Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter I >> Page 13

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History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
matting as to be impervious to rain and cold ; they had
boats, wrought by flint and fire from mighty trees, some
of which were twenty feet in length ; and, a better evi-
dence yet in their favor, they treated the European
strangers with an urbanity, grace, and kindness, which
remind us of the patriarchal virtues enumerated in bible
history. One of the crew of Verazzani, attempting to
swim ashore, was so much injured in passing through
the surf, that he lay senseless on the beach. They
ran to his relief, rescued him from the waves, rubbed
his limbs, gave him refreshment, and returned him in
safety to the vessel.
Thus far, it appears that these three great nations,
through their agents, did little more than look upon the
country to which they asserted claims, which they strove
afterwards to maintain by a resort to every violence
and crime. Subsequently, two armies of Spain entered
Florida ; the first, under Narvaez, well known as an
unsuccessful adventurer in Mexico, and destined to be
as little prosperous in Florida. He failed, was driven
from the country, and perished in his flight, at sea. He
was followed, a few years after, by an abler, if not a
braver man. This was Ferdinand de Soto, a gentleman
of good birth and fortune, who signalized himself in Peru,
under the lead of Pizarro, and was considered one of
the most eminent Spanish captains of the time. He
projected the invasion of Florida, and, at his own
expense, provided a noble armament of seven ships and
a thousand men for this object. The Spaniards reached
the bay of Espiritu Santo early in 1539, and had scarcely
landed. and pitched their tents for the night, when