Sir Walter Raleigh

Thomas Jefferson on,

George Bancroft on,

William J. Jackman on,

Captains Amadas and Barlowe

Birth of Virginia Dare

Thomas Jefferson

Writings of Thomas Jefferson

Volume 1

Jefferson's Works.

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 1, p.56–p.57–p.58–p.59

The first settlers of this colony were Englishmen, loyal subjects to their king and church, and the grant to Sir Walter Raleigh contained an express proviso that their laws "should not be against the true Christian faith, now professed in the church of England." As soon as the state of the colony admitted, it was divided into parishes, in each of which was established a minister of the Anglican church, endowed with a fixed salary, in tobacco, a glebe house and land with the other necessary appendages. To meet these expenses, all the inhabitants of the parishes were assessed, whether they were or not, members of the established church. Towards Quakers who came here, they were most cruelly intolerant, driving them from the colony by the severest penalties. In process of time, however, other sectarisms were introduced, chiefly of the Presbyterian family; and the established clergy, secure for life in their glebes and salaries, adding to these, generally, the emoluments of a classical school, found employment enough, in their farms and schoolrooms, for the rest of the week, and devoted Sunday only to the edification of their flock, by service, and a sermon at their parish church. Their other pastoral functions were little attended to. Against this inactivity, the zeal and industry of sectarian preachers had an open and undisputed field; and by the time of the revolution, a majority of the inhabitants had become dissenters from the established church, but were still obliged to pay contributions to support the pastors of the minority. This unrighteous compulsion, to maintain teachers of what they deemed religious errors, was grievously felt during the regal government, and without a hope of relief. But the first republican legislature, which met in '76, was crowded with petitions to abolish this spiritual tyranny. These brought on the severest contests in which I have ever been engaged. Our great opponents were Mr. Pendleton and Robert Carter Nicholas; honest men, but zealous churchmen. The petitions were referred to the committee of the whole house on the state of the country; and, after desperate contests in that committee, almost daily from the 11th of October to the 5th of December, we prevailed so far only, as to repeal the laws which rendered criminal the maintenance of any religious opinions, the forbearance of repairing to church, or the exercise of any mode of worship; and further, to exempt dissenters from contributions to the support of the established church; and to suspend, only until the next session, levies on the members of that church for the salaries of their own incumbents. For although the majority of our citizens were dissenters, as has been observed, a majority of the legislature were churchmen. Among these, however, were some reasonable and liberal men, who enabled us, on some points, to obtain feeble majorities. But our opponents carried, in the general resolutions of the committee of November 19, a declaration that religious assemblies ought to be regulated, and that provision ought to be made for continuing the succession of the clergy, and superintending their conduct. And, in the bill now passed, was inserted an express reservation of the question, Whether a general assessment should not be established by law, on every one, to the support of the pastor of his choice; or whether all should be left to voluntary contributions; and on this question, debated at every session, from '76 to '79, (some of our dissenting allies, having now secured their particular object, going over to the advocates of a general assessment,) we could only obtain a suspension from session to session until '79, when the question against a general assessment was finally carried, and the establishment of the Anglican church entirely put down. In justice to the two honest but zealous opponents who have been named, I must add, that although, from their natural temperaments, they were more disposed generally to acquiesce in things as they are, than to risk innovations, yet whenever the public will had once decided, none were more faithful or exact in their obedience to it.

The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 2, p.148–p.149–p.150

Queen Elizabeth by her letters patent, bearing date March 25, 1584, licensed Sir Walter Raleigh to search for remote heathen lands, not inhabited by Christian people, and granted to him in fee simple, all the soil within two hundred leagues of the places where his people should, within six years, make their dwellings or abidings; reserving only to herself and her successors, their allegiance and one-fifth part of all the gold and silver ore they should obtain. Sir Walter immediately sent out two ships, which visited Wococon island in North Carolina, and the next year despatched seven with one hundred and seven men, who settled in Roanoke island, about latitude 35 50'. Here Okisko, king of the Weopomeiocs, in a full council of his people is said to have acknowledged himself the homager of the Queen of England, and, after her, of Sir Walter Raleigh. A supply of fifty men were sent in 1586, and one hundred and fifty in 1587. With these last Sir Waiter sent a governor, appointed him twelve assistants, gave them a charter of incorporation, and instructed them to settle on Chesapeake bay. They landed, however, at Hatorask. In 1588, when a fleet was ready to sail with a new supply of colonists and necessaries, they were detained by the Queen to assist against the Spanish armada. Sir Waiter having now expended 40,000 in these enterprises, obstructed occasionally by the crown without a shilling of aid from it, was under a necessity of engaging others to adventure their money. He, therefore, by deed bearing date the 7th of March, 1589, by the name of Sir Walter Raleigh, Chief Governor of Assamacomoc, (probably Acomac,) alias Winga dacoia, alias Virginia, granted to Thomas Smith and others, in consideration of their adventuring certain sums of money, liberty to trade to this new country free from all customs and taxes for seven years, excepting the fifth part of the gold and silver ore to be obtained; and stipulated with them and the other assistants, then in Virginia, that he would confirm the deed of incorporation which he had given in 1587, with all the prerogatives, jurisdictions, royalties and privileges granted to him by the Queen. Sir Walter, at different times, sent five other adventurers hither, the last of which was in 1602; for in 1603 he was attainted and put into close imprisonment, which put an end to his cares over his infant colony. What was the particular fate of the colonists he had before sent and seated, has never been known; whether they were murdered, or incorporated with the savages.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.69

Raleigh, not disheartened by the sad fate of his stepbrother, revolved a settlement in the milder clime from which the Protestants of France had been expelled. He readily obtained from Elizabeth, in March, 1584, a patent as ample as that which had been conferred on Gilbert. It was drawn according to the principles of feudal law, and with strict regard to the Christian faith as professed in the church of England. Raleigh was constituted a lord proprietary, with almost unlimited powers, holding his territories by homage and an inconsiderable rent, and possessing jurisdiction over an extensive region, of which he had power to make grants according to his pleasure.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.69

Expectations rose high, since the inviting regions of the south were now to be colonized. In April two vessels, well laden with men and provisions, under the command of Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow, buoyant with hope, set sail for the New World. They pursued the circuitous route by the Canaries and the islands of the West Indies; after a short stay in those islands they sailed for the north, and were soon opposite the shores of Carolina. As in July they drew near land, the fragrance was "as if they had been in the midst of some delicate garden, abounding with all kinds of odoriferous flowers." Ranging the coast for one hundred and twenty miles, they entered the first convenient harbor, and, after thanks to God for their safe arrival, they took possession of the country for the queen of England.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.69 - p.70

The spot on which this ceremony was performed was in the island of Wocoken, the southernmost of the islands forming Ocracoke inlet. The air was agitated by none but the gentlest breezes, and the English commanders were in raptures with the beauty of the ocean, gemmed with islands, and seen in the magnificence of repose. The vegetation of that southern latitude struck the beholders with admiration; the trees had not their paragons; luxuriant climbers gracefully festooned the loftiest cedars; wild grapes abounded; and natural arbors formed an impervious shade. The forests were filled with birds; and, at the discharge of an arquebuse, whole flocks would arise, uttering a cry as if an army of men had shouted together.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.70

The tawny inhabitants of the land, which they called Secotan, appeared in harmony with the loveliness of the scene. The desire of traffic overcame their timidity, and the English received a friendly welcome. On the island of Roanoke they were entertained, by the wife of Granganimeo, father of Wingina the king, with the refinements of Arcadian hospitality. "The people were most gentle, loving, and faithful, void of all guile and treason, and such as lived after the manner of the golden age." They had no cares but to guard against the moderate cold of a short winter, and to gather such food as the earth almost spontaneously produced. And yet it was added, with singular inconsistency, that their wars were cruel and bloody; and the English were solicited to engage in them under promise of lucrative booty.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.70

The adventurers were satisfied with observing the general aspect of the New World; Pamlico and Albemarle sounds and Roanoke island were explored, and some information gathered by inquiries from the Indians; the commanders had not the courage or the activity to undertake an extensive survey of the country. Having made but a short stay in America, they arrived in September in the west of England, accompanied by Manteo and Wanchese, two natives of the wilderness; and the returning voyagers gave such glowing descriptions of their discoveries as might be expected from men who had done no more than sail over the smooth waters of a summer's sea, among "the hundred islands" of North Carolina. Elizabeth esteemed her reign signalized by the discovery of the enchanting regions, and, as a memorial of her state of life, named them Virginia.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.71 - p.72

Manteo, who returned with the fleet from a visit to England, was sent to the mainland to announce their arrival. Grenville, accompanied by Lane, Hariot, Cavendish, and others, in an excursion of eight days, explored the coast as far as Secotan, and, as they relate, were well entertained of the Savages. At one of the Indian towns a silver cup had been stolen; its restoration was delayed; with hasty cruelty, Grenville ordered the village to be burnt and the standing corn destroyed. Not long after this act of inconsiderate revenge, the ships, having landed the colony, sailed for England; a rich Spanish prize, made by Grenville on the way home, secured him a courteous welcome as he re-entered Plymouth.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.72

The employments of Lane and his colonists, after the departure of Sir Richard Grenville, could be none other than to explore the country, which he thus describes: "It is the goodliest soil under the cope of heaven; the most pleasing territory of the world; the continent is of a huge and unknown greatness, and very well peopled and towned, though savagely. The climate is so wholesome that we have not one sick since we touched the land. If Virginia had but horses and kine, and were inhabited with English, no realm in Christendom were comparable to it."

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.72 - p.73

The keenest observer was Hariot. He carefully examined the productions of the country, those which would furnish commodities for commerce, and those which were in esteem among the natives. He observed the culture of tobacco, accustomed himself to its use, and believed in its healing virtues. The culture and the extraordinary productiveness of maize especially attracted his admiration; and the tuberous roots of the potato, when boiled, were found to be very good food. The natural inhabitants are described as too feeble to inspire terror; clothed in mantles and aprons of deerskins; having no weapons but wooden swords and bows of witchhazel with arrows of reeds; no armor but targets of bark and sticks wickered together with thread. Their largest towns contained but thirty dwellings. The walls of the houses were made of bark, fastened to stakes; and sometimes consisted of poles fixed upright, one by another, and at the top bent over and fastened. But the great peculiarity of the Indians consisted in the want of political connection. A single town often constituted a government; a collection of ten or twenty wigwams might be an independent state. The greatest chief in the country could not muster more than seven or eight hundred fighting men. The dialect of each government seemed a language by itself. The country which Hariot explored was on the boundary of the Algonkin race, where the Lenni-Lenape tribes melted into the widely differing nations of the south. Their wars rarely led them to the open battle-field; they were accustomed rather to sudden surprises at daybreak or by moonlight, to ambushes and the subtle devices of cunning falsehood. Destitute of the arts, they yet displayed "excellency of wit" in all which they attempted. To the credulity of fetichism they joined an undeveloped conception of the unity of the Divine Power, continued existence after death, and retributive justice. The mathematical instruments, the burning-glass, guns, clocks, and the use of letters, seemed the works of gods rather than of men; and the English were reverenced as the pupils and favorites of Heaven. In every town which Hariot entered he displayed and explained the Bible; the Indians revered the volume rather than its doctrines; with a fond superstition, they embraced the book, kissed it, and held it to their breasts and heads, as an amulet. As the colonists enjoyed uniform health and had no women with them, there were some among the Indians who imagined that the English were not born of woman, and therefore not mortal; that they were men of an old generation, risen to immortality. The terrors of fire-arms the natives could neither comprehend nor resist; every sickness which now prevailed among them was attributed to wounds from invisible bullets, discharged by unseen agents with whom the air was supposed to be peopled. They prophesied that "more of the English generation would come, to kill them and take their places."

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.73 - p.74

The natives desired to be delivered from guests by whom they feared to be supplanted. A wily savage allured them by tales that the river Roanoke gushed from a rock near the Pacific; that its banks were inhabited by a nation skilled in refining the rich ore in which the country abounded; that the walls of their city glittered with pearls. In March, Lane attempted to ascend the rapid Roanoke; and his followers would not return till their provisions were exhausted, and they had eaten the dogs which bore them company.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.74

The Indians had hoped to destroy the English by dividing them; the prompt return of Lane prevented open hostilities; but in the two following months he became persuaded that a grand alliance was forming to destroy the strangers by a general massacre. Desiring an audience of Wingina, the most dreaded of the native chiefs, Lane and his attendants were, on the first day of June, readily admitted to his presence. Immediately, and without any sign of hostile intentions by the Indians, the watchword was given; and the Christians, falling upon the king and his principal followers, put them to death.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.74

The discoveries of Lane on the south extended only to Secotan, in the present county of Craven, between the Pamlico and the Neuse; to the north they reached the river Elizabeth, which joins the Chesapeake bay at Hampton Roads; in the interior, the Chowan had been examined beyond the junction of the Meherrin and the Nottoway; the excursion up the Roanoke did not advance beyond the present village of Williamstown. The hope of finding better harbors at the north was confirmed; and the bay of Chesapeake, so long before discovered by the Spanish, was first made known to the English. But, though the climate was found salubrious, in the island of Roanoke the men began to despond; they had waited long for supplies from England; they were sighing for their native land; when early in June it was rumored that the sea was white with the sails of three-and-twenty ships, and within three days Sir Francis Drake anchored his fleet outside of Roanoke inlet, in "the wild road of their bad harbor."

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.74

Homeward bound from the West Indies, he had come to visit the domain of his friend; and readily supplied the wants of Lane, giving him a bark of seventy tons, pinnaces and small boats, and all needed provisions. Above all, he induced two experienced sea-captains to remain and employ themselves in more extended discoveries. Everything was furnished to complete the surveys along the coast and the rivers, and in the last resort, if suffering became extreme, to convey the emigrants to England.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.75

At this time an unwonted storm suddenly arose, and the fleet had no security but in standing away from the shore. When the tempest was over, nothing could be found of the boats and the bark which had been set apart for the colony; and Drake yielded to the unanimous desire of Lane and his men to embark with him for England. Thus ended the first actual settlement of the English in America. The exiles of a year had grown familiar with the favorite amusement of the lethargic Indians; and they introduced into England the use of tobacco.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.75

A few days after their departure a vessel arrived, laden with all stores needed by the infant settlement. It had been despatched by Raleigh; but, finding "the paradise of the world" deserted, it could only return to England. Another fortnight had hardly elapsed when Sir Richard Grenville appeared off the coast with three well-furnished ships, and made search for the departed colony. Unwilling that the English should lose possession of the country, he left fifteen men on the island of Roanoke.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.75

The decisive testimony of Hariot to the excellence of the country rendered it easy to collect recruits for America. Raleigh, undismayed by losses, determined to plant an agricultural state; to send emigrants with wives and families, who should make their homes in the New World; and, that life and property might be secured, in January, 1587, he granted a charter for the settlement, and a municipal government for "the city of Raleigh." John White was appointed its governor; and to him, with eleven assistants, the administration of the colony was intrusted. Transport ships were prepared at the expense of the proprietary; "Queen Elizabeth, the godmother of Virginia," declined contributing "to its education." Embarking in April, in July they arrived on the coast of North Carolina; they were saved from the dangers of Cape Fear; and, passing Cape Hatteras, they hastened to the isle of Roanoke, to search for the handful of men whom Grenville had left there as a garrison. They found the tenements deserted and overgrown with weeds; human bones lay scattered on the field where wild deer were reposing. The fort was in ruins. No vestige of surviving life appeared.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.76

The instructions of Raleigh had designated the place for the new settlement on the bay of the Chesapeake. But Fernando, the naval officer, eager to renew a profitable traffic in the West Indies, refused his assistance in exploring the coast, and White was compelled to remain on Roanoke. The fort of Governor Lane, "with sundry decent dwelling-houses," had been built at the northern extremity of the island; it was there that in July the foundations of the city of Raleigh were laid. The island is now almost uninhabited; commerce has selected securer harbors; the intrepid pilot and the hardy "wrecker" are the only occupants of the spot, where the inquisitive stranger after more than two centuries could still discern the ruins of the fort, round which the cottages of the new settlement were erected.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.76

Disasters thickened. A tribe of Savages displayed implacable jealousy, and murdered one of the assistants. The mother and the kindred of Manteo welcomed the English to the island of Croatan, and mutual good-will was continued; but even this alliance was not unclouded. A detachment of the English, discovering a company of the natives whom they esteemed their enemies, fell upon them by night as they were sitting by their fires, and havoc was begun before it was perceived that these were friendly Indians.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.76

The vanities of life were not forgotten; "by the commandment of Sir Walter Raleigh," Manteo, the faithful Indian chief, after receiving Christian baptism, was invested with the rank of baron, as the Lord of Roanoke.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.76

With the returning ship White embarked for England, under the excuse of interceding for re-enforcements and supplies. Yet, on the eighteenth of August, nine days previous to his departure, his daughter, Eleanor Dare, the wife of one of the assistants, gave birth to a female child, the first offspring of English parents on the soil of the United States. The infant was named from the place of its birth. The colony, now composed of eighty-nine men, seventeen women, and two children, whose names are all preserved, might reasonably hope for the speedy return of the governor, as he left with them his daughter and his grandchild, VIRGINIA DARE.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.76 - p.77

The further history of this plantation is involved in gloomy uncertainty. The inhabitants of "the city of Raleigh," the emigrants from England and the first-born of America, awaited death in the land of their adoption.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.77

For, when White reached England, he found its attention absorbed by the threats of an invasion from Spain; and Grenville, Raleigh, and Lane, not less than Frobisher, Drake, and Hawkins, were engaged in measures of resistance. Yet Raleigh, whose patriotism did not diminish his generosity, found means, in April, 1588, to despatch White with supplies in two vessels. But the company, desiring a gainful voyage rather than a safe one, ran in chase of prizes, till one of them fell in with men-of-war from Rochelle, and, after a bloody fight, was boarded and rifled. Both ships were compelled to return to England. The delay was fatal: the English kingdom and the Protestant reformation were in danger; nor could the poor colonists of Roanoke be again remembered till after the discomfiture of the Invincible Armada.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.77

Even then Sir Walter Raleigh, who had already incurred a fruitless expense of forty thousand pounds, found his impaired fortune insufficient for further attempts at colonizing Virginia. He therefore used the privilege of his patent to endow a company of merchants and adventurers with large concessions. Among the men who thus obtained an assignment of the proprietary's rights in Virginia is found the name of Richard Hakluyt; it connects the first efforts of England in North Carolina with the final colonization of Virginia. The colonists at Roanoke had emigrated with a charter; the instrument of March, 1589, was not an assignment of Raleigh's patent, but the extension of a grant, already held under its sanction, by increasing the number to whom the rights of that charter belonged.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.77 - p.78

More than another year elapsed before White could return to search for his colony and his daughter; and then the island of Roanoke was a desert. An inscription on the bark of a tree pointed to Croatan; but the season of the year and the dangers from storms were pleaded as an excuse for an immediate return. The conjecture has been hazarded that the deserted colony, neglected by their own countrymen, were hospitably adopted into the tribe of Hatteras Indians. Raleigh long cherished the hope of discovering some vestiges of their existence, and sent at his own charge, and, it is said, at five several times, to search for his liege-men. But imagination received no help in its attempts to trace the fate of the colony of Roanoke.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.78

The name of Raleigh stands highest among the statesmen of England who advanced the colonization of the United States. Courage, self-possession, and fertility of invention, ensured him glory in his profession of arms; and his services in the conquest of Cadiz and the capture of Fayal established his fame as a gallant and successful commander.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.78

No soldier in retirement ever expressed the charms of tranquil leisure more beautifully than Raleigh, whose "sweet verse" Spenser described as "sprinkled with nectar," and rivalling the melodies of "the summer's nightingale." When an unjust verdict left him to languish for years in prison, with the sentence of death suspended over his head, he, who had been a warrior, a courtier, and a seaman, in an elaborate "History of the World," "told the Greek and Roman story more fully and exactly than any earlier English writer, and with an eloquence which has given his work a classical reputation in our language." In his civil career he was jealous of the honor, the prosperity, and the advancement of his country. In parliament he defended the freedom of domestic industry. When, through unequal legislation, taxation was a burden upon industry rather than wealth, he argued for a change; himself possessed of a lucrative monopoly, he gave his voice for the repeal of all monopolies; he used his influence with his sovereign to mitigate the severity of the judgments against the non-conformists, and as a legislator he resisted the sweeping enactment of persecuting laws.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.78 - p.79

In the career of discovery, his perseverance was never baffled by losses. He joined in the risks of Gilbert's expedition; contributed to that of Davis in the north-west; and explored in person "the insular regions and broken world" of Guiana. His lavish efforts in colonizing the soil of our republic, his sagacity which enjoined a settlement within the Chesapeake bay, the publications of Hariot and Hakluyt which he countenanced, diffused over England a knowledge of America, as well as an interest in its destinies, and sowed the seeds, of which the fruits began to ripen during his lifetime.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.79

Raleigh had suffered in health before his last undertaking. He returned broken-hearted by the defeat of his hopes, the decay of his strength, and the death of his eldest son. What shall be said of King James, who would open to an aged paralytic no hope of liberty but through the discovery of mines in Guiana? What shall be said of a monarch who could, under a sentence which had slumbered for fifteen years, order the execution of the decrepit man, whose genius and valor shone through the ravages of physical decay, and whose heart still beat with an undying love for his country?

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.79

The family of the chief author of early colonization in the United States was reduced to beggary by the government of England, and he himself was beheaded. After a lapse of nearly two centuries, the state of North Carolina, in 1792, revived in its capital "THE CITY OF RALEIGH," in grateful commemoration of his name and fame.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.79

Imagination already saw beyond the Atlantic a people whose mother idiom should be the language of England. "Who knows," exclaimed Daniel, the poet-laureate of that kingdom—"Who in time knows whither we may vent

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.79

The treasures of our tongue? To what strange shores
This gain of our best glory shall be sent
T' enrich unknowing nations with our stores?
What worlds, in th' yet unformed Occident,
May 'come refined with th' accents that are ours."

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.79 - p.80

In 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold, a discreet and intrepid navigator, who remained till death devoted to the English colonization of Virginia, undertook the direct voyage from the British channel to America. From the Azores, to which he was borne by contrary winds, he ran a westerly course across the Atlantic, but the weakness of his ship, the unskilfulness of his crew, and his caution, from ignorance of the ocean and the nearest land, causing him to carry but a low sail, it was only after seven weeks that he came in sight of Cape Elizabeth in Maine. Following the coast to the south-west, he skirted "an outpoint of wooded land;" and, about noon of the fourteenth of May, he anchored "near Savage rock," to the east of York harbor. There he met a Biscay shallop; and there he was visited by natives. Not finding his "purposed place," he stood to the south, and on the morning of the fifteenth discovered the promontory which he named Cape Cod. He and four of his men went on shore; Cape Cod was the first spot in that region ever trod by Englishmen. Doubling the cape, and passing Nantucket, they touched at No Man's Land, passed round the promontory of Gay Head, naming it Dover Cliff, and entered Buzzard's bay, a stately sound which they called Gosnold's Hope. The westernmost of the islands was named Elizabeth, from the queen, a name which has been transferred to the group. Here they beheld the rank vegetation of a virgin soil: noble forests; wild fruits and flowers bursting from the earth; the eglantine, the thorn, and the honeysuckle; the wild pea, the tansy, and young sassafras; strawberries, raspberries, grape-vines—all in profusion. Within a pond upon the island lies a rocky islet; on this the adventurers built their storehouse and their fort; and the foundations of a colony were laid. The island, the pond, the islet, remain; the shrubs are luxuriant as of old; but the forests are gone, and the ruins of the fort can no longer be discerned.

George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol.1, p.83

The daring and ability of these pioneers upon the ocean, who led the way to the colonization of the United States, deserve the highest admiration. The character of the prevalent winds and currents was unknown. The possibility of making a direct passage was but gradually discovered. The imagined dangers were infinite, the real dangers from tempests and shipwreck, famine and mutinies, heat and cold, diseases known and unknown, were incalculable. The ships at first employed were generally of less than one hundred tons' burden; two of those of Columbus were without a deck; Frobisher sailed in a vessel of but twenty-five tons. Columbus was cast away twice, and once remained for eight months on an island, without any communication with the civilized world; Roberval, Parmenius, Gilbert—and how many others!—went down at sea; and such was the state of the art of navigation that intrepidity and skill were unavailing against the elements without the favor of Heaven.

History of the American Nation by William J. Jackman


William J. Jackman

Volume 1

Chapter 8:

English Enterprise

Sir Humphrey Gilbert.—The Fisheries.—St. Johns, Newfoundland.—Sir Walter Raleigh.—Exploring Expedition.—Virginia; failure to Colonize.—Contest with Spain.—Death of Sir Walter.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.117

England never relinquished her claims to North America; they were based upon the discovery and explorations of Sebastian Cabot. According to the received rules of the times, she was right, as he was undoubtedly the first discoverer. For many reasons, she was not prepared to avail herself of these claims, till nearly ninety years after that discovery. This time was not passed by the English sailors in maritime idleness. During the reign of Henry VIII., intercourse was kept up with the fisheries of Newfoundland, that school of English seamen, in which were trained the men who gave to that nation the supremacy of the ocean—the element upon which the military glory of England was to be achieved. The king cherished his navy, and took commerce under his special protection.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.117 - p.118

The reign of Mary, of bloody memory, saw the struggle commence between England and Spain for the supremacy of the ocean. She married Philip II, the most powerful monarch of the age: he designed to subject the English nation to himself, and its religion to the church of Rome. When this became known, the Protestant spirit rose in opposition. This spirit pervaded the entire people; they exerted their energies to the utmost. Instead of submitting to the dictation of Spain, England boldly assumed the position of an antagonist. There was a marked contrast between the two nations. The navy of the one was immense, that of the other was small, but brave and efficient: the one drew her wealth from mines of gold and silver in the New World—the other obtained hers by the slow process of industry and economy. The one became proud and indolent, luxurious and imbecile—the other may have become proud, but certainly not indolent; luxurious, but certainly not imbecile.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.118

On her accession, Queen Elizabeth pursued the policy of her father Henry VIII., towards her navy and commerce. While some of her subjects were trading by land with the east, others were on the ocean cruising against the Spaniards: some were prosecuting the fisheries around Newfoundland and in the seas northwest of Europe; some were exploring the western coast of America, and the eastern coast of Asia: others were groping their way among the islands of the extreme north, in a vain search for the northwest passage.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.118

Explorers were still haunted with the idea that mines of exhaustless wealth were yet to be found in the New World. Great was the exultation when a "mineral man" of London declared that a stone brought by an English sailor from the Polar regions, contained gold. England was to find in the region of eternal snow mines of the precious metal, more prolific than Spain had found in Mexico. Soon fifteen vessels set sail for this northern island, where there was "ore enough to suffice all the gold-gluttons of the world." They returned laden, not with golden ore, but with worthless yellow stones.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.118 - p.119

Meanwhile, the fisheries around Newfoundland had become a certain, though a slow source of wealth. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a gentleman of distinction and of upright principles, obtained a commission from the Queen to plant a colony in the vicinity of these fisheries. He landed at St. Johns, Newfoundland, and there in the presence of the fishermen of other nations, took formal possession of the territory in the name of his sovereign. He then passed further south, exploring the coast—but losing his largest ship with all on board, he found it necessary to sail for home. Only two vessels remained, one of which, the Squirrel, was a mere boat of ten tons, used to explore the shallow bays and inlets. The closing acts of Sir Humphrey's life afford proofs of his piety and nobleness of character. Unwilling that the humblest of his men should risk more danger than himself, he chose to sail in the boat rather than in the larger and safer vessel. A terrible storm arose; he sat calmly reading a book—doubtless that book from which he drew consolation in times of sorrow and trial. To encourage those who were in the other vessel, he was heard to cry to them, "we are as near to heaven on sea as on land,"—the reality of this cheering thought he was soon to experience. That night, those on the larger vessel saw the lights of the little boat suddenly disappear.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.119 - p.120

The next attempt at colonization was made by Gilbert's half-brother, Sir Walter Raleigh, one of the noblest of that age of noble spirits: gallant and courteous in his manners; a scholar, a poet, a benefactor of his race; his name should ever be held in grateful remembrance by the people of this country. He studied the art of war with Coligny, the high admiral of France. When in that country, he determined to plant a colony in those delightful regions from which the Huguenots had been driven by the hand of violence. He had learned from them of the charming climate, where winter lingered only for a short time,—where the magnificent trees and fragrant woods bloomed during nearly all of the year,—where the gushing fountains, noble rivers, and fertile soil invited the industrious to enjoy the fruits of their labor. When Sir Walter returned home from France, he found the people prepared to enter upon schemes of colonization in the south. They, too, had heard of those "delightful regions" from the Huguenots, who at sea had been rescued from death, and brought to England. Raleigh without difficulty obtained a commission, granting him ample powers, as proprietor of the territories he was about to colonize. He first sent an exploring expedition, consisting of two ships, under Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow, to obtain more definite information of the country. They sailed the usual route, by the Canaries and the West Indies, came first upon the coast of North Carolina, landed upon one of the islands forming Ocracock inlet, and took formal possession of the country. They partially explored Albemarle and Pamlico sounds, and the islands and coast in the vicinity, and then sailed for home. They took with them two of the natives, Wanchese and Manteo; the latter was afterward very useful to the colonists as an interpreter. Amidas and Barlow on their return, confirmed what the Huguenots had reported of the excellence of the country. They saw it in the month of July. They described the unruffled ocean, dotted with beautiful islands; the clearness of the atmosphere; the luxuriant forests vocal with the songs of birds; the vines draping the trees, and the grapes hanging in clusters. This sunny land, in all its virgin beauty, appeared to these natives of foggy England, as the very paradise of the world. Elizabeth, delighted with the description, named the country Virginia, in honor of herself, as she took pride in being known as the Virgin Queen.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.120 - p.121

It was not difficult now to obtain colonists; soon a fleet of seven vessels was equipped, containing one hundred and eight persons, who intended to form a settlement. Sir Richard Grenville, a friend of Raleigh, and a man of eminence, commanded the fleet, and Ralph Lane was appointed governor of the colony. After a tedious voyage, they landed, in June, fifteen hundred and eighty-five, on an island called Roanoke, lying between Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. Before long they excited the enmity of the Indians. On one of their exploring expeditions, a silver cup was lost or stolen. The Indians were charged with the theft; perhaps they were innocent. Because it was not restored, Grenville, with very little prudence and less justice, set fire to their village and destroyed their standing corn. Little did he know the train of sorrow and death he introduced by thus harshly treating the Indians and making them enemies. A few weeks after the fleet sailed for England, unlawfully cruising against the Spanish on the voyage. Governor Lane now explored the country, noticed the various productions of the soil, and the general character of the inhabitants. The colonists found many strange plants,—the corn, the sweet potato, the tobacco plant, were seen by them for the first time. Lane was unfit for his station; he became unreasonably suspicious of the Indians. With professions of friendship he visited a prominent chief, and was hospitably received and entertained; this kindness he repaid by basely murdering the chief and his followers. Men capable of such treachery were necessarily unfit to found a Christian State. Provisions now began to fail and the colonists to despond.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.121 - p.122

Just at this time, Sir Francis Drake, on his way home from the West Indies, called to visit the colony of his friend Raleigh. Though they had been but a year in the country, the colonists begged him to take them home. Drake granted their request. They were scarcely out of sight of land, when a ship, sent by Raleigh, laden with supplies, arrived. The colonists could not be found, and the ship returned to England. In a fortnight Grenville appeared with three ships; not finding the colonists he also returned home, unwisely leaving fifteen men to keep possession of the territory.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.122

Though disappointed, Raleigh did not despair. The natural advantages of the country had failed to induce the first company to remain. It was hoped, that if surrounded by social and domestic ties, future colonists would learn to look upon it as their true home. Sir Walter's second company was composed of emigrants with their families, who should cultivate the soil, and eventually found a State for themselves and their posterity. Queen Elizabeth professed to favor the enterprise, but did nothing to aid it. The expedition was fitted out with all that was necessary to form an agricultural settlement. Raleigh appointed John White governor, with directions to form the settlement on the shores of Chesapeake bay.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.122 - p.123

They came first to the island of Roanoke, there to behold a melancholy spectacle—the bleaching bones of the men whom Grenville had left. All had become a desert. Doubtless they had been murdered by the Indians. Fernando, the naval officer in command of the fleet, refused to assist in exploring the shores of the Chesapeake, and the colonists were compelled to remain on the Island of Roanoke. The scene of two failures was to be the witness of a third. The Indians were evidently hostile. The colonists becoming alarmed, urged the governor to hasten to England and speedily bring them assistance. Previous to his leaving, Mrs. Dare, his daughter, and wife of one of his lieutenants, gave birth to a female child,—the first child of English parentage born on the soil of the United States; it was appropriately named Virginia.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.123

White on his return found England in a state of great excitement. The Pope had excommunicated Queen Elizabeth, and had absolved her subjects from their allegiance to her throne; at the same time promising her kingdom to any Catholic prince who should take possession of it. The revengeful Philip, of Spain, that good son of the Church, had been for three years preparing an immense army and fleet, with which he intended to invade and conquer England. The fleet was boastfully named the Invincible Armada. The English naval commanders flocked home from every part of the world to defend their native land, and to battle for the Protestant religion. English seamanship and bravery completely triumphed. From that hour the prestige of Spain on the ocean was gone—it passed to England. It is not strange that in such exciting times the poor colonists of Roanoke were overlooked or forgotten. As soon as the danger was passed, aid was sent; but it came too late: not a vestige of the colony was to be found; death had done its work, whether by the hand of the savage, or by disease, none can tell. What may have been their sufferings is veiled in darkness. Eighty years after, the English were told by the Indians that the Hatteras tribe had adopted the colonists into their number. The probability is that they were taken prisoners and carried far into the interior. A few years before Sir Francis Drake had broken up the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine. Thus, one hundred years after the first voyage of Columbus, the continent was once more in the possession of the Red Men.

William Jackman, History of the American Nation, Vol.1, p.123 - p.124 - p.125

Sir Walter Raleigh had now expended nearly all his fortune; yet, when he saw no prospect of ever deriving benefit from his endeavors, he sent several times, at his own expense, to seek for the lost colonists and to render them aid. Sir Walter's genius and perseverance prepared the way for the successful settlement of Virginia; he had sown the seed, others enjoyed the harvest. The remainder of his life was clouded by misfortune. On the accession of James I., he was arraigned on a frivolous charge of high treason; a charge got up by his enemies, never substantiated, and never believed by those who condemned him. On his trial he defended himself with a dignity and consciousness of innocence that excited the admiration of the world and put to shame his enemies. His remaining property was taken from him by the king, and for thirteen years he was left to languish in the Tower of London; James not yet daring to order the execution of the patriot statesman, who was an ornament to England and the age in which he lived. After the lapse of sixteen years the hour came, and Sir Walter met death on the scaffold with the calmness and dignity of an innocent and Christian man.

The First Voyage to Roanoke

TITLE: The First Voyage To Roanoke
AUTHOR: Captains Amadas and Barlowe
DATE: 1584
SOURCE: America, Vol.2, Pg.47

[THE new charter, which Raleigh obtained in 1584 for his colonization of America, gave "all the privileges of free denizens and persons native of England." It was this provision in Raleigh's charter which formed the basis for the resistance to England that led to the Revolution. So in large measure we are indebted to Raleigh for American Independence.

While still a youth Raleigh had become interested in American colonization, and commanded one of the seven ships in the fleet of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, his half-brother, when only 26 years of age. Five years later he furnished one of the five ships in Sir Humphrey's disastrous voyage, and would have sailed on this expedition, but was prevented by the order of the Queen, who was unwilling that her favorite should incur the risk of "dangerous sea fights.

This account of The First Voyage to Roanoke is taken from the written report made by Captains Amadas and Barlowe to Sir Walter.]

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.47

THE 27 day of April, in the year of our redemption, 1584 we departed the West of England, with two barks well furnished with men and victuals, having received our last and perfect directions by your letters, confirming the former instructions and commandments delivered by yourself at our leaving the river of Thames.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.47 - p.48

The second of July we found shoal water, where we smelled so sweet, and so strong a smell, as if we had been in the midst of some delicate garden abounding with all kind of odoriferous flowers, by which we were assured, that the land could not be far distant: and keeping good watch, and bearing but slack sail, the fourth of the same month we arrived upon the coast, which we supposed to be a continent and firm land, and we sailed along the same a hundred and twenty English miles before we could find any entrance, or river issuing into the Sea. The first that appeared unto us, we entered, though not without some difficulty, and cast anchor about three harquebuz-shot within the haven's mouth on the left hand of the same: and after thanks given to God for our safe arrival thither, we manned our boats, and went to view the land next adjoining, and to take possession of the same, in the right of the Queen's most excellent Majesty, and rightful Queen, and Princess of the same, and after delivered the same over to your use, according to her Majesty's grant, and letters patents, under her Highness' great seal. Which being performed, according to the ceremonies used in such enterprises, we viewed the land about us, being, whereas we first landed, very sandy and low towards the water's side, but so full of grapes, as the very beating and surge of the Sea overflowed them, of which we found such plenty, as well there as in all places else, both on the sand and on the green soil on the hills, as in the plains, as well on every little shrub, as also climbing towards the tops of high cedars, that I think in all the world the like abundance is not to be found: and myself having seen those parts of Europe that most abound, find such difference as were incredible to be written.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.48 - p.49

We passed from the Sea side towards the tops of those hills next adjoining, being but of mean heighth, and from thence we beheld the Sea on both sides to the north, and to the south, finding no end any of both ways. This land lay stretching itself to the west, which after we found to be but an island of twenty miles long, and not above six miles broad. Under the bank or hill whereon we stood, we beheld the valleys replenished with goodly cedar trees, and having discharged our harquebuz-shot, such a flock of cranes (the most part white), arose under us, with such a cry redoubled by many echoes, as if an army of men had shouted all together.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.49 - p.50

We remained by the side of this island two whole days before we saw any people of the country: the third day we espied one small boat rowing towards us having in it three persons: this boat came to the island side, four harquebuz-shot from our ships, and there two of the people remaining, the third came along the shoreside towards us, and we being then all within board, he walked up and down upon the point of the land next unto us: then the master and the pilot of the admiral, Simon Ferdinando, and the Captain Philip Amadas, myself, and others rowed to the land, whose coming this fellow attended, never making any show of fear or doubt. And after he had spoken of many things not understood by us, we brought him with his own good liking, aboard the ships, and gave him a shirt, a hat and some other things, and made him taste of our wine, and our meat, which he liked very well; and after having viewed both barks, he departed, and went to his own boat again, which he had left in a little cove or creek adjoining: as soon as he was two bow shot into the water, he fell to fishing, and in less than half an hour, he had laden his boat as deep as it could swim, with which he came again to the point of the land, and there he divided his fish into two parts, pointing one part to the ship, and the other to the pinnace: which, after he had, as much as he might, requited the former benefits received, departed out of our sight.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.50 - p.51

The next day there came unto us divers boats, and in one of them the King's brother, accompanied with forty or fifty men, very handsome and goodly people, and in their behavior as mannerly and civil as any of Europe. His name was Granganimeo, and the king is called Wingina, the country Wingandacoa, and now by her Majesty Virginia. The manner of his coming was in this sort: he left his boats altogether as the first man did a little from the ships by the shore, and came along to the place over against the ships, followed with forty men. When he came to the place, his servants spread a long mat upon the ground, on which he sat down, and at the other end of the mat four others of his company did the like, the rest of his men stood round about him, somewhat far off: when we came to the shore to him with our weapons, he never moved from his place, nor any of the other four, nor never mistrusted any harm to be offered from us, but sitting still he beckoned us to come and sit by him, which we performed: and being set he made all signs of joy and welcome, striking on his head and his breast and afterwards on ours to show we were all one, smiling and making show the best he could of all love, and familiarity. After he had made a long speech unto us, we presented him with divers things, which he received very joyfully, and thankfully. None of the company durst speak one word all the time: only the four which were at the other end, spoke one in the other's ear very softly.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.51

The King is greatly obeyed, and his brothers and children reverenced: the King himself in person was at our being there, sore wounded in a fight which had had with the King of the next country, called Wingina. A day or two after this, we fell to trading with them, exchanging some things that we had, for chamois, buffalo and deer skins: when we showed him all our packet of merchandise, of all things that he saw, a bright tin dish most pleased him, which he presently took up and clapt it before his breast, and after made a hole in the brim thereof and hung it about his neck, making signs that it would defend him against his enemy's arrows: for those people maintain a deadly and terrible war, with the people and King adjoining. We exchanged our tin dish for twenty skins, worth twenty crowns, or twenty nobles: and a copper kettle for fifty skins worth fifty crowns. They offered us good exchange for our hatchets, and axes, and for knives, and would have given anything for swords: but we would not depart with any.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.51 - p.52

After two or three days the King's brother came aboard the ships, and drank wine, and ate of our meat and of our bread, and liked exceedingly thereof: and after a few days overpassed, he brought his wife with him to the ships, his daughter and two or three children: his wife was very well favored, of mean stature, and very bashful: she had on her back a long cloak of leather, with the fur side next to her body, and before her a piece of the same: about her forehead she had a band of white coral, and so had her husband many times: in her ears she had bracelets of pearls hanging down to her middle, whereof we delivered your worship a little bracelet, and those were of the bigness of good peas. The rest of her women of the better sort had pendants of copper hanging in either ear, and some of the children of the King's brother and other noble men, have five or six in either ear: he himself had upon his head a broad plate of gold, or copper, for being unpolished we knew not what metal it should be, neither would he by any means suffer us to take it off his head, but feeling it, it would bow very easily. His apparel was as his wives, only the women wear their hair long on both sides, and the men but on one. They are of color yellowish, and their hair black for the most part, and yet we saw children that had very fine auburn and chestnut colored hair.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.52 - p.53

After that these women had been there, there came down from all parts great store of people, bringing with them leather, coral, divers kinds of dyes, very excellent, and exchanged with us: but when Granganimeo the king's brother was present, none durst trade but himself: except such as wear red pieces of copper on their heads like himself: for that is the difference between the noble men, and the governors of countries, and the meaner sort. And we both noted there, and you have understood since by these men, which we brought home, that no people in the world carry more respect to their King, nobility, and governors, than these do. The King's brother's wife, when she came to us, as she did many times, was followed with forty or fifty women always: and when she came into the ship, she left them all on land, saving her two daughters, her nurse and one or two more. The King's brother always kept this order, as many boats as he would come withal to the ships, so many fires would he make on the shore afar off, to the end we might understand with what strength and company he approached.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.53 - p.54

Their boats are made of one tree, either of pine or of pitch trees: a wood not commonly known to our people, nor found growing in England. They have no edge-tools to make them withal: if they have any they are very few, and those it seems they had twenty years since, which, as those two men declared, was out of a wreck which happened upon their coast of some Christian ship, being beaten that way by some storm and outrageous weather, whereof none of the people were saved, but only the ship, or some part of her being cast upon the sand, out of whose sides they drew the nails and the spikes, and with those they made their best instruments. The manner of making their boats is thus: they burn down some great tree, or take such as are wind fallen, and putting gum and rosin upon one side thereof, they set fire into it, and when it has burnt it hollow, they cut out the coal with their shells, and ever where they would burn it deeper or wider they lay on gums, which burn away the timber, and by this means they fashion very fine boats, and such as will transport twenty men. Their oars are like scoops, and many times they set with long poles, as the depth serves.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.54

The King's brother had great liking of our armor, a sword, and divers other things which we had: and offered to lay a great box of pearls in gage for them: but we refused it for this time, because we would not make them known, that we esteemed thereof, until we had understood in what places of the country the pearl grew: which now your Worship does very well understand.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.54

He was very just of his promise: for many times we delivered him merchandise upon his word, but ever he came within the day and kept his promise.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.54 - p.55

After they had been divers times aboard our ships, myself, with seven more went twenty miles into the river that runs toward the city of Shicoak, which river they call Occam: and the evening following we came to an island which they call Roanoak, distant from the harbor by which we entered, seven leagues: and at the north end thereof was a village of nine houses, built of cedar, and fortified round about with sharp trees, to keep out their enemies, and the entrance into it made like a turnpike very artificially; when we came towards it, standing near unto the water's side, the wife of Granganimeo the King's brother came running out to meet us very cheerfully and friendly, her husband was not then in the village; some of her people she commanded to draw our boat on shore for the beating of the billow: others she appointed to carry us on their backs to the dry ground, and others to bring our oars into the house for fear of stealing. When we were come into the outer room, having five rooms in her house, she caused us to sit down by a great fire, and after took off our clothes and washed them, and dried them again: some of the women plucked off our stockings and washed them, some washed our feet in warm water, and she herself took great pains to see all things ordered in the best manner she could, making great haste to dress some meat for us to eat.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.55 - p.56

After we had thus dried ourselves, she brought us into the inner room, where she set on the board standing along the house, some wheat like furmenty, sodden venison, and roasted, fish sodden, boiled and roasted, melons raw, and sodden, roots of divers kinds and divers fruits: their drink is commonly water, but while the grape lasts, they drink wine, and for want of casks to keep it, all the year after they drink water, but it is sodden with ginger in it and black cinnamon, and sometimes sassafras, and divers other wholesome, and medicinal herbs and trees. We were entertained with all love and kindness, and with much bounty, after their manner, as they could possibly devise. We found the people most gentle, loving and faithful, void of all guile and treason, and such as live after the manner of the golden age. The people only care how to defend themselves from the cold in their short winter, and to feed themselves with such meat as the soil affords: their meat is very well sodden and they make broth very sweet and savory: their vessels are earthen pots, very large, white and sweet, their dishes are wooden platters of sweet timber: within the place where they feed was their lodging, and within that their idol, which they worship, of whom they speak incredible things.

Captains Amadas and Barlowe, First Voyage To Roanoke, America, Vol.2, p.56

When we first had sight of this country, some thought the first land we saw to be the continent: but after we entered into the haven, we saw before us another mighty long Sea: for there lies along the coast a tract of islands, two hundred miles in length 96 adjoining to the ocean sea, and between the islands, two or three entrances: when you are entered between them, these islands being very narrow for the most part, as in most places six miles broad, in some places less, in few more, then there appears another great Sea, containing in breadth in some places, forty, and in some fifty, in some twenty miles over, before you come unto the continent: and in this enclosed Sea there are above an hundred islands of divers bigness, whereof one is sixteen miles long,. . . replenished with goodly cedars, and divers other sweet woods, full of currants, of flax, and many other notable commodities, which we had no leisure to view.

The Birth of Virginia Dare

TITLE: The Birth Of Virginia Dare
AUTHOR: John White
DATE: 1587
SOURCE: America, Vol.2, Pg.67

[VIRGINIA DARE was not "the first white child to be born in America," as is generally supposed, but was the first child of English parentage to be born in America. Her father was Ananias Dare, and her grandfather was John White, Governor of Virginia, who wrote this account of her birth.

The disappearance of White's colony is a mystery about which historians continue to speculate. Other expeditions followed, but no further attempts were made to plant a permanent settlement at Roanoke.]

John White, Birth Of Virginia Dare, America, Vol.2, p.67

THE two and twentieth day of July we came safely to Cape Hatteras, where our ship and pinnac anchored. The Governor went aboard the pinnace accompanied by forty of his best men, intending to pass up to Roanoke. He hoped to find those fifteen Englishmen whom Sir Richard Grenville had left there the year before. With these he meant to have a conference concerning the state of the country and the savages, intending then to return to the fleet and pass along the coast to the Bay of Chesapeake. Here we intended to make our settlement and fort according to the charge given us among other directions in writing under the hand of Sir Walter Raleigh. We passed to Roanoke and the same night at sunset went ashore on the island, in the place where our fifteen men were left. But we found none of them, nor any sign that they had been there, saving only that we found the bones of one of them, whom the savages had slain long before.

John White, Birth Of Virginia Dare, America, Vol.2, p.68

The Governor with several of his company walked the next day to the north end of the island, where Master Ralph Lane, with his men the year before, had built his fort with sundry dwelling houses. We hoped to find some signs here, or some certain knowledge of our fifteen men.

John White, Birth Of Virginia Dare, America, Vol.2, p.68

When we came thither we found the fort razed, but all the houses standing unhurt, saving that the lower rooms of them, and of the fort also, were overgrown with melons of different sorts, and deer were in rooms feeding on those melons. So we returned to our company without the hope of ever seeing any of the fifteen men living.

John White, Birth Of Virginia Dare, America, Vol.2, p.68

The same day an order was given that every man should be employed in remodeling those houses which we found standing, and in making more cottages.

John White, Birth Of Virginia Dare, America, Vol.2, p.68

On the eighteenth a daughter was born in Roanoke to Eleanor, the daughter of the Governor and the wife of Ananias Dare. This baby was christened on the Sunday following, and because this child was the first Christian born in Virginia she was named Virginia Dare.

John White, Birth Of Virginia Dare, America, Vol.2, p.68

By this time our shipmasters had unloaded the goods and victuals of the planters and taken wood and fresh water, and were newly calking and trimming their vessels for their return to England. The settlers also prepared their letters and news to send back to England.

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