Page images

been loft. Therefore the ancestors of the first fettlers in America were uncivilized and unacquainted with the neceflary arts of life.

II. America could not have been peopled by any colony from the more fouthern nations of the ancient continent; becaufe none of the rude tribes of thefe parts poffeffed enterprize, ingenuity, or power fufficient to undertake fuch a diftant voyage; but more especially, becaufe, that in all America there is not an animal, tame or wild, which properly belongs to the warm, or temperate countries of the eaftern continent. The firit care of the Spaniards, when they fettled in America, was to stock it with all the domeftic animals of Europe. The firtt fettlers of Virginia and New England, brought over with them horfes, cattle, fheep, &c. Hence it is obvious that the people who first fettled in America, did not originate from those countries where thefe animals abound, otherwife, having been accustomed to their aid, they would have fuppofed them necessary to the improvement, and even fupport of civil fociety.

III. Since the animals in the northern regions of America correfpond with those found in Europe in the fame latitudes, while thofe in the tropical regions are indigenous, and widely different from thofe which inhabit the correfponding regions on the eaftern continent, it is more than probable that all the original American animals were of those kinds which inhabit northern regions only, and that the two continents, towards the northern extremity, are fo nearly united as that thefe animals might país from one to the other.

IV. It having been established beyond a doubt, by the discoveries of Capt. Cook in his last voyage, that at Kamfkatka, in about latitude 66° north, the continents of Afia and America are feparated by a ftrait only 18 miles wide, and that the inhabitants on each continent are fimilar, and frequently pafs and repafs in canoes from one continent to the other; from thefe and other circumstances it is rendered highly probable that America was first peopled from the north-east parts of Afia. But fince the Efquimaux Indians are manifeftly a separate species of men, diftinct from all the nations of the American Continent, in language, in difpofition, and in habits of life; and in all these refpects bear a near resemblance to the northern Europeans, it is believed that the Efquimaux Indians emigrated from the north-weft parts of Europe. Several circumftances confirm this belief. As early as the ninth century the Norwegians difcovered Greenland, and planted colonies there. The communication with that Gountry, after long interruption, was renewed in the laft century. Some Lutheran and Moravian miffionaries, prompted by zeal for propagating the Chriftian faith, have ventured to fettle in this frozen region. From them we learn, that the north-weft coast of Greenland is feparated from America but by a very narrow ftrait, if feparated at all; and that the Efquimaux of America perfectly refemble the Greenlanders in their afpect, drefs, mode of living, and probably language. By thefe decifive facts, not only the confanguinity of the Efquimaux and Greenlanders is eftablished, but the poffibility of peopling America from the north-west parts of Europe. On the whole it appears rational to conclude, that the progenitors of all the American nations, from Cape Horn to the fouthern limits of Labrador, from the fimilarity of their afpect, colour, &c. migrated from the north-east parts of Afd; and that the nations that inhabit


[ocr errors]

Labrador, Efquimaux, and the parts adjacent, from their unlikeness to the reft of the American nations, and their refemblance to the northern Europeans, came over from the north-weft parts of Europe.

Having given a fummary account of America in general; of its first difcovery by Columbus, its extent, rivers, mountains, &c. of the Aborigines, and of the firft peopling this continent, we fhall next turn our attention to the discovery and fettlement of North America.

NORTH AMERICA, arranged in Chronological Order.

in the of

a period when the Arts and Sciences had made very confiderable progrefs in Europe. Many of the firft adventurers were men of genius and learning, and were careful to preferve authentic records of fuch of their proceedings as would be interefting to pofterity. Thefe records afford ample documents for American hiftorians. Perhaps no people on the globe can trace the hiftory of their origin and progrefs with fo much precifion as the inhabitants of North America; particularly that part of them who inhabit the territory of the United States.

The fame which Columbus had acquired by his firft difcoveries on this western continent, fpread through Europe, and infpired many with 1496 the fpirit of enterprize. As early as 1496, four years only after the first difcovery of America, John Cabot, a Venetian, obtained a commission from Henry VII. to difcover unknown lands and annex them to the crown.

In the fpring he failed from England with two fhips, carrying with him his three fons. In this voyage, which was intended for China, he fell in with the north fide of Terra Labrador, and coafted northerly as far as the 67th degree of latitude.

1497.] The next year he made a fecond voyage to America with his fon Sebastian, who afterwards proceeded in the difcoveries which his father had begun. On the 24th of June he difcovered Bonavifta, on the north-eaft fide of Newfoundland. Before his return he traverfed the coaft from Davis's Straits to Cape Florida.

1502.] Sebaftian Cabot was this year at Newfoundland; and on his return carried three of the natives of that ifland to Henry VII.

1513.] In the fpring of 1513, John Ponce failed from Porto Rico northerly, and difcovered the continent in 30° 8' north latitude. He landed in April, a feafon when the country around was covered with verdure, and in full bloom. This circumftance induced him to call the Country FLORIDA, which, for many years, was the common name for North and South America,

1516.] In 1516, Sir Sebaftian Cabot and Sir Thomas Pert explored the coaft as far as Brazil in South America.

This vaft extent of country, the coaft whereof was thus explored, remained unclaimed and unfettled by any European power, (except by the Spaniards in South America) for almoft a century from the time of its discovery.

C 3


1524.] It was not till the year 1524 that France attempted discoveries on the American coaft. Stimulated by his enterprizing neighbours, Francis I. who poffeffed a great and active mind, fent John Verrazano, a Florentine, to America, for the purpofe of making difcoveries. He traversed the coaft from latitude 28° to 50° north. In a second voyage, fome time after, he was loft.

1525.] The next year Stephen Gomez, the firft Spaniard who came upon the American coaft for difcovery, failed from Groyn in Spain, to Cuba and Florida, thence northward to Cape Razo, in latitude 46° north, in fearch of a north-weft paffage to the East Indies.

1534.] In the fpring of 1534, by the direction of Francis I. a fleet was fitted out at St. Malo's in France, with defign to make discoveries in America. The command of this fleet was given to James Cartier. He arrived at Newfoundland in May of this year. Thence he failed northerly; and on the day of the feftival of St. Lawrence, he found himfelf in about latitude 48° 30′ north, in the midst of a broad gulf, which he named St. Lawrence. He gave the fame name to the river which empties into it. In this voyage, he failed as far north as latitude 51o, expecting in vain to find a paffage to China.

1535.] The next year he failed up the river St. Lawrence 300 leagues to the great and fwift Fall. He called the country New France; built a fort in which he spent the winter, and returned in the following spring to France.

1542.] In 1542, Francis la Roche, Lord of Robewell, was sent to Canada, by the French king, with three fhips and 200 men, women and children. They wintered here in a fort which they had built, and returned in the fpring. About the year 1550, a large number of adventurers failed for Canada, but were never after heard of. In 1598, the king of France commiffioned the Marquis de la Roche to conquer Canada, and other countries not poffeffed by any Chriftian prince. We do not learn, however, that la Roche ever attempted to execute his commiffion, or that any further attempts were made to fettle Canada during this century.

1539.] On the 12th of May, 1539, Ferdinand de Soto, with 900 men, befides feamen, failed from Cuba, having for his object the conqueft of Florida. On the 30th of May he arrived at Spirito Santo, from whence he travelled northward 450 leagues from the fea. Here he difcovered a river a quarter of a mile wide and 19 fathoms deep, on the bank 1542 of which he died and was buried, May 1542, aged 42 years. 1543 Alverdo his fucceffor built feven brigantines, and the year following embarked upon the river. In 17 days he proceeded down the river 400 leagues, where he judged it to be 15 leagues wide. From the largenefs of the river at the place of his embarkation, he concluded its fource must have been at leaft 400 leagues above, fo that the whole length of the river in his opinion must have been more than 800 leagues. As he paffed down the river, he found it opened by two mouths into the gulf of Mexico. Thefe circumftances led us to conclude, that this river, fo early discovered, was the one which we now call the Miffilippi.


Jan. 6, 1549.] This year king Henry VII. granted a penfion for life to Sebaftian Cabot, in confideration of the important fervices he had rendered to the kingdom by his difcoveries in America.

1562.] The admiral of France, Chatillon, early in this year, fent out a fleet under the command of John Ribalt. He arrived at Cape Francis on the coaft of Florida, near which, on the first of May, he difcovered and entered a river which he called May river. It is more than probable that this river is the fame which we now call St. Mary's, which forms a part of the fouthern boundary of the United States. As he coafted northward he difcovered eight other rivers, one of which he called Port Royal, and failed up it feveral leagues. On one of the rivers he built a fort and called it Charles, in which he left a colony under the direction of Captain Albert. The feverity of Albert's meafures excited a 1564 mutiny, in which, to the ruin of the colony, he was flain. Two years after, Chatillon fent Rene Laudonier, with three fhips, to Florida. In June he arrived at the river May, on which he built a fort, and, in honour to his king, Charles IX. he called it CAROLINA.

In Auguft, this year, Capt. Ribalt arrived at Florida the fecond time, with a fleet of feven veffels to recruit the colony, which, two years before, he had left under the direction of the unfortunate Capt. Albert.

The September following, Pedro Melandes, with fix Spanifh fhips, purfued Ribalt up the river on which he had fettled, and overpowering him in numbers, cruelly maffacred him and his whole company. Melendes, having in this way taken poffeffion of the country, built three forts, and left them garrifoned with 1200 foldiers. Laudonier and his colony on May River, receiving information of the alarm and efcaped to France.

fate of Ribalt, took the


1567.] A fleet of three fhips was this year fent from France to Florida, under the command of Dominique de Gourges. The object of this expedition was to difpoffefs the Spaniards of that part of Florida which they had cruelly and unjuftifiably feized three years before. He 1568 arrived on the coaft of Florida, April 1568, and foon after made a fuccessful attack upon the forts. The recent cruelty of Melendes and his company excited revenge in the breaft of Gourges, and roufed the unjuftifiable principle of retaliation. He took the forts; put moft of the Spaniards to the fword; and having burned and demolished all their fortreffes, returned to France. During the fifty years next after this event, the French enterprized no fettlements in America.

1576.] Capt. Frobisher was fent this year to find out a north west paffage to the Eaft-Indies. The firft land which he made on the coaft was a Cape, which, in honour to the queen, he called Queen Elizabeth's Foreland. In coafting northerly he difcovered the ftraits which bear his name. He profecuted his fearch for a paffage into the western ocean till he was prevented by the ice, and then returned to England.

1579.] In 1579, Sir Humphrey Gilbert obtained a patent from queen Elizabeth, for lands not yet poffeffed by any Chriftian prince, provided

he would take poffeffion within fix years. With this encourage1583 ment he failed for America, and on the it of August, 1583, anchored in Conception Bay. Afterward he difcovered and took poffeffion of St. John's Harbour, and the country fouth. In purfuing his

C 4


discoveries he loft one of his fhips, on the fhoals of Sablon, and on his return home, a storm overtook him, in which he was unfortunately loft, and the intended fettlement was prevented.

1584.] This year two patents were granted by queen Elizabeth, one to Adrian Gilbert, (Feb. 6.) the other to Sir Walter Raleigh, for lands not poffeffed by any Chriftian prince. By the direction of Sir Walter, two fhips were fitted and fent out, under the command of Philip Amidas, and Arthur Barlow. In July they arrived on the coaft, and anchored in a harbour feven leagues weft of the Roanoke. On the 13th of July, they, in a formal manner, took poffeffion of the country, and, in honour of their virgin queen Elizabeth, they called it Virginia. Till this time the country was known by the general name of Florida. After this VIRGINIA became the common name for all North America.

1585.] The next year, Sir Walter Raleigh fent Sir Richard Greenville to America, with feven fhips. He arrived at Wococon Harbour in June. Having ftationed a colony of more than a hundred people at Roanoke, under the direction of Capt. Ralph Lane, he coafted north-easterly as far as Chefapeek Bay, and returned to England.

The colony under Capt. Lane endured extreme hardships, and must have perifhed, had not Sir Francis Drake fortunately returned to Virginia, and carried them to England, after having made feveral conquefts for the queen in the Weft Indies and other places.

A fortnight after, Sir Richard Greenville arrived with new recruits; and, although he did not find the colony which he had before left, and knew not but they had perished, he had the rafhness to leave 50 men at the fame place.

1587.] The year following, Sir Walter fent another company to Virginia, under Governor White, with a charter and twelve affiftants. In July he arrived at Roanoke. Not one of the fecond company remained, He determined, however, to rifque a third colony. Accordingly he left 115 people at the old fettlement, and returned to England.

This year (Aug. 13) Manteo was baptized in Virginia. He was the firft native Indian who received that ordinance in that part of America. On the 18th of Auguft, Mrs. Dare was delivered of a daughter, whom the called VIRGINIA. She was the firft English child that was born in North America.

1590.] In the year 1590, Governor White came over to Virginia with fupplies and recruits for his colony; but, to his great grief, not a man was to be found. They had all miferably famished with hunger, or were maffacred by the Indians.

1602.] In the fpring of this year, Bartholomew Gofnold, with 32 perfons, made a voyage to North Virginia, and difcovered and gave names to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Elifabeth Islands, and to Dover Cliff. Elifabeth Island was the place which they fixed for their first fettlement. But the courage of thofe who were to have tarried, failing, they all went on board and returned to England. All the attempts to fettle this continent which were made by the Dutch, French, and English, from its difcovery to the prefent time, a period of 110 years, proved ineffectual. The Spaniards only, of all the European nations, had been fuccefsful. There is no account of there having been one European


« PreviousContinue »