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interest in putting themselves under his guidance. But they obstinately refused to the last. The Indians, meanwhile, flocked around him with bitter complaints of the treatment they had received from the settlers, saying, that they had robbed their gardens, stolen their corn, beaten them, broken into their houses, and carried off some of their people and detained them prisoners. They offered to assist him in bringing them to subjection by the strong arm of power, and told him, that they had borne these insults and injuries from his countrymen out of respect to him; but that he must forgive them if hereafter they defended themselves to the utmost of their ability, and repelled unprovoked aggressions by force.
Finding his efforts to be unavailing, Captain Smith departed; but his vessel grounded, after she had proceeded about half a league, a very fortunate circumstance, as the result showed. For no sooner was his back turned, than some Indians, not more than twelve in number it is stated, burning for revenge, assaulted the settlers, and, killing several stragglers whom they found in the woods, struck such a panic into the rest, that they sent down in great alarm to Captain Smith, offering to accede to any terms that he would propose, if he would come and assist them. He returned, and, after punishing six or seven of the
chief offenders, removed the rest to Powhatan, a place every way adapted to their purposes, as it had been brought under cultivation by the Indians, who had also erected a strong fort there.
As soon as they were settled in their new habitation, Captain West returned and began to undo all that had been 'done. Captain Smith, unwilling to contend with him, opposed him in nothing, but left him to manage every thing in his own way. By his influence they were induced to return to their former situation, for what reason it is not stated.
Captain Smith met with a most unhappy accident as he was returning to Jamestown. While he was sleeping in the boat, a bag of powder lying near him exploded, and tore and burned his flesh in the most shocking manner. His clothes being on fire, he leaped overboard to quench the flames, and was with difficulty rescued from drowning. In this sad condition he arrived at Jamestown, where things were in such a state as to require all his faculties of mind and body. The time set for the trial of Ratcliffe, Archer, and the others who had been imprisoned, drew near, and their guilty consciences made them shrink from an inquiry, about the result of which they could entertain no doubt. Seeing too the helpless state of the President, they entered into a plot to murder him in his bed; but the heart of the base
wretch, who was chosen to be the instrument of their wickedness, failed him at the last moment, and he had not the courage to fire his murderous pistol. Having failed in this, they endeavored to usurp the government and thereby escape punishment. Fevered and tormented by his wounds, Captain Smith became weary of this perpetual struggle against the violence and malice of his enemies, and of supporting his rightful authority by force and severity; and he now determined to return to England, though his old friends, indignant at the treatment he had received, offered and indeed entreated to be allowed to bring him the heads of his foes. But he would not permit the colony to be embroiled in a civil war on his account. His wounds also grew very dangerous, from the want of surgical aid; and he believed that he could never recover, unless he went home as soon as possible to be cured there. He therefore, in the early part of the autumn of 1609, departed from Virginia never to return to it again. He left behind him four hundred and ninety colonists, one hundred of whom were trained and expert soldiers, three ships, seven boats, twenty-four pieces of ordnance, three hundred muskets and other arms, abundance of ammunition and tools, wearing apparel sufficient for all their wants, and an ample stock of domestic animals and provisions.
Remarks on Captain Smith's Administration in Virginia.
CAPTAIN SMITH resided a little more than two years in Virginia; during one of which he was President of the colony. The reader, who has gone thus far with me, will be enabled to form a conception of what he accomplished, and the disadvantages against which he contended. It is difficult for those who have been reared on the lap of civilization, and had wants created by the facilities of gratifying them, to have a full sense of the labors and sufferings of the first settlers of a new country. Familiar with the luxuries of artificial life, they are thrown into a situation where animal existence can hardly be supported. Severe and unremitted toil wears down the frame and depresses the mind. Famine often lays siege to them, and new and strange diseases prostrate their strength. A vague sense of apprehension ever darkens their lot, and not a leaf stirs, but makes them start with the expectation of encountering some great and unknown danger.
The bright hopes, with which they began their enterprise, are apt to languish and die; and their hearts faint under the influence of that homesick
ness, for which there is no medicine but a draught of the air of one's native land. To be the successful leader of a band of new settlers under the most favorable circumstances, requires an extraordinary combination of powers. He must be able to use his hands as well as his head, to act as well as to command, to show how things are to be done as well as to give directions to do them. He must be able to awe the refractory, to encourage the distrustful, and to cheer up the drooping. He must have courage, fortitude, selfcommand, and perseverance; he must be just, yet not stern, dignified, yet affable and easy of approach.
The Virginia colony, and its head in particular, had trials and perils of a peculiar nature to encounter, in addition to those which they might naturally have expected. In the first place, they were surrounded by numerous and powerful tribes of Indians, whose occupation was war, and who were organized into a powerful confederacy under a ruler of extraordinary resources, the idol of his people, full of courage and enterprise, rivalling in dissimulation the most accomplished European diplomatist; and, if not the implacable enemy of the whites, he has been represented as being still very far from their friend, and, with a prophetic spirit, apparently realizing from the first, that their permanent residence and increase would involve the ruin of his own people.