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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
28. Raleigh sends out a Second Colony. Raleigh, though disappointed at the return of his first colony, resolved to send out a second (1587). John White, the governor of the new colony, laid the log foundations of the "City of Raleigh."
The Governor's daughter, Eleanor Dare, was the wife of one of the settlers. Shortly after her landing, Mrs. Dare gave birth to a daughter. She was the first child born of English parents in America, and was baptized by the name Virginia.
Governor White soon sailed for England to get further help for the colony, leaving his daughter and his granddaughter, little Virginia Dare, to await his return. That was the last he ever saw of them. When he returned the island was deserted; not one of the colonists was ever found. Sir Walter Raleigh was obliged to give up his project; and America was left with not a single English settler, but with many "English graves."
Raleigh had spent over forty thousand pounds on the colony. He could do no more; but he said, "I shall live to see it an English nation." He did live to see a permanent English settlement established in Virginia in 1607. A hundred and eighty-five years after that event (1792) Sir Walter's name was given to the seat of government of North Carolina, and thus the "City of Raleigh" was enrolled among the capitals of the United States.
Sir Walter's example was not lost; for from his day England kept the colonization of America in mind, until it was finally accomplished. For these reasons Raleigh is rightly regarded as one of the founders of the American nation.
29. White Settlers in 1600 in what is now the United States. As late as the year 1600 there seemed small promise that this country would ever be settled and governed by the English-speaking race. Look at the situation. More than a hundred years had passed since Columbus landed, yet the only white inhabitants of the territory now embraced in the United States were a few hundred Spaniards in St. Augustine, Florida (§ 23), and perhaps a few hundred more in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Over the rest of the country, embracing more than three millions of square miles, the Indians ruled supreme. France had tried
WHITE SETTLERS IN 1600
to get a foothold on the Atlantic coast and had failed (§§ 23, 24); England had tried and failed likewise (§§ 26-28). Spain alone had succeeded. In 1600 it certainly looked as though her flag was destined to wave over the whole continent from sea to sea.
30. What America was found to be; its Physical Geography. Looking at the territory now included in the United States, let us see what the explorers of that age, and of a later one, found America to be. In great measure it seemed to them Europe repeated. It has practically the same climate and the same soil. It produces, or is capable of producing, the same trees, the same fruits, the same crops, with the valuable addition of cotton, sugar, and rice. In all ways it is equally favorable to human health and life.
But this is not all. In two important respects America is superior to Europe. That continent commands the Atlantic only; but America commands two oceans, -- the Atlantic and the Pacific. We can send our ships direct to Europe and Africa from our eastern coast, and from our western coast we can send them direct to Asia and Australia. This is our first advantage.
Our second advantage is, that though America repeats all the natural features of Europe, -- its lakes, mountains, plains, rivers, and forests, -- yet it repeats them on a far grander scale. Europe has no chains of mountains which can compare with the "Rockies," no lakes equal to our Great Lakes, no river like the Mississippi, no falls like Niagara, no chasm like the Canyon of the Colorado (§ 22), no prairies like those of our western states.
In fact, no continent on the globe ranks higher than America, and the United States holds the best part of it. Besides the natural wealth our country possesses above ground in its climate, soils, and forests, it has vast stores of wealth underground.
Look at its quarries of stone for building, its beds of clay for making brick, its varied mineral products, gold, silver, copper, and lead. Better still, it has immense mines of the two most useful minerals known to man -- coal and iron. From these gifts of nature we have drawn riches for generations; now we shall safeguard them against waste (§ 430, No. 3), so that we may continue to draw riches from them for generations to come.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
That distinguished English statesman, the late William Gladstone, declared that "America has a natural base for the greatest continuous empire ever established by man." Later on we shall see that the physical geography of our country has had a most important influence on its history. (Map, p. 43.)
Such was the land spread out before the explorers. It seemed to offer to all who were disappointed with the Old World an opportunity to try, in America, what they could make of life under new and broader conditions.
31. The Indians; the Population then and now. One strange fact about the country was that east of the Mississippi the whole vast area was well-nigh a solitude. Where to-day more than fifty million white men live, there were then only two or three hundred thousand Indians. Sometimes the explorers would travel for days without meeting a human being. The only roads through the forests were narrow Indian trails; the only farms were scattered patches of Indian corn; the only cities and towns were occasional clusters of Indian wigwams.1 The truth is, that the Indians did not really occupy the land: they simply possessed it. To them it was mainly a hunting ground to roam over or a battlefield to fight on.
32. Personal Appearance of the Indians; the "Scalp Lock." Columbus called the natives Indians (§ II), but they called themselves simply "Men," or "Real Men"; "Real Men" they certainly often proved themselves to be. The most numerous body of Indians in the East was the Algonquins; the ablest and the most ferocious was the Iroquois. (Map, p. 34.) They were a tall, well made race, with a color usually resembling that of old copper.
The men cut all of their hair off close to the head, with the exception, of a ridge or lock in the middle. That was left as a point of honor. It was called the "scalp lock." Its object was to give an adversary -- if he could get it -- a fair grip in fight, and also to enable him to pull his enemy's scalp off as a trophy of the battle. That lock was the Indian's flag of defiance. It waved above his head as the colors do over a fort, as if to say, "Take me if you can!"
1 See Whitelaw Reid's "Greatest Fact in Modern History."
HOW THE INDIANS LIVED
33. How the Indians lived. The Indians were savages, but seldom degraded savages. They lived by hunting, fishing, and farming. Their farming, however, was of the rudest kind. For weapons they had bows and arrows, hatchets made of flint, and heavy clubs.
The Indian believed in a strict division of duties. He did the hunting, the fighting, the scalping; his wife did the work. She built the wigwam, or hut, of bark.1 She planted and hoed the corn and tobacco. She made deerskin clothes for the family. When they moved, she carried the furniture on her back. Her house-keeping was simple.
She kindled a fire on the ground by rubbing two dry sticks rapidly together; then she roasted the meat on the coals or boiled it in an earthen pot. There was always plenty of smoke and dirt, but no one complained. Housecleaning was unknown.
34. The Moccasin; the Snowshoe; the Birch-Bark Canoe. The most ingenious work of the Indians was seen in the moccasin, the snowshoe, and the birch-bark canoe. The moccasin was a shoe made of buckskin, -- durable, soft, pliant, noiseless. It was the best covering for a hunter's foot that human skill ever contrived.
1 The wigwams were of various kinds. Some would hold only a single family; others among the Iroquois tribe, were long, low tenement houses, large enough for a dozen or more families. Some wigwams were made of skins or built of logs.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
The snowshoe was a light frame of wood, covered with a network of strings of hide, and having such a broad surface that the wearer could walk on top of the snow in pursuit of game. Without it the Indian might have starved in a severe winter, since only by its use could he run down the deer at that season.
The birch-bark canoe was light, strong, and easily propelled. It made the Indian master of every lake, river, and stream. Wherever there were water ways he could travel quickly, silently, and with little effort. He could go in his own private conveyance from the source of the Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico; or he could go from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the Falls of Niagara; then he could pick up his canoe, carry it round the falls, and begin his journey again on Lake Eric westward to Duluth or Chicago.
35. Indian Government; "Wampum." Each tribe of Indians had a chief, but the chief had little real power. All important matters were settled by councils. The records of these councils were kept in a peculiar manner. The Indian could not write, but he could make pictures that would often serve the purpose of
TREATY BELT MADE OF WAMPUM
writing. The treaty made by the Indians with William Penn was commemorated by a belt made of "wampum," or strings of beads made of shells. It represented an Indian and a white man clasping each other by the hand in token of friendship. That was the record of the peace established between them.
But quite independent of any picture, the arrangement of the beads and their colors had a meaning. When a council was held, a belt was made to show what had been done. Every tribe had its "wampum" interpreters. By examination of a belt they could tell what action had been taken at any public meeting in the past.