Narrative of Le Moyne

Ribault insisted on his application, a Spanish soldier finally came in, and asked in French if he were the commander, ” Ribaut.” The answer was, ” Yes.” The man asked again, if Ribault did not expect, when he gave an order to his soldiers, that they would obey; to which he said again, “Yes.” — “I propose to obey the orders of my commander also,” replied the Spaniard ; ” I am ordered to kill you;” and with that he thrust a dagger into his breast; and he killed D’Ottigny in the same way. When this was done, men were detailed to kill all the rest who had been tied up, by knocking them in the head with clubs and axes ; which they proceeded to do without delay, calling them meanwhile Lutherans, and enemies to God and to the Virgin Mary. In this manner they were all most cruelly murdered in violation of an oath, except a drummer from Dieppe named Dronet, a fifer, and another man from Dieppe, a fiddler named Masselin, who were kept alive to play for dancing ; and one sailor escaped in the following manner, being the same who related to me this narrative : —

He was among those who were pinioned for slaughter, and was knocked in the head with the rest, but, instead of being killed, was only stunned ; and, the three others with whom he was tied falling” above him, he was left for dead along with them. The Spaniards got together a great pile of wood to burn the corpses; but, as it grew late, they put it off until the next day. The sailor, coming to his senses among the dead bodies in the night, bethought himself of a knife which he wore in a wooden sheath, and contrived to work himself about until little by little he got the knife out, and cut the ropes that bound him. He then rose up, and silently departed, journeying all the rest of the night. When the day broke, he laid his course by the sun to get as far away from the fort as possible (for those of maritime occupations acquire the ability to judge which way they are going from observing where the sun is) ; and, after travelling for three days without stopping, he came to a certain Indian chief, who lived forty miles from the fort, with whom he remained hidden eight months, before he was betrayed to the Spaniards.

About eight months after their capture of the fort, the Spaniards learned that some of the French had escaped, and were dispersed about the province. The Spanish commander, fearing that they would engage with the natives in some enterprise against him, sent threatening messages to the chiefs around, demanding the surrender of the French who were in hiding with them. The protector of this sailor, therefore, informed him that he must deliver himself to the Spaniards, as otherwise he feared he should be attacked, and his possessions burned. The sailor would have taken refuge ; with other chiefs ; but they all answered him to the same effect. Not knowing what to do, he set out ‘for the fort ; but, having come within two miles of it, he could not resolve to go any farther, but stopped, and exhausted with sorrow, anxiety, and despair, gave himself over to die, and remained for three or four days in that miserable state. At the end of that time three Spaniards came out hunting, one of whom discovered him, and, at the sight of what was more like a dead corpse than a live man, felt (what is hardly to be found in one out of a thousand Spaniards) a sensation of pity upon beholding the sailor at his feet, and begging for mercy. Being asked by the Spaniard how he came to , be there, he told him his story ; upon which the Spaniard, who was affected by it, agreed that he would not take him at once to the fort, for fear of his being killed on the spot, but would see the governor first, and try if some indulgence could not be had from him ; and that, after ascertaining about this, he would come back. Leaving him, therefore, the soldier went to the governor, and managed to get him to promise that the sailor need not be killed, but should only be made a slave. Next day he accordingly returned to the miserable Frenchman, and carried him to the fort, where

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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 […]