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The friendly Indians helped and all promised well, but
unfortunately the colonists became dissatisfied and rebelled against the
strict rule of Laudonnière. Some of the men stole two small vessels and
set sail for the West Indies on a piratical expedition. Laudonnière
hurriedly prepared two larger vessels to pursue them. When they were
ready, the malcontents stole them and followed their comrades. Three of
the buccaneers were captured by the Spanish, while the pilot of the
fourth, who had been pressed into service, steered the vessel back to
the colony before the rogues suspected what he was doing. Laudonnière
made them prisoners and hanged the ringleaders.


At the time when utter ruin impended, Ribault arrived with seven ships
and plenty of supplies. It was at this juncture, when everything
promised well, that Menendez, the Spanish miscreant, as already stated,
appeared with his powerful fleet and attacked the French ships. Three
were up the river, and the four, being no match for the Spaniards,
escaped by putting to sea. Menendez landed men and supplies further
south, learning which Ribault prepared to attack them. Before he could
do so, a violent tempest scattered his ships. By a laborious march
through swamps and thickets, amid a driving storm, Menendez descended
like a cyclone upon the unprotected French and massacred them all,
including the women and children. Another force of French, under solemn
promise of protection, surrendered, but they, too, were put to death.
They were afterwards avenged by an expedition from France.

Samuel de Champlain proved himself one of the greatest of French
explorers. He left the banks of the St. Lawrence at the beginning of the
seventeenth century, and discovered the lake which bears his name. His
numerous excellent maps added much to the knowledge of the country.
Joining De Monts, another explorer, he founded the colony of Port Royal
in Nova Scotia in 1605. This settlement, afterward named Annapolis, was
the first permanent French colony planted in America. Quebec was founded
by Champlain in 1608.

The greatest French explorer, however, was Sieur de la Salle, who was
hardly twenty-three years old when he first visited Canada in 1666.
Leading an expedition westward, he fell ill while in the country of the
Seneca Indians and was forced to part with his companions near the head
of Lake Ontario. When he regained his strength he pressed on to the Ohio
River, down which he descended to the falls opposite the present city of
Louisville. Returning to France, he was made a nobleman and appointed
governor of the country around Fort Frontenac, which he had planted on
the shore of Lake Ontario. He demolished the fort and erected a much
stronger one, built four small vessels, and established a thriving trade
with the Indians.

In August, 1679, La Salle launched a vessel at the port of Niagara, with
which he sailed the length of Lake Erie, across Lakes St. Clair, Huron,
and Michigan to Green Bay. He then sent back his vessel for supplies and
crossed the lake in canoes to the mouth of the St. Joseph, where he
built a fort. He visited the Indian tribes in the neighborhood and made
treaties with the chiefs.

On the present site of Peoria, he erected a fort in 1680. Then, sending
Father Hennepin to explore the country to the northward, La Salle made
the entire journey of several hundred miles, alone and on foot, to Fort
Frontenac, where he learned that the vessel he had sent back for
supplies was lost.

With a new party he made his way to the fort planted on the Illinois
River, but found it had been broken up and all the white men were gone.
Thence La Salle went down the Mississippi to its mouth, where he set up
a column with the French arms and proclaimed the country the possession
of the king of France. He was welcomed back to his native land, and when
he proposed to his ruler to conquer the fine mining country in the
Southwest, the offer was promptly accepted and he was made commandant.
He set out with four ships and about 300 persons.

But the good fortune that had marked the career of La Salle up to this
point now set the other way, and disaster and ruin overtook him. His men
were mostly adventurers and vagabonds, and the officer in command of the
ships was an enemy of the explorer. The two quarreled and the vessels
had gone some distance beyond the mouth of the Mississippi before La
Salle discovered the blunder. He appealed to the captain to return, but
he refused and anchored off Matagorda Bay. Then the captain decided that
it was necessary to go home for supplies, and sailing away he left La
Salle with only one small vessel which had been presented to him by the

The undaunted explorer erected a fort and began cultivating the soil.
The Indians, who had not forgotten the cruelty of the Spaniards, were
hostile and continually annoyed the settlers, several of whom were
killed. Disease carried away others until only forty were left.
Selecting a few, La Salle started for the Illinois country, but had not
gone far when he was treacherously shot by one of his men. The Spaniards
who had entered the country to drive out the French made prisoners of
those that remained.

[Illustration: (From the original drawing made by John White in 1585. By
permission of the British Museum.)]


Next in order is an account of the English explorations. Going back to
May, 1553, we find that Sir Hugh Willoughby sailed from London in that
month with three ships. At that time, and for many years afterward, the
belief was general that by sailing to the northwest a shorter route to
India could be found, and such was the errand that led the English
navigator upon his eventful voyage.

For two years not the slightest news was heard of Sir Hugh Willoughby.
Then some Russian fishermen, who were in one of the harbors of Lapland,
observed two ships drifting helplessly in the ice. They rowed out to the
wrecks, and climbing aboard of one entered the cabin where they came
upon an impressive sight. Seated at a table was Sir Hugh Willoughby,
with his journal open and his pen in hand, as if he had just ceased
writing. He had been frozen to death months before. Here and there about
him were stretched the bodies of his crews, all of whom had succumbed to
the awful temperature of the far North.

The third ship was nowhere in sight, and it was believed that she had
been crushed in the ice and sunk, but news eventually arrived that she
had succeeded in reaching Archangel, whence the crew made their way
overland to Moscow. A result of this involuntary journey was that it
opened a new channel for profitable trade.

Still the _ignis fatuus_ of a shorter route to India tantalized the
early navigators. The belief was general that the coveted route lay
north of our continent. In 1576 Martin Frobisher started on the vain
hunt with three small vessels. He bumped helplessly about in the ice,
but repeated the effort twice, and on one of his voyages entered the
strait that bears his name. The region visited by him is valueless to
the world, and his explorations, therefore, were of no practical benefit
to anyone.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in June, 1583, sailed for America with an
important expedition which gave every promise of success. In his case,
however, disaster overtook him earlier than others. He was hardly out of
sight of land when his most important vessel deserted and went back to
port. The men were a sorry lot, and at Newfoundland he sent another ship
home with the sick and the mutineers. Of the three vessels remaining,
the largest was wrecked and all but fifteen drowned. Sir Humphrey was on
the smallest boat on his way home, when one dark night it foundered,
carrying down all on board.

original drawing in the British Museum, made by John White in 1585.)]

The famous Sir Walter Raleigh, a half-brother of Gilbert, and a great
favorite at the court of Queen Elizabeth, was deeply interested in the
plans of his relative, and in April, 1584, sent out two well-equipped
vessels for the purpose of colonization. They brought back a glowing
report and Raleigh was knighted by the pleased queen, who gave him the
privilege of naming the new country. He called it Virginia, in honor of
the virgin Queen Elizabeth.

A large expedition sailed for the new country in the spring of 1585 and
a fort was built on Roanoke Island. But the Englishmen were as greedy
for gold as the Spaniards, and, instead of cultivating the land, they
spent their time groping for the precious metal. This was suicidal,
because the Indians were violently hostile, and would not bring forward
any food for the invaders. All must have perished miserably but for the
arrival of Sir Francis Drake, who carried the survivors back to England.

It is worth recording that this stay in America resulted in the
Englishmen learning the use of tobacco, which they introduced into their
own country. Sir Walter Raleigh became a great smoker, and the incident
is familiar of his servant, who, seeing his master smoking a pipe, was
terrified at the belief that he was on fire and dashed a mug of ale over
him to put out the flames.

Much more useful knowledge was that gained of maize or Indian corn, the
potato, and sassafras. They attracted favorable attention in England,
and were gradually introduced to other countries in Europe, where the
amount raised is very large.


A strange and romantic interest attaches to the colony which Sir Walter
Raleigh sent out in 1587. It numbered 300 men and women and was in
charge of John White. While resting at Roanoke, the daughter of Governor
White, the wife of Ananias Dare, had a daughter born to her. She was
given the name of "Virginia," and was the first child of English
parentage born within the present limits of the United States.

[Illustration: SIR WALTER RALEIGH.]

These settlers were as quarrelsome as many of their predecessors and got
on ill together. Governor White sailed for England for more immigrants
and supplies, but when he reached that country he found the internal
troubles so serious that he was kept away from America for three years.
When finally he returned to Virginia, he was unable to find a member of
the colony.

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