The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Knight of the Golden Melice, by John Turvill Adams
Title: The Knight of the Golden Melice
A Historical Romance
Author: John Turvill Adams
Release Date: June 23, 2005 [eBook #16114]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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KNIGHT OF THE GOLDEN MELICE,
A HISTORICAL ROMANCE,
JOHN TURVILL ADAMS
THE AUTHOR OF "THE LOST HUNTER."
"One ... calling himself ... Knight of the Golden Melice."
Winthrop's History of New England.
Alles weiderholt sich nur im Leben;
Ewig jung ist nur die Fantasie:
Was sich nie und nirgends hat begeben,
Das allein veraltet nie!
Derby & Jackson, 119 Nassau-Street.
Cincinnati: W.H. Derby & Co.
To whom but to yourself; my H., should I dedicate this Romance, which may be said to be the fruit of our mutual studies? With what delight I have watched the unfolding, like a beautiful flower, of your youthful mind, while instead of indulging in frivolous pursuits, so common to your age, you have applied yourself to the acquiring of useful knowledge as well as of elegant accomplishments, none but a parent can know. Accept what I have written, my darling, as a tribute to a love which makes the happiness of my life.
He cast, (of which we rather boast,)
The Gospel's pearl upon our coast,
And in these rocks for us did frame
A temple where to sound His name.
O let our voice His praise exalt
Till it arrive at Heaven's vault,
Which there perhaps rebounding may
Echo beyond the Mexic bay.
Thus sang they, in the English boat,
A holy and a cheerful note,
And all the way to guide their chime,
With falling oars they kept the time.
Andrew Marvell's "Emigrants in the Bermudas."
The beginning of the 17th century is an interesting epoch in American annals. Although the Atlantic coast of that vast country now comprised within the limits of the United States and Canada had previously been traced by navigators, and some little knowledge acquired of the tribes of red men who roamed its interminable forests, no attempt at colonization worthy of the name had succeeded. The principal, if not the only advantage derived from the discovery of North America, came from the fisheries of Newfoundland and Labrador, frequented mostly by the adventurous mariners of England, France and Spain. In these cold seas, to the music of storms howling from the North Pole, and dashing with ceaseless rage the salt spray against the rocky shore, they threw their lines and cast their nets, at the same time enriching themselves, and forming for their respective countries a race of hardy and skilful sailors. The land attracted them not. The inducements which led to the more speedy conquest and settlement of South America by the Spaniards, were wanting. Gold and silver to tempt cupidity were not to be found, and the stern, though not inhospitable character of the Northern tribes was very different from the imbecile effeminacy of the Southern races. The opposition likely to be encountered was more formidable, and the prize to be won hardly proportioned to the hazard to be incurred. While, therefore, the atrocious Spaniards were enslaving the helpless natives of Peru and Mexico, and compelling them by horrid cruelties to deliver up their treasures, the wild woods of all that region to the north of the Gulf bearing the name of the latter country, continued to ring to the free shout of the tawny hunter. Not that attempts had not been made to obtain footing on the continent, but they had all failed by reason of the character of the emigrants, or the want of support from home, or of a thousand other causes reducible to the category of ill luck, bad management, or providential determination.
But the 17th century introduced a new order of things, beginning with the arrival of the first permanent colony on the coast of Virginia in the year 1607, indissolubly associated with the name of the chivalrous Captain John Smith; followed in 1614 by the occupancy of the mouth of the river Hudson, and of the island of Manhattan, the present site of the city of New-York, by the Dutch; and, in 1620, of New-England, by the English. The fulness of time had arrived, when the seeds of a mighty empire were to be sown.
A diversity of opinion prevails with regard to the motives of the early colonists to leave their homes. Without entering into an elaborate discussion of the subject, and thereby invading the province of the historian, it may perhaps be permitted me to say, that, in my judgment, they were partly political, partly religious, partly commercial, and partly adventurous.
One of the first acts of James the First of England, on his accession to the throne in 1603, was the conclusion, by a peace with Spain, of the long war so gloriously signalized by the destruction of the Armada. The pacific policy wherewith he began his administration, he never abandoned during the twenty-two years while he held the sceptre. Hence the spirit of enterprise which exists in various degrees in every flourishing nation, finding itself diverted from that warlike channel wherein it had been accustomed to flow, was obliged to seek other issues. The immense region beyond the sea claimed by England by priority of discovery, offered a theatre for a portion of that spirit to expend itself upon. Hither turned their eyes those who, in the wars, had contracted a fondness for adventure, and were unwilling to sink back into the peaceful pursuits of laborious industry. For such men, the vague and the uncertain possess irresistible attractions. For them, emigration was like the hazard of the gaming-table; ruin was a possible consequence, but fortune might also crown the most extravagant hopes. The merchant regarded with favor a scheme which would furnish employment for his ships by the transportation of men and stores. Besides, the fisheries had always been productive; they might be largely extended, and a trade in furs and other products of the country opened with the Indians. Perhaps the precious metals, found in such quantities by the Spaniards at the South, might enrich the North. Happily they found not that pernicious bane which is alike the corrupter of private morals and the debaucher of nations. To these considerations may be added a willingness at least on the part of the government, to rid itself of