List Of Contents | Contents of Captain John Smith by, Charles Dudley Warner
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the charter, he resigned, and Captain Martin was elected President.
But knowing his inability, he, after holding it three hours, resigned
it to Smith, and went down to Nansemond.  The tribe used him kindly,
but he was so frightened with their noisy demonstration of mirth that
he surprised and captured the poor naked King with his houses, and
began fortifying his position, showing so much fear that the savages
were emboldened to attack him, kill some of his men, release their
King, and carry off a thousand bushels of corn which had been
purchased, Martin not offering to intercept them.  The frightened
Captain sent to Smith for aid, who despatched to him thirty good
shot.  Martin, too chicken-hearted to use them, came back with them
to Jamestown, leaving his company to their fortunes.  In this
adventure the President commends the courage of one George Forrest,
who, with seventeen arrows sticking into him and one shot through
him, lived six or seven days.

Meantime Smith, going up to the Falls to look after Captain West, met
that hero on his way to Jamestown.  He turned him back, and found
that he had planted his colony on an unfavorable flat, subject not
only to the overflowing of the river, but to more intolerable
inconveniences.  To place him more advantageously the President sent
to Powhatan, offering to buy the place called Powhatan, promising to
defend him against the Monacans, to pay him in copper, and make a
general alliance of trade and friendship.

But "those furies," as Smith calls West and his associates, refused
to move to Powhatan or to accept these conditions.  They contemned
his authority, expecting all the time the new commission, and,
regarding all the Monacans' country as full of gold, determined that
no one should interfere with them in the possession of it.  Smith,
however, was not intimidated from landing and attempting to quell
their mutiny.  In his "General Historie " it is written "I doe more
than wonder to think how onely with five men he either durst or would
adventure as he did (knowing how greedy they were of his bloud) to
come amongst them."  He landed and ordered the arrest of the chief
disturbers, but the crowd hustled him off.  He seized one of their
boats and escaped to the ship which contained the provision.
Fortunately the sailors were friendly and saved his life, and a
considerable number of the better sort, seeing the malice of
Ratcliffe and Archer, took Smith's part.

Out of the occurrences at this new settlement grew many of the
charges which were preferred against Smith.  According to the
"General Historie" the company of Ratcliffe and Archer was a
disorderly rabble, constantly tormenting the Indians, stealing their
corn, robbing their gardens, beating them, and breaking into their
houses and taking them prisoners.  The Indians daily complained to
the President that these "protectors" he had given them were worse
enemies than the Monacans, and desired his pardon if they defended
themselves, since he could not punish their tormentors.  They even
proposed to fight for him against them.  Smith says that after
spending nine days in trying to restrain them, and showing them how
they deceived themselves with "great guilded hopes of the South Sea
Mines," he abandoned them to their folly and set sail for Jamestown.

No sooner was he under way than the savages attacked the fort, slew
many of the whites who were outside, rescued their friends who were
prisoners, and thoroughly terrified the garrison.  Smith's ship
happening to go aground half a league below, they sent off to him,
and were glad to submit on any terms to his mercy.  He "put by the
heels" six or seven of the chief offenders, and transferred the
colony to Powhatan, where were a fort capable of defense against all
the savages in Virginia, dry houses for lodging, and two hundred
acres of ground ready to be planted.  This place, so strong and
delightful in situation, they called Non-such.  The savages appeared
and exchanged captives, and all became friends again.

At this moment, unfortunately, Captain West returned.  All the
victuals and munitions having been put ashore, the old factious
projects were revived.  The soft-hearted West was made to believe
that the rebellion had been solely on his account.  Smith, seeing
them bent on their own way, took the row-boat for Jamestown.  The
colony abandoned the pleasant Non-such and returned to the open air
at West's Fort.  On his way down, Smith met with the accident that
suddenly terminated his career in Virginia.

While he was sleeping in his boat his powder-bag was accidentally
fired; the explosion tore the flesh from his body and thighs, nine or
ten inches square, in the most frightful manner.  To quench the
tormenting fire, frying him in his clothes, he leaped into the deep
river, where, ere they could recover him, he was nearly drowned.  In
this pitiable condition, without either surgeon or surgery, he was to
go nearly a hundred miles.

It is now time for the appearance upon the scene of the boy Henry
Spelman, with his brief narration, which touches this period of
Smith's life.  Henry Spelman was the third son of the distinguished
antiquarian, Sir Henry Spelman, of Coughan, Norfolk, who was married
in 1581.  It is reasonably conjectured that he could not have been
over twenty-one when in May, 1609, he joined the company going to
Virginia.  Henry was evidently a scapegrace, whose friends were
willing to be rid of him.  Such being his character, it is more than
probable that he was shipped bound as an apprentice, and of course
with the conditions of apprenticeship in like expeditions of that
period--to be sold or bound out at the end of the voyage to pay for
his passage.  He remained for several years in Virginia, living most
of the time among the Indians, and a sort of indifferent go between
of the savages and the settlers.  According to his own story it was
on October 20, 1609, that he was taken up the river to Powhatan by
Captain Smith, and it was in April, 1613, that he was rescued from
his easy-setting captivity on the Potomac by Captain Argall.  During
his sojourn in Virginia, or more probably shortly after his return to
England, he wrote a brief and bungling narration of his experiences
in the colony, and a description of Indian life.  The MS. was not
printed in his time, but mislaid or forgotten.  By a strange series
of chances it turned up in our day, and was identified and prepared
for the press in 1861.  Before the proof was read, the type was
accidentally broken up and the MS. again mislaid.  Lost sight of for
several years, it was recovered and a small number of copies of it
were printed at London in 1872, edited by Mr. James F. Hunnewell.

Spelman's narration would be very important if we could trust it.  He
appeared to have set down what he saw, and his story has a certain
simplicity that gains for it some credit.  But he was a reckless boy,
unaccustomed to weigh evidence, and quite likely to write as facts
the rumors that he heard.  He took very readily to the ways of Indian
life.  Some years after, Spelman returned to Virginia with the title
of Captain, and in 1617 we find this reference to him in the "General
Historie": " Here, as at many other times, we are beholden to Capt.
Henry Spilman, an interpreter, a gentleman that lived long time in
this country, and sometimes a prisoner among the Salvages, and done
much good service though but badly rewarded."  Smith would probably
not have left this on record had he been aware of the contents of the
MS. that Spelman had left for after-times.

Spelman begins his Relation, from which I shall quote substantially,
without following the spelling or noting all the interlineations,
with the reason for his emigration, which was, "being in displeasure
of my friends, and desirous to see other countries."  After a brief
account of the voyage and the joyful arrival at Jamestown, the
Relation continues:

"Having here unloaded our goods and bestowed some senight or
fortnight in viewing the country, I was carried by Capt. Smith, our
President, to the Falls, to the little Powhatan, where, unknown to
me, he sold me to him for a town called Powhatan; and, leaving me
with him, the little Powhatan, he made known to Capt. West how he had
bought a town for them to dwell in.  Whereupon Capt. West, growing
angry because he had bestowed cost to begin a town in another place,
Capt. Smith desiring that Capt. West would come and settle himself
there, but Capt. West, having bestowed cost to begin a town in
another place, misliked it, and unkindness thereupon arising between
them, Capt. Smith at that time replied little, but afterward combined
with Powhatan to kill Capt.  West, which plot took but small effect,
for in the meantime Capt. Smith was apprehended and sent aboard for

That this roving boy was "thrown in" as a makeweight in the trade for
the town is not impossible; but that Smith combined with Powhatan to
kill Captain West is doubtless West's perversion of the offer of the
Indians to fight on Smith's side against him.

According to Spelman's Relation, he stayed only seven or eight days
with the little Powhatan, when he got leave to go to Jamestown, being
desirous to see the English and to fetch the small articles that
belonged to him.  The Indian King agreed to wait for him at that
place, but he stayed too long, and on his return the little Powhatan
had departed, and Spelman went back to Jamestown.  Shortly after, the
great Powhatan sent Thomas Savage with a present of venison to
President Percy.  Savage was loath to return alone, and Spelman was
appointed to go with him, which he did willingly, as victuals were
scarce in camp.  He carried some copper and a hatchet, which he
presented to Powhatan, and that Emperor treated him and his comrade
very kindly, seating them at his own mess-table.  After some three
weeks of this life, Powhatan sent this guileless youth down to decoy
the English into his hands, promising to freight a ship with corn if
they would visit him.  Spelman took the message and brought back the

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