List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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them their bows, arrows, or what else they had, and with much content
sent them packing; Pocahuntas, also, we requited with such trifles as
contented her, to tell that we had used the Paspaheyans very kindly
in so releasing them."

This account would show that Pocahontas was a child of uncommon
dignity and self-control for her age.  In his letter to Queen Anne,
written in 1616, he speaks of her as aged twelve or thirteen at the
time of his captivity, several months before this visit to the fort.

The colonists still had reasons to fear ambuscades from the savages
lurking about in the woods.  One day a Paspahean came with a
glittering mineral stone, and said he could show them great abundance
of it.  Smith went to look for this mine, but was led about hither
and thither in the woods till he lost his patience and was convinced
that the Indian was fooling him, when he gave him twenty lashes with
a rope, handed him his bows and arrows, told him to shoot if he
dared, and let him go.  Smith had a prompt way with the Indians.  He
always traded "squarely" with them, kept his promises, and never
hesitated to attack or punish them when they deserved it.  They
feared and respected him.

The colony was now in fair condition, in good health, and contented;
and it was believed, though the belief was not well founded, that
they would have lasting peace with the Indians.  Captain Nelson's
ship, the Phoenix, was freighted with cedar wood, and was despatched
for England June 8, 1608.  Captain Martin, "always sickly and
unserviceable, and desirous to enjoy the credit of his supposed art
of finding the gold mine," took passage.  Captain Nelson probably
carried Smith's "True Relation."



On the same, day that Nelson sailed for England, Smith set out to
explore the Chesapeake, accompanying the Phoenix as far as Cape
Henry, in a barge of about three tons.  With him went Dr. Walter
Russell, six gentlemen, and seven soldiers.  The narrative of the
voyage is signed by Dr. Russell, Thomas Momford, gentleman, and Anas
Todkill, soldier.  Master Scrivener remained at the fort, where his
presence was needed to keep in check the prodigal waste of the stores
upon his parasites by President Ratcliffe.

The expedition crossed the bay at "Smith's Isles," named after the
Captain, touched at Cape Charles, and coasted along the eastern
shore.  Two stout savages hailed them from Cape Charles, and directed
them to Accomack, whose king proved to be the most comely and civil
savage they had yet encountered.

He told them of a strange accident that had happened.  The parents of
two children who had died were moved by some phantasy to revisit
their dead carcasses, "whose benumbed bodies reflected to the eyes of
the beholders such delightful countenances as though they had
regained their vital spirits."  This miracle drew a great part of the
King's people to behold them, nearly all of whom died shortly
afterward.  These people spoke the language of Powhatan.  Smith
explored the bays, isles, and islets, searching for harbors and
places of habitation.  He was a born explorer and geographer, as his
remarkable map of Virginia sufficiently testifies.  The company was
much tossed about in the rough waves of the bay, and had great
difficulty in procuring drinking-water.  They entered the
Wighcocomoco, on the east side, where the natives first threatened
and then received them with songs, dancing, and mirth.  A point on
the mainland where they found a pond of fresh water they named "Poynt
Ployer in honer of the most honorable house of Monsay, in Britaine,
that in an extreme extremitie once relieved our Captain."  This
reference to the Earl of Ployer, who was kind to Smith in his youth,
is only an instance of the care with which he edited these narratives
of his own exploits, which were nominally written by his companions.

The explorers were now assailed with violent storms, and at last took
refuge for two days on some uninhabited islands, which by reason of
the ill weather and the hurly-burly of thunder, lightning, wind, and
rain, they called "Limbo."  Repairing their torn sails with their
shirts, they sailed for the mainland on the east, and ran into a
river called Cuskarawook (perhaps the present Annomessie), where the
inhabitants received them with showers of arrows, ascending the trees
and shooting at them.  The next day a crowd came dancing to the
shore, making friendly signs, but Smith, suspecting villainy,
discharged his muskets into them.  Landing toward evening, the
explorers found many baskets and much blood, but no savages.  The
following day, savages to the number, the account wildly says, of two
or three thousand, came to visit them, and were very friendly.  These
tribes Smith calls the Sarapinagh, Nause, Arseek, and Nantaquak, and
says they are the best merchants of that coast.  They told him of a
great nation, called the Massawomeks, of whom he set out in search,
passing by the Limbo, and coasting the west side of Chesapeake Bay.
The people on the east side he describes as of small stature.

They anchored at night at a place called Richard's Cliffs, north of
the Pawtuxet, and from thence went on till they reached the first
river navigable for ships, which they named the Bolus, and which by
its position on Smith's map may be the Severn or the Patapsco.

The men now, having been kept at the oars ten days, tossed about by
storms, and with nothing to eat but bread rotten from the wet,
supposed that the Captain would turn about and go home.  But he
reminded them how the company of Ralph Lane, in like circumstances,
importuned him to proceed with the discovery of Moratico, alleging
that they had yet a dog that boiled with sassafrks leaves would
richly feed them.  He could not think of returning yet, for they were
scarce able to say where they had been, nor had yet heard of what
they were sent to seek.  He exhorted them to abandon their childish
fear of being lost in these unknown, large waters, but he assured
them that return he would not, till he had seen the Massawomeks and
found the Patowomek.

On the 16th of June they discovered the River Patowomek (Potomac),
seven miles broad at the mouth, up which they sailed thirty miles
before they encountered any inhabitants.  Four savages at length
appeared and conducted them up a creek where were three or four
thousand in ambush, "so strangely painted, grimed, and disguised,
shouting, yelling, and crying as so many spirits from hell could not
have showed more terrible."  But the discharge of the firearms and
the echo in the forest so appeased their fury that they threw down
their bows, exchanged hostages, and kindly used the strangers.  The
Indians told him that Powhatan had commanded them to betray them, and
the serious charge is added that Powhatan, "so directed from the
discontents at Jamestown because our Captain did cause them to stay
in their country against their wills."  This reveals the suspicion
and thoroughly bad feeling existing among the colonists.

The expedition went up the river to a village called Patowomek, and
thence rowed up a little River Quiyough (Acquia Creek?) in search of
a mountain of antimony, which they found.  The savages put this
antimony up in little bags and sold it all over the country to paint
their bodies and faces, which made them look like Blackamoors dusted
over with silver.  Some bags of this they carried away, and also
collected a good amount of furs of otters, bears, martens, and minks.
Fish were abundant, "lying so thick with their heads above water, as
for want of nets (our barge driving among them) we attempted to catch
them with a frying-pan; but we found it a bad instrument to catch
fish with; neither better fish, more plenty, nor more variety for
small fish, had any of us ever seen in any place, so swimming in the
water, but they are not to be caught with frying-pans."

In all his encounters and quarrels with the treacherous savages Smith
lost not a man; it was his habit when he encountered a body of them
to demand their bows, arrows, swords, and furs, and a child or two as

Having finished his discovery he returned.  Passing the mouth of the
Rappahannock, by some called the Tappahannock, where in shoal water
were many fish lurking in the weeds, Smith had his first experience
of the Stingray.  It chanced that the Captain took one of these fish
from his sword, "not knowing her condition, being much the fashion of
a Thornbeck, but a long tayle like a riding rodde whereon the middest
is a most poysonne sting of two or three inches long, bearded like a
saw on each side, which she struck into the wrist of his arme neare
an inch and a half."  The arm and shoulder swelled so much, and the
torment was so great, that "we all with much sorrow concluded his
funerale, and prepared his grave in an island by, as himself
directed."  But it " pleased God by a precious oyle Dr. Russell
applied to it that his tormenting paine was so assuged that he ate of
that fish to his supper."

Setting sail for Jamestown, and arriving at Kecoughtan, the sight of
the furs and other plunder, and of Captain Smith wounded, led the
Indians to think that he had been at war with the Massawomeks; which
opinion Smith encouraged.  They reached Jamestown July 21st, in fine
spirits, to find the colony in a mutinous condition, the last
arrivals all sick, and the others on the point of revenging
themselves on the silly President, who had brought them all to misery
by his riotous consumption of the stores, and by forcing them to work
on an unnecessary pleasure-house for himself in the woods.  They were
somewhat appeased by the good news of the discovery, and in the
belief that their bay stretched into the South Sea; and submitted on
condition that Ratclifte should be deposed and Captain Smith take
upon himself the government, "as by course it did belong."  He
consented, but substituted Mr. Scrivener, his dear friend, in the
presidency, distributed the provisions, appointed honest men to
assist Mr. Scrivener, and set out on the 24th, with twelve men, to

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