The Fleur-De-Lis in Florida
[In the July number of this magazine is a sketch of the attempt of the Huguenots, under the auspices of Coligny, to found a colony at Port Royal. Two years later, an attempt was made to establish a Protestant community on the banks of the River St. John’s, in Florida. The following paper embodies the substance of the letters and narratives of the actors in this striking episode of American history.]
ON the 25th of June, 1564, a French squadron anchored a second time off the mouth of the River of May. There were three vessels, the smallest of sixty tons, the largest of one hundred and twenty, all crowded with men. René de Laudonnière held command. He was of a noble race of Poitou, attached to the House of Châtillon, of which Coligny was the head; pious, we are told, and an excellent marine officer. An engraving, purporting to be his likeness, shows us a slender figure, leaning against the mast, booted to the thigh, with slouched hat and plume, slashed doublet, and short cloak. His thin oval face, with curled moustache and close-trimmed beard, wears a thoughtful and somewhat pensive look, as if already shadowed by the destiny that awaited him.
The intervening year since Ribaut’s voyage had been a dark and deadly year for France. From the peaceful solitude of the River of May, that voyager returned to a land reeking with slaughter. But the carnival of bigotry and hate had found a respite. The Peace of Amboise had been signed. The fierce monk choked down his venom ; the soldier sheathed his sword; the assassin, his dagger; rival chiefs grasped hands, and masked their rancor under hollow smiles. The king and the queen - mother, helpless amid the storm of factions which threatened their destruction, smiled now on Condé, now on Guise,—gave ear to the Cardinal of Lorraine, or listened in secret to the emissaries of Theodore Beza. Coligny was again strong at Court. He used his opportunity, and solicited with success the means of renewing his enterprise of colonization. With pains and zeal, men were mustered for the work. In name, at least, they were all Huguenots; yet again, as before, the staple of the projected colony was unsound: soldiers, paid out of the royal treasury, hired artisans and tradesmen, joined with a swarm of volunteers from the young Huguenot noblesse, whose restless swords had rusted in their scabbards since the peace. The foundation-stone was left out. There were no tillers of the soil. Such, indeed, were rare among the Huguenots ; for the dull peasants who guided the plough clung with blind tenacity to the ancient faith. Adventurous gentlemen, reckless soldiers, discontented tradesmen, all keen for novelty and heated with dreams of wealth, — these were they who would build for their country and their religion an empire beyond the sea.
With a few officers and twelve soldiers, Laudonnière landed where Ribaut had landed before him ; and as their boat neared the shore, they saw an Indian chief who ran to meet them, whooping and clamoring welcome from afar. It was Satouriona, the savage potentate who ruled some thirty villages around the lower St. John’s and northward along the coast. With him came two stalwart sons, and behind trooped a host of tribesmen arrayed in smoke-tanned deerskins stained with wild devices in gaudy colors. They crowded around the voyagers with beaming visages and yelps of gratulation. The royal Satouriona could not contain the exuberance of his joy, since in the person of the French commander he recognized the brother of the Sun, descended from the skies to aid him against his great rival, Outina.
Hard by stood the column of stone, graven with the fleur-de-lis, planted here on the former voyage. The Indians had crowned the mystic emblem with evergreens, and placed offerings of maize on the ground before it; for with an affectionate and reverent wonder they had ever remembered the steel-clad strangers whom, two summers before, John Ribaut had led to their shores.
Five miles up the St. John’s, or River of May, there stands, on the southern bank, a hill some forty feet high, boldly thrusting itself into the broad and lazy waters. It is now called St. John’s Bluff. Thither the Frenchmen repaired, pushed through the dense semi-tropical forest, and climbed the steep acclivity. Thence they surveyed their Canaan. Beneath them moved the unruffled river, gliding around the reed-grown shores of marshy islands, the haunt of alligators, and betwixt the bordering expanse of wide, wet meadows, studded with island-like clumps of pine and palmetto, and bounded by the sunny verge of distant forests. Far on their right, seen by glimpses between the shaggy cedar-boughs, the glistening sea lay stretched along the horizon. Before, in hazy distance, the softened green of the woodlands was veined with the mazes of the countless interlacing streams that drain the watery region behind St. Mary’s and Fernandina. To the left, the St. John’s flowed gleaming betwixt verdant shores beyond whose portals lay the El Dorado of their dreams. “ Briefly,” writes Laudonnière, “ the place is so pleasant that those which are melaneholicke would be inforced to change their humour.”
A fresh surprise awaited them. The allotted span of mortal life was quadrupled in that benign climate. Landonnière’s lieutenant, Ottigny, ranging the neighboring forest with a party of soldiers, met a troop of Indians who invited him to their dwellings. Mounted on the back of a stout savage, who plunged with him through the deep marshes, and guided him by devious pathways through the tangled thickets, he arrived at length, and beheld a wondrous spectacle. In the lodge sat a venerable chief, who assured him that he was the father of five successive generations, and that he had lived two hundred and fifty years. Opposite, sat a still more ancient veteran, the father of the first, shrunken to a mere anatomy, and “ seeming to be rather a dead carkeis than a living body.” “Also,” pursues the history, “ his age was so great that the good man had lost his sight, and could not speak one onely word but with exceeding great paine.” Despite his dismal condition, the visitor was told that he might expect to live in the course of Nature thirty or forty years more. As the two patriarchs sat face to face, half hidden with their streaming white hair, Ottigny and his credulous soldiers looked from one to the other, lost in wonder and admiration.
Man and Nature alike seemed to mark the borders of the River of May as the site of the new colony ; for here, around the Indian towns, the harvests of maize, beans, and pumpkins promised abundant food, while the river opened a ready way to the mines of gold and silver and the stores of barbaric wealth which glittered before the dreaming vision of the colonists. Yet, the better to content himself and his men, Laudonnière weighed anchor, and sailed for a time along the neighboring coasts. Returning, confirmed in his first impression, he set forth with a party of officers and soldiers to explore the borders of the chosen stream. The day was hot. The sun beat fiercely on the woollen caps and heavy doublets of the men, till at length they gained the shade of one of those deep forests of pine where the dead and sultry air is thick with resinous odors, and the earth, carpeted with fallen leaves, gives no sound beneath the foot. Yet, in the stillness, deer leaped up on all sides as they moved along. Then they emerged into sunlight. A broad meadow, a running brook, a lofty wall of encircling forests. The men called it the Vale of Laudonnière. The afternoon was spent, and the sun was near its setting, when they reached the bank of the river. They strewed the ground with boughs and leaves, and, stretched on that sylvan couch, slept the sleep of travel-worn and weary men.
At daybreak they were roused by sound of trumpet. Men and officers joined their voices in a psalm, then betook themselves to their task. Their task was the building of a fort, and this was the chosen spot. It was a tract of dry ground on the brink of the river, immediately above St. John’s Bluff. On the right was the bluff; on the left, a marsh ; in front, the river; behind, the forest.
Boats came up the stream with laborers, tents, provision, cannon, and tools. The engineers marked out the work in the form of a triangle ; and, from the noble volunteer to the meanest artisan, all lent a hand to complete it. On the river side the defences were a palisade of timber. On the two other sides were a ditch, and a rampart of fascines, earth, and sods. At each angle was a bastion, in one of winch was the magazine. Within was a spacious parade, and around it various buildings for lodging and storage. A large house with covered galleries was built on the side towards the river for Laudonnière and his officers. In honor of Charles IX. the fort was named Fort Caroline.
Meanwhile, Satouriona, “ lord of all that country,” as the narratives style him, was seized with misgivings, learning these mighty preparations. The work was but begun, and all was din and confusion around the incipient fort, when the startled Frenchmen saw the neighboring height of St. John’s swarming with naked warriors. The prudent Laudonnière set his men in array, and for a season pick and spade were dropped for arquebuse and pike. The savage potentate descended to the camp. The artist Le Moyne, who saw him, drew his likeness from memory, — a tall, athletic figure, tattooed in token of his rank, plumed with feathers, hung with strings of beads, and girdled with tinkling pieces of metal which hung from the belt, his only garment. He came in regal state, a crowd of warriors around him, and, in advance, a troop of young Indians armed with spears. Twenty musicians followed, blowing a hideous discord through pipes of reeds. Arrived, he seated himself on the ground “ like a monkey,” as Le Moyne has it in the grave Latin of his “ Brevis Nairatio.” A council followed, in which broken words were aided by signs and pantomime. A treaty of alliance was made, and Laudonnière had the folly to promise the chief that he would lend him aid against his enemies. Satouriona, well pleased, ordered his Indians to aid the French at their work. They obeyed with alacrity, and in two days the buildings of the fort were all thatched after the native fashion with leaves of the palmetto.
A word touching these savages. In the peninsula of Florida were several distinct Indian confederacies, with three of which the French were brought into contact. The first was that of Satouriona. The next was the potent confederacy of the Thimagoa, under a chief called Outina, whose forty villages were scattered among the lakes and forests around the upper waters of this remarkable river. The third was that of "King Potanou,” whose domain lay among the pine-barrens, cypress-swamps, and fertile hummocks, westward and northwestward of the St. John’s. The three communities were at deadly enmity. Their social state was more advanced than that of the wandering hunter-tribes of the North. They were an agricultural people. Around all their villages were fields of maize, beans, and pumpkins. The harvest, due chiefly to the labor of the women, was gathered into a public granary, and on this they lived during three-fourths of the year, dispersing in winter to hunt among the forests.
Their villages were clusters of huts thatched with palmetto. In the midst was the dwelling of the chief, much larger than the rest, and sometimes raised on an artificial mound. They were inclosed with palisades, and, strange to say, some of them were approached by wide avenues, artificially graded, and several hundred yards in length. Remains of them may still be seen, as may also the mounds in which the Floridians, like the Hurons and various other tribes, collected at stated intervals the bones of their dead.
The most prominent feature of their religion was sun-worship, and, like other wild American tribes, they abounded in “ medicine-men,” who combined the functions of priest, physician, and necromancer.
Social distinctions were sharply defined among them. Their chiefs, whose office was hereditary, sometimes exercised a power almost absolute. Each village had its chief, subordinate to the grand chief of the nation. In the language of the French narratives, they were all kings or lords, vassals of the great monarch Satouriona, Outina, or Potanou. All these tribes are now extinct, and it is difficult to ascertain with precision their tribal affinities. There can be no doubt that they were the authors of the mounds and other remains at present found in various parts of Florida.
Their fort, nearly finished, and their league made with Satouriona, the goldhunting Huguenots were eager to spy out the secrets of the interior. To this end the lieutenant, Ottigny, went up the river in a sail-boat. With him were a few soldiers and two Indians, the latter going forth, says Laudonnière, as if bound to a wedding, keen for a fight with the hated Tliimagoa, and exulting in the havoc to be wrought among them by the magic weapons of their white allies. They were doomed to grievous disappointment.
The Sieur d’ Ottigny spread his sail, and calmly glided up the dark waters of the St. John’s. A scene fraught with strange interest to the naturalist and the lover of Nature. Here, two centuries later, the Bartrams, father and son, guided their skiff and kindled their nightly bivouac-fire ; and here, too, roamed Audubon, with his sketch-book and his gun. Each alike has left the record of his wanderings, fresh as the woods and waters that inspired it. Slight, then, was the change since Ottigny, first, of white men, steered his bark along the still breast of the virgin river. Before him, like a lake, the redundant waters spread far and wide ; and along the low shores, or jutting points, or the waveless margin of deep and sheltered coves, towered wild, majestic forms of vegetable beauty. Here rose the magnolia, high above surrounding woods ; but the gorgeous bloom had fallen, that a few weeks earlier studded the verdant dome with silver. From the edge of the bordering swamp the cypress reared its vast buttressed column and leafy canopy. From the rugged arms of oak and pine streamed the gray drapery of the long Spanish moss, swayed mournfully in the faintest breeze. Here were the tropical plumage of the palm, the dark green masses of the live-oak, the glistening verdure of wild orangegroves ; and from out the shadowy thickets hung the wreaths of the jessamine and the scarlet trumpets of the bignonia.
Nor less did the fruitful river teem with varied forms of animal life. From the caverns of leafy shade came the gleam and flicker of many-colored plumage. The cormorant, the pelican, the heron, floated on the water, or stalked along its pebbly brink. Among the sedges, the alligator, foul from his native mud, outstretched his hideous length, or, sluggish and sullen, drifted past the boat, his grim head level with the surface, and each scale, each folding of his horny hide, distinctly visible, as, with the slow movement of distended paws, he balanced himself in the water. When, at sunset, they drew up their boat on the strand, and built their camp-fire under the arches of the woods, the shores resounded with the roaring of these colossal lizards; all night the forest rang with the whooping of the owls ; and in the morning the sultry mists that wrapped the river were vocal, far and near, with the clamor of wild turkeys.
Among such scenes, for twenty leagues, the adventurous sail moved on. Far to the right, beyond the silent waste of pines, lay the realm of the mighty Potanou. The Thimagoa towns were still above them on the river, when they saw three canoes of this people at no great distance in front. Forthwith the two Indians in the boat were fevered with excitement. With glittering eyes they snatched pike and sword, and prepared for fight; but the sage Ottigny, bearing slowly down on the strangers, gave them time to run their craft ashore and escape to the woods. Then, landing, he approached the canoes, placed in them a few trinkets, and withdrew to a distance. The fugitives took heart, and, step by step, returned. An amicable intercourse was opened, with assurances of friendship on the part of the French, a procedure viewed by Satouriona’s Indians with unspeakable disgust and ire.
The ice thus broken, Ottigny returned to Fort Caroline ; and a fortnight later, an officer named Vasseur sailed up the river to pursue the adventure: for the French, thinking that the nation of the Thimagoa lay betwixt them and the gold-mines, would by no means quarrel with them, and Laudonnière repented him already of his rash pledge to Satouriona.
As Vasseur moved on, two Indians hailed him from the shore, inviting him to their dwellings. He accepted their guidance, and presently saw before him the cornfields and palisades of an Indian town. Led through the wondering crowd to the lodge of the chief, Mollua, Vasseur and his followers were seated in the place of honor and plentifully regaled with fish and bread. The repast over, Mollua began his discourse. He told them that he was one of the forty vassal chiefs of the great Outina, lord of all the Thimagoa, whose warriors wore armor of gold and silver plate. He told them, too, of Potanou, his enemy, a mighty and redoubted prince ; and of the two kings of the distant Appalachian Mountains, rich beyond utterance in gems and gold. While thus, with earnest pantomime and broken words, the chief discoursed with his guests, Vasseur, intent and eager, strove to follow his meaning; and no sooner did he hear of these Appalachian treasures than he promised to join Outina in war against the two potentates of the mountains. Hereupon the sagacious Mollua, well pleased, promised that each of Outina’s vassal chiefs should requite their French allies with a heap of gold and silver two feet high. Thus, while Laudonnière stood pledged to Satouriona, Vasseur made alliance with his mortal enemy.
Returning, he was met, near the fort, by one of Satouriona’s chiefs, who questioned him touching his dealings with the Thimagoa. Vasseur replied, that he had set upon and routed them with incredible slaughter. But as the chief, seeming as yet unsatisfied, continued his inquiries, the sergeant, Francis la Caille, drew his sword, and, like Falstaff before him, reenacted his deeds of valor, pursuing and thrusting at the imaginary Thimagoa as they fled before his fury. Whereat the chief, at length convinced, led the party to his lodge, and entertained them with a certain savory decoction with which the Indians were wont to regale those whom they delighted to honor.
Elate at the promise of a French alliance, Satouriona had summoned his vassal chiefs to war. From the St. Mary’s and the Salilla and the distant Altamaha, from every quarter of his woodland realm, they had mustered at his call. By the margin of the St. John’s, the forest was alive with their bivouacs. Ten chiefs were here, and some five hundred men. And now, when all was ready, Satouriona reminded Laudonnière of his promise, and claimed its fulfilment; but the latter gave evasive answers and a virtual refusal. Stifling his rage, the chief prepared to go without him.
Near the bank of the river, a fire was kindled, and two large vessels of water placed beside it. Here Satouriona took his stand. His chiefs crouched on the grass around him, and the savage visages of his five hundred warriors filled the outer circle, their long hair garnished with feathers, or covered with the heads and skins of wolves, panthers, bears, or eagles. Satouriona, looking towards the country of his enemy, distorted his features to a wild expression of rage and hate; then muttered to himself; then howled an invocation to his god, the sun; then besprinkled the assembly with water from one of the vessels, and, turning the other upon the fire, suddenly quenched it. “ So,” he cried, “ may the blood of our enemies be poured out, and their lives extinguished ! ” and the concourse gave forth an explosion of responsive yells, till the shores resounded with the wolfish din.
The rites over, they set forth, and in a few days returned exulting with thirteen prisoners and a number of scalps. The latter were hung on a pole before the royal lodge, and when night came, it brought with it a pandemonium of dancing and whooping, drumming and feasting.
A notable scheme entered the brain of Laudonnière. Resolved, cost what it might, to make a friend of Outina, he conceived it a stroke of policy to send back to him two of the prisoners. In the morning he sent a soldier to Satouriona to demand them. The astonished chief gave a flat refusal, adding that he owed the French no favors, for they had shamefully broken faith with him. On tins, Laudonnière, at the head of twenty soldiers, proceeded to the Indian town, placed a guard at the opening of the great lodge, entered with his arquebusiers, and seated himself without ceremony in the highest place. Here, to show his displeasure, he remained in silence for a half-hour. At length he spoke, renewing his demand. For some moments Satouriona made no reply, then coldly observed that the sight of so many armed men had frightened the prisoners away. Laudonnière grew peremptory, when the chief’s son, Athore, went out, and presently returned with the two Indians, whom the French led back to Fort Caroline.
Satouriona dissembled, professed goodwill, and sent presents to the fort; but the outrage rankled in his savage breast, and he never forgave it.
Captain Vasseur, with Arlac, the ensign, a sergeant , and ten soldiers, embarked to bear the ill-gotten gift to Outina. Arrived, they were showered with thanks by that grateful potentate, who, hastening to avail himself of his new alliance, invited them to join in a raid against his neighbor, Potanou. To this end, Arlac and five soldiers remained, while Vasseur with the rest descended to Fort Caroline.
The warriors were mustered, the dances were danced, and the songs were sung. Then the wild cohort took up its march. The wilderness through which they passed holds its distinctive features to this day, — the shady desert of the pine-barrens, where many a wanderer has miserably died, with haggard eye seeking in vain for clue or guidance in the pitiless, inexorable monotony. Yet the waste has its oases, the “ hummocks,” where the live-oaks are hung with long festoons of grape-vines, — where the air is sweet with woodland odors, and vocal with the song of birds. Then the deep cypress-swamp, where dark trunks rise like the columns of some vast sepulchre. Above, the impervious canopy of leaves; beneath, a black and root-encumbered slough. Perpetual moisture trickles down the clammy bark, while trunk and limb, distorted with strange shapes of vegetable disease, wear in the gloom a semblance grotesque and startling. Lifeless forms lean propped in wild disorder against the living, and from every rugged stem and lank limb outstretched hangs the dark drapery of the Spanish moss. The swamp is veiled in mourning. No breath, no voice. A deathly stillness, till the plunge of the alligator, lashing the waters of the black lagoon, resounds with hollow echo through the tomb-like solitude.
Next, the broad sunlight and the wide savanna. Wading breast-deep in grass, they view the wavy sea of verdure, with headland and cape and far-reaching promontory, with distant coasts, hazy and dim, havens and shadowed coves, islands of the magnolia and the palm, high, impending shores of the mulberry and the elm, the ash, hickory, and maple. Here the rich gordonia, never out of bloom, sends down its thirsty roots to drink at the stealing brook. Here the halesia hangs out its silvery bells, the purple clusters of the wistaria droop from the supporting bough, and the coral blossoms of the erythryna glow in the shade beneath. From tufted masses of sword-like leaves shoot up the tall spires of the yucca, heavy with pendent flowers, of pallid hue, like the moon, and from the grass gleams the blue eye of the starry ixia.
Through forest, swamp, savanna, the valiant Frenchmen held their way. At first, Outina’s Indians kept always in advance ; but when they reached the hostile district, the modest warriors fell to the rear, resigning the post of honor to their French allies.
An open country; a rude cultivation ; the tall palisades of an Indian town. Their approach was seen, and the warriors of Potanou, nowise daunted, came swarming forth to meet them. But the sight of the bearded strangers, the flash and report of the fire-arms, the fall of their foremost chief, shot through the brain with the bullet of Arlac, filled them with consternation, and they fled headlong within their defences. The men of Thimagoa ran screeching in pursuit. Pell-mell, all entered the town together. Slaughter; pillage; flame. The work was done, and the band returned triumphant.
IN the little world of Fort Caroline, a miniature France, cliques and parties, conspiracy and sedition, were fast stirring into life. Hopes had been dashed ; wild expectations had come to nought. The adventurers had found, not conquest and gold, but a dull exile in a petty fort by a hot and sickly river, with hard labor, ill fare, prospective famine, and nothing to break the weary sameness but some passing canoe or floating alligator. Gathered in knots, they nursed each other's wrath, and inveighed against the commandant.
Why are we put on half-rations, when he told us that provision should be made for a full year? Where are the reinforcements and supplies that he said should follow us from France ? Why is he always closeted with Ottigny, Arlac, and this and that favorite, when we, men of blood as good as theirs, cannot gain his ear for a moment ? And why has he sent La Roche Ferrière to make his fortune among the Indians, while we are kept here, digging at the works ?
Of La Roche Ferrière and his adventures, more hereafter. The young nobles, of whom there were many, were volunteers, who had paid their own expenses, in expectation of a golden harvest, and they chafed in impatience and disgust. The religious element in the colony — unlike the former Huguenot emigration to Brazil — was evidently subordinate. The adventurers thought more of their fortunes than of their faith; yet there were not a few earnest enough in the doctrine of Geneva to complain loudly and bitterly that no ministers had been sent with them. The burden of all grievances was thrown upon Laudonnière, whose greatest errors seem to have arisen from weakness and a lack of judgment, — fatal defects in his position.
The growing discontent was brought to a partial head by one Roquette, who gave out that by magic he had discovered a mine of gold and silver, high up the river, which would give each of them a share of ten thousand crowns, besides fifteen hundred thousand for the king. But for Laudonnière, he said, their fortunes would all be made. He found an ally in a gentleman named Genre, one of Laudonnière's confidants, who, still professing fast adherence to the interests of the latter, is charged by him with plotting against his life. Many of the soldiers were in the conspiracy. They made a flag of an old shirt, which they carried with them to the rampart when they went to their work, at the same time wearing their arms, and watching an opportunity to kill the commandant. About this time, overheating himself, he fell ill, and was confined to his quarters. On this, Genre made advances to the apothecary, urging him to put arsenic into his medicines; but the apothecary shrugged his shoulders. They next devised a scheme to blow him up, by hiding a keg of gunpowder under his bed; but here, too, they failed. Hints of Genre’s machinations reaching the ears of Laudonnière, the culprit fled to the woods, whence he wrote repentant letters, with full confession, to his commander.
Two of the ships meanwhile returned to France, — the third, the Breton, remaining at anchor opposite the fort. The malecontents took the opportunity to send home charges against Laudonnière of peculation, favoritism, and tyranny.
Early in September, Captain Bourdet, apparently a private adventurer, had arrived from France with a small vessel. When he returned, about the tenth of November, Laudonnière persuaded him to carry home seven or eight of the malecontent soldiers. Bourdet left some of his sailors in their place. The exchange proved most disastrous. These pirates joined with others whom they had won over, stole Laudonnierè’s two pinnaces, and set forth on a plundering excursion to the West Indies. They took a small Spanish vessel off the coast of Cuba, but were soon compelled by famine to put into Havana and surrender themselves. Here, to make their peace with the authorities, they told all they knew of the position and purposes of their countrymen at Fort Caroline, and hence was forged the thunderbolt soon to be hurled against the wretched little colony.
On a Sunday morning, Francis de la Caille came to Laudonnière’s quarters, and, in the name of the whole company, requested him to come to the paradeground. He complied, and, issuing forth, his inseparable Ottigny at his side, saw some thirty of his officers, soldiers, and gentlemen-volunteers waiting before the building with fixed and sombre countenance. La Caille, advancing, begged leave to read, in behalf of the rest, a paper which he held in his hand. It opened with protestations of duty and obedience ; next came complaints of hard work, starvation, and broken promises, and a request that the petitioners should be allowed to embark in the vessel lying in the river, and cruise along the Spanish main in order to procure provision by purchase “ or otherwise.” In short, the flower of the company wished to turn buccaneers.
Laudonnière refused, but assured them, that, so soon as the defences of the fort should be completed, a search should be begun in earnest for the Appalachian gold-mine, and that meanwhile two small vessels then building on the river should be sent along the coast to barter for provisions with the Indians. With this answer they were forced to content themselves; but the fermentation continued, and the plot thickened. Their spokesman, La Caille, however, seeing whither the affair tended, broke with them, and, beside Ottigny, Vasseur, and the brave Swiss, Arlac, was the only officer who held to his duty.
A severe illness again seized Laudonnière and confined him to his bed. Improving their advantage, the malecontents gained over nearly all the best soldiers in the fort. The ringleader was one Fourneaux, a man of good birth, but whom Le Moyne calls an avaricious hypocrite. He drew up a paper to which sixty-six names were signed. La Caille boldly opposed the conspirators, and they resolved to kill him. His room-mate, Le Moyne, who had also refused to sign, received a hint from a friend that he had better change his quarters; upon which he warned La Caille, who escaped to the woods. It was late in the night. Fourneaux, with twenty men armed to the teeth, knocked fiercely at the commandant’s door. Forcing an entrance, they wounded a gentleman who opposed them, and crowded around the sick man’s bed. Fourneaux, armed with steel cap and cuirass, held his arquebuse to Laudonnière’s breast, and demanded leave to go on a cruise among the Spanish islands. The latter kept his presence of mind, and remonstrated with some firmness; on which, with oaths and menaces, they dragged him from his bed, put him in fetters, carried him out to the gate of the fort, placed him in a boat, and rowed him to the ship anchored in the river.
Two other gangs at the same time visited Ottigny and Arlac, whom they disarmed, and ordered to keep their rooms till the night following, on pain of death. Smaller parties were busied, meanwhile, in disarming all the loyal soldiers. The fort was completely in the hands of the conspirators. Fourneaux drew up a commission for his meditated West-India cruise, which he required Laudonnière to sign. The sick commandant, imprisoned in the ship, with one attendant, at first refused; but, receiving a message from the mutineers, that, if he did not comply, they would come on board and cut his throat, he at length yielded.
The buccaneers now bestirred themselves to finish the two small vessels on which the carpenters had been for some time at work. In a fortnight they were ready for sea, armed and provided with the king’s cannon, munitions, and stores. Trenchant, an excellent pilot, was forced to join the party. Their favorite object was the plunder of a certain church, on one of the Spanish islands, which they proposed to assail during the midnight mass of Christmas, whereby a triple end would be achieved: first, a rich booty; secondly, the punishment of idolatry; thirdly, vengeance on the arch-enemies of their party and their faith. They set sail on the eighth of December, taunting those who remained, calling them greenhorns, and threatening condign punishment, if, on their triumphant return, they should be refused free entrance to the fort.
They were no sooner gone than the unfortunate Laudonnière was gladdened in his solitude by the approach of his fast friends, Ottigny and Arlac, who conveyed him to the fort, and reinstated him. The entire command was reorganized and new officers appointed. The colony was wofully depleted; but the bad blood had been drawn, and thenceforth all internal danger was at an end. In finishing the fort, in building two new vessels to replace those of which they had been robbed, and in various intercourse with the tribes far and near, the weeks passed until the twenty-fifth of March, when an Indian came in with the tidings that a vessel was hovering off the coast. Laudonnière sent to reconnoitre. The stranger lay anchored at the mouth of the river. She was a Spanish brigantine, manned by the returning mutineers, starving, downcast, and anxious to make terms. Yet, as their posture seemed not wholly pacific, Laudonnière sent down La Caille with thirty soldiers, concealed at the bottom of his little vessel. Seeing only two or three on deck, the pirates allowed her to come along-side ; when, to their amazement, they were boarded and taken before they could snatch their arms. Discomfited, woebegone, and drunk, they were landed under a guard. Their story was soon told. Fortune had flattered them at the outset. On the coast of Cuba, they took a brigantine, with wine and stores. Embarking in her, they next fell in with a caravel, which they also captured. Landing at a village of Jamaica, they plundered and caroused for a week, and had hardly reëmbarked when they fell in with a small vessel having on board the governor of the island. She made desperate fight, but was taken at last, and with her a rich booty. They thought to put the governor to ransom; but the astute official deceived them, and, on pretence of negotiating for the sum demanded, together with certain apes and parrots, for which his captors had also bargained, contrived to send instructions to his wife. Whence it happened that at daybreak three armed vessels fell upon them, retook the prize, and captured or killed all the pirates but twenty-six, who, cutting the moorings of their brigantine, fled out to sea. Among these was the ringleader, Fourneaux, and, happily, the pilot, Trenchant. The latter, eager to return to Fort Caroline, whence he had been forcibly taken, succeeded during the night in bringing the vessel to the coast of Florida. Great were the wrath and consternation of the discomfited pirates, when they saw their dilemma ; for, having no provision, they must either starve or seek succor at the fort. They chose the latter alternative, and bore away for the St. John's. A few casks of Spanish wine yet remained, and nobles and soldiers, fraternized by the common peril of a halter, joined in a last carouse. As the wine mounted to their heads, in the mirth of drink and desperation, they enacted their own trial. One personated the judge, another the commandant; witnesses were called, with arguments and speeches on either side.
“ Say what you like,” said one of them, after hearing the counsel for the defence, “ but if Laudonnière does not hang us all, I will never call him an honest man.”
They had some hope of gaining provision from the Indians at the mouth of the river, and then putting to sea again ; but this was frustrated by La Caille’s sudden attack. A court-martial was called near Fort Caroline, and all were found guilty. Fourneaux and three others were sentenced to be hanged.
“ Comrades,” said one of the condemned, appealing to the soldiers, “ will you stand by and see us butchered ? ”
“ These,” retorted Laudonnière, “ are no comrades of mutineers and rebels.”
At the request of his followers, however, he commuted the sentence to shooting.
A file of men ; a rattling volley ; and the debt of justice was paid. The bodies were hanged on gibbets at the river’s mouth, and order reigned at Fort Caroline.
WHILE the mutiny was brewing, one La Roche Ferriere had been sent out as an agent or emissary among the more distant tribes. Sagacious, bold, and restless, he pushed his way from town to town, and pretended to have reached the mysterious mountains of Appalachee. He sent to the fort mantles woven with feathers, quivers covered with choice furs, arrows tipped with gold, wedges of a green stone like beryl or emerald, and other trophies of his wanderings. A gentleman named Grotaut took up the quest, and penetrated to the dominions of Hostaqua, who could muster three or four thousand warriors, and who promised with the aid of a hundred arquebusiers to conquer all the kings of the adjacent mountains, and subject them and their gold-mines to the rule of the French. A humbler adventurer was Peter Gambie, a robust and daring youth, who had been brought up in the household of Coligny, and was now a soldier under Laudonnière. The latter gave him leave to trade with the Indians, a privilege which he used so well that he grew rich with his traffic, became prime favorite with the chief of Edelano, married his daughter, and, in his absence, reigned in his stead. But, as his sway verged towards despotism, his subjects took offence, and beat out his brains with a hatchet.
During the winter, Indians from the neighborhood of Cape Canaveral brought to the fort two Spaniards, wrecked fifteen years before on the southwestern extremity of the peninsula. They were clothed like the Indians, — in other words, were not clothed at all, — and their uncut hair streamed wildly down their backs. They brought strange tales of those among whom they had dwelt. They told of the King of Calos, on whose domains they had suffered wreck, a chief mighty in stature and in power. In one of his villages was a pit, six feet deep and as wide as a hogshead, filled with treasure gathered from Spanish wrecks on adjacent reefs and keys. The monarch was a priest, too, and a magician, with power over the elements. Each year he withdrew from the public gaze to hold converse in secret with supernal or infernal powers ; and each year he sacrificed to his gods one of the Spaniards whom the fortune of the sea had cast upon his shores. The name of the tribe is preserved in that of the River Caloosa. In close league with him was the mighty Oathcaqua, dwelling near Cape Canaveral, who gave his daughter, a maiden of wondrous beauty, in marriage to his great ally. But, as the bride, with her bridesmaids, was journeying towards Calos, escorted by a chosen band, they were assailed by a wild and warlike race, inhabitants of an island called Sarrope, in the midst of a great lake, who put the warriors to flight, bore the maidens captive to their watery fastness, espoused them all, and, as we are assured, “ loved them above all measure.”
Outina, taught by Arlac the efficacy of the French fire-arms, begged for ten arquebusiers to aid him on a new raid among the villages of Potanou, again alluring his greedy allies by the assurance, that, thus reinforced, he would conquer for them a free access to the phantom gold-mines of Appalachee. Ottigny set forth on this fool’s-errand with thrice the force demanded. Three hundred Thimagoa and thirty Frenchmen took up their march through the pine-barrens. Outina’s conjurer was of the number, and had well - nigh ruined the enterprise. Kneeling on Ottigny’s shield, that he might not touch the earth, with hideous grimaces, bowlings, and contortions, he wrought liimself into a prophetic frenzy, and proclaimed to the astounded warriors that to advance farther would be destruction. Outina was for instant retreat, but Ottigny’s sarcasms shamed him into a show of courage. Again thev moved forward, and soon encountered Potanou with all his host. Le Movne drew a picture of the fight. In the foreground Ottigny is engaged in single combat with a gigantic savage, who, with club upheaved, aims a deadly stroke at the plumed helmet of his foe ; but tlie latter, with target raised to guard his head, darts under the arms of the naked Goliath, and transfixes him with his sword. The arquebuse did its work: panic, slaughter, and a plentiful harvest of scalps. But no persuasion could induce Outina to follow up his victory. He went home to dance around his trophies, and the French returned disgusted to Fort Caroline.
And now, in ample measure, the French began to reap the harvest of their folly. Conquest, gold, military occupation, — such had been their aims. J\ot a rood of ground had been stirred with the spade. Their stores were consumed; the expected supplies had not come. The Indians, too, were hostile. Satouriona hated them as allies of his enemies; and his tribesmen, robbed and maltreated by the lawless soldiers, exulted in their miseries. Yet in these, their dark and subtle neighbors, was their only hope.
May-day came, the third anniversary of the day when Ribaut and his companions, full of delighted anticipations, had explored the flowery borders of the St. John’s. Dire was the contrast; for, within the homesick precinct of Fort Caroline, a squalid band, dejected and worn, dragged their shrunken limbs about the sun - scorched area, or lay stretched in listless wretchedness under the shade of the barracks. Some were digging roots in the forest, or gathering a kind of sorrel upon the meadows. One collected refuse fish-bones and pounded them into meal. Yet, giddy with weakness, their skin clinging to their bones, they dragged themselves in turn to the top of St. John’s Bluff, straining their eyes across the sea to descry the anxiously expected sail.
Had Coligny left them to perish ? or had some new tempest of calamity, let loose upon France, drowned the memory of their exile ? In vain the watchman on the hill surveyed the solitude of waters. A deep dejection fell upon them, a dejection that would have sunk to despair, could their eyes have pierced the future.
The Indians had left the neighborhood, but, from time to time, brought in meagre supplies of fish, which they sold to the famished soldiers at exorbitant prices. Lest they should pay the penalty of their extortion, they would not enter the fort, but lay in their canoes in the river, beyond gunshot, waiting for their customers to come out to them. “ Oftentimes,” says Laudonuière, “our poor soldiers were constrained to give away the very shirts from their backs to get one fish. If at any time they shewed unto the savages the excessive price which they tooke, these villaines would answere them roughly and churlishly: If thou make so great account of thy marchandise, eat it, and we will eat our fish: then fell they out a laughing and mocked us with open throat.”
The spring wore away, and no relief appeared. One thought now engrossed the colonists, the thought of return to France. Vasseur’s ship, the Breton, still remained in the river, and they had also the Spanish brigantine brought by the mutineers. But these vessels were insufficient, and they prepared to build a new one. The energy of reviving hope lent new life to their exhausted frames. Some gathered pitch in the pine forests ; some made charcoal; some cut and sawed the timber. The maize began to ripen, and this brought some relief; but the Indians, exasperated and greedy, sold it with reluctance, and murdered two halffamished Frenchmen who gathered a handful in the fields.
The colonists applied to Outina, who owed them two victories. The result was a churlish message and a niggardly supply of corn, coupled with an invitation to aid him against an insurgent chief, the plunder of whose villages would yield an ample supply. The offer was accepted. Ottigny and Vasseur set forth, but were grossly deceived, led against a different enemy, and sent back empty-handed and half-starved.
Pale with famine and with rage, a crowd of soldiers beset Laudonuière, and fiercely demanded to be led against Outina to take him prisoner and extort from his fears the supplies which could not be looked for from his gratitude. The commandant was forced to comply. Those who could bear the weight of their armor put it on, embarked, to the number of fifty, in two barges, and sailed up the river under the commandant himself. Outina’s landing reached, they marched inland, entered his village, surrounded his mud-plastered palace, seized him amid the yells and howlings of his subjects, and led him prisoner to their boats. Here, anchored in mid-stream, they demanded a supply of corn and beans as the price of his ransom.
The alarm spread. Excited warriors, bedaubed with red, came thronging from all his villages. The forest along the shore was full of them ; and troops of women gathered at the water’s edge with moans, outcries, and gestures of despair. Yet no ransom was offered, since, reasoning from their own instincts, they never doubted, that, the price paid, the captive would be put to death.
Laudonuière waited two days, then descended the river. In a rude chamber of Fort Caroline, pike in hand, the sentinel stood his guard, while before him crouched the captive chief, mute, impassive, brooding on his woes. His old enemy, Satouriona, keen as a hound on the scent of prey, tried, by great offers, to bribe Laudonuière to give the prisoner into his hands. Outina, however, was kindly treated, and assured of immediate freedom on payment of the ransom.
Meanwhile his captivity was entailing dire affliction on his realm ; for, despairing of his return, his subjects mustered to the election of a new chief. Partystrife ran high. Some were for a boy, his son, and some for an ambitious kinsman who coveted the vacant throne. Outina chafed in his prison, learning these dissensions, and, eager to convince his over-hasty subjects that their king still lived, he was so profuse of promises, that he was again embarked and carried up the river.
At no great distance below Lake George, a small affluent of the St. John’s gave access by water to a point within eighteen miles of Outina’s principal town. The two barges, crowded with soldiers, and bearing also the royal captive, rowed up this little stream. Indians awaited them at the landing, with gifts of bread, beans, and fish, and piteous prayers for their chief, upon whose liberation they promised an ample supply of corn. As they were deaf to all other terms, Laudonnière yielded, released the chief, and received in his place two hostages, who were fast bound in the boats. Ottigny and Arlac, with a strong detachment of arquebusiers, set forth to receive the promised supplies, for which, from the first, full payment in merchandise had been offered. Arrived at the village, they filed into the great central lodge, within whose dusky precincts were gathered the magnates of the tribe. Councilchamber, forum, banquet-hall, dancinghall, palace, all in one, the royal dwelling could hold half the population in its capacious confines. Here the French made their abode. Their armor buckled, their arquebuse-matches lighted, they stood, or sat, or reclined on the earthen floor, with anxious eyes watching the strange, dim scene, half lighted by the daylight that streamed down through the hole at the apex of the roof. Tall, dark forms stalked to and fro, quivers at their backs, bows and arrows in their hands, while groups, crouched in the shadow beyond, eyed the hated guests with inscrutable visages, and malignant, sidelong eyes. Corn came in slowly, but warriors were mustering fast. The village without was full of them. The French officers grew anxious, and urged the chiefs to greater alacrity in collecting the promised ransom. The answer boded no good. “ Our women are afraid, when they see the matches of your guns burning. Put them out, and they will bring the corn faster.” Outina was nowhere to be seen. At length they learned that he was in one of the small huts adjacent. Several of the officers went to him, complaining of the slow payment of his ransom. The kindness of his captors at Fort Caroline seemed to have won his heart. He replied, that such was the rage of his subjects that he could no longer control them,—that the French were in danger, — and that he had seen arrows stuck in the ground by the side of the path, in token that war was declared. Their peril was thickening hourly, and Ottigny resolved to regain the boats while there was yet time.
On the twenty-seventh of July, at nine in the morning, he set his men in order. Each shouldering a sack of corn, they marched through the rows of squalid huts that surrounded the great lodge, and out betwixt the interfolding extremities of the palisade that encircled the town. Before them stretched a wide avenue, three or four hundred paces long, flanked by a natural growth of trees, — one of those curious monuments of native industry to which allusion has been already made. Here Ottigny halted and formed his line of march. Arlac with eight matchlockmen was sent in advance, and flanking parties thrown into the woods on either side. Ottigny told his soldiers, that, if the Indians meant to attack them, they were probably in ambush at the other end of the avenue. He was right. As Arlac’s party reached the spot, the whole pack gave tongue at once. The war-whoop quavered through the startled air, and a tempest of stone-headed arrows clattered against the breastplates of the French, or tore, scorching like fire, through their unprotected limbs. They stood firm, and sent back their shot so steadily that several of the assailants were laid dead, and the rest, two or three hundred in number, gave way as Ottigny came up with his men.
They moved on for a quarter of a mile through a country, as it seems, comparatively open; when again the war-cry pealed in front, and three hundred savages came bounding to the assault. Their whoops were echoed from the rear. It was the party whom Arlac had just repulsed, who, leaping and showering their arrows, were rushing on with a ferocity restrained only by their lack of courage. There was no panic. The men threw down their corn-bags, and took to their weapons. They blew their matches, and, under two excellent officers, stood well to their work. The Indians, on their part, showed a good discipline, after their fashion, and were perfectly under the control of their chiefs. With cries that imitated the yell of owls, the scream of cougars, and the howl of wolves, they ran up in successive bands, let fly their arrows, and instantly fell back, giving place to others. At the sight of the levelled arquebuse, they dropped flat on the earth. Whenever, sword in hand, the French charged upon them, they fled like foxes through the woods ; and whenever the march was resumed, the arrows were showering again upon the flanks and rear of the retiring band. The soldiers coolly picked them up and broke them as they fell. Thus, beset with swarming savages, the handful of Frenchmen pushed their march till nightfall, fighting as they went.
The Indians gradually drew off, and the forest was silent again. Two of the French had been killed and twenty-two wounded, several so severely that they were supported to the boats with the utmost difficulty. Of the corn, two bags only had been brought off.
Famine and desperation now reigned at Fort Caroline. The Indians had killed two of the carpenters ; hence long delay in the finishing of the new ship. They would not wait, but resolved to put to sea in the Breton and the brigantine. The problem was to find food for the voyage; for now, in their extremity, they roasted and ate snakes, a delicacy in which the neighborhood abounded-
On the third of August, Laudonnière, perturbed and oppressed, was walking on the hill, when, looking seaward, he saw a sight that shot a thrill through his exhausted frame. A great ship was standing towards the river’s mouth. Then another came in sight, and another, and another. He called the tidings to the fort below. Then languid forms rose and danced for joy, and voices, shrill with weakness, joined in wild laughter and acclamation.
A doubt soon mingled with their joy. Who were the strangers ? Were they the succors so long hoped in vain ? or were they Spaniards bringing steel and fire ? They were neither. The foremost was a stately ship, of seven hundred tons, a mighty burden at that day. She was named the Jesus ; and with her were three smaller vessels, the Solomon, the Tiger, and the Swallow. Their commander was “ a right worshipful and valiant knight,”—for so the record styles him, — a pious man and a prudent, to judge him by the orders he gave his crew, when, ten months before, he sailed out of Plymouth :—“ Serve God daily, love one another, preserve your victuals, beware of fire, and keepe good companie.” Nor were the crew unworthy the graces of their chief; for the devout chronicler of the voyage ascribes their deliverance from the perils of the seas to “ the Almiglitie God, who never suffereth his Elect to perish.”
Who, then, were they, this chosen band, serenely conscious of a special Providential care ? Apostles of the cross, bearing the word of peace to benighted heathendom ? They were the pioneers of that detested traffic destined to inoculate with its black infection nations yet unborn, parent of discord and death, with the furies in their train, filling half a continent with the tramp of armies and the clash of fratricidal swords. Their chief was Sir John Hawkins, father of the English slave-trade.
He had been to the coast of Guinea, where he bought and kidnapped a cargo of slaves. These he had sold to the jealous Spaniards of Hispaniola, forcing them, with sword, matchlock, and culverin, to grant him free trade, and then to sign testimonials that he had borne himself as became a peaceful merchant. Prospering greatly by this summary commerce, but distressed by the want of water, he had put into the River of May to obtain a supply.
Among the rugged heroes of the British marine, Sir John stood in the front rank, and along with Drake, his relative, is extolled as “a man borne for the honour of the English name. . . . . Neither
did the West of England yeeld such an Indian Neptunian paire as were these two Ocean peeres, Hawkins and Drake.” So writes the old chronicler, Purchas, and all England was of his thinking. A hardy seaman, a bold fghter, overbearing towards equals, but kind, in his bluff way, to those beneath him, rude in speech, somewhat crafty withal, and avaricious, he buffeted his way to riches and fame, and died at last full of years and honor. As for the abject humanity stowed between the reeking decks of the ship Jesus, they were merely in his eyes so many black cattle tethered for the market. Queen Elizabeth had an interest in the venture, and received her share of the sugar, pearls, ginger, and hides which the vigorous measures of Sir John gained from his Spanish customers.
Hawkins came up the river in a pinnace, and landed at Fort. Caroline, “accompanied,” says Laudonnière, “ with gentlemen honorably apparelled, yet unarmed.” Between the Huguenots and the English there was a double tie of sympathy. Both hated priests, and both hated Spaniards. Wakening from their apathetic misery, the starveling garrison hailed him as a deliverer. Yet Hawkins secretly rejoiced, when he learned their purpose to abandon Florida; for, though, not to tempt his cupidity, they hid from him the secret of their Appalachian gold-mine, he coveted for his royal mistress the possession of this rich domain. He shook his head, however, when he saw the vessels in which they proposed to embark, and offered them all a free passage to France in his own ships. This, from obvious motives of honor and prudence, Laudonnière declined, upon which Hawkins offered to lend or sell to him one of his smaller vessels.
Hereupon arose a great clamor. A mob of soldiers and artisans beset Laudonnière’s chamber, threatening loudly to desert him, and take passage with Hawkins, unless the offer of the latter were accepted. The commandant accordingly resolved to buy the vessel. The generous slaver, whose reputed avarice nowise appears in the transaction, desired him to set his own price ; and, in place of money, took the cannon of the fort, with other articles now useless to their late owners. He sent them, too, a gift of wine and biscuit, and supplied them with provision for the voyage, receiving in payment Laudonnière’s note, — “for which,” adds the latter, “ I am until this present indebted to him.” With a friendly leave-taking be returned to his ships and stood out to sea, leaving golden opinions among the grateful inmates of Fort Caroline.
Before the English top-sails had sunk beneath the horizon, the colonists bestirred themselves to depart. In a few days their preparations were made. They waited only for a fair wind. It was long in coming, and meanwhile their troubled fortunes assumed a new phase.
On the twenty-eighth of August, the two captains, Vasseur and Verdier, came in with tidings of an approaching squadron. Again the fort was wild with excitement. Friends or foes, French or Spaniards, succor or death : betwixt these were their hopes and fears divided. With the following morning, they saw seven barges rowing up the river, bristling with weapons and crowded with men in armor. The sentries on the bluff challenged, and received no answer. One of them fired at the advancing boats. Still no response. Laudonnière was almost defenceless. He had given his heavier cannon to Hawkins, and only two field-pieces were left. They were levelled at the foremost boats, and the word was about to be given, when a voice from among the strangers called that they were French, commanded by John Ribaut. At the eleventh hour, the long-lookedfor succors were come. Ribaut had been commissioned to sail with seven ships for Florida. A disorderly concourse of disbanded soldiers, mixed with artisans and their families, and young nobles weary of a two-years’ peace, were mustered at the port of Dieppe, and embarked, to the number of three hundred men, bearing with them all things thought necessary to a prosperous colony.
No longer in dread of the Spaniards, the colonists saluted the new-comers with the cannon by which a moment before they had hoped to blow them out of the water. Laudonnière issued from his stronghold to welcome them, and regaled them with what cheer he might. Ribaut was present, conspicuous by his long beard, the astonishment of the Indians ; and here, too, were officers, old friends of Laudonnière. Why, then, had they approached in the attitude of enemies ? The mystery was soon explained; for they expressed to the commandant their pleasure at finding that the charges made against him had proved false. He begged to know more, on which Ribaut, taking him aside, told him that the returning ships had brought home letters filled with accusations of arrogance, tyranny, cruelty, and a purpose of establishing an independent command: accusations which he now saw to he unfounded, but which had been the occasion of his unusual and startling precaution. He gave him, too, a letter from the Admiral Coligny. In brief, but courteous terms, it required him to resign his command, and invited his return to France to clear his name from the imputations cast upon it. Ribaut warmly urged him to remain; but Laudonnière declined his friendly proposals.
Worn in body and mind, mortified and wounded, he soon fell ill again. A peasant-woman attended him, brought over, he says, to nurse the sick and take charge of the poultry, and of whom Le Moyne also speaks as a servant, but who had been made the occasion of additional charges against him, most offensive to the austere Admiral.
Stores were landed, tents were pitched, women and children were sent on shore, feathered Indians mingled in the throng, and the sunny borders of the River of May swarmed with busy life. “ But, lo, how oftentimes misfortune doth search and pursue us, even then when we thinke to be at rest! ” exclaims the unhappy Laudonnière. Behind the light and cheer of renovated hope, a cloud of blackest omen was gathering in the east.
At half-past eleven on the night of Tuesday, the fourth of September, the crew of Ribaut’s flag-ship, anchored on the still sea outside the bar, saw a huge hulk, grim with the throats of cannon, drifting towards them through the gloom; aud from its stern rolled on the sluggish air the portentous banner of Spain.
Here opens a wilder act of this eventful drama. At another day we shall lift the curtain on its fierce and bloody scenes.