List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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solicitous of discovering a passage to the South Sea, as the way to
increase riches, than of making a state.  They were instructed to
explore every navigable river they might find, and to follow the main
branches, which would probably lead them in one direction to the East
Indies or South Sea, and in the other to the Northwest Passage.  And
they were forcibly reminded that the way to prosper was to be of one
mind, for their own and their country's good.

This last advice did not last the expedition out of sight of land.
They sailed from Blackwell, December 19, 1606, but were kept six
weeks on the coast of England by contrary winds.  A crew of saints
cabined in those little caravels and tossed about on that coast for
six weeks would scarcely keep in good humor.  Besides, the position
of the captains and leaders was not yet defined.  Factious quarrels
broke out immediately, and the expedition would likely have broken up
but for the wise conduct and pious exhortations of Mr. Robert Hunt,
the preacher.  This faithful man was so ill and weak that it was
thought he could not recover, yet notwithstanding the stormy weather,
the factions on board, and although his home was almost in sight,
only twelve miles across the Downs, he refused to quit the ship.  He
was unmoved, says Smith, either by the weather or by "the scandalous
imputations (of some few little better than atheists, of the greatest
rank amongst us)."  With "the water of his patience" and "his godly
exhortations" he quenched the flames of envy and dissension.

They took the old route by the West Indies.  George Percy notes that
on the 12th of February they saw a blazing star, and presently.  a
storm.  They watered at the Canaries, traded with savages at San
Domingo, and spent three weeks refreshing themselves among the
islands.  The quarrels revived before they reached the Canaries, and
there Captain Smith was seized and put in close confinement for
thirteen weeks.

We get little light from contemporary writers on this quarrel.  Smith
does not mention the arrest in his "True Relation," but in his
"General Historie," writing of the time when they had been six weeks
in Virginia, he says: "Now Captain Smith who all this time from their
departure from the Canaries was restrained as a prisoner upon the
scandalous suggestion of some of the chiefs (envying his repute) who
fancied he intended to usurp the government, murder the Council, and
make himself King, that his confedcrates were dispersed in all three
ships, and that divers of his confederates that revealed it, would
affirm it, for this he was committed a prisoner; thirteen weeks he
remained thus suspected, and by that time they should return they
pretended out of their commiserations, to refer him to the Council in
England to receive a check, rather than by particulating his designs
make him so odious to the world, as to touch his life, or utterly
overthrow his reputation.  But he so much scorned their charity and
publically defied the uttermost of their cruelty, he wisely prevented
their policies, though he could not suppress their envies, yet so
well he demeaned himself in this business, as all the company did see
his innocency, and his adversaries' malice, and those suborned to
accuse him accused his accusers of subornation; many untruths were
alleged against him; but being apparently disproved, begot a general
hatred in the hearts of the company against such unjust Commanders,
that the President was adjudged to give him L 200, so that all he had
was seized upon, in part of satisfaction, which Smith presently
returned to the store for the general use of the colony."--

Neither in Newport's "Relatyon" nor in Mr. Wingfield's "Discourse" is
the arrest mentioned, nor does Strachey speak of it.

About 1629, Smith, in writing a description of the Isle of Mevis
(Nevis) in his "Travels and Adventures," says: "In this little [isle]
of Mevis, more than twenty years agone, I have remained a good time
together, to wod and water--and refresh my men."  It is
characteristic of Smith's vivid imagination, in regard to his own
exploits, that he should speak of an expedition in which he had no
command, and was even a prisoner, in this style: "I remained," and
"my men."  He goes on: "Such factions here we had as commonly attend
such voyages, and a pair of gallows was made, but Captaine Smith, for
whom they were intended, could not be persuaded to use them; but not
any one of the inventors but their lives by justice fell into his
power, to determine of at his pleasure, whom with much mercy he
favored, that most basely and unjustly would have betrayed him."  And
it is true that Smith, although a great romancer, was often
magnanimous, as vain men are apt to be.

King James's elaborate lack of good sense had sent the expedition to
sea with the names of the Council sealed up in a box, not to be
opened till it reached its destination.  Consequently there was no
recognized authority.  Smith was a young man of about twenty-eight,
vain and no doubt somewhat "bumptious," and it is easy to believe
that Wingfield and the others who felt his superior force and
realized his experience, honestly suspected him of designs against
the expedition.  He was the ablest man on board, and no doubt was
aware of it.  That he was not only a born commander of men, but had
the interest of the colony at heart, time was to show.

The voyagers disported themselves among the luxuries of the West
Indies.  At Guadaloupe they found a bath so hot that they boiled
their pork in it as well as over the fire.  At the Island of Monaca
they took from the bushes with their hands near two hogsheads full of
birds in three or four hours.  These, it is useless to say, were
probably not the "barnacle geese" which the nautical travelers used
to find, and picture growing upon bushes and dropping from the eggs,
when they were ripe, full-fledged into the water.  The beasts were
fearless of men.  Wild birds and natives had to learn the whites
before they feared them.

"In Mevis, Mona, and the Virgin Isles," says the "General Historie,"
"we spent some time, where with a lothsome beast like a crocodile,
called a gwayn [guana], tortoises, pellicans, parrots, and fishes, we
feasted daily."

Thence they made sail-in search of Virginia, but the mariners lost
their reckoning for three days and made no land; the crews were
discomfited, and Captain Ratcliffe, of the pinnace, wanted to up helm
and return to England.  But a violent storm, which obliged them "to
hull all night," drove them to the port desired.  On the 26th of
April they saw a bit of land none of them had ever seen before.
This, the first land they descried, they named Cape Henry, in honor
of the Prince of Wales; as the opposite cape was called Cape Charles,
for the Duke of York, afterwards Charles I.  Within these capes they
found one of the most pleasant places in the world, majestic
navigable rivers, beautiful mountains, hills, and plains, and a
fruitful and delightsome land.

Mr. George Percy was ravished at the sight of the fair meadows and
goodly tall trees.  As much to his taste were the large and delicate
oysters, which the natives roasted, and in which were found many
pearls.  The ground was covered with fine and beautiful strawberries,
four times bigger than those in England.

Masters Wingfield, Newport, and Gosnold., with thirty men, went
ashore on Cape Henry, where they were suddenly set upon by savages,
who came creeping upon all-fours over the hills, like bears, with
their bows in their hands; Captain Archer was hurt in both hands, and
a sailor dangerously wounded in two places on his body.  It was a bad

The night of their arrival they anchored at Point Comfort, now
Fortress Monroe; the box was opened and the orders read, which
constituted Edward Maria Wingfield, Bartholomew Gosnold, John Smith,
Christopher Newport, John Ratcliffe, John Martin, and George Kendall
the Council, with power to choose a President for a year.  Until the
13th of May they were slowly exploring the River Powhatan, now the
James, seeking a place for the settlement.  They selected a peninsula
on the north side of the river, forty miles from its mouth, where
there was good anchorage, and which could be readily fortified.  This
settlement was Jamestown.  The Council was then sworn in, and Mr.
Wingfield selected President.  Smith being under arrest was not sworn
in of the Council, and an oration was made setting forth the reason
for his exclusion.

When they had pitched upon a site for the fort, every man set to
work, some to build the fort, others to pitch the tents, fell trees
and make clapboards to reload the ships, others to make gardens and
nets.  The fort was in the form of a triangle with a half-moon at
each comer, intended to mount four or five guns.

President Wingfield appears to have taken soldierly precautions, but
Smith was not at all pleased with him from the first.  He says "the
President's overweening jealousy would admit of no exercise at arms,
or fortifications but the boughs of trees cast together in the form
of a half-moon by the extraordinary pains and diligence of Captain
Kendall."  He also says there was contention between Captain
Wingfield and Captain Gosnold about the site of the city.

The landing was made at Jamestown on the 14th of May, according to
Percy.  Previous to that considerable explorations were made.  On the
18th of April they launched a shallop, which they built the day
before, and "discovered up the bay."  They discovered a river on the
south side running into the mainland, on the banks of which were good
stores of mussels and oysters, goodly trees, flowers of all colors,
and strawberries.  Returning to their ships and finding the water
shallow, they rowed over to a point of land, where they found from
six to twelve fathoms of water, which put them in good comfort,
therefore they named that part of the land Cape Comfort.  On the 29th
they set up a cross on Chesapeake Bay, on Cape Henry, and the next
day coasted to the Indian town of Kecoughton, now Hampton, where they

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