List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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ryot.  I never had but one squirrel roasted; whereof I gave part
to Mr. Ratcliffe then sick: yet was that squirrel given me.  I did
never heate a flesh pott but when the comon pott was so used
likewise.  Yet how often Mr. President's and the Counsellors' spitts
have night and daye bene endaungered to break their backes-so, laden
with swanns, geese, ducks, etc.! how many times their flesh potts
have swelled, many hungrie eies did behold, to their great longing:
and what great theeves and theeving thear hath been in the comon
stoare since my tyme, I doubt not but is already made knowne to his
Majesty's Councell for Virginia."

Poor Wingfield was not left at ease in his confinement.  On the 17th
he was brought ashore to answer the charge of Jehu [John?] Robinson
that he had with Robinson and others intended to run away with the
pinnace to Newfoundland; and the charge by Mr. Smith that he had
accused Smith of intending mutiny.  To the first accuser the jury
awarded one hundred pounds, and to the other two hundred pounds
damages, for slander.  "Seeing their law so speedy and cheap," Mr.
Wingfield thought he would try to recover a copper kettle he had lent
Mr. Crofts, worth half its weight in gold.  But Crofts swore that
Wingfield had given it to him, and he lost his kettle: "I told Mr.
President I had not known the like law, and prayed they would be more
sparing of law till we had more witt or wealthe."  Another day they
obtained from Wingfield the key to his coffers, and took all his
accounts, note-books, and "owne proper goods," which he could never
recover. Thus was I made good prize on all sides."

During one of Smith's absences on the river President Ratcliffe did
beat James Read, the blacksmith.  Wingfield says the Council were
continually beating the men for their own pleasure.  Read struck

For this he was condemned to be hanged; but "before he turned of the
lather," he desired to speak privately with the President, and
thereupon accused Mr. Kendall--who had been released from the pinnace
when Wingfield was sent aboard--of mutiny.  Read escaped.  Kendall
was convicted of mutiny and shot to death.  In arrest of judgment he
objected that the President had no authority to pronounce judgment
because his name was Sicklemore and not Ratcliffe.  This was true,
and Mr. Martin pronounced the sentence.  In his "True Relation,"
Smith agrees with this statement of the death of Kendall, and says
that he was tried by a jury.  It illustrates the general looseness of
the "General Historie," written and compiled many years afterwards,
that this transaction there appears as follows: "Wingfield and
Kendall being in disgrace, seeing all things at random in the absence
of Smith, the company's dislike of their President's weakness, and
their small love to Martin's never-mending sickness, strengthened
themselves with the sailors and other confederates to regain their
power, control, and authority, or at least such meanes aboard the
pinnace (being fitted to sail as Smith had appointed for trade) to
alter her course and to goe for England.  Smiith unexpectedly
returning had the plot discovered to him, much trouble he had to
prevent it, till with store of sakre and musket-shot he forced them
to stay or sink in the river, which action cost the life of Captain

In a following sentence he says: "The President [Ratcliffe] and
Captain Archer not long after intended also to have abandoned the
country, which project also was curbed and suppressed by Smith."
Smith was always suppressing attempts at flight, according to his own
story, unconfirmed by any other writers.  He had before accused
President Wingfield of a design to escape in the pinnace.

Communications were evidently exchanged with Mr. Wingfield on the
pinnace, and the President was evidently ill at ease about him.  One
day he was summoned ashore, but declined to go, and requested an
interview with ten gentlemen.  To those who came off to him he said
that he had determined to go to England to make known the weakness of
the colony, that he could not live under the laws and usurpations of
the Triumvirate; however, if the President and Mr. Archer would go,
he was willing to stay and take his fortune with the colony, or he
would contribute one hundred pounds towards taking the colony home.
"They did like none of my proffers, but made divers shott at uss in
the pynnasse."  Thereupon he went ashore and had a conference.

On the 10th of December Captain Smith departed on his famous
expedition up the Chickahominy, during which the alleged Pocahontas
episode occurred.  Mr. Wingfield's condensed account of this journey
and captivity we shall refer to hereafter.  In Smith's absence
President Ratcliffe, contrary to his oath, swore Mr. Archer one of
the Council; and Archer was no sooner settled in authority than he
sought to take Smith's life.  The enmity of this man must be regarded
as a long credit mark to Smith.  Archer had him indicted upon a
chapter in Leviticus (they all wore a garb of piety) for the death of
two men who were killed by the Indians on his expedition.  "He had
had his trials the same daie of his retourne," says Wingfield, "and I
believe his hanging the same, or the next daie, so speedy is our law
there.  But it pleased God to send Captain Newport unto us the same
evening, to our unspeakable comfort; whose arrivall saved Mr. Smyth's
leif and mine, because he took me out of the pynnasse, and gave me
leave to lyve in the towne.  Also by his comyng was prevented a
parliament, which the newe counsailor, Mr. Recorder, intended thear
to summon."

Captain Newport's arrival was indeed opportune.  He was the only one
of the Council whose character and authority seem to have been
generally respected, the only one who could restore any sort of
harmony and curb the factious humors of the other leaders.  Smith
should have all credit for his energy in procuring supplies, for his
sagacity in dealing with the Indians, for better sense than most of
the other colonists exhibited, and for more fidelity to the objects
of the plantation than most of them; but where ability to rule is
claimed for him, at this juncture we can but contrast the deference
shown by all to Newport with the want of it given to Smith.
Newport's presence at once quelled all the uneasy spirits.

Newport's arrival, says Wingfield, "saved Mr Smith's life and mine."
Smith's account of the episode is substantially the same.  In his
"True Relation" he says on his return to the fort "each man with
truest signs of joy they could express welcomed me, except Mr.
Archer, and some two or three of his, who was then in my absence
sworn councilor, though not with the consent of Captain Martin; great
blame and imputation was laid upon me by them for the loss of our two
men which the Indians slew: insomuch that they purposed to depose me,
but in the midst of my miseries, it pleased God to send Captain
Newport, who arriving there the same night, so tripled our joy, as
for a while those plots against me were deferred, though with much
malice against me, which Captain Newport in short time did plainly
see."  In his "Map of Virginia," the Oxford tract of 1612, Smith does
not allude to this; but in the "General Historie" it had assumed a
different aspect in his mind, for at the time of writing that he was
the irresistible hero, and remembered himself as always nearly
omnipotent in Virginia.  Therefore, instead of expressions of
gratitude to Newport we read this: "Now in Jamestown they were all in
combustion, the strongest preparing once more to run away with the
pinnace; which with the hazard of his life, with Sakre, falcon and
musket shot, Smith forced now the third time to stay or sink.  Some
no better than they should be, had plotted to put him to death by the
Levitical law, for the lives of Robinson and Emry, pretending that
the fault was his, that led them to their ends; but he quickly took
such order with such Lawyers, that he laid them by the heels till he
sent some of them prisoners to England."

Clearly Captain Smith had no authority to send anybody prisoner to
England.  When Newport returned, April 10th, Wingfield and Archer
went with him.  Wingfield no doubt desired to return.  Archer was so
insolent, seditious, and libelous that he only escaped the halter by
the interposition of Newport.  The colony was willing to spare both
these men, and probably Newport it was who decided they should go.
As one of the Council, Smith would undoubtedly favor their going.  He
says in the "General Historie": "We not having any use of
parliaments, plaises, petitions, admirals, recorders, interpreters,
chronologers, courts of plea, or justices of peace, sent Master
Wingfield and Captain Archer home with him, that had engrossed all
those titles, to seek some better place of employment."  Mr.
Wingfield never returned.  Captain Archer returned in 1609, with the
expedition of Gates and Somers, as master of one of the ships.

Newport had arrived with the first supply on the 8th of January,
1608.  The day before, according to Wingfield, a fire occurred which
destroyed nearly all the town, with the clothing and provisions.
According to Smith, who is probably correct in this, the fire did not
occur till five or six days after the arrival of the ship.  The date
is uncertain, and some doubt is also thrown upon the date of the
arrival of the ship.  It was on the day of Smith's return from
captivity: and that captivity lasted about four weeks if the return
was January 8th, for he started on the expedition December 10th.
Smith subsequently speaks of his captivity lasting six or seven

In his "General Historie" Smith says the fire happened after the
return of the expedition of Newport, Smith, and Scrivener to the
Pamunkey: "Good Master Hunt, our Preacher, lost all his library, and
all he had but the clothes on his back; yet none ever heard him
repine at his loss."  This excellent and devoted man is the only one
of these first pioneers of whom everybody speaks well, and he
deserved all affection and respect.

One of the first labors of Newport was to erect a suitable church.

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