« ПретходнаНастави »
said to have laid the foundation of the British settlements in America. From the English discoveries from North to South, and the course of the Spanish navigation, on the return to Europe through the Bahama Channel or Gulf of Florida, he was satisfied that there was a wide extent of unexplored coast, in a more temperate climate, stretching from Florida to the northward. He, therefore, obtained from the Queen a patent for making discoveries and settlements; and immediately afterwards despatched two barks to North-America. They made their voyage by the way of the West-Indies, and arrived on the coast in the month of July, and were greeted with fragrant gales from the shore. After passing by a flat region for many miles, they arrived at an inlet, through which they approached the land; along which, from stately cedars, hung bunches of grapes trailing almost into the sea. On exploring this inviting spot, the delighted navigators wandered through groves of fragrant trees, and under canopies of vines sustaining the luscious bunches. To this spectacle of nature in her luxuriance, so novel and enchanting to northern mariners after a tedious voyage, succeeded the marks of cultivation-fields of grain and domestic animalsthe evidences of an inhabited country. The first island which they visited, was Wocoken; and they found a succession of islands and an inland sea between them and the continent, sprinkled with islands.
An acquaintance with the natives was soon formed, and offices of kindness exchanged. A native prince came on board; a trade was opened, and he exchanged twenty furs for a tin dish, not selected by him as a shining bauble, but as a piece of armour to be hung on his neck as a gorget. A princess, with her attendants, afterwards visited the English. . She was both beautiful and modest. She wore a mantle and apron of deer-skin, lined with white fur. Her long locks hung down on each side of her head, while her forehead was encircled by a band of white coral; and from her ears was suspended a chain of pearls as big as peas, (says the voyager) reaching to her waist. The English visited her in turn at Roanoke, and found in her that kindness to strangers which characterizes the sex in every stage of civilization. Such was the first intercourse between the siinple savages of North-America and the English settlers. It was altogether an interchange of civility and kindness. Nothing occurred to interrupt the harmony of their intercourse. The king, though possessed of considerable territories, apprehended no invasion from his new visiters; nor does it appear that the English at that time intended anything beyond a traffic with the natives and peaceful settlements among them, for mutual adVOL. IV.NO. 8.
vantage; by which civilization, riches and religion, would be extended to the new world. The prince and people even desired the return of the strangers, as useful allies against the invasion of the powerful tribes of the interior: and two Indians embarked in the English ships.
Queen Elizabeth was so well pleased with the report "of this rich, beautiful and virgin country," that she herself, gave it the name of Virginia. This discovery, and the favourable notice of it by the Queen, if it excited the envy of the courtiers, strengthened Raleigh with the people; for at the next session of Parliament, he was elected a knight of the shire, for the county of Devon. But unfortunately for the parliamentary fame of Raleigh, 'there was then (says Oldys) a clerk of the Parliament, Fulk Ons
low by name, so very indolent, or otherwise indisposed, that the transactions of the House were, at this time, very imperfectly
recorded. At this Parliament, however, his patent was confirmed; and the Queen conferred on him the honour of knighthood; a title not then so cheap as it became in the days of her successor. Raleigh now fitted out a second expedition to Virginia, under the command of his gallant relative, Sir Richard Greenville, of seven ships; and sent out a governor for the colony, Mr. Ralph Lane. It was a prosperous and profitable voyage. The only mishap to the crews, was to be sadly stung by the musquitoes at Porto Rico; but it was off this island that two rich prizes were taken; one freighted with merchandize, the other with noble Spaniards. The prize-money and the ransoms more than repaid the expense of the outfit. Sir R. Greenville having landed the colonists, returved to England for supplies.
The Governor was kindly received by the natives, and made a settlement by their consent, with one hundred and seven colonists. He explored the country to the extent of two hundred miles on the coast, and one hundred and thirty miles in the interior, and wrote a discourse displaying “the particularities of the country of Virginia." After the death of the reigning prince, his brother and successor, conspired against the English, but fell a sacrifice to his policy ; and the next in succession submitted to them. Sir Francis Drake, returning from his successful expedition against the Spanish possessions, visited the colony, and generously proffered them a ship, with provisions for their maintenance, until the expected arrival of Sir R. Greenville ; but a violent storm, after some of the colonists had gone on board the ship, having separated the fleet and driven her to sea, the rest, now disheartened with the diminution of their numbers, sailed with Drake for England. In the meantime, tirst a provision ship, and afterwards Sir Richard Greenville with three ships ar
rived. Though the colonists were not to be found, Sir Richard left fifteen men, with provisions and utensils. It was by the return of the colonists in Drake's ships, that tobacco was first brought into England. Raleigh not only introduced it from his colony, but endeavoured to recomiend it to the public, by using it himself. The well-known story of his being found in his study with his pipe by a servant, who taking him to be on fire, threw a jug of ale into his face, would seem to entitle him to the virgin honours of smoking. From him, according to some accounts, smoking passed to the court; and it is said that not only the nobles, but the ladies of the court, were not insensible to the comforts of a pipe. It does not appear that the Queen ever used tobacco in this shape ; but she was too much of a thinker to have neglected the aid of a pinch of snuff in quickening the action of the intellect. If, however, she did not enjoy tobacco, she liked to talk of it, and was once assured by Raleigh, he had so well experienced the nature of it, that he could tell her the weight of the smoke. Her Majesty laid him a wager; he procured then a parcel to be smoked, and weighed the ashes; and her Majesty was forced to admit that what was wanting of the prime weight of the tobacco, must have evaporated in smoke. Upon which the Queen said to him, “that she had heard of many • labourers in the fire who had turned their gold into smoke, but • Raleigh was the first who had turned smoke into gold.' Though in the subsequent reign, this plant was the means of enriching the mother colony, and encreasing largely the commerce and navigation of Great-Britain, it was so offensive to the delicate nerves of King James, that he not only wrote against it in a pamphlet, entitled the “Counterblast of Tobacco," but what the planters regarded much more, subjected it to a heavy duty. The resort to narcotics as promotive of indolence of mind and body, has always prevailed more or less among civilized and savage nations. The latter, after the violent exercise of the chase, naturally seek for repose in sleep, or what is more agreeable, a gentle stupor. Civilization, while it enlarges the pleasures, increases the pains of the mind; by sharpening the activity of this medium of good and ill, it often renders the instrument too acute for its own health or preservation, and drives the wretched to seek for relief in a forgetfulness of themselves. Opiates either diminish the force of ideas, or break their ordinary current and transport the imagination into new and more delightful regions. While the human constitution continues as it is, it will, perhaps, be found that tobacco is the least noxious of those "oblivious antidotes," for which human wretchedness will ever create the demand. The Englisb settlers found tobacco
in use among the savages, who paid it a religious reverence, as the most grateful fume with which they could propitiate their gods. They also highly valued its medicinal virtues in disorders of the head and stomach; in removing obstructions and opening
In 1587, Raleigh fitted out a fourth expedition to Virginia, of one hundred and fifty men, under Mr. Jobn White and twelve assistants. They sought in vain for the fifteen men left by Sir Richard Greenville; but learned from the friendly natives that they had been murdered by a hostile party of savages. The Governor having returned for supplies, Raleigh attempted a fifth voyage, and had actually prepared a fleet, to sail under the command of Sir Richard Greenville, when that gallant officer was detained by the Queen to meet the Spanish invasion. This was Raleigh's last attempt. He had now expended forty thousand pounds, nor had his colony yet taken root. The failure was partly owing to an unfortunate selection of a site for a settlement; the colonists had not as yet attained a good harbour; and the difficulty of ships communicating with the shore, and the dangers to which they were exposed upon an open coast, had been serious impediments to settlers. Raleigh had sagaciously directed that the colonists should proceed to Chesapeak Bay, and there, upon some river, build a town; and he even granted a charter “to the governor and assistants of the city of Raleigh in Virginia;" but bis instructions had been neglected. The colonists do not appear to have had the industrious habits which are indispensable to the forming of prosperous settlements: they relied too much upon supplies from England and from the Indians, and did not apply themselves to clear the country and to cultivate it, in the spirited manner in which the Western settlers now invade the wilderness, and convert forests into farms and villages, towns and states.
It was hoped by one of Raleigh's friends, 'that her Majesty, who had christened the colony, and given it the name of Vir'ginia, would deal after the manner of honourable godmothers, who, seeing their gossips not fully able to bring up their children themselves, are wont to contribute to their honest education, the rather if they find any towardliness or reasonable hopes of goodness in them.' But the Spaniards now found the Queen rather too much occupation at home; and Raleigh was compelled at length to abandon his project; he, therefore, in 1587, assigned his patent to Thomas Smith and other merchants in London. Though the colonists were soon dispersed, the English continued to trade with the natives, and thus kept up an intercourse with the new world, until a permanent settlement was made by the Vir
gina Company in the beginning of the next century. But to Raleigh, is due the honour of first projecting and of keeping up by his persevering efforts and expensive expeditions, the idea of permanent British settlements in America. His name is thus associated with the origin of the Independent States of North America, and must be reverenced by all who, from liberal curiosity or pious affection, study the early history of their country.
Nearly coeval with the patent of discovery, and probably to supply him with the means of meeting the expense, the Queen granted him a monopoly for the vending of wines, which involved him in a controversy with the University of Cambridge, throughout which, he displayed a moderation which evinced his reverence for letters and for that seat of science. With Sir Andrew Gilbert, his brother, he was united in planning a voyage for the discovery for the North-West Passage, and in bearing the expense of it, which scheme, through the skill and courage of Captain John Davis, after three voyages, was crowned with the discovery of Davis' Straights.
Sir Walter Raleigh continued to increase in favour with the Queen, and was appointed by her to various places. After being made Senechal of Cornwall and Exeter, and Lord Warden of the Stannaries; he was advanced to the post of Captain of the Queen's Guard, and Lieutenant General of Cornwall, and was nominated one of the Council of War to prepare for the Spanish Armada. Though every arrangement was made to meet the enemy on shore, Raleigh was of opinion that he should be encountered at sea. He thought, it seems, as he afterwards said in bis history, in his advice to King James, although the English will no less disdain than any nation under Heaven can do, to be beaten upon their own ground, or elsewhere by a . foreign enemy, yet to entertain those that shall assail us with
their own beef in their bellies, and before they eat of our Ken'tish capons, I take it to be the wisest way. To do which, his
Majesty, after God, will employ his good ships on the sea, and not trust to any
intrenchment on shore.'* Raleigh had a command on shore, but was so impatient for action, that he put off with a gallant company of volunteers in several private ships, and joined the English fleet off Portland on the third day after they had followed the Spanish Armada; and was engaged from morning to evening in one of the bloodiest fights. Elated with their success, some of the officers advised that they should grapple with the Spaniards, and ter
History of the World, b. . vi. c. i. $9.