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And deeper dyes the autumnal hues
Thrice fifty years have passed since rolled
But Fancy's torch shall light the gloom
W. W. WINSLOW. CHAPTER III.
SIR WALTER RALEIGH-FIRST SETTLEMENTS.
THREE hundred years ago England was ruled by a queen named Elizabeth. She reigned many years, and so wisely that England became every year more prosperous and more powerful. She sent her ships, her gallant sailors, and her brave soldiers all around the world, and they were proud to discover and claim new kingdoms for her.
1552. Among the noble English gentlemen who loved to serve Queen Elizabeth was one Sir WALTER RALEIGH, whose name and fame are dear to us, since it was he who first endeavored to settle a colony in this State; and, though he failed to do it, yet as he gave himself for many years a great deal of trouble, and spent a great deal of money trying, we are bound to remember him kindly.
1584. In the year 1581 he sent out two ships full of men, with instructions to examine the coast and find out all they could about this country. These ships sailed slowly along the dangerous sandbar, looking for some opening so they could get within it. At last, on the 4th of July, 1584, they found an inlet near Roanoke Island, and entered. When they saw the great smooth sheet of water which we now call Albemarle Sound, saw the flocks of waterfowl skimming over it, saw the pleasant islands and the mainland and the beautiful and (to them) strange-looking woods full of singing birds of rare plumage, full of grapevines loaded with grapes, and full of flowers that made all the soft and sunny air sweet, they thought it was like Paradise.
The Indians came down to the shore to gaze at them, met them kindly, took them to their chief village to visit their king, and gave them the best they had to eat.
The English did not stay long. They were in a hurry to get back home and tell of this splendid, bright, fruitful country. They took with them many things which they easily bought from the Indians—furs of wild animals and specimens of the native woods—the pine, the red cedar, the sassafras. They took tobacco, corn, and potatoes, none of which had ever been seen in England. They invited some of the Indians to go with them, and two did
go. Sir Walter Raleigh was highly pleased with the fine account brought back by his ships. To be sure he and everybody else would have been better pleased to have seen or been told of plenty of gold and silver, but they thought these would come in time. Sir Walter set to work at once to smoke the tobacco, and one of his servants, coming into the room and seeing the smoke coming out of his master's mouth, was frightened, thinking Sir Walter was on fire, and threw a pitcherful of water all over him to put him out.
As for Queen Elizabeth, she too was pleased and very proud. She claimed the new country as hers for thousands
and down the coast and as far inland as their thoughts could go. She gave it all the name of Virgin-ia, in honor of herself, who was a virgin queen.
She must needs try the tobacco too, and was made very sick by it. So she called up two of her maids-of-honor, and made them finish her pipe. And then, no doubt, they were all sick together.
Soon Sir Walter Raleigh had seven ships full of men eager to go and see that good land, which they all hoped would turn out to have an abundance of gold and silver and pearls and precious stones. Every one expected great things. But nothing came of this second visit.
1585. The ships arrived safely next year, and came to the same inlet near Roanoke Island. The same Indians came to meet them, and were still civil and hospitable, and were no doubt glad to see the two who had gone away with the white men return safe and sound.
We may think that these two, who had been so far and seen so much, had a great deal to tell of the vast and wonderful city of London, and of the strange and splendid sights of a civilized land. But it is more likely that they had very little to say, for they had no words in their language to express their new thoughts in. How could they describe a house built of brick and several stories high, or a carriage drawn by horses, or store full of goods? They could not even describe a common blacksmith's shop. It is probable that they grunted a good deal, and tried by signs to tell their friends of something new, and were proud to display the gifts that had been given them ; but it all must have amounted to very little, for people can only see what they have the sense to see, and what these poor savages had seen in England soon faded from their ignorant minds like a dream.
The English landed and began at once to build houses on the island, and gave the place the name of “the City of Raleigh.” While some were building, others were sailing up and down the great bay of Albemarle, viewing the shores and making acquaintance with the Indians. They went a little way up the broad waters of the Roanoke and the Chowan rivers. Wherever they landed they asked the Indians for gold, and the Indians, seeing how anxious they were about it, deceived them with fine stories of cities far inland shining with gold and precious stones.
When the English found the Indians were fooling them, they began to treat them harshly, and the savages in turn began to hate their visitors. They stole from them, they would not bring them any more food, would not fish nor hunt for them, and lay in wait to kill them when they landed and went into the woods.
The English, who did not know how to hunt wild animals, and began to be afraid of the lurking savages and their deadly bows and arrows, did not dare to venture far into the forests. They now found that even in a land of plenty they might starve.
1586. Then they made up their minds to sail back to England and finish building the City of Raleigh some other time. Fifteen men said they were willing to stay there till other Englishmen should come over and join them. They