List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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thousands of those poor people can scarce get necessaries to live,
but from hand to mouth, and though your factors there can buy as much
in a week as will fraught you a ship, or as much as you please, you
must not expect from us any such matter, which are but as many of
ignorant, miserable soules, that are scarce able to get wherewith to
live, and defend ourselves against the inconstant Salvages: finding
but here and there a tree fit for the purpose, and want all things
else the Russians have.  For the Coronation of Powhattan, by whose
advice you sent him such presents, I know not; but this give me leave
to tell you, I feare they will be the confusion of us all ere we
heare from you again.  At your ships arrivall, the Salvages harvest
was newly gathered, and we going to buy it, our owne not being halve
sufficient for so great a number.  As for the two ships loading of
corne Newport promised to provide us from Powhattan, he brought us
but fourteen bushels; and from the Monacans nothing, but the most of
the men sicke and neare famished.  From your ship we had not
provision in victuals worth twenty pound, and we are more than two
hundred to live upon this, the one halfe sicke, the other little
better.  For the saylers (I confesse), they daily make good cheare,
but our dyet is a little meale and water, and not sufficient of that.
Though there be fish in the Sea, fowles in the ayre, and beasts in
the woods, their bounds are so large, they so wilde, and we so weake
and ignorant, we cannot much trouble them.  Captaine Newport we much
suspect to be the Author of these inventions.  Now that you should
know, I have made you as great a discovery as he, for less charge
than he spendeth you every meale; I had sent you this mappe of the
Countries and Nations that inhabit them, as you may see at large.
Also two barrels of stones, and such as I take to be good.  Iron ore
at the least; so divided, as by their notes you may see in what
places I found them.  The souldiers say many of your officers
maintaine their families out of that you sent us, and that Newport
hath an hundred pounds a year for carrying newes.  For every master
you have yet sent can find the way as well as he, so that an hundred
pounds might be spared, which is more than we have all, that helps to
pay him wages.  Cap.  Ratliffe is now called Sicklemore, a poore
counterfeited Imposture.  I have sent you him home least the Company
should cut his throat.  What he is, now every one can tell you: if he
and Archer returne againe, they are sufficient to keep us always in
factions.  When you send againe I entreat you rather send but thirty
carpenters, husbandmen, gardiners, fishermen, blacksmiths, masons,
and diggers up of trees roots, well provided, then a thousand of such
as we have; for except wee be able both to lodge them, and feed them,
the most will consume with want of necessaries before they can be
made good for anything.  Thus if you please to consider this account,
and the unnecessary wages to Captaine Newport, or his ships so long
lingering and staying here (for notwithstanding his boasting to leave
us victuals for 12 months, though we had 89 by this discovery lame
and sicke, and but a pinte of corne a day for a man, we were
constrained to give him three hogsheads of that to victuall him
homeward), or yet to send into Germany or Poleland for glassemen and
the rest, till we be able to sustaine ourselves, and releeve them
when they come.  It were better to give five hundred pound a ton for
those grosse Commodities in Denmarke, then send for them hither, till
more necessary things be provided.  For in over-toyling our weake and
unskilfull bodies, to satisfy this desire of present profit, we can
scarce ever recover ourselves from one supply to another.  And I
humbly intreat you hereafter, let us have what we should receive, and
not stand to the Saylers courtesie to leave us what they please, els
you may charge us what you will, but we not you with anything.  These
are the causes that have kept us in Virginia from laying such a
foundation that ere this might have given much better content and
satisfaction, but as yet you must not look for any profitable
returning.  So I humbly rest.

After the departure of Newport, Smith, with his accustomed
resolution, set to work to gather supplies for the winter.  Corn had
to be extorted from the Indians by force.  In one expedition to
Nansemond, when the Indians refused to trade, Smith fired upon them,
and then landed and burned one of their houses; whereupon they
submitted and loaded his three boats with corn.  The ground was
covered with ice and snow, and the nights were bitterly cold.  The
device for sleeping warm in the open air was to sweep the snow away
from the ground and build a fire; the fire was then raked off from
the heated earth and a mat spread, upon which the whites lay warm,
sheltered by a mat hung up on the windward side, until the ground got
cold, when they builded a fire on another place.  Many a cold winter
night did the explorers endure this hardship, yet grew fat and lusty
under it.

About this time was solemnized the marriage of John Laydon and Anne
Burrows, the first in Virginia.  Anne was the maid of Mistress
Forrest, who had just come out to grow up with the country, and John
was a laborer who came with the first colony in 1607.  This was
actually the "First Family of Virginia," about which so much has been
eloquently said.

Provisions were still wanting.  Mr. Scrivener and Mr. Percy returned
from an expedition with nothing.  Smith proposed to surprise
Powhatan, and seize his store of corn, but he says he was hindered in
this project by Captain Winne and Mr. Scrivener (who had heretofore
been considered one of Smith's friends), whom he now suspected of
plotting his ruin in England.

Powhatan on his part sent word to Smith to visit him, to send him men
to build a house, give him a grindstone, fifty swords, some big guns,
a cock and a hen, much copper and beads, in return for which he
would load his ship with corn.  Without any confidence in the crafty
savage, Smith humored him by sending several workmen, including four
Dutchmen, to build him a house.  Meantime with two barges and the
pinnace and forty-six men, including Lieutenant Percy, Captain Wirt,
and Captain William Phittiplace, on the 29th of December he set out
on a journey to the Pamaunky, or York, River.

The first night was spent at " Warraskogack," the king of which
warned Smith that while Powhatan would receive him kindly he was only
seeking an opportunity to cut their throats and seize their arms.
Christmas was kept with extreme winds, rain, frost and snow among the
savages at Kecoughton, where before roaring fires they made merry
with plenty of oysters, fish, flesh, wild fowls and good bread.  The
President and two others went gunning for birds, and brought down one
hundred and forty-eight fowls with three shots.

Ascending the river, on the 12th of January they reached
Werowocomoco.  The river was frozen half a mile from the shore, and
when the barge could not come to land by reason of the ice and muddy
shallows, they effected a landing by wading.  Powhatan at their
request sent them venison, turkeys, and bread; the next day he
feasted them, and then inquired when they were going, ignoring his
invitation to them to come.  Hereupon followed a long game of fence
between Powhatan and Captain Smith, each trying to overreach the
other, and each indulging profusely in lies and pledges.  Each
professed the utmost love for the other.

Smith upbraided him with neglect of his promise to supply them with
corn, and told him, in reply to his demand for weapons, that he had
no arms to spare.  Powhatan asked him, if he came on a peaceful
errand, to lay aside his weapons, for he had heard that the English
came not so much for trade as to invade his people and possess his
country, and the people did not dare to bring in their corn while the
English were around.

Powhatan seemed indifferent about the building.  The Dutchmen who had
come to build Powhatan a house liked the Indian plenty better than
the risk of starvation with the colony, revealed to Powhatan the
poverty of the whites, and plotted to betray them, of which plot
Smith was not certain till six months later.  Powhatan discoursed
eloquently on the advantage of peace over war: "I have seen the death
of all my people thrice," he said, "and not any one living of those
three generations but myself; I know the difference of peace and war
better than any in my country.  But I am now old and ere long must
die."  He wanted to leave his brothers and sisters in peace.  He
heard that Smith came to destroy his country.  He asked him what good
it would do to destroy them that provided his food, to drive them
into the woods where they must feed on roots and acorns; "and be so
hunted by you that I can neither rest, eat nor sleep, but my tired
men must watch, and if a twig but break every one crieth, there
cometh Captain Smith!"  They might live in peace, and trade, if Smith
would only lay aside his arms.  Smith, in return, boasted of his
power to get provisions, and said that he had only been restrained
from violence by his love for Powhatan; that the Indians came armed
to Jamestown, and it was the habit of the whites to wear their arms.
Powhatan then contrasted the liberality of Newport, and told Smith
that while he had used him more kindly than any other chief, he had
received from him (Smith) the least kindness of any.

Believing that the palaver was only to get an opportunity to cut his
throat, Smith got the savages to break the ice in order to bring up
the barge and load it with corn, and gave orders for his soldiers to
land and surprise Powhatan; meantime, to allay his suspicions,
telling him the lie that next day he would lay aside his arms and
trust Powhatan's promises.  But Powhatan was not to be caught with
such chaff.  Leaving two or three women to talk with the Captain he
secretly fled away with his women, children, and luggage.  When Smith
perceived this treachery he fired into the "naked devils" who were in

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