Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/86

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colonists absented themselves from public worship, he proceeded to severe disciplinary measures; and in the end they quitted the island, threw themselves on the kindness of the savages of the mainland, and made their way to trading vessels in which they sailed for Europe. Thus the Indonaut colony, the first Protestant community in the New World, ended in a ludicrous failure.

As the struggle between the Catholics and Protestants of France became more and more desperate, the idea of founding a Protestant colony in America was revived: and it was now resolved to use for this purpose the immense tract which Verrazzano's voyage was understood to have acquired for the French Crown. Coligny, with the assent of Charles IX, equipped two vessels which he despatched on February 18, 1562, under the command of Jean Ribault, to found the first colony attempted in North America since the return of Roberval in 1540. After exploring the coast, Ribault chose Port Royal Sound in the present State of South Carolina, as the most promising site for a colony; began the construction of a fort, to which he gave the name of Charles-fort, for the protection of those whom he intended to leave behind; and returned to Europe. Their supplies being exhausted, the colonising party fell into dissensions, mutinied against the rigorous discipline enforced by their captain, and assassinated him. No reinforcements arriving from Europe, they built a pinnace, intending to return, put to sea, suffered indescribable hardships, and put back again, more dead than alive, towards the American shore. They were picked up by a homeward-bound English barque, one of whose crew had been with Ribault on the outward voyage. Some were landed in France; while those who were not too exhausted to continue the voyage were taken on to England, where the liveliest interest was by this time felt in the question of North American colonisation. How this revived interest arose, may now be briefly explained.

The history of English enterprise in connexion with the New World goes back in substance to the period of the Discovery itself. Even before this, Bristol seamen had sought for the mythical St Brandan's in the expanses of the Atlantic; possibly the ancient connexion of that port with Iceland had brought the Norse sagas to their ears, and the quest pursued by them was in substance the search for "Vineland" or New England. John Cabot, having obtained on March 5, 1496, the patent referred to on an earlier page, evidently sailed in quest of the "New Land" or "New Island" of the Northmen, and between that date and August, 1497, when he returned to Bristol, reached and investigated the shores of Labrador and Newfoundland which represent the coast called by the Northmen "Hellu-Land" (stony land). A voyage was attempted by him to the New Land in 1498, but not accomplished, and thenceforward English interest in the continent of America relaxed, although the Newfoundland waters were increasingly frequented by fishermen of other nations; so that the voyage of 1496-7