and in 1692 sharp laws were made in Maryland against Catholics by the Protestants. In 1716 the colony was restored to the proprietor.

The first settlement was made in 1634 at St. Marys. Annapolis was founded about 1683; and Baltimore in 1729.[1]

[Footnote 1: Read Scharf’s _History of Maryland_; Doyle’s _Virginia_; Lodge’s _English Colonies_; Eggleston’s _Beginners of a Nation,_.]

%27. The Dutch on the Hudson.%–Meantime great things had been happening to the northward. In 1609 Henry Hudson, an English sailor in the service of Holland, was sent to find a northwest passage to India. He reached our coast not far from Portland, Maine, and abandoning all idea of finding a passage, he sailed alongshore to the southward as far as Cape Cod. Here he put to sea, and when he again sighted land was off Delaware Bay. In attempting to sail up it, his ship, the _Half-Moon,_ grounded, and Hudson turned about. Running along the Jersey coast, he entered New York Bay, and sailed up the river which the Dutch called the North River, but which we know as the Hudson. Hudson’s voyage gave the Dutch a claim to all the country drained by the Delaware or South River and the Hudson River, and some Dutch traders at once sent out vessels, and were soon trading actively with the Indians. By 1614 a rude fort had been erected near the site of Albany, and some trading huts had been put up on Manhattan Island. These ventures proved so profitable that numbers of merchants began to engage in the trade, whereupon those already in it, in order to shut out others, organized a company, and in 1615 obtained a trading charter for three years from the States General of Holland, and carried on their operations from Albany to the Delaware River.

[Illustration: View of New Amsterdam in 1656]

%28. Dutch West India Company.%–On the expiration of the charter (in 1618) it was not renewed, but a new corporation, the Dutch West India Company (1621), was created with almost absolute political and commercial power over all the Dutch domains in North America, which were called New Netherland. In 1623 the company began to send out settlers. Some went to Albany, or, as they called it, Fort Orange. Others were sent to the South or Delaware River, where a trading post, Fort Nassau, was built on the site of Gloucester in New Jersey. A few went to the Connecticut River; some settled on Long Island; and others on Manhattan Island, where they founded New Amsterdam, now called New York city.

All these little settlements were merely fur-trading posts. Nobody was engaged as yet in farming. To encourage this, the company (in 1629) took another step, and offered a great tract of land, on any navigable river or bay, to anybody who would establish a colony of fifty persons above the age of fifteen. If on a river, the domain was to be sixteen miles along one bank or eight miles along each bank, and run back into the country as far “as the situation of the occupiers will admit.” The proprietor of the land was to be called a “patroon,” [1] and was absolute ruler of whatever colonies he might plant, for he was at once owner, ruler, and judge. It may well be supposed that such a tempting offer did not go a-begging, and a number of patroons were soon settled along the Hudson and on the banks of the Delaware (1631), where they founded a town near Lewes. The settlements on the Delaware River were short-lived. The settlers quarreled with the Indians, who in revenge massacred them and drove off the garrison at Fort Nassau; whereupon the patroons sold their rights to the Dutch West India Company.[2]

[Footnote 1: The patroon bound himself to (1) transport the fifty settlers to New Netherland at his own expense; (2) provide each of them with a farm stocked with horses, cattle, and farming implements, and charge a low rent; (3) employ a schoolmaster and a minister of the Gospel. In return for this the emigrant bound himself (1) to stay and cultivate the land of the patroon for ten years; (2) to bring his grain to the patroon’s mill and pay for grinding; (3) to use no cloth not made in Holland; (4) to sell no grain or produce till the patroon had been given a chance to buy it.]

[Footnote 2: Lodge’s _English Colonies_, pp. 295-311; Winsor’s _Narrative and Critical History_, Vol. III., pp. 385-411; Bancroft’s _History of the United States_, Vol. I., pp. 501-508.]

%29. The Struggle for the Delaware; the Swedes on the Delaware.%–And now began a bitter contest for the ownership of the country bordering the Delaware. A few leading officials of the Dutch Company, disgusted at the way its affairs were managed, formed a new company under the lead of William Usselinx. As they could not get a charter from Holland, for she would not create a rival to the Dutch Company, they sought and obtained one from Sweden as the South Company, and (1638) sent out a colony to settle on the Delaware River.[1] The spot chosen was on the site of Wilmington. The country was named New Sweden, though it belonged to Maryland. The Dutch West India Company protested and rebuilt Fort Nassau. The Swedes, in retaliation, went farther up the river and fortified an island near the mouth of the Schuylkill. Had they stopped here, all would have gone well. But, made bold by the inaction of the Dutch, they began to annoy the New Netherlanders, till (1655) Peter Stuyvesant, the governor of New Netherland, unable to stand it any longer, came over from New Amsterdam with a few hundred men, overawed the Swedes, and annexed their territory west of the Delaware. New Sweden then became part of New Netherland.[2]

[Footnote 1: Sweden had no right to make such a settlement. She had no claim to any territory in North America.]

[Footnote 2: Lodge’s _English Colonies_, pp. 205-210; Bancroft’s _History of the United States_, Vol. I., pp. 509, 510; Hildreth’s _History of the United States_, Vol. I., pp. 413-442.]


1. After the discovery of the North American coast by the Cabots, England made no attempt to settle it for nearly eighty years; and even then the colonies planted by Gilbert and Ralegh were failures.

2. Successful settlement by the English began under the London Company in 1607.

3. In 1609 the London Company obtained a grant of land from sea to sea, and extending 400 miles along the Atlantic; but in 1624 its charter was annulled, and in 1632 the King carved the proprietary colony of Maryland out of Virginia.

4. Meantime Henry Hudson, in the employ of the Dutch, discovered the Delaware and Hudson rivers (1609), and the Dutch, ignoring the claims of England, planted colonies on these rivers and called the country New Netherland.

5. Then a Swedish company began to colonize the Delaware Bay and River coast of Virginia, which they called New Sweden.

6. Conflicts between the Dutch and the Swedes followed, and in 1655 New Sweden was made a part of New Netherland.



%30. The Beginnings of New England.%–When the Dutch put up their trading posts where New York and Albany now stand, all the country east of New York, all of what is now New England, was a wilderness. As early as 1607 an attempt was made to settle it and a colony was planted on the coast of Maine by two members of the Plymouth Company, Sir John Popham, Lord Chief Justice of England, and Sir Ferdinando Gorges, governor of Plymouth. But the colonists were half starved and frozen, and in the spring of 1608 gladly went home to England.

Six years later John Smith, the hero of Virginia, explored and mapped the coast from the Penobscot to Cape Cod. He called the country New England; one of the rivers, the Charles; and two of the promontories, Cape Elizabeth and Cape Ann. Three times he attempted to lead out a colony; but that work was reserved for other men.

%31. The Separatists.%–The reign of Queen Elizabeth had witnessed in England the rise of a religious sect which insisted that certain changes should be made in the government and ceremonials of the Established or State Church of England. This they called purifying the Church, and in consequence they were themselves called Puritans.[1] At first they did not intend to form a new sect; but in 1580 one of their ministers, named Robert Brown, urged them to separate from the Church of England, and soon gathered about him a great number of followers, who were called Separatists or Brownists. They boldly asserted their right to worship as they pleased, and put their doctrines into practice. So hot a persecution followed, that in 1608 a party, led by William Brewster and John Robinson, fled from Scrooby, a little village in northern England, to Amsterdam, in Holland; but soon went on to Leyden, where they dwelt eleven years.[2]

[Footnote 1: Read Fiske’s _Beginnings of New England_, pp. 50-71. The teacher may read “Rise and Development of Puritanism” in Eggleston’s _Beginners of a Nation_, pp. 98-140.]

[Footnote 2: Read Eggleston’s _Beginners of a Nation_, pp. 141-157; Fiske’s _Beginnings of New England_, pp. 71-80; Doyle’s _Puritan Colonies_, Vol. I., pp. 47-81; Palfrey’s _New England_, Vol. I., pp. 176-232.]

%32. Why the Separatists went to New England%.–They had come to Holland as an organized community, practicing English manners and customs. For a temporary residence this would do. But if they and their children’s children after them were to remain and prosper, they must break up their organization, forget their native land, their native speech, their national traditions, and to all intents and purposes become Dutch. This they could not bring themselves to do, and by 1617 they had fully determined to remove to some land where they might still continue to be Englishmen, and where they might lay the foundations of a Christian state. But one such land could then be found, and that was America. To America, therefore, they turned their attention, and after innumerable delays formed a company and obtained leave from the London Company to settle on the coast of what is now New Jersey.[1]

[Footnote 1: Eggleston’s _Beginners of a Nation_, pp. 159-176.]

This done, Brewster and Bradford and Miles Standish, with a little band, sent out as an advance guard, set sail from the Dutch port of Delft Haven in July, 1620, in the ship _Speedwell_. The first run was to Southampton, England, where some friends from London joined them in the _Mayflower_, and whence, August 5, they sailed for America. But the _Speedwell_ proved so unseaworthy that the two ships put back to Plymouth, where twenty people gave up the voyage. September 6, 1620, such as remained steadfast, just 102 in number, reembarked on the _Mayflower_ and began the most memorable of voyages. The weather was so foul, and the wind and sea so boisterous, that nine weeks passed before they beheld the sandy shores of Cape Cod. Having no right to settle there, as the cape lay far to the northward of the lands owned by the London Company, they turned their ship southward and attempted to go on. But head winds drove them back and forced them to seek shelter in Provincetown harbor, at the end of Cape Cod.

[Illustration: The Mayflower[1]]

[Footnote 1: From the model in the National Museum, Washington.]

[Illustration: THE MASSACHUSETTS COAST (map)]

%33. The Mayflower Compact%.–Since it was then the 11th of November, the Pilgrims, as they are now called, decided to get permission from the Plymouth Company to remain permanently. But certain members of the party, when they heard this, became unruly, and declared that as they were not to land in Virginia, they were no longer bound by the contracts they had made in England regarding their emigration to Virginia. To put an end to this, a meeting was held, November 21, 1620, in the cabin of the _Mayflower_, and a compact was drawn up and signed.[1] It declared

1. That they were loyal subjects of the King.

2. That they had undertaken to found a colony in the northern parts of Virginia, and now bound themselves to form a “civil body politic.”

3. That they would frame such just and equal laws, from time to time, as might be for the general good.

4. And to these laws they promised “all due submission and obedience.”

[Footnote 1: The compact is in Poore’s _Charters and Constitutions_, p. 931, and in Preston’s _Documents Illustrative of American History_, pp. 29-31. Read, by all means, Webster’s _Plymouth Oration_.]

[Illustration: Plymouth Rock]

%34. The Founding of Plymouth%.–The selection of a site for their home was now necessary, and five weeks were passed in exploring the coast before Captain Standish with a boatload of men entered the harbor which John Smith had noted on his map and named Plymouth. On the sandy shore of that harbor, close to the water’s edge, was a little granite bowlder, and on this, according to tradition, the Pilgrims stepped as they came ashore, December 21, 1620. To this harbor the _Mayflower_ was brought, and the work of founding Plymouth was begun. The winter was a dreadful one, and before spring fifty-one of the colonists had died.[1] But the Pilgrims stood fast, and in 1621 obtained a grant of land[2] from the Council for New England, which had just succeeded the Plymouth Company, under a charter giving it control between latitudes 40 deg. and 48 deg., from sea to sea.[3] It was from the same Council that for fifteen years to come all other settlers in New England obtained their rights to the soil.

[Footnote 1: In the trying times which followed, William Bradford was chosen governor and many times reelected. He wrote the so-called “Log of the Mayflower,”–really a manuscript _History of the Plymouth Plantation_ from 1602 to 1647,–a fragment of which is reproduced on the opposite page.]

[Footnote 2: This grant had no boundary. Each settler might have 100 acres. Fifteen hundred acres were set aside for public buildings.]

[Footnote 3: Fiske’s _Beginnings of New England_, pp. 80-87; Palfrey’s _New England_, Vol. I, pp. 176-232; Thatcher’s _History of the Town of Plymouth_.]

[Illustration: Fragment of _History of the Plymouth Plantation_.]

%35. A Puritan Colony proposed.%–Among those who obtained such rights was a company of Dorchester merchants who planted a town on Cape Ann. The enterprise failed, and the colonists went off and settled at a place they called Naumkeag. But there was one man in Dorchester who was not discouraged by failure. He was John White, a Puritan rector. What had been done by the Separatists in a small way might be done, it seemed to White, on a great scale by an association of wealthy and influential Puritans. The matter was discussed by them in London, and in 1628 an association was formed, and a tract of land was bought from the Council for New England.

%36. The “Sea to Sea” Grant%.–Concerning the interior of our continent absolutely nothing was known. Nobody supposed it was more than half as wide as it really is. The grant to the association, therefore, stretched from three miles north of the Merrimac River to three miles south of the Charles River, along these rivers to their sources, and then westward across the continent from sea to sea.[1]

[Footnote 1: You will notice that when this grant was made in 1628 the Dutch had discovered the Hudson, and had begun to settle Albany. To this region (the Hudson and Mohawk valleys) the English had no just claim.]

As soon as the grant was obtained, John Endicott came out with a company of sixty persons, and took up his abode at Naumkeag, which, being an Indian and therefore a pagan name, he changed to Salem, the Hebrew word for “peace.”

%37. The Massachusetts Charter, 1629%.–The next step was to obtain the right of self-government, which was secured by a royal charter creating a corporation known as the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England. Over the affairs of the company were to preside a governor, deputy governor, and a council of eighteen to be elected annually by the members of the company.[2]

[Footnote 2: The charter is printed in Poore’s _Charters and Constitutions_, pp. 932-942, and in Preston’s _Documents_, pp. 36-61.]

Six ships were now fitted out, and in them 406 men, women, and children, with 140 head of cattle, set sail for Massachusetts. They reached Salem in safety and made it the largest colony in New England.

%38. Why the Puritans came to New England.%–It was in 1625 that Charles I. ascended the throne of England. Under him the quarrel with the Puritans grew worse each year. He violated his promises, he collected illegal taxes, he quartered troops on the people, he threw those into prison who would not contribute to his forced loans, or pressed them into the army or the navy. His Archbishop Laud persecuted the Puritans with shameful cruelty.

Little wonder then that in 1629 twelve leading Puritans met in consultation and agreed to head a great migration to the New World, provided the charter and the government of the Massachusetts Bay Company were both removed to New England. This was agreed to, and in April, 1630, John Winthrop sailed with nearly one thousand Puritans for Salem. From Salem he moved to Charlestown, and later in the year (1630) to a little three-hilled peninsula, which the English called Tri-mountain or Tremont. There a town was founded and called Boston.

The departure of Winthrop was the signal, and before the year 1630 ended, seventeen ships, bringing fifteen hundred Puritans, reached Massachusetts. The newcomers settled Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Watertown, and Newtown (now Cambridge). New England was planted.[1]

[Footnote 1: Read Fiske’s _Beginnings of New England_, pp. 75-105. Eggleston’s _Beginners of a Nation_, pp. 188-219.]

%39. New Hampshire and Maine.%–When it became apparent that the Plymouth colony was permanently settled, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, whose interest in New England had never lagged, together with John Mason obtained (1622) from the Council for New England a grant of Laconia, as they called the territory between the Merrimac and the Kennebec rivers, and from the Atlantic “to the great river of Canada.” Seven years later (1629) they divided their property. Mason, taking the territory between the Merrimac and Piscataqua rivers, called it New Hampshire because he was Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire in England. Gorges took the region between the Piscataqua and the Kennebec, and called it Maine. After the death of Mason (1635) his colony was neglected and from 1641 to 1679 was annexed to Massachusetts. The King separated them in 1679, joined them again in 1688, and finally parted them in 1691, making New Hampshire a royal colony.

Gorges took better care of his part and (in 1639) was given a charter with the title of Lord Proprietor of the Province or County of Maine, which extended, as before, from the Piscataqua to the Kennebec, and backward 120 miles from the ocean. But after his death the province fell into neglect, and the towns were gradually absorbed by Massachusetts, which, in 1677, bought the claims of the heir of Gorges for L1250 and governed Maine as lord proprietor under the Gorges charter.

%40. Church and State in Massachusetts.%–Down to the moment of their arrival in America the Puritans had not been Separatists. They were still members of the Church of England who desired to see her form of worship purified. But the party under Endicott had no sooner reached Salem than they seceded, and the first Congregational Church in New England was founded.

Some in Salem were not prepared for so radical a step, and attempted to establish a church on the episcopal model; but Endicott promptly sent two of the leaders back to England. Thus were established two facts: 1. The separation or secession of the Colonial Church from that of England. 2. That the episcopal form of worship would not be tolerated in the colony.

In 1631 another step was taken which united church and state, for it was then ordered that “no man shall be admitted to the freedom of this body politic, but such as are members of some of the churches within the limits of the same.”

This was intolerance of the grossest kind, and soon became the cause of troubles which led to the founding of Rhode Island and Connecticut.

%41. The Planting of Rhode Island.%–There came to Salem (from Plymouth), in 1633, a young minister named Roger Williams. He dissented heartily from the intolerance of the people of Massachusetts, and, though a minister of the Salem church, insisted

1. On the separation of church and state.

2. On the toleration of all religious beliefs.

3. On the repeal of all laws requiring attendance on religious worship.

To us, in this century, the justice of each of these principles is self-evident. But in the seventeenth century there was no country in the world where it was safe to declare them. For doing so in some parts of Europe, a man would most certainly have been burned at the stake. For doing so in England, he would have been put in the pillory, or had his ears cut off, or been sent to jail. That Williams’s teachings should seem rank heresy in New England was quite natural. But, to make matters worse, he wrote a pamphlet in which he boldly stated

1. That the soil belonged to the Indians.

2. That the settlers could obtain a valid title only by purchase from the Indians.

3. That accepting a deed for the land from a mere intruder like the King of England was a sin requiring public repentance.

In the opinion of the people of New England such doctrine could not fail to bring down on Massachusetts the wrath of the King. When, therefore, a little later, Endicott cut the red cross of St. George out of the colors of the Salem militia, the people considered his act a defiance of royal authority, attributed it to the teachings of Williams, and proceeded to punish both. Endicott was rebuked by the General Court (or legislature) and forbidden to hold office for a year. Williams was ordered to go back to England. But he fled to the woods, and made his way through the snow to the wigwam of the Indian chief, Massasoit, on Narragansett Bay, and there in the summer of 1636 he founded Providence. About the same time another teacher of what was then thought heresy, Anne Hutchinson, was driven from Massachusetts, and with some of her followers went southward and founded Portsmouth and Newport, on the island of Rhode Island. For a while each of these settlements was independent, but in 1643 Williams went to London and secured a patent from Parliament which united them under the name of “The Incorporation of Providence Plantations on the Narragansett Bay in New England.”

%42. Connecticut begun.%–In the same year that Roger Williams began his settlement at Providence, several hundred people from the towns near Boston went off and settled in the Connecticut valley. For a long time past there had been growing up in Massachusetts a strong feeling that the law that none but church members should vote or hold office was oppressive. This feeling became so strong that in 1635 some hardy pioneers from Dorchester pushed through the wilderness and settled at Windsor. A party from Watertown went further and settled Wethersfield. These were small movements. But in 1636 the Newtown congregation, led by its pastor, Thomas Hooker, walked to the Connecticut valley and founded Hartford. The congregations of the Dorchester and Watertown churches soon followed, while a party from Roxbury settled at Springfield. During three years these four towns were part of Massachusetts. But in 1639, Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield adopted a constitution and formed a little republic which in time was called Connecticut. Their “Fundamental Orders of Connecticut” was the first written constitution made in America. Their republic was the first in the history of the world to be founded by a written constitution, and marks the beginning of democratic government in our country.

%43. The New Haven Colony.%–Just at the time these things were happening in the Connecticut valley, the beginnings of another little republic were made on the shores of Long Island Sound. One day in the summer of 1637 there came to Boston a company of rich London merchants under the lead of an eloquent preacher named John Davenport. The people of Boston would gladly have kept the newcomers at that town. But the strangers desired to found a state of their own, and so, after spending some months in seeking for a spot with a good harbor, they left Boston in 1638 and founded New Haven. In 1639 Milford and Guilford were laid out, and Stamford was started in 1640. Three years later these four towns joined in a sort of federal union and took the name of the New Haven colony.[1]

[Footnote 1: Fiske’s _Beginnings of New England_, pp. 134-137.]


%44. “The United Colonies of New England.”%–There were now five colonies in New England; namely, Plymouth, or the “Old Colony,” Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Haven. Geographically, they were near each other. But each was weak in numbers, and if left without the aid of its neighbors, might easily have fallen a prey to some enemy. Of this the settlers were well aware, and in 1643 four of the colonies, Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and New Haven[1] united for defense against the Indians and the Dutch, who claimed the Connecticut valley and so threatened the English colonies on the west.

[Footnote 1: Rhode Island was not allowed to come in, for the feeling against the followers of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson was still very strong.]

The name of this league was “The United Colonies of New England,” and it was the first attempt in America at federal government. All its affairs were managed by a board of eight commissioners,–two from each colony,–who must be church members. They had no power to lay taxes or to meddle with the internal concerns of the colonies, but they had entire control over all dealings with Indians or with foreign powers.

%45. The Year 1643.%–The year 1643 is thus an important one in colonial history. It was in that year that the New Haven colony was founded; that the league of The United Colonies of New England was formed; and that Roger Williams obtained the first charter of Rhode Island.

%46. New Charters.%–During the next twenty years no changes took place in the boundaries of the colonies. This was the period of the Civil War in England, of the Commonwealth, of the rule of Cromwell and the Puritans; and affairs in New England were left to take care of themselves. But in 1660 Charles II. was restored to the throne of England, and a new era opens in colonial history. In 1661 the little colony of Connecticut promptly acknowledged the restoration of Charles II. and applied for a charter. The application was more than granted; for to Connecticut (1662) was given not only a charter and an immense tract of land, but also the colony of New Haven.[1] The land grant was comprised in a strip that stretched across the continent from Rhode Island to the Pacific and was as wide as the present state.[2] In 1663 Rhode Island was given a new charter.

[Footnote 1: In 1660, after the restoration of Charles II., Edward Whalley and William Goffe (the regicides, “king-killers,” as they were called), two of the judges who had condemned Charles I. to be beheaded, fled to New Haven and were protected by the people. This act had much to do with the annexation of New Haven to Connecticut.]

[Footnote 2: Read Fiske’s _Beginnings of New England_, pp. 192-196. Many of the New Haven colonists were disgusted by the union of their colony with Connecticut, and in June, 1667, migrated to New Jersey, where they founded “New-Ark” or Newark.]

In 1684 the King’s judges declared the Massachusetts charter void, and James II. was about to make New England one royal colony, when the English people drove him from the throne. William and Mary in 1691 granted a new charter and united the Plymouth colony, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nova Scotia, in one colony called Massachusetts Bay. This charter was in force when the Revolution opened.


1. The first colony established by the Plymouth Company (1607, on the coast of Maine) was a failure.

2. Captain John Smith explored the New England coast and mapped it (1613), but did not succeed in planting any colonies.

3. The permanent settlement of New England began with the arrival of a body of Separatists in the _Mayflower_ (1620), who founded the colony of Plymouth.

4. The Separatist migration from England was followed in a few years by a great exodus of Puritans, who planted towns along the coast to the north of Plymouth, and obtained a charter of government and a great strip of land, and founded the colony of Massachusetts Bay.

5. Religious disputes drove Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson out of Massachusetts, and led to the founding of Rhode Island (1636).

6. Other church wrangles led to an emigration from Massachusetts to the Connecticut valley, where a little confederacy of towns was created and called Connecticut.

7. Some settlers from England went to Long Island Sound and there founded four towns which, in their turn, joined in a federal union called the New Haven Colony.

8. In time, New Haven was joined to Connecticut, and Plymouth and Maine to Massachusetts; New Hampshire was made a royal colony; and the four New England colonies–Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut–were definitely established.

9. The territory of Massachusetts and Connecticut stretched across the continent to the “South Sea,” or Pacific Ocean.



%47. North and South Carolina.%–You remember that away back in the sixteenth century the French under Jean Ribault and the English under Ralegh undertook to plant colonies on what is now the Carolina coast. They failed, and the country remained a wilderness till 1653, when a band of emigrants from Virginia made the first permanent settlement on the banks of the Chowan and the Roanoke. In 1663 some Englishmen from Barbados began to settle on the Cape Fear River, just at the time when Charles II. of England gave the region to eight English noblemen, who, out of compliment to the King, allowed the name of Carolina given it by Ribault to remain. In 1665 the bounds were enlarged, and Carolina then extended from latitude 29 deg. 00′ to 36 deg. 30′, the present south boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

[Illustration: CAROLINA AS GRANTED BY King Charles II]

There was at first no intention of dividing the territory, although, after Charleston was founded (1670), North Carolina and South Carolina sometimes had separate governors. But in 1729 the proprietors sold Carolina to the King, and it was then divided into two distinct and separate royal provinces.

%48. New York.%–An event of far greater importance than the chartering of Carolina was the seizure of New Netherland. After the conquest of New Sweden, in 1655, the possessions and claims of the Dutch in our country extended from the Connecticut River to the Delaware River, and from the Mohawk to Delaware Bay. Geographically, they cut the English colonies in two, and hampered communication between New England and the South. To own this region was therefore of the utmost importance to the English; and to get it, King Charles II., in 1664, revived the old claim that the English had discovered the country before the Dutch, and he sent a little fleet and army, which appeared off New Amsterdam and demanded its surrender. The demand was complied with; and in 1664 Dutch rule in our country ended, and England owned the seaboard from the Kennebec to the Savannah.

The King had already granted New Netherland to his brother the Duke of York, in honor of whom the town of New Amsterdam was now renamed New York.

%49. New Jersey.%–The Duke of York no sooner received his province than he gave so much of it as lay between the Delaware and the ocean to his friends Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, and called it New Jersey, in honor of Sir George Carteret, who had been governor of the island of Jersey in the English Channel. The two proprietors divided it between them by the line shown on the map (p. 56). In 1674 Berkeley sold West Jersey to a company of Quakers, who settled near Burlington. A little later, 1676, William Penn and some other Quakers bought East Jersey. There were then two colonies till 1702, when the proprietors surrendered their rights, and New Jersey became one royal province.

%50. The Beginnings of Pennsylvania.%–The part which Penn took in the settlement of New Jersey suggested to him the idea of beginning a colony which should be a refuge for the persecuted of all lands and of all religions.


Now it so happened that Penn was the son of a distinguished admiral to whom King Charles II. owed L16,000, and seeing no chance of its ever being paid, he proposed to the King, in 1680, that the debt be paid with a tract of land in America. The King gladly agreed, and in 1681 Penn received a grant west of the Delaware. Against Penn’s wish, the King called it Pennsylvania, or Penn’s Woodland. It was given almost precisely the bounds of the present state.[1] In 1683 Penn made a famous treaty with the Indians, and laid out the city of Philadelphia.

[Footnote 1: There was a long dispute, however, with Lord Baltimore, over the south boundary line, which was not settled till 1763-67, when two surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, came over from England and located it as at present. In later years, when all the Atlantic seaboard states north of Maryland and Delaware had abolished slavery, this “Mason and Dixon’s Line” became famous as the dividing line between the slave and the free Atlantic states.]

%51. The Three Lower Counties: Delaware.%–If you look at the map of the British Colonies in 1764, you will see that Pennsylvania was the only English colony which did not have a seacoast. This was a cause of some anxiety to Penn, who was afraid that the settlers in Delaware and New Jersey might try to prevent his colonists from going in and out of Delaware Bay. To avoid this, he bought what is now Delaware from the Duke of York.

The three lower counties on the Delaware, as the tract was called, had no boundary. Lawfully it belonged to Lord Baltimore. But neither the Dutch patroons who settled on the Delaware in 1631, nor the Swedes who came later, nor the Dutch who annexed New Sweden to New Netherland, nor the English who conquered the Dutch, paid any regard to Baltimore’s rights. At last, after the purchase of Delaware, the heirs of Baltimore and of Penn (1732) agreed on what is the present boundary line. After 1703 the people of the three lower counties were allowed to have an assembly or legislature of their own; but they had the same governor as Pennsylvania and were a part of that colony till the Revolution.[1]

[Footnote 1: For Pennsylvania read Janney’s _Life of William Penn_ or Dixon’s _History of William Penn_; Proud’s or Gordon’s _Pennsylvania_; Lodge’s _Colonies_, pp. 213-226.]

%52. Georgia.%–The return of the Carolinas to the King in 1729 was very soon followed by the establishment of the last colony ever planted by England in the United States. The founder was James Oglethorpe, an English soldier and member of Parliament. Filled with pity for the poor debtors with whom the English jails were then crowded, he formed a plan to pay the debts of the most deserving, send them to America, and give them what hundreds of thousands of men have since found in our country,–a chance to begin life anew.


Great numbers of people became interested in his plan, and finally twenty-two persons under Oglethorpe’s lead formed an association and secured a charter from King George II. for a colony, which they called Georgia. The territory granted lay between the Savannah and the Altamaha rivers, and extended from their mouths to their sources and then across the country to the Pacific Ocean. Oglethorpe had selected this tract in order that his colonists might serve the patriotic purpose of protecting Charleston from the Spanish attacks to which it was then exposed.

Money for the colony was easily raised,[1] and in November, 1732, Oglethorpe, with 130 persons, set out for Charleston, and after a short stay there passed southward and founded the city of Savannah (1733). It must not be supposed that all the colonists were poor debtors. In time, Italians from Piedmont, Moravians and Lutherans from Germany, and Scotchmen from the Highlands, all made settlements in Georgia.

[Footnote 1: The House of Commons gave L10,000.]

%53. The Thirteen English Colonies.%–Thus it came about that between 1606 and 1733 thirteen English colonies were planted on the Atlantic seaboard of what is now the United States. Naming them from north to south, they were: 1. New Hampshire, with no definite western boundary; 2. Massachusetts, which owned Maine and a strip of territory across the continent; 3. Rhode Island, with her present bounds; 4. Connecticut, with a great tract of land extending to the Pacific; 5. New York, with undefined bounds; 6. New Jersey; 7. Pennsylvania and 8. Delaware, the property of the Penn family; 9. Maryland, the property of the heirs of Lord Baltimore; 10. Virginia, with claims to a great part of North America; 11. North Carolina, 12. South Carolina, and 13. Georgia, all with claims to the Pacific.


1. The English seized New Netherland (1664), giving it to the Duke of York; and the Duke, after establishing the province of New York, gave New Jersey to two of his friends, and sold the three counties on the Delaware to William Penn.

2. Meanwhile the King granted Penn what is now Pennsylvania (1681).

3. The Carolinas were first chartered as one proprietary colony, but were sold back to the King and finally separated in 1729.

4. Georgia, the last of the thirteen English colonies, was granted to Oglethorpe and others as a refuge for poor debtors (1732).




1579. Gilbert.
1584. }Ralegh, Roanoke Island.
1587. }


1606. London Company, Plymouth Company. 1607. Virginia settled.
1609. Boundary of London Company changed. Origin of Virginia claim.
1620. Landing of the Pilgrims. Plymouth colony. 1622. Grant to Mason and Gorges.
1628. Land bought for Massachusetts Bay colony. 1629. Mason and Gorges divide their grant into Maine and New Hampshire.
1632. Maryland patent granted.
1639. Connecticut constitution
(Windsor. Hartford. Wethersfield) 1643. New Haven colony organized
(New Haven. Milford. Guilford. Stamford.) 1643. Rhode Island chartered.
1662. Connecticut chartered.
(Connecticut. New Haven.)
1663. Rhode Island rechartered.
1663. Carolina patent granted.
After 1729 North and South Carolina. 1664. New Netherland conquered and New York founded. 1664. New Jersey granted to Berkeley and Carteret. 1681. Pennsylvania granted to Penn.
1682. Three counties on the Delaware bought by Penn. 1691. Plymouth and Maine (and Nova Scotia) united with Massachusetts.
1732. Georgia chartered.

1613. Begin to colonize New Netherland

1638. South Company makes settlement on the Delaware. 1655. Conquered by the Dutch.



%54. The Early French Possessions% on our continent may be arranged in three great areas: 1. Acadia, 2. New France, 3. Louisiana, or the basin of the Mississippi River.

ACADIA comprised what is now New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and a part of Maine. It was settled in the early years of the seventeenth century at Port Royal (now Annapolis, Nova Scotia), at Mount Desert Island, and on the St. Croix River.

NEW FRANCE was the drainage basin of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. As far back as 1535 Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River to the site of Montreal. But it was not till 1608 that a party under Champlain made the first permanent settlement on the river, at Quebec.

The French settlers at once entered into an alliance with the Huron and Algonquin Indians, who lived along the St. Lawrence River. But these tribes were the bitter enemies of the Iroquois, who dwelt in what is now central New York, and when, in consequence of this alliance, the French were summoned to take the warpath, Champlain, with a few followers, went, and on the shore of the lake which now bears his name, not far from the site of Ticonderoga, he met and defeated the Iroquois tribe of Mohawks in July, 1609.

The battle was a small affair; but its consequences were serious and lasting, for the Iroquois were thenceforth the enemies of the French, and prevented them from ever coming southward and taking possession of the Hudson and the Mohawk valleys. When, therefore, the French merchants began to engage in the fur trade with the Indians, and the French priests began their efforts to convert the Indians to Christianity, they were forced to go westward further and further into the interior.


Their route, instead of being up the St. Lawrence, was up the Ottawa River to its head waters, over the portage to Lake Nipissing, and down its outlet to Georgian Bay, where the waters of the Great Lakes lay before them (see map on p. 63). They explored these lakes, dotted their shores here and there with mission and fur-trading stations, and took possession of the country.

%55. The French on the Mississippi.%–In the course of these explorations the French heard accounts from the Indians of a great river to the westward, and in 1672 Father Marquette (mar-ket’) and Louis Joliet (zho-le-a’) were sent by the governor of New France to search for it. They set out, in May, 1673, from Michilimackinac, a French trading post and mission at the foot of Lake Michigan. With five companions, in two birch-bark canoes, they paddled up the lake to Green Bay, entered Fox River, and, dragging the boats through its boiling rapids, came to a village where lived the Miamis and the Kickapoos. These Indians tried to dissuade them from going on; but Marquette was resolute, and on the 10th of June, 1673, he led his followers over the swamps and marshes that separated Fox River from a river which the Indian guides assured him flowed into the Mississippi. This westward-flowing river he called the Wisconsin, and there the guides left him, as he says, “alone, amid that unknown country, in the hands of God.”

The little band shoved their canoes boldly out upon the river, and for seven days floated slowly downward into the unknown. At last, on the 17th of June, they paddled out on the bosom of the Mississippi, and, turning their canoes to the south, followed the bends and twists of the river, past the mouth of the Missouri, past the Ohio, to a point not far from the mouth of the Arkansas. There the voyage ended, and the party went slowly back to the Lakes.[1]

[Footnote 1: Read Parkman’s _La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West_.]

%56. La Salle finishes the Work of Marquette and Joliet.%–The discovery of Marquette and Joliet was the greatest of the age. Yet five years went by before Robert de la Salle (lah sahl’) set forth with authority from the French King “to labor at the discovery of the western part of New France,” and began the attempt to follow the river to the sea. In 1678 La Salle and his companions left Canada, and made their way to the shore of Lake Erie, where during the winter they built and launched the _Griffin_, the first ship that ever floated on those waters. In this they sailed to the mouth of Green Bay, and from there pushed on to the Illinois River, to an Indian camp not far from the site of Peoria, Ill. Just below this camp La Salle built Fort Crevecoeur (cra’v-ker, a word meaning heart-break, vexation).


Leaving the party there in charge of Henri de Tonty to construct another ship, he with five companions went back to Canada. On his return he found that Fort Crevecoeur was in ruins, and that Tonty and the few men who had been faithful were gone, he knew not where. In the hope of meeting them he pushed on down the Illinois to the Mississippi. To go on would have been easy, but he turned back to find Tonty, and passed the winter on the St. Joseph River.

From there in November, 1681, he once more set forth, crossed the lake to the place where Chicago now is, went up the Chicago River and over the portage to the Illinois, and early in February floated out on the Mississippi. It was, on that day, a surging torrent full of trees and floating ice; but the explorers kept on their way and came at last to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. There La Salle took formal possession of all the regions drained by the Mississippi, the Ohio, and their tributaries, claiming them in the name of France, and naming the country thus claimed “Louisiana.” The iron will, the splendid courage, of La Salle had triumphed over every obstacle and made him one of the grandest characters in history.

But his work was far from ended. The valley he had explored, the territory he had added to France, must be occupied, and to occupy it two things were necessary: 1. A colony must be planted at the mouth of the Mississippi, to control its navigation and shut out the Spaniards. 2. A strong fort must be built on the Illinois, to overawe the Indians.

In order to overawe the Indians, La Salle now hurried back to the Illinois River, where, in December, 1682, near the present town of Ottawa, on the summit of a cliff now known as “Starved Rock,” he built a stockade which he called Fort St. Louis. In 1684, while on a voyage from France to plant a colony on the Mississippi, he missed the mouth and brought up on the coast of Texas; and, landing on the sands of Matagorda Bay, the colonists built another Fort St. Louis. But death rapidly reduced their numbers, and, in their distress, they parted. Some remained at the fort and were killed by the Indians. Others, led by La Salle, started for the Illinois River and reached it; but without their leader, whom they had murdered on the way.


1. After the settlement of Quebec (1608) the French began to explore the regions lying to the west, discovered the Great Lakes, and heard of a great river–the Mississippi.

2. This river Marquette and Joliet explored from the mouth of the Wisconsin to the mouth of the Arkansas (1673).

3. Then La Salle floated down the Mississippi from the Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, took formal possession of the valley in the name of his King, and called it Louisiana (1682).

[Illustration: Starved Rock]



[Illustration: A typical Indian]

%57%. When Europeans first set foot on our shores, they found the country already inhabited, and, adopting the name given to the men of the New World by Columbus, they called these people “Indians.”

They were not “Indians,” or natives of Asia, but a race by themselves, which ages before the time of Columbus was spread over all North and South America.

Like their descendants in the West to-day, they had red or copper-colored skins, their eyes and long straight hair were jet black, their faces beardless, and their cheek bones high.

%58. The Villages.%—East of the Rocky Mountains the Indians lived in villages, often covering several acres in area, and surrounded by stockades of two and even three rows of posts. The stockade was pierced with loopholes, and provided with platforms on which were piles of stones for the defenders to hurl on the heads of their enemies. Sometimes the structures which formed the village were wigwams–rude structures made by driving poles into the ground in a circle, drawing their tops near together, and then covering them with bark or skins. Sometimes the dwellings had rudely framed sides and roofs covered with layers of elm bark. Usually these structures were fifteen or twenty feet wide by 100 feet long. At each end was a door. Along each side were ten or twelve stalls, in each of which lived a family, so that one house held twenty or more families. Down the middle at regular intervals were fire pits where the food was cooked, the smoke escaping through holes in the roof.[1]

[Footnote 1: Read Parkman’s _Conspiracy of Pontiac_, Vol. I., pp. 17, 18.]

[Illustration: Buffalo-skin lodge]

%59. Clans and Tribes.%–All the families living in such a house traced descent from a common female ancestor, and formed a clan. Each clan had its own name,–usually that of some animal, as the Wolf, the Bear, or the Turtle,–its own sachem or civil magistrate, and its own war chiefs, and owned all the food and all the property, except weapons and ornaments, in common. A number of such clans made a tribe, which had one language and was governed by a council of the clan sachems.

[Illustration: Seneca long house]

%60. The Three Indian Races.%–With slight exceptions, the tribes living east of the Mississippi are divided, by those who have studied their languages, into three great groups:

1. The Muskhogees, who lived south of the Tennessee River and comprised the Creek, the Seminole, the Choctaw, and the Chickasaw tribes.

2. The Iroquoian group, which occupied the country from the Delaware and the Hudson to and beyond the St. Lawrence and Lakes Ontario and Erie, besides isolated tracts in North Carolina and Tennessee. The chief tribes were the Iroquois proper,–forming a confederacy in central New York known as the Five Nations (Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and Mohawks),–the Hurons, the Eries, the Cherokees, and the Tuscaroras.

[Illustration: Moccasin]