Page images
[ocr errors]

SECT. two Indians before mentioned, Wanchese and Man

teo, to assist him in his negociations with their countrymen, sailed on the 9th of April, 1585, from Plymouth.* But, induced by a desire of sharing in the plunder of a predatory war, then carried on by the English against the Spaniards, in capturing their vessels bound home with the treasures of their Mexican mines, as well as from unacquaintance with a more direct and shorter course to North America, he took the southern route by the West India islands. He spent some time in cruising among these, and in taking prizes; so that it was towards the close of June, before he arrived on the coast of North America. It is said, that in going into the harbour of Wokoken, he lost the ship which he himself commanded.t He touched at both the islands where Amidas and Barlow had landed. Manteo, the faithful Indian whom they had carried to England, and was now brought back with Sir Richard, became of essential service. His knowledge of the language made him useful as an interpreter, while his attachment to the persons of the English smoothed the difficulties to a free and friendly intercourse with his countrymen. Under


* It is said, that Sir Richard was accompanied in this voyage by the celebrated circumnavigator Sir Thomas Cavendish, who, being then a young man of family and fortune,, fitted out a ship of 120 tons burthen, called the Tyger, at his own expense,

in which he attended Sir Richard, without any profit. Harris's Voyages, Vol. 1, p. 23. Mod. Univ. Hist. Vol. 2, p. 411.

† Mod. Univ. Hist. Vol. 39, p. 236. In Burk's Hist. of Virg. Vol. 1, p. 53, it is said, that “ he narrowly escaped shipwreck on Cape Fear."


his guidance they made several excursions, and vi. SECT, sited several villages on the islands and the main. In one of these excursions, Sir Richard went, attended 1585. by a number of his officers, to an Indian town on the continent, called by some Scroton, by others Aquaseogok,* where he was hospitably received by the inhabitants; but some of them having pilfered a silver cup from the English, of which no restitution was made, Sir Richard gave loose to an imprudent revenge, plundered one of the Indian towns, and destroyed their corn-fields, and was forced to avoid the rage of the natives by immediate embar- . kation. At this juncture of time, no conduct in him could have been more impolitic, and might well forebode the disastrous conclusion of this first attempt at colonisation.

After this outrage, Sir Richard sailed to Hatteras, where he was visited by Granganemeo, the prince who had been so friendly to Amidas and Barlow, the preceding year, and who was, on this occasion, accompanied by Manteo. Of what passed between Granganemeo and Grenville at this interview, the journal of the voyage, it is said, gives no account; but it is

supposed, that the settlement of the English in the country, at least of the island of Roanoke, was then agreed on between them, to their mutual satisfaction.f Sir Richard then sailed for that island, and having fixed upon it for the site of his settlement, he remained there for the space of six weeks, pro

, bably to see the colony somewhat arranged and set• Burk's Hist. of Virginia, Vol. 1, p. 54.

Oldy's Life of Raleigh, cited in Holines's Annals, Vol. 1, p. 119, note 3.


sect. tled before his departure. The colony consisted of

one hundred and eight men ;* Mr. Ralph Lane, 1585. being their governour, and captain Philip Amidas,

titular admiral of the country. Thomas Heriot, a celebrated mathematician, and John Wythe, an ingenious painter, were also of the number of these colonists.f Having disposed all things for his departure, Sir Richard set sail for England on the 25th of August. He shaped his course, it seems, so as to keep in view the American continent which lies between Currituck inlet and the Chesapeake ; but nothing is mentioned of any discoveries thereby made by him. He arrived at Plymouth on the 18th of September following, with a rich Spanish

* In Robertson's Hist. of America, b. 9, it is said, that there were one hundred and eighty men ; but that is evidently a mistake either in himself or the press, by transposing the figures 108 to 180, or by adding the letter y to the word eight. The list, published in Hazard's Collections, Vol. 1, p. 38, contains 107 persons, which with governour Lane, would complete the number 108, mentioned by Oldmixon, Harris, and the Mod. Univ. Hist.

+ Mr. Heriot wrote a topographical description of this part of Virginia (now called North Carolina,) and its natural history, which is preserved in Hackluyt's Voyages. It was translated into Latin by Theodore de Bry, and published in his collection of voyages. It is said, that the famous French philosopher, Descartes, borrowed much of his light from this excellent mathematician; and that the learned Dr. Wallis gave his preference to Heriot's improvements before those of Descartes, although the latter had the advantage of being suc. cessor to the former. Mr. Wythe also made several draw. ings of the figures and dress of the natives, of which copperplates were afterwards taken and published by de Bry in 1590, with Latin explanations of them. Burk's Hist. of Virginia, Vol. 1, p. 55.



prize, which he had taken on the passage. His SECT. proceedings appear to have been highly satisfactory to his employers, or what was then called, The new Virginia Company

Soon after the departure of the ships, governour Lane began to make preparation for obtaining a more extensive knowledge of the country. With this view, he proceeded in his boats along the coast to the southward, to an Indian town called Secoton, by their reckoning, distant from Roanoke eighty miles, and lying between the rivers Neus and Pampticoe. To the north they advanced one hundred and thirty miles, to the Chesapeakes, a nation of Indians seated on a small river, now called Elizabeth, which falls into the great bay of Chesapeake, below Norfolk.* To the north-west, they went up Albemarle sound and Chowan river, one hundred and thirty miles, to a nation of Indians called the Chowanocks, inhabiting a little beyond the fork of that river, where one branch takes the name of Meherrin, and the other of Nottoway. The king of this nation, Menatonon, is represented by the adventurers, to have been shrewd beyond the cunning of any of the Indians they had seen. Having collected from the inquiries of the English, the principal subjects of their search, he amused governour Lane and his company, with the story of a copper mine and a


• In the Indian language, the word Chesapeake is said to signify, Mother of Watere. The obvious application of this name to the great bay so called, would seem to intimate, that this Indian nation must have taken their name from their si. tuation near the Chesapeake bay. See Burk's Hist. of Virginia, Vol. 1, p. 56, who cites Stith.

[ocr errors]


SECT. pearl fishery, and with the marvellous description of

the source of the Moratuck, now called Roanoke ; 1585. which he represented as springing out of a rock, so

near the sea, that in high winds the surge beat over it. Added to this, there seems to have been at this time a general rumour among the Indians, perhaps designedly propagated by them, of a rich mine, that lay in the interior part of the country high up the Moratuck. Filled with these delusive hopes, the governour now prepared for an expedition up this river, under the full expectation of exploring these advantageous discoveries, and of taking immediate possession of this fancied source of wealth. It is necessary to observe, that Wingina, the Indian king before mentioned, who appears to have been sovereign of the country about the mouth of the Roa. noke river, had been always secretly inimical to the English, or to their settling in the country, and was restricted in the exercise of his animosity to them, only by the influence of the friendly Granganemeo his brother. This did not, however, prevent him from injuring them, whenever he could do it with secresy; and it may be inferred from circumstances, that he acted on this occasion, in concert with Me. natonon. Immediately before the English set out upon their expedition, the artful Wingina despatched messengers to the several nations of Indians, who inhabited the banks of the Moratuck, to apprize them of their intended excursion, and to spread amongst them suspicions of the evil views and intentions of the English. Lane pursued his course in boats, up the Moratuck; but, strangely confiding in this treacherous prince, who, the better to

« PreviousContinue »