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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER V.

1564, 1565.

CONSPIRACY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A severe illness again seized Laudonniere, and confined him to his bed. Improving their advantage, the malcontents gained over nearly all the best soldiers in the fort. The ringleader was one Fourneaux, a man of good birth, but whom Le Moyne calls an avaricious hypocrite. He drew up a paper, to which sixty-six names were signed. La Caille boldly opposed the conspirators, and they resolved to kill him. His room-mate, Le Moyne, who had also refused to sign, received a hint of the design from a friend; upon which he warned La Caille, who escaped to the woods. It was late in the night. Fourneaux, with twenty men armed to the teeth, knocked fiercely at the commandant's door. Forcing an entrance, they wounded a gentleman who opposed them, and crowded around the sick man's bed. Fourneaux, armed with steel cap and cuirass, held his arquebuse to Laudonniere's throat, and demanded leave to go on a cruise among the Spanish islands. The latter kept his presence of mind, and remonstrated with some firmness; on which, with oaths and menaces, they dragged him from his bed, put him in fetters, carried him out to the gate of the fort, placed him in a boat, and rowed him to the ship anchored in the 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 Laudonniere to sign. The sick commandant, imprisoned in the ship with one attendant, at first refused; but receiving a message from the mutineers, that, if he did not comply, they would come on board and cut his throat, he at length yielded.

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VI. 1564, 1565.

FAMINE. WAR. SUCCOR.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At no great distance from Lake George, a small affluent of the St. John's gave access by water to a point within six French leagues of Outina's principal town. The two barges, crowded with soldiers, and bearing also the captive Outina, rowed up this little stream. Indians awaited them at the landing, with gifts of bread, beans, and fish, and piteous prayers for their chief, upon whose liberation they promised an ample supply of corn. As they were deaf to all other terms, Laudonniere yielded, released his prisoner, and received in his place two hostages, who were fast bound in the boats. Ottigny and Arlac, with a strong detachment of arquebusiers, went to receive the promised supplies, for which, from the first, full payment in merchandise had been offered. On their arrival at the village, they filed into the great central lodge, within whose dusky precincts were gathered the magnates of the tribe. Council-chamber, forum, banquet-hall, and dancing-hall all in one, the spacious structure could hold half the population. Here the French made their abode. With armor buckled, and arquebuse matches lighted, they watched with anxious eyes the strange, dim scene, half revealed by the daylight that streamed down through the hole at the apex of the roof. Tall, dark forms stalked to and fro, with quivers at their backs, and bows and arrows in their hands, while groups, crouched in the shadow beyond, eyed the hated guests with inscrutable visages, and malignant, sidelong eyes. Corn came in slowly, but warriors mustered fast. The village without was full of them. The French officers grew anxious, and urged the chiefs to greater alacrity in collecting the promised ransom. The answer boded no good: "Our women are afraid when they see the matches of your guns burning. Put them out, and they will bring the corn 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. The 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 huts that surrounded the great lodge, and out betwixt the overlapping 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 already been made. Here Ottigny halted and formed his line of march. Arlac, with eight matchlock men, was sent in advance, and flanking parties were 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 rose, and a tempest of stone-headed arrows clattered against the breast-plates of the French, or, scorching like fire, tore 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 bounded to the assault. Their whoops were echoed from the rear. It was the party whom Arlac had just repulsed, and who, leaping and showering their arrows, were rushing on again with a ferocity restrained only by their lack of courage. There was no panic among the French. The men threw down their bags of corn, 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 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 leveled arquebuse, they dropped flat on the ground. Whenever the French charged upon them, sword in hand, they fled through the woods like foxes; and whenever the march was resumed, the arrows were showering again upon the flanks and rear of the retiring band. As they fell, the soldiers picked them up and broke them. Thus, beset with swarming savages, the handful of Frenchmen pushed slowly onward, 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, Laudonniere, perturbed and oppressed, was walking on the hill, when, looking seaward, he saw a sight that sent 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 despatched a messenger with the tidings to the fort below. The languid forms of his sick and despairing men rose and danced for joy, and voices shrill with weakness joined in wild laughter and acclamation, insomuch, he says, "that one would have thought them to bee out of their wittes."

A doubt soon mingled with their joy. Who were the strangers? Were they the friends so long hoped for in vain? or were they Spaniards, their dreaded enemies? They were neither. The foremost ship was a stately one, of seven hundred tons, a great 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 sea to "the Almightie God, who never suffereth his Elect to perish."

Who then were they, this chosen band, serenely conscious of a special Providential care? They were the pioneers of that detested traffic destined to inoculate with its infection nations yet unborn, the parent of discord and death, 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 and skilful seaman, a bold fighter, a loyal friend and a stern enemy, 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. [18]

Hawkins came up the river in a pinnace, and landed at Fort Caroline, accompanied, says Laudonniere, "with gentlemen honorably apparelled, yet unarmed." Between the Huguenots and the English Puritans 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 although, 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, Laudonniere declined, upon which Hawkins offered to lend or sell to him one of his smaller vessels.

Laudonniere hesitated, and hereupon arose a great clamor. A mob of soldiers and artisans beset his chamber, threatening loudly to desert him, and take passage with Hawkins, unless the offer were accepted. The commandant accordingly resolved to buy the vessel. The generous slaver, whose reputed avarice nowhere 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 provisions for the voyage, receiving in payment Laudonniere's note; "for which," adds the latter, "untill this present I am indebted to him." With a friendly leave taking, he 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. On 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, and still there was no response. Laudonniere 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 to fire was about to be given, when a voice from among the strangers called out that they were French, commanded by Jean Ribaut.

At the eleventh hour, the long looked for 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. Laudonniere issued from his stronghold to welcome them, and regaled them with what cheer he could. Ribaut was present, conspicuous by his long beard, an astonishment to the Indians; and here, too, were officers, old friends of Laudonniere. 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 be unfounded, but which had been the occasion of his unusual and startling precaution. He gave him, too, a letter from Admiral Coligny. In brief but courteous terms, it required him to resign his command, and requested his return to France to clear his name from the imputations cast upon it. Ribaut warmly urged him to remain; but Laudonniere declined his friendly proposals.

Worn in body and mind, mortified and wounded, he soon fell ill again. A peasant woman attended him, who was 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 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 Laudonniere. Amidst 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; and from its stern rolled on the sluggish air the portentous banner of Spain.



CHAPTER VII. 1565.

MENENDEZ.

The monk, the inquisitor, and the Jesuit were lords of Spain,—sovereigns of her sovereign, for they had formed the dark and narrow mind of that tyrannical recluse. They had formed the minds of her people, quenched in blood every spark of rising heresy, and given over a noble nation to a bigotry blind and inexorable as the doom of fate. Linked with pride, ambition, avarice, every passion of a rich, strong nature, potent for good and ill, it made the Spaniard of that day a scourge as dire as ever fell on man.

Day was breaking on the world. Light, hope, and freedom pierced with vitalizing ray the clouds and the miasma that hung so thick over the prostrate Middle Age, once noble and mighty, now a foul image of decay and death. Kindled with new life, the nations gave birth to a progeny of heroes, and the stormy glories of the sixteenth century rose on awakened Europe. But Spain was the citadel of darkness,—a monastic cell, an inquisitorial dungeon, where no ray could pierce. She was the bulwark of the Church, against whose adamantine wall the waves of innovation beat in vain. [19] In every country of Europe the party of freedom and reform was the national party, the party of reaction and absolutism was the Spanish party, leaning on Spain, looking to her for help. Above all, it was so in France; and, while within her bounds there was for a time some semblance of peace, the national and religious rage burst forth on a wilder theatre. Thither it is for us to follow it, where, on the shores of Florida, the Spaniard and the Frenchman, the bigot and the Huguenot, met in the grapple of death.

In a corridor of his palace, Philip the Second was met by a man who had long stood waiting his approach, and who with proud reverence placed a petition in the hand of the pale and sombre King.

The petitioner was Pedro Menendez de Aviles, one of the ablest and most distinguished officers of the Spanish marine. He was born of an ancient Asturian family. His boyhood had been wayward, ungovernable, and fierce. He ran off at eight years of age, and when, after a search of six months, he was found and brought back, he ran off again. This time he was more successful, escaping on board a fleet bound against the Barbary corsairs, where his precocious appetite for blood and blows had reasonable contentment. A few years later, he found means to build a small vessel, in which he cruised against the corsairs and the French, and, though still hardly more than a boy, displayed a singular address and daring. The wonders of the New World now seized his imagination. He made a voyage thither, and the ships under his charge came back freighted with wealth. The war with France was then at its height. As captain-general of the fleet, he was sent with troops to Flanders; and to their prompt arrival was due, it is said, the victory of St. Quentin. Two years later, he commanded the luckless armada which bore back Philip to his native shore. On the way, the King narrowly escaped drowning in a storm off the port of Laredo. This mischance, or his own violence and insubordination, wrought to the prejudice of Menendez. He complained that his services were ill repaid. Philip lent him a favoring ear, and despatched him to the Indies as general of the fleet and army. Here he found means to amass vast riches; and, in 1561, on his return to Spain, charges were brought against him of a nature which his too friendly biographer does not explain. The Council of the Indies arrested him. He was imprisoned and sentenced to a heavy fine; but, gaining his release, hastened to court to throw himself on the royal clemency. His petition was most graciously received. Philip restored his command, but remitted only half his fine, a strong presumption of his guilt.

Menendez kissed the royal hand; he had another petition in reserve. His son had been wrecked near the Bermudas, and he would fain go thither to find tidings of his fate. The pious King bade him trust in God, and promised that he should be despatched without delay to the Bermudas and to Florida, with a commission to make an exact survey of the neighboring seas for the profit of future voyagers; but Menendez was not content with such an errand. He knew, he said, nothing of greater moment to his Majesty than the conquest and settlement of Florida. The climate was healthful, the soil fertile; and, worldly advantages aside, it was peopled by a race sunk in the thickest shades of infidelity. "Such grief," he pursued, "seizes me, when I behold this multitude of wretched Indians, that I should choose the conquest and settling of Florida above all commands, offices, and dignities which your Majesty might bestow." Those who take this for hypocrisy do not know the Spaniard of the sixteenth century.

The King was edified by his zeal. An enterprise of such spiritual and temporal promise was not to be slighted, and Menendez was empowered to conquer and convert Florida at his own cost. The conquest was to be effected within three years. Menendez was to take with him five hundred men, and supply them with five hundred slaves, besides horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs. Villages were to be built, with forts to defend them, and sixteen ecclesiastics, of whom four should be Jesuits, were to form the nucleus of a Floridan church. The King, on his part, granted Menendez free trade with Hispaniola, Porto Rico, Cuba, and Spain, the office of Adelantado of Florida for life, with the right of naming his successor, and large emoluments to be drawn from the expected conquest.

The compact struck, Menendez hastened to his native Asturias to raise money among his relatives. Scarcely was he gone, when tidings reached Madrid that Florida was already occupied by a colony of French Protestants, and that a reinforcement, under Ribaut, was on the point of sailing thither. A French historian of high authority declares that these advices came from the Catholic party at the French court, in whom every instinct of patriotism was lost in their hatred of Coligny and the Huguenots. Of this there can be little doubt, though information also came about this time from the buccaneer Frenchmen captured in the West Indies.

Foreigners had invaded the territory of Spain. The trespassers, too, were heretics, foes of God, and liegemen of the Devil. Their doom was fixed. But how would France endure an assault, in time of peace, on subjects who had gone forth on an enterprise sanctioned by the Crown, and undertaken in its name and under its commission?

The throne of France, in which the corruption of the nation seemed gathered to a head, was trembling between the two parties of the Catholics and the Huguenots, whose chiefs aimed at royalty. Flattering both, caressing both, playing one against the other, and betraying both, Catherine de Medicis, by a thousand crafty arts and expedients of the moment, sought to retain the crown on the head of her weak and vicious son. Of late her crooked policy had led her towards the Catholic party, in other words the party of Spain; and she had already given ear to the savage Duke of Alva, urging her to the course which, seven years later, led to the carnage of St. Bartholomew. In short, the Spanish policy was in the ascendant, and no thought of the national interest or honor could restrain that basest of courts from abandoning by hundreds to the national enemy those whom it was itself meditating to immolate by thousands. It might protest for form's sake, or to quiet public clamor; but Philip of Spain well knew that it would end in patient submission.

Menendez was summoned back in haste to the Spanish court. His force must be strengthened. Three hundred and ninety-four men were added at the royal charge, and a corresponding number of transport and supply ships. It was a holy war, a crusade, and as such was preached by priest and monk along the western coasts of Spain. All the Biscayan ports flamed with zeal, and adventurers crowded to enroll themselves; since to plunder heretics is good for the soul as well as the purse, and broil and massacre have double attraction when promoted into a means of salvation. It was a fervor, deep and hot, but not of celestial kindling; nor yet that buoyant and inspiring zeal which, when the Middle Age was in its youth and prime, glowed in the souls of Tancred, Godfrey, and St. Louis, and which, when its day was long since past, could still find its home in the great heart of Columbus. A darker spirit urged the new crusade,—born not of hope, but of fear, slavish in its nature, the creature and the tool of despotism; for the typical Spaniard of the sixteenth century was not in strictness a fanatic, he was bigotry incarnate.

Heresy was a plague-spot, an ulcer to be eradicated with fire and the knife, and this foul abomination was infecting the shores which the Vicegerent of Christ had given to the King of Spain, and which the Most Catholic King had given to the Adelantado. Thus would countless heathen tribes be doomed to an eternity of flame, and the Prince of Darkness hold his ancient sway unbroken; and for the Adelantado himself, the vast outlays, the vast debts of his bold Floridan venture would be all in vain, and his fortunes be wrecked past redemption through these tools of Satan. As a Catholic, as a Spaniard, and as an adventurer, his course was clear.

The work assigned him was prodigious. He was invested with power almost absolute, not merely over the peninsula which now retains the name of Florida, but over all North America, from Labrador to Mexico; for this was the Florida of the old Spanish geographers, and the Florida designated in the commission of Menendez. It was a continent which he was to conquer and occupy out of his own purse. The impoverished King contracted with his daring and ambitious subject to win and hold for him the territory of the future United States and British Provinces. His plan, as afterwards exposed at length in his letters to Philip the Second, was, first, to plant a garrison at Port Royal, and next to fortify strongly on Chesapeake Bay, called by him St. Mary's. He believed that adjoining this bay was an arm of the sea, running northward and eastward, and communicating with the Gulf of St. Lawrence, thus making New England, with adjacent districts, an island. His proposed fort on the Chesapeake, securing access by this imaginary passage, to the seas of Newfoundland, would enable the Spaniards to command the fisheries, on which both the French and the English had long encroached, to the great prejudice of Spanish rights. Doubtless, too, these inland waters gave access to the South Sea, and their occupation was necessary to prevent the French from penetrating thither; for that ambitious people, since the time of Cartier, had never abandoned their schemes of seizing this portion of the dominions of the King of Spain. Five hundred soldiers and one hundred sailors must, he urges, take possession, without delay, of Port Royal and the Chesapeake. [20]

Preparation for his enterprise was pushed with furious energy. His whole force, when the several squadrons were united, amounted to two thousand six hundred and forty-six persons, in thirty-four vessels, one of which, the San Pelayo, bearing Menendez himself, was of nine hundred and ninety-six tons burden, and is described as one of the finest ships afloat. [21] There were twelve Franciscans and eight Jesuits, besides other ecclesiastics; and many knights of Galicia, Biscay, and the Asturias took part in the expedition. With a slight exception, the whole was at the Adelantado's charge. Within the first fourteen months, according to his admirer, Barcia, the adventure cost him a million ducats. [22]

Before the close of the year, Sancho do Arciniega was commissioned to join Menendez with an additional force of fifteen hundred men.

Red-hot with a determined purpose, the Adelantado would brook no delay. To him, says the chronicler, every day seemed a year. He was eager to anticipate Ribaut, of whose designs and whose force he seems to have been informed to the minutest particular, but whom he hoped to thwart and ruin by gaining Fort Caroline before him. With eleven ships, therefore, he sailed from Cadiz, on the twenty-ninth of June, 1565, leaving the smaller vessels of his fleet to follow with what speed they might. He touched first at the Canaries, and on the eighth of July left them, steering for Dominica. A minute account of the voyage has come down to us, written by Mendoza, chaplain of the expedition,—a somewhat dull and illiterate person, who busily jots down the incidents of each passing day, and is constantly betraying, with a certain awkward simplicity, how the cares of this world and of the next jostle each other in his thoughts.

On Friday, the twentieth of July, a storm fell upon them with appalling fury. The pilots lost their wits, and the sailors gave themselves up to their terrors. Throughout the night, they beset Mendoza for confession and absolution, a boon not easily granted, for the seas swept the crowded decks with cataracts of foam, and the shriekings of the gale in the rigging overpowered the exhortations of the half-drowned priest. Cannon, cables, spars, water-casks, were thrown overboard, and the chests of the sailors would have followed, had not the latter, in spite of their fright, raised such a howl of remonstrance that the order was revoked. At length day dawned, Plunging, reeling, half under water, quivering with the shock of the seas, whose mountain ridges rolled down upon her before the gale, the ship lay in deadly peril from Friday till Monday noon. Then the storm abated; the sun broke out; and again she held her course.

They reached Dominica on Sunday, the fifth of August. The chaplain tells us how he went on shore to refresh himself; how, while his Italian servant washed his linen at a brook, he strolled along the beach and picked up shells; and how he was scared, first, by a prodigious turtle, and next by a vision of the cannibal natives, which caused his prompt retreat to the boats.

On the tenth, they anchored in the harbor of Porto Rico, where they found two ships of their squadron, from which they had parted in the storm. One of them was the "San Pelayo," with Menendez on board. Mendoza informs us, that in the evening the officers came on board the ship to which he was attached, when he, the chaplain, regaled them with sweetmeats, and that Menendez invited him not only to supper that night, but to dinner the next day, "for the which I thanked him, as reason was," says the gratified churchman.

Here thirty men deserted, and three priests also ran off, of which Mendoza bitterly complains, as increasing his own work. The motives of the clerical truants may perhaps be inferred from a worldly temptation to which the chaplain himself was subjected. "I was offered the service of a chapel where I should have got a peso for every mass I said, the whole year round; but I did not accept it, for fear that what I hear said of the other three would be said of me. Besides, it is not a place where one can hope for any great advancement, and I wished to try whether, in refusing a benefice for the love of the Lord, He will not repay me with some other stroke of fortune before the end of the voyage; for it is my aim to serve God and His blessed Mother."

The original design had been to rendezvous at Havana, but with the Adelantado the advantages of despatch outweighed every other consideration. He resolved to push directly for Florida. Five of his scattered ships had by this time rejoined company, comprising, exclusive of officers, a force of about five hundred soldiers, two hundred sailors, and one hundred colonists. Bearing northward, he advanced by an unknown and dangerous course along the coast of Hayti and through the intricate passes of the Bahamas. On the night of the twenty-sixth, the "San Pelayo" struck three times on the shoals; "but," says the chaplain, "inasmuch as our enterprise was undertaken for the sake of Christ and His blessed Mother, two heavy seas struck her abaft, and set her afloat again."

At length the ships lay becalmed in the Bahama Channel, slumbering on the glassy sea, torpid with the heats of a West Indian August. Menendez called a council of the commanders. There was doubt and indecision. Perhaps Ribaut had already reached the French fort, and then to attack the united force would be an act of desperation. Far better to await their lagging comrades. But the Adelantado was of another mind; and, even had his enemy arrived, ho was resolved that he should have no time to fortify himself.

"It is God's will," he said, "that our victory should be due, not to our numbers, but to His all-powerful aid. Therefore has He stricken us with tempests, and scattered our ships." And he gave his voice for instant advance.

There was much dispute; even the chaplain remonstrated; but nothing could bend the iron will of Menendez. Nor was a sign of celestial approval wanting. At nine in the evening, a great meteor burst forth in mid-heaven, and, blazing like the sun, rolled westward towards the coast of Florida. The fainting spirits of the crusaders were revived. Diligent preparation was begun. Prayers and masses were said; and, that the temporal arm might not fail, the men were daily practised on deck in shooting at marks, in order, says the chronicle, that the recruits might learn not to be afraid of their guns.

The dead calm continued. "We were all very tired," says the chaplain, "and I above all, with praying to God for a fair wind. To-day, at about two in the afternoon, He took pity on us, and sent us a breeze." Before night they saw land,—the faint line of forest, traced along the watery horizon, that marked the coast of Florida. But where, in all this vast monotony, was the lurking-place of the French? Menendez anchored, and sent a captain with twenty men ashore, who presently found a band of Indians, and gained from them the needed information. He stood northward, till, on the afternoon of Tuesday, the fourth of September, he descried four ships anchored near the mouth of a river. It was the river St. John's, and the ships were four of Ribaut's squadron. The prey was in sight. The Spaniards prepared for battle, and bore down upon the Lutherans; for, with them, all Protestants alike were branded with the name of the arch-heretic. Slowly, before the faint breeze, the ships glided on their way; but while, excited and impatient, the fierce crews watched the decreasing space, and when they were still three leagues from their prize, the air ceased to stir, the sails flapped against the mast, a black cloud with thunder rose above the coast, and the warm rain of the South descended on the breathless sea. It was dark before the wind stirred again and the ships resumed their course. At half-past eleven they reached the French. The "San Pelayo" slowly moved to windward of Ribaut's flag-ship, the "Trinity," and anchored very near her. The other ships took similar stations. While these preparations were making, a work of two hours, the men labored in silence, and the French, thronging their gangways, looked on in equal silence. "Never, since I came into the world," writes the chaplain, "did I know such a stillness."

It was broken at length by a trumpet from the deck of the "San Pelayo." A French trumpet answered. Then Menendez, "with much courtesy," says his Spanish eulogist, inquired, "Gentlemen, whence does this fleet come?"

"From France," was the reply.

"What are you doing here?" pursued the Adelantado.

"Bringing soldiers and supplies for a fort which the King of France has in this country, and for many others which he soon will have."

"Are you Catholics or Lutherans?"

Many voices cried out together, "Lutherans, of the new religion." Then, in their turn, they demanded who Menendez was, and whence he came.

He answered: "I am Pedro Menendez, General of the fleet of the King of Spain, Don Philip the Second, who have come to this country to hang and behead all Lutherans whom I shall find by land or sea, according to instructions from my King, so precise that I have power to pardon none; and these commands I shall fulfil, as you will see. At daybreak I shall board your ships, and if I find there any Catholic, he shall be well treated; but every heretic shall die."

The French with one voice raised a cry of wrath and defiance.

"If you are a brave man, don't wait till day. Come on now, and see what you will get!"

And they assailed the Adelantado with a shower of scoffs and insults.

Menendez broke into a rage, and gave the order to board. The men slipped the cables, and the sullen black hulk of the "San Pelayo" drifted down upon the "Trinity." The French did not make good their defiance. Indeed, they were incapable of resistance, Ribaut with his soldiers being ashore at Fort Caroline. They cut their cables, left their anchors, made sail, and fled. The Spaniards fired, the French replied. The other Spanish ships had imitated the movement of the "San Pelayo;" "but," writes the chaplain, Mendoza, "these devils are such adroit sailors, and maneuvred so well, that we did not catch one of them." Pursuers and pursued ran out to sea, firing useless volleys at each other.

In the morning Menendez gave over the chase, turned, and, with the "San Pelayo" alone, ran back for the St. John's. But here a welcome was prepared for him. He saw bands of armed men drawn up on the beach, and the smaller vessels of Ribaut's squadron, which had crossed the bar several days before, anchored behind it to oppose his landing. He would not venture an attack, but, steering southward, sailed along the coast till he came to an inlet which he named San Augustine, the same which Laudonniere had named the River of Dolphins.

Here he found three of his ships already debarking their troops, guns, and stores. Two officers, Patiflo and Vicente, had taken possession of the dwelling of the Indian chief Seloy, a huge barn-like structure, strongly framed of entire trunks of trees, and thatched with palmetto leaves. Around it they were throwing up entrenchments of fascines and sand, and gangs of negroes were toiling at the work. Such was the birth of St. Augustine, the oldest town of the United States.

On the eighth, Menendez took formal possession of his domain. Cannon were fired, trumpets sounded, and banners displayed, as he landed in state at the head of his officers and nobles. Mendoza, crucifix in hand, came to meet him, chanting Te Deum laudamus, while the Adelantado and all his company, kneeling, kissed the crucifix, and the assembled Indians gazed in silent wonder.

Meanwhile the tenants of Fort Caroline were not idle. Two or three soldiers, strolling along the beach in the afternoon, had first seen the Spanish ships, and hastily summoned Ribaut. He came down to the mouth of the river, followed by an anxious and excited crowd; but, as they strained their eyes through the darkness, they could see nothing but the flashes of the distant guns. At length the returning light showed, far out at sea, the Adelantado in hot chase of their flying comrades. Pursuers and pursued were soon out of sight. The drums beat to arms. After many hours of suspense, the "San Pelayo" reappeared, hovering about the mouth of the river, then bearing away towards the south. More anxious hours ensued, when three other sail came in sight, and they recognized three of their own returning ships. Communication was opened, a boat's crew landed, and they learned from Cosette, one of the French captains, that, confiding in the speed of his ship, he had followed the Spaniards to St. Augustine, reconnoitred their position, and seen them land their negroes and intrench themselves.

Laudonniere lay sick in bed in his chamber at Fort Caroline when Ribaut entered, and with him La Grange, Sainte Marie, Ottigny, Yonville, and other officers. At the bedside of the displaced commandant, they held their council of war. Three plans were proposed: first, to remain where they were and fortify themselves; next, to push overland for St. Augustine and attack the invaders in their intrenchments; and, finally, to embark and assail them by sea. The first plan would leave their ships a prey to the Spaniards; and so, too, in all likelihood, would the second, besides the uncertainties of an overland march through an unknown wilderness. By sea, the distance was short and the route explored. By a sudden blow they could capture or destroy the Spanish ships, and master the troops on shore before reinforcements could arrive, and before they had time to complete their defences.

Such were the views of Ribaut, with which, not unnaturally, Laudonniere finds fault, and Le Moyne echoes the censures of his chief. And yet the plan seems as well conceived as it was bold, lacking nothing but success. The Spaniards, stricken with terror, owed their safety to the elements, or, as they say, to the special interposition of the Holy Virgin. Menendez was a leader fit to stand with Cortes and Pizarro; but he was matched with a man as cool, skilful, prompt, and daring as himself. The traces that have come down to us indicate in Ribaut one far above the common stamp,—"a distinguished man, of many high qualities," as even the fault-finding Le Moyne calls him; devout after the best spirit of the Reform; and with a human heart under his steel breastplate.

La Grange and other officers took part with Landonniere, and opposed the plan of an attack by sea; but Ribaut's conviction was unshaken, and the order was given. All his own soldiers fit for duty embarked in haste, and with them went La Caille, Arlac, and, as it seems, Ottigny, with the best of Laudonniere's men. Even Le Moyne, though wounded in the fight with Outina's warriors, went on board to bear his part in the fray, and would have sailed with the rest had not Ottigny, seeing his disabled condition, ordered him back to the fort.

On the tenth, the ships, crowded with troops, set sail. Ribaut was gone, and with him the bone and sinew of the colony. The miserable remnant watched his receding sails with dreary foreboding,—a fore-boding which seemed but too just, when, on the next day, a storm, more violent than the Indians had ever known, howled through the forest and lashed the ocean into fury. Most forlorn was the plight of these exiles, left, it might be, the prey of a band of ferocious bigots more terrible than the fiercest hordes of the wilderness; and when night closed on the stormy river and the gloomy waste of pines, what dreams of terror may not have haunted the helpless women who crouched under the hovels of Fort Caroline!

The fort was in a ruinous state, with the palisade on the water side broken down, and three breaches in the rampart. In the driving rain, urged by the sick Laudonniere, the men, bedrenched and disheartened, labored as they could to strengthen their defences. Their muster-roll shows but a beggarly array. "Now," says Laudonniere, "let them which have bene bold to say that I had men ynough left me, so that I had meanes to defend my selfe, give care a little now vnto mee, and if they have eyes in their heads, let them see what men I had." Of Ribaut's followers left at the fort, only nine or ten had weapons, while only two or three knew how to use them. Four of them were boys, who kept Ribaut's dogs, and another was his cook. Besides these, he had left a brewer, an old crossbow-maker, two shoemakers, a player on the spinet, four valets, a carpenter of threescore,—Challeux, no doubt, who has left us the story of his woes,—with a crowd of women, children, and eighty-six camp-followers. To these were added the remnant of Laudonniere's men, of whom seventeen could bear arms, the rest being sick or disabled by wounds received in the fight with Outina.

Laudonniere divided his force, such as it was, into two watches, over which he placed two officers, Saint Cler and La Vigne, gave them lanterns for going the rounds, and an hour-glass for setting the time; while he himself, giddy with weakness and fever, was every night at the guard-room.

It was the night of the nineteenth of September, the season of tempests; floods of rain drenched the sentries on the rampart, and, as day dawned on the dripping barracks and deluged parade, the storm increased in violence. What enemy could venture out on such a night? La Vigne, who had the watch, took pity on the sentries and on himself, dismissed them, and went to his quarters. He little knew what human energies, urged by ambition, avarice, bigotry, and desperation, will dare and do.

To return to the Spaniards at St. Augustine. On the morning of the eleventh, the crew of one of their smaller vessels, lying outside the bar, with Menendez himself on board, saw through the twilight of early dawn two of Ribaut's ships close upon them. Not a breath of air was stirring. There was no escape, and the Spaniards fell on their knees in supplication to Our Lady of Utrera, explaining to her that the heretics were upon them, and begging her to send them a little wind. "Forthwith," says Mendoza, "one would have said that Our Lady herself came down upon the vessel." A wind sprang up, and the Spaniards found refuge behind the bar. The returning day showed to their astonished eyes all the ships of Ribaut, their decks black with men, hovering off the entrance of the port; but Heaven had them in its charge, and again they experienced its protecting care. The breeze sent by Our Lady of Utrera rose to a gale, then to a furious tempest; and the grateful Adelantado saw through rack and mist the ships of his enemy tossed wildly among the raging waters as they struggled to gain an offing. With exultation in his heart, the skilful seaman read their danger, and saw them in his mind's eye dashed to utter wreck among the sand-bars and breakers of the lee shore.

A bold thought seized him. He would march overland with five hundred men, and attack Fort Caroline while its defenders were absent. First he ordered a mass, and then he called a council. Doubtless it was in that great Indian lodge of Seloy, where he had made his headquarters; and here, in this dim and smoky abode, nobles, officers, and priests gathered at his summons. There were fears and doubts and murmurings, but Menendez was desperate; not with the mad desperation that strikes wildly and at random, but the still white heat that melts and burns and seethes with a steady, unquenchable fierceness. "Comrades," he said, "the time has come to show our courage and our zeal. This is God's war, and we must not flinch. It is a war with Lutherans, and we must wage it with blood and fire."

But his hearers gave no response. They had not a million of ducats at stake, and were not ready for a cast so desperate. A clamor of remonstrance rose from the circle. Many voices, that of Mendoza among the rest, urged waiting till their main forces should arrive. The excitement spread to the men without, and the swarthy, black-bearded crowd broke into tumults mounting almost to mutiny, while an officer was heard to say that he would not go on such a hare-brained errand to be butchered like a beast. But nothing could move the Adelantado. His appeals or his threats did their work at last; the confusion was quelled, and preparation was made for the march.

On the morning of the seventeenth, five hundred arquebusiers and pikemen were drawn up before the camp. To each was given six pounds of biscuit and a canteen filled with wine. Two Indians and a renegade Frenchman, called Francois Jean, were to guide them, and twenty Biscayan axemen moved to the front to clear the way. Through floods of driving rain, a hoarse voice shouted the word of command, and the sullen march began.

With dismal misgiving, Mendoza watched the last files as they vanished in the tempestuous forest. Two days of suspense ensued, when a messenger came back with a letter from the Adelantado, announcing that he had nearly reached the French fort, and that on the morrow, September the twentieth, at sunrise, he hoped to assault it. "May the Divine Majesty deign to protect us, for He knows that we have need of it," writes the scared chaplain; "the Adelantado's great zeal and courage make us hope he will succeed, but, for the good of his Majesty's service, he ought to be a little less ardent in pursuing his schemes."

Meanwhile the five hundred pushed their march, now toiling across the inundated savanrias, waist-deep in bulrushes and mud; now filing through the open forest to the moan and roar of the storm-racked pines: now hacking their way through palmetto thickets; and now turning from their path to shun some pool, quagmire, cypress swamp, or "hummock," matted with impenetrable bushes, brambles, and vines. As they bent before the tempest, the water trickling from the rusty head-piece crept clammy and cold betwixt the armor and the skin; and when they made their wretched bivouac, their bed was the spongy soil, and the exhaustless clouds their tent.

The night of Wednesday, the nineteenth, found their vanguard in a deep forest of pines, less than a mile from Fort Caroline, and near the low hills which extended in its rear, and formed a continuation of St. John's Bluff. All around was one great morass. In pitchy darkness, knee-deep in weeds and water, half starved, worn with toil and lack of sleep, drenched to the skin, their provisions spoiled, their ammunition wet, and their spirit chilled out of them, they stood in shivering groups, cursing the enterprise and the author of it. Menendez heard Fernando Perez, an ensign, say aloud to his comrades: "This Asturian Corito, who knows no more of war on shore than an ass, has betrayed us all. By God, if my advice had been followed, he would have had his deserts, the day he set out on this cursed journey!"

The Adelantado pretended not to hear.

Two hours before dawn he called his officers about him. All night, he said, he had been praying to God and the Virgin.

"Senores, what shall we resolve on? Our ammunition and provisions are gone. Our case is desperate." And he urged a bold rush on the fort.

But men and officers alike were disheartened and disgusted. They listened coldly and sullenly; many were for returning at every risk; none were in the mood for fight. Menendez put forth all his eloquence, till at length the dashed spirits of his followers were so far revived that they consented to follow him.

All fell on their knees in the marsh; then, rising, they formed their ranks and began to advance, guided by the renegade Frenchman, whose hands, to make sure of him, were tied behind his back. Groping and stumbling in the dark among trees, roots, and underbrush, buffeted by wind and rain, and lashed in the face by the recoiling boughs which they could not see, they soon lost their way, fell into confusion, and came to a stand, in a mood more savagely desponding than before. But soon a glimmer of returning day came to their aid, and showed them the dusky sky, and the dark columns of the surrounding pines. Menendez ordered the men forward on pain of death. They obeyed, and presently, emerging from the forest, could dimly discern the ridge of a low hill, behind which, the Frenchman told them, was the fort. Menendez, with a few officers and men, cautiously mounted to the top. Beneath lay Fort Caroline, three bow-shots distant; but the rain, the imperfect light, and a cluster of intervening houses prevented his seeing clearly, and he sent two officers to reconnoiter. As they descended, they met a solitary Frenchman. They knocked him down with a sheathed sword, wounded him, took him prisoner, kept him for a time, and then stabbed him as they returned towards the top of the hill. Here, clutching their weapons, all the gang stood in fierce expectancy.

"Santiago!" cried Menendez. "At them! God is with us! Victory!" And, shouting their hoarse war-cries, the Spaniards rushed down the slope like starved wolves.

Not a sentry was on the rampart. La Vigne, the officer of the guard, had just gone to his quarters; but a trumpeter, who chanced to remain, saw, through sheets of rain, the swarm of assailants sweeping down the hill. He blew the alarm, and at the summons a few half-naked soldiers ran wildly out of the barracks. It was too late. Through the breaches and over the ramparts the Spaniards came pouring in, with shouts of "Santiago! Santiago!"

Sick men leaped from their beds. Women and children, blind with fright, darted shrieking from the houses. A fierce, gaunt visage, the thrust of a pike, or blow of a rusty halberd,—such was the greeting that met all alike. Laudonniere snatched his sword and target, and ran towards the principal breach, calling to his soldiers. A rush of Spaniards met him; his men were cut down around him; and he, with a soldier named Bartholomew, was forced back into the yard of his house. Here stood a tent, and, as the pursuers stumbled among the cords, he escaped behind Ottigny's house, sprang through the breach in the western rampart, and fled for the woods.

Le Moyne had been one of the guard. Scarcely had he thrown himself into a hammock which was slung in his room, when a savage shout, and a wild uproar of shrieks, outcries, and the clash of weapons, brought him to his feet. He rushed by two Spaniards in the doorway, ran behind the guard-house, leaped through an embrasure into the ditch, and escaped to the forest.

Challeux, the carpenter, was going betimes to his work, a chisel in his hand. He was old, but pike and partisan brandished at his back gave wings to his flight. In the ecstasy of his terror, he leaped upward, clutched the top of the palisade, and threw himself over with the agility of a boy. He ran up the hill, no one pursuing, and, as he neared the edge of the forest, turned and looked back. From the high ground where he stood, he could see the butchery, the fury of the conquerors, and the agonizing gestures of the victims. He turned again in horror, and plunged into the woods. As he tore his way through the briers and thickets, he met several fugitives escaped like himself. Others presently came up, haggard and wild, like men broken loose from the jaws of death. They gathered together and consulted. One of them, known as Master Robert, in great repute for his knowledge of the Bible, was for returning and surrendering to the Spaniards. "They are men," he said; "perhaps, when their fury is over, they will spare our lives; and, even if they kill us, it will only be a few moments' pain. Better so, than to starve here in the woods, or be torn to pieces by wild beasts."

The greater part of the naked and despairing company assented, but Challeux was of a different mind. The old Huguenot quoted Scripture, and called the names of prophets and apostles to witness, that, in the direst extremity, God would not abandon those who rested their faith in Him. Six of the fugitives, however, still held to their desperate purpose. Issuing from the woods, they descended towards the fort, and, as with beating hearts their comrades watched the result, a troop of Spaniards rushed out, hewed them down with swords and halberds, and dragged their bodies to the brink of the river, where the victims of the massacre were already flung in heaps.

Le Moyne, with a soldier named Grandehemin, whom he had met in his flight, toiled all day through the woods and marshes, in the hope of reaching the small vessels anchored behind the bar. Night found them in a morass. No vessel could be seen, and the soldier, in despair, broke into angry upbraidings against his companion,—saying that he would go back and give himself up. Le Moyne at first opposed him, then yielded. But when they drew near the fort, and heard the uproar of savage revelry that rose from within, the artist's heart failed him. He embraced his companion, and the soldier advanced alone. A party of Spaniards came out to meet him. He kneeled, and begged for his life. He was answered by a death-blow; and the horrified Le Moyne, from his hiding-place in the thicket, saw his limbs hacked apart, stuck on pikes, and borne off in triumph.

Meanwhile, Menendez, mustering his followers, had offered thanks to God for their victory; and this pious butcher wept with emotion as he recounted the favors which Heaven had showered upon their enterprise. His admiring historian gives it in proof of his humanity, that, after the rage of the assault was spent, he ordered that women, infants, and boys under fifteen should thenceforth be spared. Of these, by his own account, there were about fifty. Writing in October to the King, he says that they cause him great anxiety, since he fears the anger of God should he now put them to death in cold blood, while, on the other hand, he is in dread lest the venom of their heresy should infect his men.

A hundred and forty-two persons were slain in and around the fort, and their bodies lay heaped together on the bank of the river. Nearly opposite was anchored a small vessel, called the "Pearl," commanded by Jacques Ribaut, son of the Admiral. The ferocious soldiery, maddened with victory and drunk with blood, crowded to the water's edge, shouting insults to those on board, mangling the corpses, tearing out their eyes, and throwing them towards the vessel from the points of their daggers. Thus did the Most Catholic Philip champion the cause of Heaven in the New World.

It was currently believed in France, and, though no eye-witness attests it, there is reason to think it true, that among those murdered at Fort Caroline there were some who died a death of peculiar ignominy. Menendez, it is affirmed, hanged his prisoners on trees, and placed over them the inscription, "I do this, not as to Frenchmen, but as to Lutherans."

The Spaniards gained a great booty in armor, clothing, and provisions. "Nevertheless," says the devout Mendoza, after closing his inventory of the plunder, "the greatest profit of this victory is the triumph which our Lord has granted us, whereby His holy Gospel will be introduced into this country, a thing so needful for saving so many souls from perdition." Again he writes in his journal, "We owe to God and His Mother, more than to human strength, this victory over the adversaries of the holy Catholic religion."

To whatever influence, celestial or other, the exploit may best be ascribed, the victors were not yet quite content with their success. Two small French vessels, besides that of Jacques Ribaut, still lay within range of the fort. When the storm had a little abated, the cannon were turned on them. One of them was sunk, but Ribaut, with the others, escaped down the river, at the mouth of which several light craft, including that bought from the English, had been anchored since the arrival of his father's squadron.

While this was passing, the wretched fugitives were flying from the scene of massacre through a tempest, of whose persistent violence all the narratives speak with wonder. Exhausted, starved, half naked,—for most of them had escaped in their shirts,—they pushed their toilsome way amid the ceaseless wrath of the elements. A few sought refuge in Indian villages; but these, it is said, were afterwards killed by the Spaniards. The greater number attempted to reach the vessels at the mouth of the river. Among the latter was Le Moyne, who, notwithstanding his former failure, was toiling through the mazes of tangled forests, when he met a Belgian soldier, with the woman described as Laudonniere's maid-servant, who was wounded in the breast; and, urging their flight towards the vessels, they fell in with other fugitives, including Laudonniere himself. As they struggled through the salt marsh, the rank sedge cut their naked limbs, and the tide rose to their waists. Presently they descried others, toiling like themselves through the matted vegetation, and recognized Challeux and his companions, also in quest of the vessels. The old man still, as he tells us, held fast to his chisel, which had done good service in cutting poles to aid the party to cross the deep creeks that channelled the morass. The united band, twenty-six in all, were cheered at length by the sight of a moving sail. It was the vessel of Captain Mallard, who, informed of the massacre, was standing along shore in the hope of picking up some of the fugitives. He saw their signals, and sent boats to their rescue; but such was their exhaustion, that, had not the sailors, wading to their armpits among the rushes, borne them out on their shoulders, few could have escaped. Laudonniere was so feeble that nothing but the support of a soldier, who held him upright in his arms, had saved him from drowning in the marsh.

On gaining the friendly decks, the fugitives counselled together. One and all, they sickened for the sight of France.

After waiting a few days, and saving a few more stragglers from the marsh, they prepared to sail. Young Ribaut, though ignorant of his father's fate, assented with something more than willingness; indeed, his behavior throughout had been stamped with weakness and poltroonery. On the twenty-fifth of September they put to sea in two vessels; and, after a voyage the privations of which were fatal to many of them, they arrived, one party at Rochelle, the other at Swansea, in Wales.



CHAPTER VIII

1565.

MASSACRE OF THE HERETICS.

In suspense and fear, hourly looking seaward for the dreaded fleet of Jean Ribaut, the chaplain Mendoza and his brother priests held watch and ward at St. Augustine in the Adelantado's absence. Besides the celestial guardians whom they ceased not to invoke, they had as protectors Bartholomew Menendez, the brother of the Adelantado, and about a hundred soldiers. Day and night they toiled to throw up earthworks and strengthen their position.

A week elapsed, when they saw a man running towards them, shouting as he ran.

Mendoza went to meet him.

"Victory! victory!" gasped the breathless messenger. "The French fort is ours!" And he flung his arms about the chaplain's neck.'

"To-day," writes the priest in his journal, "Monday, the twenty-fourth, came our good general himself, with fifty soldiers, very tired, Like all those who were with him. As soon as they told me he was coming, I ran to my lodging, took a new cassock, the best I had, put on my surplice, and went out to meet him with a crucifix in my hand; whereupon he, like a gentleman and a good Christian, kneeled down with all his followers, and gave the Lord a thousand thanks for the great favors he had received from Him."

In solemn procession, with four priests in front chanting Te Deum, the victors entered St. Augustine in triumph.

On the twenty-eighth, when the weary Adelantado was taking his siesta under the sylvan roof of Seloy, a troop of Indians came in with news that quickly roused him from his slumbers. They had seen a French vessel wrecked on the coast towards the south. Those who escaped from her were four or six leagues off, on the banks of a river or arm of the sea, which they could not cross.

Menendez instantly sent forty or fifty men in boats to reconnoitre. Next, he called the chaplain,—for he would fain have him at his elbow to countenance the deeds he meditated,—and, with him twelve soldiers and two Indian guides, embarked in another boat. They rowed along the channel between Anastasia Island and the main shore; then they landed, struck across the island on foot, traversed plains and marshes, reached the sea towards night, and searched along shore till ten o'clock to find their comrades who had gone before. At length, with mutual joy, the two parties met, and bivouacked together on the sands. Not far distant they could see lights. These were the camp-fires of the shipwrecked French.

To relate with precision the fortunes of these unhappy men is impossible; for henceforward the French narratives are no longer the narratives of eye-witnesses.

It has been seen how, when on the point of assailing the Spaniards at St. Augustine, Jean Ribaut was thwarted by a gale, which they hailed as a divine interposition. The gale rose to a tempest of strange fury. Within a few days, all the French ships were cast on shore, between Matanzas Inlet and Cape Canaveral. According to a letter of Menendez, many of those on hoard were lost; but others affirm that all escaped but a captain, La Grange, an officer of high merit, who was washed from a floating mast. One of the ships was wrecked at a point farther northward than the rest, and it was her company whose campfires were seen by the Spaniards at their bivouac on the sands of Anastasia Island. They were endeavoring to reach Fort Caroline, of the fate of which they knew nothing, while Ribaut with the remainder was farther southward, struggling through the wilderness towards the same goal. What befell the latter will appear hereafter. Of the fate of the former party there is no French record. What we know of it is due to three Spanish eye-witnesses, Mendoza, Doctor Soils de las Meras, and Menendez himself. Soils was a priest, and brother-in-law to Menendez. Like Mendoza, he minutely describes what he saw, and, like him, was a red-hot zealot, lavishing applause on the darkest deeds of his chief. But the principal witness, though not the most minute or most trustworthy, is Menendez, in his long despatches sent from Florida to the King, and now first brought to light from the archives of Seville,—a cool record of unsurpassed atrocities, inscribed on the back with the royal indorsement, "Say to him that he has done well."

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