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PETER THE GREAT.

fitting out of an expedition, whose object was to ascertain if Asia was separated from America by a strait. It consisted of two vessels, under the command of Vitus Behring, a Dane. The soldiers were led by Alexoi Tshirikof, a Russian officer. Part of the expedition was conducted by land, and part by water. On the 18th of July, 1741, Behring discovered the continent of America, in latitude 58° 28'. The appearance of the land was grand, but gloomy. Mountains of great elevation, covered with snow, extended far inland. One summit, rising to a towering height above the rest, was named Mount St. Elias. The nearest headlands were denominated Cape St. Elias and Cape Hermogenes. Alaska and the Aleutian islands were also visited, and among the latter the crew were obliged to winter. Before spring, the scurvy appeared and made such ravages that Behring and many of his men died. In August, 1742, the survivors succeeded in reaching Kamtschatka. This voyage established the fact of the close proximity of the two continents, and opened to the Russian government the road to a lucrative trade. Behring's Strait was named after its unfortunate and lamented discoverer.

A few years previous to this expedition, the Russians had reached Japan by way of Kamtschatka, and this formed an additional incentive to adventure. But although the Aleutian islands had been visited by Behring, the government appears not to have been fully aware of their discovery until 1750, when the first tribute of furs was brought from them to Okotsk. Since that time, they have been regularly visited; and on them, together with a coast of three hundred leagues beyond the polar circle, the indefatigable Russians have established those settlements and factories which support the great and advantageous fur trade carried on with China by the Russian Empire.

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OTWITHSTANDING the early discovery of the American continent by Sebastian Cabot, and the various explorations of the northern coast by several of his countrymen, no considerable effort for establishing a permanent settlement was made until the reign of Queen Elizabeth. These, however, were not owing to the personal patronage of the queen herself, but rather to the enterprise and perseverance of private individuals. One of the most distinguished of these was Sir Walter Raleigh, although, previous to his endeavours, efforts had been made by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and others, not only to colonize,

but also to open a passage to the rich trade of India and China, by sailing around the continent through Hudson's Strait.

In 1584, Raleigh obtained a patent from the crown, conferring on him and his heirs for ever the possession and enjoyment of all lands to be discovered, with their revenue, after deducting one-fifth of the gold and silver for the crown, and power to seize all vessels trading to the coast without his license, unless driven there by stormy weather. Clothed with these ample powers, Raleigh immediately sent two ships under Amidas and Barlow, with directions to explore the coast south of that which had proved fatal to Gilbert. In April, 1584, these two commanders set sail, and after touching at the Canaries and among the West Indies, came in sight of the Carolinas, July 4th. After sailing along the coast for a distance of a hundred and twenty miles, during which the senses were feasted by far stretching hills, clothed in the most luxurious verdure, and enlivened by rills and streams of crystal clearness, they entered Ocracock inlet, and landed upon what they supposed was the main land. It proved to be the island, now called Wocoken, opening into Pamlico Sound. On the third day after landing, they observed an Indian walking on the beach, whom they invited on board and gave him some food and wine. He then departed well satisfied. Other natives appeared, and finally Granganimeo, the king's brother, escorted by fifty principal persons. Some trading took place, highly advantageous to the English; after which they again set sail. The adjoining coasts and sounds were then explored, when the navigators returned home, carrying with them two natives, Manteo and Wanchese. They gave a most flattering report of the country, declaring its soil to be "the most plentiful, sweet, fruitful, and wholesome of all the world ;" and the people "the most gentle, loving, and faithful, void of all guile and treason, and such as lived after the manner of the golden age."

The desire to possess so delightful a region aroused a spirit of adventure hitherto unknown in England. Determined to establish a colony, Raleigh immediately fitted out seven small vessels, manned with a hundred and eight men, under Sir Richard Grenville. The fleet sailed in April, 1585, and, after a circuitous voyage, by way of the Canaries and West Indies, reached the coast of Carolina, in the latter end of June. They found the country as had been described to them, and after landing, penetrated some distance into the interior. The Indians, gratified by former presents, received them with

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delight; but their kindness met with an ill reward. Missing a silver cup, the English, in revenge, set fire to a village and devastated the adjoining fields. They then chose a spot near the shore as a place for settling.

The great object of these adventurers appears to have been the discovery of gold. Dreams of lands whose forests dripped with precious aromatics, whose rivers washed down sands of gold, or sparkling gems-of an El Dorado, whose gorgeous magnificence and mines of inexhaustible wealth realized the wildest romances of Marco Polo or Ariosto-formed the main-spring of exertion. No one imagined that the first duty of a fresh colony is an immediate tillage of the soil.

In August, Grenville sailed for England, leaving the management of the settlement with Ralph Lane. This officer had received from a distinguished native chief, named Menatonon, whom he held in custody, accounts of a region in the interior, prolific in pearls, and in a metal paler and softer than copper, which the inhabitants used for making ornamental plates. Without further delay, Lane selected a band and commenced the ascent of the Roanoke. Delighted with the majestic appearance of the river and the surrounding woods, and allured by the promises of provisions, the party continued advanc

ing with culpable carelessness, until their supply of food was exhausted. The governor then warned them to return, but having two dogs with them, they determined to make provisions of them, rather than, by abandoning the expedition, to lose the glorious fortune in prospect. On a sudden, they discovered lights moving through the woods, and soon a voice called to their Indian guide, Manteo, to be on guard. This was followed by a shower of arrows. The English landed and pursued the enemy without success; and wearied, chagrined, and famished, they steered their course homeward. Broth made of dog's flesh and sassafras leaves served them as food, until they reached the settlement.

For

Lane found the settlement in a state of alarm bordering on mutiny-the Indians having threatened its utter extinction. awhile, his presence restored order; but soon after, the consternation was renewed, on ascertaining that the Indian tribes had entered into a conspiracy to starve their new visitors, by laying waste their cornfields, destroying the fishing-stations, and retiring from the neighbourhood. They also resolved on a general night attack, and the colonists were probably saved from ruin only by the faithfulness of the injured Menatonon, who disclosed the whole plot. Soon after, a battle was fought, in which the Indians were defeated; and their principal chief Pemisapan, being enticed to an interview, was, with some followers, treacherously shot. These cruel and unwise proceedings completely alienated the affections of the Indians, and destroyed all hope of deriving assistance from them.

The colonists now began to waken to a reality of their situation. No prospect appeared of realizing their golden dreams, while absolute want stared them in the face; the supplies promised at Easter had not arrived in June; and they were in momentary dread of perishing either by famine or the arrows of the savages.

Amid these dispositions, a fleet of twenty-three vessels was seen in the offing; and after some alarm lest it should prove a hostile squadron, the joyful announcement was made, of its being that of Sir Francis Drake, returning from his victorious expedition against the Spanish main. That gallant officer readily agreed to give them a store of provisions, a sloop of seventy tons, and other small craft, with which they might either explore the coasts or return to England; the latter, it is probable, being the real object. A violent storm, however, destroyed these vessels, thus defeating the arrangement; and Lane, upon the earnest entreaty of the settlers, con

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