« PreviousContinue »
they could buy, in a single week, as great a quantity of these articles as would freight a ship, in Russia or Sweden, countries peculiarly adapted by nature to the manufucture of them; but that it was most impolitic and unprofitable to devote to such occupations any part of the energies of a young colony, in which they all had as much as they could do to provide subsistence and defend themselves against the Indians.
He complains of Newport, of his vain projects, and his indolence, and contrasts the luxury and plenty, in which he and his sailors lived, with the coarse and scanty fare of the colonists. He says, that Archer and Ratcliffe were the authors of all their factions and disturbances; and that the latter is an impostor, whose real name is Sicklemore; and he sends him home to save his throat from being cut by the colonists, by whom he is detested. He entreats them to send out carpenters, husbandmen, gardeners, fishermen, blacksmiths, and masons, thirty of whom would be worth more than a thousand idle gentlemen, and to provide for their support and subsistence for the present, and leave all projects of gain for the future. At the same time, he sent them two barrels of stones, which he conjectured to be iron ore, with labels, designating the places in which he found them. To convince them that he could make as ample a discovery as Newport, and at a less expense
than he had incurred at every meal, he transmitted to them a map of Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, which he had explored, together with a description of the same.*
Difficulties in Procuring Provision.- Captain Smith's Unsuccessful Attempt to obtain Possession of Powhatan's Person.
UPON the departure of the ship, the colonists began to be in apprehension that they should
* This was sent by Captain Nelson, who left Jamestown early in June, 1608, and it contains a narrative of events up to that date. It was printed the same year in London, and does not differ materially from the accounts subsequently published in the History. The original pamphlet is rare and curious, being in black letter and of the quarto size. There is a copy of it in the Library of Harvard College, but the title-page is wanting. In Mr. Rich's Catalogue of American Books, the title is printed as follows; "True Relation of such Occurrences and Accidents of Noate, as hath happened in Virginia since the Planting of the Colony." There is also a copy of the same work in Colonel Aspinwall's invaluable collection of books relating to America. It was written in the form of a letter and addressed to an individual; probably to the Secretary of the London Company.
suffer from want of food, their supply being but scanty. In order to obtain corn, Captain Smith, with Captain Wynne and Mr. Scrivener set out for Nansamond, where, upon his arrival, the Indians not only refused to give him the four hundred bushels, which they had promised, but would not trade with him at all; saying that their stock was almost consumed, and that they had been commanded by Powhatan to keep what was left, and not permit the English to enter their river. Captain Smith, finding that persuasion did no good, was constrained to employ force. At the first discharge of the muskets, the Indians fled without shooting an arrow. The English marched towards their houses, and set fire to the first one they came to. Upon the sight of the flames, the Indians came forward and offered to give them half the corn they had, if they would desist from further violence.
They loaded the three boats, with which the English returned to their place of encampment, four miles down the river. This was an open plain, sheltered by a hill, and at that time the ground was frozen hard and covered with snow. They were accustomed to dig away the snow, and make a large fire; and, when the ground was thoroughly warmed, they would remove the fire and ashes, spread their mats
upon the spot and lie down, using another mat as a screen against the wind. When the ground grew cold, they shifted their fire again. Many cold winter nights they passed in this manner; and those, who were thus exposed to the elements in these expeditions, were always stouter and healthier than those, who remained at home and slept in warm beds.
Soon after their return to Jamestown, the first marriage which took place in Virginia, was celebrated between John Laydon and Anne Burras.
Captain Smith, indefatigable in securing the settlers against even the apprehension of want, remained but a short time at Jamestown, but, accompanied by Captain Waldo, went up the bay in two barges. The Indians, on all sides, fled at the sight of them, till they discovered the river and people of Appomatox. These had but little corn; but that little they divided with the English, and received in exchange bits of copper and other trifles, with which they were well contented.
The supplies procured in this manner were, however, temporary and precarious; and Captain Smith, who was determined that no one should be in fear of starvation, while he was President, resolved upon the bold and questionable measure of surprising Powhatan, and taking
possession of all his store. In this project he was seconded by Captain Waldo, but opposed by Captain Wynne and Mr. Scrivener, which latter gentleman had become an enemy to him. As if to favor his purposes, he was requested by Powhatan to come and see him, with a promise, that he would load his ship with corn, if Smith would build him a house, give him a grindstone, fifty swords, some muskets, a cock and a hen, and a large quantity of beads and copper. Captain Smith determined to improve the opportunity thus fortunately presented, although he suspected that the crafty old savage had some ulterior design in his specious offers. He accordingly sent two Englishmen and four Germans to build him a house, giving them instructions as to their conduct, and unluckily informing them of his plans. He soon after set out himself in the bark and two barges, accompanied by Captain Waldo and forty-six men. As this was an enterprise of great danger, he took with him only those who volunteered to go. He left the government in the hands of Mr. Scriv
On the 29th of December, they departed from Jamestown, carrying with them provisions for only three or four days. They lodged that night at Warraskoyac, an Indian village, a few miles from Jamestown, where they made additions to their stores.