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there so much that no maize could be cultivated; and the few inhabitants were hunters. Soto turned therefore to the west and north-west, and plunged still more deeply into the interior of the continent. The highlands of White River, more than two hundred miles from the Mississippi, were probably the limit of his ramble in this direction.
9. The mountains offered neither gems nor gold; ard the disappointed adventurers marched to the south. They passed through a succession of towns, of which the position cannot be fixed, till at length we find them among the Tunicas, near the hot springs and saline tributaries of the Washita. It was at Autiamque, a town on the same river, that they passed the winter; they had arrived at the settlement through the country of the Kappaws.-George Bancroft (1800–
Questions on the lesson :-Effect of previous disasters on De Suto? Condition of his followers? How long did they struggle on? What did they at last reach? What things regarding the river did they remark? Effect produced by the arrival of the strangers ? Aspect of the people who assembled to see them? What did they bring? Why did they not resist? What delayed the Spaniards crossing? What attracted Soto to the Missouri? How were the Spaniards treated further up the river? What was Soto's reply to the request for healing? What fruits are referred to? What fish? What reports were brought regarding the north? The regions nearer the Missouri? In what direction did Soto turn?
Soto, Fernando de, a Spanish explorer born about 1500, discovered the Mississippi in 1541—died in 1542.
persim'mon, the fruit of a tree belonging to the ebony order, which grows in the United States. The fruit is juicy, reddish, and about the size of a small plum. After frost it becomes sweet. It is pounded, dried, and ma le into cakes.
pecan- or peccan-nut, the fruit of a tree belonging to the wal. nut order. The nut is elliptical in shape and is used like the walnut.
Washita River, joins the Red River which is an affluent to the Mississippi.
THE DISCOVERY OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
PART II.—THE DEATH OF DE SOTO.
1. The native tribes, everywhere on the route, were found in a state of civilisation beyond that of nomadic hordes. They were an agricultural people, with fixed places of abode, and subsisted upon the produce of the fields more than upon the chase. Ignorant of the arts of life, they could offer no resistance to their unwelcome visitors; the bow and arrow were the most effective weapons with which they were acquainted. They seem not to have been turbulent or quarrelsome; but as the population was moderate, and the earth fruitful, the tribes were not accustomed to contend with each other for the possession of territories.
2. Their dress was, in part, mats wrought of ivy and bulrushes, of the bark and lint of trees; in cold weather they wore mantles woven of feathers. The settlements were by tribes; each tribe occupied what the Spaniards called a province; their villages were generally near together, but were composed of few habitations. The Spaniards treated them with no other forbearance than their own selfishness demanded, and enslaved such as offended, employing them as porters and guides.
3. On a slight suspicion, they would cut off the hands of numbers of the natives, for punishment or intimidation; while the young cavaliers, from desire of seeming valiant ceased to be merciful, and exulted in cruelties and carnage. The guide who was unsuccessful, or who purposely led them away from the settlements of his tribe, would be seized and thrown to the hounds. Sometimes a native was condemned to the flames. Any trifling consideration of safety would induce the governor to set fire to a hamlet. He did not delight in cruelty; but the happiness, the life, and the rights of the Indians were held of no account. The approach of the Spaniards was heard with dismay, and their departure hastened by the suggestion of wealthier lands at a distance.
4. In the spring of the following year (1542) Soto determined to descend the Washita to its junction, and to get tidings of the sea. As he advanced he was soon lost amidst the bayous and marshes which are found along the Red River and its tributaries. Near the Mississippi he came upon the country of Nilco which was well peopled. The river was there larger than the Guadalquivir at Seville. At last he arrived at the province where the Washita, already united with the Red River, enters the Mississippi.
5. Soto anxiously inquired the distance to the sea; the chieftain of the province could not tell. Were there settlements extending along the river to its mouth? It was answered that its lower banks were an uninhabited waste. Unwilling to believe so disheartening a tale, Soto sent one of his men, with eight horsemen, to descend the banks of the Mississippi, and explore the country. They travelled eight days and were able to advance not much more than thirty miles, they were so delayed by the frequent bayous, the impassable cane-brakes, and the dense woods.
6. The governor received the intelligence with concern; he suffered from anxiety and gloom. His horses and men were dying around him, so that the natives were becoming dangerous enemies. He attempted to overawe a tribe of Indians near Natchez by claiming a supernatural birth, and demanding obedience and tribute. “You say you are the child of the Sun,” replied the undaunted chief; " dry up the river and I will believe you. Do you
desire to see me? Visit the town where I dwell. If you come in peace, I will receive you with special good-will; if in war, I will not shrink one foot back.”
7. But Soto was no longer to abate the confidence or punish the temerity of the natives. His stubborn pride was changed by long disappointments into a wasting melancholy, and his health sunk rapidly and entirely under a conflict of emotions. A malignant fever ensued, during which he had little comfort, and was neither visited nor attended as the last hours of life demand. Believing his death near at hand he held the last solemn interview with his faithful followers; and yielding to the wishes of his companions, who obeyed him to the end, he named a
On the next day he died. 8. Thus perished Ferdinand de Soto, the governor of Cuba, the successful associate of Pizarro. His miserable end was the more observed, from the greatness of his former prosperity. His soldiers pronounced his eulogy by grieving for their loss; the priests chanted over his body the first requiems that were ever heard on the waters of the Mississippi. To conceal his death, his body was wrapped in a mantle, and, in the stillness of midnight, was silently sunk in the middle of the stream. The discoverer of the Mississippi slept beneath its waters. He had crossed a large part of the continent in search of gold, and found nothing so remarkable as his burialplace.—Bancroft.
Questions on the lesson :— Travelling southward in what condition did Soto find the natives? What of their dress? How did the Spaniards treat them? What did Soto desire to reach? What obstacles were encountered? Means he used to ascertain the nature of the country? How did Soto try to overawe a tribe of Indians ? What was the chief's reply? What caused the explorer's death?
bayou (bý'oo), an inlet of the sea, connected with rivers or lakes. Natchez, in the state of Mississippi, 280 miles from New Orleans.
[Richard had been in Ireland. Henry, Duke of Hereford, the eldest son of John of Gaunt had been banished by Richard and deprived of his title and estates. Taking advantage of the king's absence he landed on the coast of Yorkshire and was joined by the heads of some of the great families. The Duke of York who had been left as regent of the kingdom, united his forces with Henry's, so that before Richard landed in England his throne was lost. In disguise he fled to North Wales, but only to find an army on which he had placed some dependence already dispersed.]
A CURSE ON TRAITORS.
King Richard. Barkloughly Castle call they this at
hand ? Aumerle. Yea, my lord. How brooks your grace
the air, After your late tossing on the breaking seas? King Richard. Needs must I like it well: I weep for
joy To stand upon my kingdom once again. Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand, Though rebels wound thee with their horses' hoofs: As a long-parted mother with her child Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting, So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,
And do thee favours with my royal hands.
Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense;