Thomas J. Wertenbaker
Chapter I: The Cornerstone of Liberty
Three little vessels—the Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery—left England in December, 1606, under the command of Captain Christopher Newport, to found a colony on the distant shores of Virginia. Two decades earlier Sir Walter Raleigh had sent out a group of settlers to what is now North Carolina, and they had disappeared mysteriously. What had happened to them? men asked. Had they been killed by the Indians? Had they fallen victims to disease? Had they starved? Those who shared in this new venture must have wondered if a like fate awaited them in this strange new land.
But their spirits rose when they entered Chesapeake Bay. Landing parties were delighted with the "fair meddowes ... full of flowers of divers kinds and colors," the "goodly tall trees," and the streams of fresh water. It was a smiling country which seemed to bid them welcome. But when they entered the mouth of a broad river, which they called the James in honor of their King, and made their way up into the country, new doubts must have assailed them. They knew that savages lived in the dense forests which lined both banks; might not strange wild beasts live there also? Might there not be fatal diseases unknown in Europe?
What is the main point of the "Give Me Liberty" excerpt?
A new colony would overcome the earlier hardships.
Once settled, the colonists would be optimistic.
Settlers were hopeful but had many fears.
Three vessels bravely went where others had failed.