Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic >> Chapter III >> Page 34

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Page 34

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
by Charles IX. of France, that the Huguenot interest in
the new world was one which it did not concern him to
maintain. The indifference, at least, of the one Catholic
monarch, readily surrendered to the tender mercies of
another, a people who had audaciously withdrawn them-
selves from that spiritual control of Rome, which they both
equally acknowledged. There is no question that the
Spaniards knew of all the movements, objects, and
strength of armament of the Huguenot commander. Me-
lendez was chosen to conduct an enterprize which was
considered of equal importance to the interests of church
and state. The French were Protestants, and they were
supposed to be trespassers upon a territory to which, un-
der the general name of Florida, the Spaniards asserted
an exclusive title. He was invested with the swelling
title of a Spanish Adelantado. The hereditary govern-
ment of the Floridas was conferred upon him, and, at the
call of the church, three thousand men volunteered to
crowd his armament, which consisted of nearly twenty
vessels. But, deserted by their earthly monarch, the Hu-
guenots were for a time, indirectly, the care of heaven.
The fleet of Melendez was met by storms, and his force
lessened ere he reached the coasts of Florida, to one
third of its original strength. But this disaster did not les-
sen the confidence of the Spaniard in his own fortune, and
the bigotry of his mind gave a degree of enthusiasm to his
resolve, which supplied the deficiencies of his armament.
He rebuked the counsel of those who advised, in the
shattered state of his vessels, and the diminished force
of his crews, that, for the present, the expedition should
be abandoned.The Almighty" said he, "has thus re-