List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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find their suspicions verified.  The day before, May 26th, the colony
had been attacked by two hundred Indians (four hundred, Smith says),
who were only beaten off when they had nearly entered the fort, by
the use of the artillery.  The Indians made a valiant fight for an
hour; eleven white men were wounded, of whom one died afterwards, and
a boy was killed on the pinnace.  This loss was concealed from the
Indians, who for some time seem to have believed that the whites
could not be hurt.  Four of the Council were hurt in this fight, and
President Wingfield, who showed himself a valiant gentleman, had a
shot through his beard.  They killed eleven of the Indians, but their
comrades lugged them away on their backs and buried them in the woods
with a great noise.  For several days alarms and attacks continued,
and four or five men were cruelly wounded, and one gentleman, Mr.
Eustace Cloville, died from the effects of five arrows in his body.

Upon this hostility, says Smith, the President was contented the fort
should be palisaded, and the ordnance mounted, and the men armed and
exercised.  The fortification went on, but the attacks continued, and
it was unsafe for any to venture beyond the fort.

Dissatisfaction arose evidently with President Wingfield's
management.  Captain Newport says: " There being among the gentlemen
and all the company a murmur and grudge against certain proceedings
and inconvenient courses [Newport] put up a petition to the Council
for reformation."  The Council heeded this petition, and urged to
amity by Captain Newport, the company vowed faithful love to each
other and obedience to the superiors.  On the 10th of June, Captain
Smith was sworn of the Council.  In his "General Historie," not
published till 1624, he says: "Many were the mischiefs that daily
sprung from their ignorant (yet ambitious) spirits; but the good
doctrine and exhortation of our preacher Mr. Hunt, reconciled them
and caused Captain Smith to be admitted to the Council."  The next
day they all partook of the holy communion.

In order to understand this quarrel, which was not by any means
appeased by this truce, and to determine Captain Smith's
responsibility for it, it is necessary to examine all the witnesses.
Smith is unrestrained in his expression of his contempt for
Wingfield.  But in the diary of Wingfield we find no accusation
against Smith at this date.  Wingfield says that Captain Newport
before he departed asked him how he thought himself settled in the
government, and that he replied "that no disturbance could endanger
him or the colony, but it must be wrought either by Captain Gosnold
or Mr. Archer, for the one was strong with friends and followers and
could if he would; and the other was troubled with an ambitious
spirit and would if he could."

The writer of Newport's "Relatyon" describes the Virginia savages as
a very strong and lusty race, and swift warriors.  "Their skin is
tawny; not so borne, but with dyeing and painting themselves, in
which they delight greatly."  That the Indians were born white was,
as we shall see hereafter, a common belief among the first settlers
in Virginia and New England.  Percy notes a distinction between maids
and married women: "The maids shave close the fore part and sides of
their heads, and leave it long behind, where it is tied up and hangs
down to the hips.  The married women wear their hair all of a length,
but tied behind as that of maids is.  And the women scratch on their
bodies and limbs, with a sharp iron, pictures of fowls, fish, and
beasts, and rub into the 'drawings' lively colors which dry into the
flesh and are permanent."  The "Relatyon " says the people are witty
and ingenious and allows them many good qualities, but makes this
exception: "The people steal anything comes near them; yea, are so
practiced in this art, that looking in our face, they would with
their foot, between their toes, convey a chisel, knife, percer, or
any indifferent light thing, which having once conveyed, they hold it
an injury to take the same from them.  They are naturally given to
treachery; howbeit we could not find it in our travel up the river,
but rather a most kind and loving people."



On Sunday, June 21st, they took the communion lovingly together.
That evening Captain Newport gave a farewell supper on board his
vessel.  The 22d he sailed in the Susan Constant for England,
carrying specimens of the woods and minerals, and made the short
passage of five weeks.  Dudley Carleton, in a letter to John
Chamberlain dated Aug. 18, 1607, writes "that Captain Newport has
arrived without gold or silver, and that the adventurers, cumbered by
the presence of the natives, have fortified themselves at a place
called Jamestown."  The colony left numbered one hundred and four.

The good harmony of the colony did not last.  There were other
reasons why the settlement was unprosperous.  The supply of wholesome
provisions was inadequate.  The situation of the town near the
Chickahominy swamps was not conducive to health, and although
Powhatan had sent to make peace with them, and they also made a
league of amity with the chiefs Paspahegh and Tapahanagh, they
evidently had little freedom of movement beyond sight of their guns.
Percy says they were very bare and scant of victuals, and in wars and
dangers with the savages.

Smith says in his "True Relation," which was written on the spot, and
is much less embittered than his "General Historie," that they were
in good health and content when Newport departed, but this did not
long continue, for President Wingfield and Captain Gosnold, with the
most of the Council, were so discontented with each other that
nothing was done with discretion, and no business transacted with
wisdom.  This he charges upon the "hard-dealing of the President,"
the rest of the Council being diversely affected through his
audacious command.  "Captain Martin, though honest, was weak and
sick; Smith was in disgrace through the malice of others; and God
sent famine and sickness, so that the living were scarce able to bury
the dead.  Our want of sufficient good food, and continual watching,
four or five each night, at three bulwarks, being the chief cause;
only of sturgeon we had great store, whereon we would so greedily
surfeit, as it cost many their lives; the sack, Aquavite, and other
preservations of our health being kept in the President's hands, for
his own diet and his few associates."

In his "General Historie," written many years later, Smith enlarges
this indictment with some touches of humor characteristic of him.  He

"Being thus left to our fortunes, it fortuned that within ten days
scarce ten amongst us could either go, or well stand, such extreme
weakness and sicknes oppressed us.  And thereat none need marvaile if
they consider the cause and reason, which was this: whilst the ships
stayed, our allowance was somewhat bettered, by a daily proportion of
Bisket, which the sailors would pilfer to sell, give, or exchange
with us for money, Saxefras, furres, or love.  But when they
departed, there remained neither taverne, beere-house, nor place of
reliefe, but the common Kettell.  Had we beene as free from all
sinnes as gluttony, and drunkennesse, we might have been canonized
for Saints.  But our President would never have been admitted, for
ingrissing to his private, Oatmeale, Sacke, Oyle, Aquavitz, Beef,
Egges, or what not, but the Kettell: that indeed he allowed equally
to be distributed, and that was half a pint of wheat, and as much
barley boyled with water for a man a day, and this being fryed some
twenty-six weeks in the ship's hold, contained as many wormes as
graines; so that we might truly call it rather so much bran than
corrne, our drinke was water, our lodgings Castles in the ayre; with
this lodging and dyet, our extreme toile in bearing and planting
Pallisadoes, so strained and bruised us, and our continual labour in
the extremitie of the heat had so weakened us, as were cause
sufficient to have made us miserable in our native countrey, or any
other place in the world."

Affairs grew worse.  The sufferings of this colony in the summer
equaled that of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in the winter and spring.
Before September forty-one were buried, says Wingfield; fifty, says
Smith in one statement, and forty-six in another; Percy gives a list
of twenty-four who died in August and September.  Late in August
Wingfield said, "Sickness had not now left us seven able men in our
town."  " As yet," writes Smith in September, "we had no houses to
cover us, our tents were rotten, and our cabins worse than nought."

Percy gives a doleful picture of the wretchedness of the colony: "Our
men were destroyed with cruel sickness, as swellings, fluxes,
burning-fevers, and by wars, and some departed suddenly, but for the
most part they died of mere famine.... We watched every three nights,
lying on the cold bare ground what weather soever came, worked all
the next day, which brought our men to be most feeble wretches, our
food was but a small can of barley, sod in water to five men a day,
our drink but cold water taken out of the river, which was at the
flood very salt, at a low tide full of shrimp and filth, which was
the destruction of many of our men.  Thus we lived for the space of
five months in this miserable distress, but having five able men to
man our bulwarks upon any occasion.  If it had not pleased God to put
a terror in the savage hearts, we had all perished by those wild and
cruel Pagans, being in that weak state as we were: our men night and
day groaning in every comer of the fort, most pitiful to hear.  If
there were any conscience in men, it would make their hearts to bleed
to hear the pitiful murmurings and outcries of our sick men, without
relief, every night and day, for the space of six weeks: some
departing out of the world; many times three or four in a night; in
the morning their bodies trailed out of their cabins, like dogs, to
be buried.  In this sort did I see the mortality of divers of our

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