Chronicles of America 

Argall and the French in Maine

In Dale's years there rises above the English horizon the cloud of New France. The old, disaster-haunted Huguenot colony in Florida was a thing of the past, to be mourned for when the Spaniard wiped it out--for at that time England herself was not in America. But now that she was established there, with some hundreds of men in a Virginia that stretched from Spanish Florida to Nova Scotia, the French shadow seemed ominous. And just in this farther region, amid fir-trees and snow, upon the desolate Bay of Fundy, the French for some years had been keeping the breath of life in a huddle of cabins named Port Royal. More than this, and later than the Port Royal building, Frenchmen--Jesuits that!--were trying a settlement on an island now called Mount Desert, off a coast now named Maine. The Virginia Company-doubtless with some reference back to the King and Privy Council--De La Warr, Gates, the deputy governor, and Dale, the High Marshal, appear to have been of one mind as to these French settlements. Up north there was still Virginia--in effect, England! Hands off, therefore, all European peoples speaking with an un-English tongue!

Now it happened about this time that Captain Samuel Argall received a commission "to go fishing," and that he fished off that coast that is now the coast of Maine, and brought his ship to anchor by Mount Desert. Argall, a swift and high-handed person, fished on dry land. He swept into his net the Jesuits on Mount Desert, set half of them in an open boat to meet with what ship they might, and brought the other half captive to Jamestown. Later, he appeared before Port Royal, where he burned the cabins, slew the cattle, and drove into the forest the settler Frenchmen. But Port Royal and the land about it called Acadia, though much hurt, survived Argall's fishing. (Argall, on his fishing trip, has been credited with attacking not only the French in Acadia but the Dutch traders on Manhattan. But there are grounds for doubt if he did the latter.)

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