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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
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Chapter I. — Voyages of Ribault and Laudonniere.

THUS far our information regarding the Indian tribes had been derived, in direct sequence, from incidental notices of the operations of De Leon and Vasquez, in the south; of Cartier and Roberval in the north; of Verrazani in the area of the central littoral tribes; of Narvaez and De Soto among the Appalachian and the Issati, or Great "Western family; and of Caba de Vaca and Coronado among the Querchos, or Buffalo Hunters, and the house building tribes of the high plains of New Mexico. The year 1542 witnessed the failure of the last three principal attempts at colonization, those of Cartier, De Soto, and Coronado.

Twenty years, of comparative inaction and quiet, succeeded these energetic efforts to found territorial sovereignties in the extensive country possessed by the Indians. In the meantime, the Reformation had made such progress in Europe, as to engender a new and bitter source of discord between the subjects of the colonizing powers. Loyola had taught the ancient Christian faith to the natives of East India, and Las Casas was selected to perform the same service for the benighted, and, as he thought, ill-used aborigines of America. Religious instruction was considered to be an essential adjunct of every attempt to explore, conquer, and colonize; an ecclesiastical force always accompanying those expeditions, whose duty it was to divert the attention of the native tribes, from their gross daemonology and idolatry, to God.

Prominent among the converts in France, to the new doctrines promulgated by Luther and Calvin, was Admiral Coligni, a man of much influence, one of the nobility, and holding a high rank. The narrow-minded Charles IX., then a mere boy, and his

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more famed, but bigoted mother, Catherine de Medicis, were then in power in France. Coligni, being desirous of providing an asylum for his persecuted countrymen, professing the Protestant faith, turned his attention to the New World. He first made an experiment in Brazil, which failed, through the treachery of Villegagnon, his agent, who renounced his faith; he next directed his thoughts to Florida, then a geographical term, having an almost continental extent, but which, in 1524, had been named New France, by Verrazani. He received a patent from the king for founding a colony in this quarter, and provided two ships, which were placed under the command of John Ribault, a skilful and resolute Huguenot, who set sail from Havre de Grace on the 18th of February, 1562. Steering a nearly direct course across the Atlantic, without touching at any of the West India islands, he made the coast of Florida on the last day of April, the voyage having occupied a little over two months, owing to the delay caused by tempestuous weather. The following day he cast anchor off the mouth of the St. John's river, naming it the river of May; then, entering it with his boats, he ascertained that there was a good depth of water in the channel.

Ribault took possession of the country in the name of the king, and erected a stone monument, which he had brought with him from France for that purpose. Having established a friendly, as well as pleasant intercourse with the natives, and spent a few days with them, he re-embarked, and, during "four weeks" continued his voyage along the coast, until he arrived at Port Royal, within the present limits of South Carolina. Finding, on exploring it by means of his boats, that the harbor was spacious, the water deep, and the anchorage excellent, he entered it with his largest ships, and dropped his anchors in a good position. The territory in which he then was, had been named Chicora by the natives, as also by the early Spanish adventurers. Magnificent scenery, both land and water, was spread before him in every direction. Delighted with the prospect, he took formal possession of the surrounding territory by erecting an engraved monumental stone, bearing the king's arms. Having determined to found a settlement at this place, a suitable spot was selected, which is supposed to have been near to, or on the site of the present town of Beaufort, where he erected a fortification called Fort Charles. [59] Leaving thirty men, well provided with arms, tools, and supplies, to begin operations, he placed them under the command of Albert de Peirria, and then returned to France. Being a strictly conscientious man, Ribault did not follow the example of the Spanish mariners, and abduct the natives of the country, that he might exhibit them in Europe as specimens of the Indian race.

The Chicora Indians, having naturally very gentle manners, were kind in supplying the colonists with the zea maize, and rendering them other services. In these offices of kindness, the local chief, Andasta, took a prominent part, and was

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seconded by others at more southerly points, who were respectively entitled Ouade, Couexes, Maccoa, Outina, Satouriona, Wosta, Oleteraca, Timagoon, and Potanon, the orthographical elements of which names do not coincide with the Muscogee, Cherokee, or any known number of the Floridian stock.

The colonists themselves, however, being idle and factious, planted nothing, and had no idea of directing their attention to the real business before them. Peirria having no proper conception of the authority delegated to him, became an inflated tyrant, hanged one of the men as a measure of discipline, and performed other arbitrary acts. Eventually the colonists rebelled against his authority, and put him to death; after which, having appointed another leader in his stead, they determined to build a vessel and return in it to France. This plan was carried out, and the entire party embarked, abandoning the fort. The voyage having been long, as well as tempestuous, and the vessel, weak and miserable, they suffered horribly. Most of them died of starvation and exposure. At length, when near the coast of France, an English vessel hove in sight, by which the few survivors were saved.

At this period, events were equally as transitory in the Old World as in the New. When Ribault returned to France, after establishing his little colony at Fort Charles, and giving it promises of assistance, he found the contest between the Catholics and the Reformers raging with greater violence than ever, and Coligni to be so much involved in this struggle, that he applied to the king in vain for succor for the colony. As soon, however, as the warfare against the Huguenots had subsided, three ships were fitted out to convey assistance to the colony in Chicora, and placed under the orders of Rene de Laudonniere, who, in addition to the ordinary outfit of men and supplies, was provided with an artist, who had orders to sketch the features, as also the costumes of the natives, and other curiosities. [60]


Laudonniere sailed from Havre de Grace on the 22d of April, 1564, being one year and nine months subsequent to the first departure of Ribault from the same port. Intelligence of the sad fate of those left at Fort Charles, had, evidently, been received in France prior to this time, although the fact is not distinctly stated. However, be that as it may, Laudonniere did not proceed to Fort Charles, but, on the 25th of June, cast anchor off the mouth of the river of May, the St. John's, in Florida. On entering the river, he was received by Satouriona, and his tribe, who shouted in French, ami, ami. By them he was guided to the monument of possession erected by Ribault, which he found crowned with garlands, and surrounded by little baskets of zea maize. There was, indeed, a warmth and cordiality in the reception of the French by these aborigines, which, whatever may have occasioned it, has marked the intercourse of the French with the Indians, from that day to the present;

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which friendly feelings have not been manifested by them toward any other nation whatever.

Laudonniere was entranced, not only with the picturesque beauty of the country, but also with its fertility, and its fragrant, as well as luxuriant vegetation. Quitting the St. John's, he sailed northwardly along the coast until he entered a river, which he named the Somme, where he was also received in a friendly manner by the Indians. A few days subsequently he returned again to the St. John's, and built a fort on its southern banks, about three leagues from its mouth, which he named Caroline, [61] in honor of Charles IX. The events connected with the history of this fort — the meeting, the improvements, the buccaneering and the executions, the visit to the friendly chief, Andasta, at Port Royal, Indian negotiations, fights, and other occurrences — impart a deep interest to this portion of the narrative; but they can only be thus incidentally noticed. Their result was the transmission of false reports to France, in consequence of which, Laudonniere was recalled.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
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