Narrative of Le Moyne

promised to go back with him to the Spaniards. We therefore made our way back through the woods, and were even in sight of the fort, when I heard the uproar and rejoicing which the Spaniards were making, and was deeply moved by it, and said to the soldier, ” Friend and companion, I pray you, let us not go thither : let us stay away yet a little while ; God will open some way of safety to us, for he has many of which we know nothing, and will save us out of all these dangers.” But he embraced me, saying, ” I will go : so farewell.” In order to see what should happen to him, I got up to a height near by, and watched. As he came down from the high ground, the Spaniards saw him, and sent out a party. As they came up to him, he fell on his knees to beg for his life. They, however, in a fury cut him to pieces, and carried off the dismembered fragments of his body on the points of their spears and pikes. I hid myself again in the woods, where, having gone about a mile, I came upon a Frenchman of Rouen, La Crete by name, a Belgian called Elie des Planques, and M. de Laudonniere’s maid-servant, who had been wounded in the breast. We made our way towards the open meadows along the seashore ; but, before getting through the woods, we found M. de Laudonniere himself, and another man named Bartholomew, who had received a deep sword-cut in the neck ; and after a time we picked up others, until there were fourteen or fifteen of us in all. As, however, a carpenter called Le Chaleux, who was one of us, has given a brief account of this part of our calamities, I will say nothing more except that we travelled in water more than waist-deep for two days and two nights through swamps and reeds ; M. de Laudonniere, who was a skilful swimmer, and the young man from Rouen, swimming three large rivers on the way, before we could get sight of the two vessels. On the third day, by the blessing of God, and with the help of the sailors, we got safe on board.

I have already mentioned, that, as Ribault found that there was not water enough at the mouth of the river to admit his four largest vessels, he had sent in his three smaller ones, which he purposed to use in discharging the others ; his son Jacques de Ribault being in command of the largest of the three. He had taken his vessel up to the fort, and lay there at anchor while the Spaniards were perpetrating their butchery ; nor, although he had cannon, did he once fire upon them. All that day the wind was contrary, and prevented him from getting the ship out of the river. The Spaniards in the mean time offered him good terms and amnesty if he would surrender, to which he made no reply. When they saw that he was trying persistently to get his ship out to sea, they took a small boat which was used at the fort, and sent her on board of him with a trumpeter, and that same traitor, Frangois Jean, who had guided the Spaniards into the fort, to request a parley to arrange terms of agreement. And, although this traitor was reckless enough to even venture himself aboard of the ship of Jacques de Ribault, the latter was so imbecile and timid as not to venture to detain him, but let him go safe back again, although he had on board, besides his crew, more than sixty soldiers. But, on the other hand, neither did the Spaniards, although they had abundance of small boats, dare to make any attacks upon him.

On the next day, however, Jacques got his ship to the mouth of the river, where he found the other two smaller vessels nearly emptied of men ; for the greater and better part of them had gone with Jean de Ribault. Laudonniere therefore decided to fit out and man one of the two with the armament and crews of both ; and then advised with Jacques what they should do, and whether they ought not to search for his father ; to which the latter made answer that he wanted to go back to France, which was in the end resolved upon. First, however, as there was no provision except biscuit

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3 thoughts on “Narrative of Le Moyne

  1. […] Narrative of Le Moyne (1859 English translation of Le Moyne’s writings about Florida) Learn more about the ancient Native American civilizations of Florida at our sister site, Learn more about Le Moyne and the French explorations in the southeastern U.S. with the following books & videos: […]

  2. […] likelihood that Fontaneda actually visited Fort Caroline. Le Moyne includes in his accounts an episode where he has two Spanish castaways living among the Indians brought to the fort. They stated they […]

  3. […] “All the troops being now on board, a fair wind for an hour or two was all that was needed to bring us up with the enemy ; but just as the anchors were about to be weighed the wind changed, and blew directly against us, exactly from the point where the enemy were, for two whole days and nights, while we waited for it to become fair.” Narrative of Le Moyne […]