Narrative of Le Moyne

in the smaller vessel, and she was without water, Laudonniere had some empty casks filled with water, and Jacques did the like. In this, and in obtaining some other necessary supplies, two days were consumed, during all which time the ships were kept close side by side, for fear the Spaniards might attack us, as their boats reconnoitred us from time to time, not, however, venturing within gunshot distance. Certainly, as we knew what actions they had perpetrated upon our friends, we were prepared to make a desperate defence.

Before sailing, Laudonniere asked Jacques de Ribault to accommodate him with one of his four pilots, as he had no skilful navigator on board, but was refused. He then further observed that it would be well to sink our vessels left at the mouth of the river, lest the Spaniards should get possession of them, and use them to prevent Jean de Ribault from entering the river should he return and wish to do so (for we were ignorant of his shipwreck) ; but Jacques would consent to nothing. Laudonniere, finding him so obstinate, sent his own ship-carpenter, who scuttled and sunk the ships in question ; namely, one which we had brought from France, one which we had bought of the English commander Hawkins, and one the smallest of M. de Riband’s fleet; and, this done, we set sail from Florida, ill manned and ill provisioned. But God, however, gave us so fortunate a voyage, although attended with a good deal of suffering, that we made the land in that arm of the sea bordering on England which is called St. George’s Channel.

This is what I have thought it proper to relate of the things which I witnessed on this voyage ; from which it appears that victory is not of man, but of God, who does all things righteously according to his own will. For, according to all human judgment, fifty of the worst of Riband’s soldiers could have destroyed all the Spanish force, of whom many were beggars and the dregs of the people ; while Ribaud had more than eight hundred brave veteran arquebusiers, with gilded armor. But, when such things are God’s pleasure, it is for us to say. Blessed be the name of God everlasting !

As for the fate of Ribault after his shipwreck, as I was not present with him, I can only relate what I heard from a sailor of Dieppe, who escaped from the Spaniards, as will be mentioned : I will therefore add a short statement of the facts. Having called the roll, and, as I have already mentioned, having found all present except Capt. La Grange, although all their weapons had been lost in the wreck, Ribault made a noble speech to his men, setting forth that it was their duty to bear with calmness the calamity which they had suffered by the will of God ; for he was a man of piety, and a fine speaker. Prayers having then been offered, it was decided to set out for the fort, from which they were about fifty miles away. In this march they must unquestionably have undergone great hardships, and made great exertions ; for the region through which they had to travel was much intersected by rivers, and was neither inhabited by the Indians, nor cultivated at all ; so that they had to live on roots and herbs, and were sufficiently anxious in their minds. Having, however, courageously made their way through all obstacles, they finally reached a point some four or five miles, as well as the soldiers from Laudonniere’s force could judge, from the fort. Ribaud now determined not to advance any nearer, but called a council to deliberate on what should be done. The conclusion was, to send Vasseur, a skilful seaman, and who knew all the branches of the River of May, with five or six men, in an Indian canoe, to reconnoitre, and ascertain something about the Frenchmen who had been left in the fort. Upon going down the river to the neighborhood of the fort, he saw the Spanish flag flying over it ; and, returning without being observed by the garrison, he made report

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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 […]