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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
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter I. — Discovery of Virginia, and its Aborigines.

No man, living during the reign of Elizabeth, acquired greater celebrity for military exploits, naval skill, enthusiastic pursuit of trans-Atlantic discoveries, and the furtherance of colonization, than did Sir Walter Raleigh. He was equally renowned for his wit, learning, eloquence, and accomplishments. Descended from a noble family in Devonshire, he was educated at Oxford, and, after serving with distinguished credit in France, under Coligni and Conde; in the Netherlands, under the Prince of Orange; and in Ireland, against the rebels; he was received at Elizabeth's court with marked favor. The world is indebted to Raleigh for the discovery of Virginia. His plans for promoting colonization on the Atlantic coast were early developed, and he was, beyond all others, the zealous, as well as steadfast, advocate of the policy of extending the power and civilization of England to the wild, but beauteous shores of America. He commanded an expedition which explored Guiana, in South America, and ascended the Orinoco to the distance of 400 miles from its mouth. Subsequently, he wrote an account of the countries visited by him, which is celebrated for its truthful, glowing, and graphic descriptions. Having been one of the originators of the expedition of Sir Humphrey Gilbert (his half-brother), to Newfoundland, when that attempt to found a colony failed, he obtained letters patent from Elizabeth, authorizing him to renew the effort in a more southerly latitude, on the Atlantic. These letters were dated on the 25th of March, 1584, nearly six years after the failure of Gilbert's attempt. The authority to make discoveries, and found a colony, was plenary, but the government did not undertake to defray any part of the cost. It was, strictly

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speaking, a private, or associate adventure, the crown conferring upon the projectors the proprietorship of the country discovered, merely stipulating for the usual acknowledgment of sovereignty, by the surrender of one-fifth of the proceeds of all mines. Some grants of licenses on wines, and other emoluments, were at the same period bestowed upon Raleigh, to enable him to liquidate the charges of his equipment; in addition to which he associated with him other persons possessing means and influence, among whom were included blood relations. Two vessels were provided, and placed under the respective commands of Philip Amidas, and Arthur Barlow, the latter of whom had served under Raleigh in Ireland, as an officer of the land forces. On the 2d of April the ships sailed out of the Thames, and, following the usual circuitous route, via the Canaries and the West Indies, arrived off the coast of Florida on the 2d of July. The Virginia coasts were occupied by clans of Algonquins, of the Powhatanic type. Each clan obeyed the authority of its own chief, but all were associated in a general confederacy, which was ruled by Powhatan, whose council fire and residence were located on the James river. Those who lived on the coasts relied on fish as one of the means of their subsistence. The hunting-grounds extended west to the general line of the falls of the Virginia rivers, where a diverse stock, as well as language, supervened, extending to the Alleghanies. Whatever occurrence of moment happened on the borders, as the appearance of enemies, or strangers, was immediately communicated to the central administration. In this way a sort of inchoate republic was governed.

Amidas and Barlow approached a low shore, covered with trees, fringed with an outer line of islands and islets. [64] Having cast anchor, Barlow landed in his yawl at the island of Wococon, [65] where he admired the handsome trees, indigenous fruits, and vigorous vegetation. [66] But no Indians appeared until the third day, when, three of the natives approaching in a canoe, a friendly intercourse ensued. The following day, the ships were visited by several canoes, in one of which was Granganameo, Powhatan's brother. At this interview, friendly salutations and presents were exchanged. The Indians are described as "a proper well-proportioned people, very civil in their manners and behaviour." After this interview, reciprocal confidence being established, a traffic was commenced.

Amidas then proceeded to enter Pamlico Sound, and the following day, at evening, anchored near the island of Roanoke, [67] which he estimated to be seven leagues distant from Occoquon, the first place of landing.

At Roanoke the English found a small village comprising nine houses, one of which was occupied by the family of Granganameo, the chief being absent. His wife received Amidas with courtesy and hospitality. She was an energetic woman, and ordered

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their boats to be drawn ashore, and the oars to be carried up to the village, to guard them from thieves. The feet of the English having been washed in warm water, she then invited them to partake of hominy, boiled venison, and roasted fish, with a dessert of "melons and other vegetables." [68]

Fearing treachery, Amidas embarked in his boat at evening, and, pushing it out into the sound, anchored off the village, intending thus to pass the night. The wife of Granganameo, divining the reason for this precaution, and evidently regretting his mistrust, sent down the evening's meal, in pots, to the shore. She also ordered mats to be carried to the boat, to shelter the English from the night dews, and directed several men, and thirty women, to remain there all night, as a guard.

This constituted the extreme limit of their discoveries. Returning to their anchorage, the explorers spent two months and a half on the coast, when, having finished their traffic, they set sail for England, about the middle of September, carrying with them two natives, called Manteo and Wasechoe. The safe return of the ships, and the narration of the discoveries made, created a strong sensation, and Elizabeth was so much pleased with the description of the country, and the prospect of extending her sovereignty which it presented, that she named it Virginia, in allusion to her own state of single-blessedness.

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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
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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