Page images
PDF
EPUB

At this juncture Menendez arrived in Florida with a new re-enforcement of ecclesiastics, a Jesuit priest, and two novices, accompanied by the baptized Indian chief, Don Luis. It was determined to begin a missiou among the Indians of the latter's tribe. Accordingly Father Segura, with seven other ecclesiastics, Don Luis, and the Indian youths who bad been educated at Havana, took ship for the Chesapeake. The vessel returned to Lower Florida, leaving the party to pursue their journey into the interior in order to find the tribe of Don Luis. When at last that chief regained his people, from whom he had been separated against his will by Spanish marauders, be " apostatized," and the missionaries and their Indian pupils, save one who escaped, were put to death. Menendez visited the region in 1572 to avenge the death of the missionaries, and captured some of the Indians. Eight were executed for their crime. Don Luis, however, escaped.?

The following year a band of Franciscans arrived at Saint Augustine, and in 1592 twelve more were added to their number. About this time Father Pareja prepared an abridgment of Christian Doctrine, in the Yamassee tongue. In 1597 a priest of the Florida colony publicly reproved a young chief, who became angered and determined to free lis people from priestly restraints. Gathering his followers together he began his work by killing the priest who had reproved him, and did not cease fighting until four missionaries had been slain, and one, whose life was spared, had been carried off and sold into slavery. The insurgent Indians were fioally defeated by those who remained true to the whites; but the missions were for the time abandoned and no further attempts to convert the natives of Florida were made in the sixteenth century.

In the south west Franciscan missionaries accompanied the expedition of Coronado, which set out from Mexico in 1539 for the region to the north. When Coronado was about to return two of them reinained to labor among the Indians of New Mexico. They met with no success

S; one was killed, the fate of the other is unknown.

In 1581 three missionaries started from Mexico with ten soldiers and six Mexican Indians, and balted at one of the pueblos where, on account of the refusal of the soldiers to go farther, the missionaries began their labors. Inspired by their apparent success one of their number was sent to Mexico for auxiliaries, but he perished at the hands of some wandering Indians soon aster starting on his journey. Within a year the other two were killed. Some time after, two Franciscans accompanied an expedition led by Costaño, but these were also put to death. In 1597 a colony from Mexico led by Oñate penetrated New Mexico and founded the post of San Gabriel on the Rio Grande, the first permanent European settlement in that region. Seven Franciscans joined the colony, and these were re-enforced the succeeding year by several other mission. aries.

"Shea's Catholic Missions, p. 63. 3 Ibid., pp. 62–65.

o bid., p. 77. 6 I bid., p. 78.

3 I bid., pp. 66–67.

* Ibid.,

P. 44.

During the sixteenth century the Indians made no real progress towards civilization. Their contact with the white race was attended by wars, slavery, and other evils connected with the presence of soldiers. The introduction of fire-arms gave to those who first secured them an advantage over the primitive weapons of less fortunate adversaries. This caused changes in the relative power of tribes, and tended to in. crease intertribal disturbances. Some of the aborigines became pos. sessors to a slight extent of domestic animals. A few Indians were taught letters, but it is doubtful if any tribe or number of individuals became christianized. Of the missionaries who endeavored to teach the people the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, one-half lost their lives while making their zealous efforts in this behalf.

CHAPTER II.

THE SEVENTIENTII CENTURY.

The English attempts to form settlements upon the coast of North America during the last quarter of the sixteenth century were unsuccessful. Although the colonies disappeared, the name Virginia, given to the region, remained to the English, while to the natives it was a heritage of distrust, owing to their primitive confidence having been betrayed by hasty and cruel actions on the part of the colonists. As carly as 1585 many of the Indians accepted the prophecy that “there were more of the English generation yet to come to kill theirs and take their places.” 1

The century saw this prophecy fulfilled by the planting of twelve of the original colonies that have since spread over the breadth of the land.2

VIRGINIA.

Cirilization. The charter issued to the Virginia Company by James I., April 10, 1606, commends the "Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in time bring the Infi. dels and Savages living in those Parts to human Civility and to a settled and quiet Government." The second charter, dated May 23, 1609, declares, “ the principal Effect, which we can desire or expect of this Action, is the Conversion and Reduction of the People in those Parts unto the true Worship of God and Christian Religion.” The third charter, given March 12, 1612, makes a similar statement concerning the “reclaiming of People barbarous to Civility and Humanity. The infant colony on the James River, "weak in numbers and still weaker from want of habits of industry," were from the first dependent upon the Indians for food, and two years after the founding of Jamestown the natives regarded the English as beggars, and planned to starve them out of the country.

Bancroft. Hist. of the U. s., twenty-fourth edition, Vol. I, p. 99. * A sketch of the laws affecting the Indians in the two principal colonies of this century gives a picture of the legal and the social status of the Indian and his opportunities for civilization. 3 Stith: Hist. of Virginia ; Appendix, p. 1. 4 Ibid., p. 22. 6 Ibid., p. 23. 6 Bancroft: Hist. of the U. S., Vol. I, pp. 126, 140. p. 139.

Ibid.,

One of the first treaties of which we have a record was made with the Chickahomivies by Sir Thomas Dale iu 1613. This tribe was at enmity with the Indians under Powhatan, and the English were now closely allied with the latter by the marriage of Pocahontas, therefore the Chickahominies desired to secure the friendship of the colonist. The treaty indicates the position of dependence in which the colonists were placed, and the ignorance of the Indians as to what constituted being an En. glishman. It also presents a suggestive picture of the races that were now brought face to face, and destined to act and react on each other. The treaty reads:

I. That they should forever be called Englishmen and be truo Subjects to King James and his Deputies.

II. That they should neither kill por detain any of the English or of their Cattle, but should bring them home.

III. That they should be always ready to furnish the English with three hundred Men against the Spaniards or any other Enemy.

IV. That they should not enter any of the English Towns before sending in Word, that they were now Englishmen.

V. That every fighting Man at gathering their Corn should bring 2 Bushels to the Storo as a Tribute, for which he should receive as mauy Hatchets.

VI. That the eight chief Men should see all this performed or receive the Punishment themselves; and for their Diligence they should have a red Coat, a copper Chain, and King James' Picture, and be accounted bis Nobleman."

Sir Thomas Dale encouraged his colony to plant much corn, and it was not long before he was able to supply needy tribes with this food and for the “ Repayment whereof the next Year he took a Mortgage of their Whole Countries."2

As late as 1616, Powhatan charged Tomocomo, who accompanied Pocahontas and her husband to England, not only to take the number of the people in England, but “to take an Account of their Corn and Trees.” The Indians who had previously visited England had seen little else but London, anıl“hall reported much of their Men and Houses, but thought they hall small Store of Corn aud Trees. And it was therefore a general opinion ainong these Barbarians that the English came into their country to get a supply of these; which might be strengthened and confirmed by their sending larve Quantities of Cedar, Clapboard, and Wainscot to England, and by their continual Want and Eagerness after Coru.93

The establishment of the English on the 6 waste land "4 of the Indians was not effected in a manner that accorded with the pious word. ing of the charters. We learn that “the rights of tire Indians wero little respected, nor did the English disdain to appropriate by conquest the soil, the cabins, and the granaries of the tribe of the Appomattocks.95 The tributo of corn was not always peaceably obtained, and frieully relations with the natives were not stable.? In 1613, the 1 Stith: Ilist, ot Virginiit, pp. 130-1.31.

3 Ibid., pp. 143-144. * Bancroft: Hist. of the U. S., Vol. I, p. 126. 5 I bid., p. 145. 6 Stith: Hist. of Virginia, p. 140. ? Ibid., p. 143.

2 Ibid.,

P. 140.

governor published several edicts, among them “That no Indian should be taught to shoot with Guns, on Pain of Death to Teacher and Learner; that there should be no private Trade or Familiarity with the Savages."I Beads were the current coin in Indian trade, and in 1621 Captain Norton with some Italian workmen “were sent over to establish a glass furnace for the manufacture of these articles." ?

The pressure of the settlers upon the Indians threatened to create serious difficulties; and the first elected assembly, which convened in the choir of the church at James City, July 30, 1619, made provision for the protection of the Indians from injury and injustice. UnfortuDately the settler, in his haste and desire to better his estate, did not pause to consider that the savage occupant of the soil was a man having a sense of right and wrong, and believing in self-protection as fully as his white neighbors.

The villages of the Indians were scattered over a wide territory, and were quite small, seldom containing more than fifty inhabitants, although a few may bave had over two hundred. The people were not accustomed to meet together in large numbers, or to act together either for defense or aggression. It has been computed that within a radius of 60 miles of Jamestown the Indian population did not exceed five thousand, and of these about fifteen hundred were warriors. Many tribes and clans were more or less affiliated under the chieftainship of Powhatan, and these could raise about twenty-four hundred warriors. The men of the colony were equal in number, and provided with firearms; they were also accustomed to concerted action, which made thém still more formidable. On the other band, it was contrary to all Indian custom for warriors to combine as an army; this peculiarity and their inferior weapons made their methods of warfare against the English almost a necessity.

The Indians, finding their claims to fair dealing frequently set at Daught, their lands appropriated by strangers, and their lives threatened, counselled how they might rid the country of a people who threatened destruction to the original iuhabitants. Open battle was unknown to them. Ambuscade and surprise were bred of forest experience. Viewing the circumstances from the native's standpoint it is not surprising that the Indians determined to exterminate the Englislı; nor is the manner in which it was attempteil strange, even in the history of our own race. At the same time of day, on March 22, 1622, three hundred and forty-seven colonists fell at the hands of the Indians. By this terrible disaster the colony was crippled, not destroyed, for Christiau Indians, at the risk of their own lives, had warned their English friends, and the larger part of the colony was thereby saved.

The next year the records show that there were two thousand five hundred English: men remaining in Virginia.”

Siith: Hist. of Virginia, p. 147. ? Ibid., p. 198. 3 Perry: Hist. American Episcopal Church, Vol. I, p. 6. * Bancroft: Hist. of the U. S., Vol. I, p. 180. 183 and notes.

3

6 l bid., p.

« PreviousContinue »