[Voyages of Colonization.]

To acquire a title to the fertile and fruitful lands and fabled riches of the newly discovered continent, became the aspiration of the great maritime states of Europe, which had shared between them the honors of its discovery. From the middle of the sixteenth to the beginning of the seventeenth century, the voyages of adventure and projected colonization were almost continuous. Spaniards, Frenchmen, and Englishmen fitted out vessels and crossed the ocean, to make more extended researches, and to found, if possible, permanent settlements. Although failure generally attended these attempts at colonization, they gradually led the way to the final occupation of the continent.

[The Huguenots in America.]

Of these abortive efforts, that of Admiral Coligny to found a settlement of the Huguenots, who were persecuted in France, on the new shores, was the earliest and one of the most romantic. As long ago as 1562, America became a refuge of the oppressed for conscience's sake. The Huguenot colony, taking up their residence on the River May, gave the name of "Carolina" (from King Charles IX.) to their new domain. After many and terrible hardships, they returned again to France, to be soon succeeded by another colony of Huguenots, also sent out by brave old Coligny, which settled on the same soil of Carolina.

[Menendez in Florida]

This aroused the jealousy and cupidity of Spain. The "most Catholic" king was not only enraged to find the soil which he claimed as his own by right of discovery, taken possession of by the subjects of his French rival, but was scandalized that the new colonists should be Calvinistic heretics. It was the very height of the gloomiest period of religious fanaticism and persecution in Europe. Menendez was accordingly sent out to Florida by King Philip, and assumed its governorship; and on September 8, 1565, Saint Augustine, the oldest town in the United States, was founded, and Philip of Spain was solemnly proclaimed sovereign of all North America. Menendez lost no time in attacking the Huguenot colonists of Carolina. They were speedily defeated, and most of them were ruthlessly massacred; and our almost virgin soil was thus early the scene of another St. Bartholomew.

Meanwhile, England was not idle in contesting with France and Spain the supremacy of the western land. Very early in the sixteenth century projects of colonizing America were formed in England.

[English Colonization.]

Numerous voyages hither were undertaken during the reign of Henry VIII.; but the accounts which remain of them are rare and meagre. Some of them resulted in terrible disasters of shipwreck and death. Late in the century a courageous and determined navigator, Martin Frobisher, made three voyages to America, but without establishing a colony, or finding the treasures of gold and gems which he sought. Later, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the half-brother of Raleigh, and Barlow, made attempts to found colonies, but in vain.

[Raleigh's Expedition.]

It was in the spring of 1585 that Sir Walter Raleigh fitted out his famous expedition of seven ships, and one hundred and eight emigrants, and sent it forth, bound for the shores of Carolina. At first it seemed as it art English colony were really about to prosper in the new land. They established themselves at Roanoke, and explored the country. Hariot, one of the shrewdest of them, discovered the seductive proper-ties of tobacco, the succulence of Indian corn, and the nutritive quality of potatoes.

[Sir Francis Drake.]

The hostility of the natives, however, soon became so bitter, and their attacks so frequent, that the colony was glad to return to England in the visiting ships of Sir Francis Drake. Two years later Raleigh, undismayed by the failure of his first colony, sent out another, under John White, which settled on the Isle of Roanoke, and founded the "city of Raleigh." It was here that, on the 18th of August, 1587, the first child of English parents was born on American soil. Her name was Virginia Dare, and she was the granddaughter of Governor White. The Governor returned to England, leaving the emigrants behind; and on his going back to Roanoke, three years afterwards, no vestige of the colony could be discovered. It is supposed that they were all massacred by the Indians during White's absence. The first permanent settlement in America, was made by the French, at Port Royal, in 1605.

[Port Royal.]

[Colonies in Virginia.]

English enterprise was now at last ready to found and perpetuate states on the new continent. In little more than a year after the French occupation of Port Royal, a patent was granted by King James the First to a party of colonists, under Newport and Smith, authorizing them to form a government in Virginia, subject to the English crown. Imagine, then, three small ships setting forth, on the bleak 19th of December, 1606, and directing their way to Virginia, with one hundred and five men on board, and freighted with a goodly store of arms and provisions. Most of the party were gallant and courtly cavaliers: there were but twelve laborers and four carpenters in all the company. After a stormy voyage they passed up the James River, and landing, on its shores, they founded Jamestown.

[Heinrich Hudson.]

The news of the colonization of Virginia, the success of the adventurous emigrants in maintaining their settlement, and the fertility, beauty, and salubriousness of the continent, soon inspired other enterprises of a similar kind. The Dutch have always been famous navigators; and it was in 1609 that gallant Heinrich Hudson, alter two previous futile attempts to find a western passage to India, reached these shores, and sailed up the noble river which now bears his name. Five years after, a Dutch colony was formed on Manhattan Island, whereon the city of New York now stands, to which was first given the name of "New Amsterdam." The colony prospered, and in 1624 the island was purchased of the Indians for twenty four pounds English money.

[The Pilgrims and Puritans.]

We now reach the fourth permanent colony on American soil; that which was more powerful in shaping our destinies and determining our national traits than any other. The story of the Pilgrims and Puritans is almost too familiar to be rehearsed. Every schoolboy knows of their adventures and trials, their hardships and their dauntless energy, their piety and rigidity of rule, the great qualities by the exercise of which it may be justly claimed that they made themselves the true founders of the American Republic. Driven by persecution from their native England, they took refuge in Holland; and from thence they sailed in two small vessels, the Speedwell and the Mayflower on a July day in 1620, for the new world. One hundred Puritans thus crossed the ocean.

[Settlement at Plymouth.]

After a tempestuous voyage of sixty-three days, the Mayflower coasted along Cape Cod, and landed, on the twenty-first day of December, at Plymouth. The Speedwell had been forced to put back in a disabled condition. Before landing, the Puritans made a solemn compact of government, purely republican in form, and to this they afterwards religiously adhered. In 1629 another English Puritan colony, called the "Massachusetts Bay Colony," settled at Salem; and in the following year came Governor John Winthrop, with eight hundred emigrants. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, thus re-enforced, and now numbering not far from one thousand souls, settled Boston and its neighborhood.

[New England Colonized.]

New Hampshire began to be settled three years after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Maine was colonized not much later. Vermont, having been explored by Champlain in 1609, was settled some years after. The Rhode Island colony was founded by Roger Williams and five companions, driven from the Boston and Plymouth colonies in succession, in 1636; and Connecticut first became the seat of a settlement in 1635, the colonial constitution being adopted in 1630. Next in point of time, Delaware was settled by parties of Swedes and Finlanders in 1638, and was called "New Sweden." The province passed into the hands of the Dutch of New Amsterdam, however, in 1655.

[European possessions in America.]

Thus, in a period of a little less than half a century, the whole of the American coast had been acquired by, and was to a large degree under the dominion of, five European nations. In 1655 the Spaniards held the peninsula of Florida; the French were in possession of, or at least claimed the right to, what are now the two Carolinas; the Dutch held Manhattan Island, New Jersey, a narrow strip running along the west bank of the Hudson, and a portion of Long Island; the Swedes were established (soon to be deprived of it) in what is now Delaware, and a part of what is now Pennsylvania, along the Delaware River; while the English possessions far exceeded those of all the others put together, including as they did nearly the whole of Virginia, a large share of Maryland, all of New England, and the greater part of Long Island.

[William Penn.]

In the year 1681 all the Dutch possessions had been added to the dominion of the English in America; and it was in this year that William Penn, having received a grant of a large tract of land in what is now Pennsylvania, sent out a colony, which settled on his grant. The next year he came in person, assumed the governorship of the colony, founded Philadelphia, and made his famous treaties with the Indians. At the close of the seventeenth century the English dominion comprised the whole coast, from Canada to the Carolinas; and it may be fairly said that when the eighteenth century opened, the era of colonization had reached its culmination, English civilization was indelibly stamped on, and firmly planted in, the new continent. The crystallizing process of a new and mighty nation had begun and was in rapid progress.