Barnard Shipp.

The history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 online

. (page 54 of 75)
Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 54 of 75)
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Laudonniere] chief captain over these three ships, and charged me
to depart with diligence to perform his commands.

I embarked at New Haven the 22d of April, 1564, arrived on
the coast of Florida Thursday the 2'2d of June, about three o'clocli
in the afternoon, and landed at a little river which is in 30° north
latitude, and thirty leagues north of Cape Fran9ois, and about ten
leagues south of the river of May.

After we had cast anchor athwart the river I determined to go on
shore to discover the same. I embarked about three or four o'clock
in the afternoon. And having arrived at the mouth of the river I
caused the channel to be sounded, which was found to .be ver^'
shallow, although further within the same the water was reason-
ably deep, which separated itself into two great arms, whereof one
runnejtU toward the south and the other toward the north. Having
thus searched the river I went on land to speak to the Indians who
waited for us on shore. After they had made much of us, they
showed us their ^aracottssy (king or governor) to whom I presented
certain toys. Though they endeavored to make us tarry with them.



THE VOYAGE OF RENE tAUDONNIEEE TO FLORIDA. 511

I woiilfl not stay on shore all night, but embarked and returned to
my ships. Before my departure I named this river the riuer of
Dolphins, because at my arrival I saw there a great number of dol-
phins, which were plaj'ing in the mouth thereof.* ,

The next day, the 23d of this month, because that toward the
south I had not found any commodious place for us to inhabit and
to build a fort, I weighed anchor and sailed towards the river May
where we arrived two days afleV, and anchored. Afterwards going
on shore with some gentlemen and soldiers, we espied the paraeoussy
of the country (the same that we saw in the voyage of Captain
Ribault), who, having espied us, came to meet us. The paraeoussy
praj'ed me to go and see the pillar which we had erected in the voy-
age of Captain Ribault. Having consented, and having come to
the place where it was set up, we found the same crowned with
wreaths of bay, and at the foot thereof many little baskets full of
corn. Then, when they came thither, they kissed the same with
great reverence, and besought us to do the like, which we would not
deny them, that we might draw them to be more in friendship with
us. After we had sojourned a certain space with them, we tookonr
leave of them, because the night approached, and I then returned to
lodge in our ships.

I failed not the next day to embark again, to return to the para-
eoussy of the river May, who waited for us in the same place where
the day before we conferred with him. We found him under the
shadow of an arbor, accompanied with eighty Indians. Then I
informed the paraeoussy Satourioua that my desire was to discover
further up the river, but that I would come again to him very
speedilj'.

Departing from thence, I had not sailed, //iree leagues up the
river, still being followed by the Indians who coasted me along the
river; but I discovered a hill of viean height near which I went on
land. I rested myself in this place for some hours. Now as I
determined to search out the qualities of this hill, I went right to
the top thereof, where we found nothing els^ but cedar, palm, and
bay trees. The trees were environed round about with vines,
bearing' grapes. Touching the pleasures of this place, the sea may
be seen plain and open from it ; and more than six great leagues
off near the river Belle, a man may behold the meadows divided
asunder into isles and islets interlacing one another.

* In Ribault's Voyage the latitude of Cape Fransois Is " about 30O," and here
this " little river" iS'also 30°. " It had two great arms. It was very shallow at
the entrance, but reasonably deep within." It was the harbor of St. Augustine.



512 THE VOYAGE OF RENE LAtJDONNIERE TO FLORIDA.

After I had staid there a while, I embarked again to sail toward
the mouth of the river, where we found tlie paracoussy, who, accord-
ing to his promise, waited for us. We went on shore. Then he
ga,ve me a sldn richly painted, and I recompensed him with some
of our merchandise. I took my leave of him to return to our ships,
where, after we had rested all the night following, we hoisted sail
the next day very early in the morning, and sailed toward the river
Seine, distant from the river May about four leagues, and there con-
tinuing our course towards the north, we arrived at the mouth of
the Somme which is not more than six leagues distant from the
Seine, where we cast anchor, and went on shore to discover that
place, as we had done the rest. There we were courteously received
by the paracoussy of the country. Aftertliat the paracoussy had
received us, he commanded his wife to present us with a certain
number of silver bullets. For his own part, he presented me with
his. bow and arrows, as he had done to Captain Ribault on our first
voyage, which is a sign of perpetual amity and alliance with those
whom they honor with such a present.

Then the paracoussy caused a corselet to be set up, and prajj^ed me
to make proof of our harquebuses and their bows. So soon as he
knew that our harquebuses did easily pierce that which all the force
of their bows could not hurt, he seemed to be sorry, musing with him-
self how this thing could be done. He prayed us very earnestly to
stay with him that night in Iiis house. Nevertheless, we could not
consent, but took our leave to return to our ships, where soon after I
caused all my company to be assembled together to consult together
of the place whereof we should make choice to plant our habitation.
I let them understand that the part which was towards Cape Florida
was altogether a marshy country, and therefore unprofitable for our
inhabitation. On the other side, if we passed further towards the
north to seek out Port Royal, it would be neither profitable nor
convenient, at least if we gave credit to the report of those who
remained there a long time, although the haven was one of the
fairest in the West Indies, but that in this case the question was
not so much of the beauty of the place, as of things to sustain
life, and that for our habitation, it was much more needful for us
to settle in places plentiful in provisions, than in goodly havens.
In consideration whereof, that I was of opinion, if it seemed good
unto them, to seat ourselves about the river May, seeing also that
in our first voyage we found only the same among all the rest to
abound in corn. After I had proposed these things, everyone gave
his opinion thereof, and finally all resolved, namely, those who had
been with me in the first voyage, that it was expedient to seat them-



THE VOYAGE OF RENE LAXIDONNIERE TO FLORIDA. 513

selves rather on the river May, tlian on any other until they might
hear news from Prance.

This point being thus agreed upo,n, we sailed toward that river,
and used such diligence that with the favor of the winds we arrived
there the morrow after, about the break of day, which was on Thurs-
day, 29tli of June. Having cast anchor I embarked, all my stuff,
and the soldiers of my company, to sail right toward the mouth of
this river, wherein we entered a good way up and found a creek of
a reasoi:iable bigness, which invited us to refresh ourselves a little
while we reposed there. Afterward we went on shore to seek out a
place, plain without trees, which we perceived from, the creek, but
because we found it not very commodious for us to inhabit theret
we determined to return unto the place which we had discovered
before when we had sailed up the river.

« This place is joining to a mount, and it seemed to us more fit
and commodious to build a fortress than that where we were last.
Therefore we took our way towards the forest^ being guided by the
young paracouss.y. Afterwards we found a large plain covered with
high pine trees ; then we discovered a little hill adjoining a great
vale, very green and flat, whereon were the fairest meadows. More-
over it is environed with a great number of brooks of fresh water,
and high woods. After I had taken the view thereof at my ease, I
named it the Vale of Laudonniere. Thus we went forward; anon
having gone a little forward we met an Indian woman of tall
stature, who also was a hermaphrodite, who came before us with a
great vessel of water, wherewith she greatly refreshed us. Being
therefore refreshed by this means, and marching, we came to the
place where we had chosen to make our habitation, whereupon, at
that instant, near the river's brink we strewed a number of boughs
and leaves to take our rest on them the night following.

On the morrow, about daybreak, I commanded a trumpet to be
sounded, that being assembled, we might give thanks to God for
our favorable and happy arrival. Then we sang a psalm of thanks-
giving to God, beseeching him that it would please him of his grace
to continue his accustomed goodness towards us his poor servants,
and aid us in our enterprise that all might turn to His glory.

Afterward having measured out a piece of ground in the form of
a triangle, we all exerted ourselves, some to bring earth, some to
cut fagots, and others to raise and make the rampart,' fQr there
was npt a man that had not either a shovel, cutting hook, or hatchet,
as well to clear the ground by cutting down the trees, as for build-
ing of the fort, which we did hasten in such cheerfqlnoss that within
a few days the effect of our diligence was apparent^ In the mean
33



514 THE VOYAGE OF RENE LATJDONNIERE TO ELOB.IDA.

time the paracoussy Satourioua, our nearest neighboi*, and on whose
ground we built our fort, came usually accompanied by his two sons
and a great number of Indians, to offer to do us all courtesy.

After that our fort was brought into form, I began to build a
grange to retire ray munitions and things necessary for the defence
of our fort, praying the paracoussy to command his subjects to make
us a covering of .palm leaves, in order that I might unfreight my
ships, and put under cover those things that were in them. The
next daj' morning they dressed so great a number of palm leaves
that the grange was covered in less than two days, so that business
was finished, for in the space of these two da^'s the Indians never
ceased, some in fetching palm leaves,' others in interlacing them.

Our fort was built in the form of a triangle; the side towards the
west, which was toward the land, was inclosed with a little trench,
and made with turns [towers ?] made in the form of battlements, of
nine feet high ; the other side, which was toward the river, was in-
closed with a palisade of planks of timber after the manner that
gabions are made. On the south side there was a kind of bastion,
in which I caused a house for the munitions to be built ; it was all
built of fagots and sand, save about two or three feet high of turf,
whereof the battlements were made. In the midst I caused a great
court to be made, of eighteen paces long and broad, in the midst
whereof, on the side toward the south, I built a guard-house, and a
house on the other side toward the north, which I caused to be raised
somewhat too high ; for within a short while after the wind beat it
down ; and experience taught me that we may not build with high
stages in this country, because of the winds whereunto it is subject.
One of the sides that inclosed my court, which I made very fair and
large, reached unto the range of my munitions, and on the other side
towards the river was my own lodging, roundabout which were gal-
leries all covered. One principal door of my lodging was in the
midst of the great place, and the other was toward the river. A
good distance from the fort I built an oven to avoid the danger of
fire, because the houses are of palm leaves. 1 named our fortress
Caroline in honor of king Charles IX. After we had furnished it with
that which was most necessary, I charged De Ottigni, a man worthy
of all honor for his honesty and virtue, to search up within the river
what this Thimogoa might be, whereof Satourioua had spoken to
us so often on our coming on shore. For the execution thereof the
paraco.ussy gave him two Indians for his guides.

Being embarked, and having sailed about twenty leagues, the
Indians discovered three canoes, and immediately began to cry Thi-
mogoa! Thimogoa! and spoke nothing else, but hastened forward



THE VOYAGE OP RENE LAtJDONNIEEE TO FLORIDA. 515

to fight ■with them. Nevertheless Ottigni would not let them do it,
for while he deferred to board them, he gave them time to turn their
prows towards the shore, and so to escape into tlie woods. Ottigni
caused the bark to retire wherein were the two Indians, and went
with his men toward the canoes, which were on tlie river side. Hav-
ing come to them, he put certain trifles into them, and then retired
a good way from them, which caused the Indians, who had fled away,
to return to their boats. Wherefore being thus assured of us, they
called to our men to come near unto them, which they did immedi-
ately, and landed, and spake freely unto them. Ottigni demanded
of them by signs if they had anj' gold and silver among them ; but
they told him that if he would send one of his men with them they
would bring him toa place where they might have some. Ottigni,
seeing tliem so willing, delivered to them one of his men to under-
take this journey ; this fellow stayed with'them until ten o'clock the
next morning. The captain sailed ten great leagues further up the
river; he went so far up that he espied the boat wherein his soldier
was, who reported to him that the Indians would have carried him
three great days' journey further, and told him that a king named
Mayara, rich in gold and silver, dwelt in those quarters. Our men
then returned towards our fort, after they had left the soldier with
the Indians to inform himself more and more of such things as he
might discover.

Fifteen days after this voyage to. Thiraogoa, I dispatched Capt.
Vasseur, and my sergeant also, to return to this country to seek
out the soldier that remained there. Having embarked, they sailed
two whole days, and, before they came to the dwelling of the In-
dians, they found two of them on the river-side, who showed him
by signs that the soldier was at that time in the house of king Mol-
loua, who was vassal to another great king, named by them Olata
Ouae Utina, and if the captain would sail thither he would reach
there very quickly ; whereupon he caused his men to row thither,
and arrived at the lodging of MoUoua after he had rowed not more
than half a league.

While the king was entertaining Captain Vasseur and his men,
the soldier came' in with five or six pounds of silver. The good
cheer being ended, my men embarked again, with the intention of
returning to Fort Caroline ; but, after they had sailed a very long
while down the river, and had come within three leagues of us, the
tide was so strong against them that they were compelled to go on
land, and retire for the night to the dwelling of piiracoussa Molona,
who showed himself very glad at their arrival, and so satisfied that
he could not devise how to gratify our men, whom he caused to come



516 THE VOYAGE OE RENE LAUDONNIERE TO FLORIDA.

into his house to feast there more honorably. They thanked the
paracoussy for the good entertainment which they had received, and
so setting sail they came to the fort.

On the 28tli of July our ships departed to return to France.
Within about two mouths after our arrival in Florida, Satourioua
sent certain Indians to me to know whether I would stand to my
promise which I had made him at my first arrival in that country;
which was, that I would show myself a friend to his friends, and
enemy to his enemies ; and also to accompan3' him with a good
number of arquebuses, when he should find a fit occasion to go to
war. I made him answer that it behooved me at the present time
to make provisions for the defence of my fort; that my barks were
not ready, and that this enterprise would require time ; moreover,
that he might hold himself ready to depart within two months, and
that then I would think of fulfilling my promise to him.

The Indians carried this answer to their paracoussy, who was
little pleased with it; but, because he could not defer the execution
of his expedition, lie embarked and used such diligence with his
boats, that, the next day; two hours before sunset, he arrived on
the territories of his enemies, about eight or ten leagues from their
villages. Afterward, causing them all to go on land, he assembled
his council, wherein it was agreed that five of the paracoussies
should sail up the river with half of the troops, and by the break
of day approach unto the dwellings of their enemies. For his own
part, that he would take his journey through the woods as secretly
as possible; and that when they came thither, as well they that went
up by water as he who went by land, they should not fail by the
break of day to enter into the village and cut them all in pieces,
except the women and children, which was executed with as great
fury as possible; and, wlien they liad done, thej' took the heads of
their enemies, which they had slain, and cut off their hair round
about with a piece of their skulls ; they took also twenty-four
prisoners, wliich they led away, and retired immediately into their
boats which waited for them. Having come thither they began to
sing praises to the sun, to whom they attributed their victory. And
afterwards they put the skins of these heads on the ends of their
javelins, and went altogether towards the territories of Omoloa,
who was in the company. Having come thither they divided their
prisoners equally to each of the paracoussies, and left thirteen of
them to Satourioua, who straightway dispatched an Indian to carry
in advance the news of the victory to them that staid at home.

The next day Satourioua came home, wlio, before he entered into
his lodgings, caused all the hair-skulls of his enemies to be set up



THE VOYAGE OF RENE LAUDONNIERE TO FLORIDA. SIT

before Ms door. Straightway began lamentations and mourning,
wliicb, as soon as the night began, were turned into pleasures and
dances.

After I was advised of these things, I sent a soldier to Satourioua
praying him to send me two of his prisoners, which he denied me,
saying he was hotiiing beholding unto me, and that I had broke my
promise ; which, when I understood, I commanded my sergeant to
provide me twenty soldiers, and go with me to the house of Satou-
rioua ; where, after I had come and entered into the hall without
any manner of salutation, I went and sat down by him, and staid
a long while without speaking a word to him or showing him any
sign of friendship, which thing put him deeply in his dumps ;
besides certain soldiers remained at the gate, to whom I had given
express orders to suffer no Indian to go out. Having remained still
about half an hour with this countenance, at length I demanded
where the prisoners were, and commanded them immediately to be
brought unto me; whereupon the paracouss}', angry at heart, and
astonished wonderfully, remained a long while without making any
answer ; but at last he answered me very stoutly, that, being afraid
to see us come thither in such warlike manner, they had fled into the
woods, and, not knowing whicii way they were gone, they were not
able by any means to bring them. Then I made as though. I did
not understand, what he had said, and asked for his prisoners again,
and for some of his principal allies. Then Satourioua commanded
his alliore to seek out the prisoners and cause them to be brought
into that place, which he did within an hour after.

I resolved to send back these prisoners to Oiata Ouae Utina, whose
subjects they were; but before I embarked them I gave them little
knives or tablets of glass wherein the image of Cliarles IX. was
drayvn very lively, for which they gave me many thanks. After this
they embarked with Captain Vasseur and with D'Arlac, my ensign,
whom I sent on purpose to remain a certain time with Utina, hoping
that the favor of this great paracoussy would serve my turn greatly
to make any discoveries in time to come. I sent with him, also, one
of my sergeants and six soldiers.

Captain Vasseur, having embarked, about the 10th of September,
to carry back the prisoners to Utina, sailed so far up the river that
they discovered a place called Maquarqua, distant from, our fort
about eighty leagues, where the Indians gave him a good entertain-
ment. From this place they rowed to the dwelling of Utina, who,
after he had feasted them, prayed Arlac and his soldiers to aid him
in battle against Patanou, whereunto Arlac consented ; Utina re-
solved to attack at daybreak. To do this, he made his men, about



518 THE VOYAGE OP RENE XATJDONNIERE TO FLOKIDA.

two hundred, travel all the night. They prayed our French arque^
busiers to go in front, that the noise of their pieces might astonish
their enemies; notwithstanding they could not march so secretly but
that those of the village of Patanou, distant twenty-flve leagues from
that of TJtina, became aware of it ; but finding themselves charged
with shot, a thing wherewith they had never been acquainted, also
beholding the captain of the band fall down dead, in the beginning
of the skirmish, with the shot of an arquebuse which struck him in
the foi-ehead, they left theplaee ; and the Indians of Utina got into
the place, taking men, women, and children prisoners.

Eight or ten days after, I sent Captain Vasseur back with a bark
to fetch home Arlac and his soldiers.

Wliile I thus labored to purchase friends^ certain soldiers of
my company were secretly suborned by one Roquette, who put it
into their heads that he was a great magician, and that by art-magic
he had discovered a mine of gold and silver far up within the river
whereby every soldier should receive in ready bullion the value of
ten thousand crowns, besides fifteen hundred thousand which should
be reserved for the king; wherefore they allied themselves with
Roquette and another of his confederates, whose name was Le
Geure, in whom I had great confidence. About the 20th of Sep-
tember, as 1 came home from the woods to finish the building of
my fort, I chafed myself into such a grievous sickness that I
thought I would have died, during which sickness I called Le Geure
often unto me as one I trusted above all others. In the mean while,
assembling his accomplices, he spoke unto them to choose another
captain besides me, to the intent to put me to death; but, not being
able by open force to execute his intention, he got in with ray
apothecary, praying him to mingle in my medicine, which I was to
receive, some drug that should destroy me; or at least he would
give me a little arsenic or quicksilver, which he himself would put
into my drink. But the apothecary refused him, as did likewise the
master of the flre^yorks. He, with certain others, resolved to hide
a keg of gunpowder under my bed, and by a train to set it on fire.

Upon these practices, a gentleman whom I dispatched to France,
being about to take leave of me, informed nie that Le Geure had given
him a book full of all kinds of lewd invectives and slanders against
me, De Ottigni, and the principal of my company ; upon wiiich oc-
casion I assembled all my soldiers, and Capt. Bourdet with his,
which had arrived in the road on the 4th of September, and had
come up the river. In their presence 1 caused the contents of the
book to be read aloud, that they might bear record- of the untruths
that were therein written. Le Geure, who had fled into the woods



THE VOYAGE OF RENE LAUDONNIERE TO FLORIDA. 519

for fear of being taken (where he lived for a while after with the
savages, with ray permission), wrote to me often, and in several of
his letters confessed to me that he had deserved death, condemning
himself so far that he referred all to my mercy and pitj'.

On the 7th or 8th of November I sent La Roche Ferriere and
another toward King Utina, to discover every day more and more
of the country, where he was the space of six months, during which
time he discovered many small villages, and, among others, one
named Hostaque.

After these things, about the 10th of November, Captain Bourdet
determined to leave me and return to France. Then I requested
him to carry home with him some six or seven soldiers whom I
could not trust, which he did. Tliree days after his departure
thirteen mariners which I had brought out of France, suborned by
certain other mariners which Captain Bonrdet had left with rafe,



Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 54 of 75)