List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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sight.  The next day Powhatan sent to excuse his flight, and
presented him a bracelet and chain of pearl and vowed eternal

With matchlocks lighted, Smith forced the Indians to load the boats;
but as they were aground, and could not be got off till high water,
he was compelled to spend the night on shore.  Powhatan and the
treacherous Dutchmen are represented as plotting to kill Smith that
night.  Provisions were to be brought him with professions of
friendship, and Smith was to be attacked while at supper.  The
Indians, with all the merry sports they could devise, spent the time
till night, and then returned to Powhatan.

The plot was frustrated in the providence of God by a strange means.
"For Pocahuntas his dearest jewele and daughter in that dark night
came through the irksome woods, and told our Captaine good cheer
should be sent us by and by; but Powhatan and all the power he could
make would after come and kill us all, if they that brought it could
not kill us with our own weapons when we were at supper.  Therefore
if we would live she wished us presently to be gone.  Such things as
she delighted in he would have given her; but with the tears rolling
down her cheeks she said she durst not to be seen to have any; for if
Powhatan should know it, she were but dead, and so she ran away by
herself as she came."

[This instance of female devotion is exactly paralleled in
D'Albertis's "New Guinea."  Abia, a pretty Biota girl of seventeen,
made her way to his solitary habitation at the peril of her life, to
inform him that the men of Rapa would shortly bring him insects and
other presents, in order to get near him without suspicion, and then
kill him.  He tried to reward the brave girl by hanging a gold chain
about her neck, but she refused it, saying it would betray her.  He
could only reward her with a fervent kiss, upon which she fled.
Smith omits that part of the incident.]

In less than an hour ten burly fellows arrived with great platters of
victuals, and begged Smith to put out the matches (the smoke of which
made them sick) and sit down and eat.  Smith, on his guard, compelled
them to taste each dish, and then sent them back to Powhatan.  All
night the whites watched, but though the savages lurked about, no
attack was made.  Leaving the four Dutchmen to build Powhatan's
house, and an Englishman to shoot game for him, Smith next evening
departed for Pamaunky.

No sooner had he gone than two of the Dutchmen made their way
overland to Jamestown, and, pretending Smith had sent them, procured
arms, tools, and clothing.  They induced also half a dozen sailors,
"expert thieves," to accompany them to live with Powhatan; and
altogether they stole, besides powder and shot, fifty swords, eight
pieces, eight pistols, and three hundred hatchets.  Edward Boynton
and Richard Savage, who had been left with Powhatan, seeing the
treachery, endeavored to escape, but were apprehended by the Indians.

At Pamaunky there was the same sort of palaver with Opechancanough,
the king, to whom Smith the year before had expounded the mysteries
of history, geography, and astronomy.  After much fencing in talk,
Smith, with fifteen companions, went up to the King's house, where
presently he found himself betrayed and surrounded by seven hundred
armed savages, seeking his life.  His company being dismayed, Smith
restored their courage by a speech, and then, boldly charging the
King with intent to murder him, he challenged him to a single combat
on an island in the river, each to use his own arms, but Smith to be
as naked as the King.  The King still professed friendship, and laid
a great present at the door, about which the Indians lay in ambush to
kill Smith.  But this hero, according to his own account, took prompt
measures.  He marched out to the King where he stood guarded by fifty
of his chiefs, seized him by his long hair in the midst of his men,
and pointing a pistol at his breast led, him trembling and near dead
with fear amongst all his people.  The King gave up his arms, and the
savages, astonished that any man dare treat their king thus, threw
down their bows.  Smith, still holding the King by the hair, made
them a bold address, offering peace or war.  They chose peace.

In the picture of this remarkable scene in the "General Historie,"
the savage is represented as gigantic in stature, big enough to crush
the little Smith in an instant if he had but chosen.  Having given
the savages the choice to load his ship with corn or to load it
himself with their dead carcasses, the Indians so thronged in with
their commodities that Smith was tired of receiving them, and leaving
his comrades to trade, he lay down to rest.  When he was asleep the
Indians, armed some with clubs, and some with old English swords,
entered into the house.  Smith awoke in time, seized his arms, and
others coming to his rescue, they cleared the house.

While enduring these perils, sad news was brought from Jamestown.
Mr. Scrivener, who had letters from England (writes Smith) urging him
to make himself Caesar or nothing, declined in his affection for
Smith, and began to exercise extra authority.  Against the advice of
the others, he needs must make a journey to the Isle of Hogs, taking
with him in the boat Captain Waldo, Anthony Gosnoll (or Gosnold,
believed to be a relative of Captain Bartholomew Gosnold), and eight
others.  The boat was overwhelmed in a storm, and sunk, no one knows
how or where.  The savages were the first to discover the bodies of
the lost.  News of this disaster was brought to Captain Smith (who
did not disturb the rest by making it known) by Richard Wiffin, who
encountered great dangers on the way.  Lodging overnight at
Powhatan's, he saw great preparations for war, and found himself in
peril.  Pocahontas hid him for a time, and by her means, and
extraordinary bribes, in three days' travel he reached Smith.

Powhatan, according to Smith, threatened death to his followers if
they did not kill Smith.  At one time swarms of natives, unarmed,
came bringing great supplies of provisions; this was to put Smith off
his guard, surround him with hundreds of savages, and slay him by an
ambush.  But he also laid in ambush and got the better of the crafty
foe with a superior craft.  They sent him poisoned food, which made
his company sick, but was fatal to no one.  Smith apologizes for
temporizing with the Indians at this time, by explaining that his
purpose was to surprise Powhatan and his store of provisions.  But
when they stealthily stole up to the seat of that crafty chief, they
found that those "damned Dutchmen" had caused Powhatan to abandon his
new house at Werowocomoco, and to carry away all his corn and

The reward of this wearisome winter campaign was two hundred weight
of deer-suet and four hundred and seventy-nine bushels of corn for
the general store.  They had not to show such murdering and
destroying as the Spaniards in their "relations," nor heaps and mines
of gold and silver; the land of Virginia was barbarous and ill-
planted, and without precious jewels, but no Spanish relation could
show, with such scant means, so much country explored, so many
natives reduced to obedience, with so little bloodshed.



Without entering at all into the consideration of the character of
the early settlers of Virginia and of Massachusetts, one contrast
forces itself upon the mind as we read the narratives of the
different plantations.  In Massachusetts there was from the beginning
a steady purpose to make a permanent settlement and colony, and
nearly all those who came over worked, with more or less friction,
with this end before them.  The attempt in Virginia partook more of
the character of a temporary adventure.  In Massachusetts from the
beginning a commonwealth was in view.  In Virginia, although the
London promoters desired a colony to be fixed that would be
profitable to themselves, and many of the adventurers, Captain Smith
among them, desired a permanent planting, a great majority of those
who went thither had only in mind the advantages of trade, the
excitement of a free and licentious life, and the adventure of
something new and startling.  It was long before the movers in it
gave up the notion of discovering precious metals or a short way to
the South Sea.  The troubles the primitive colony endured resulted
quite as much from its own instability of purpose, recklessness, and
insubordination as from the hostility of the Indians.  The majority
spent their time in idleness, quarreling, and plotting mutiny.

The ships departed for England in December, 1608.  When Smith
returned from his expedition for food in the winter of 1609, he found
that all the provision except what he had gathered was so rotted from
the rain, and eaten by rats and worms, that the hogs would scarcely
eat it.  Yet this had been the diet of the soldiers, who had consumed
the victuals and accomplished nothing except to let the savages have
the most of the tools and a good part of the arms.

Taking stock of what he brought in, Smith found food enough to last
till the next harvest, and at once organized the company into bands
of ten or fifteen, and compelled them to go to work.  Six hours a day
were devoted to labor, and the remainder to rest and merry exercises.
Even with this liberal allowance of pastime a great part of the
colony still sulked.  Smith made them a short address, exhibiting his
power in the letters-patent, and assuring them that he would enforce
discipline and punish the idle and froward; telling them that those
that did not work should not eat, and that the labor of forty or
fifty industrious men should not be consumed to maintain a hundred
and fifty idle loiterers.  He made a public table of good and bad
conduct; but even with this inducement the worst had to be driven to
work by punishment or the fear of it.

The Dutchmen with Powhatan continued to make trouble, and
confederates in the camp supplied them with powder and shot, swords
and tools.  Powhatan kept the whites who were with him to instruct

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