The Beginner's American History

DiscoverHistoryThe Beginner's American History
The Beginner's American History


D. H. Montgomery

About this book

The Beginner's American History is one of Montgomery's popular works, with the aim to help in the process of learning basics of American History. Rich with maps and illustrations this textbook is useful not just for the students but for the teachers too. Overall content is good selected and allows the discussions with wide list of questions. David Henry Montgomery or D.H. Montgomery was an American author of history textbooks, which were widely used in schools from the 1890s through the 1920s.

Contents (30)

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This little book is intended by the writer as an introduction to his larger work entitled The Leading Facts of American History.

It is in no sense an abridgment of the larger history, but is practically an entirely new and distinct work.

Its object is to present clearly and accurately those facts and principles in the lives of some of the chief founders and builders of America which would be of interest and value to pupils beginning the study of our history. Throughout the book great care has been taken to relate only such incidents and anecdotes as are believed to rest on unexceptionable authority.

The numerous illustrations in the text are, in nearly every case, from drawings and designs made by Miss C. S. King of Boston.

In the preparation of this work for the press—as in that of the entire Leading Facts of History Series—the author has been especially indebted to the valuable assistance rendered in proofreading by Mr. George W. Cushing of Boston.


NOTE.—In these maps it has been thought best to give the boundaries of the thirteen original states as they now exist; and to show the outlines of other states before they were organized and admitted.

The paragraph headings, following the paragraph numbers, will be found useful for topical reference, and, if desired, as questions; by simply omitting these headings, the book may be used as a reader.

Teachers who wish a regular set of questions on each section will find them at the end of the section. Difficult words are defined or pronounced at the end of the numbered paragraph where they first occur; reference to them will be found in the index.

1. Birth and boyhood of Columbus.—Christopher Columbus,[2] the discoverer of America, was born at Genoa,[3] a seaport of Italy, more than four hundred and fifty years ago. His father was a wool-comber.[4] Christopher did not care to learn that trade, but wanted to become a sailor. Seeing the boy's strong liking for the sea, his father sent him to a school where he could learn geography, map-drawing, and whatever else might help him to become some day commander of a vessel.

1 These enclosed dates under a name show, except when otherwise stated, the year of birth and death.

2 Christopher Columbus (Kris'tof-er Ko-lum'bus).

4 Wool-comber: before wool can be spun into thread and woven into cloth the tangled locks must be combed out straight and smooth; once this was all done by hand.

2. Columbus becomes a sailor.—When he was fourteen Columbus went to sea. In those days the Mediterranean[5] Sea swarmed with war-ships and pirates. Every sailor, no matter if he was but a boy, had to stand ready to fight his way from port to port.

In this exciting life, full of adventure and of danger, Columbus grew to manhood. The rough experiences he then had did much toward making him the brave, determined captain and explorer[6] that he afterwards became.

5 Mediterranean (Med'i-ter-ra'ne-an).

6 Explorer: one who explores or discovers new countries.

3. Columbus has a sea-fight; he goes to Lisbon.—According to some accounts, Columbus once had a desperate battle with a vessel off the coast of Portugal. The fight lasted, it is said, all day. At length both vessels were found to be on fire. Columbus jumped from his blazing ship into the sea, and catching hold of a floating oar, managed, with its help, to swim to the shore, about six miles away.

He then went to the port of Lisbon.[7] There he married the daughter of a famous sea-captain. For a long time after his marriage Columbus earned his living partly by drawing maps, which he sold to commanders of vessels visiting Lisbon, and partly by making voyages to Africa, Iceland, and other countries.

4. What men then knew about the world.—The maps which Columbus made and sold were very different from those we now have. At that time not half of the world had been discovered.[8] Europe, Asia, and a small part of Africa were the chief countries known. The maps of Columbus may have shown the earth shaped like a ball, but he supposed it to be much smaller than it really is. No one then had sailed round the globe. No one then knew what lands lay west of the broad Atlantic; for this reason we should look in vain, on one of the maps drawn by Columbus, for the great continents of North and South America or for Australia or the Pacific Ocean.

8 See map in this paragraph.

5. The plan of Columbus for reaching the Indies by sailing west.—While living in Lisbon, Columbus made up his mind to try to do what no other man, at that time, dared attempt,—that was to cross the Atlantic Ocean. He thought that by doing so he could get directly to Asia and the Indies, which, he believed, were opposite Portugal and Spain. If successful, he could open up a very profitable trade with the rich countries of the East, from which spices, drugs, and silk were brought to Europe. The people of Europe could not reach those countries directly by ships, because they had not then found their way round the southern point of Africa.

6. Columbus tries to get help in carrying out his plans.—Columbus was too poor to fit out even a single ship to undertake such a voyage as he had planned. He asked the king of Portugal to furnish some money or vessels toward it, but he received no encouragement. At length he determined to go to Spain and see if he could get help there.

On the southern coast of Spain there is a small port named Palos.[9] Within sight of the village of Palos, and also within plain sight of the ocean, there was a convent,[10]—which is still standing,—called the Convent of Saint Mary.

One morning a tall, fine-looking man, leading a little boy by the hand, knocked at the door of this convent and begged for a piece of bread and a cup of water for the child. The man was Columbus,—whose wife was now dead,—and the boy was his son.

It chanced that the guardian of the convent noticed Columbus standing at the door. He liked his appearance, and coming up, began to talk with him. Columbus frankly told him what he was trying to do. The guardian of the convent listened with great interest; then he gave him a letter to a friend who he thought would help him to lay his plans before Ferdinand and Isabella,[11] the king and queen of Spain.

10 Convent: a house in which a number of people live who devote themselves to a religious life.

11 Isabella (Iz-ah-bel'ah).

7. Columbus gets help for his great voyage.—Columbus left his son at the convent, and set forward on his journey full of bright hopes. But Ferdinand and Isabella could not then see him; and after waiting a long time, the traveller was told that he might go before a number of learned men and tell them about his proposed voyage across the Atlantic.

After hearing what Columbus had to say, these men thought that it would be foolish to spend money in trying to reach the other side of the ocean.

People who heard what this captain from Lisbon wanted to do began to think that he had lost his reason, and the boys in the streets laughed at him and called him crazy. Columbus waited for help seven years; he then made up his mind that he would wait no longer. Just as he was about leaving Spain, Queen Isabella, who had always felt interested in the brave sailor, resolved to aid him. Two rich sea-captains who lived in Palos also decided to take part in the voyage. With the assistance which Columbus now got he was able to fit out three small vessels. He went in the largest of the vessels—the only one which had an entire deck—as admiral[12] or commander of the fleet.

12 Admiral (ad'mi-ral).

8. Columbus sails.—Early on Friday morning, August 3d, 1492, Columbus started from Palos to attempt to cross that ocean which men then called the "Sea of Darkness,"—a name which showed how little they knew of it, and how much they dreaded it.

We may be pretty sure that the guardian of the convent was one of those who watched the sailing of the little fleet. From the upper windows of the convent he could plainly see the vessels as they left the harbor of Palos.

9. What happened on the first part of the voyage.—Columbus sailed first for the Canary Islands, because from there it would be a straight line, as he thought, across to Japan and Asia. He was obliged to stop at the Canaries[13] more than three weeks, in order to make a new rudder for one of his vessels and to alter the sails of another.

At length all was ready, and he again set out on his voyage toward the west. When the sailors got so far out on the ocean that they could no longer see any of the islands, they were overcome with fear. They made up their minds that they should never be able to get back to Palos again. They were rough men, used to the sea, but now they bowed down their heads and cried like children. Columbus had hard work to quiet their fears and to encourage them to go forward with the voyage which they already wanted to give up.

10. What happened after they had been at sea many days.—For more than thirty days the three ships kept on their way toward the west. To the crew every day seemed a year. From sunrise to sunset nothing was to be seen but water and sky. At last the men began to think that they were sailing on an ocean which had no end. They whispered among themselves that Columbus had gone mad, and that if they kept on with him in command they should all be lost.

Twice, indeed, there was a joyful cry of Land! Land! but when they got nearer they saw that what they had thought was land was nothing but banks of clouds. Then some of the sailors said, Let us go to the admiral and tell him that we must turn back. What if he will not listen to us? asked others; Then we will throw him overboard and say when we reach Palos that he fell into the sea and was drowned.

But when the crew went to Columbus and told him that they would go no further, he sternly ordered them to their work, declaring that whatever might happen, he would not now give up the voyage.

11. Signs of land.—The very next day such certain signs of land were seen that the most faint-hearted took courage. The men had already noticed great flocks of land-birds flying toward the west, as if to guide them. Now some of the men on one vessel saw a branch of a thorn-bush float by. It was plain that it had not long been broken off from the bush, and it was full of red berries.

But one of the crew on the other vessel found something better even than the thorn-branch; for he drew out of the water a carved walking-stick. Every one saw that such a stick must have been cut and carved by human hands. These two signs could not be doubted. The men now felt sure that they were approaching the shore, and what was more, that there were people living in that strange country.

12. Discovery of land.—That evening Columbus begged his crew to keep a sharp lookout, and he promised a velvet coat to the one who should first see land. All was now excitement; and no man closed his eyes in sleep that night.

Columbus himself stood on a high part of his ship, looking steadily toward the west. About ten o'clock he saw a moving light; it seemed like a torch carried in a man's hand. He called to a companion and asked him if he could see anything of the kind; yes, he, too, plainly saw the moving light, but presently it disappeared.

Two hours after midnight a cannon was fired from the foremost vessel. It was the glad signal that the long-looked-for land was actually in sight. There it lay directly ahead, about six miles away.

Then Columbus gave the order to furl sails, and the three vessels came to a stop and waited for the dawn. When the sun rose on Friday, October 12th, 1492, Columbus saw a beautiful island with many trees growing on it. That was his first sight of the New World.

13. Columbus lands on the island and names it; who lived on the island.—Attended by the captains of the other two vessels, and by their crews, Columbus set out in a boat for the island. When they landed, all fell on their knees, kissed the ground for joy, and gave thanks to God. Columbus named the island San Salvador[14] and took possession of it, by right of discovery, for the king and queen of Spain.

He found that it was inhabited by a copper-colored people who spoke a language he could not understand. These people had never seen a ship or a white man before. They wore no clothing, but painted their bodies with bright colors. The Spaniards made them presents of strings of glass beads and red caps. In return they gave the Spaniards skeins of cotton yarn, tame parrots, and small ornaments of gold.

After staying here a short time Columbus set sail toward the south, in search of more land and in the hope of finding out where these people got their gold.

14 San Salvador (San Sal-va-dor'): meaning the Holy Redeemer or Saviour.

14. Columbus names the group of islands and their people.—As Columbus sailed on, he saw many islands in every direction. He thought that they must be a part of the Indies which he was seeking. Since he had reached them by coming west from Spain, he called them the West Indies, and to the red men who lived on them he gave the name of Indians.

Next, he came to the island of Hayti,[15] or San Domingo.[16] Here his ship was wrecked. He took the timber of the wreck and built a fort on the shore. Leaving about forty of his crew in this fort, Columbus set sail for Palos in one of the two remaining vessels.

15 Hayti (Ha'ti).

16. Columbus arrives at Palos; joy of the people; how Ferdinand and Isabella received him.—When the vessel of Columbus was seen entering the harbor of Palos, the whole village was wild with excitement. More than seven months had gone by since he sailed away from that port, and as nothing had been heard from him, many supposed that the vessels and all on board were lost. Now that they saw their friends and neighbors coming back, all was joy. The bells of the churches rang a merry peal of welcome; the people thronged the streets, shouting to each other that Columbus, the great navigator, had crossed the "Sea of Darkness" and had returned in safety.

The king and queen were then in the city of Barcelona,[17] a long distance from Palos. To that city Columbus now went. He entered it on horseback, attended by the proudest and richest noblemen of Spain. He brought with him six Indians from the West Indies. They were gaily painted and wore bright feathers in their hair. Then a number of men followed, carrying rare birds and plants, with gold and silver ornaments, all found in the New World. These were presents for the king and queen. Ferdinand and Isabella received Columbus with great honor. When he had told them the story of his wonderful voyage, they sank on their knees and gave praise to God; all who were present followed their example.

17. The last voyages of Columbus.—Columbus made three more voyages across the Atlantic. He discovered more islands near the coast of America, and he touched the coast of Central America and of South America, but that was all. He never set foot on any part of what is now the United States, and he always thought that the land he had reached was part of Asia. He had found a new world, but he did not know it: all that he knew was how to get to it and how to show others the way.

18. Columbus in his old age.—The last days of this great man were very sorrowful. The king was disappointed because he brought back no gold to amount to anything. The Spanish governor of San Domingo hated Columbus, and when he landed at that island on one of his voyages, he arrested him and sent him back to Spain in chains. He was at once set at liberty; but he could not forget the insult. He kept the chains hanging on the wall of his room, and asked to have them buried with him.

Columbus was now an old man; his health was broken, he was poor, in debt, and without a home. Once he wrote to the king and queen, saying, "I have not a hair upon me that is not gray, my body is weak, and all that was left to me ... has been taken away and sold, even to the coat which I wore."

Not long after he had come back to Spain to stay, the queen died. Then Columbus felt that he had lost his best friend. He gave up hope, and said, "I have done all that I could do: I leave the rest to God."

19. His death and burial.—Columbus died full of disappointment and sorrow—perhaps it would not be too much to say that he died of a broken heart.

He was at first buried in Spain; then his body was taken up and carried to San Domingo, where he had wished to be buried. Whether it rests there to-day, or whether it was carried to Havana[18] and deposited in the cathedral or great church of that city, no one can positively say. But wherever the grave of the great sailor may be, his memory will live in every heart capable of respecting a brave man; for he first dared to cross the "Sea of Darkness," and he discovered America.

18 Havana (Ha-van'ah): a city of Cuba.

20. Summary.—In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain to find a direct way across the Atlantic to Asia and the Indies. He did not get to Asia; but he did better; he discovered America. He died thinking that the new lands he had found were part of Asia; but by his daring voyage he first showed the people of Europe how to get to the New World.

When and where was Columbus born? What did he do when he was fourteen? What about his sea-fight? What did he do in Lisbon? How much of the world was then known? How did Columbus think he could reach Asia and the Indies? Why did he want to go there? What did he try to do in Portugal? Why did he go to Spain? Where did he first go in Spain? How did Columbus get help at last? When did he sail? What happened on the first part of the voyage? What happened after that? What is said about signs of land? What about the discovery of land? What did Columbus name the island? What did he find on it? What is said of other islands? What is said of the return of Columbus to Spain? What about the last voyages of Columbus? Did he ever land on any part of what is now the United States? What about his old age? What is said of his death and burial?

(Lived in England from 1472-1498).

21. John Cabot discovers the continent of North America.—At the time that Columbus set out on his first voyage across the Atlantic in 1492, John Cabot, an Italian merchant, was living in the city of Bristol,[2] England. When the news reached that city that Columbus had discovered the West Indies, Cabot begged Henry the Seventh, king of England, to let him see if he could not find a shorter way to the Indies than that of Columbus. The king gave his consent, and in the spring of 1497 John Cabot, with his son Sebastian,[3] who seems to have been born in Bristol, sailed from that port. They headed their vessels toward the northwest; by going in that direction they hoped to get to those parts of Asia and the Spice Islands which were known to Europe, and which Columbus had failed to reach.

Early one bright morning toward the last of June, 1497, they saw land in the west. It was probably Cape Breton[4] Island, a part of Nova Scotia.[5] John Cabot named it "The Land First Seen." Up to this time Columbus had discovered nothing but the West India Islands, but John Cabot now saw the continent of North America; no civilized man[6] had ever seen it before. There it lay, a great, lonely land, shaggy with forests, with not a house or a human being in sight.

1 Cabot (Cab'ot).

3 Sebastian (Se-bast'yan).

4 Breton (Bret'on).

5 Nova Scotia (No'vah Sko'she-a).

6 The Northmen: an uncivilized people of Norway and Denmark discovered the continent of North America about five hundred years before Cabot did. Nothing came of this discovery, and when Cabot sailed, no one seems to have known anything about what the Northmen had done so long before.

22. John Cabot takes possession of the country for the king of England.—Cabot went on shore with his son and some of his crew. In the vast, silent wilderness they set up a large cross. Near to it they planted two flag-poles, and hoisted the English flag on one and the flag of Venice,[7] the city where John Cabot had lived in Italy, on the other. Then they took possession of the land for Henry the Seventh. It was in this way that the English came to consider that the eastern coast of North America was their property, although they did not begin to make settlements here until nearly a hundred years later.

7 Venice (Ven'is).

23. John Cabot and his son return to Bristol.—After sailing about the Gulf of St. Lawrence without finding the passage through to Asia for which they were looking, the voyagers returned to England.

The king was so pleased with what John Cabot had discovered that he made him a handsome present; and when the captain, richly dressed in silk, appeared in the street, the people of Bristol would "run after him like mad" and hurrah for the "Great Admiral," as they called him.

24. What the Cabots carried back to England from America.—The Cabots carried back to England some Indian traps for catching game and perhaps some wild turkeys—an American bird the English had then never seen, but whose acquaintance they were not sorry to make. They also carried over the rib of a whale which they had found on the beach in Nova Scotia.

Near where the Cabots probably lived in Bristol there is a famous old church.[8] It was built long before the discovery of America, and Queen Elizabeth said that it was the most beautiful building of its kind in all England. In that church hangs the rib of a whale. It is believed to be the one the Cabots brought home with them. It reminds all who see it of that voyage in 1497 by which England got possession of a very large part of the continent of North America.

8 The church of St. Mary Redcliffe.

25. The second voyage of the Cabots; how they sailed along the eastern shores of North America.—About a year later the Cabots set out on a second voyage to the west. They reached the gloomy cliffs of Labrador[9] on the northeastern coast of America, and they passed many immense icebergs. They saw numbers of Indians dressed in the skins of wild beasts, and polar bears white as snow. These bears were great swimmers, and would dive into the sea and come up with a large fish in their claws. As it did not look to the Cabots as if the polar bears and the icebergs would guide them to the warm countries of Asia and the Spice Islands, they turned about and went south. They sailed along what is now the eastern coast of the United States for a very long distance; but not finding any passage through to the countries they were seeking, they returned to England.

The English now began to see what an immense extent of land they had found beyond the Atlantic. They could not tell, however, whether it was a continent by itself or a part of Asia. Like everybody in Europe, they called it the New World, but all that name really meant then was simply the New Lands across the sea.

9 Labrador (Lab'ra-dor).

26. How the New World came to be called America.—But not many years after this the New World received the name by which we now call it. An Italian navigator whose first name was Amerigo[10] made a voyage to it after it had been discovered by Columbus and the Cabots. He wrote an account of what he saw, and as this was the first printed description of the continent, it was named from him, AMERICA.

10 Amerigo (A-ma-ree'go): his full name was Amerigo Vespucci (A-ma-ree'go Ves-poot'chee), or, as he wrote it in Latin, Americus Vespucius.

27. Summary.—In 1497 John Cabot and his son, from Bristol, England, discovered the mainland or continent of North America, and took possession of it for England. The next year they came over and sailed along the eastern coast of what is now the United States.

An Italian whose first name was Amerigo visited the New World afterward and wrote the first account of the mainland which was printed. For this reason the whole continent was named after him, AMERICA.

Who was John Cabot? What did he try to do? Who sailed with him? What land did they see? Had Columbus ever seen it? What did Cabot do when he went on shore? What is said of his return to Bristol? What did the Cabots carry back to England? What is said about the second voyage of the Cabots? How did the New World come to be called America?

(Period of Discovery, 1513-1542).

28. The magic fountain; Ponce de Leon discovers Florida; Balboa discovers the Pacific Ocean.—The Indians on the West India Islands believed that there was a wonderful fountain in a land to the west of them. They said that if an old man should bathe in its waters, they would make him a boy again. Ponce de Leon, a Spanish soldier who was getting gray and wrinkled, set out to find this magic fountain, for he thought that there was more fun in being a boy than in growing old.

He did not find the fountain, and so his hair grew grayer than ever and his wrinkles grew deeper. But in 1513 he discovered a land bright with flowers, which he named Florida.[4] He took possession of it for Spain.

The same year another Spaniard, named Balboa, set out to explore the Isthmus of Panama.[5] One day he climbed to the top of a very high hill, and discovered that vast ocean—the greatest of all the oceans of the globe—which we call the Pacific.

1 Ponce de Leon (Pon'thay day La-on') or, in English, Pons de Lee'on. Many persons now prefer the English pronunciation of all these Spanish names.

2 Balboa (Bal-bo'ah).

3 De Soto (Da So'to).

4 Florida: this word means flowery; the name was given by the Spaniards because they discovered the country on Easter Sunday, which they call Flowery Easter.

5 Panama (Pan-a-mah').

29. De Soto discovers the Mississippi.—Long after Balboa and Ponce de Leon were dead, a Spaniard named De Soto landed in Florida and marched through the country in search of gold mines.

In the course of his long and weary wanderings, he came to a river more than a mile across. The Indians told him it was the Mississippi, or the Great River. In discovering it, De Soto had found the largest river in North America; he had also found his own grave, for he died shortly after, and was secretly buried at midnight in its muddy waters.

30. The Spaniards build St. Augustine;[6] we buy Florida in 1819.—More than twenty years after the burial of De Soto, a Spanish soldier named Menendez[7] went to Florida and built a fort on the eastern coast. This was in 1565. The fort became the centre of a settlement named St. Augustine. It is the oldest city built by white men, not only in what is now the United States, but in all North America.

In 1819, or more than two hundred and fifty years after St. Augustine was begun, Spain sold Florida to the United States.

6 St. Augustine (Sant Aw'gus-teen').

7 Menendez (Ma-nen'deth).

31. Summary.—Ponce de Leon discovered Florida; another Spaniard, named Balboa, discovered the Pacific; still another, named De Soto, discovered the Mississippi. In 1565 the Spaniards began to build St. Augustine in Florida. It is the oldest city built by white men in the United States or in all North America.

What is said about a magic fountain? What did Ponce De Leon do? What is said about Balboa? What about De Soto? What did Menendez do in Florida? What is said of St. Augustine?


Then (1584) a young man named Walter Raleigh, who was a great favorite of Queen Elizabeth's, sent out two ships to America. The captains of these vessels landed on Roanoke[3] Island, on the coast of what is now the state of North Carolina. They found the island covered with tall red cedars and with vines thick with clusters of wild grapes. The Indians called this place the "Good Land." They were pleased to see the Englishmen, and they invited them to a great feast of roast turkey, venison,[4] melons, and nuts.

1 Raleigh (Raw'li).

3 Roanoke (Ro-a-nok').

4 Venison (ven'i-zon or ven'zon): deer meat.

33. Queen Elizabeth names the country Virginia; first settlers; what they sent Walter Raleigh.—When the two captains returned to England, Queen Elizabeth—the "Virgin Queen," as she was called—was delighted with what she heard of the "Good Land." She named it Virginia in honor of herself. She also gave Raleigh a title of honor. From that time he was no longer called plain Walter Raleigh or Mr. Raleigh, but Sir Walter Raleigh.

Sir Walter now (1585) shipped over emigrants[5] to settle in Virginia. They sent back to him as a present two famous American plants—one called Tobacco, the other the Potato. The queen had given Sir Walter a fine estate in Ireland, and he set out both the plants in his garden. The tobacco plant did not grow very well there, but the potato did; and after a time thousands of farmers began to raise that vegetable, not only in Ireland, but in England too. As far back then as that time—or more than three hundred years ago—America was beginning to feed the people of the Old World.

5 Emigrants: persons who leave one country to go and settle in another. Thousands of emigrants from Europe now land in this country every month.

34. The Virginia settlement destroyed.—Sir Walter spent immense sums of money on his settlement in Virginia, but it did not succeed. One of the settlers, named Dare, had a daughter born there. He named her Virginia Dare. She was the first English child born in America. But the little girl, with her father and mother and all the rest of the settlers, disappeared. It is supposed that they were either killed by the Indians or that they wandered away and starved to death; but all that we really know is that not one of them was ever seen again.

35. Last days of Sir Walter Raleigh.—After Queen Elizabeth died, King James the First became ruler of England. He accused Sir Walter of trying to take away his crown so as to make some one else ruler over the country. Sir Walter was sent to prison and kept there for many years. At last King James released him in order to send him to South America to get gold. When Sir Walter returned to London without any gold, the greedy king accused him of having disobeyed him because he had fought with some Spaniards. Raleigh was condemned to death and beheaded.

But Sir Walter's attempt to settle Virginia led other Englishmen to try. Before he died they built a town, called Jamestown, on the coast. We shall presently read the history of that town. The English held Virginia from that time until it became part of the United States.

36. Summary.—Sir Walter Raleigh sent over men from England to explore the coast of America. Queen Elizabeth named the country they visited Virginia. Raleigh then shipped emigrants over to make a settlement. These emigrants sent him two American plants, Tobacco and the Potato; and in that way the people of Great Britain and Ireland came to like both. Sir Walter's settlement failed, but his example led other Englishmen to try to make one. Before he was beheaded they succeeded.

What is said about Walter Raleigh? What is said about the Indians? What name did Queen Elizabeth give to the country? What did she do for Walter Raleigh? What did Sir Walter then do? What American plants did the emigrants send him? What did he do with those plants? What happened to the Virginia settlement? What is said of the last days of Sir Walter Raleigh? Did Sir Walter's attempt to settle Virginia do any good?


37. New and successful attempt to make a settlement in Virginia; Captain John Smith.—One of the leaders in the new expedition sent out to make a settlement in Virginia, while Raleigh was in prison, was Captain John Smith. He began life as a clerk in England. Not liking his work, he ran away and turned soldier. After many strange adventures, he was captured by the Turks and sold as a slave. His master, who was a Turk, riveted a heavy iron collar around his neck and set him to thrashing grain with a big wooden bat like a ball-club. One day the Turk rode up and struck his slave with his riding-whip. This was more than Smith could bear; he rushed at his master, and with one blow of his bat knocked his brains out. He then mounted the dead man's horse and escaped. After a time he got back to England; but as England seemed a little dull to Captain Smith, he resolved to join some emigrants who were going to Virginia.

In the spring of 1607 the emigrants reached Chesapeake[1] Bay, and sailed up a river which they named the James in honor of King James of England; when they landed they named the settlement Jamestown for the same reason. Here they built a log fort, and placed three or four small cannon on its walls. Most of the men who settled Jamestown came hoping to find mines of gold in Virginia, or else a way through to the Pacific Ocean and to the Indies, which they thought could not be very far away. But Captain Smith wanted to help his countrymen to make homes here for themselves and their children.

1 Chesapeake (Ches'a-peek).

39. Smith's trial and what came of it; how the settlers lived; the first English church; sickness; attempted desertion.—As soon as Captain Smith landed, he demanded to be tried by a jury[2] of twelve men. The trial took place. It was the first English court and the first English jury that ever sat in America. The captain proved his innocence and was set free. His chief accuser was condemned to pay him a large sum of money for damages. Smith generously gave this money to help the settlement.

As the weather was warm, the emigrants did not begin building log cabins at once, but slept on the ground, sheltered by boughs of trees. For a church they had an old tent, in which they met on Sunday. They were all members of the Church of England, or the Episcopal Church, and that tent was the first place of worship that we know of which was opened by Englishmen in America.

When the hot weather came, many fell sick. Soon the whole settlement was like a hospital. Sometimes three or four would die in one night. Captain Smith, though not well himself, did everything he could for those who needed his help.

When the sickness was over, some of the settlers were so discontented that they determined to seize the only vessel there was at Jamestown and go back to England. Captain Smith turned the cannon of the fort against them. The deserters saw that if they tried to leave the harbor he would knock their vessel to pieces, so they came back. One of the leaders of these men was tried and shot; the other was sent to England in disgrace.

2 Jury: a number of men, generally twelve, selected according to law to try a case in a court of law; in criminal cases they declare the person accused to be either guilty or not guilty.

40. The Indians of Virginia.—When the Indians of America first met the white men, they were very friendly to them; but this did not last long, because often the whites treated the Indians very badly; in fact, the Spaniards made slaves of them and whipped many of them to death. But these were the Indians of the south; some of the northern tribes were terribly fierce and a match for the Spaniards in cruelty.

The Indians at the east did not build cities, but lived in small villages. These villages were made up of huts, covered with the bark of trees. Such huts were called wigwams. The women did nearly all the work, such as building the wigwams and hoeing corn and tobacco. The men hunted and made war. Instead of guns the Indians had bows and arrows. With these they could bring down a deer or a squirrel quite as well as a white man could now with a rifle. They had no iron, but made hatchets and knives out of sharp, flat stones. They never built roads, for they had no wagons, and at the east they did not use horses; but they could find their way with ease through the thickest forest. When they came to a river they swam across it, so they had no need of bridges. For boats they made canoes of birch bark. These canoes were almost as light as paper, yet they were very strong and handsome, and they

        "floated on the river
Like a yellow leaf in autumn,
Like a yellow water-lily."[3]

In them they could go hundreds of miles quickly and silently. So every river and stream became a roadway to the Indian.

3 Longfellow's Hiawatha (Hiawatha's Sailing).

41. Captain Smith goes in search of the Pacific; he is captured by Indians.—After that first long, hot summer was over, some of the settlers wished to explore the country and see if they could not find a short way through to the Pacific Ocean. Captain Smith led the expedition. The Indians attacked them, killed three of the men, and took the captain prisoner. To amuse the Indians, Smith showed them his pocket compass. When the savages saw that the needle always pointed toward the north they were greatly astonished, and instead of killing their prisoner they decided to take him to their chief. This chief was named Powhatan.[4] He was a tall, grim-looking old man, and he hated the settlers at Jamestown, because he believed that they had come to steal the land from the Indians.

4 Powhatan (Pow-ha-tan').

42. Smith's life is saved by Pocahontas;[5] her marriage to John Rolfe.[6]—Smith was dragged into the chief's wigwam; his head was laid on a large, flat stone, and a tall savage with a big club stood ready to dash out his brains. Just as Powhatan was about to cry "strike!" his daughter Pocahontas, a girl of twelve or thirteen, ran up, and, putting her arms round the prisoner's head, she laid her own head on his—now let the Indian with his uplifted club strike if he dare.[7]

Instead of being angry with his daughter, Powhatan promised her that he would spare Smith's life. When an Indian made such a promise as that he kept it, so the captain knew that his head was safe. Powhatan released his prisoner and soon sent him back to Jamestown, and Pocahontas, followed by a number of Indians, carried to the settlers presents of corn and venison.

Some years after this the Indian maiden married John Rolfe, an Englishman who had come to Virginia. They went to London, and Pocahontas died not far from that city. She left a son; from that son came some noted Virginians. One of them was John Randolph. He was a famous man in his day, and he always spoke with pride of the Indian princess, as he called her.

5 Pocahontas (Po-ka-hon'tas).

6 Rolfe (Rolf).

43. Captain Smith is made governor of Jamestown; the gold-diggers; "Corn, or your life."—More emigrants came over from England, and Captain Smith was now made governor of Jamestown. Some of the emigrants found some glittering earth which they thought was gold. Soon nearly every one was hard at work digging it. Smith laughed at them; but they insisted on loading a ship with the worthless stuff and sending it to London. That was the last that was heard of it.

The people had wasted their time digging this shining dirt when they should have been hoeing their gardens. Soon they began to be in great want of food. The captain started off with a party of men to buy corn of the Indians. The Indians contrived a cunning plot to kill the whole party. Smith luckily found it out; seizing the chief by the hair, he pressed the muzzle of a pistol against his heart and gave him his choice,—"Corn, or your life!" He got the corn, and plenty of it.

44. "He who will not work shall not eat."—Captain Smith then set part of the men to planting corn, so that they might raise what they needed. The rest of the settlers he took with him into the woods to chop down trees and saw them into boards to send to England. Many tried to escape from this labor; but Smith said, Men who are able to dig for gold are able to chop; then he made this rule: "He who will not work shall not eat." Rather than lose his dinner, the laziest man now took his axe and set off for the woods.

45. Captain Smith's cold-water cure.—But though the choppers worked, they grumbled. They liked to see the chips fly and to hear the great trees "thunder as they fell," but the axe-handles raised blisters on their fingers. These blisters made the men swear, so that often one would hear an oath for every stroke of the axe. Smith said the swearing must be stopped. He had each man's oaths set down in a book. When the day's work was done, every offender was called up; his oaths were counted; then he was told to hold up his right hand, and a can of cold water was poured down his sleeve for each oath. This new style of water cure did wonders; in a short time not an oath was heard: it was just chop, chop, chop, and the madder the men got, the more the chips would fly.

He returned to America a number of years later, explored the coast north of Virginia, and gave it the name of New England, but he never went back to Jamestown again. He died in London, and was buried in a famous old church in that city.[8]

8 The church of St. Sepulchre: it is not very far from St. Paul's Cathedral.

47. What Captain Smith did for Virginia.—Captain John Smith was in Virginia less than three years, yet in that short time he did a great deal. First, he saved the settlers from starving, by making the Indians sell them corn. Next, by his courage, he saved them from the attacks of the savages. Lastly, he taught them how to work. Had it not been for him the people of Jamestown would probably have lost all heart and gone back to England. He insisted on their staying, and so, through him, the English got their first real foothold in America. But this was not all; he wrote two books on Virginia, describing the soil, the trees, the animals, and the Indians. He also made some excellent maps of Virginia and of New England. These books and maps taught the English people many things about this country, and helped those who wished to emigrate. For these reasons Captain Smith has rightfully been called the "Father of Virginia."

48. Negro slaves sent to Virginia; tobacco.—About ten years after Captain Smith left Jamestown, the commander of a Dutch ship brought a number of negro slaves to Virginia (1619), and sold them to the settlers. That was the beginning of slavery in this country. Later, when other English settlements had been made, they bought slaves, and so, after a time, every settlement north as well as south owned more or less negroes. The people of Virginia employed most of their slaves in raising tobacco. They sold this in England, and, as it generally brought a good price, many of the planters[9] became quite rich.

9 Planter: a person who owns a plantation or large farm at the South; it is cultivated by laborers living on it; once these laborers were generally negro slaves.

49. Bacon's war against Governor Berkeley;[10] Jamestown burned.—Long after Captain Smith was in his grave, Sir William Berkeley was made governor of Virginia by the king of England. He treated the people very badly. At last a young planter named Bacon raised a small army and marched against the governor, who was in Jamestown. The governor, finding that he had few friends to fight for him, made haste to get out of the place. Bacon then entered it with his men; but as he knew that, if necessary, the king would send soldiers from England to aid the governor in getting it back, he set fire to the place and burned it. It was never built up again, and so only a crumbling church-tower and a few gravestones can now be seen where Jamestown once stood. Those ruins mark the first English town settled in America.

10 Berkeley (Berk'li).

50. What happened later in Virginia; the Revolution; Washington; four presidents.—But though Jamestown was destroyed, Virginia kept growing in strength and wealth. What was better still, the country grew in the number of its great men. The king of England continued to rule America until, in 1776, the people of Virginia demanded that independence should be declared. The great war of the Revolution overthrew the king's power and made us free. The military leader of that war was a Virginia planter named George Washington.

After we had gained the victory and peace was made, we chose presidents to govern the country. Four out of six of our first presidents, beginning with Washington, came from Virginia. For this reason that state has sometimes been called the "Mother of Presidents."

51. Summary.—In 1607 Captain John Smith, with others, made the first lasting settlement built up by Englishmen in America. Through Captain Smith's energy and courage, Jamestown, Virginia, took firm root. Virginia was the first state to demand the independence of America, and Washington, who was a Virginian, led the war of the Revolution by which that independence was gained.

What can you tell about Captain John Smith before he went to Virginia? What happened to him on his way to Virginia? What is said about the landing of the settlers in Virginia? What did they want to do? What did Captain Smith want to do? What about Captain Smith's trial? What is said about the church in Jamestown? What happened to the settlers? What did some of them try to do? Who stopped them? Tell what you can about the Indians. What kind of houses did they live in? Did they have guns? Did they have iron hatchets and knives? Did they have horses and wagons? What kind of boats did they have? What happened to Captain Smith when he went in search of the Pacific? What did Pocahontas do? What is said about her afterward? What about the gold-diggers? How did Captain Smith get corn? What did he make the settlers do? What is said about Captain Smith's cold-water cure? Why did Captain Smith go back to England? What three things did he do for Virginia? What about his books and maps? What is said of negro slaves? What about tobacco? What about Governor Berkeley and Mr. Bacon? What happened to Jamestown? What did the war of the Revolution do? Who was its great military leader? Why is Virginia sometimes called the "Mother of Presidents"?

(Voyages from 1607 to 1611).

While Smith was in Jamestown, a company of London merchants sent out Captain Hudson to try to discover a passage to China and the Indies. When he left England, he sailed to the northwest, hoping that he could find a way open to the Pacific across the North Pole or not far below it.

If he found such a passage, he knew that it would be much shorter than a voyage round the globe further south; because, as any one can see, it is not nearly so far round the top of an apple, near the stem, as it is round the middle.

Hudson could not find the passage he was looking for; but he saw mountains of ice, and he went nearer to the North Pole than any one had ever done before.

53. The Dutch hire Captain Hudson; he sails for America.—The Dutch people in Holland had heard of Hudson's voyage, and a company of merchants of that country hired the brave sailor to see if he could find a passage to Asia by sailing to the northeast.

He set out from the port of Amsterdam,[1] in 1609, in a vessel named the Half Moon. After he had gone quite a long distance, the sailors got so tired of seeing nothing but fog and ice that they refused to go any further.

Then Captain Hudson turned his ship about and sailed for the coast of North America. He did that because his friend, Captain Smith of Virginia, had sent him a letter, with a map, which made him think that he could find such a passage as he wanted north of Chesapeake Bay.

54. Captain Hudson reaches America and finds the "Great River."—Hudson got to Chesapeake Bay, but the weather was so stormy that he thought it would not be safe to enter it. He therefore sailed northward along the coast. In September, 1609, he entered a beautiful bay, formed by the spreading out of a noble river. At that point the stream is more than a mile wide, and he called it the "Great River." On the eastern side of it, not far from its mouth, there is a long narrow island: the Indians of that day called it Manhattan Island.

55. The tides in the "Great River"; Captain Hudson begins to sail up the stream.—One of the remarkable things about the river which Hudson had discovered is that it has hardly any current, and the tide from the ocean moves up for more than a hundred and fifty miles. If no fresh water ran in from the hills, still the sea would fill the channel for a long distance, and so make a kind of salt-water river of it. Hudson noticed how salt it was, and that, perhaps, made him think that he had at last actually found a passage which would lead him through from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He was delighted with all he saw, and said, "This is as beautiful a land as one can tread upon." Soon he began to sail up the stream, wondering what he should see and whether he should come out on an ocean which would take him to Asia.

56. Hudson's voyage on the "Great River"; his feast with the Indians.—At first he drifted along, carried by the tide, under the shadow of a great natural wall of rock. That wall, which we now call the Palisades,[2] is from four hundred to six hundred feet high; it extends for nearly twenty miles along the western shore of the river.

Then, some distance further up, Captain Hudson came to a place where the river breaks through great forest-covered hills, called the Highlands. At the end of the fifth day he came to a point on the eastern bank above the Highlands, where the city of Hudson now stands. Here an old Indian chief invited him to go ashore. Hudson had found the Indians, as he says, "very loving," so he thought he would accept the invitation. The savages made a great feast for the captain. They gave him not only roast pigeons, but also a roast dog, which they cooked specially for him: they wanted he should have the very best.

These Indians had never seen a white man before. They thought that the English captain, in his bright scarlet coat trimmed with gold lace, had come down from the sky to visit them. What puzzled them, however, was that he had such a pale face instead of having a red one like themselves.

At the end of the feast Hudson rose to go, but the Indians begged him to stay all night. Then one of them got up, gathered all the arrows, broke them to pieces, and threw them into the fire, in order to show the captain that he need not be afraid to stop with them.

2 Palisades: this name is given to the wall of rock on the Hudson, because, when seen near by, it somewhat resembles a palisade, or high fence made of stakes or posts set close together, upright in the ground.

57. Captain Hudson reaches the end of his voyage and turns back; trouble with the Indians.—But Captain Hudson made up his mind that he must now go on with his voyage. He went back to his ship and kept on up the river until he had reached a point about a hundred and fifty miles from its mouth. Here the city of Albany now stands. He found that the water was growing shallow, and he feared that if the Half Moon went further she would get aground. It was clear to him, too, that wherever the river might lead, he was not likely to find it a short road to China.

On the way down stream a thievish Indian, who had come out in a canoe, managed to steal something from the ship. One of the crew chanced to see the Indian as he was slyly slipping off, and picking up a gun he fired and killed him. After that Hudson's men had several fights with the Indians.

The next year Captain Hudson made another voyage, and entered that immense bay in the northern part of America which we now know as Hudson Bay. There he got into trouble with his men. Some of them seized him and set him adrift with a few others in an open boat. Nothing more was ever heard of the brave English sailor. The bay which bears his name is probably his grave.

59. The Dutch take possession of the land on the Hudson and call it New Netherland; how New Netherland became New York.—As soon as the Dutch in Holland heard that Captain Hudson had found a country where the Indians had plenty of rich furs to sell, they sent out people to trade with them. Holland is sometimes called the Netherlands; that is, the Low Lands. When the Dutch took possession of the country on the Hudson (1614), they gave it the name of New Netherland,[3] for the same reason that the English called one part of their possessions in America New England. In the course of a few years the Dutch built (1615) a fort and some log cabins on the lower end of Manhattan Island. After a time they named this little settlement New Amsterdam, in remembrance of the port of Amsterdam in Holland from which Hudson sailed.

After the Dutch had held the country of New Netherland about fifty years, the English (1664) seized it. They changed its name to New York, in honor of the Duke of York, who was brother to the king. The English also changed the name of New Amsterdam to that of New York City.

3 New Netherland: this is often incorrectly printed New Netherlands.

60. The New York "Sons of Liberty" in the Revolution; what Henry Hudson would say of the city now.—More than a hundred years after this the young men of New York, the "Sons of Liberty," as they called themselves, made ready with the "Sons of Liberty" in other states to do their full part, under the lead of General Washington, in the great war of the Revolution,—that war by which we gained our freedom from the rule of the king of England, and became the United States of America.

The silent harbor where Henry Hudson saw a few Indian canoes is now one of the busiest seaports in the world. The great statue of Liberty stands at its entrance.[4] To it a fleet of ships and steamers is constantly coming from all parts of the globe; from it another fleet is constantly going. If Captain Hudson could see the river which bears his name, and Manhattan Island now covered with miles of buildings which make the largest and wealthiest city in America, he would say: There is no need of my looking any further for the riches of China and the Indies, for I have found them here.

4 In her right hand Liberty holds a torch to guide vessels at night.

61. Summary.—In 1609 Henry Hudson, an English sea-captain, then in the employ of the Dutch, discovered the river now called by his name. The Dutch took possession of the country on the river, named it New Netherland, and built a small settlement on Manhattan Island. Many years later the English seized the country and named it New York. The settlement on Manhattan Island then became New York City; it is now the largest and wealthiest city in the United States.

Who was Henry Hudson? What did he try to find? What did the Dutch hire him to do? Where did he go? What did he call the river he discovered? What is said about that river? Tell what you can of Hudson's voyage up the river. What is said about the Indians? Why did Hudson turn back? What did he do then? What is the river he discovered called now? What happened to Captain Hudson the next year? What did the Dutch do? What did they name the country? Why? What did they build there on Manhattan Island? Who seized New Netherland? What name did they give it? What is said of the "Sons of Liberty"? What would Hudson say if he could see New York City now?


62. The English Pilgrims in Holland; why they left England.—When the news of Henry Hudson's discovery of the Hudson River reached Holland, many Englishmen were living in the Dutch city of Leyden.[2] These people were mostly farmers who had fled from Scrooby[3] and neighboring villages in the northeast of England. They called themselves Pilgrims, because they were wanderers from their old homes.

The Pilgrims left England because King James would not let them hold their religious meetings in peace. He thought, as all kings then did, that everybody in England should belong to the same church and worship God in the same way that he did.[4] He was afraid that if people were allowed to go to whatever church they thought best that it would lead to disputes and quarrels, which would end by breaking his kingdom to pieces. Quite a number of Englishmen, seeing that they could not have religious liberty at home, escaped with their wives and children to Holland; for there the Dutch were willing to let them have such a church as they wanted.

1 Myles (Miles): Standish himself wrote it Myles.

2 Leyden (Li'den): see map in this paragraph.

3 Scrooby (Skroo'bi): see map in this paragraph.

4 There were some people in England who thought much as the Pilgrims did in regard to religion, but who did not then leave the Church of England (as the Pilgrims did). They were called Puritans because they insisted on making certain changes in the English mode of worship, or, as they said, they wished to purify it. Many Puritans came to New England with Governor Winthrop in 1630; after they settled in America they established independent churches like the Pilgrims.

63. Why the Pilgrims wished to leave Holland and go to America.—But the Pilgrims were not contented in Holland. They saw that if they staid in that country their children would grow up to be more Dutch than English. They saw, too, that they could not hope to get land in Holland. They resolved therefore to go to America, where they could get farms for nothing, and where their children would never forget the English language or the good old English customs and laws. In the wilderness they would not only enjoy entire religious freedom, but they could build up a settlement which would be certainly their own.

About a hundred of these people sailed from Plymouth,[5] England, for the New World, in the ship Mayflower. Many of those who went were children and young people. The Pilgrims had a long, rough passage across the Atlantic. Toward the last of November (1620) they saw land. It was Cape Cod, that narrow strip of sand, more than sixty miles long, which looks like an arm bent at the elbow, with a hand like a half-shut fist.

Finding that it would be difficult to go further, the Pilgrims decided to land and explore the cape; so the Mayflower entered Cape Cod Harbor, inside the half-shut fist, and then came to anchor.

Before they landed, the Pilgrims held a meeting in the cabin, and drew up an agreement in writing for the government of the settlement. They signed the agreement, and then chose John Carver for governor.

5 Plymouth (Plim'uth).

65. Washing-day; what Standish and his men found on the Cape.—On the first Monday after they had reached the cape, all the women went on shore to wash, and so Monday has been kept as washing-day in New England ever since. Shortly after that, Captain Myles Standish, with a number of men, started off to see the country. They found some Indian corn buried in the sand; and a little further on a young man named William Bradford, who afterward became governor, stepped into an Indian deer-trap. It jerked him up by the leg in a way that must have made even the Pilgrims smile.

66. Captain Standish and his men set sail in a boat for a blue hill in the west, and find Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Harbor; landing from the Mayflower.—On clear days the people on board the Mayflower, anchored in Cape Cod Harbor, could see a blue hill, on the mainland, in the west, about forty miles away. To that blue hill Standish and some others determined to go. Taking a sail-boat, they started off. A few days later they passed the hill which the Indians called Manomet,[6] and entered a fine harbor. There, on December 21st, 1620,—the shortest day in the year,—they landed on that famous stone which is now known all over the world as Plymouth Rock.

Standish, with the others, went back to the Mayflower with a good report. They had found just what they wanted,—an excellent harbor where ships from England could come in; a brook of nice drinking-water; and last of all, a piece of land that was nearly free from trees, so that nothing would hinder their planting corn early in the spring. Captain John Smith of Virginia[7] had been there before them, and had named the place Plymouth on his map of New England. The Pilgrims liked the name, and so made up their minds to keep it. The Mayflower soon sailed for Plymouth, and the Pilgrims set to work to build the log cabins of their little settlement.

6 Manomet (Man'o-met).

67. Sickness and death.—During that winter nearly half the Pilgrims died. Captain Standish showed himself to be as good a nurse as he was a soldier. He, with Governor Carver and their minister, Elder Brewster, cooked, washed, waited on the sick, and did everything that kind hearts and willing hands could to help their suffering friends. But the men who had begun to build houses had to stop that work to dig graves. When these graves were filled, they were smoothed down flat so that no prowling Indian should count them and see how few white men there were left.

68. Samoset,[8] Squanto,[9] and Massasoit[10] visit the Pilgrims.—One day in the spring the Pilgrims were startled at seeing an Indian walk boldly into their little settlement. He cried out in good English, "Welcome! Welcome!" This visitor was named Samoset; he had met some sailors years before, and had learned a few English words from them.

The next time Samoset came he brought with him another Indian, whose name was Squanto. Squanto was the only one left of the tribe that had once lived at Plymouth. All the rest had died of a dreadful sickness, or plague. He had been stolen by some sailors and carried to England; there he had learned the language. After his return he had joined an Indian tribe that lived about thirty miles further west. The chief of that tribe was named Massasoit, and Squanto said that he was coming directly to visit the Pilgrims.

In about an hour Massasoit, with some sixty warriors, appeared on a hill just outside the settlement. The Indians had painted their faces in their very gayest style—black, red, and yellow. If paint could make them handsome, they were determined to look their best.

8 Samoset (Sam'o-set).

9 Squanto (Skwon'to).

10 Massasoit (Mas'sa-soit').

69. Massasoit and Governor Carver make a treaty of friendship; how Thanksgiving was kept; what Squanto did for the Pilgrims.—Captain Standish, attended by a guard of honor, went out and brought the chief to Governor Carver. Then Massasoit and the governor made a solemn promise or treaty, in which they agreed that the Indians of his tribe and the Pilgrims should live like friends and brothers, doing all they could to help each other. That promise was kept for more than fifty years; it was never broken until long after the two men who made it were in their graves.

When the Pilgrims had their first Thanksgiving, they invited Massasoit and his men to come and share it. The Indians brought venison and other good things; there were plenty of wild turkeys roasted; and so they all sat down together to a great dinner, and had a merry time in the wilderness.

Squanto was of great help to the Pilgrims. He showed them how to catch eels, where to go fishing, when to plant their corn, and how to put a fish in every hill to make it grow fast.

After a while he came to live with the Pilgrims. He liked them so much that when the poor fellow died he begged Governor Bradford to pray that he might go to the white man's heaven.

70. Canonicus[11] dares Governor Bradford to fight; the palisade; the fort and meeting-house.—West of where Massasoit lived, there were some Indians on the shore of Narragansett Bay,[12] in what is now Rhode Island. Their chief was named Canonicus, and he was no friend to Massasoit or to the Pilgrims. Canonicus thought he could frighten the white men away, so he sent a bundle of sharp, new arrows, tied round with a rattlesnake skin, to Governor Bradford: that meant that he dared the governor and his men to come out and fight. Governor Bradford threw away the arrows, and then filled the snake-skin up to the mouth with powder and ball. This was sent back to Canonicus. When he saw it, he was afraid to touch it, for he knew that Myles Standish's bullets would whistle louder and cut deeper than his Indian arrows.

But though the Pilgrims did not believe that Canonicus would attack them, they thought it best to build a very high, strong fence, called a palisade, round the town.

They also built a log fort on one of the hills, and used the lower part of the fort for a church. Every Sunday all the people, with Captain Standish at the head, marched to their meeting-house, where a man stood on guard outside. Each Pilgrim carried his gun, and set it down near him. With one ear he listened sharply to the preacher; with the other he listened just as sharply for the cry, Indians! Indians! But the Indians never came.

11 Canonicus (Ka-non'i-kus).

Governor Bradford sent Captain Standish with a few men, to see how great the danger was. He found the Indians very bold. One of them came up to him, whetting a long knife. He held it up, to show how sharp it was, and then patting it, he said, "By and by, it shall eat, but not speak." Presently another Indian came up. He was a big fellow, much larger and stronger than Standish. He, too, had a long knife, as keen as a razor. "Ah," said he to Standish, "so this is the mighty captain the white men have sent to destroy us! He is a little man; let him go and work with the women."[13]

The captain's blood was on fire with rage; but he said not a word. His time had not yet come. The next day the Pilgrims and the Indians met in a log cabin. Standish made a sign to one of his men, and he shut the door fast. Then the captain sprang like a tiger at the big savage who had laughed at him, and snatching his long knife from him, he plunged it into his heart. A hand-to-hand fight followed between the white men and the Indians. The Pilgrims gained the victory, and carried back the head of the Indian chief in triumph to Plymouth. Captain Standish's bold action saved both of the English settlements from destruction.

13 See Longfellow's The Courtship of Miles Standish. This quotation is truthful in its rendering of the spirit of the words used by the Indian in his insulting speech to Standish; it should be understood, however, that the poem does not always adhere closely either to the chronology, or to the exact facts, of history.

72. What else Myles Standish did; his death.—But Standish did more things for the Pilgrims than fight for them; for he went to England, bought goods for them, and borrowed money to help them.

He lived to be an old man. At his death he left, among other things, three well-worn Bibles and three good guns. In those days, the men who read the Bible most were those who fought the hardest.

Near Plymouth there is a high hill called Captain's Hill. That was where Standish made his home during the last of his life. A granite monument, over a hundred feet high, stands on top of the hill. On it is a statue of the brave captain looking toward the sea. He was one of the makers of America.

73. Governor John Winthrop founds[14] Boston.—Ten years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, a large company of English people under the leadership of Governor John Winthrop came to New England. They were called Puritans,[15] and they, too, were seeking that religious freedom which was denied them in the old country. One of the vessels which brought over these new settlers was named the Mayflower. She may have been the very ship which in 1620 brought the Pilgrims to these shores.

Governor Winthrop's company named the place where they settled Boston, in grateful remembrance of the beautiful old city of Boston,[16] England, from which some of the chief emigrants came. The new settlement was called the Massachusetts Bay[17] Colony,[18] Massachusetts being the Indian name for the Blue Hills, near Boston. The Plymouth Colony was now often called the Old Colony, because it had been settled first. After many years, these two colonies were united, and still later they became the state of Massachusetts.

14 Founds: begins to build.

18 Colony: here a company of settlers who came to America from England, and who were subject to the king of England, as all the English settlers of America were until the Revolution.

74. How other New England colonies grew up; the Revolution.—By the time Governor Winthrop arrived, English settlements had been made in Maine, New Hampshire, and later (1724), in the country which afterward became the state of Vermont. Connecticut and Rhode Island were first settled by emigrants who went from Massachusetts.

When the Revolution broke out, the people throughout New England took up arms in defence of their rights. The first blood of the war was shed on the soil of Massachusetts, near Boston.

75. Summary.—The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, New England, in 1620. One of the chief men who came with them was Captain Myles Standish. Had it not been for his help, the Indians might have destroyed the settlement. In 1630, Governor John Winthrop, with a large company of emigrants from England, settled Boston. Near Boston the first battle of the Revolution was fought.

Why did some Englishmen in Holland call themselves Pilgrims? Why had they left England? Why did they now wish to go to America? Who was Myles Standish? From what place in England, and in what ship, did the Pilgrims sail? What land did they first see in America? What did they do at Cape Cod Harbor? What did the Pilgrims do on the Cape? Where did they land on December 21st, 1620? What happened during the winter? What is said of Samoset? What about Squanto? What about Massasoit? What did Massasoit and Governor Carver do? What about the first Thanksgiving? What is said about Canonicus and Governor Bradford? What did the Pilgrims build to protect them from the Indians? What is said about Weymouth? What did Myles Standish do there? What else did Myles Standish do besides fight? What is said of his death? What did Governor John Winthrop do? What did the people of New England do in the Revolution? Where was the first blood shed?


Lord Baltimore had been brought up a Protestant, but had become a Catholic. At that time, Catholics were treated very cruelly in England. They were ordered by law to attend the Church of England. They did not like that church any better than the Pilgrims did; but if they failed to attend it, they had to take their choice between paying a large sum of money or going to prison.

Lord Baltimore hoped to make a home for himself and for other English Catholics in the wilderness of Newfoundland, where there would be no one to trouble them. But the unfortunate settlers were fairly frozen out. They had winter a good share of the year, and fog all of it. They could raise nothing, because, as one man said, the soil was either rock or swamp: the rock was as hard as iron; the swamp was so deep that you could not touch bottom with a ten-foot pole.

The king's wife, who was called Queen Mary, was a French Catholic. In her honor, Charles named the country he had given Lord Baltimore, Mary Land, or Maryland. He could not have chosen a better name, because Maryland was to be a shelter for many English people who believed in the same religion that the queen did.

All that Lord Baltimore was to pay for Maryland, with its twelve thousand square miles of land and water, was two Indian arrows. These he agreed to send every spring to the royal palace of Windsor[2] Castle, near London.

The arrows would be worth nothing whatever to the king; but they were sent as a kind of yearly rent. They showed that, though Lord Baltimore had the use of Maryland, and could do pretty much as he pleased with it, still the king did not give up all control of it. In Virginia and in New England the king had granted all land to companies of persons, and he had been particular to tell them just what they must or must not do; but he gave Maryland to one man only. More than this, he promised to let Lord Baltimore have his own way in everything, so long as he made no laws in Maryland which should be contrary to the laws of England. So Lord Baltimore had greater privileges than any other holder of land in America at that time.

2 Windsor (Win'zor).

78. Lord Baltimore dies; his son sends emigrants to Maryland; the landing; the Indians; St. Mary's.—Lord Baltimore died before he could get ready to come to America. His eldest son then became Lord Baltimore. He sent over a number of emigrants; part of them were Catholics, and part were Protestants: all of them were to have equal rights in Maryland. In the spring of 1634, these people landed on a little island near the mouth of the Potomac River. There they cut down a tree, and made a large cross of it; then, kneeling round that cross, they all joined in prayer to God for their safe journey.

A little later, they landed on the shore of the river. There they met Indians. Under a huge mulberry-tree they bargained with the Indians for a place to build a town, and paid for the land in hatchets, knives, and beads.

The Indians were greatly astonished at the size of the ship in which the white men came. They thought that it was made like their canoes, out of the trunk of a tree hollowed out, and they wondered where the English could have found a tree big enough to make it.

The emigrants named their settlement St. Mary's, because they had landed on a day kept sacred to the Virgin Mary.[3] The Indians gave up one of their largest wigwams to Father White, one of the priests who had come over, and he made a church of it. It was the first English Catholic Church which was opened in America.

The Indians and the settlers lived and worked together side by side. The red men showed the emigrants how to hunt in the forest, and the Indian women taught the white women how to make hominy, and to bake johnny-cake before the open fire.

3 March 25th: Annunciation or Lady Day.

79. Maryland the home of religious liberty.—Maryland was different from the other English colonies in America, because there, and there only, every Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant, had the right to worship God in his own way. In that humble little village of St. Mary's, made up of thirty or forty log huts and wigwams in the woods, "religious liberty had its only home in the wide world."

But more than this, Lord Baltimore generously invited people who had been driven out of the other settlements on account of their religion to come and live in Maryland. He gave a hearty welcome to all, whether they thought as he did or not. Thus he showed that he was a noble man by nature as well as a nobleman by name.

80. Maryland falls into trouble; the city of Baltimore built.—But this happy state of things did not last long. Some of the people of Virginia were very angry because the king had given Lord Baltimore part of what they thought was their land. They quarrelled with the new settlers and made them a great deal of trouble.

Then worse things happened. Men went to Maryland and undertook to drive out the Catholics. In some cases they acted in a very shameful manner toward Lord Baltimore and his friends; among other things, they put Father White in irons and sent him back to England as a prisoner. Lord Baltimore had spent a great deal of money in building up the settlement, but his right to the land was taken away from him for a time, and all who dared to defend him were badly treated.

St. Mary's never grew to be much of a place, but not quite a hundred years after the English landed there a new and beautiful city was begun (1729) in Maryland. It was named Baltimore, in honor of that Lord Baltimore who sent out the first emigrants. When the Revolutionary War broke out, the citizens of Baltimore showed that they were not a bit behind the other colonies of America in their spirit of independence.

81. Summary.—King Charles the First of England gave Lord Baltimore, an English Catholic, a part of Virginia and named it Maryland, in honor of his wife, Queen Mary. A company of emigrants came out to Maryland in 1634. It was the first settlement in America in which all Christian people had entire liberty to worship God in whatever way they thought right. That liberty they owed to Lord Baltimore.

Who was Lord Baltimore, and what did he try to do in Newfoundland? How were Catholics then treated in England? What did the king of England give Lord Baltimore in America? What did the king name the country? What was Lord Baltimore to pay for Maryland? What did the king promise Lord Baltimore? What did Lord Baltimore's son do? When and where did the emigrants land? What did they call the place? What is said about the Indians? Of what was Maryland the home? Why did some of the people of Virginia trouble them? What is said of the city of Baltimore? What is said of the Revolution?


Mr. Williams soon became a great friend to the Indians and while he preached at Salem,[2] near Boston, and at Plymouth, he came to know many of them. He took pains to learn their language, and he spent a great deal of time talking with the chief Massasoit[3] and his men, in their dirty, smoky wigwams. He made the savages feel that, as he said, his whole heart's desire was to do them good. For this reason they were always glad to see him and ready to help him. A time came, as we shall presently see, when they were able to do quite as much for him as he could for them.

2 Salem (Sa'lem).

But Roger Williams said that the king had no right to the land unless he bought it of the Indians, who were living here when the English came.

Now the people of Massachusetts were always quite willing to pay the Indians a fair price for whatever land they wanted; but many of them were afraid to have Mr. Williams preach and write as he did. They believed that if they allowed him to go on speaking out so boldly against the king that the English monarch would get so angry that he would take away Massachusetts from them and give it to a new company. In that case, those who had settled here would lose everything. For this reason the people of Boston tried to make the young minister agree to keep silent on this subject.

There was a heavy depth of snow on the ground, but the young man made up his mind that he would go to his old friend Massasoit, and ask him to help him in his trouble.

Massasoit lived near Mount Hope, in what is now Rhode Island, about eighty miles southwest from Salem. There were no roads through the woods, and it was a long, dreary journey to make on foot, but Mr. Williams did not hesitate. He took a hatchet to chop fire-wood, a flint and steel to strike fire with,—for in those days people had no matches,—and, last of all, a pocket-compass to aid him in finding his way through the thick forest.

All day he waded wearily on through the deep snow, only stopping now and then to rest or to look at his compass and make sure that he was going in the right direction. At night he would gather wood enough to make a little fire to warm himself or to melt some snow for drink. Then he would cut down a few boughs for a bed, or, if he was lucky enough to find a large, hollow tree, he would creep into that. There he would fall asleep, while listening to the howling of the wind or to the fiercer howling of the hungry wolves prowling about the woods.

At length, after much suffering from cold and want of food, he managed to reach Massasoit's wigwam. There the big-hearted Indian chief gave him a warm welcome. He took him into his poor cabin and kept him till spring—there was no board bill to pay. All the Indians liked the young minister, and even Canonicus,[5] that savage chief of a neighboring tribe, who had dared Governor Bradford to fight, said that he "loved him as his own son."

85. Roger Williams at Seekonk;[6] "What cheer, friend?"—When the warm days came, in the spring of 1636, Mr. Williams began building a log hut for himself at Seekonk, on the east bank of the Seekonk River. But he was told that his cabin stood on ground owned by the people of Massachusetts; so he, with a few friends who had joined him, took a canoe and paddled down stream to find a new place to build.

"What cheer, friend? what cheer?" shouted some Indians who were standing on a rock on the western bank of the river. That was the Indian way of saying How do you do, and just then Roger Williams was right glad to hear it. He landed on what is now called "What Cheer Rock,"[7] and had a talk with the red men. They told him that there was a fine spring of water round the point of land a little further down. He went there, and liked the spot so much that he decided to stop. His friend Canonicus owned the land, and he gladly let him have what he needed. Roger Williams believed that a kind Providence had guided him to this pleasant place, and for this reason he named it PROVIDENCE.

Providence was the first settlement made in America which set its doors wide open to every one who wished to come and live there. Not only all Christians, but Jews, and even men who went to no church whatever, could go there and be at peace. This great and good work was done by Roger Williams. Providence grew in time to be the chief city in the state of Rhode Island. When the Revolution began, every man and boy in the state, from sixteen to sixty, stood ready to fight for liberty.

6 Seekonk (See'konk).

7 "What Cheer Rock" is on the east side of the city of Providence.

86. Summary.—Roger Williams, a young minister of Salem, Massachusetts, declared that the Indians, and not the king of England, owned the land in America. The governor of Massachusetts was afraid that if Mr. Williams kept on saying these things the king would hear of it and would take away the land held by the people of Boston and the other settlements. He therefore sent a constable to arrest the young minister and put him on board a ship going back to England. When Mr. Williams knew this, he fled to the Indian chief, Massasoit. In 1636 Roger Williams began building Providence. Providence was the first settlement in America which offered a home to all men without asking them anything whatever about their religious belief.

Who was Roger Williams? What is said about him and the Indians? Who did Mr. Williams think first owned the land in America? How did many of the people of Massachusetts feel about Mr. Williams? What did the chief men of Boston do? What did Mr. Williams do? Describe his journey to Mount Hope. What did Massasoit do for Mr. Williams? What did Mr. Williams do at Seekonk? What happened after that? Why did he name the settlement Providence? What is said of Providence? What about the Revolution?