List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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the Indians in the art of war.  They expected other whites to join
them, and those not coming, they sent Francis, their companion,
disguised as an Indian, to find out the cause.  He came to the Glass
house in the woods a mile from Jamestown, which was the rendezvous
for all their villainy.  Here they laid an ambush of forty men for
Smith, who hearing of the Dutchman, went thither to apprehend him.
The rascal had gone, and Smith, sending twenty soldiers to follow and
capture him, started alone from the Glass house to return to the
fort.  And now occurred another of those personal adventures which
made Smith famous by his own narration.

On his way he encountered the King of Paspahegh, "a most strong,
stout savage," who, seeing that Smith had only his falchion,
attempted to shoot him.  Smith grappled him; the savage prevented his
drawing his blade, and bore him into the river to drown him.  Long
they struggled in the water, when the President got the savage by the
throat and nearly strangled him, and drawing his weapon, was about to
cut off his head, when the King begged his life so pitifully, that
Smith led him prisoner to the fort and put him in chains.

In the pictures of this achievement, the savage is represented as
about twice the size and stature of Smith; another illustration that
this heroic soul was never contented to take one of his size.

The Dutchman was captured, who, notwithstanding his excuses that he
had escaped from Powhatan and did not intend to return, but was only
walking in the woods to gather walnuts, on the testimony of Paspahegh
of his treachery, was also "laid by the heels."  Smith now proposed
to Paspahegh to spare his life if he would induce Powhatan to send
back the renegade Dutchmen.  The messengers for this purpose reported
that the Dutchmen, though not detained by Powhatan, would not come,
and the Indians said they could not bring them on their backs fifty
miles through the woods.  Daily the King's wives, children, and
people came to visit him, and brought presents to procure peace and
his release.  While this was going on, the King, though fettered,
escaped.  A pursuit only resulted in a vain fight with the Indians.
Smith then made prisoners of two Indians who seemed to be hanging
around the camp, Kemps and Tussore, "the two most exact villains in
all the country," who would betray their own king and kindred for a
piece of copper, and sent them with a force of soldiers, under Percy,
against Paspahegh.  The expedition burned his house, but did not
capture the fugitive.  Smith then went against them himself, killed
six or seven, burned their houses, and took their boats and fishing
wires.  Thereupon the savages sued for peace, and an amnesty was
established that lasted as long as Smith remained in the country.

Another incident occurred about this time which greatly raised
Smith's credit in all that country.  The Chicahomanians, who always
were friendly traders, were great thieves.  One of them stole a
Pistol, and two proper young fellows, brothers, known to be his
confederates, were apprehended.  One of them was put in the dungeon
and the other sent to recover the pistol within twelve hours, in
default of which his brother would be hanged.  The President, pitying
the wretched savage in the dungeon, sent him some victuals and
charcoal for a fire.  "Ere midnight his brother returned with the
pistol, but the poor savage in the dungeon was so smothered with the
smoke he had made, and so piteously burnt, that we found him dead.
The other most lamentably bewailed his death, and broke forth in such
bitter agonies, that the President, to quiet him, told him that if
hereafter they would not steal, he would make him alive again; but he
(Smith) little thought he could be recovered."  Nevertheless, by a
liberal use of aqua vitae and vinegar the Indian was brought again to
life, but "so drunk and affrighted that he seemed lunatic, the which
as much tormented and grieved the other as before to see him dead."
Upon further promise of good behavior Smith promised to bring the
Indian out of this malady also, and so laid him by a fire to sleep.
In the morning the savage had recovered his perfect senses, his
wounds were dressed, and the brothers with presents of copper were
sent away well contented.  This was spread among the savages for a
miracle, that Smith could make a man alive that was dead.  He
narrates a second incident which served to give the Indians a
wholesome fear of the whites: "Another ingenious savage of Powhatan
having gotten a great bag of powder and the back of an armour at
Werowocomoco, amongst a many of his companions, to show his
extraordinary skill, he did dry it on the back as he had seen the
soldiers at Jamestown.  But he dried it so long, they peeping over it
to see his skill, it took fire, and blew him to death, and one or two
more, and the rest so scorched they had little pleasure any more to
meddle with gunpowder."

"These and many other such pretty incidents," says Smith, "so amazed
and affrighted Powhatan and his people that from all parts they
desired peace;" stolen articles were returned, thieves sent to
Jamestown for punishment, and the whole country became as free for
the whites as for the Indians.

And now ensued, in the spring of 1609, a prosperous period of three
months, the longest season of quiet the colony had enjoyed, but only
a respite from greater disasters.  The friendship of the Indians and
the temporary subordination of the settlers we must attribute to
Smith's vigor, shrewdness, and spirit of industry.  It was much
easier to manage the Indian's than the idle and vicious men that
composed the majority of the settlement.

In these three months they manufactured three or four lasts (fourteen
barrels in a last) of tar, pitch, and soap-ashes, produced some
specimens of glass, dug a well of excellent sweet water in the fort,
which they had wanted for two years, built twenty houses, repaired
the church, planted thirty or forty acres of ground, and erected a
block-house on the neck of the island, where a garrison was stationed
to trade with the savages and permit neither whites nor Indians to
pass except on the President's order.  Even the domestic animals
partook the industrious spirit: "of three sowes in eighteen months
increased 60 and od Pigs; and neare 500 chickings brought up
themselves without having any meat given them."  The hogs were
transferred to Hog Isle, where another block house was built and
garrisoned, and the garrison were permitted to take "exercise" in
cutting down trees and making clapboards and wainscot.  They were
building a fort on high ground, intended for an easily defended
retreat, when a woful discovery put an end to their thriving plans.

Upon examination of the corn stored in casks, it was found half-
rotten, and the rest consumed by rats, which had bred in thousands
from the few which came over in the ships.  The colony was now at its
wits end, for there was nothing to eat except the wild products of
the country.  In this prospect of famine, the two Indians, Kemps and
Tussore, who had been kept fettered while showing the whites how to
plant the fields, were turned loose; but they were unwilling to
depart from such congenial company.  The savages in the neighborhood
showed their love by bringing to camp, for sixteen days, each day at
least a hundred squirrels, turkeys, deer, and other wild beasts.  But
without corn, the work of fortifying and building had to be
abandoned, and the settlers dispersed to provide victuals.  A party
of sixty or eighty men under Ensign Laxon were sent down the river to
live on oysters; some twenty went with Lieutenant Percy to try
fishing at Point Comfort, where for six weeks not a net was cast,
owing to the sickness of Percy, who had been burnt with gunpowder;
and another party, going to the Falls with Master West, found nothing
to eat but a few acorns.

Up to this time the whole colony was fed by the labors of thirty or
forty men: there was more sturgeon than could be devoured by dog and
man; it was dried, pounded, and mixed with caviare, sorrel, and other
herbs, to make bread; bread was also made of the "Tockwhogh" root,
and with the fish and these wild fruits they lived very well.  But
there were one hundred and fifty of the colony who would rather
starve or eat each other than help gather food.  These "distracted,
gluttonous loiterers" would have sold anything they had--tools, arms,
and their houses--for anything the savages would bring them to eat.
Hearing that there was a basket of corn at Powhatan's, fifty miles
away, they would have exchanged all their property for it.  To
satisfy their factious humors, Smith succeeded in getting half of it:
"they would have sold their souls," he says, for the other half,
though not sufficient to last them a week.

The clamors became so loud that Smith punished the ringleader, one
Dyer, a crafty fellow, and his ancient maligner, and then made one of
his conciliatory addresses.  Having shown them how impossible it was
to get corn, and reminded them of his own exertions, and that he had
always shared with them anything he had, he told them that he should
stand their nonsense no longer; he should force the idle to work, and
punish them if they railed; if any attempted to escape to
Newfoundland in the pinnace they would arrive at the gallows; the
sick should not starve; every man able must work, and every man who
did not gather as much in a day as he did should be put out of the
fort as a drone.

Such was the effect of this speech that of the two hundred only seven
died in this pinching time, except those who were drowned; no man
died of want.  Captain Winne and Master Leigh had died before this
famine occurred.  Many of the men were billeted among the savages,
who used them well, and stood in such awe of the power at the fort
that they dared not wrong the whites out of a pin.  The Indians
caught Smith's humor, and some of the men who ran away to seek Kemps
and Tussore were mocked and ridiculed, and had applied to them--
Smith's law of "who cannot work must not eat;" they were almost

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