Visiting The Sunny South - Carolina
( Originally Published 1900 )
SIR WALTER RALEIGH, of chivalrous memory, sent the first English colony to America in the sixteenth century. He was a half-brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the English explorer, and had previously accompanied Gilbert to Newfoundland. He sent out an expedition in 1584, which selected Roanoke Island, south of the Chesapeake, for a settlement, and for this enterprise Queen Elizabeth knighted Raleigh, gave him a grant of the whole country, and directed that the new land be named in her honor, Virginia. In 1585–86 colonizing expeditions were sent to Roanoke, but they did not prosper. The colonists quarrelled with the Indians, and in the latter year the Governor returned to England for provisions and reinforcements, leaving behind with the colony his daughter, Mrs. Dare, and a granddaughter, nine days old, Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the new land. Then came the Spanish Armada to . conquer England, and the long war with Spain. No-body went to succor the little band of exiles on Roanoke Island for three years, and when they did, the settlement was obliterated, the hundred colonists and little Virginia Dare had disappeared, and no tidings of them were ever obtained. Thus perished Raleigh's colony; and, his means being exhausted, he was discouraged and sent no more expeditions out to America. His enterprise failed in making a permanent settlement, but it gave two priceless gifts to Europe. The returning Governor took back to England the potato, which Raleigh planted on his Irish estate and which has proved the salvation of old Erin, and also the Virginia tobacco, which he taught the people to smoke, and the fragrant weed became the solace of the world.
No further attempts at colonization were made until the seventeenth century, when new grants were issued, and the country was named Carolina in honor of King Charles I. The Atlantic Coast south of the Chesapeake Bay entrance is low and bordered by sand beaches, which for most of the distance in front of North Carolina are far eastward of the mainland, with broad sounds and river estuaries between. These long and narrow beaches protrude in some cases a hundred miles into the ocean and form dangerous shoals, the extensive Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds being enclosed by them, the former stretching fifty miles and the latter seventy-five miles into the land. Out in front of Pamlico Sound projects the shoulder of Cape Hatteras into the Atlantic, the outer point of a low, sandy island, with shoals ex-tending far beyond it, and marked- by the great beacon of this dangerous coast, a flashing light one hundred and ninety feet high. Here is the principal storm factory of the southern coast, noted for cyclonic disturbances and dreaded by the mariner. Upon the outer Diamond Shoals the Government has long tried in vain to erect a lighthouse. A lightship is kept there, but is frequently blown from her moorings and drifts ashore. The Guff Stream, coming with warm and speedy current up from Florida, is here diverged out into the ocean y the shoulder of Hatteras; and, similarly, the whirling West India cyclones of enormous area come along with their resistless energy, destroying everything in their paths. In the terrific hurricane of the autumn of 1899 a wind velocity of one hundred and sixty miles an hour was reached momentarily, and the anemometer at Hatteras was . blown down after having recorded a velocity of one hundred and twenty miles. The actual force exerted by one of these great cyclones in its work of devastation, which uproots trees, demolishes buildings and strews the coast with wrecks, has been calculated as equalling one thousand million horse-power.