Title Page || 1: 1512-1561. Early Spanish Adventure
The story of New France opens with a tragedy. The political and
religious enmities which were soon to bathe Europe in blood broke out
with an intense and concentrated fury in the distant wilds of Florida.
It was under equivocal auspices that Coligny and his partisans essayed
to build up a Calvinist France in America, and the attempt was met by
all the forces of national rivalry, personal interest, and religious
This striking passage of our early history is remarkable for the
fullness and precision of the authorities that illustrate it. The
incidents of the Huguenot occupation of Florida are recorded by eight
eye-witnesses. Their evidence is marked by an unusual accord in respect
to essential facts, as well as by a minuteness of statement which
vividly pictures the events described. The following are the principal
authorities consulted for the main body of the narrative.
Ribauld,The Whole and True Discovery of Terra Florida, This is
Captain Jean Ribaut's account of his voyage to Florida in 1562. It was
"prynted at London," "newly set forthe in Englishe," in 1563, and
reprinted by Hakluyt in 1582 in his black-letter tract entitled Divers
Voyages. It is not known to exist in the original French.
L'Histoire Notable de la Floride, mise en lumiere par M. Basanier
(Paris, 1586). The most valuable portion of this work consists of the
letters of Rene de Laudonniere, the French commandant in Florida in
1564-65. They are interesting, and, with necessary allowance for the
position and prejudices of the writer, trustworthy.
Challeux, Discours de l'Histoire de la Floride (Dieppe, 1566). Challeux
was a carpenter, who went to Florida in 1565. He was above sixty years
of age, a zealous Huguenot, and a philosopher in his way. His story is
affecting from its simplicity. Various editions of it appeared under
Le Moyne, Brevis Narratio eorum qucs in Florida Americce Provincia
Gallis acciderunt. Le Moyne was Laudonniere's artist. His narrative
forms the Second Part of the Grands Voyages of De Bry (Frankfort, 1591).
It is illustrated by numerous drawings made by the writer from memory,
and accompanied with descriptive letter-press.
Coppie d'une Lettre venant de la Floride (Paris, 1565). This is a letter
from one of the adventurers under Laudonniere. It is reprinted in the
Recueil de Pieces sur la Floride of Ternaux.-Compans. Ternaux also
prints in the same volume a narrative called Histoire memorable du
dernier Voyage faict par le Capitaine Jean Ribaut. It is of no original
value, being compiled from Laudonniere and Challeux.
Une Bequete au Roy, faite en forme de Complainte (1566). This is a
petition for redress to Charles the Ninth from the relatives of the
French massacred in Florida by the Spaniards. It recounts many incidents
of that tragedy.
"La Reprinse de la Floride par le Cappitaine Gourgue." This is a
manuscript in the Bibliotheque Nationale, printed in the Recueil of
Ternaux-Compans. It contains a detailed account of the remarkable
expedition of Dominique de Gourgues against the Spaniards in Florida in
Charlevoix, in his Histoire de la Nouvelle France, speaks of another
narrative of this expedition in manuscript, preserved in the Gourgues
family. A copy of it, made in 1831 by the Vicomte de Gourgues, has been
placed at the writer's disposal.
Popeliniere, De Thou, Wytfleit, D'Aubigne De Laet, Brantome, Lescarbot,
Champlain, and other writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
have told or touched upon the story of the Huguenots in Florida; but
they all draw their information from one or more of the sources named
Lettres et Papiers d' Estat du Sieur de Forguevaulx (Bibliotheque
Nationale). These include the correspondence of the French and Spanish
courts concerning the massacre of the Huguenots. They are printed by
Gaffarel in his Histoire de le Floride Francaise.
The Spanish authorities are the following—Barcia (Cardenas y Cano),
Ensayo Cronologico para la Historia General de la Florida (Madrid,
1723). This annalist had access to original documents of great interest.
Some of them are used as material for his narrative, others are copied
entire. Of these, the most remarkable is that of Solis de las Meras,
Memorial de todas las Jornadas de la Conquista de la Florida.
Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, Relacion de la Jornada de Pedro
Menéndez de Aviles en la Florida (Documentos Ineditos del Archivo de
Indias, III. 441). A French translation of this journal will be found in
the Recueil de Pieces sur let Floride of Ternaux-Compans. Mendoza was
chaplain of the expedition commanded by Menéndez de Aviles, and, like
Solfs, he was an eye-witness of the events which he relates.
Pedro Menéndez de Aviles, Siete Cartas escritas al Rey, Anos de 1565 y
1566, MSS. These are the despatches of the Adelantado Menéndez to Philip
the Second. They were procured for the writer, together with other
documents, from the archives of Seville, and their contents are now for
the first time made public. They consist of seventy-two closely written
foolscap pages, and are of the highest interest and value as regards the
present subject, confirming and amplifying the statements of Solis and
Mendoza, and giving new and curious information with respect to the
designs of Spain upon the continent of North America.
It is unnecessary to specify the authorities for the introductory and
subordinate portions of the narrative.
The writer is indebted to Mr. Buckingham Smith, for procuring copies of
documents from the archives of Spain; to Mr. Bancroft, the historian of
the United States, for the use of the Vicomte de Gourgues's copy of the
journal describing the expedition of his ancestor against the Spaniards;
and to Mr. Charles Russell Lowell, of the Boston Athenaeum, and Mr. John
Langdon Sibley, Librarian of Harvard College, for obliging aid in
consulting books and papers.