Narrative of Le Moyne

ment, proceeded to cause shelter to be erected on a small height near by, of branches of palms, laurels, mastics, and other odoriferous trees, for the accommodation of the king. From this point the king could see whatever was going on within our lines, and a few tents and ipilitary supplies and baggage, which we had not yet found time to get under cover; as our first business was to get our fort completed, rather than to put up huts, which could be easily erected more at leisure afterwards.

M. de Laudonniere, upon receiving the message of the officer, so disposed his force as to be prepared for a stout resistance in case of attack, although they had no ammunition on shore for their defence. In the next place, as he had himself while with Ribaud on a former occasion stopped here, and seen this same chief, had learned a few words of his language, and knew the ceremonial with which he expected to be received; and as one of his men, an intelligent and active person, who had also been here with Ribault, and was now a captain, possessed the same information, — M. de Laudonniere decided that it would be best for none to approach the king’s presence except himself, M. d’Ottigny his second in command, and Capt. La Caille just referred to.

The king was accompanied by seven or eight hundred men, handsome, strong, well-made, and active fellows, the best-trained and swiftest of his force, all under arms as if on a military expedition. Before him marched fifty youths with javelins or spears ; and behind these, and next to himself, were twenty pipers, who produced a wild noise, without musical harmony or regularity, but only blowing away with all their might, each trying to be the loudest. Their instruments were nothing but a thick sort of reeds, or canes, with two openings ; one at the top to blow into, and the other at the other end for the wind to come out of, like organ-pipes or whistles. On his right hand limped his soothsayer, and on the left was his chief counsellor ; without which two personages he never proceeded on any matter whatever. He entered the place prepared for him alone, and sat down in it after the Indian manner; that is, by squatting on the ground like an ape or any other animal. Then having looked all around, and having observed our little force drawn up in line of battle, he ordered MM. de Laudonniere and d’Ottigny to be invited mto his tabernacle, where he delivered to them a long oration, which they understood only in part. He did, however, inquire who we were, why we had landed on his territory rather than elsewhere, and what was our purpose. M. de Laudonniere replied by the mouth of Capt. La Caille, who, as was mentioned, had some knowledge of the language, that he was sent by a most powerful king, called the King of France, to offer a treaty by which he should become a friend to the king here, and to his allies, and an enemy to their enemies ; an announcement which the chief received with much pleasure. Gifts were then exchanged in pledge of perpetual friendship and alliance. This done, the king approached nearer to our force, and greatly admired our arms, particularly the arquebuses.

Upon coming up to the ditch of our fort, he took measurements both within and without ; and perceiving that the earth was being taken from the ditch, and laid into a rampart, he asked what was the use of the operation. He was told in reply that we were going to put up a building that would hold all of us, and that many small houses were to be erected inside of it ; at which he expressed admiration, and a desire to see it completed as soon as possible. To this end, he was therefore asked to give us the help of some of his followers in the work. He consented, and sent us eighty of his stoutest men, most used to labor, who were of great assistance to us, and much hastened the completion both of our fort and cabins. Having given his orders about this, he himself went away.

While all this was going on, every man of our force — noblemen, soldiers, artificers, sailors, and all —was hard at work to get our post in a state of defence against an enemy, and to get up a shelter from

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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 […]