(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "American biography"

IC-NRLF 



SB 53M ODD 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 




are. tficLitlCS tK&tjluw t/y TaCC. luttKofc- 
Th.atfkcw thy GraCC and glory, Irykter bee : 
liy Fairc-J>i/coucries awl Fowle.- Over thr owes 

Of Salvaacs,mucJi Civittizd ty tficc-^^> 
EeJlJJitw thy Spirit-.antl to it Glory (\Vyn^_ 
So,tfiou. artJ*ra?e witfwut,l>ut Qroiae, \\Titkin. . 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

EDITED BY 

JARED SPARKS 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 

By 
GEORGE S. HILLARD 

Vol. 4 




HARPER & BROTHERS 

PUBLISHERS 
NEW YORK AND LONDON J902 



Ad4cd Copy 
^R 

GIFT 



1 



37? 

I? 03 
v./ 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

His Birth, early Adventures, and brilliant 
Achievements in the Turkish Wars .... 3 

CHAPTER II 

His Captivity, Escape, and Return to Eng 
land 20 

CHAPTER III 

State of public Feeling in England in Regard 
to Colonizing the Coast of America. Smith 
becomes interested in the Subject. Establish 
ment of the Virginia and Plymouth Com 
panies. An Expedition sets Sail from Eng 
land. Dissensions on the Voyage. Arrival 
in Virginia 3 

CHAPTER IV 

Early Struggles of the Colony. Active Exer 
tions of Captain Smith in providing Food 
and suppressing Insubordination 42 




M 77579 7 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER V 



PAGE 



Captain Smith s Captivity among the Indians. 
His Life is saved by Pocahontas. His 
Return to Jamestown 55 



CHAPTER VI 

Arrival of Newport from England. His Visit 
to Powhatan. His Return 69 



CHAPTER VII 

Captain Smith explores the Chesapeake in two 
Expeditions. He is chosen President of the 
Colony 82 

CHAPTER VIII 

Second Arrival of Newport. Abortive Expe 
dition to explore the Interior. Injudicious 
Conduct of the Council in England. Their 
Letter to Captain Smith. His Reply . . . 104 

CHAPTER IX 

Difficulties in procuring Provision. Captain 
Smith s unsuccessful Attempt to obtain Pos 
session of Powhatan s Person 119 

CHAPTER X 

Captain Smith s Adventures with Opechanca- 
nough, Chief of Pamunkey. His Return to 

Jamestown 134 

iv 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XI 

PAGE 

Troubles with the Indians. Scarcity of Pro 
visions. Mutinous and treacherous Dispo 
sition of some of the Colonists. Arrival of 
Captain Argall . . . . 143 

CHAPTER XII 

New Charter granted to the Virginia Compa 
ny. Expedition despatched to Jamestown. 
Confusion which ensues on its Arrival. 
Captain Smith returns to England .... 158 

CHAPTER XIII 

Remarks on Captain Smith s Administration 
in Virginia 171 

CHAPTER XIV 

Captain Smith s first Voyage to New England 179 

CHAPTER XV 

Captain Smith sails a second Time for New 
England. Is taken by a French Squadron 
and carried to France. Makes his Escape. 
Arrives in England. Publishes his De 
scription of New England 184 

CHAPTER XVI 

Visit of Pocahontas to England. Captain 
Smith s Interview with her. Death of Poca 
hontas 193 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XVII 

PAGE 

Captain Smith s Examination by the Commis 
sioners for the Reformation of Virginia. 

His Death. His Character 210 

vi 



THE 

LIFE AND ADVENTURES 

OF 

CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 

BY 

GEORGE S. HILLARD 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 



CHAPTER I. 

His Birth, early Adventures, and brilliant 
Achievements in the Turkish Wars. 

AMONG the adventurous spirits, whom a rest 
less love of enterprise called from the bosom of 
repose in England to new scenes and untried 
perils in our Western wilds, there is no one whose 
name awakens more romantic associations, than 
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. His life is as brilliant 
and exciting as a Fairy tale; and the remarkable 
adventures he went through served to develop 
fully his no less remarkable character. It was 
his good fortune to live in stirring and event 
ful times, congenial to his bold and roving dis 
position, and, luckily for posterity, his adventures 
have been preserved in a characteristic narra 
tive written by himself, from which the principal 
facts in the following biographical sketch have 
been drawn. 

He was born in Willoughby in the county 
of Lincolnshire, in the year 1579, and was de- 
3 



4 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

scended from an ancient family which belonged 
to the county of Lancashire. His wild spirit of 
enterprise and dislike to confinement displayed 
themselves in early boyhood; for, at the age 
of thirteen, being, as he himself says, "set upon 
brave adventures," he sold his satchel, books, 
and whatever other property he had, in order 
to raise money to furnish him with the means 
of going privately to sea; but this hopeful enter 
prise was frustrated by the death of his parents, 
who left him a competent estate. His guar 
dians put him apprentice, at the age of fifteen, to 
Mr. Thomas Sendall of Lynn, " the greatest mer 
chant of all those parts ;" but the compting-house 
desk seems to have been as irksome to him as the 
school-boy s form. He quitted his master s em 
ployment, and, with but ten shillings in his pocket, 
furnished him by his friends (to use his own 
words) "to get rid of him," he entered into 
the train of the second son of the famous Lord 
Willoughby, who was travelling into France. 

On arriving at Orleans, he was furnished with 
funds sufficient to carry him back to Eng 
land; but such a step was very far from his 
intention. He went over into the Low Coun 
tries, the battle-ground of Europe, where he 
served for three or four years under the com 
mand of Captain Joseph Duxbury. Of the nat 
ure of his service he does not inform us, but 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 5 

he probably belonged to a company of English 
auxiliaries, who were aiding Prince Maurice in 
his gallant and successful struggle against the 
power of Spain, which resulted in the inde 
pendence of the Netherlands. He met with 
a Scotch gentleman abroad, whose name was 
David Hume, who supplied him with money, 
gave him letters to his friends in Scotland, and 
assured him of the favor and patronage of King 
James. 

He set sail for Scotland accordingly, and, after 
having suffered shipwreck and a severe fit of 
sickness, arrived there, and delivered his letters. 
By those to whom they were addressed, he was 
treated with that warmth of hospitality, which 
seems to have been characteristic of the Scotch 
nation from the earliest times; but he found no 
encouragement to enter upon the career of a 
courtier. He returned to Willoughby in Lin 
colnshire; and, finding himself thrown among 
those in whose society he took no pleasure, 
and being perhaps a little soured by disap 
pointment, he built himself a sylvan lodge of 
boughs in a wood, and studied military history 
and tactics. He amused himself at the same 
time with hunting and horsemanship. He was 
not, however, a genuine and independent man 
of the woods; for he kept up an intercourse 
with the civilized world by means of his servant, 



6 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

who supplied his woodland retreat with all the 
comforts of artificial life. Rumor soon spread 
about the country the tale of a young and ac 
complished hermit, and brought to his " lonely 
bower " an Italian gentleman in the service of 
the Earl of Lincoln, of great skill in horseman 
ship, who insinuated himself into the favor of 
Smith, and induced him to return with him into 
the world. 

His military ardor soon revived, and he 
set out a second time upon his travels, intend 
ing to fight against the Turks, whom all good 
Christians in those days looked upon as nat 
ural enemies. The first stage of his journey 
was the Low Countries, where he met with 
four French adventurers, who, seeing the youth 
and inexperience of Smith (being at that time 
but nineteen years old), formed a plan to rob 
him. One of them pretended to be a noble 
man, and the others personated his attendants. 
They persuaded him to travel with them into 
Prance, and they accordingly embarked together 
on board of a vessel for that purpose. His 
treacherous friends found in the captain a kin 
dred spirit in villany, and by his assistance their 
plans were put into execution. In a dark night 
they arrived at St. Yalery in Picardy; and, by 
the contrivance of the captain, the four French 
men were put on shore with the baggage of 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 7 

Smith, he himself remaining on board, in utter 
ignorance of the disposition which had been made 
of his property. The boat with the captain re 
turned the next day towards evening, a delay 
which he alleged to be in consequence of the 
high sea, but which was in reality to enable 
the robbers to escape with their booty. His vil- 
lany was strongly suspected by the passengers, 
who, indignant at his baseness and strongly sym 
pathizing with Smith in his misfortune, proposed 
to him to kill the captain and take possession 
of the vessel and cargo. This offer, so charac 
teristic of the lawlessness of the times, was re 
jected by Smith, with a promptness worthy of his 
honorable and high-minded character. 

On his being landed, Smith found himself in 
such straits as to be compelled to sell his cloak 
to pay for his passage. One of his fellow pas 
sengers generously compassionating his forlorn 
situation, supplied him with money and brought 
him to Mortain, the place of residence of the 
villains who had robbed him. He found it im 
possible to obtain any satisfaction, however, for 
the injuries he had received at their hands, the 
word of a friendless and unknown stranger prob 
ably not being deemed sufficient evidence of their 
guilt; and he could not be aided by his gener 
ous fellow passenger, who was an outlawed man 
and obliged to live in the strictest seclusion. 



8 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

The rumor of his misfortunes awakened the ac 
tive sympathy of several noble families in the 
neighborhood, by whom he was most hospita 
bly entertained and his necessities liberally re 
lieved. 

A life of ease did not suit his restless tempera 
ment, and his high spirit could not endure his be 
ing the constant subject of favors, which he had 
no means of repaying. He set out upon his 
wanderings with a light purse, a stout heart, and 
a good sword. His slender means being soon ex 
hausted, he was reduced to great sufferings, so 
much so, that one day, in passing through a 
forest, his strength, worn out by grief and ex 
posure, entirely failed him, and he threw himself 
down by the edge of a fountain, with little hope 
of ever rising again. Here he was providentially 
found by a rich farmer, who acted the part of the 
good Samaritan towards him, and furnished him 
with the means of prosecuting his journey. 

Jn rambling from port to port in search of a 
ship of war, he met, near a town in Brittany, one 
of the villains who had robbed him. They both 
drew without exchanging a single word, and the 
prowess of Smith gave him an easy victory over 
one, whose arm was paralyzed by the conscious 
ness of a bad cause. He obliged him to make an 
ample confession of his guilt in the presence of 
numerous spectators. He obtained nothing, how- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 9 

ever, but the barren laurels of victory, and direct 
ed his course to the seat of the Earl of Ployer, 
whom he had formerly known. By him he was 
treated with the utmost kindness and hospitality, 
and his purse liberally replenished. Taking leave 
of his friendly host, he travelled by a circuitous 
route to Marseilles, where he embarked for Italy. 
New troubles awaited Smith in this passage. 
The author of the manuscript Latin memoir, al 
luded to in the Preface, remarks, that it is curious 
to observe how ingenious Fortune is in contriving 
peculiar disasters and perils to try the temper of 
heroes and great men, the ordinary mishaps of life 
not being sufficient for that purpose; a reflection 
naturally enough suggested by the adventures of 
his hero. On board the vessel was a great crowd 
of Catholic pilgrims of various nations, who were 
bound to Rome. They encountered a violent 
storm, which obliged them first to put into the 
harbor of Toulon, and afterwards to anchor under 
the small island of St. Mary, which lies off Nice, 
in Savoy. The enlightened devotees, who were 
sailing with him, took it into their heads, that the 
tempest was sent from heaven, as a manifestation 
of its displeasure at the presence of a heretic, who 
was, among so many of the true church, like " a 
dead fly in the compost of spices." They at 
first confined themselves to angry reproaches, di 
rected not only against Smith himself, but against 



10 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Queen Elizabeth, an object of especial dread and 
aversion to all good Catholics. Their displeas 
ure soon displayed itself by more unequivocal 
signs. The writer above alluded to says, that 
Smith disdained to stain his sword with the blood 
of so base a rabble, but that he belabored them 
soundly with a cudgel; but this probably belongs- 
to that large class of facts, for which historians 
and biographers are indebted to their own imag 
inations. 

Be that as it may, the result was, that Smith 
was thrown into the sea, like another Jonah, a& 
a peace-offering to the angry elements. He was 
so near the island of St. Mary, that he could 
reach it without any difficulty by swimming. The 
next day, he was taken on board a French ship, 
commanded by Captain La Roche, a friend and 
neighbor of the Earl of Ployer, who, for his sake, 
treated Smith with great kindness and consid 
eration. They sailed to Alexandria in Egypt, 
and, delivering their freight, coasted the Levant. 
In the course of their voyage they met with a 
Venetian argosy, richly laden. The captain of 
the French ship desired to speak her, but his 
motions were misconstrued by the Venetian ship, 
which fired a broad-side into her, mistaking her 
probably for a pirate, or supposing, what was 
probably true in those troubled times, that he 
could expect none but the treatment of an enemy 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 11 

from those of any other than his own nation. 
An engagement naturally enough ensued, which 
resulted in the defeat of the Venetian vessel, 
after a loss of twenty men, her adversary losing 
fifteen. Her rich cargo was plundered by the 
victors, and the most valuable and least bulky 
portions of it taken on board their own vessel. 
The valor of Smith had been most signally dis 
played in this engagement, and he received, as 
his share of the spoils, five hundred sequins, 
besides a "little box" (probably of jewels), 
worth nearly as much more. He was set on 
shore in Piedmont, at his own request. He made 
the tour of Italy, and gratified his curiosity by a 
sight of the interesting objects with which that 
country is filled. Mindful of his original purpose, 
he departed from Venice, and travelling through 
Albania, Dalmatia, and Sclavonia, came to Gratz 
in Styria, the residence of Ferdinand, Archduke 
of Austria, afterwards Emperor of Germany. 

The war was at that time raging between Ko- 
dolph the Second, Emperor of Germany, and 
Mahomet the Third, the Grand Seignior. Smith s 
desire to display his prowess against the Turks 
was soon gratified. He met with two of his 
countrymen, who introduced him to Lord Ebers- 
paught, Baron Kissell, and the Earl of Meldritch, 
all of them officers of distinction in the Imperial 
army. 



12 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

This was in the latter part of the year 1601. 
The Turkish army, under the command of Ibra 
him Bashaw, had besieged and taken, in the month 
of October, the strong fortress of Canisia, in Hun 
gary, and were ravaging the neighboring country. 
They were laying siege to Olympach, with twen 
ty thousand men, and had reduced the garrison, 
commanded by Eberspaught, to great extremities, 
having cut off all communication and supplies. 
Smith served as a volunteer in the army of the 
Baron .Kissell, the general of artillery, who an 
noyed the besiegers from without. He was de 
sirous of sending a communication to the com 
mander of the garrison, but found no one bold 
enough to undertake so perilous an enterprise. 
Smith then communicated to him a plan of tel 
egraphic intercourse, which he had before made 
known to Lord Eberspaught, anticipating that the 
chances of war would give rise to an emergen 
cy, in which a knowledge of it might be highly 
useful. By KisselFs order, Smith was conveyed 
at night to a mountain seven miles distant from 
the town, and communicated with the commander 
of the garrison, and conveyed to him the follow 
ing message. " On Thursday at night, I will 
charge on the east; at the alarm sally you;" an 
answer was returned, " I will." The besieged were 
also aided further by Smith s inventive genius. 
On the eve of the attack, he had several thousand 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 13 

matches, fastened to strings, extended in a line 
and fired, so that the report sounded like a dis 
charge of musketry, and gave to the Turks the 
impression that there was a large body of men in 
that quarter, and they consequently marched out 
to attack them, and at the same moment they 
found themselves assaulted by Baron Kissell s 
army and by the garrison of the besieged fortress, 
who had made the concerted sally. They were 
in consequence thrown into great confusion and 
made but a feeble resistance. Many of them 
were slain, and others driven into the river and 
drowned. Two thousand men were thrown into 
the garrison, and the Turks were obliged to aban 
don the siege. This brilliant and successful ex 
ploit obtained for our adventurer the command 
of a troop of two hundred and fifty horse in the 
regiment of Count Meldritch.* 

* Smith s telegraph was by means of torches, each 
letter from A to L being designated by showing one 
torch as many times as correspond to the letter s place 
in the alphabet ; each letter from M to Z, in like man 
ner, by showing two torches. It is essentially the same 
as that described in the tenth book of Polybius and in 
Rees s Cyclopsedia, Art. Telegraph. Smith had proba 
bly met with it in Polybius, a writer whose military 
spirit would be congenial to his taste ; and the use he 
thus made of his boyish acquisitions is a proof that a 
" little learning " may be a very good thing, even to a 
soldier. 



14 A M E R I C A X BIOGRAPHY. 

In the year 1601, the campaign began with 
great spirit and vast preparations. The Emperor 
raised three armies, one commanded by Gonzago, 
Governor of Hungary, one by Ferdinand, Arch 
duke of Styria, and the third by the Archduke 
Matthias, the Emperor s brother, whose lieutenant 
was Duke Mercury, who raised with him an army 
of thirty thousand men, and under whom Smith 
served. He laid siege to Alba Regalis, a strong 
ly fortified town in Hungary. Smith s talents as 
an engineer were here called into exercise; for 
he contrived a sort of bomb or grenade, to be dis 
charged from a sling, which greatly annoyed the 
Turks in their sallies, and two or three times set 
the suburbs of the place on fire. The city was 
finally taken by an ingeniously contrived and 
boldly executed military manoeuvre; a loss so 
great to the Turks, that it is related that the 
Bashaw of Buda, who was a prisoner in Vienna, 
on hearing of it, abstained from eating a whole 
day, prostrate upon his face, praying to Moham 
med, who, as he said, had been all that year 
angry with the Turks. 

The Sultan had raised an army of sixty thou 
sand men, under the command of Hassan Ba 
shaw, for the purpose of relieving Alba Regalis. 
He, having heard of its capture, still continued 
his march, in the hope of taking it by surprise. 
Duke Mercury, though far inferior in numbers, 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 15 

inarched out to meet him, and encountered him 
in a desperate battle on the plains of Girke, which 
resulted in the defeat of the Turks, with the loss 
of six thousand men. In this action Smith be 
haved with great valor, was severely wounded, 
and had a horse shot under him. 

Duke Mercury, after this, divided his forces 
into three parts, one of which, under the command 
of Count Meldritch, was sent into Transylvania, 
which was the seat of a triple war. Sigismund 
Bathor, the native prince, was contending for his 
crown with the Emperor of Germany, and, at the 
same time, waging war against the Turks, who 
were also the foes of the Emperor; so that each 
party had their attention distracted and their 
forces thinned by a common enemy. Meldritch 
had been ordered to join the army of the Emper 
or, which was acting against Sigismund. But 
Meldritch was himself a Transylvanian and little 
inclined to oppose himself to his countrymen, to 
whom he probably wished success in his heart. 
He and his officers were most of them soldiers 
of fortune, bound by slack allegiance to the Em 
peror, and ready, like Captain Dugald Dalgetty, 
to enlist under that leader, who could give them 
the highest pay and the best chance for gaining 
booty; and the Emperor, it seems, was not a very 
prompt paymaster. He therefore offered his ser 
vices to Sigismund, by whom they were cordially 



16 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

accepted; and from him he obtained permission 
to turn his arms against the Turks, an enterprise 
to which he was stimulated by personal feeling, 
for they had possession of that part of Transylva 
nia in which his own family estates were situated. 

In the course of the desultory and partisan war 
fare, which he carried on, he laid siege to Kegal, 
a frontier town in the mountainous parts of Tran 
sylvania, so strong by nature and art as to be 
deemed impregnable, and garrisoned by a motley 
assemblage of Turks, Tartars, renegades, and rob 
bers. Count Meldritch had with him eight thou 
sand men, and he was afterwards joined by Prince 
Moyses with nine thousand more, to whom he 
surrendered the chief command. 

The siege was long and obstinate, owing to 
the great strength of the place; and frequent 
and bloody, but undecisive skirmishes took place. 
The Turks grew insolent at the ill success of the 
Christians, and laughed to scorn their slow and 
ineffectual movements. One of their number, the 
Lord Turbashaw by name, a man of rank and 
military renown, sent a challenge to any captain 
of the Christian army, to fight with him in single 
combat, giving a reason characteristic of the times 
for this message, that it was to delight the ladies 
of Regal, "who did long to see some court-like 
pastime." So many were ready to accept this 
challenge, that their conflicting claims were settled 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 17 

by lot, and the chance fell upon Smith, who had 
burned for the privilege of meeting the haughty 
Turk. 

On the day appointed for the combat, the ram 
parts of the town were lined with ladies and sol 
diers. The Lord Turbashaw entered the lists in 
a splendid suit of armor, blazing with gold and 
jewels, and " on his shoulders were fixed a pair of 
great wings, compacted of eagle s feathers, within 
a ridge of silver, richly garnished with gold and 
precious stones." He was attended by three Jan 
izaries, one of whom bore his lance, and two 
walked by the side of his horse. Smith soon 
followed, attended by a single page bearing his 
lance, and rode by his antagonist, courteously 
saluting him as he passed. At the sound of the 
trumpet, they met in mid career, and the well- 
directed lance of Smith pierced through the visor 
into the brain of the Turk, and he fell dead from 
his horse, without having shed a drop of his ad 
versary s blood. His head was cut off and borne 
in triumph to the Christian army, and his body 
given up to his friends. 

The death of the Lord Turbashaw was heavily 
borne by the garrison; and a friend of his, by 
name Grualgo, burning to avenge him and to 
pluck the fresh laurels from Smith s brow, sent 
him a particular challenge, which was readily ac 
cepted, and the battle took place the next day 
iv. 2 



18 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

after receiving it. At their first encounter, their 
lances were ineffectually shivered, though the 
Turk was nearly unhorsed. They then dis 
charged their pistols, by which Smith was slight 
ly wounded and his antagonist severely in the 
left arm. Being thus rendered unable to manage 
his horse, he offered a faint resistance and was 
easily slain; and his horse and armor, by previ 
ous agreement, became the property of the vic 
tor. 

The siege was slowly protracted in the mean 
while, and Smith found but few opportunities for 
signalizing his valor. His high spirit, flushed 
with success, could not brook the rust of repose, 
and he obtained leave of his general to send a 
message into the town, that he should be happy 
to furnish the ladies with further entertainment, 
and to give to any Turkish knight the opportunity 
of redeeming the heads of his slain friends, and 
carry off his own besides, if he could win it. 
The challenge was accepted by a stout champion, 
to whom the Fates had given the unharmonious 
name of Bonny Mulgro. Having the privilege 
of choosing his own weapons, he avoided the 
lance, having had proof of Smith s dexterity 
in the use of it, and selected pistols, battle- 
axes, and swords. In the encounter, they dis 
charged their pistols without effect, and then 
fought with their battle-axes. Smith seems to 



CAPTA1U J OHN SMITH. i 

been inferior to his adversary in the use of 
this weapon, for he received so heavy a blow, 
that, the axe dropped from his hands and he 
nearly fell from his horse ; and the Turks, seeing 
his mishap from the walls, set up a loud shout, 
as if the victory were already won. But Smith 
quickly recovered himself, and by his skilful horse 
manship not only escaped the heavy blows aimed 
at him by the ponderous battle-axe, but ran his 
foe through the body with his sword. The ladies 
of Regal were certainly well entertained by our 
adventurer, and they could not complain of disap 
pointment when he was master of the feast. 

For these brilliant exploits Smith was reward 
ed by suitable honors. He was conducted to his 
general s tent by a military procession, consisting 
of six thousand men, three led horses, and, before 
each, the head of one of the Turks he had slain, 
borne on a lance. The general received him 
with much honor, embraced him, and presented 
him with a horse superbly caparisoned, and a scim 
itar and belt worth three hundred ducats ; and his 
colonel, Count Meldritch, made hirr major of his 
regiment. 

The siege was prosecuted with renewed vigor 
and the place was finally taken, and its brave gar 
rison put to the sword, in retaliation of the same 
inhuman barbarity, which they had shown to the 
Christian garrison from whom they took it The 



20 AMERICAN BlOGRAPKYe 

prince of Transylvania, hearing of the valc^ of 
Smith, gave him his picture set in gold and a peu- 
sion of three hundred ducats per annum. He also 
bestowed upon him a patent of nobility and a 
coat of arms bearing three Turks heads in a 
shield, with the motto " Vincere est vivere." * 
This patent was afterwards admitted and recorded 
in the Heralds College in England by Sir Wil 
liam Segar, Garter King at Arms. 



CHAPTER II. 

His Captivity, Escape, and Return to England. 

THE summer heaven of Smith s fortunes was 
soon to be overcast ; and fate had trials in store 
for him, far exceeding any he had before known. 
Sigismund, the prince of Transylvania, found that 
he could no longer maintain a war against the 
Emperor and the Turks at the same time, the 
resources of his flourishing principality being ut 
terly exhausted by his long-continued and un 
equal struggle. He accordingly acknowledged 
the Emperor s authority, gave up his station as 
an independent prince, and passed the remainder 

*The date of this patent is December 3d, 1603, which 
was not until after Smith s return from his captivity 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 21 

of his days in tne more obscure, but probably 
aappier, rank of a private nobleman in Prague, 
in the enjoyment of a munificent pension, which 
he had received in exchange for the uneasy splen 
dor of a crown. 

By this arrangement the armies of Sigismund 
were thrown out of employment, and transferred 
their allegiance to the Emperor. His generals 
were somewhat embarrassed by the presence of 
so many well disciplined and veteran troops, who 
were well known to be devotedly attached to 
their old master and not very fond of their new 
one ; and they were anxious to keep them con 
stantly employed, well knowing that idleness is 
the mother of mutiny. An opportunity soon 
occurred ; for there was seldom peace in those 
days on the frontiers of Christendom and " Hea 
thenesse." 

The inhabitants of Wallachia, at that time a 
Turkish province, unable to endure the tyranny 
of their Waywode, or prince, revolted and appli 
ed to the Emperor for assistance, who gladly 
afforded it ; and the Earl of Meldritch, accompa 
nied by numerous officers, and Smith among the 
rest, and by an army of thirty thousand men, who 
had served under Sigismund, went to support the 
claims of the new Waywode, Lord Rodoll. The 
former one, whose name was Jeremy, had raised 
an army of forty thousand Tartars, Moldavians, 



22 AMEKICA.N BIOGRAPHY. 

and Turks, to maintain his pretensions. A blooc 7 
battle was fought between them, in which the 
Turkish army was totally defeated with the loss 
of twenty-five thousand men, and Wallachia be 
came subject to the Emperor. 

The deposed Waywode collected together 
some troops, and assumed a dangerous attitude in 
the neighboring province of Moldavia ; and the 
Earl of Meldritch was sent to reduce him. He 
was successful in several skirmishes, in one of 
which he was materially assisted by Smith s 
ingenuity in the construction of fire-works, a 
gift which seems to have been peculiar to him. 
Pressing on too eagerly and incautiously, he was 
decoyed into an ambuscade, in a mountainous 
pass near the town of Rottenton, and attacked 
by an army of forty thousand men. The Chris 
tians made a gallant and desperate resistance, 
but could avail nothing against such immense 
odds ; and they were all slain or cut to pieces, 
except about thirteen hundred, who, with the 
Earl of Meldritch, escaped by swimming a river. 

In this unhappy battle were slain many gal 
lant noblemen and gentlemen, the flower of Sigis- 
.nund s army and his most devoted friends, and, 
among the rest, nine Englishmen, whose names 
Smith affectionately preserves, who, for the sake 
of sustaining the cross and humbling the cres 
cent, had exposed themselves to peril and death 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 23 

hi an obscure war, and in a remote corner of 
Europe. Such is the soldier s unequal lot. Some 
are proudly slain on famous fields ; " honor decks 
the turf that wraps their clay," and their name? 
become in after-times watch-words and rallying 
cries ; while others, with arms as strong, heart:: 
as brave, hopes as warm, and souls as aspiring, 
fall in petty skirmishes, the very spot of which 
soon becomes uncertain, and tradition itself pre 
serves not a record of their names. 

Smith was severely wounded and left for dead 
upon the field. Some sparks of life were found in 
him, and the Turks, judging him to be a man of 
distinction by the richness of his armor, healed 
his wounds in order to secure a large ransom. 
As soon as he was recovered, he was taken to 
Axiopolis with many other prisoners, and there 
they were all sold, "like beasts in a market 
place." Smith was sold to the Bashaw Bogall, 
who sent him to Constantinople as a present to 
bis mistress, the young Charatza Tragabigzanda 
(a name not very manageable in a sonnet), tell 
ing her that he was a Bohemian nobleman, whom 
he had captured in war. 

This young lady viewed with compassion the 
afflicted condition of her captive, who was at 
that time in the flower of his youth, and adorned 
with those manly graces, which make valor more 
attractive, and affliction more pitiable. Not hav- 



24 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ing her time so much occupied as modern young 
ladies, she would often contrive an excuse for 
asking a question of the interesting captive who 
dwelt so much in her thoughts, as she had a slight 
knowledge of Italian. To her surprise she learnt, 
that the story told by her lover was a sheer fab 
rication, that Smith was an English gentleman, 
who had never seen the Bashaw till he had been 
bought by him in the market-place of Axiopolis. 
The tender feeling, with which she had, perhaps 
unconsciously to herself, begun to regard Smith, 
was probably increased by the indignation, with 
which she heard of the deception that had been 
practised upon her. She drew from him the 
whole story of his adventures, to which she did, 
like Desdemona, " seriously incline," and, like 
Desdemona, " she loved him for the dangers he 
had passed," as well as for his graceful man 
ners, fascinating conversation, and that noble and 
dignified bearing, which the weeds of a captive 
could not conceal. She mitigated the pains of 
his captivity by all the means in her power ; and, 
apprehensive lest her mother (who probably sus 
pected the dangerous progress he was making in 
her daughter s affections) should sell him in order 
to remove him from her sight, she resolved to 
cend him, with a letter to her brother Timour, 
Bashaw of Nalbritz, in the country of Gambia, and 
I* rovinco of Tartary, who resided near the borders 
of the sea of Azof. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 25 

In this letter she enjoined it upon her brother 
to treat Smith with the greatest kindness, and, to 
make " assurance doubly sure," she frankly told 
him of the state of her feelings towards him, 
which disclosure had, however, upon the haughty 
Tartar an effect very different from what she an 
ticipated. Highly incensed that his sister should 
have disgraced herself by an attachment to a 
Christian slave, he vented his displeasure upon its 
unfortunate object. He ordered his head to be 
shaved, his body to be stripped and clothed with 
a rough tunic of hair-cloth, and a large ring of 
iron to be fastened around his neck. He found 
many companions in misfortune, and, being the 
last comer, he was, as he says, " slave of slaves 
to them all ; " though, he continues, " there was 
no great choice, for the best was so bad, that 
a dog could hardly have lived to endure." 

Smith does not inform us of the length of his 
captivity, nor have we any data for ascertaining 
i*, but it could not have been many months ; for 
the battle, in which he was taken, was fought in 
1602, and we hear of his return from slavery, to 
Transylvania in December, 1603. He has left an 
account of the manners and customs, religion and 
government, of the " Crym-Tartars," as he calls 
them, which does credit to his powers of observa 
tion, and the retentiveness of his memory, but 
which would be neither new nor interesting to the 



26 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

reader. Of their offensive and comfortless style 
of living he speaks with the energy of personal 
disgust, but makes honorable mention of their 
justice and integrity. For their military equip 
ments, knowledge, and discipline he expresses the 
contempt natural to a thorough master of the art 
of war, but does justice to their bravery, their 
skill in horsemanship, and their powers of en 
durance. The brave spirit of Smith could not be 
conquered even by the galling chains of bond 
age, which were rendered heavier by his despair 
of being ever able to throw them off; for he says, 
that " all the hope he had ever to be delivered 
from this thraldom was only the love of Traga- 
bigzanda, who surely was ignorant of his bad 
usage ; for, although he had often debated the 
matter with some Christians, that had been there 
a long time slaves, they could not find how to 
make an escape by any reason or possibility ; but 
God, beyond man s expectation or imagination, 
helpeth his servants, when they least think of 
help, as it happened to him." He was employed 
to thresh corn in a country-house belonging to 
Timour, which was a league distant from his resi 
dence. His cruel master, who felt a particular 
ill-will towards him, never passed him without 
displaying it by gross abuse, and even persona 
violence. His ill-treatment, on one occasion, 
was so outrageous, that Smith, maddened tnd 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 27 

transported beyond the bounds of reason by a 
sense of insult, and reckless of consequences, 
knowing that, happen what might, his miserable 
condition could not be changed for the worse, 
rose against him and beat out his brains with 
his threshing-flail. The instinct of self-preser 
vation is fertile in expedients. He clothed him 
self in the rich attire of the slain Timour, hid 
his body under the straw, filled a knapsack with 
corn, mounted his horse, and galloped off to the 
desert. 

Save the exulting sense of freedcm, his con 
dition was but little improved, however, and he 
could hardly hope for any thing but a death 
more or less speedy, according as he was re 
captured or not. He \vas in the midst of a 
wild, vast, and uncultivated desert, dreading to 
meet any human beings, who might recognise 
him as a runaway slave by the iron collar which 
he still wore about his neck, and again reduce 
him to bondage. He wandered about two or 
three days without any end or purpose, and 
in utter loneliness and despair ; but Providence, 
who had brought him out of captivity, befriended 
him still further, and directed his random steps 
to the main road, which leads from Tartary into 
Russia. 

After a fatiguing and perilous journey of six 
teen days, he arrived at Ecopolis, upon the river 



28 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Don, a garrison of the Russians ; where, he says, 
" the governor, after a due examination of those 
his hard events, took off his irons, and so kindly 
used him, he thought himself new risen from 
death, and the good lady Calamata largely sup 
plied his wants." This last clause is character 
istic of Smith. His gentlemanly courtesy prompts 
him to acknowledge the kind attentions of a 
lady, while his modesty forbids him to mention 
any of the reasons which induced her to take 
an interest in him, still less to exaggerate that 
interest into a warmer feeling. 

Being furnished by the friendly governor with 
letters of recommendation, he travelled, under 
the protection of convoys, to Hermanstadt in 
Transylvania. His journey through these deso 
late regions was made delightful by the kind at 
tentions which he constantly received. He says, 
" in all his life, he seldom met with more respect, 
mirth, content, and entertainment, and not any 
governor, where he came, but gave him some 
what as a present, beside his charges." Their 
own exposed situation on the frontiers made them 
constantly liable to be carried into slavery by the 
Tartars, and they could sympathize with one 
who had just escaped a fate of which they were 
continually apprehensive. 

On his arrival in Transylvania, where he found 
rxany of his ok! friends and companions in arms, 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 29 

and where his brilliant exploits had made him 
generally known and popular, he was received 
with enthusiasm as one risen from the grave, 
and overwhelmed with honors and attentions. He 
says, that " he was glutted with content and 
near drowned with joy," and that he never would 
have left these kind friends, but for his strong 
desire to " rejoice himself" in his own native 
country, after all his toils and perils. At Leipsic 
he met with his old Colonel, the Earl of Mel- 
dritch, and Prince Sigismund, who gave him a 
diploma, confirming the title of nobility he had 
previously conferred upon him, and fifteen ducats 
to repair his losses. From thence he travelled 
through Germany, France, and Spain, visiting 
the places most worthy of note in each. 

Hearing that a civil w r ar had broken out in 
Barbary, eager to gain new honors and encoun 
ter new perils, he sailed in a French ship of war 
to the African coast, and went to the city of Mo 
rocco ; but, finding that the contending parties 
were equally treacherous and unworthy, he re 
fused to throw his sword into either scale. He 
describes some of the objects most worthy of 
note in the cities of Morocco and Fez, and gives 
a slight sketch of the conquest and discoveries 
of the Portuguese in the southern portions of 
Africa. He departed from Morocco in the same 
vessel in which he had come, and which, on 



30 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the vo)age, sustained a desperate fight against 
two Spanish men-of-war, and succeeded in beat 
ing them off. He returned to his own country 
about the year 1604. 



CHAPTER III. 

State of public Feeling in England in regard 
to Colonizing the Coast of America. Smith 
becomes interested in the Subject. Establish 
ment of the Virginia and Plymouth .Compa 
nies. An Expedition sets Sail from England. 
Dissensions on the Voyage. Arrival in 
Virginia. 

THE times, of which we are writing, were 
fruitful alike in great enterprises and in great 
men. The brilliant discoveries of the Portuguese 
in the East, and of Columbus and Sebastian 
Cabot in the West, had startled the civilized 
world like the sound of a trumpet, and given to 
the human mind that spring and impulse, which 
are always produced by remarkable events. The 
fiery and adventurous spirits of Europe found 
the bounds of the old world too narrow for them, 
and panted for the untried spheres of our new 
and broader continents. 



CAPTA N JOHN SMITH 31 

The wealth and fertility of the newly discover 
ed lands, of course, lost nothing in the narratives 
of the few, who had by chance visited them, and 
returned home to astonish their admiring and less 
fortunate friends with tales of what they had seen 
and heard. They had seen climes which were 
the favorites of the sun, and his burning glances 
filled the earth, the air, and the sea with strange 
beauty. There were birds of gorgeous plumage, 
dazzling the eye with their motions and colors, 
flowers of the richest hues and most delicate 
odors, and aromatic forests that made the air faint 
with perfume, and " old Ocean smile for many 
a league." But the most extravagant accounts 
were given of the mineral treasures of the new 
countries. Gold and silver were so plentiful, 
that the most common utensils were made of 
them ; and every one had some story to tell of 
" the Eldorado, where " (in the words of Mike 
Lambourne in " Kenilworth ") " urchins play at 
cherry-pit with diamonds, and country wenches 
thread rubies for necklaces instead of rowan-tree 
berries ; where the pantiles are made of pure 
gold, and the paving-stones of virgin silver." 
The good and bad passions of men were alike 
stimulated. There were savages to be civil 
ized and heathen to be converted ; there were 
worlds to be conquered and laurels to be won ; 
avarice was allured by dreams of untold wealth, 



32 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and enterprise by prospects of boundless ad 
venture. 

England was strongly infected by the general 
feeling, and the genius and accomplishments of 
Sir Walter Raleigh kindled in all ranks a strong 
passion for foreign adventures. Several attempts 
had been made in the reign of Elizabeth, under 
the auspices of that remarkable man, to plant a 
colony in North America, the earliest settlement 
having been made, in 1585, on the island of 
Roanoke, in Albemarle Sound, on the coast of 
North Carolina ; but no one had taken firm root. 
The history of these short-lived colonies, and an 
examination of the causes which led to their fail 
ure, would be out of place here. * 

At the time of Smith s arrival in England 
there was not any English colony on the con 
tinent of North America ; but the public at 
tention had been strongly awakened to the sub 
ject by the animated representations of Captain 
Bartholomew Gosnold, who, in 1602, had made 
a prosperous voyage to the coast of New Eng 
land, and had, on his return, spoken in the 
warmest terms of its fertility and the salubrity 
of its climate, and strongly urged upon his coun- 

* The reader will find a minute and accurate account 
of their fortunes in Stith s History of Virginia, and a 
succinct and well-written one in Grahame s History of 
the United States. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 33 

trymen the importance of colonizing it. He and 
Captain Smith seem to have been drawn to 
wards each other by that kind of instinct, which 
brings together kindred spirits, and Smith entered 
into his plans with characteristic ardor. It was 
indeed precisely the enterprise to be embraced by 
a man like Smith, who panted for action, who 
dreaded nothing so much as repose, who sighed 
for perils, adventures, " hair-breadth scapes," 
and " moving accidents by flood and field." 

The statements of Gosnold having been amply 
confirmed by subsequent voyagers, and King 
James, who was well-inclined to any plan, which 
would give employment to his frivolous and rest 
less mind, and increase his power and conse 
quence, encouraging the plan of establishing a 
colony, an association was formed for that pur 
pose. Letters patent, bearing date April 10th, 
1606, were issued to Sir Thomas Gates, Sir 
George Somers, Richard Halduyt, and their 
associates, granting to them the territories in 
America, lying on the seacoast between the 
thirty-fourth and forty-fifth degrees of north lati 
tude, together with all islands situated within a 
hundred miles of their shores. The associates 
were divided into two companies, one consisting 
of London adventurers, to whom the northern 
part was assigned, and under whose auspices New 
England was afterwards settled. It was provided, 

iv. 3 



34 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

that there should be at least one hundred miles 
distance between the two colonies. The terms of 
this charter were strongly expressive of the King s 
arbitrary character, and of that jealous regard for 
his prerogatives, which, in after times, proved so 
fatal to his race. The most important provision 
was, that the supreme government was vested 
in a council resident in England, to be nomi 
nated by the crown, and the local jurisdiction was 
confided to a colonial council, appointed and re 
movable at the pleasure of the crown, who 
were to be governed by royal instructions and 
ordinances from time to time promulgated. 

The royal favor was yet more abundantly 
vouchsafed to them. The King busied himself 
in the employment, highly agreeable to his med 
dling and insatiable vanity, of drawing up a code 
of laws for the colonies that were about to be 
planted ; which, among other things, provided, 
that the legislative and executive powers should 
be vested in the colonial council, with these 
important qualifications, however, that their laws 
were not to touch life or limb, that they should 
conform to the laws of England, and should 
continue in force only till modified or repealed 
by the King or the supreme council in Eng 
land. 

It was not until the 19th day of the follow 
ing December, that an expedition set sail from 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 35 

England. This delay arose from a variety of 
causes, and especially a want of funds. On that 
day a hundred and five colonists embarked from 
London in a squadron of three small vessels, the 
largest of which did not exceed a hundred ten-* 
in burden. Among the leading adventurers wer* 
Captains Gosnold and Smith, George Percy, broTh 
er of the Earl of Northumberland, Edward M~ 
Wingfield, a London merchant, and Mr. Robert 
Hunt, a clergyman. The transportation of the 
colony was intrusted to Captain Christopher 
Newport, who was esteemed a mariner of skill and 
ability on the American coast. Orders for govern 
ment were given to them, sealed in a box, which 
was not to be opened till their arrival in Virginia. 

They ivent by the old and circuitous route of 
the Canary Islands and the West Indies. Be 
ing detained by contrary winds for six weeks up 
on the coast of England, troubles and dissensions 
sprang up among them, as often occurs in those 
expeditions, in which unanimity and harmony of 
feeling are of the most vital importance. Peace 
was with difficulty restored by the mild and ju 
dicious counsels of Mr. Hunt, who, though af 
flicted with a severe illness and the object of 
special dislike to some of the leading men, (who, 
as we are told, were " little better than Athe 
ists,") devoted himself with unshaken firmness 
to his duty, and preferred the service of God 



36 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and his country in a perilous and irksome en 
terprise, to the comforts and security of his own 
home, which was but twenty miles distant from 
the spot where the wind-bound fleet was ly 
ing. 

On their arrival at the Canaries the flames of 
discord broke out with renewed fury, and Cap 
tain Smith became the victim of unjust suspi 
cions and groundless enmity. His high reputa 
tion and frank, manly bearing had made him 
popular with the majority of the colonists, and 
his influence over them had excited the envy 
and dislike of some of the leaders ; while his 
pride of character and conscious innocence pre 
vented him probably from making any exertions 
to conciliate them. He was accused by Wing- 
field and others of entering into a conspiracy to 
murder the council, usurp the government, and 
make himself king of Virginia. Upon these ri 
diculous charges he was kept a prisoner during 
the remainder of the voyage. 

From the Canaries they steered to the West 
Indies, where they traded with the natives, and 
spent three weeks in recruiting. They then set 
sail for the Island of Roanoke, their original desti 
nation, but a violent storm providentially overtook 
them on the coast and carried them to the mouth 
of the Chesapeake Bay. They discovered land 
on the 26th of April, 1607, which they named 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 37 

Cape Henry, in honor of the Prince of Wales. 
They sailed into the James River, and explored 
it for the space of forty miles from its mouth. 
The appearance of the country on each side filled 
them with delight. It was fertile and well water 
ed, the landscape picturesquely varied with hills, 
valleys, and plains, and newly decked with the 
green mantle of spring. To the sea-worn voy 
agers, the scene was like enchantment, and this 
spot seemed to be pointed out by the finger of 
Heaven, as their resting-place and home. 

They were employed seventeen days in pitch 
ing upon a convenient spot for their settlement. 
Upon the very first day of their arrival they went 
on shore, and were attacked by some Indians, 
who came creeping upon all fours, from the 
hills, like bears," and who wounded some of the 
party with their arrows, but were forced to re 
tire by a discharge of muskets. They found, in 
one of the shallow rivers, abundance of oysters, 
" which lay on the ground as thick as stones," 
and in many of them there were pearls. Going 
on shore, says the writer,* " we past through 
excellent ground, full of flowers of divers kinds 
and colors, and as goodly trees as I have seen, as 
cedar, cypress, and other kinds ; going a little 
further we came to a little plat of ground, full of 

* See note on page 40. 



38 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

fine and beautiful strawberries, four times bigger 
and better than ours in England." The north 
ern point at the entrance of Chesapeake Bay they 
named Point Comfort, because they found there 
deep water for anchorage, " which put them in 
good comfort." Landing on this point on the 
fourth day after their arrival, they saw five Indians, 
who were at first alarmed at the sight of the Eng 
lish, " until they saw the captain lay his hand 
upon his heart," upon which they came boldly up 
and invited them to Kecoughtan, their town. 
This invitation they accepted ; and on arriving at 
the village they were kindly entertained by the 
Indians, who gave them corn-bread, tobacco, and 
pipes, and expressed their welcome by a dance. 
Four days afterwards, they were kindly entertained 
by the chief of the Pashiphay tribe, and received 
an invitation from the chief of the Rappahannas 
to come and visit him. He sent them a messen 
ger to guide them to his habitation, and stood on 
the banks of the river to meet them as they land 
ed, " with all his train," (says the writer,) " as 
goodly men as any I have seen of savages or Chris 
tians, the Werowance * coming before them, play 
ing on a flute made of a reed, with a crown of 
deer s hair, colored red, in fashion of a rose, fasten- 

* A name by which the chiefs of tribes in Virgkua 
and its neighborhood were designated. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 39 

ed about his knot of hair, and a great plate of cop 
per on the other side of his head, with two long 
feathers in fashion of a pair of horns placed in the 
midst of his crown. His body was painted all 
with crimson, with a chain of beads about his 
neck ; his face painted blue, besprinkled with sil 
ver ore, as we thought ; his ears all behung with 
bracelets of pearl, and in either ear a bird s claw 
through it, beset with fine copper or gold. He 
entertained us in so modest a proud fashion, as 
though he had been a prince of civil government, 
holding his countenance without laughter or any 
such ill behavior. He caused his mat to be 
spread on the ground, where he sat down with 
a great majesty, taking a pipe of tobacco, the rest 
of his company standing about him. After he 
had rested a while, he rose and made signs to us 
to come to his town. He went foremost, and all 
the rest of his people and ourselves followed him 
up a steep hill, where his palace was settled 
We passed through the woods in fine paths, hav 
ing most pleasant springs which issued from the 
mountains. We also went through the goodliest 
corn-fields that ever were seen in any country. 
When we came to Rappahanna town, he enter 
tained us in good humanity." 

On the 8th day of May they went farther up 
the river. They went on shore in the country 
belonging to the tribe ol Apamatica, where they 



40 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

were met by a large body of Indians armed " with 
bows and arrows in a most warlike manner, with 
the swords at their backs beset wit4i sharp stones 
and pieces of iron, able to cleave a man in sun 
der." But, on making signs of peace, they were 
suffered to land without molestation. On the 
13th day of May, they pitched upon the place 
of their settlement, which was a peninsula on the 
north side of James River, about forty miles from 
the mouth, to which they gave the name of 
Jamestown. The shore was so bold, that their 
ship could be in six fathoms of water, and be 
moored to the trees on the land.* 

From this date the history of the United States 
of America begins, after a lapse of one hundred 
and ten years from the discovery of the continent 
by Sebastian Cabot, and tw T enty-two years after 
the first attempt to colonize it by Sir Walter 
Raleigh. Who can look back and compare the 
past with the present without reflections of the 
most serious and interesting cast ? In this little 

* This slight sketch of their proceedings, after their 
arrival in James River, and before they settled in James 
town, is taken from a Narrative in Purchas (Vol. IV. 
p. 1685), written by George Percy, the brother of the 
Earl of Northumberland, one of the early settlers, and as 
distinguished for high character as for high birth. He 
succeeded Captain Smith aa governor. His Narrative 
is comprised in six folio pages, and is very interesting. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 41 

handful of men, occupying a strip of land in the 
southeastern corner of Virginia, surrounded by 
pathless woods and savage men, we behold the 
" seminal principle " of a mighty people, destined 
to subdue the vast continent to the mild sway of 
civilization, letters, and Christianity, and to con 
nect two oceans by a living and unbroken chain. 
Owing their political existence to the charter of 
a tyrant, which deprived them of some of the 
most valuable privileges of Englishmen, the colo 
nists laid the foundations of a state, in which the 
sternest and fiercest spirit of liberty was to be 
developed, and which was destined to break out, 
in little more than a century and a half, in deadly 
opposition to that mother-country, to whose am 
ple robe they had so long clung for support ; not 
so much to obtain redress for actual oppressions, 
as in denial of the right to oppress, and in defence 
of those principles of truth, freedom, political 
equality, and natural justice, which descended to 
them with their Saxon blood and Saxon speech. 
The tree of liberty was first planted in the soil of 
America by despotic hands. The results which 
followed the settlement of this country were such, 
as the most sagacious wisdom could not have 
foreseen, nor the most visionary enthusiasm have 
hoped. History, no less than revelation, teaches 
us our dependence upon a higher Power, whose 
wise and good plans xve can as little comprehend 



42 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

as oppose, who is ever bringing real good out of 
seeming evil, and who, in the discipline with 
which he tries both men and nations, is ever 
inaking misfortune, discouragement, and struggle, 
the elements of unbounded growth, progress, and 
prosperity. 



CHAPTER IV. 

Early Struggles of the Colony. Active Exer 
tions of Captain Smith in Providing Food 
and Suppressing Insubordination. 

BEFORE going any further it will be proper to 
give the reader a short account of the original 
inhabitants of the soil, as their history becomes 
almost immediately blended with that of the col 
ony. At the time of the first settlement by the 
Europeans, it has been estimated that there were 
not more than twenty thousand Indians within the 
limits of the State of Virginia. Within a circuit 
of sixty miles from Jamestown, Captain Smith 
says, there were about five thousand souls, and of 
these scarce fifteen hundred were warriors. The 
whole territory between the mountains and the 
sea was occupied by more than forty tribes, thirty 
of whom were united in a confederacy under 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 43 

Powhatan, whose dominions, hereditary and ac j 
quired by conquest, comprised the whole coun 
try between the rivers James and Potomac, and 
extended into the interior as far as the falls of 
the principal rivers. 

Campbell, in his " History of Virginia," states 
the number of Powhatan s subjects to have been 
eight thousand. Powhatan was a remarkable 
man ; a sort of savage Napoleon, who. by the 
force of his character and the superiority of his 
talents, had raised himself from the rank of a 
petty chieftain to something of imperial dignity 
and power. He had two places of abode, one 
called Powhatan, where Richmond now stands, 
and the other at Werowocomoco, on the north 
side of York River, within the present county of 
Gloucester. He lived in something of barbaric 
state and splendor. He had a guard of forty 
warriors in constant attendance, and four sentinels 
kept watch during the night around his dwelling. 
His power was absolute over his people, by whom 
he was looked up to with something of religious 
veneration. His feelings towards the whites were 
those of implacable enmity, and his energy and 
abilities made him a formidable foe to the infant 
colony. 

Besides the large confederacy of which Pow 
hatan was the chief, there were two others, with 
which that was often at war. One of these, 



44 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

called the Mannahoacs, consisted of eight tribes, 
and occupied the country between the Rappa- 
hannoc and York rivers ; the other, consisting of 
five tribes, was called the Monacans, and was 
settled between York and James rivers, above 
the Falls. There were also, in addition to these, 
many scattering and independent tribes. 

Captain Smith describes at considerable length 
their manners and customs, dress, appearance, 
government, and religion. They did not differ 
materially, in any of these respects, from the 
northern tribes. They had the straight black 
hair, the tall, erect, and graceful forms, and the 
copper complexion. Their characters displayed 
the same virtues and vices, which those, who are 
in any degree familiar with the early history of 
cur country, recognise as peculiar to the Indian 
race. They were equally removed from the ro 
mantic beau-ideal, which modern writers of fic 
tion have painted, and the monstrous caricature, 
drawn by those, who, from interested motives, 
have represented them, as " all compact " of 
cruelty, treachery, indolence, and cowardice. 

As soon as the colony had landed, the box 
containing their orders was opened ; and it was 
found that Edward M. Wingfield, Bartholomew 
Gosnold, John Smith, Christopher Newport, John 
Ratcliffe, John Martin, and George Kendall were 
appointed a council. They were to choose a 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 45 

Piesident from among their own number, who 
was to hold his office a year, with the privilege 
of having two votes. The council made choice 
of Mr. Wingfield as President. 

It is curious that almost the first act of the 
council should have been one of disobedience to 
their superior power; for, though Captain Smith 
had been expressly named one of the council, 
they excluded him, and gave their reasons for so 
doing in a speech made probably by the President, 
to the whole colony. However dissatisfied they 
might have been, the time was too precious to be 
spent in brawls and wrangling. All hands set 
themselves diligently to work. The council 
planned a fort, others cut down trees to clear a 
place to pitch their tents, while others were em 
ployed in making nets and preparing spots for 
gardens. The " overweening jealousy " of the 
President would not permit any military exercises 
or any fortifications to be erected, except a bar 
rier of the boughs of trees in the shape of a 
half-moon. Soon after, an expedition was sent 
to discover the head of James River, consisting 
of twenty men, under the command of Newport 
and Smith, whose noble nature did not suffer him 
for a moment to abate any thing of his zeal for 
the good of the colony, under the influence of 
personal pique or disappointment. They passed 
by several habitations, and on the sixth day ar- 



46 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

rived at the Falls, and erecting a cross, took pos 
session of the country in the name of King 
James. Here they visited Powhatan, whose 
town consisted of but twelve houses, pleasantly 
situated on a hill. He received them with seem 
ing kindness, and gratefully accepted a hatchet 
which Captain Newport presented to him. Their 
further progress up the river was obstructed by 
the Rapids or Falls. They were kindly and hos 
pitably treated by the natives, whom they en 
countered in their excursion. 

On their return they found, that the colony 
had in their absence suffered from the careless 
ness of the President in leaving them without 
military defences ; for the Indians had attacked 
them, wounded seventeen men, and killed one 
boy. The writer of the narrative contained in 
Smith s History says, that had not a cross-bar 
shot from the ship, struck off a bough from a tre* 
in the midst of the Indians and caused them tc 
retire in affright, the colonists would have been 
entirely cut off, they being securely at work and 
unarmed. The President, made wiser by expe 
rience, ordered the fort to be palisadoed, the 
ordnance to be mounted, and the men to be 
armed and exercised. They were frequently 
attacked by the savages, whose numbers and ac 
tivity generally gave them the advantage, notwith 
standing the superiority *ii Inc.- whites in arms 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 47 

At the end of six weeks, Captain Newport, 
who had been engaged merely to transport the 
colony, made preparations for returning to Eng 
land. The enemies of Captain Smith pretended, 
out of compassion to him, a desire to refer him 
to the council in England to be reprimanded 
by them, rather than expose him to the pub 
licity of a legal trial, which might injure his 
reputation and endanger his life. But he was 
not a man to be bullied or cajoled. He was 
strong, not only in the consciousness of innocence, 
but in the affections and respect of a large ma 
jority of the colonists. He loudly demanded a 
trial, the result of which was highly honorable 
to him. The arts of his enemies were revealed, 
and those who had been suborned to accuse 
him betrayed their employers. He was acquit 
ted by acclamation, and the President condemn 
ed to pay a fine of two hundred pounds, which 
Smith generously added to the public property 
of the colony. Many other difficulties had 
arisen, which were amicably adjusted, by the 
" good doctrine and exhortation " of Mr. Hunt, 
who seems to have richly deserved the blessing 
promised to the peace-makers, and, by his in 
fluence, Captain Smith was admitted a member 
of council. On the next Sunday, they all pat- 
took of the communion, as a bond of Christian 
narmony, and a pledge that their recent recon- 



48 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ciliatioi* was sincere. On the following day, the 
Indians in the neighborhood voluntarily sued for 
peace. Captain Newport sailed for England, 
on the 15th of June, leaving one hundred and 
four persons behind, and promising to return 
again in twenty weeks with fresh supplies. 

The colony, owing to gross mismanagement 
and improvidence in the council in England, 
were very inadequately furnished with provisions. 
While the ships remained, they did not suffer from 
want, as they could always, either for "love 
or money," obtain a portion of the sailors stores, 
of which they had great abundance. But this 
resource was cut off by the departure of the 
squadron, and they were reduced to a daily al 
lowance of a half-pint of barley and the same 
quantity of wheat, both of the worst quality, and, 
from their long remaining in the ship s hold, 
alive with insects. Their historian says, with 
melancholy mirth, that " had they been as free 
from all sins as gluttony and drunkenness, they 
might have been canonized for saints ; " for th s 
wretched fare, with some sturgeon and shell-fish 
from the river, was all they had to subsist up 
on till the month of September. Disease and 
death made frightful havoc among them ; for, 
besides their scanty and unhealthy food, their 
constitutions were weakened by extreme toil in 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 49 

the heat of the summer, by imperfect shelter, 
and by the sudden change from the habits and 
comforts of civilized life to constant labor and 
exposure. Before September, fifty of their num 
ber had died, including Captain Gosnold, the 
first projector of the expedition. 

The President, Wingfield, by embezzling the 
public stores and converting them to his own use, 
had escaped the general famine and sickness,* 
but had thereby much increased the dislike, 
which had always been felt towards him. In 
the beginning of the autumn he laid a plan ta 
escape to England in the colony s bark, which 
treacherous conduct (to borrow the language 
of the historian) "so moved our dead spirits, 
that we deposed him." Captain John Rat- 
cliffe was elected in his place. Kendall, who 
was concerned with him in the plot, was ex 
pelled from the council, so that it was now re 
duced to three members, the President, Martin, 
and Smith. After the discovery of this conspir 
acy, the sufferings of the colonists reached 
their utmost extent. Their provisions were con 
sumed, no prospect of relief appeared, and they 
were in hourly expectation of an attack from 

* This charge seems hardly credible ; but it is posi 
tively asserted by Smith, whose honesty and integrity 
are beyond suspicion, and not contradicted by any wri 
ter to my knowledge. 

IV. 4 



,50 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 



the Indians, to whom they could have offered 
no effectual resistance, in their present enfee 
bled condition. But they, so far from doing 
them any violence, supplied them liberally with 
provisions ; a treatment so welcome and un 
expected, that the grateful piety of Smith as 
cribes it to a special interposition of divine Prov 
idence.* 

Smith s eminent abilities and high character, 
it was evident from the beginning, would sooner 
or later give him the first place in the colony, 
whatever might be his nominal rank. In times 
of peril and adversity, men, by a kind of unerring 
instinct, discover who is the ruling spirit, and 
put the helm into his hands as the only pilot 
that can weather the storm. Such times hat! 



* The writer in Smith s History acquits the counc J 
in England of all blame in respect to their scanty pro 
visions, and sums up the causes, which led to thew 
difficulties, in the following terms. 

"And now where some affirmed it was ill done of 
the council to send forth men so badly provided, this 
incontradictable reason will show them plainly they 
are too ill advised to nourish such ill conceits ; first 
the fault of our going was our own ; what could be 
thought fitting or necessary we had, but what we should 
find or want, or where we should be, we were all ignor 
-ant ; and, supposing to make our passage in two months 
with victual to live and the advantage of the spring to 
work, we were at sea five months, which we both 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 51 

now come upon the infant settlement, and they 
turned their eyes upon Smith, as the only man 
who could rescue them from the difficulties in 
which they were involved. The new President 
and Martin were neither able nor popular, and 
ihe official rank of the former was but dust in 
the balance, when weighed against Smith s native 
superiority. From this time the chief manage 
ment of affairs devolved upon him. 

He entered upon his duties with characteristic 
ardor and energy. He set about the building of 
Jamestown, and by kind words and encouraging 
promises, and, more than all, by his own example^ 
taking upon himself the most laborious and fa 
tiguing duties, he pushed on the work with so 

spent our victual in passing and lost the opportunity of 
the time and season to plant, by the unskilful presump 
tion of our ignorant transporters, that understood not at 
all what they undertook. Such actions have ever since 
the world s beginning been subject to such accidents, 
and every thing of worth is found full of difficulties, 
but nothing so difficult as to establish a commonwealth 
so far remote from men and means, and where men ? 
minds are so untoward as neither to do well themselves 
nor suffer others." Stith, on the other hand, an accu 
rate and painstaking writer, accuses the council and 
especially Sir Thomas Smith, their treasurer, of want 
of care and thoughtfulness, and says that the same 
mismanagement and carelessness marked the whole 
of that gentleman s administration of the affairs of 
the colony. 



52 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

much diligence, that he had in a short time pro 
vided most of them with lodgings, neglecting any 
for himself. Their stock of provisions being well 
nigh exhausted, he resolved to make search for a 
fresh supply. His ignorance of the language of 
the natives, and his want of men and equipments, 
were great impediments to the expedition, but no 
discouragement to his adventurous spirit. Attend 
ed by only five or six men, he went down the 
river in a boat, to Kecoughtan, where Hampton 
now stands. The natives, who were aware of 
their condition, treated them with contempt as 
poor, starved creatures, and, when invited to traffic, 
would scoffingly give them a handful of corn 01 
a piece of bread in exchange for their swords, 
muskets, and clothing. 

Finding that kind looks and courteous treat 
ment produced only insult and contumely, Smith 
felt himself constrained by necessity to adopt a dif 
ferent course, though he frankly acknowledges that 
he thereby exceeded the terms of his commission. 
He discharged his muskets among them and ran 
his boat ashore, the affrighted Indians betaking 
themselves to the shelter of the woods. March 
ing to their houses he found them abounding with 
corn ; but he would not permit his men to touch it, 
expecting that the Indians would return in large 
numbers to attack him, in which expectation he 
was not disappointed. Sixty or seventy of them 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 53 

soon appeared, some painted black, some red, 
some white, and some party-colored, in a square 
column, singing and dancing, with their OJcee borne 
before them. This was an idol made of skins, 
stuffed with moss, painted, and ornamented with 
copper chains. They were armed with clubs 5 
shields, bows, and arrows, and boldly advanced 
upon the English, who received them with 3 
volley of musketry, which brought many of them 
to the ground, and with them their idol. The 
rest fled in dismay to the woods. They sent 
a priest with a proposition to make peace and re 
store their idol. Smith told them, that, if six of 
them would come unarmed and load his boat with 
corn, he would not only return them their idol, 
but give them beads, copper, and hatchets be 
sides, and be their friend. These terms were 
accepted and the stipulations performed. They 
brought ample supplies, not only of corn, but of 
turkeys, venison, and wild fowl, and continued, 
until the English departed, singing and dancing in 
token of friendship. 

The success of this expedition induced Captain 
Smith to repeat his excursions, both by land and 
water, in the course of one of which he discovered 
the people of Chickahominy, who lived upon th 
banks of the river of that name. The provisions, 
however, which he so carefully and toilsomely pro 
vided, the colonists improvidently wasted. When 



54 AMERICAN BIOGUAPHY. 

ever Smith was out of sight, owing to the Pres 
ident s imbecility and Martin s ill health, every 
thing was in tumultuous confusion, like a school 
in the absence of its teacher. Wingfield and 
Kendall, who were smarting under their recent 
disgrace, took advantage of one of these sea 
sons of insubordination to conspire with some 
disorderly malecontents, to escape to England in 
the bark, which by Smith s direction had been 
fitted up for a trading voyage to be undertaken 
the next year. Smith s unexpected return nip 
ped their project in the bud, which was not done, 
however, without recourse to arms, and in the 
action Captain Kendall was slain. Soon afterwards 
the President and Captain Archer intended to 
abandon the country, which purpose was also frus 
trated by Smith, a circumstance which puts in the 
strongest light his power and influence. We are 
told, " that the Spaniard never more greedily de 
sired gold than he victual, nor his soldiers more 
to abandon the country than he to keep j* " 
Having found plenty of corn in the neighborhood 
of Chickahominy River, he made an excursion 
there, where he found hundreds of Indians await 
ing his approach with loaded baskets in their 
hands. At the approach of winter too, the riv 
ers were covered with swans, geese, and ducks, 
which, with corn, beans, and pumpkins supplied 
by the Indians, furnished their tables amply and 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 55 

luxuriously. This abundance of good cheer had. 
its natural effect in producing good-humor and 
curing home-sickness, " none of our Tuftaffety 
humorists " (to borrow a curious expression of the 
historian) desiring to return to England. A crav 
ing stomach has in all ages been the fruitful 
source of discontent and mutiny ; and Captain 
Smith showed his knowledge of human nature, in 
taking so much pains to address it with the only 
arguments whose force it is capable of acknowl 
edging. 



CHAPTER V. 

Captain Smith s Captivity among the Indians. 
His Life is saved by Pocahontas. His Re- 
urn to Jamestown. 

CAPTAIN SMITH S gleams of prosperity and re 
pose were, like the " uncertain glories of an April 
day," broken by constant interruptions of clouds 
and misfortune. He was murmured against by 
some cross-grained spirits, and even rebuked by 
the council, for his dilatoriness in not penetrating 
to the source of Chickahominy River, a charge, 
one would think, the most unreasonable that could 
be brought against such a man. Stung by these 



56 AfcEBtCAN BIOGRAPHY. 



u?a complaints, he immediately set out 
\ipoo a revv expedition. He proceeded as far as 
his barge could float, reaching that point with 
great labor, and having been obliged to cut a 
way through the trees which had fallen into the 
river. Having left the barge securely moored, 
with strict orders to his men not to leave it till 
his return, and taking with him two Englishmen 
and two Indians as guides, he went higher up in a 
canoe. This he left in charge of the Englishmen 
and went up twenty miles further to the meadows 
at the head of the river, where he occupied him 
self in shooting game. The disorderly and ill- 
disciplined crew, whom he had left in charge of 
the barge, had disobeyed his injunctions and gone 
straggling into the woods. They were suddenly 
attacked by a party of three hundred bow r men 
commanded by Opechancanough, King of Pa 
munkey and brother to Powhatan, and one of 
their number, George Cassen by name, was taken 
prisoner. The rest, with great difficulty, regained 
their barge. The Indians extorted from their 
prisoner information of the place where Captain 
Smith was, and then put him to death in the most 
barbarDus manner. In their pursuit of Captain 
Smith, they came upon the two men, by name 
Robinson and Emry, who had been left with the 
Janoe and who were sleeping by a fire, and dis 
charged their arrows at them with fatal effect. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 57 

Having discovered Smith, they wounded him in 
the thigh with an arrow. Finding himself beset 
with numbers, he bound one of his Indian guides 
to his left arm with his garters as a buckler, and 
defended himself so skilfully with his gun, that 
he killed three and wounded many others. His 
enemies retreating out of gun-shot, he attempted 
to reach his canoe, but paying more heed to his 
foes than to his own footsteps, he sunk, with his 
guide, up to the middle in a treacherous morass. 
Helpless as he was, his bravery had inspired such 
terror, that they dared not approach him, until, 
being almost dead with cold, he threw away his 
arms and surrendered himself. They drew him 
out, and led him to the fire, by which his slain 
companions had been sleeping, and diligently 
chafed his benumbed limbs. 

Though in expectation of an immediate and 
cruel death, his presence of mind did not forsake 
him, and his inexhaustible resources were not 
found wanting in that trying hour, when he was 
an unarmed captive in the hands of merciless sav 
ages. Without asking for his life, which would 
only have lowered the respect with which his 
bravery had inspired them, he demanded to speak 
with their chief. When he was presented to 
him, he showed to him a pocket compass which 
he happened to have with him. The tremulous 
vibrations of the needle, which they rould see, 



58 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

but not touch, on account of the glass, amused 
and surprised the Indians ; and when Captain 
Smith, partly by language, he having acquired 
some knowledge of their tongue, and partly by 
signs, proceeded to explain to them the nature 
and properties of this wonderful instrument, and 
the discoveries to which it had led, and also de 
scribed to them the courses of the heavenly bod 
ies, the spherical shape of the earth, the alterna 
tions of day and night, the extent of the conti 
nents, oceans, and seas, the variety of nations and 
their relative position, which made some of them 
antipodes to others, they were filled with wonder 
and amazement.* 

Notwithstanding this, within an hour they tied 
him to a tree and prepared to shoot him with 
their arrows. But when the chief held up the 
compass, they threw down their arms, and led 
him in a sort of triumphal procession, to Orapax, 

* The above is the account contained in Smith s His 
tory, and, of course, came originally from Smith himself 
It is impossible to believe, that the ignorant Indiana 
could have comprehended such abstruse matters. They 
probably regarded the compass as the Englishman s god, 
a " great medicine," like the wig of the officer, which 
came off when grasped by his swarthy foe, and cheated 
him of a scalp to his inexpressible amazement. A wig 
and a mariner s compass would be equally mysterious, 
and entitled to equal reverence, in the eyes of these untu 
tored children of nature. " Omne ignotum pro magnifico" 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 59 

a village situated a few miles northeast of where 
Richmond now stands. They marched in single 
file, their chief being in the midst, with the En 
glish swords and muskets borne before him. Af 
ter him came Captain Smith, held by three stout 
men, and on each side six archers. When they 
arrived at the village, the women and children 
flocked round to behold their pale-faced captive. 
The warriors who conducted him, after some 
military manoeuvres, placing Smith and their chief 
in the midst, performed a war-dance around them 
with frightful yells and strange contortions of 
their limbs and features. After this dance had 
been thrice performed, they conducted him to a 
" long house," where he was guarded by forty 
men. He was served so liberally with provis 
ions, that he supposed their intention was to fat 
ten and eat him, a reflection which did not at aJl 
tend to sharpen his appetite. 

At this time one of those little incidents oc 
curred which show that even barbarous manners, 
fierce hostility, and familiarity with scenes of 
bloodshed and cruelty, cannot turn the heart 
wholly into stone, or quench the natural instinct 
of compassion. An Indian to whom Smith, upon 
his first arrival in Virginia, had given some beads 
and trinkets, brought him a garment of furs, 
which was a most acceptable present, as he 
was well nigh perishing with the cold, which in 



60 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

that year (1607) was very great both in Europe 
and America. The name of this grateful and 
benevolent savage was Maocassater. I take pleas 
ure in recording it, as well as the anecdote, whioh 
has made it so deserving of being preserved, and 
is so delightful an exception to the acts of cru 
elty, treachery, and oppression, that generally 
mark the conduct of both whites and Indians 
towards each other. 

Two days after this, he was attacked, and, but 
for his guard, would have been killed by an old 
Indian, whose son was lying at the point of death. 
Whether this was a natural sickness, which the 
father supposed was occasioned by the sorceries 
of Smith, and was therefore provoked to seek 
revenge, or whether he had been wounded by 
Smith before his capture, we do not learn ; prob 
ably the latter. They brought him to the dying 
man s side, in hopes that he might recover him 
Smith told them that he had a medicine at 
Jamestown which would restore him. But they 
would not permit him to go after it. 

The Indians were making great preparations 
to attack Jamestown, and desired to secure 
Smith s aid and cooperation. They promised 
him in return for his services, not only life and 
liberty, but as much land and as many women 
as he could wish. He endeavored to dissuade 
them from their attempt, and pointed out the 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 61 

formidable dangers to which they would be ex 
posed from the springing of mines, the can 
nons, and warlike engines ; to which they lis 
tened with alarmed attention. In order that 
his statements might be confirmed, he proposed 
to send messengers to the colony, to which they 
assented. He wrote a note, in which he in 
formed his countrymen of the plans in agitation 
against them, desired them to send him certain 
enumerated articles, and to give the messengers a 
wholesome fright, at the same time informing these 
last of all that would happen to them. These 
men started off in a season of extreme cold and 
arrived at Jamestown. Seeing men come out 
to meet them, as Smith had told them would 
be the case, they fled with dismay, leaving their 
note behind them. Coming again in the even 
ing, they found the articles mentioned in the 
note, in the very spot where Smith told them 
to look for them. They returned in three days 
and related their adventures to the great amaze 
ment of all, who supposed, that " he could either 
divine, or the paper speak." 

This incident, which confirmed their suspicion 
of Smith s supernatural powers, induced them 
to lay aside all thoughts of attacking Jamestown. 
They then carried him about in triumph througn 
the country, showing him to the various tribes 
which dwelt on the Rappahannoc, and Potomac 



62 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

rivers, and finally brought him to Pamunkey, 
the residence of Opechancanough, which was 
situated near the fork of York River. Here 
they performed a strange ceremony, the object 
of which was, as they told him, to ascertain 
whether his intentions towards them were friendly 
or not. The following was the order of per 
formances. Early in the morning, a great fire 
was made in a long house, and a mat spread 
on each side, on one of which he was seated, 
and then his guard retired. " Presently came 
skipping in a great, grim fellow, all painted over 
with coal, mingled with oil, and many snakes 
and weasels skins stuffed with moss, and all 
their tails tied together, so as they met on the 
crown of his head in a tassel ; and round abou 
the tassel was a coronet of feathers, the skins 
hanging round about his head, back, and shoul 
ders, and in a manner covered his face ; with 
a hellish voice and a rattle in his hand." This 
personage, who was a priest, commenced his 
invocation by a variety of wild gestures and 
grimaces, and concluded by surrounding the 
fire with a circle of meal. This being done, 
" three more such like devils came rushing in 
with the like antique tricks," whose bodies 
were painted half black and half red, and their 
faces daubed with red and white streaks to re 
semble mustachios. These three danced about 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 63 

for some time, " and then came in three more 
as ugly as the rest," with their eyes painted 
red and with white streaks upon their black 
faces. Finally, they all seated themselves op 
posite to the prisoner, three on the right hand 
of the priest and three on his left. They then 
began a song, accompanying it with their rat 
tles ; and when this was done, the chief priest 
laid down five grains of com, and after a short 
oration, attended with violent muscular exertion, 
laid down three more. After that they began 
their song again, and then another oration, lay 
ing down as many grains of corn as before, 
till they had twice encircled the fire. Then, 
continuing the incantation, they laid sticks be 
tween the divisions of the corn. The whole 
day was spent in these ceremonies, during which 
time neither Smith nor the performers tasted 
food, but at night they feasted abundantly on 
the best provisions they had. These rites were 
continued for three successive days. They told 
him that the circle of meal signified their own 
country, the circles of corn the bounds of the 
sea, and the sticks his country. They imagin 
ed the world to be flat and round like a trench 
er, and themselves to be placed in the middle 
of it. 

They afterwards showed him a bag of gun 
powder, which they had taken from him or 



64 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

his companions, and which they carefully pre 
served till the next spring to plant, as they did 
their corn, supposing it to be a grain. He was 
afterwards invited by Opitchapan, the second 
brother of Powhatan, to his house, and sumptu 
ously entertained ; but here, as on all other occa 
sions, none of the Indians would eat with him, 
though they would partake of the portions which 
he left unconsumed. 

At last they brought him to Werowocomoco, 
the residence of Powhatan, which was situated 
on the north side of York River, in Gloucester 
County, about twenty-five miles below the fork 
of the river. It was at that time Powhatan s 
principal place of residence, though afterwards, 
not being pleased with its proximity to the 
English, he removed to Orapax. Upon Smith s 
arrival in the village, he was detained, until 
the Indian emperor and his court could make 
suitable preparations to receive their captive in 
proper state. In the mean while more than two 
hundred of his " grim courtiers " came to gaze 
at him, as if he had been a monster. Pow 
hatan, who was at that time about sixty years 
old, is described as having been, in outward ap 
pearance, " every inch a king." His figure was 
noble, his stature majestic, and his countenance 
full of the severity and haughtiness of a ruler, 
whose will was supreme and whose nod waf 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 65 

law. He received Captain Smith with imposing, 
though rude ceremony. He was seated on a 
kind of throne, elevated above the floor of a 
large hut, in the midst of which was a fire. 
He was clothed with a robe of racoon skins. 
Two young women, his daughters, sat one on 
his right and the other on his left ; and on each 
side of the hut there were two rows of men 
in front, and the same number of women be 
hind. These all had their heads and shoulders 
painted red. Many had their hair ornamented 
with the white down of birds. Some had chains 
of white beads around their necks, and all had 
more or less of ornament. When Smith was 
brought home, they all set up a great shout. 

Soon after his entrance, a female of rank was 
directed to bring him water to wash his hands, 
and another brought a bunch of feathers instead 
of a towel to dry them with. They then feast 
ed him in the best manner they could, and held 
a long and solemn consultation to determine his 
fate. The decision was against him. Two 
large stones were brought in and placed before 
Powhatan, and Smith was dragged up to them 
and his head was placed upon them, that his 
brains might be beaten out with clubs. The 
fatal weapons were already raised, and the stern 
executioners looked for the signal, which should 

bid them descend upon the victim s defenceless 
iv. 5 



66 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

head. But the protecting shield of divine Prov 
idence was over him, and the arm of violence 
was arrested. Pocahontas, the King s favorite 
daughter, at that time a child of twelve or 
thirteen years of age, finding that her piteous 
entreaties to save the life of Smith were una 
vailing, rushed forward, clasped his head in her 
arms, and laid her own upon it, determined either 
to save his life, or share his fate. Her gener 
ous and heroic conduct touched her father s 
iron heart, and the life of the captive was spar 
ed, to be employed in making hatchets for him 
self, and bells and beads for his daughter. 

The account of this beautiful and most touch 
ing scene, familiar as it is to every one, can 
hardly be read with unmoistened eyes. The in 
cident is so dramatic and startling, that it seems 
to preserve the freshness of novelty amidst a 
thousand repetitions. We could almost as rea 
sonably expect an angel to have come down 
from heaven, and rescued the captive, as that 
his deliverer should have sprung from the bosom 
of Powhatan s family. The universal sympa 
thies of mankind and the best feelings of the 
human heart have redeemed this scene from 
the obscurity which, in the progress of time, 
gathers over all, but the most important events. 
It has pointed a thousand morals and adorned a 
thousand tales. Innumerable bosoms have throb- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 67 

bed and are yet to throb with generous admi 
ration for this daughter of a people, whom we 
have been too ready to underrate. Had we 
known nothing of her, but what is related of 
her in this incident, she would deserve the eter 
nal gratitude of the inhabitants of this country ; 
for the fate of the colony may be said to have 
hung upon the arms of Smith s executioners. 
He was its life and soul, and, without the magic 
influence of his personal qualities, it would have 
abandoned, in despair, the project of permanent 
ly settling the country, and sailed to England 
by the first opportunity. 

The generosity of Powhatan was not content 
with merely sparing his prisoner s life. He de 
tained him but two days longer. At the end 
of that time, he conducted him to a large house 
in the woods, and there left him alone upon a 
mat by the fire. In a short time, from behind 
another mat that divided the house, " was made 
the most dolefullest noise he ever heard ; then 
Powhatan, more like a devil than a man, with 
some two hundred more, as black as himself," 
came in and told him, that they were now friends, 
anil that he should return to Jamestown ; and 
that, if he would send him two pieces of can 
non and a grindstone, he would give him the 
country of Capahowsic, and esteem him as his 



68 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

own son. He was faithful to his word, and de 
spatched him immediately, with twelve guides. 
That night they quartered in the woods; and 
during the whole journey Captain Smith ex 
pected every moment to be put to death, not 
withstanding Powhatan s fair words. But, as 
the narrative of his adventures has it, " Almighty 
God, by his divine Providence, had mollified 
the hearts of those stern barbarians with com 
passion." Smith reached Jamestown in safety, 
after an absence of seven weeks, and treated 
his savage guides with great hospitality and 
kindness. He showed them two demi-culverins 
and a millstone, which they proposed to carry 
to Powhatan, but found them too heavy. He 
ordered the culverins to be loaded with stones 
and discharged among the boughs of a tree cov 
ered with icicles, in order to magnify to them 
the effects of these formidable engines. When 
they heard the report, and saw the ice and the 
branches come rattling down, they were greatly 
terrified. A few trinkets restored their confidence, 
and they were dismissed with a variety of pres 
ents for Powhatan and his family. 

The generous conduct of Powhatan, in re 
storing a prisoner who had given such fatal 
proofs of courage and prowess, is worthy of 
the highest admiration. There is hardly any 
thing in history, that can afford a parallel to 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 69 

jt He was stimulated to take the prisoner s life, 
not only by revenge, a passion strongest in sav 
age breasts, but by policy and that regard to 
his own interests, which Christian and civilized 
monarchs are justified in observing. He seems 
to have acted from some religious feeling, re 
garding Smith, either as a supernatural being, 
or as under the special protection of a higher 
power. How far this may have actuated him, 
or how far he may have been influenced by af 
fection for his daughter, it is impossible to say ; 
but, supposing both to have operated, we only 
elevate his conduct by elevating his motives. 
He must have been a noble being indeed, in 
whom religion or domestic affection could over 
come the strong impulses of passion, revenge, and 
interest. 



CHAPTER VI. 

Arrival of Newport from England. His Visit 
to Powhatan. His Return. 

SMITH S absence from Jamestown seems to 
have been always attended with evil consequences 
to the colony. The moment his back was turned, 
the unruly spirits, whom he alone could curb, 



70 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

broke out into disaffection and mutiny. He found 
" all in combustion " on his return. The col 
ony was split into two factions, the stronger of 
which was preparing to quit the country in the 
bark. Captain Smith, at the hazard of his life, 
defeated this project, bringing his cannon to bear 
upon the bark, and threatening to sink her if 
they did not stay. In revenge for this, a con 
spiracy was formed by several, and among them 
the President, to put him to death, for the lives 
of Robinson and Emry, whom they said, he had 
led to their death, and he was consequently 
guilty of their murder. Such cobweb meshes 
as these could not hold a man like Smith ; for 
" he quickly took such order with such lawyers, 
that he laid them by the heels, till he sent some 
of them prisoners to England." His relation of 
the plenty he had witnessed in the Indian territo 
ry, and of the power and liberality of Powhatan, 
cheered their drooping spirits, which were re 
vived and sustained by the kindness of Poca- 
hontas ; whose deliverance of Smith was not a 
transient impulse, but consistent with her whole 
character, and who, with her attendants, every 
four or five days brought them abundance of 
provisions, thereby saving the lives of many that 
must otherwise have perished with hunger. The 
savages also came in great numbers, bringing 
presents continually to Captain Smith, and offer- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 71 

mg commodities for sale, at the prices which ha 
himself set. His influence over them was un 
bounded, and they were ready, at his nod, to do 
any thing he required. They knew that he wor 
shipped one supreme God, the Creator and Pre 
server of all things, whom they would call, in 
conversation, the God of Captain Smith. 

This high opinion was much confirmed by the 
arrival of Captain Newport, at the time at which 
Smith had predicted to them it would happen, 
being in the latter part of the year 1607. Two 
ships had sailed from England, one commanded 
by Newport, and the other by Captain Nelson, 
the latter of which was dismasted on the coast 
of America, and blown off to the West Indies. 
Newport brought with him a reinforcement of 
men and provisions, and all things necessary. 
His arrival was a source of great joy to the 
colonists, but was in the end productive of some 
embarrassments. The President and council 
(Ratcliffe and Martin, Smith himself being the 
third), who had been always jealous of Smith s 
nfluence over the natives, endeavored to raise 
iheir credit and authority over them higher than 
his, by giving them four times as much for their 
goods as he had appointed. To gratify the mar- 
jiers also, they gave them liberty to trade as 
much as they pleased ; and the consequence was 
in a short time that the market was so glutted, 



72 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

that a pound of copper could not procure what 
was formerly obtained for an ounce, the laws of 
political economy operating, before the science 
was heard of. Their trade was also injured by- 
Captain Newport, who lavished his presents with 
the profuseness of a true sailor. They served, 
however, to impress Powhatan with a high idea 
of Newport s greatness, and made him very de 
sirous of seeing him. 

Accordingly the bark was prepared for a visit 
to Powhatan. Captain Newport was attended 
by Smith and Mr. Matthew Scrivener, a gentle 
man of sense and discretion, who had come over 
with Newport, and been admitted a member of 
the council, and by a guard of thirty or forty men. 
When they came to Werowocomoco, Newport 
began to entertain suspicions of treachery. They 
were obliged to cross many creeks and streams on 
bridges loosely made of poles and bark, and so 
frail that he imagined them to be traps set by 
the Indians. But Smith assured him there was 
nothing to fear, and with twenty men, leaving the 
bark, undertook to go forward and accomplish the 
journey alone. He went on, and was met by 
two or three hundred Indians, who conducted 
him and his companions into the town. He was 
received with shouts of welcome on all sides. 
Powhatan exerted himself to the utmost to set 
before him the most sumptuous and plentiful ban- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 73 

quet he could provide. Four or five hundred 
men attended as a guard, and proclamation was 
made, that no one should do any harm to the 
English on pain of death. 

The next day Newport came on shore, and 
was likewise warmly and hospitably received. 
An English boy, named Thomas Savage, wag 
given by him to Powhatan, and he received in 
exchange, an intelligent and faithful Indian, nam 
ed Namontack. Three or four days they spent 
in feasting, dancing, and trading, during which 
time the old chief behaved with such dignity, dis 
cretion, and propriety, as impressed his English 
visitors with the highest opinion of his natural ca 
pacity. His shrewdness in driving a bargain was 
displayed in a manner, which, but for Smith s 
superior tact, would have resulted in the great 
pecuniary loss of the English. 

He would not condescend to haggle and bartei 
for specific articles, as his subjects did, and told 
Captain Newport that it was not agreeable to his 
greatness " to trade for trifles in this peddling 
manner," and that, as they were both great and 
powerful men, their mutual transactions ought to 
be conducted on a scale of proportionate magni 
tude. He proposed to him, that Newport should 
lay down his commodities in a lump, and that he 
should select from them what he wanted, and 
give in return what he considered an equivalent 



74 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

The proposal was interpreted to Newport by 
Smith, who, at the same time, told him that all 
these fine words meant merely that Powhatan in 
tended to cheat him if he could, and warned him 
not to accept his terms. Newport, however, who 
was a vain, ostentatious man, expecting to dazzle 
the chief with his greatness, or charm him with 
his liberality, accepted them, in the hope of hav 
ing any request, he might make, readily granted. 
The result proved that Smith was right ; for Pow 
hatan, in selecting the articles that he wished and 
giving others in return, valued his corn at such a 
rate, that, as the writer of the narrative says, it 
might have been bought cheaper in old Spain, 
for they hardly received four bushels where they 
counted upon twenty hogsheads. 

Smith was much provoked at Newport s being 
so palpably overreached ; but, dissembling his cha 
grin so as to avoid suspicion, he determined to 
obtain an equivalent advantage over the wily sav 
age. He took out, as if accidentally, a variety of 
toys and gewgaws, and contrived to let Powhatan 
observe some blue beads. His eyes sparkled with 
pleasure at the sight, and he eagerly desired to 
obtain them. Smith, however, was reluctant to 
part with them, they being, as he said, composed 
of a very rare substance, of the color of the skies, 
and fit to be worn only by the greatest kings in the 
world. Powhatan s ardor was inflamed by oppo* 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 75 

sition, and he resolved to have the precious jewels 
at any price. A bargain was finally struck to the 
satisfaction of all parties, by which Smith ex 
changed a pound or two of blue beads for two or 
three hundred bushels of corn. A similar negoti 
ation was entered into with Opechancanough at 
Pamunkey. These blue beads were held in such 
estimation among the Indians, that none but their 
principal chiefs and the members of their families 
were allowed to wear them. 

They returned with their treasures to James 
town, where, shortly after, a fire broke out, which 
burnt several of their houses (they being thatch 
ed with reeds, which rendered them very com 
bustible), and occasioned them a considerable loss 
in arms, bedding, wearing-apparel, and provision. 
Among the principal sufferers, was their good 
clergyman, Mr. Hunt, who lost all he had, in 
cluding his books, which must have been a most 
severe affliction to a scholar in that lone wilder 
ness. Yet we are told, that no one ever heard 
him repine on account of his loss. Notwithstand 
ing this misfortune, their remaining stock of oat 
meal, meal, and corn would have been sufficient 
for their wants, had not the ship loitered in the 
country fourteen weeks, when she might have 
sailed in fourteen days, and thereby greatly in 
creased the number of mouths to be fed. They 
were also obliged, on the departure of the ship, 



70 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

to furnish to the crew abundant provisions with 
out any equivalent, as they had neither money 
goods, nor credit. All this was to be done cheei 
fully, that the report of it might induce others 
to c ome, and gain " golden opinions " for them 
from the council at home. " Such," says Stith, 
" was their necessity and misfortune, to be under 
the lash of those vile commanders, and to buy 
their own provisions at fifteen times their value ; 
suffering them to feast at their charge, whilst 
themselves were obliged to fast, and yet dare 
not repine, lest they should incur the censure of 
being factious and seditious persons." Their stock 
of provisions was so contracted by these means 
and by their unlucky fire, that they were reduced 
to great extremity. The loss of their houses 
exposed many, with very imperfect shelter, to 
the severity of a most bitter winter; and not a 
few died before spring, from the combined ef 
fects of cold and hunger. 

The delay of Newport s ship was occasioned 
oy one of those gold-fevers which break out so 
frequently among men, to the great prejudice 
of their reason and common sense. As it is 
well known, the most extravagant notions were 
entertained in Europe of the riches of the New 
World ; and it is not going too far to say, that 
it was thought impossible to thrust a shovel into 
American soil, without bringing up a lump of 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 77 

gold. As a proof that Virginia formed no excep 
tion to this general rule, among those who left 
England with Captains Newport and Nelson, were 
two goldsmiths, two refiners, and one jeweller; 
artificers, one would think, in very little demand 
in a new colony, where most men would, like 
/Esop s cock, prefer a grain of barley to the most 
precious gem in the world.* 

* There appears to have been a great want of judg 
ment shown in the selection of the colonists. Of 
eighty-two persons, whose names are preserved, that 
first came over to Jamestown, forty-eight were desig 
nated gentlemen, four were carpenters, twelve were 
laborers, and the others boys and mechanics. Of 
seventy- four names of those who came out with Newport 
and Nelson (one hundred and twenty in all), thirty- 
two were gentlemen, twenty-three were laborers, six 
were tailors, and two apothecaries. These " gentlemen " 
were probably dissolute, broken-down adventurers, bank 
rupts in character as well as fortune, needy and ex 
travagant younger sons of good families, whom their 
friends were happy to be quit of on any terms ; in 
capable alike of industry and subordination, indolent, 
mutinous, and reckless. These are the men, who so 
constantly tried the patience of Smith, a saving grace, 
which, as the reader may have perceived, he had not 
in great abundance ; and who provoked him to write 
in the following terms ; " Being for the most part of 
such tender educations and small experience in mar 
tial accidents, because they found not English cities, 
nor such fair houses, nor at their own wishes any of 
Uieir accustomed dainties, with feather beds and down 



78 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

In a small rivulet near Jamestown was found 
a glittering, yellowish sand, (its lustre probably 
derived from particles of mica,) which their 
excitable imaginations immediately believed to 
be gold This became the all-absorbing topic 
of thought and discourse, and " there was no 
talk, no hope, no work, but dig gold, wash 
gold, refine gold, load gold." The unskilful 
refiners, whom Newport had brought over with 
him, pronounced this shining sand to be very 
valuable ore, forgetting that " all that glisters 
is not gold." This, of course, carried the 
frenzy to its height, and, confirmed by the testi 
mony of men of supposed skill and experience, 
every one indulged in the most magnificent 



pillows, taverns and ale-houses in every breathing- 
place, neither such plenty of gold and silver and dis 
solute liberty, as they expected, they had little or no 
care of any thing, but to pamper their bellies, to fly 
away with our pinnaces, or procure their means to re 
turn for England. For the country was to them a mise 
ry, a ruin, a death, a hell, and their reports here and 
their actions there according." Another writer, describ 
ing the character of the colonists at the time of Smith s 
departure for England, observes, after enumerating 1 a few 
useful mechanics, " All the rest were poor gentlemen, 
tradesmen, serving-men, libertines, and such like, ten 
times more fit to spoil a commonwealth, than either 
begin one, or but help to maintain one." Smith s Vir* 
(Richmond Edition,) Vol. I. p. 241. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 79 

visions of wealth and aggrandizement. Nothing 
would content Newport, but the freighting of his 
ship with this worthless trash, to the great mor 
tification and chagrin of Captain Smith, who 
was no believer in golden dreams, and fore 
saw the evil consequences of neglecting duties 
of the most important nature, to chase phantoms 
and bubbles. The writer of this portion of the 
History of the colony says, " never did any 
thing more torment him, than to see all neces 
sary business neglected, to fraught such a drunk 
en ship with so much gilded dirt." Wingfield 
and Captain Archer returned with Newport 
to England, which afforded to Smith a slight 
balm of consolation for his troubles and vexa 
tions. 

As soon as the spring opened, Smith and 
Scrivener (who had been admitted a member 
of the council) set themselves diligently to work 
to rebuild Jamestown, to repair the church, store 
house, and fortifications, and to cut down trees 
and plant corn for the ensuing season. While 
they were thus occupied, Captain Nelson arrived 
in the Phoenix, from the West Indies, where he 
had remained during the winter. He was receiv 
ed with great joy, as he had long been given up 
for lost. He brought an ample stock of provis 
ions, enough to relieve the colony from all appre 
hensions Df want for the next half-year. Hij 



80 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

generous and manly conduct endeared him to the 
settlers, and his presence seemed to diffuse a gen 
eral activity and spirit of enterprise among them. 
Even the President was roused from his usual 
sluggishness and imbecility ; for, says the writer of 
this portion of the History, " to re-lade this ship 
with some good tidings, the President (not holding 
it stood with the dignity of his place to leave the 
fort) gave order to Captain Smith to discover and 
search the commodities of the Monacans coun 
try beyond the Falls." Sixty men were allotted 
to him for this expedition, which he was prevent 
ed from undertaking, by troubles near at hand. 

At Captain Newport s departure, Powhatan, 
who perceived the superiority of the English 
weapons over the rude ones of his own people, 
made him a present of twenty turkeys, as a to 
ken of his regard, desiring him to send in return 
twenty swords, which request was inconsiderately 
granted. He afterwards made a similar present to 
Captain Smith, expecting a like return ; but, find 
ing himself disappointed, he ordered his people 
to hover round Jamestown, and take possession 
of the Englishmen s weapons, whenever they had 
an opportunity, either by stratagem or force. 
These orders were faithfully executed, and were 
productive of great annoyance and inconvenience 
to the colonists. No notice was taken of their 
depredations for a time, because they had stiici 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 81 

orders from England to keep on the best possible 
terms with Powhatan and his people. " This 
cnaritable humor prevailed till well it chanced 
they meddled with Captain Smith," who then 
took the matter into his own hands, and acted with 
such promptness and energy, punishing so se 
verely the offenders whom he detected, that Pow- 
hatau found he was playing a losing game ; so 
" he sent his messengers and his dearest daugh 
ter Pocahontas with presents, to excuse him of 
the injuries done by some rash untoward captains, 
his subjects, desiring their liberties for this time, 
with the assurance of his love for ever." * 
Smith dismissed his prisoners, after giving them 
" what correction he saw fit," pretending to be 
thus merciful only for the sake of Pocahontas. 
His conduct was too resolute and spirited to meet 
the approbation of his colleagues in the council ; 
though it had struck such terror into the Indians, 
and that too without any bloodshed, that they no 
longer molested the colonists, whereas before they 
" had sometime peace and war twice in a day, 
and very seldom a week but they had some 
treacherous villany or other." 

The Phoenix was sent home in June, 1608, 



*How consistent is tyranny! Powhatan s disavowal 
of his express orders is worthv of King John or Louii 
the Eleventh. 
IT. 6 



82 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

with a load of cedar, by Captain Smith s in 
fluence ; though Martin was very anxious that 
she also should be loaded with golden sand. He 
was " willingly admitted " to return with her to 
England, being a sickly and inefficient man, and 
having his head so full oi golden dreams, as to 
make him useless, whatever might have been his 
natural capacity. 



CHAPTER VII. 

Captain Smith explores the Chesapeake in two 
Expeditions. He is chosen President of the 
Colony. 

THE enterprising character of Captain Smith 
prompted him to an arduous undertaking, namely, 
the examination and survey of Chesapeake Bay, 
to ascertain more completely the resources of the 
country and to open a friendly communication 
with its native inhabitants. He set out in an open 
barge of about three tons burden, accompanied 
by Dr. Russell and thirteen others. They left 
Jamestown on the 2d of June, 1608, in company 
with the Phoenix, and parted with her at Cape 
Henry. They then crossed the bay to the east 
ern shore and fell in with a cluster of islands 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 83 

of Cape Charles, to which they gave the 
name of Smith s Isles, in honor of their command 
er, an appellation still retained. 

They were directed by two Indians, whom they 
saw, to Accomac, the habitation of their chief, 
situated in the southwestern part of Northampton 
County. He received them with kindness, and 
is spoken of by them as the most affable and 
good-looking savage they had ever seen. He 
spoke the language of Powhatan, and told them 
that his people had been afflicted with a heavy 
pestilence, which had carried them almost all ofL 
They then coasted along the eastern shore of 
the bay, searching every inlet that seemed proper 
for habitations or harbors, and landing frequent 
ly, sometimes upon the main land, sometimes 
upon the islands, which they called RusselFs 
Islands, since called Tangier Islands. They dis 
covered and sailed up the river Pocomoke in 
search of fresh water, for want of which they 
suffered a good deal, that which they obtained 
being very muddy. 

Leaving this river, they directed their course 
to certain other islands, and when they were 
among them, their sail and mast were blown 
overboard by a sudden squall, and for two days 
the weather was so stormy, that they had great 
difficulty in keeping their boat from sinking. 
They named these islands Limbo, in 



84 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ration of their toils and sufferings, a name which 
has since been changed to Watts s Islands. 

Departing from these islands, they came to 
the River Wicomico, on the Eastern Shore of 
Maryland, where the natives were at first dispos 
ed to resist them, but were conciliated and made 
friendly by some toys left in their huts, after 
they had been a little frightened by discharges 
of fire-arms. These Indians were the wealthi 
est and most given to commerce and manufac 
tures of any they had ever seen. Finding the 
eastern coast lined with low, irregular islands, 
and for the most part without fresh water, they 
directed their course westward to the mouth of 
Patuxent River. They sailed thirty leagues fur 
ther to the north without finding any inhabitants, 
the coast being well watered but mountainous 
and barren, except the valleys, which were fer 
tile, well wooded, and abounding in wolves, 
bears, deer, and other animals. They passed 
by many coves and small streams, and came to 
a large river, which they named Bolus, and 
which was probably that now called Patapsco. 
At this place, discontent broke out among Smith s 
crew, who were most of them unaccustomed to a 
life of such toil and hardship. They had spent 
twelve or fourteen days in an open boat, toiling 
at the oar, and their bread was damaged with 
the rain ; yet, as we are told, " so good were 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 85 

their stomachs that they could digest it." Cap 
tain Smith addressed them in terms of mingled 
authority and persuasiveness ; told them how dis 
graceful it would be for them to return, while 
they had such abundance of provision, and be 
fore they had accomplished any thing of impor 
tance ; and assured them of his readiness to share 
every danger and labor, and to take the worst 
upon himself whenever there was any choice. 
Their reluctance to proceed any further was much 
increased by adverse weather, and, three or four 
of them falling sick, their piteous entreaties in 
duced Captain Smith to return. 

On the 16th of June they fell in with the 
mouth of the Potomac. The sight of this majes 
tic river revived > their drooping spirits, and, their 
invalids having recovered, they readily consented 
to explore it. For thirty miles, they found no 
inhabitants, but were afterwards conducted by two 
of the natives up a little creek, where they found 
themselves surrounded by three or four thousand 
Indians, lying in ambuscade, " so strangely paint 
ed, grimed, and disguised, shouting, yelling, and 
crying, as so many spirits from hell could not 
have showed more terrible." Their demeanor 
was very menacing ; but Smith prepared to re 
ceive them with great coolness, and, command 
ing the muskets to be discharged, the grazing of 
the bullets upon the water, and the report, which 



"86 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

the woods multiplied into a thousand echoes, 
filled them with alarm. They threw down their 
arms, and made professions of peace, which was 
ratified by an exchange of hostages. They now 
treated the English with great kindness, and frank 
ly told them that they had been commanded to 
lie in wait for them, and cut them off, by Pow- 
hatan, who had been informed of the expedition, 
and incited to take this step, by some discon 
tented spirits at Jamestown, because Captain 
Smith obliged them to stay in the country against 
their will. This fact alone will give the reader 
some notion of the infamy and worthlessness of 
some of the colonists. 

They were conducted by Japazaws, the chief 
of the Indians in that part, to a mine, of which 
they had heard a good deal, upon one of the 
tributary streams of the Potomac. It produced 
a substance like antimony, which the Indians, 
after having washed it and put it up in bags, used 
to paint themselves and their idols with It 
made "them look like Blackamoors dusted over 
with silver." Newport had carried some of these 
bags to England, and reported that the substance 
they contained was half silver. They reached 
the mine, and brought back as much of its pro 
duct as they could carry, which proved in the 
end to be of no value. No mineral treasures 
at all were found, but they collected some furs. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 87 

The Indians whom they met, generously sup 
plied them with the flesh of animals. They 
frequently found the waters alive with innumer 
able fish, and not having any net, as their bark 
was sailing among them, they attempted to catch 
them with a frying-pan, " but," the narrative 
gravely adds, " we found it a bad instrument to 
catch fish with." 

They explored the Potomac as far as their 
bark would go, and then returned. Though they 
frequently were exposed to danger from the open 
or treacherous assaults of the savages, Captain 
Smith s resolute conduct always averted it. He 
invariably met them with great boldness ; and, if 
they were desirous of peace, he would demand 
their weapons and some of their children, as sure 
ties for their good faith, and by their refusal or 
compliance he learned in what light to consider 
them and what measures to take with them. 

Desiring before his return to visit the Indians 
whom he had known in his captivity, he enter 
ed the mouth of the river Rappahannoc, where, 
at low tide, their boat ran aground. While they 
were waiting for the flood, they occupied them 
selves in sticking with the points of their swords 
the fishes, which were left upon the flats in 
such numbers, that they took in this way more 
in an hour than they could eat in a day. Cap 
tain Smith, in taking fiom the point of his sword 



88 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

a stingray, (which is described in the narrative 
as " being much in the fashion of a thornback," 
but with " a long tail like a riding-rod, whereon 
the midst is a most poisoned sting, of two or 
three inches long, bearded like a saw on each 
side,") was wounded by its sharp thorn, to the 
depth of an inch and a half, in the wrist. The 
wound, though it drew no blood, became ex 
tremely painful ; and in a few hours his arm and 
shoulder were so much swollen, that his com 
panions concluded his death was at hand, and 
were so confident of it, that with heavy hearts 
they dug his grave in an island hard by. But 
by the timely application of a " precious oil " by 
Dr. Russell, after the wound had been probed, 
he recovered from the ill effects of it so quickly, 
that he was able to take his revenge upon the 
fish by eating a piece of it for his supper. The 
place, where this accident occurred, was named 
in consequence of it Stingray Point, as it is still 
called. 

They returned to Jamestown on the 21st 
of July. By way of frolic, they disguised their 
boat with painted streamers in such a way, that 
they were mistaken by the colonists for a Spanish 
frigate, to their no small consternation. Smith 
found that his absence had been attended with 
its usual ill consequences. All those who had 
lately come over were sick ; and the whole com 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 89 

pany were spiritless, discontented, and full of in 
dignation against their selfish and inefficient Pres 
ident ; who, instead of actively mingling in the 
interests of the colonists, and sharing their toils 
and privations, had been living in abundance up 
on the public stores, and was building for him 
self a pleasant retreat in the woods, where his 
ear might not be pained by murmurs and com 
plaints. 

They were somewhat comforted by the ac 
counts of the expedition, and (what now cannot 
be read without a smile) by " the good hope we 
had by the savages relation, that our bay had 
stretched into the South Sea or somewhat near 
it." They would not hear, however, of Rat- 
cliffe s continuing in the office of President, but 
insisted upon his being deposed, which was ac 
cordingly done, and Smith chosen in his place ; 
by which he was invested with the title and 
badges of a station, the substantial authority of 
which he had long enjoyed. Being about to de 
part upon another expedition, he appointed Mr. 
Scrivener, his deputy, who at that time was sick 
with a fever. This deputy distributed impartially 
the public s:ores which Ratcliffe had engrossed, 
and made such arrangements as would enable the 
colonists to interrupt their labors during the ex 
treme heat of the summer, and thus recruit their 
wasted strength. 



90 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHF. 

Captain Smith remained at home but three 
days, and on the 24th of July set out on anoth 
er exploring expedition accompanied by twelve 
men. They were detained two or three days 
at Kecoughtan (Hampton) by contrary winds, 
where they were hospitably entertained by the 
Indians. At night they discharged a few rockets 
into the air, which greatly alarmed their simple 
hosts. The first night of their voyage they an 
chored at Stingray Point, and the next day, cross 
ing the Potomac at its mouth, they hastened 
on to the river Bolus (Patapsco). They pro 
ceeded onwards to the head of the bay, which 
ended in four streams, all of which they explor 
ed as far as their boat would carry them. Two 
of them they found with inhabitants on their 
banks, namely the Susquesahanoc (Susquehanna) 
and Tockwogh, since called Sassafras. In cross 
ing the bay they met seven or eight canoes full 
of Massawomecs. These were a great and pow 
erful nation dwelling far to the north, of whom 
Captain Smith had heard a great deal among 
Powhatan s people. They were a great terror 
to the tribes living on the Chesapeake Bay, with 
whom they were almost constantly at war. * 



* The Massawomecs are supposed to have been the 
great Northern Confederacy, called by the French the 
Iroquois, and by the English, The Five Nations, and 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 91 

They prepared at first to assault the English, 
which might have been attended with fatal con 
sequences to the whole company, as they had 
but six men who could stand upon their feet, 
the rest being disabled by sickness. By putting 
upon sticks the hats of the sick and stationing 
between every two sticks a man with two mus 
kets, they contrived to multiply their apparent 
strength, so that the Indians paddled swiftly tc 
the shore. They were followed, and with some 
difficulty persuaded to go on board the barge, 
where presents were interchanged. By signs 
they intimated that they were at war with the 
Indians duelling on the river Tockwogh ; and 
the fresh and bleeding wounds upon some of 
them showed that there had been a recent bat 
tle. 

The next day, on entering the river Tock 
wogh, they were surrounded with a fleet of canoes 
filled with armed men. On seeing the weapons 
of the Massawomecs in the hands of the Eng 
lish, (which they had received as presents, but 
which, sacrificing truth to policy, they gave the 
Indians to understand had been taken in battle,) 



afterwards, The Six Nations , whose seat was in the 
State of New York, but whose conquests were extend 
ed so far, that they have been called the Romans of 
America. Slith, p. 67 ; Encyclopedia Americana, Art 
Iroquois. 



92 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

they led them in triumph to their village and en 
tertained them hospitably. They saw among 
this people hatchets, knives, and pieces of iron 
and brass, which, they said, were obtained from 
the Susquesahanocs, a mighty nation, who dwelt 
upon the river of the same name, two days 
journey above the Falls, and who were mortal 
enemies of the Massawomecs. Captain Smith 
prevailed upon them to send an embassy to this 
people inviting them to come and see him ; which 
was accordingly done, and, in three or four days, 
sixty of them came down with presents of various 
kinds. 

Captain Smith has spoken of these Susquesa 
hanocs in terms which would lead one to sup 
pose that he borrowed more from imagination 
than memory in his description, and that his ro 
mantic fancy and ardent temperament made him, 
perhaps unconsciously, exaggerate the sober truth. 
He speaks of them as a race of giants, " and, 
for their language, it may well beseem their 
proportions, sounding from them as a voice in 
a vault." Their clothing was the skins of bears 
and wolves, with the paws, the ears, and the head 
disposed in such a way, as to make it at once 
more picturesque and terrible. " One had the 
head of a wolf hanging in a chain for a jewel, his 
tobacco-pipe three quarters of a yard long, pret 
tily carved with a bird, a deer, or some such de 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 93 

vice at the great end, sufficient to beat out one s 
brains ; with bows, arrows, and clubs, suitable to 
their greatness." To those who have since seen 
this gigantic people, with the unassisted eye of 
reason, they have dwindled to the common pro 
portions of mankind. 

Their tribe was a numerous one, mustering six 
hundred fighting men. They dwelt in palisadoed 
towns to defend themselves against the Massa- 
womecs, their deadly foes. In their manners 
they were mild and simple, and knew nothing 
of Powhatan or his people except by name. 
They informed the English, that their hatchets 
and other commodities came from the French 
in Canada. They looked upon the English as 
beings of an order superior to men, and for Cap 
tain Smith their veneration was unbounded. An 
incident is related by the narrator of the progress 
of this expedition, which shows at once the piety 
of Captain Smith, and that natural instinct of re 
ligion which dwells alike in the breast of the hea 
then and the Christian, the savage and the civil 
ized man. " Our order was daily to have prayer 
with a psalm, at which solemnities the poor sav 
ages much wondered ; our prayers being done, a 
while they were busied with a consultation till 
they had contrived their business. Then they 
began in a most passionate manner to hold up 
their hands to the sun, with a most fearful --ong 



94 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

then embracing our Captain, they began to adort 
him in like manner ; though he rebuked them 
jet they proceeded till their song was finished. 
They afterwards invested him with the office oi 
a chief, loaded him with presents, and invited hin. 
to come and aid them against the Massawomecs. 

Leaving these kind and friendly strangers, they 
returned down the bay, to the Rappahannoc, ex 
ploring every inlet and river of any consequence, 
and giving to the various capes and headlands the 
names of members of the company or of then 
friends. At the extreme points to which they 
explored the several rivers, they cut crosses in 
the bark of trees, and in some places bored holes 
in them, wherein they deposited notes, and, in- 
some cases, brazen crosses, to signify that the 
English had been there. 

In passing up the river Rappahannoc, they 
were kindly entertained by a tribe of Indiana 
called the Moraughtacunds. They met there an 
Indian named Mosco, who is styled an " old 
friend," though we hear of him now for the first 
time. They had probably seen him on their for 
mer expedition. They supposed him to be the son 
of some Frenchman, because, unlike every other 
Indian whom they had seen, he had a bushy black 
beard. He was not a little proud of this distinc 
tion, and called the Englishmen " his country 
men." He devoted himself to them with grea" 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 95 

assiduity and uniform kindness. He advised them 
not to visit the Rappahannocs, who lived high 
er up the river, as they would endeavor to kill 
them for being the friends of the Moraughta 
cunds, who had lately stolen three of their chiefs 
women. 

Captain Smith, thinking that this was merely 
an artifice to secure a profitable trade to his own 
friends, disregarded his counsels ; but the event 
proved that he was right. Under pretence of 
trade, the English were decoyed by them into a 
creek, where an ambuscade was prepared for 
them. A skirmish took place in which the Rap 
pahannocs had many killed and wounded, but 
none of the English were hurt. They took three 
or four canoes, which they presented to Mosco in 
requital of his kindness. 

Before proceeding any further, they employed 
themselves in surrounding their boat with a sort 
of bulwark, made of the targets, which they had 
received from the Massawomecs, and which they 
had found a great protection against the arrows 
of the Rappahannocs. They were made of small 
twigs, woven together with strings of wild hemp 
and silk-grass, so firmly and compactly as to make 
therr. perfectly arrow-proof. Their virtue was 
soon r -ut to the test ; for on the next day they re 
ceived a volley, while they were in a narrow part 
of the river, from thirty or forty Rappahannocs, 



96 AMERICAN BIOGHAPH1T. 

who "had so accommodated themselves with 
oranches," that they were mistaken for bushes 
growing along the shore. Their arrows, how 
ever, striking against the targets, fell harmless 
into the river. 

They were kindly treated by the rest of the 
nations as far as the Falls. While they were up 
on the river, they lost one of their number, Mr. 
Richard Fetherstone, by death. He had borne an 
unexceptionable character from the first, behaving 
himself " honestly, valiantly, and industriously." 
His remains were buried, with appropriate honors, 
on the shore of a small bay, which they called 
by his name. The other members of the expe 
dition, who had almost all of them been more or 
less sick, had now recovered their health. 

Having sailed up the Rappahannoc as far as 
their bark would carry them, they set up crosses 
and carved their names upon the bark of trees, 
as usual. While they were rambling about the 
Falls, they were suddenly attacked by about a 
hundred Indians, who, in their irregular mode of 
warfare, kept darting about from tree to tree, 
continually discharging arrows, but with no effect- 
In about half an hour they retreated as sudden 
ly as they approached. As the English returned 
from pursuing them they found one of their num- 
oer lying upon the ground, having been wounded 
in the knee with a bullet. Mosco, who had be 
haved with great courage in the skirmish, showed., 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 97 

at the sight of him, the unrelenting cruelty of his 
race ; for, says the narrative, with more force than 
elegance, " never was dog more furious against 
a bear, than Mosco was to have beat out his 
brains." But he was rescued from this violence ; 
and, his wounds having been dressed by the sur 
geon, he was in an hour so far recovered as to be 
able to eat and speak. By the aid of Mosco, they 
learned from him that he was the brother of the 
chief of the tribe of Hassininga, one of the four 
which made up the nation of the Mannahocs. 
When asked why his people attacked the Eng 
lish, who came to them with both the intentions 
and the appearance of friends, he said, that they 
had heard that the English were a nation come 
from under the world to take their world from 
them. Being further asked how many worlds 
he knew, he answered, that he knew of none 
but that which was under the sky that covered 
him, whose sole inhabitants were, besides his 
own nation, the Powhatans, the Monacans, and 
the Massawomecs. To the inquiry, what there 
was beyond the mountains, he replied, the sun. 
They made him many presents and persuaded 
him to accompany them. 

At night they set sail and proceeded down the 
river. They were presently followed by the 
Mannahocs on the banks, who kept discharging 
arrows at the boat and yelling and shrieking sc 

iv. 7 



98 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

loud, as to render it impossible foi their coun 
tryman in the boat, whose name was Amorolec, 
to make his voice audible to them. But in the 
calm of the morning they anchored in a quiet 
and broad bay, and their captive was able to 
address his countrymen and inform them, how 
kindly the English had treated him ; that he had 
been promised his liberty if they would be friend 
ly ; and that as to injuring the strangers at all 
with their inferior weapons, it was quite out of the 
question. Encouraged by these statements, they 
hung their bows and arrows upon the trees, and 
two of them, without suspicion, swam to the bark, 
bringing the one a bow and the other a quiver of 
arrows, which they presented to Captain Smith in 
token of submission. He received them very 
kindly, and told them that, if the chiefs of their 
four tribes would submit to him, that the great 
King, whose subject he was, would be their 
friend. This was immediately assented to ; and, 
on going ashore on a low, jutting point of land, 
the four chiefs came and received their coun 
tryman, Amorolec. They wondered at every 
thing belonging to the English, and mistook their 
pistols for pipes. After giving and receiving 
many presents, the English took their departure, 
leaving four or five hundred Indians singing, danc- 
, ng, and making merry. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 99 

On their return, they visited their friends the 
Moraughtacunds, who were desirous that Captain 
Smith should make peace with the Rappahan- 
nocs, as he had done with the Mannahocs. This 
pacific counsel, so foreign to the Indian charac 
ter, was probably given, that they themselves 
might be more secure, as they were generally 
understood to be the friends and allies of the 
English. Captain Smith told them that he was 
ready to make peace, but that, as the Rappahan- 
noes had twice assaulted him without any prov 
ocation, and when he came with the most friendly 
intentions, he should exact certain conditions from 
them. These were, that they should present him 
with the bow and arrows of their chief, in token 
of submission, that they should never come armed 
into his presence, that they should make peace 
with the Moraughtacunds and give up their chiefs 
son, to be a hostage and a security for the per 
formance of the stipulated terms. 

A message was sent to the chief of the Rap- 
pahannocs, who accepted all the conditions ex 
cept the last, saying that he had but one son and 
could not live without him, a strong instance of 
affection, in one of a race, which has generally 
been supposed to be peculiarly devoid of the 
finer sensibilities of the heart. He offered, in 
stead of his son, to give up the three women 
whom the Moraughtacunds had stolen from him. 



100 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

which proposition was accepted. The womer 
being brought before Captain Smith, he presented 
each of them with a chain of beads. He then 
permitted the chief of the Rappahannocs tc 
choose, from the three, the one whom he prefer 
red ; to the chief of the Moraughtacunds he gave 
the next choice ; and the remaining woman he 
gave to Mosco ; an arrangement which was satis 
factory to all parties. The triple peace was con 
cluded with great rejoicings of men, women, and 
children, of whom no less than six or seven hun 
dred were assembled. Mosco, to express his love 
for the English, changed his name to Uttasan- 
tough, which means stranger, the word by which 
they were called. 

On departing from the Rappahannoc, they ex 
plored the Piankatank as far as it was naviga 
ble, and steered for home. While they were in 
the bay, a few miles south of York River, they 
were surprised in the night with so violent a 
storm of rain, attended with thunder and light 
ning, that they gave themselves up for lost, but 
were enabled finally to reach Point Comfort. As 
they had discovered so many nations at a dis 
tance, they thought it would be hardly consistent 
for them to return home, without visiting their 
neighbors, the Chesapeakes and Nansemonds, of 
whom as yet they had only heard. Therefore 
they set sail for the southern shore, and went up 



CArTAIN JOHN SMITH. 101 

a narrow river, then called the Chesapeake but 
Since Elizabeth, on which Norfolk stands. They 
sailed six or seven miles, but seeing no living 
beings, though they observed signs of habitation 
they returned. Having coasted along the shore 
to the mouth of the Nansemond, they perceived 
there six or seven Indians mending their weirs 
for fishing, who fled at the sight of the English, 
They went on shore and left some toys in the 
place, where the Indians had been working, and 
returned to their boat. They had not gone far, 
before the Indians returned, and began to sing and 
dance and call them back. One of them came 
into the boat of his own accord, and invited them 
to his house, which was a few miles up the river. 
This invitation they accepted and sailed six or 
seven miles, the other Indians accompanying 
them, running OD the banks. Th^y.saw on the 
western shore large corn-fields, and in the midst 
of the river an island, AJPPJI \\l\\ck J ,wa& situated 
the house of the Indian who was with "them, and 
which was also thickly covered with corn. The 
Indian treated them kindly, and showed them 
his wife and children, to whom they made suita 
ble presents. The other Indians invited them 
further up the river to their houses, and accom 
panied them for some distance in a canoe. 

Some suspicious circumstances in their deport 
ment led the English to apprehend that all was 



102 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

not right, and to provide for the worst, especially 
when they perceived that they were followed by 
seven or eight canoes full of armed men. They 
were not long left in suspense, for they were 
suddenly attacked by two or three hundred men, 
from each side of the river, who discharged ar 
rows at them as fast as they could draw their 
bows. Those in the canoes also shot at them ; 
but they returned so galling a fire from their 
muskets, that most of them leaped overboard, and 
swam to the shore. The English soon fell down 
the stream, till they reached a position, where the 
arrows of the Indians could not touch them, but 
which was within musket-shot of their foes, and 
a few discharges made them retire behind the 
trees. The English then seized upon their de 
serted canoes, and moored them in the stream. 
Though they .had received -mpre than a hundred 
arrows in their targets, mid about the boat, no 
one was htirX ./.They determined to punish the 
treacherous Indians, by burning every thing upon 
the island at night, and in the mean time began 
to demolish their canoes. At the sight of this, 
those on shore threw down their arms and sued 
for peace ; which was granted on condition that 
they would bring their chief s bow and arrows 
and a chain of pearl, and four hundred baskets 
of corn, otherwise their canoes should be destroy 
ed and their houses burnt. These conditions they 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 103 

assented to, and loaded the boat with corn as full 
as it would hold, with which the English departed, 
and arrived at Jamestown without any further ad 
venture, on the 7th of September, 1608. 

In these two expeditions Captain Smith was 
absent a little over three months, excepting an 
interval of three days which was spent at James 
town ; and he had sailed, upon his own compu 
tation, about three thousand miles. It was an 
enterprise of great difficulty and considerable haz 
ard, and its complete success is to be ascribed 
to his remarkable personal qualities. His inter 
course with the natives required the exercise of 
the greatest firmness, address, and self-command ; 
while, in the management of his own company, 
authority and persuasive influence were to be min 
gled with the nicest tact. He was obliged to 
overawe the refractory, to encourage the sick and 
drooping, to enliven the desponding, and to in 
fuse his own adventurous and enterprising spirit 
into the indolent and timid. He explored the 
whole of the Chesapeake Bay, and of the coun 
try lying upon its banks, and constructed a map 
of it, which is very accurate, taking all circum 
stances into consideration. 



104: AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Second Arrival of Newport. Abortive Expe 
dition to explore the Interior. Injudicious 
Conduct of the Council in England. Their 
Letter to Captain Smith. His Reply. 

ON their arrival at Jamestown they found that 
many had died during their absence and many 
were still sick ; but that some, whom they had left 
sick, Mr. Scrivener among the rest, were restored 
to health. This gentleman had performed well 
the duties of deputy-governor, and had provided 
for the gathering and storing of the harvest. 
RatclifTe, their late President, was a prisoner for 
mutiny. On the 10th of September, Captain 
Smith was formally inducted into the office of 
President, and entered upon the administration of 
its duties with his usual spirit and activity. The 
church and store-house were repaired, and a new 
building was erected for the supplies, which were 
expected from England. The fort was put in 
order, a watch duly set, and the whole company 
was drilled in military exercises, every Saturday, 
on a plain towards the west, where the Indians 
would often gather round them in great numbers, 
to witness the execution done by their bullets 
upon the bark of a tree, which they used as a 
target. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 105 

As il was about the time of the Indian har 
vest, an expedition set out under the command 
of Lieutenant Percy to trade with the Indians , 
but, meeting Captain Newport in the bay, they 
came back with him. He had brought over about 
seventy individuals, some of whom were persons 
of distinction, and two of whom, Captain Peter 
Wynne, and Captain Richard Waldo, were ap 
pointed members of the council. In this ship 
there came the first Englishwomen, that ever were 
in Virginia, Mrs. Forrest and her maid Anne 
Burras. The company had also, with singular 
want of judgment, sent out eight Germans to 
make pitch, tar, glass, and potash, who would 
have been welcomed to a populous and thriving 
country, but who were useless incumbrances in an 
infant colony, which was struggling for existence, 
and all the energies of which were directed to 
the procuring of daily bread. 

The instructions which Captain Newport had 
brought out with him, and the authority with 
which he had been clothed, are a monument of 
the folly of the council in England, in dictating 
the measures and course of policy to be pursued 
in a colony, three thousand miles distant, and of 
whose interests and condition they showed them 
selves so thoroughly ignorant. Stith, in his 
homely fashion, says of Newport himself, that he 
was " an empty, idle, interested man, very fearful 



106 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and suspicious in times of danger and difficulty, 
but a very great and important person in his own 
talk and conceit." He had a mean jealousy of 
Captain Smith on account of his brilliant qualities 
and the estimation in which he was held by the 
colonists ; and his influence with the council and 
company in England induced them to give him 
such peculiar powers as would enable him at once 
to gratify his own conceit, and, as he thought, to 
vex and mortify his rival. He obtained from 
them a special commission, by which he was au 
thorized to act, in certain cases, independently of 
the council, and in which three objects were laid 
down as essential. He was not to return without 
either discovering the South Sea, or bringing back 
a lump of gold or some one of the lost company, 
which had been sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh.* 
It is difficult to believe that such preposterous 
requisitions could have been made by men in 
their senses ; but their madness was deliberate, as 
its " method " will show. A barge had been 
constructed and brought over, which was capable 
of being taken to pieces and put together again< and 

* This refers to a colony of one hundred persons, w.io 
had been left on the island of Roanoke in North CaroA- 
na, by Captain White, under the guidance and direction 
of Sir Walter Raleigh, in 1587, and were never after 
wards heard of, being probably ( ut off by the In 
dians. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 107 

in which they were to make a voyage to the head 
of the river. It was then to be carried across 
the mountains and launched upon the streams, 
which were supposed to run westerly and flow 
intc the South Sea. As they must pass through 
Powhatan s territory, it was proper to make ex 
traordinary exertions to secure his favor ; and for 
this purpose a royal present was brought over 
for him, consisting of a bason and ewer, a bed 
and furniture, a chair of state, a suit of scarlet 
clothes, a cloak, and a crown. 

Newport soon opened his budget, and unfold 
ed to the council his strange powers and wild 
schemes. Captain Smith, whose strong good 
sense and knowledge of the country enabled him 
to perceive, at a glance, their impolicy and even 
impracticability, opposed their execution most 
strenuously. He said, that it \vas sheer madness 
to employ the precious time of the colonists, 
which ought to be fully occupied in providing 
for the winter, in the visionary scheme of a search 
for the South Sea, through an unknown country, 
full of merciless enemies ; and that, worn out 
with fatigue and sickness as they were, it would 
be impossible for them to carry the boat over 
the mountains. As to thd sumptuous presents 
brought over for Powhatan, he was opposed to 
their being presented, because he said that he 
could always be sure of his good-will by a piece 



108 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of copper or a few beads, but that this " stately 
kind of soliciting " would make him insolent and 
contemptuous beyond all endurance. These ar 
guments, convincing in themselves and strongly 
recommended by the character and experience 
of their supporter, were however overruled in 
council principally by means of Newport s san 
guine promises and assurances. He was ungen 
erous enough to insinuate that Smith s opposition 
to his expedition arose from a wish to monopolize 
the glory of the discovery himself, and that the 
only obstacle to its success would be the desire of 
the Indians to take vengeance upon the English 
for the cruelties which he had formerly inflicted 
upon them. 

This decision afforded to Captain Smith an 
opportunity to show the real greatness and mag 
nanimity of his character. Though he was Presi 
dent, no sooner did he find the majority of the 
council against him, than, without any further 
opposition or sullen obstinacy, he lent his most 
vigorous efforts to the prosecution of the plans 
they had decided upon. To show how unfound 
ed were Newport s charges of cruelty and how 
little he himself had to fear from the Indians, 
he volunteered to go with four others and invite 
Powhatan to Jamestown to receive his presents. 
He travelled by land twelve miles and crossed 
York River in a canoe to Werowocomoco, where 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 109 

he expected to find Powhatan. But he was 
thirty miles distant, and was immediately sent for. 
Pocahootas and her women did their utmost to 
entertain their guests. 

As they were seated around the fire, they 
suddenly heard a hideous noise in the woods. 
The English, supposing that they were betrayed, 
seized upon two or three old men who sat near, 
as hostages for their safety. But Pocahontas 
came running up to them, and assured them that 
no harm was intended to them, and that, if any 
happened, she would willingly give up the lives 
of herself and her women to atone for it. Her 
assurances removed their suspicions, and enabled 
them to attend to the pageant, which was pre 
pared for their entertainment. Thirty young 
women sallied from the woods, variously painted, 
clothed only with a girdle of leaves, and orna 
mented with sundry devices. The writer of the 
narrative describes their dance, in the following 
rather ungallant terms ; " These fiends with most 
hellish shouts and cries, rushing from among the 
fees, cast themselves in a ring about the fire, 
Dinging and dancing with most excellent ill va 
riety, oft falling into their infernal passions, and 
solemnly again to sing and dance ; having spent 
near an hour in this mascarado, as they entered, 
rn like manner they departed." This dance was 



110 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

followed by a feast, at which the good Captain 
was much annoyed by the officious caresses of 
the abovementioned masquerading damsels. The 
Englishmen were then conducted to their lodg 
ings, with firebrands carried before them instead 
of torches. 

The next day Powhatan arrived, and Cap 
tain Smith delivered to him his message, desir 
ing him to come to Jamestown, to receive the 
presents from the hands of his father, Captain 
Newport, and concert with him plans for taking 
revenge upon his enemies the Monacans. The 
reply of the savage monarch is strikingly char 
acteristic of his haughtiness, self-respect, and 
knowledge of human nature. "If your King," 
said he, " have sent me presents, I also am a 
King and this is my land ; eight days I will stay 
to receive them. Your father is to come to me, 
not I to him, nor yet to your fort, neither will 
I bite at such a bait ; as for the Monacans, I 
can revenge my own injuries; for any salt water 
beyond the mountains, the relations you have 
had from my people are false." At the same 
time, he drew upon the ground a rude chart 
of the countries of which he spoke. After 
some complimentary discourses, Captain Smith 
took leave of him, and carried his answer to 
Jamestown. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. Ill 

Whereupon the presents were sent round by 
water, and Captains Smith and Newport went 
across by land, with a guard of fifty armed men. 
All having met at Werowocomoco, the next day 
was appointed for Powhatan s coronation. Then 
his presents were brought to him, and the bason, 
ewer, bed, and furniture were set up. His scar 
let cloak and suit were put on, but not until he 
had been persuaded by Namontack (the Indian 
youth whom he had formerly presented to New 
port, and who had been to England with him), 
that there was nothing dangerous in them. They 
had great trouble in inducing him to kneel in 
order to receive his crown. He understood 
nothing of the "majesty or meaning" (as the 
narrative has it) of a crown, nor of the ceremony 
of bending the knee ; which obliged them to use 
so many arguments and so much persuasion, that 
their patience was entirely worn out. They 
succeeded at last in making him stoop a little 
by leaning hard upon his shoulders ; and, as 
soon as the crown was put upon his head, a 
volley was fired from the boats, at which he 
started up in great affright, till he was informed 
what it meant. What would this sylvan monarch 
have said, if he had witnessed the cumbrous splen 
dor of a modern coronation ? 

By way of making a proper acknowledgment 



112 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of the honors which had been shown to him, 
he generously presented Captain Newport with 
his mantle and old shoes. He endeavored to 
dissuade the English from their wild scheme 
of exploring the inland country, and refused to 
give them men or guides for that object, except 
Namontack. After many civil speeches had 
been exchanged, he gave Newport a heap of 
ears of corn containing seven or eight bushels, 
and about as much more was purchased in the 
village, with which they returned to James 
town. 

Immediately after this, Captain Newport set 
out upon his expedition of discovery, with a hun 
dred and twenty chosen men, leaving Captain 
Smith at Jamestown with eighty or ninety weak 
and sickly ones, to load the ship. The enter 
prise proved a total failure, and its history may 
be told in a very few words. They proceeded in 
their boat to the Falls of James River, and then 
went by land about forty miles, through a fertile 
and well-watered country. They discovered two 
villages of the Monacans on the south side of the 
river, the inhabitants of which used them neithei 
well nor ill, but, by way of security, they took 
one of their petty chiefs and led him bound in or 
der to guide them. A journey of two days and a 
half sufficed to cool their spirit of adventure and to 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 

weary their delicate limbs so much, that they 
turned about and resumed their march homeward, 
taking with them some quantity of a certain 
earth, from which their refiner pretended to have 
extracted silver. Th^y arrived at Jamestown 
" half sick, all complaining, and tired with toil, 
famine, and discontent ; " having gained nothing 
but experience. Every thing had turned out 
exactly as Captain Smith had foretold, which, of 
course, sharpened the sting of disappointment. 

Captain Smith, who would allow no man to 
be idle, immediately set them all at work ; some 
n making glass ; others tar, pitch, and potash. 
These he left under the care of the council 
at Jamestown, and he himself took thirty men 
about five miles down the river, and employed 
them in cutting timber and making clapboards. 
Among these were several young gentlemen, who 
had not been used to felling trees and sleeping on 
the ground ; but, as there was something exciting 
in the employment, and their President shared all 
their toils and hardships, they soon became recon 
ciled to their situation, " making it their delight to 
hear the trees thunder as they fell." But the 
axe frequently blistered their tender fingers, so 
that " many times every third blow had a loud 
oath to drown the echo." To correct this evil 
habit, the President contrived an ingenious and 
effectual remedy, which operated without any loss 

iv. 8 



114 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

oi good humor on the part of the offenders. He 
had a register kept of the number of oaths every 
man uttered in the course of the day, and at night, 
he ordered the same number of cans of water to 
be poured down his sleeve. The consequence 
was, that there was hardly an oath to be heard in 
a week. The writer of the narrative says, that 
though these thirty gentlemen, who worked with 
spirit and from choice, would accomplish more 
than a hundred who must be driven to it, yet 
twenty good stout workmen would do more than 
all. 

Captain Smith, on his return to Jamestown, 
rinding that much time had been unprofitably 
spent, and that their provisions were running low, 
resolved to go in search of corn among the In 
dians. He went up the river Chickahominy, in 
two barges with eighteen men, leaving orders for 
Lieutenant Percy to follow him. He found the 
Indians surly and disobliging, who, though they 
knew his wants, refused to trade, with many con 
temptuous expressions. Immediately changing 
his tone, and appearing no longer in the attitude 
of a petitioner for food, he told them that his pur 
pose was to avenge his own imprisonment, and 
the death of his countrymen whom they had slain. 
He then landed his men and drew them up in 
military order. This spirited conduct produced 
a sudden change of opinion in the Indians, who 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 115 

sent ambassadors to make their peace, with pres 
ents of corn, fish, and wildfowl. They told him 
that their harvest had not been abundant that 
year, and that they had hardly enough to supply 
their own wants; but they furnished him with 
two hundred bushels of corn, which was a most 
welcome gift to the colony. 

Captain Smith s enemies seem to have turned 
his most praiseworthy and successful efforts into 
accusations ; for we read, " that though this much 
contented the company, (that feared nothing more 
than starving,) yet some so envied his good suc 
cess, that they rather desired to hazard a starving, 
than his pains should prove so much more effect 
ual than theirs." A plot was even formed by New 
port and Ratcliffe to depose him, because, being 
President, he had left his place and the fort 
without their consent; but "their horns were so 
much too short to effect it, as they themselves 
more narrowly escaped a greater mischief." 

While the ship remained, a brisk trade was car 
ried on between the sailors and the Indians, to the 
great gain of the former, but to the prejudice of 
the colony. They would even pilfer articles from 
the public stores in order to exchange them for furs 
and other valuable commodities. And these very 
men, after having enriched themselves in this man 
ner at the expense of the colonists, would grossly 
misrepresent them to the council in England, and 



116 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

report that they had great abundance of every 
thing; so that they took no pains to supply them 
with stores, and would send over crowds of hungry 
adventurers to eat up their hard-earned substance. 
Captain Smith was so provoked with Newport s 
conduct, that he threatened to send the ship home 
without him and detain him a year in the colony, 
that he might have the benefit of a full experi 
ence of their sufferings; but, upon his making 
proper submission, he consented to let him go. 
He carried with him, in his ship, specimens of 
pitch, tar, frankincense, potash, clapboards, and 
wainscot, also a quantity of pocones, a red root 
used in dyeing. 

The council in England had not been satisfied 
with the proceedings of the colony. They had lis 
tened to misrepresentations and calumnies from 
interested or offended individuals, and had taken 
little pains themselves to ascertain the true state 
of affairs. They were disappointed in not receiving 
any gold and silver from Virginia ; and under the 
influence of these irritated feelings, and probably 
instigated by Newport, they had written by him an 
angry letter to Captain Smith. They complained 
of the vain hopes with which they had been enter 
tained, and the disappointments in which these had 
ended; they reproved the colonists for their dissen 
sions, and spoke of a project for dividing the coun 
try, about which the former President had written 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 117 

a letter to the Earl of Salisbury; and threatened 
them, that, unless the expenses of the present voy 
age, amounting to two thousand pounds, were de 
frayed by the ship s return, the colony would be 
deserted and left to shift for themselves. 

To this tirade, Captain Smith sent a reply by 
Newport, combining the dignity proper to his office 
with a soldier-like frankness and spirit. He denies 
indignantly the charge of awakening hopes which 
had never been realized; and, as to the plot for 
dividing the country, he says he never heard nor 
dreamed of such a thing. He says, that their di 
rections sent by Newport had all been strictly fol 
lowed, though he was opposed to them himlself, and 
that all had been taught by experience to confess 
that he was right. For the two thousand pounds, 
which the voyage had cost, the colony had not re 
ceived the benefit of a hundred. He tells them of 
the great preparations, which Newport had made 
for his expedition, and its utter failure ; and says, 
"As for the quartered boat to be borne by the sol 
diers over the Palls, if he had burnt her to ashes, 
one might have carried her in a bag; but, as she 
is, five hundred cannot, to a navigable place above 
the Falls." He takes them to task for their folly 
in sending the Germans to make pitch, tar, and 
glass; and in his remarks shows great good sense, 
and even considerable knowledge of political econ 
omy. He tells them, that they could buy, in a 



118 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

single week, as great a quantity of these articles 
as would freight a ship, in Russia or Sweden, 
countries peculiarly adapted by nature to the 
manufacture of them; but that it was most im 
politic and unprofitable to devote to such occupa 
tions any part of the energies of a young colony, 
in which they all had as much as they could do 
to provide subsistence and defend themselves 
against the Indians. 

He complains of Newport, of his vain projects, 
and his indolence, and contrasts the luxury and 
plenty, in which he and his sailors lived, with the 
coarse and scanty fare of the colonists. He says, 
that Archer and Ratcliffe were the authors of all 
their factions and disturbances ; and that the lat 
ter is an impostor, whose real name is Sicklemore; 
and he sends him home to save his throat from be 
ing cut by the colonists, by whom he is detested. 
He entreats them to send out carpenters, husband 
men, gardeners, fishermen, blacksmiths, and ma 
sons, thirty of whom would be worth more than 
a thousand idle gentlemen, and to provide for 
their support and subsistence for the present, and 
leave all projects of gain for the future. At the 
same time, he sent them two barrels of stones, 
which he conjectured to be iron ore, with labels, 
designating the places in which he found them. 
To convince them that he could make as ample 
a discovery as Newport, and at a less expense 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 119 

than he had incurred at every meal, he trans 
mitted to them a map of Chesapeake Bay and 
its rivers, which he had explored, together with a 
description of the same.* 



CHAPTER IX. 

Difficulties in Procuring Provision. Cap 
tain Smith s Unsuccessful Attempt to obtain 
Possession of PowJiatan s Person. 

UPON the departure of the ship, the colonists 
began to be in apprehension that they should 

* This was sent by Captain Nelson, who left James 
town early in June, 1608, and it contains a narrative 
of events up to that date. It was printed the same 
year in London, and does not differ materially from 
the accounts subsequently published in the History. 
The original pamphlet is rare and curious, being in 
black letter and of the quarto size. There is a copy 
of it in the Library of Harvard College, but the title- 
page is Avanting. In Mr. Rich s Catalogue of Amer 
ican Books, the title is printed as follows: " True Re 
lation of such Occurrences and Accidents of Noate, as 
hath happened in Virginia since the Planting of the 
Colony." There is also a copy of the same work in 
Colonel Aspinwall s invaluable collection of books re 
lating to America. It was written in the form of a 
letter and addressed to an individual ; probably to the 
Secretary of the London Company. 



120 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

suffer from want of food, their supply being but 
scanty. In order to obtain corn, Captain Smith, 
with Captain Wynne and Mr. Scrivener, set out 
for Nansamond, where, upon his arrival, the Ind 
ians not only refused to give him the four hun 
dred bushels, which they had promised, but would 
not trade with him at all; saying that their 
stock was almost consumed, and that they had 
been commanded by Powhatan to keep what 
was left, and not permit the English to enter 
their river. Captain Smith, finding that per 
suasion did no good, was constrained to employ 
force. At the first discharge of the muskets, 
the Indians fled without shooting an arrow. 
The English marched towards their houses, and 
set fire to the first one they came to. Upon 
the sight of the flames, the Indians came for 
ward and offered to give them half the corn 
they had, if they would desist from further vio 
lence. 

They loaded the three boats, with which the 
English returned to their place of encampment, 
four miles down the river. This was an open 
plain, sheltered by a hill, and at that time the 
ground was frozen hard and covered with snow. 
They were accustomed to dig away the snow, and 
make a large fire; and, when the ground was 
thoroughly warmed, they could remove the fire 
and ashes, spread their mats upon the spot 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 121 

and lie down, using another mat as a screen 
against the wind. When the ground grew cold, 
they shifted their fire again. Many cold winter 
nights they passed in this manner; and those, 
who were thus exposed to the elements in these 
expeditions, were always stouter and healthier 
than those, who remained at home and slept in 
warm beds. 

Soon after their return to Jamestown, the first 
marriage which took place in Virginia, was cele 
brated between John Laydon and Anne Bur- 
ras. 

Captain Smith, indefatigable in securing the 
settlers against even the apprehension of want, 
remained but a short time at Jamestown, but, 
accompanied by Captain Waldo, went up the bay 
in two barges. The Indians, on all sides, fled at 
the sight of them, till they discovered the river 
and people of Appomatox. These had but little 
corn; but that little they divided with the Eng 
lish, and received in exchange bits of copper 
and other trifles, with which they were well con 
tented. 

The supplies procured in this manner were, 
however, temporary and precarious; and Captain 
Smith, who was determined that no one should 
be in fear of starvation, while he was President, 
resolved upon the bold and questionable measure 
of surprising Powhatan, and taking possession of 



122 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

all his store. In this project lie was seconded by 
Captain Waldo, but opposed by Captain Wynne 
and Mr. Scrivener, which latter gentleman had be 
come an enemy to him. As if to favor his pur 
poses, he was requested by Powhatan to come and 
see him, with a promise, that he would load his 
ship with corn, if Smith would build him a house, 
give him a grindstone, fifty swords, some muskets, 
a cock and a hen, and a large quantity of beads 
and copper. Captain Smith determined to im 
prove the opportunity thus fortunately presented, 
although he suspected that the crafty old savage 
had some ulterior design in his specious offers. 
He accordingly sent two Englishmen and four 
Germans to build him a house, giving them in 
structions as to their conduct, and unluckily in 
forming them of his plans. He soon after set 
out himself in the bark and two barges, accom 
panied by Captain Waldo and forty-six men. As 
this was an enterprise of great danger, he took 
with him only those who volunteered to go. He 
left the government in the hands of Mr. Scrive 
ner. 

On the 29th of December they departed from 
Jamestown, carrying with them provisions for 
only three or four days. They lodged that night 
at Warraskoyac, an Indian village, a few miles 
from Jamestown, where they made additions to 
their stores. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 123 

The chief of the tribe treated them with great 
kindness, and endeavored to dissuade Captain 
Smith from going to see Powhatan; but, finding 
him resolved, he warned him to be on his guard, 
for that Powhatan, notwithstanding all his seem 
ing kindness, had sent for them merely for the 
purpose of cutting their throats. The Captain 
thanked him for his caution, and requested him 
to furnish guides to the nation of the Chawon- 
ocs, who dwelt between the rivers Nottaway and 
Meherrin, in North Carolina, to which he readily 
consented. Mr. Michael Sicklemore,a valiant and 
honest soldier, was sent upon this enterprise, the 
object of which was to obtain silk-grass and to 
inquire after Sir Walter Raleigh s lost colony. 

The next night they lodged at Kecoughtan 
(Hampton), where they were detained several 
days by violent storms. This obliged them to 
keep their Christmas among the Indians.* But 
we are told that they had a very merry one, 
warmed by blazing fires, and their tables amply 
spread with fish, flesh, oysters, and wildfowl. Af 
ter various accidents, they arrived on the 12th 

* The narrative states, that they left Jamestown on 
the 29th of December, and yet that they afterwards 
kept Christmas among the savages. Of course, both 
statements cannot be correct. The matter is fortu 
nately of little consequence, as there are no means of 
ascertaining which is right. 



124 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of January at Werowocomoco, where they found 
the river frozen to nearly half a mile from the 
shore. They broke the ice to make a passage 
for the barge, till she was grounded by the ebbing 
of the tide, when they leaped out and waded to 
the shore through the ice and mud. 

They quartered in the first cabins which they 
found, and sent for provisions to Powhatan, who 
supplied them with bread, turkeys, and venison. 
The next day, after having given them an enter 
tainment, he very inhospitably inquired of them 
when they purposed to go away, saying, that he 
had never invited them to come, and that nei 
ther he nor his people had any corn to spare. 
Captain Smith then confronted him with the men 
who had brought his invitation, and quietly asked 
him how he came to be so forgetful; "thereat 
the King concluded the matter with a merry 
laugh," and asked for his commodities. Nothing 
suited him, however, but guns and swords, and 
he valued a basket of corn at a higher rate than 
a basket of copper. Captain Smith, perceiving 
that the wily savage was trifling with him, said to 
him with some sternness, that he had confidently 
relied upon his promises to supply the colony 
with provisions, and had neglected to procure any 
from other sources, which he might have done; 
and, to testify his regard to him, he had sent me 
chanics to construct buildings for him, while his 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 125 

own were standing unfinished. He charged him 
with having monopolized his people s corn and 
forbidden them to trade with the English, in 
hopes, by starvation, to bring them to his own 
terms. As to guns and swords, he had none to 
spare, as he had told him long before; but they 
would contrive to keep from starving by the aid 
of those which they had, though they would do 
him no wrong nor violence, nor break the friend 
ship which existed between them, unless con 
strained to do so by ill usage. 

Powhatan listened attentively to this discourse, 
and promised that both he and his people would 
supply the English with as much corn as could 
be spared, and that they should receive it with 
in two days. "But," he added, "I have some 
doubts about the reason of your coming here. I 
am informed by many, that you come, not to 
trade, but to invade my people, and to pos 
sess my country. This makes me less ready to 
relieve you, and frightens my people from bring 
ing in their corn. And therefore to ease them of 
that fear, leave your arms aboard, since they are 
needless here, where we are all friends." 

Powhatan s doubts were very reasonable, and 
his wary conduct perfectly justifiable ; for Smith s 
whole plot had been revealed to him by the Ger 
mans, who had been sent to build a house for 
him. These men, seeing Powhatan s wealth and 



126 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

plenty, and the wretched condition of the colony, 
and supposing that he must finally extirpate them, 
had, in order to secure his favor, basely betrayed 
the purposes of the English. Their treachery 
was the more odious, because one of them had 
been honored with particular marks of confidence 
by Captain Smith on account of his intelligence 
and supposed integrity, and had been sent on this 
errand to act as a spy upon Powhatan. Captain 
Smith was entirely unsuspicious of the fact at 
the time, and did not hear of it till six months 
afterwards ; so it is easy to see what an advantage 
the savage monarch had over him, which he did 
not fail to improve to the utmost. 

A contest of ingenuity ensued between Cap 
tain Smith and Powhatan, reminding us of the 
efforts of two skilful boxers, to find an opening to 
plant the first blow. The savage chieftain was 
very anxious that the English should lay aside 
their arms, of which he and his people had a most 
wholesome terror ; and he made use of arguments 
of the following tenor. " Captain Smith," said 
he, "I am a very old man, having seen the 
death of three of the generations of my people, 
and know well the difference between peace and 
war. I must soon die, and my brothers must 
succeed me. I wish to live quietly with you, 
and I wish the same for them. But the rumors, 
which have reached us, disturb us, and alarm my 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 127 

people so that they dare not visit you. What 
advantage will it be to you to destroy us, who 
supply you with food? What can you gain by 
war, if we escape to the woods and hide our pro 
visions there? Why are you so suspicious of us? 
You see we are unarmed, and are ready to sup 
ply your wants. Do you think I am so simple 
as not to prefer eating good meat, sleeping qui 
etly with my wives and children, laughing and 
making merry with you, having copper, hatches, 
and every thing else, as your friend, to flying 
from you, as your enemy, lying cold in the woods, 
living upon acorns, roots, and such trash, being 
so hunted by you that we can neither rest, eat, 
nor sleep in peace, but if a twig break, my men 
will cry out, Here comes Captain Smith ? In 
this miserable manner, I must come to a misera- 
hle end, and you likewise, sooner or later. Be 
assured of our friendship then, and we will readily 
and abundantly supply you with corn. Lay aside 
your guns and swords, and do not come armed as 
into an enemy s country." 

To these sentimental speeches Captain Smith 
replied after the following fashion. " As you 
will not understand our words, we must make 
our deeds speak for us. We have scrupulously 
adhered to the terms of the treaty of peace con 
cluded between us, which your men have con 
stantly violated ; and, though we have had ample 



128 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

opportunities for avenging ourselves, we have 
refrained out of our regard to you. And you 
know enough of us to know, that, if we had in 
tended you any injury, we could long ago have 
succeeded in doing it. It is our custom to wear 
arms in the same manner as clothes, and we can 
by no means part with them. Your people 
come frequently to Jamestown with bows and 
arrows, and are entertained without suspicion or 
remark. As to your flying into the woods and 
hiding your provisions out of our reach, you 
need not think that will trouble us. We have 
a way of discovering hidden things, unknown to 
you." 

Many other discourses, of the same tenor, 
passed between them. Powhatan, seeing that 
his wishes were not received as law by the Eng 
lish, and that they would not lay aside their 
arms or omit any of their usual precautions, gave 
utterance to these sentiments, with a heavy sigh. 
" Captain Smith, I have never treated any chief 
with so much kindness as I have you ; but I have 
never in return received any at your hands. 
Captain Newport gave me swords, copper, clothes, 
and every thing else I desired, taking, in ex 
change, whatever I offered him. He would at 
any time send away his guns at my request. 
No one refuses to gratify my wishes, but you. 
You will give me nothing, to which you attach 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 129 

any value; and yet you insist upon having every 
thing from me, which you desire. You call Cap 
tain Newport father, and so you do me; but I 
see, in spite of us both, you will have your own 
way, and we must study to please you. If your 
intentions are as friendly as you profess them 
to be, send away your arms, and I will believe 
you." 

Captain Smith, seeing that Powhatan was mere 
ly wasting the time in idle speeches, in order to 
gain an opportunity to attack them and put them 
to death, resolved to strike a decisive blow. He 
gave directions to the Indians to break a passage 
through the ice, that his boat might come to the 
shore, and ordered some more of his men to land, 
to aid him in surprising Powhatan. In order to 
keep him free from suspicion, till the proper hour 
came, he entertained him with " much specious 
and fallacious discourse,"* telling him, that he was 
his friend and not his subject, and promising the 
next day to give up his arms, and to show him, 
that he honored him as a father, by trusting im 
plicitly to his words. The wily chieftain, when 
he heard that they were breaking a passage 
through the ice, suspected that all was not right, 
and suddenly fled with his women, children, and 
luggage. To avoid suspicion, he left two or three 

* Stith, p. 88. 
iv. 9 



130 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

women to talk with Captain Smith, while he se 
cretly made his escape ; and in the mean time his 
warriors beset the house, in which they were con 
versing. When this was told to Captain Smith, 
he boldly sallied out armed with sword, pistol, 
and target, with which, as we are told, " he made 
such a passage among these naked devils, that, 
at his first shot, they next him tumbled one over 
another, and the rest quickly fled, some one way, 
some another." He reached the main body of his 
men without any injury. 

The Indians, seeing that he had escaped un 
harmed and was guarded by eighteen resolute/well- 
armed men, endeavored to put a fair construction 
upon their unequivocal doings; and Powhatan, 
to excuse his flight and the sudden gathering of 
his warriors, sent an " ancient orator," who, like 
more civilized diplomatists, sought to gain a favor 
able hearing by a present of a great bracelet and 
a chain of pearls, and addressed Captain Smith, 
as follows : " Captain Smith, our king is fled, fear 
ing your guns, and knowing, that, when the ice 
was broken, more men would come. He sent the 
warriors, whom you assaulted, to guard your corn, 
which might be stolen without your knowledge. 
Though some have been injured in consequence 
of your mistake, Powhatan is still your friend 
and will ever continue so. Now, since the ice 
is broken, he would have you send away your 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 131 

corn; and, if you would have his company, your 
guns also, which so affright his people, that they 
dare not come to you, as he has promised they 
should." The corn referred to in the Indian am 
bassador s speech consisted of a quantity amount 
ing to eighty bushels, which had been purchased 
of Powhatan for a copper kettle. 

The English were immediately oppressed with 
attentions. Baskets were provided for them to 
carry the corn to the boat, and the Indians kind 
ly offered their services to guard their arms, that 
none might steal them. This favor was, with 
suitable acknowledgments, declined. To show the 
dread which they had of fire-arms, we are told, 
that "a great many they were of goodly, well 
proportioned fellows, as grim as devils; yet the 
very sight of cocking our matches and being to 
let fly, a few words caused them to leave their 
bows and arrows to our guard, and bear down our 
com upon their backs; we needed not importune 
them to make despatch." The English were under 
the necessity of waiting for the next tide be 
fore they could depart, and the day was spent 
in feasting and merry sports. 

Powhatan, who burned to get possession of 
Smith s head, had prepared his forces to make an 
attack upon the English at night, which would 
probably have been fatal to them all, had they not 
been warned of it by Pocahontas, on this, as on all 



132 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

occasions, the guardian angel of the whites. It is 
better to relate the incident in the unvarnished 
language of the original narrative, than to orna 
ment it with any rhetorical embellishments of my 
own. After mentioning that a plot had been, 
formed by Powhatan, it states that, " Notwith 
standing, the eternal, all-seeing God did prevent 
him, and by a strange means. For Pocahontas, 
his dearest jewel and daughter, in that dark night, 
came through the irksome woods, and told our 
Captain great cheer should be sent us by and by; 
but Powhatan, and all the power he could make, 
would after come kill us all, if they that brought 
it could not kill us with our own weapons, when 
we were at supper. Therefore, if we would live, 
she wished us presently to be gone. Such things 
as she delighted in he would have given her ; but, 
with the tears running down her cheeks, she said 
she durst not to be seen to have any; for, if Pow 
hatan should know it, she were but dead; and so 
she ran away by herself, as she came." This sim 
ple and beautiful picture of disinterested attach 
ment and heroic self-forgetfulness needs not the 
"foreign aid of ornament" to recommend it to 
the heart, which has a throb left for generous 
deeds and noble qualities. 

Pocahontas had been gone less than an hour, 
when there came eight or ten stout fellows, with 
large platters of venison and other articles of food, 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 133 

who invited them to sit down and eat, and were 
very importunate for them to put out their match 
es, the smoke of which, as they said, made them 
sick. But Captain Smith made them taste of ev 
ery dish (probably to ascertain whether it was poi 
soned or not), and sent some of them back to Pow- 
hatan, bidding him make haste, for he was ready 
to receive him, telling him that he knew upon 
what deadly errand his first messengers were sent, 
but that he could guard against that as well as 
all his other intended villanies. Messengers came 
from Powhatan from time to time, to learn the po 
sition of things ; but the English passed the night 
in such watchful preparation, that no blow was 
struck. They departed at high water, and left 
behind them the Germans, whose good faith was 
entirely unsuspected, and (what seems a little 
strange, after these events) one of their own num 
ber, Edward Brynton by name, to kill birds for 
Powhatan. 

The conduct of Captain Smith in attempting to 
seize the person of Powhatan cannot be justified, 
and no one can feel sorry that he did not suc 
ceed. The principle of gratitude should alone 
have prevented him from dealing so treacher 
ously with a man who had spared his life, when 
he had him in his power. His only excuse is to 
be found in the strong necessity of the case, of 
the extent of which, however, we have no means 



134 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

of forming a conception. The opinions of the 
age, in all that relates to the rights of men and 
nations, were characterized, not even by a nice 
sense of honor, much less by a feeling of Chris 
tian brotherhood. The manner in which his con 
spiracy was betrayed to Powhatan, enforces the 
lesson taught by all the great plots and intrigues 
of the world, that he who aims at treacherous 
designs is never sure of his instruments. When 
a man has once consented to become a spy and 
act a borrowed part, it is easy for him to go a 
step further and betray his employer by a double 
treachery. He, who has once deserted the path 
of moral rectitude, has never a firm footing, and 
is continually liable to slide into deeper and more 
inextricable guilt. 



CHAPTER X. 

T- 

Captain Smith s Adventures with Opechanca- 
nougli, Chief of Pamurikey. Hie Return to 
Jamestown. 

No sooner had the English set sail, than Pow 
hatan sent two of the Germans to Jamestown. 
These imposed upon Captain Wynne with a 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 135 

plausible story, that every thing was going on well, 
and that Captain Smith had need of some weap 
ons, ammunition, and clothing, all of which were 
unsuspectingly delivered to them. While they 
were there, by their artful speeches and by work 
ing upon the hopes of the selfish and the fears of 
the timid, they prevailed upon six or seven to 
leave the colony and join them with Powhatan. 

These apostates, among their other accomplish 
ments, had a peculiar dexterity in stealing, which 
they exerted so successfully, that they filched from 
the colonists a great number of swords, pike-heads, 
and muskets, with large quantities of powder and 
shot. There were always Indians prowling around 
in the neighborhood to carry them off. By these 
means, and by the labors of one of the Germans, 
who had remained behind and who seems to have 
been a blacksmith, the armory of Powhatan was 
very materially increased. 

Captain Smith and his party in the mean while 
had arrived at Pamunkey, the seat of Opechan- 
canough, the brother of Powhatan, who received 
them kindly and entertained them many days in 
his most hospitable style. A day was appointed 
for traffic, upon which Captain Smith with fifteen 
others went up to the village where the chief 
resided, about a quarter of a mile from the river. 
They found no human being there, except a 
lame man and a boy, and the houses were abaa- 



136 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

doned and stripped of every thing. Soon, how 
ever, the chief arrived with many warriors, armed 
with bows and arrows ; but their commodities were 
so trifling and offered at so exorbitant a price, 
that Captain Smith remonstrated with him in 
the following manner: " Opechancanough, you 
profess, with your words, great love to me, but 
your actions are inconsistent with your profes 
sions. Last year, you kindly freighted our ship, 
but now you have invited us here that you might 
see us starve with hunger. You know my wants 
and I know your plenty, of which I will, by some 
means, have a share. Remember that it becomes 
kings to keep their promises. I offer you my 
goods; you may*take your choice, and the rest I 
will apportion justly among your people." The 
chieftain accepted his offer seemingly with a 
good grace, persuaded, probably, more by the 
muskets, than by the intrinsic force of the sug 
gestions themselves. He sold them what they 
wanted, at their own prices, promising the next 
day to meet them with more people and more 
commodities. 

On the next day, Captain Smith and his party 
marched up to his house, where they found four 
or five Indians newly arrived, each furnished with 
a great basket. The chief himself soon after ar 
rived, and with a " strained cheerfulness " magni 
fied the pains he had been at in keeping his prom- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 137 

ise. While they were discoursing, Mr. Russell, 
one of the party, came suddenly in and with a 
face of alarm, told Captain Smith that they were 
all lost, for seven hundred armed men had en 
vironed the house and were swarming round 
about in the fields. 

Captain Smith, seeing dismay painted in the 
countenances of his followers at these tidings, ad 
dressed to them a few words of encouragement. 
He told them that he felt far less concern at the 
number of the enemy than for the malicious mis 
representations, which the council would make in 
England, of his readiness to break the peace and 
expose their lives; that they had nothing to fear, 
for that he alone had been once assaulted by three 
hundred, and but for an accident, would have made 
good his way through them; that they were six 
teen in number, and the Indians not more than 
seven hundred, and that the very smoke of their 
pieces would be enough to disperse them. At any 
rate, he exhorted them to fight like men, and not 
tamely die like sheep ; and if they would resolute 
ly follow his example, he doubted not that he 
should be able, with the blessing of God, to extri 
cate them from their present perilous situation. 

They all resolutely promised to second him in 
whatever he attempted, though it should cost them 
their lives. Whereupon he addressed Opechanca- 
nough to the following effect: "I see that you 



138 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

have entered into a plot to murder me, but I have 
no fears as to the result. Let us decide the mat 
ter by single combat. The island in the river is 
a fit place, and you may have any weapons you 
please. Let your men bring each a ba^et of 
corn and I will stake their value in copper, and 
the conqueror shall have all and be ruler over 
all our men." 

This proposal was declined by the chief, who 
had no chivalrous notions of honor, and could not 
conceive of any one s voluntarily giving up any 
advantage, which he could gain by treachery or 
other means over an enemy. He artfully en 
deavored to quiet Smith s suspicions, and invited 
him outside of the door to receive a present, 
where he had stationed two hundred men, with 
their arrows on the string, ready to shoot at him 
the moment he appeared. Captain Smith, who 
had discovered, or at least strongly suspected his 
perfidious purpose, no longer restrained his indig 
nation, but seizing him by his long lock of hair, 
and clapping his pistol to his breast, led him out 
trembling into the midst of his people. They 
were petrified with horror, that any one should 
dare to lay violent hands on the sacred person 
of their ch of, and were amazingly frightened be 
sides. He readily gave up his vambrace,* bow, 

*Vambrace, armor for the arm. Avant-bras, Fr. 
Bailey. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 139 

and arrows in token of submission, and his sub 
jects followed his example. 

Captain Smith, still retaining his grasp upon 
him, addressed his subjects as follows : " I per 
ceive, ye Pamunkeys, the desire you have to kill 
me, and that my long suffering has brought you 
to this pitch of insolence. The reason I have for 
borne to punish you is the promise which I for 
merly made to you, that I would be your friend 
till you gave me just cause to be your enemy. 
If I keep this vow, my God will help me and 
you cannot hurt me; but if I break it, he will de 
stroy me. But if you now shoot one arrow to 
shed a drop of blood, or steal any of these beads, 
or of this copper, I will take such a revenge, as 
that you shall not hear the last of me while there 
is a Pamunkey alive who will not deny the name. 
I am not now half-drowned in the mire of a 
swamp, as I was when you took me prisoner. If 
I be the mark you aim at, shoot, if you dare. You 
promised to load my vessel with corn, and if you 
do not, I will load her with your carcasses. But, 
if you will trade with me like friends, I once more 
promise that I will not trouble you, unless you 
provoke me, and your chief shall be my friend, 
and go free; for I did not come to hurt him or 
any of you." 

This speech had an effect like magic. The 
savages threw down their bows and arrows, and 



140 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

thronged round Captain Smith with their com 
modities, in such numbers, for the space of two 
or three hours, that he became absolutely weary of 
receiving tHem. He accordingly retired, and, over 
come with his toils and excitements, fell asleep. 
The Indians seeing him in this condition, and 
his guard rather carelessly dispersed, went into 
the house in great numbers armed with clubs or 
English swords, and with intentions by no means 
friendly. The noise they made aroused him from 
his slumbers, which we may suppose were not 
very deep; and, though surprised and confused at 
seeing so many grim forms around him, he seized 
his sword and target, and, being seconded by some 
of his countrymen, drove out the intruders more 
rapidly than they came in. Opechancanough made 
a long speech to excuse the rude conduct of his 
subjects. The rest of the day was spent in kind 
ness and good-will, the Indians renewing their 
presents and feasting the English with their best 
provisions. 

Captain Smith here received the news of a 
most melancholy accident which took place at 
Jamestown during his absence. Mr. Scrivener 
had received some letters from England, which 
gave him extravagant notions of his own impor 
tance, and made him feel very coldly towards 
Captain Smitk who still regarded him with the 
affection of a brother. He took it into his head 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 141 

to visit an island in the vicinity of Jamestown, 
called Hog Island, on a very cold and stormy 
day, when it seemed little short of madness to 
tempt the angry elements. Notwithstanding the 
most earnest remonstrances he persisted in going, 
and persuaded Captain Waldo with nine others 
to accompany him. The skiff would have hard 
ly floated with so large a freight, in calm weather; 
but, as it was, she sunk immediately, and all who 
were in her were drowned. Their dead bodies 
were found by the Indians, which encouraged 
them in their projected enterprises against the 
colony. 

No one, for some time, would undertake to in 
form Captain Smith of this heavy news, till finally 
Mr. Richard Wiffin volunteered. His journey was 
full of dangers and difficulties. He at first went 
to Werowocomoco, where he found that all were 
engaged in warlike preparations, which boded no 
good to his countrymen. He seems to have nar 
rowly escaped with his life here; for we are told, 
that "Pocahontas hid him for a time, and sent 
them who pursued him the clean contrary way 
to seek him." He finally reached Captain Smith 
after travelling three days, and communicated his 
sa<J message to him; who charged him to keep 
it a secret from his followers, and, dissembling 
his grief as much as he could, at nightfall he 
went on board the boat, leaving Opechancanough 



142 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

at liberty and unmolested according to his prom 
ise. 

Captain Smith cherished a hope, that he might 
be able, on his return, to entrap Powhatan, an 
intention which he had never abandoned. Pow 
hatan, on his part, had commanded his subjects, 
on pain of death, to kill Captain Smith by some 
means or other. The consequence was, that on 
their second meeting, as at their first, both parties 
were on their guard; and, though many strata 
gems were practised on both sides, nothing deci 
sive took place. Such a terror was Captain. 
Smith to the Indians, that not even the com 
mands of Powhatan could induce them to attack 
him in battle, notwithstanding their immense su 
periority in numbers; and they were ready to 
propitiate him by loads of provision, if they had 
any reasons to suspect hostile intentions on his 
part towards them. We are told, however, that 
they attempted to take his life by poison, a mode 
more characteristic of civilized malice, than of 
savage hatred. The particulars are not related; 
it is said that Captain Smith, Mr. West, and 
others were taken sick, and thus threw off from 
the stomach some poisonous substance which 
would have been fatal, had it been left to its nat 
ural operation. It was probably not prepared 
with great skill by these untutored chemists. No 
other notice was taken of the outrage, except that 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 143 

the Indian who brought the poisoned articles was 
soundly beaten by Captain Smith s own hand, 
which, we have every reason to believe, was a 
very heavy one. He finally returned to James 
town after an enterprise full of perils and diffi 
culty, bringing with him two hundred pounds of 
deer suet, and four hundred and seventy -nine 
bushels of corn. 



CHAPTER XL 

Troubles with the Indians. Scarcity of Pro 
visions. Mutinous and Treacherous Dis 
position of Some of the Colonists. Arrival 
of Captain Argall. 

CAPTAIN SMITH, on his arrival, found as usual 
that nothing had been done during his absence. 
Their provisions had been much injured by the 
rain, and many of their tools and weapons had 
been stolen by or secretly conveyed to the Ind 
ians. The stock of food which remained, in 
creased by that which had been procured from 
the Indians, was, however, found on computa 
tion to be sufficient to last them a year; and 
consequently their apprehensions of starving were 



144 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

for the present laid aside. They were divided 
into companies of ten or fifteen, as occasion re 
quired, and six hours of each day were spent in 
labor and the rest in amusement and exhilarating- 
exercises. 

The majority of them, unaccustomed to dis 
cipline or regular employment, showed symptoms 
of stubborn resistance to his authority, which 
provoked him to reprove them in sharp terms. 
He told them, that their recent sufferings ought 
to have worked a change in their conduct, and 
that they must not think that either his labors 
or the purses of the adventurers would for ever 
maintain them in idleness. He did not mean 
that his reproaches should apply to all, for many 
deserved more honor and reward than they 
could ever receive; but the majority of them 
must be more industrious or starve. That it 
was not reasonable that the labors of thirty or 
forty honest and industrious men should be de 
voted to the support of a hundred and fifty idle 
loiterers, and that, therefore, whoever would not 
work must not eat. That they had often been 
screened in their disobedience to his commands 
by the authority of the council; but that now 
the power, in effect, rested wholly in him. That 
they were mistaken in their opinion, that his 
authority was but a shadow, and that he could 
not touch the lives of any without peril of his 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 145 

own. That the letters patent would show them 
the contrary, which he would have read to them 
every week, and that they might be assured that 
every one, who deserved punishment, should re 
ceive it. 

He also made a register, in which he recorded 
their merits and demerits, "to encourage the 
good, and with shame to spur on the rest to 
amendment;" a simple device, one would think, 
for those who had long left school, but which, 
owing probably to the President s great personal 
influence, proved of considerable efficacy. They 
missed from time to time powder, shot, arms, 
and tools, without knowing what had become of 
them, but found afterwards that they were se 
cretly conveyed to the Germans, who were with 
Powhatan, by their countrymen and confederates 
at Jamestown. Four or five of these latter, ac 
cording to a previous agreement, had deserted 
from Jamestown, a short time before, to join the 
former; but, meeting in the woods some of Cap 
tain Smith s party on their return, to avoid sus 
picion they came back. Their countrymen sent 
one of their number, disguised as an Indian, to 
learn the reason of their delay. He came as far 
as the glass-house, which was about a mile from 
Jamestown, and was the scene of all their plots 
and machinations, and their common place of 
rendezvous. 

iv. 10 



146 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

At the same time and near the same place, 
forty Indians were lying in ambush for Captain 
Smith. He was immediately informed of the 
German s arrival (how or by whom we are not 
told), and, taking twenty men, marched to the 
glass-house to apprehend him; but he had gone 
away before they came. He despatched his fol 
lowers to intercept him, and returned alone to 
Jamestown, armed only with a sword, not sus 
pecting any danger. In the woods he met the 
chief of the Pashiphays, a neighboring tribe of 
Indians, a tall and strong man, who at first at 
tempted by artful persuasion to bring Captain 
Smith within reach of the ambuscade. Failing, 
however, in this, he attempted to shoot him with 
his bow, which Smith prevented by suddenly 
grappling with him. Neither was able to make 
use of his weapons, but the Indian drew his ad 
versary by main strength into the river, in the 
hope of drowning him. There they struggled for 
a long time, till Captain Smith seized his antago 
nist s throat with such a grasp as nearly strangled 
him. This momentary advantage enabled him to 
draw his sword, at which his foe no longer re 
sisted, but begged his life with piteous entreaties. 
Captain Smith led him prisoner to Jamestown 
and put him in chains. 

The German meanwhile had been taken; and, 
though he attempted to account for his conduct, 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 147 

his treachery was suspected and finally confirmed 
oy the confession of the captive chief, who was 
kept in custody, and offered to Powhatan in 
exchange for the faithless Germans whom he 
had with him. Many messengers were sent, 
but the Germans would not come of their own 
accord, neither would Powhatan force them. 
While these negotiations were going on, the chief 
himself escaped through the negligence of his 
guards, though he was in irons. An attempt 
was made to retake him, but without effect. 
Captain Smith made prisoners of two Indians, by 
name Kemps and Tussore, who are described as 
being " the two most exact villains in all the 
country." He himself went with an expedition 
to punish the tribe of Pashiphays for their past 
injuries and deter them from any future ones, 
in which he slew several of them, burned their 
houses, took their canoes and fishing-weirs, and 
fixed some of the latter at Jamestown. 

As he was proceeding to Chickahominy, he 
was assaulted by some of their tribe ; but, as 
soon as they saw who he was, they threw down 
their arms and sued for peace, a young man, 
named Okaning, thus addressing him ; " Captain 
Smith, the chief, my master, is here among us, 
and he attacked you, mistaking you for Captain 
Wynne, who has pursued us in war. If he has 
offended you in escaping imprisonment, rernemnc* 



148 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

that fishes swim, the birds fly, and the very beasts 
strive to escape the snare and the line ; blame not 
him, therefore, who is a man. He would ask you 
to recollect what pains he took, when you were 
a prisoner, to save your life. If he has injured 
you since, you have taken ample vengeance and 
greatly to our cost. We know that your purpose 
is to destroy us ; but we are here to desire your 
friendship, and to ask you to permit us to enjoy 
our houses and plant our fields. You shall share 
in their fruit ; but if you drive us off, you will be 
the greatest losers by our absence. For we can 
plant anywhere, though it may cost us more 
labor ; but we know you cannot live, unless you 
have our harvests to supply your wants. If you 
will promise us peace, we will trust you ; if not, 
we will abandon the country." 

This " worthy discourse," as it is justly called 
by the writer of the narrative, had its desired 
effect. Captain Smith made peace with them 
on condition that they would supply him with 
provisions. This good understanding continued 
so long as Captain Smith remained in the coun 
try. 

When Smith returned to Jamestown, complaint 
was made to him, that the people of Chicka- 
hominy, who had always seemed honest and 
friendly, had been guilty of frequent thefts. A 
pistol, among other things, had been recently 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 149 

stolen and the thief escaped ; but his two broth 
ers, who were known to be his confederates, were 
apprehended. According to the President s usual 
summary mode of proceeding in such cases, one 
of these was sent home with a message, that if 
the pistol were not forthcoming in twelve hours, 
the other (who meanwhile was imprisoned) should 
be hung. The messenger came back before mid 
night with the pistol, but a sad spectacle awaited 
him. Captain Smith, pitying the poor naked 
Indian who was shivering in his dark, cold dun 
geon, had sent him some food and charcoal to 
make a fire with. The simple savage, knowing 
nothing of the mysteries of carbonic acid gas,* 
soon fainted away under its deleterious influence, 
and was brought out to all appearance dead. His 
brother, seeing his confident hopes so cruelly dis 
appointed, broke out into the most passionate 
lamentations, and Captain Smith, to pacify him, 
told him that he would restore him to life. By 
the application of brandy and vinegar, he was 
restored to consciousness ; but his faculties re 
mained in such a state of confusion and disorder, 
as alarmed his brother hardly less than his seem 
ing death. But a night s sound sleep restored 
him to his senses, and they were both presented 



* The English writer was not much wiser ; he says 
the Indian was smothered with the smoke. 



150 AMEK1CAN BIOGRAPHY. 

with a piece of copper and sent home. From 
this circumstance, a report was spread far and 
wide, among the Indians, that Captain Smith was 
able to restore the dead to life. 

Another incident took place about this time, 
which increased the awe in which the English 
were held. An " ingenuous savage " at Wero- 
wocomoco had by some means obtained posses 
sion of a bag of gunpowder and of the back- 
piece of a suit of armor. Wishing to display his 
superior accomplishments to his countrymen, he 
proceeded to dry the powder over the fire, upon 
the armor, as he had seen the soldiers do at 
Jamestown. Many thronged around him and 
peeped over his shoulders, to watch the process, 
when suddenly the powder exploded, killed the 
unfortunate operator and one or two others, and 
wounded several more, which gave the whole na 
tion a great distaste to gunpowder. " These and 
many other such pretty accidents," as we are 
told, so amazed and alarmed Powhatan and his 
whole people, that they desired peace from all 
parts, bringing in presents and restoring stolen 
articles, which had long been given up in despair. 
After this, if any Indian was detected in steal 
ing, he was apprehended and sent to Jamestown 
to be punished, and the whole country became 
as free and safe to the English as to the Indians 
themselves. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 151 

The English, thus unmolested from without, 
were enabled to devote their undivided energies 
to the internal affairs of the colony. They set 
themselves to labor with industry and success. 
In the space of three months, they had made 
a considerable quantity of tar, pitch, and potash ; 
produced a sample of glass ; dug a well of sweet 
water in the fort, an article which they had not 
had in abundance before ; built twenty new hous 
es ; new covered the church ; provided nets and 
weirs for fishing ; and built a block-house on the 
isthmus of Jamestown, in which a garrison was 
stationed to trade with the Indians, and which no 
one was allowed to pass without an order from the 
President. Thirty or forty acres of ground were 
also dug and planted. A block-house was like 
wise erected on Hog Island, and a garrison station 
ed there to give notice of any vessels that might 
arrive. At leisure times they exercised them 
selves in cutting down trees and making clap 
boards and wainscoting. About this time Captain 
Wynne died, so that Captain Smith was left with 
the whole and absolute power, being both Presi 
dent and council. 

Their prosperous and contented industry receiv 
ed a sudden interruption. On examining their 
store of corn, they found that half of it had rot 
ted and the rest was nearly all consumed by the 
rats which had been left bv the ship, and in- 



152 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHT. 

creased in great numbers. This put a stop to all 
their enterprises and obliged them to turn their 
whole attention to the procuring of food. 

The Indians were very friendly to them, bring 
ing in deer and wildfowl in abundance, and Pow- 
hatan spared them nearly half his stock of corn. 
The river also supplied them with sturgeon and 
oysters ; so there was no danger of their starving 
to death. But then food could not be procured 
without considerable toil and trouble ; and many of 
them were so intolerably lazy, that, as the narra 
tive says, " had they not been forced nolens vo- 
lens perforce to gather and prepare their victual, 
they would all have starved or have eaten one 
another." These men were very clamorous that 
he should sell their tools and iron, their swords 
and muskets, and even their houses and ordinance, 
to the Indians for corn, so that they might enjoy 
the luxury of idleness. 

They endeavored also by all means in theii 
power to induce him to leave the country. Ne 
cessity obliged Captain Smith to overlook for 
a time their mutinous and disorderly proceed 
ings ; but, having detected and severely pun 
ished the principal ringleader, he addressed the 
remainder in the following terms. " Fellow sol 
diers, I did not think that any one was so false 
as to report, or that you were so simple as to 
believe, either that I intended to starve you, or 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 

that Powhatan had, at this time, any com for 
himself, much less for you, or that I would not 
procure corn, if I knew where it was to be had. 
Neither did I think that any were so malicious, 
as I find many are ; but I will not so yield to in 
dignation as to prevent me from doing what I can 
for the good of my most inveterate enemy. But 
dream no longer of any further assistance from 
Powhatan, and do not imagine that I shall not 
compel the indolent to work, as well as punish 
the refractory. If I find any one attempting to 
escape to Newfoundland in the pinnace, let him 
be assured that the gallows shall be his portion. 
You cannot deny that I have often saved your 
lives at the risk of my own, and provided you 
food when otherwise you might have starved. 
But I protest, by the God that made me, that 
since necessity has no power to compel you to 
gather for yourselves the fruits which the earth 
yields, I will oblige you to gather them, not only 
for yourselves, but also for the sick. You know 
that I have fared like the meanest of you, and 
that my extra allowance I have always distrib 
uted among the sick. The sick shall not starve, 
but shall fare like the rest of us ; therefore, who 
ever does not gather as much every day as I do, 
the next day he shall be put over the river and 
be banished from the fort, until he either alters 
his conduct or starves. 



154 AMERICAN BIOGRAPH1 

These orders were murmured against as being 
extremely cruel and tyrannical ; but no one dared 
to disobey them. All exerted themselves dili 
gently to procure food, so that they not only did 
not suffer from want, but grew strong and healthy. 
Many were billeted among the Indians, a fact 
which showed how much confidence there was 
on one side, and how much respect, or at least 
fear, on the other. These last were so well 
treated by their kind entertainers, that many de 
serted from Jamestown and took up their abode 
with them ; but the Indians, who knew that they 
had acted contrary to Captain Smith s orders, 
received them with great coldness, and finally 
brought them back to him. He inflicted on 
them such exemplary punishment, that no one 
ventured to follow their example. The good 
conduct of the Indians at this crisis extorts from 
the writer of the narrative the remark, that there 
was more hope to make good Christians and 
good subjects of them, than of one half of those 
who pretended to be both. 

At this period, Mr. Sicklemore returned from 
his expedition, but without gaining any satisfac 
tory account of Sir Walter Raleigh s lost com 
pany or of the silk-grass. Captain Smith, who 
thought it proper not to abandon a point so 
strongly urged by the council in England, sent 
upon the same errand two of his company to the 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 155 

Mangoags ; a tribe of Indians, not subject to Povv- 
hdtan, who dwelt somewhere on the borders of 
North Carolina and Virginia. They were fur 
nished with guides by the chief of the Quiyough- 
nohanocs, a small tribe dwelling on the southern 
banks of the James River, about ten miles from 
Jamestown. " This honest, proper, promise- 
keeping king," as he is styled, was ever friendly 
to the English; and, though he zealously wor 
shipped his own false gods, he was ready to ac 
knowledge that their God exceeded his, as much 
as guns did bows and arrows. He would often 
send presents to the President, in a time of 
drought, begging him to pray to his God for 
rain, lest his corn should spoil, because his own 
gods were angry with him. The result of this 
expedition was, like that of the former one, 
entirely unsuccessful. 

The Germans, who were with Powhatan, gave 
them constant trouble. One Volday, a Swiss, 
was employed to solicit them to return to the 
colony ; but, instead of that, he basely and treach 
erously entered into a conspiracy with them to cut 
off the English, and diligently exerted himself to 
bring it to a successful issue. Seeing that these 
were obliged to wander about in search of provis 
ions and leave the fort but feebly defended, they 
endeavored to prevail upon Powhatan to lend 
them his forces, promising to burn the town, to 



156 



AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



seize the bark, and make the greater part of the 
colonists his subjects and slaves. 

Tliis plot was communicated to some of the 
malecontents at Jamestown ; and two of them, 
" whose Christian hearts relented at such an un 
christian act," revealed it to the President. When 
it became generally known in the colony, the sen 
timent of indignation was so lively, that several 
volunteered to go and slay the Germans, though 
in the very presence of Powhatan. Two were 
accordingly sent on this errand ; but, on their ar 
rival, the Germans made such plausible excuses, 
and accused Volday so warmly, that they were 
unaccountably suffered to go unpunished. Pow 
hatan seems to have observed a strict neutrality 
in this business. He sent a message to Captain 
Smith, informing him that he would neither at 
tempt to detain the Germans, nor to hinder his 
men from executing his commands. One of these 
Germans, we are told, afterwards returned to his 
duty, on promise of full pardon for the past ; the 
other remained with Powhatan. 

The writer of this portion of the History of 
Virginia, after relating these incidents, and stating 
that their great security against the treacherous 
machinations of these foreigners, and their unprin 
cipled coadjutors at Jamestown, was the love and 
respect in which Captain Smith was held, by all 
the neighboring Indians, goes on to remar^ upon 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH 



157 



his merits in a strain of honest admiration ; " By 
this you may see, for all those crosses, treacheries, 
and dissensions, how he wrestled and overcame 
(without bloodshed) all that happened ; also what 
good was done ; how few died ; what food the 
country naturally affordeth ; what small cause 
there is men should starve or be murdered by 
the savages, that have discretion to manage them 
with courage and industry. The two first years, 
though by his adventures he had often brought 
the savages to a tractable trade, yet you see how 
the envious authority ever crossed him, and frus 
trated his best endeavors. But it wrought in him 
that experience and estimation amongst the sava 
ges, as otherwise it had been impossible he had 
ever effected that he did. Notwithstanding the 
many miserable, yet generous and worthy adven 
tures he had oft and long endured in the wide 
world, yet in this case he was again to learn his 
lecture by experience ; which with much ado 
having obtained, it was his ill chance to end, when 
he had but only learned how to begin." 

In the spring of the year 1609, Captain Sam 
uel Argall, afterwards a governor of the colony, 
arrived at Jamestown. He came to trade with 
the colony and to fish for sturgeon, in a ship sup 
plied with wine and provisions. This, says Stith, 
was a prohibited trade, but it was connived at, 
because Argall was a relation of Sir Thomas 



158 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Smith. The necessity of the colony obliged them 
to take his provisions, by which the object of his 
voyage was defeated ; but as soon as they receiv 
ed supplies from England, they revictualled him 
home, with letters giving a full account of the 
state of their affairs. By him Captain Smith re 
ceived letters, blaming him for his cruel usage of 
the Indians, and for not sending back the former 
ships freighted. By him they also heard of the 
great preparations in England for sending out an 
expedition, under the command of Lord Delaware, 
and of the entire change projected in the govern 
ment of the colony. 



CHAPTER XIL 

New Charter granted to the Virginia Compa 
ny. Expedition despatched to Jamestown. 
Confusion which ensues on its Arrival 
Captain Smith returns to England. 

THE administration of Captain Smith, and the 
general course of events from the first, at James 
town, had been far from satisfactory to the com 
pany in England. They had founded the colony 
solely from selfish motives, in the hope of acquir 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 159 

ing great and sudden fortunes by the opening of a 
passage to the South Sea, or by the discovery of 
abundant mines of gold and silver. The splendid 
success of the Spaniards in South America had 
filled the imaginations of all Europe with golden 
dreams ; and the company were disappointed and 
irritated, because there had not been found in 
Virginia the mineral treasures of Peru and Mex 
ico. They chose to visit their displeasure upon 
the innocent head of Captain Smith, as if he had 
either been the cause of their extravagant hopes, 
or had, by some potent magic, banished the pre 
cious metals from the soil of Virginia. 

Their prejudice against him was increased, un 
doubtedly, by their extreme ignorance of every 
thing relating to the history and situation of the 
colony, which disqualified them from judging of 
the propriety of his measures. Their minds too 
had been poisoned by the misrepresentations of 
Newport, who possessed their entire confidence, 
and who hated Captain Smith with that untiring 
and dogged hatred, with which an inferior being 
contemplates an enemy, who is too much above 
him to allow the most distant hope of rivalship. 
They were dissatisfied, among other things, with 
his treatment of the Indians, thinking it too harsh 
and peremptory, and that a milder and more 
conciliatory one would have induced them to dis 
cover the hidden treasures, which they were per 
suaded existed somewhere in the country. 



160 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Captain Smith, as the reader must have ob 
served, considered himself bound from the first 
to provide for the protection and support of tho 
oolony, rather than the pecuniary interests of the 
council at home. He endeavored to give it a 
permanent footing in the country, an object about 
which they cared very little, as is shown by their 
shameful neglect in supplying it with provisions, 
as well as by the character of the adventurers 
whom they sent out. 

He perceived at once the futility of any ex 
pectations of raising a revenue from Virginia, and 
dwelt upon it in all his communications to Eng 
land. He saw that a handful of Englishmen 
were surrounded by numerous and formidable 
tribes of Indians, and that there could never be 
any security to life or property, unless they were 
promptly overawed by firm and spirited conduct. 
With great propriety he considered himself far 
better able to judge of the measures which ought 
to be adopted for the colony, than a company 
of gentlemen, three thousand miles distant, who 
derived their information from imperfect or in 
terested sources. His administration, as we have 
seen, was vigorous and decided, aiming rather to 
benefit the colony, than to please the council 
at home. He was too independent and proud 
a man to stoop to conciliate those whose favor 
was not to be won by a steady adherence to 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 161 

duty. He had not a drop of the courtiers blood 
in his whole body. His intercourse with his 
superiors in station was marked with dignity and 
self-respect. His letter to the council, which 
he sent by Newport, and of which we have 
given an account, is certainly unmarked by del 
icate official deference, and little calculated to 
win or regain favor. All these things had com 
bined to render him and his administration un 
popular ; and he, whose services to the colo 
ny had been incalculable, was made the victim 
of their capricious displeasure, and dismissed 
from an office which he had filled so honora 
bly, so successfully, and with such constant self- 
sacrifice. 

The Virginia company, having induced many- 
persons of rank and wealth to join with them, 
in order to increase at once their dignity and 
their funds, applied to King James for a new 
charter, which was granted, and which bears 
date, May 23d, 1609. It gave the most ample 
powers to the council in England and showed the 
most wanton disregard of the rights and privileges 
of the colonists who had emigrated on the faith 
of the first charter, and who had toiled, suffered, 
and accomplished so much. By virtue of these 
powers, the new council appointed Lord Dela 
ware, a nobleman of high rank and distinguished 
character, captain-general of the colony ; Sir 

IV. 11 



162 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Thomas Gates, lieutenant-general ; Sir George 
Somers, admiral ; Captain Newport (the only one 
who had ever been in Virginia), vice-admiral ; 
Sir Thomas Dale, high marshal ; Sir Ferdinando 
Wainman, master of the horse. The counte 
nance of so many honorable and distinguished 
persons made the enterprise fashionable and pop 
ular, so that they were able to equip nine ships, 
in which five hundred persons consisting of men, 
women, and children, embarked. 

The expedition set sail from England in May, 
1609, under the command of Sir George Somers, 
Sir Thomas Gates, and Captain Newport, each 
of whom had a commission authorizing him, who 
first arrived, to supersede the existing adminis 
tration, and to govern the colony by the terms 
and provisions of the new charter, until the arri 
val of Lord Delaware with the remainder of the 
recruits and supplies. By a most extraordinary 
oversight, no precedence in rank was assigned 
to either of these gentlemen, and they were 
unable to settle the point among themselves, nei 
ther being willing to resign his chance of being 
the temporary head. 

To obviate this difficulty, they adopted a most 
injudicious and unfortunate expedient ; they all 
determined to embark in the same vessel, their 
weak and childish ambition inducing them to 
take a step which defeated the very object of 



Ci*rTAIN JOHN SMITH. 163 

tfts* jriumvirate division of authority. In their 
ship were contained also the bills of lading, the 
new commission, instructions and directions of 
the most ample nature, and the greater part of 
their provisions. This vecsel, on the 25th of 
July, parted from the rest of the squadron in a 
violent storm, and was wrecked on one of the 
Bermuda Islands ; another small vessel foundered 
at sea ; the seven others arrived safely at James 
town. The President, who was informed of their 
arrival by his scouts, and who had no expecta 
tion of so large a fleet, supposed them to be 
Spaniards coming to attack the colony, and with 
his usual promptness put it in a posture of de 
fence. The Indians at this crisis gave the strong 
est proof of their good-will, by coming forward 
with the greatest alacrity, and offering to fight 
side by side with the English against their en 
emies. 

These unfounded apprehensions were soon dis 
sipated, but only to be replaced by substantial 
evils. With the seven ships came three indi 
viduals, of whom the reader has before heard, 
Ratcliffe (whose real name, as has been stated, 
was Sicklemore), Archer, and Martin, all of 
whom were enemies to Captain Smith, and had 
so prejudiced the minds of their companions 
against him, that they were prepared to dislike 
without ever having seen him. Their ships hac 



164 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

been greatly shattered in their stormy passage, 
their provisions were running low, many of them 
were sick, and they arrived at the season of the 
year most trying to the constitution. The great 
er part of the company, moreover, consisted of 
persons " much fitter," as Stith says, " to spoil 
or ruin a commonwealth than to help to raise 
or maintain one." They consisted of dissipated 
young men, exiled by their friends to escape a 
worse destiny at home ; bankrupt tradesmen ; 
needy adventurers ; gentlemen, lazy, poor, and 
proud ; profligate hangers-on of great men, and 
the like. 

A scene of wild confusion took place immedi 
ately upon their landing. They had brought 
no commission with them which could supersede 
the old one, and no one could, with legal pro 
priety, supplant Captain Smith. The new com 
ers, however, disdained to submit to his author 
ity, prejudiced as they were against him, and 
looking with contempt upon the little band of 
colonists, whom they were sent to cast into the 
shade. 

He, at first, allowed them to have every thing 
in their own way, and in consequence there was 
an entire end of all government, discipline, and 
subordination. The new comers, though having 
neither the authority nor the capacity, under 
took to remodel the government. They con 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 165 

ferred the chief power first on one and then on 
another ; to-day, they administered the govern 
ment according to the old commission ; to-morrow, 
according to the new ; and the next day, after a 
new fashion of their own. There was no con 
sistency, no responsibility, and in fact no govern 
ment ; but instead of it a wild anarchy and mis 
rule, to which nothing but chaos could furnish a 
parallel. 

The sensible and judicious part of the com 
munity, both of the new comers and of the old 
settlers, perceived that this state of things, if 
long continued, would bring the colony to utter 
ruin, and, justly appreciating the distinguished 
merit of Captain Smith, entreated him to re 
sume his abandoned authority, and save them 
from destruction, before it was too late. He 
was himself so disgusted with the new comers 
and their proceedings, that, had he consulted his 
own wishes alone, he would have abandoned the 
country and gone to England. But there was 
no alloy of selfishness in his nature. He fe t 
for the colony, of which he was the soul and 
life-blood, the pride and affection which a par 
ent feels for a favorite child. To its prosperity 
he was ever ready to sacrifice his private feelings, 
and he saw plainly, that the present system would 
end in its ruin. 



166 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

He felt emboldened too by the conviction of 
the fact, that he was and had been its legal head, 
and that no one had any official authority for 
superseding him. He did not hesitate, therefore, 
to resume the station, which he had for a short 
time tacitly resigned, though in doing so he ex 
posed himself to infinite vexations and no little 
actual danger from the secret and open opposi 
tion of his enemies. The most obstinate and 
refractory of them he cast into prison for safe 
keeping, until there was leisure for a fair and 
legal trial. It was thought expedient to divide 
their numbers, and accordingly Captain Martin 
was sent with a hundred and twenty men to 
Nansemond, and Captain West with the like num 
ber to the Falls of James River, each receiv 
ing a due proportion of provisions from the com 
mon stock. 

Before these settlements were planted, Cap 
tain Smith, having established a regular govern 
ment, and being near the end of the year of his 
presidency, resigned it in favor of Martin, who 
was the only person that could be chosen to the 
office. He had the good sense to perceive, that 
he was not qualified for so arduous a station, and, 
restoring it to Captain Smith in less than three 
hours, proceeded with his company to Nanse 
mond. His experiment proved a total failure. 
The Indians were kindly disposed towards him, 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 167 

rill his injudicious conduct converted them into 
determined enemies. They made a successful 
attack upon him, killing many of his men, and 
carrying off* a thousand bushels of his corn. He 
made a feeble resistance, and did not attempt to 
recover what he had lost, but sent to Jamestown 
for thirty soldiers to aid him. These were 
promptly despatched, but he made no use of 
them ; and they soon returned of their own ac 
cord, disgusted with his cowardice and imbecility. 
Martin himself shortly followed them, leaving his 
company to take care of themselves. 

Disasters also followed the settlement at the 
Falls. It was originally made in a place exposed 
to the inundations of the river and to other great 
inconveniences ; and Captain West returned to 
Jamestown to obtain advice and assistance in the 
removal f it. Captain Smith immediately pur 
chased of Powhatan the place called by his name, 
which was a short distance lower down the river, 
and went up to the Falls himself, to superin 
tend their establishment in their new abode. Bu 
the mutinous and disorderly company, seeing him 
attended with only five men, refused to obey his 
orders, and, on his attempting to use force, resi r led 
him and obliged him to take refuge on board his 
vessel, having narrowly escaped with his life. 

He remained here nine days, in the hope that 
they would listen to reason and consult their own 



168 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

interest in putting themselves under his guid 
ince. But they obstinately refused to the last. 
The Indians, meanwhile, flocked around him 
with bitter complaints of the treatment they had 
received from the settlers, saying, that they had 
robbed their gardens, stolen their corn, beaten 
them, broken into their houses, and carried off 
some of their people and detained them prison 
ers. They offered to assist him in bringing them 
to subjection by the strong arm of power, and 
told him, that they had borne these insults and 
injuries from his countrymen out of respect to 
him ; but that he must forgive them if hereafter 
they defended themselves to the utmost of thek 
ability, and repelled unprovoked aggressions by 
force. 

Finding his efforts to be unavailing, Captain 
Smith departed ; but his vessel grounded, after 
she had proceeded about half a league, a very 
fortunate circumstance, as the result showed. 
For no sooner was his back turned, than some 
Indians, not more than twelve in number it is 
stated, burning for revenge, assaulted the settlers, 
and, killing several stragglers whom they found in 
the woods, struck such a panic into the rest, that 
they sent down in great alarm to Captain Smith, 
offering to accede to any terms that he would 
propose, if he would come and assist them. He 
returned, and, after punishing six or seven of the 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 169 

chief offenders, removed the rest to Powhatan, a 
place every way adapted to their purposes, as it 
had been brought under cultivation by the In 
dians, who had also erected a strong fort there. 

As soon as they were settled in their new 
habitation, Captain West returned and began to 
undo all that had been done. Captain Smith, 
unwilling to contend with him, opposed him in 
nothing, but left him to manage every thing in his 
own way. By his influence they were induced to 
return to their former situation, for what reason 
it is not stated. 

Captain Smith met with a most unhappy acci 
dent as he was returning to Jamestown. While 
he was sleeping in the boat, a bag of powder lying 
near him exploded, and tore and burned his flesh 
in the most shocking manner. His clothes being 
on fire, he leaped overboard to quench the flames, 
and was with difficulty rescued from drowning. 
In this sad condition he arrived at Jamestown, 
where things were in such a state as to require 
all his faculties of mind and body. The time 
set for the trial of RatclifFe, Archer, and the 
others who had been imprisoned, drew near, and 
their guilty consciences made them shrink from 
an inquiry, about the result of which they could 
entertain no doubt. Seeing too the helpless state 
of the President, they entered into a plot to 
murder him in his bed ; but the heart of the base 



170 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

wretch, who was chosen to be the instrument of 
their wickedness, failed him at the last moment, 
and he had not the courage to fire his murderous 
pistol. Having failed in this, they endeavored 
to usurp the government and thereby escape pun 
ishment. Fevered and tormented by his wounds, 
Captain Smith became weary of this perpetual 
struggle against the violence and malice of his 
enemies, and of supporting his rightful authority 
by force and severity ; and he now determined to 
return to England, though his old friends, indig 
nant at the treatment he had received, offered and 
indeed entreated to be allowed to bring him the 
heads of his foes. But he would not permit the 
colony to be embroiled in a civil war on his ac 
count. His wounds also grew very dangerous, 
from the want of surgical aid ; and he believed 
that he could never recover, unless he went home 
as soon as possible to be cured there. He there 
fore, in the early part of the autumn of 1609, 
departed from Virginia never to return to it again. 
He left behind him four hundred and ninety 
colonists, one hundred of whom were trained and 
expert soldiers, three ships, seven boats, twenty- 
four pieces of ordnance, three hundred muskets 
and other arms, abundance of ammunition and 
tools, wearing ipparel sufficient for all their wants, 
and an ample stock of domestic animals and pro 
visions 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 171 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Remarks on Captain Smith s Administration 
in Virginia. 

CAPTAIN SMUTH resided a little more than two 
years in Virginia; during one of which he was 
President of the colony. The reader, who has 
gone thus far with me, will be enabled to form 
a conception of what he accomplished, and the 
disadvantages against which he contended. It is 
difficult for those who have been reared on the lap 
of civilization, and had wants created by the facil 
ities of gratifying them, to have a full sense of the 
labors and sufferings of the first settlers of a new 
country. Familiar with the luxuries of artificial 
life, they are thrown into a situation where ani 
mal existence can hardly be supported. Severe 
and unremitted toil wears down the frame and 
depresses the mind. Famine often lays siege to 
them, and new and strange diseases prostrate their 
strength. A vague sense of apprehension ever 
darkens their lot, and not a leaf stirs, but makes 
them start with the expectation of encountering 
some great and unknown danger. 

The bright hopes, with which they began their 
enterprise, are apt to languish and die ; and their 
hearts faint under the influence of that homesick- 



172 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

ness, for which there is no medicine but a draught 
of the air of one s native land. To be the suc 
cessful leader of a band of new settlers under 
the most favorable circumstances, requires an 
extraordinary combination of powers. He must 
be able to use his hands as well as his head, to 
act as well as to command, to show how things are 
to be done as well as to give directions to do 
them. He must be able to awe the refractory, to 
encourage the distrustful, and to cheer up the 
drooping. He must have courage, fortitude, self- 
command, and perseverance ; he must be just 
yet not stern, dignified, yet affable and easy of 
approach. 

The Virginia colony, and its head in particular, 
had trials and perils of a peculiar nature to en 
counter, in addition to those which they might 
naturally have expected. In the first place, they 
were surrounded by numerous and powerful tribes 
of Indians, whose occupation was war, and who 
were organized into a powerful confederacy under 
a ruler of extraordinary resources, the idol of his 
people, full of courage and enterprise, rivalling 
in dissimulation the most accomplished European 
diplomatist ; and, if not the implacable enemy of 
the whites, he has been represented as being still 
very far from their friend, and, with a prophetic 
spirk, apparently realizing from the first, that 
their permanent residence and increase would in 
volve the ruin of his own people. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 173 

As we have seen, too, Captain Smith had 
much to contend against in the characters of many 
of the settlers themselves, whom the old world 
seems to have shaken off, as being too worth 
less and desperate to be any longer tolerated at 
home. They were continually irritating him by 
their surly opposition, and infecting the well- 
disposed by their ill example ; for labors and 
hardships are much lightened when they are 
shared by all. Instead of receiving aid from the 
council at home, they w r ere to him a source of 
unmixed vexation and disappointment. 

Chagrined by the failure of their visionary 
hopes, with a truly consistent selfishness they 
abandoned to unwarrantable neglect the settlers, 
whom they had sent into a howling wilderness, 
taking no pains to provide for their wants, and, 
by their absurd exactions, making the expeditions 
they sent out to them a tax and a burden. 
Captain Smith they honored with peculiar dislike, 
because he preferred the interests of the colony 
to their own ; believing all that his enemies could 
say of him, giving him reproof where honor was 
due, and finally depriving him of his command, 
at the very moment, when by his extraordinary 
exertions, he had established the colony upon a 
firm basis, and could look confidently forward to 
its steady increase and continued prosperity. 



174 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

It is hardly possible for Captain Smith s ser 
vices to the colony to be exaggerated. Nothing 
but the force of his character could have con 
ducted it through so many difficulties and dan 
gers. Upon his single life its existence hung, 
and without him the enterprise would have been 
relinquished again and again, as in the case of 
the settlements on the coast of North Carolina, 
and the establishment of a permanent colony in 
America would have been delayed to an inde 
finite period, since every unsuccessful attempt 
would have been a fresh discouragement to such 
an undertaking. It is easy to be seen that he 
embraced the interests of the colony with the 
whole force of his fervid and enthusiastic char 
acter. He was its right eye and its right arm. 
In its service he displayed a perseverance, which 
no obstacles could dishearten, a courage, which 
bordered upon rashness, and a fertility of resour 
ces, which never left him at a loss for remedies 
against every disaster, and for the means of extri 
cating himself from every difficulty and embar 
rassment. 

It is curious to observe that he seemed rot 
only to superintend, but to do every thing. His 
official dignity never encumbered him when any 
thing was to be done. We find him, at one time, 
cutting down trees with his own hands ; at another, 
heading an exploring expedition, venturing, with a 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 175 

few timid followers in an open bark, into unknown 
regions densely peopled with savage tribes ; and 
at another, marching with a few soldiers to pro- 
cure provisions, and sleeping on the bare ground 
in the depth of winter. He had the advantage 
of possessing an iron frame and a constitution 
which was proof against sickness and exposure ; 
so that, while others were faint, drooping, and 
weary, he was vigorous, unexhausted, ready to 
grapple with danger, and contemplating every 
enterprise with cheerful confidence in the result. 

In the government of his colony he was rigid 
ly impartial, just, and, as might be expected from 
one who had so long been a soldier, strict even 
to severity. This was indeed one of the objec 
tions made to his administration by the council in 
England, and it without doubt created him many 
enemies in Jamestown. But the intelligent rea 
der, will find for him a sufficient apology in the 
desperate character of many of the settlers, and 
in the absolute necessity of implicit subordination, 
which their situation required. 

The whole power was centred in his own 
person, and a refusal to obey him was a refusal 
to obey the laws, upon which their safety and 
even existence depended. His severity arose 
from a sense of duty, and no one ever accused 
him of being wantonly cruel or revengeful. No 
man was more ready to forgive offences, aimed 



176 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY 

at himself personally : a striking proof of which 
is, that we hear of no punishments being inflicted 
on the dastardly wretches who attempted to as 
sassinate him, as he was lying helpless from his 
wounds, during the last days of his administration. 

His conduct to the Indians, though not always 
dictated by a spirit of Christian justice or brother 
hood, will be found very honorable to him, if 
tried by the standard of the opinions of his day. 
Here, too, his apology must be found in the pecu 
liar circumstances in which he was placed. He 
was not the head of a powerful body, meeting 
and trading with the Indians on terms of equal 
ity, but of a feeble band, whom they, if they 
had known their own strength, might have crush 
ed in a moment. The passion of fear is the 
parent of cruelty and of treachery. It was nec 
essary (or at least it was deemed so) to overawe 
the Indians, to strike terror into them ; and, if the 
means resorted to for accomplishing these ends 
were not strictly justifiable, there was at least an 
excuse for them. 

The English were also more than once threat 
ened with famine, while their Indian neighbors 
were generally well supplied with provisions ; and 
reason and experience tell us that starving men 
will not be very nice in their expedients to obtain 
food, or coolly examine into the right and wrong 
of measures, when a fierce animal instinct is goad- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 177 

uag them on. Captain Smith, by his prudence 
and firmness, established a most harmonious feei 
ng between the two races. 

The respect of the Indians for him hardly 
stopped short of idolatry. His great qualities 
were evident to these untutored children of na 
ture, and their reverence was the instinctive hom 
age which was paid to innate superiority. This is 
alone sufficient to prove that he never treated the 
Indians, even as they thought, with injustice, cru 
elty, or caprice ; had it been so, he never would 
have been so admired and honored by a race of 
men who are proverbial for never forgetting an 
injury. 

The genuine merits of Captain Smith, as a pre 
siding officer, can only be fairly estimated by com 
paring him with others. We have seen that when 
ever he departs from Jamestown every thing is 
thrown into confusion, and that, as soon as he re 
turns, order is restored and the jarring notes of dis 
cord cease to be heard. As none but himself could 
bend the bow of Ulysses, so no one was capable 
of sustaining the office of President for a single 
day but Captain Smith. We have seen in what 
difficulties and embarassments Captain Martin at 
Nansemond and Captain West at the Falls sever 
ally involved themselves ; and from this specimen 
we may draw " ominous conjecture " of what 
would have been the fate of the whole color y, 
bad either of these gentlemen been at its head. 

IV. 12 



178 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

Compare also the results of his brilliant expe 
dition to explore the Chesapeake with Newport s 
pompous inarch into the country of the Monacans, 
in which his failure was as wretched as his means 
of success were ample. The miserable adven 
tures of the colony, too, after he, its ruling and 
moving spirit, had departed, are in themselves a 
splendid encomium upon his energetic and suc 
cessful administration. 

The reader may have some curiosity to know 
what became of the Germans, whose treachery 
and misconduct we have so often been obliged to 
record. One of them, by name Samuel, never 
returned to the English from the time he first left 
them, but spent his days in Powhatan s service. 
Another, named Adam, returned, upon promise 
of pardon, at the time of Volday s conspiracy. 
During the troubles in the colony after the ar 
rival of the last expedition, he, with another of 
his countrymen, named Francis, taking advan 
tage of the general confusion, fled again to Pow- 
hatan, promising that they would do wonders for 
him at the arrival of Lord Delaware. But the 
savage monarch, with that sagacity and eleva 
tion of character which were peculiar to him, 
told them that the men, who were ready to be 
tray Captain Smith to him, would certainly be 
tray him to Lord Delaware, if they could gain 
any thing thereby, and immediately ordered their 
brains to be beaten out. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 179 

As to Volday himself, he contrived to go to 
England, where he imposed upon many merchants 
with stories of the rich mines he had discovered 
and of how much he could enrich them so that 
he was sent out with Lord Delaware ; out, his 
real character being discovered and his falsehoods 
detected, he died in misery and disgrace. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

Captain Smith s First Voyage to New England. 

F.ROM the time of Captain Smith s departure 
from Virginia, till the year 1614, there is a 
chasm in his biography. So active a mind as 
nis could not have been idle during that time, 
but. unfortunately, no records are preserved of 
what he attempted or accomplished. We have 
every reason to suppose that his favorite subject 
of settling the American continent occupied a 
large portion of his time and thoughts. Hi;s 
distinguished reputation, and his great knowledge 
and experience upon that head, would naturally 
point him out as the most proper person in Eng 
land to be consulted by those who had any 
projects of the kind in contemplation, and as 



180 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

the best qualified to take a part in them him 
self. 

In 1614, probably by his advice and at his 
suggestion, an expedition was fitted out by some 
London merchants, in the expense of which he 
also shared, for the purposes of trade and dis 
covery in New England, or, as it was then 
called, North Virginia. An attempt had been 
made to establish a colony on the coast of Maine, 
by the Plymouth company as early as 1607, 
and forty-five individuals passed the winter there. 
As the winter of 1607 - 8 was remarkably se 
vere all over the world, we can easily imagine 
their sufferings ; and shall not be surprised to 
earn, that they abandoned the enterprise, and 
returned to England in the first vessel which 
was sent out to them. They gave a most un 
favorable account of the country, describing it as 
cold, barren, and rocky in the extreme. Dis 
heartened, it would seem, by these representa 
tions, the company for some years confined their 
efforts to one or two voyages, the objects of 
which were, to catch fish and traffic with the 
Indians, till, as we have stated, they associated 
with themselves the enterprising genius of Cap 
tain Smith. 

In March, 1614, he set sail from London with 
two ships, one commanded by himself, and the 
other by Captain Thomas Hunt. They arrived, 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 181 

April 30th, at the island of Manhegin on the 
coast of Maine, where they built seven boats. 
The purposes, for which they were sent, were to 
capture whales and to search for mines of gol^ 
or copper, which were said to be there, and, if 
these failed, to make up a cargo of fish and 
furs. 

Of mines they found no indications, and they 
found whale-fishing a " costly conclusion " ; for, 
although they saw many, and chased them too, 
they succeeded in taking none. They thus lost 
the best part of the fishing season ; but, after 
giving up their gigantic game, they diligently 
employed the months of July and August in 
taking and curing cod-fish, an humble, but more 
certain prey. While the crew were thus em 
ployed, Captain Smith, with eight men in a 
small boat, surveyed and examined the whole 
coast, from Penobscot to Cape Cod, trafficking 
with the Indians for furs, and twice fighting with 
them, and taking such observations of the prom 
inent points, as enabled him to construct a map 
of the country. He then sailed for England, 
where he arrived in August, within six months 
after his departure. 

He left Captain Hunt behind him, with orders 
to dispose of his cargo of fish in Spain. Un 
fortunately, Hunt was a sordid and unprincipled 
miscreant, who resolved to make his country- 



182 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

men odious to the Indians, and thus prevent the 
establishment of a permanent colony, which would 
diminish the large gains he and a few others de 
rived by monopolizing a lucrative traffic. For 
this purpose, having decoyed twenty-four of the 
natives on board his ship, he carried them off and 
sold them as slaves in the port of Malaga. 

History, fruitful as it is in narratives of injustice, 
oppression, and crimes, has recorded few acts so 
infamous as this. He was indignantly dismissed 
from his office by his employers, when they heard 
of his guilt ; but this could not undo the mischief 
which had been done, nor prevent its evil conse 
quences. The outrage sunk deep into the hearts 
of the Indians, and, with the indiscriminating ven 
geance of savage natures, they visited their wrongs 
in after times upon innocent heads, because they 
belonged to that hated race with whom their ear 
ly associations were so tragical. 

Captain Smith, upon his return, presented his 
map of the country between Penobscot and Cape 
Cod to Prince Charles (afterwards Charles the 
First), with a request that he would substitute 
others, instead of the " barbarous names " which 
had been given to particular places. Smith him 
self gave to the country the name of New England, 
as he expressly states, and not Prince Charles, as 
is commonly supposed. With his request Prince 
Charles graciously corr plied, and made many al- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 183 

terations in the nomenclature, which were geu 
erally marked by good taste. The name which 
Smith had given to Cape Ann, was Cape Traga- 
bigzanda, in honor of his Turkish mistress, whom 
I hope my readers have not forgotten. Those, 
who have occasion to pronounce the name fre 
quently, will congratulate themselves on the 
change. Cape Cod, the name given by Gos- 
nold, was altered by the Prince to Cape James, 
in honor of his father ; but posterity has per 
tinaciously adhered to the old, homely title, in 
spite of the double claims of the new one, as 
being the name of a king and bestowed by a 
prince. With his characteristic modesty, Smith 
had given his own name only to a small cluster 
of islands, which the Prince did not alter ; but, 
by some strange caprice, they are now called the 
Isles of Shoals, a change which has neither jus 
tice nor taste to recommend it. 

The first port, into which Captain Smith put 
on his return to England, was Plymouth. There 
he related his adventures to some of his friends, 
" who," he says, " as I supposed, were interested 
in the dead patent of this unregarded country." 
The Plymouth company of adventurers to North 
Virginia, by flattering hopes and large promises 
induced him to engage his services to them. Up 
on his arrival in London, overtures were made 
to him by his old employers, the South Virginia 



184 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

company, who had probably, by experience of 
others, learned to form a more just estimate of 
his merits and abilities ; but these, on account 
of his previous engagement, he was constrained 
to decline. His refusal seems to have given some 
offence to those whose good opinion he valued ; 
for he takes pains to state, that it proceeded 
from no disinclination to them or their cause, 
but he considered himself in honor bound to the 
Plymouth company. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Captain Smith sails a Second Time for New 
England. Is taken by a French Squadron 
and carried to France. Makes his Escape. 
Arrives in England. Publishes his De 
scription of New England. 

WHEN Captain Smith left Plymouth for Lon 
don, it was with the understanding that he should 
return to the former place at Christmas and 
take charge of an expedition of four ships, which 
the company were to furnish him. The London 
company made him an offer of the same nature, 
which, as we have seated, he was obliged to de- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 185 

cline. He endeavored to induce the two com 
panies to fit out an expedition in common, for 
which there were many inducements. 

The Londoners had the most capital, but the 
men of Plymouth were better acquainted with 
the art of taking and curing fish, and could more 
easily fit out vessels for that object ; so that it was 
desirable that funds should be raised in London 
in behalf of an expedition which should sail from 
Plymouth. Besides, as Captain Smith says, " it 
is near as much trouble, but much more danger, 
to sail from London to Plymouth, than from Ply 
mouth to New England, so that half the voyage 
would be thus saved." This project, though re 
commended by reason and expediency, could nev 
er be realized on account of the absurd jealousy 
which the two companies entertained towards each 
other, and the unwillingness of either to give pre 
cedence to the other. 

Early in January, 1615, Captain Smith, with 
two hundred pounds in his pocket, and attended 
by six of his friends, left London for Plymouth, 
expecting to find the four ships waiting for him. 
But his sanguine expectations were destined to 
be disappointed. The ill success of the expe 
dition, which sailed the June previous from the 
Isle of Wight, under the command of Harley and 
Holson, occasioned by the flame of excitement 
which the outrage of Hunt had kindled in the In- 



186 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

dians had chilled the zeal of the Plymouth com 
pany.* But by the indefatigable exertions of 
Captain Smith, and the liberal assistance of Sii 
Ferdinando Gorges, Dr. Sutliffe, Dean of Exeter, 
and others, two ships were prepared and equipped, 
one of two hundred tons, and tbe other of fifty, 
in which, besides seamen, there were sixteen meo 
destined to remain as settlers. 

They set sail in March ; but, after they had 
gone about a hundred and twenty leagues, they 
encountered a violent storm, which separated the 
two vessels, dismasted Captain Smith s, and oblig 
ed him to return under a jury-mast to Plymouth. 
His consort, commanded by Thomas Dermer, 
meanwhile proceeded on her voyage, and return 
ed with a profitable cargo in August ; but the 
object of the enterprise, which was to effect a 
permanent settlement, was frustrated. 

Captain Smith s vessel was probably found to 
be so much shattered as to render it inexpe 
dient to repair her ; for we find that he set sail 
a second time from Plymouth, on the 24th of 
June, in a small bark of sixty tons, manned by 
thirty men, and carrying with him the same six 
teen settlers, he had taken before. But an evil 
destiny seemed to hang over this enterprise, and 

* See Prince s Chronological History of New Eng 
land, p. 133, ed. 1826. Belknap s Life of Gorges, in hia 
American Biography, Vol. 1. p. 358. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 187 

to make the voyage a succession of disasters and 
disappointments. Soon after his departure he 
was chased by an English pirate, to whom his 
crew importuned him to surrender without resis 
tance; which however he disdained to do, though 
he had only four guns and the pirate thirty-six. 
The apprehensions of all parties were soon agree 
ably and singularly dispersed ; for Captain Smith, 
on speaking with her, found that her commander 
and some of his crew had been fellow-soldiers 
with him (probably in his Turkish campaigns), 
and had recently run away with the ship from 
Tunis. 

They were in want of provisions and in a mu 
finous state, and offered to Captain Smith, either 
to put themselves under his command, or to carry 
him wherever he desired; but these offers were 
declined. Near Fayal, he met with two French 
pirates, one of two hundred tons and the other of 
thirty. His crew were again panic-stricken, and 
would have surrendered without firing a gun ; but 
Captain Smith, whose impetuous valor made him 
disregard the greatest odds against him, told them 
that he would rather blow up the ship, than yield 
while he had any powder left. After a running 
fight he contrived to make his escape. 

Near Flores, he was chased and overtaken 
oy four French men-of-war, who had orders from 
their sovereign to make war upon the Spaniards 



188 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

and Portuguese and to seize pirates of all nations 
At the command of the admiral, Captain Smith 
went on board his ship, and showed him his com 
mission under the great seal, to prove that he 
was no pirate. The Frenchman (as it was his 
interest to prevent any settlement of English in 
New England, who might compete with his own 
countrymen at Acadia, in their profitable trade 
with the natives), in open defiance of the laws of 
nations, detained him prisoner, plundered his 
vessel, manned her with Frenchmen, and dis 
persed her crew among the several ships of the 
fleet. But, after a few days, they gave them back 
their vessel and the greater part of their provis 
ions, and Captain Smith made preparations for con 
tinuing h\j voyage, though a great many of the 
3rew were desirous of going back to Plymouth. 
But before they parted from the French fleet 
the admiral on some pretence sent for Captain 
Smith to come on board his ship, w r hich he did ac 
cordingly, alone. While he was there, the French 
ship, seeing a strange sail, gave chase, detaining 
him on board ; and during the next night the dis 
affected part of his own crew entered into a plot 
to turn their ship s head homeward, which 
they accordingly did, the sixteen landsmen, who 
were going out as settlers, knowing nothing of it, 
till they found themselves safe at Plymouth again. 
The abduction of Captain Smith by the French 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 189 

man was undoubtedly intentional, being caused, 
as Smith himself says, by the calumnies cf some 
of his own crew, who were anxious to be rid of 
him and return home. 

Captain Smith soon found that those who cap 
tured him were no better than pirates. The ad 
miral s ship was separated from the rest of the 
fleet by a storm and followed her fortunes alone. 
Her cruise was very eventful and lucrative. 
Captain Smith had the misfortune to see more 
than one English ship plundered, without any 
means of preventing it. Whenever they fell in 
with one of these, they confined him in the cab 
in ; but whenever they had engagements with 
Spanish ships, they insisted upon his fighting with 
them. Having spent the summer in this way, 
they carried him to Rochelle, where, notwith 
standing their promises to remunerate him for all 
his losses by giving him a share of their prizes, 
they detained him a prisoner on board a vessel in 
the harbor. 

They accused him of having burnt the French 
settlements at Port Royal in 1613 (which was 
the act of Captain Argall),* and endeavored to 
compel him to give them a discharge in full for 
all demands before the Judge of the Admiralty, 
threatening him with imprisonment in case he 
refused. While he was deliberating upon this 

* See Holmes s American Annals, for the year 1613. 



190 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

proposal, Providence held out to him the means 
of making his escape, without any violence tj 
his sense of justice, or any degradation to his 
pride. A violent storm arose, whose " pitiless 
pelting " drove all the people below ; and, as soai 
as it was dark, Captain Smith pushed off from 
the ship in a boat, with a half-pike for an oar, 
hoping to reach the shore. But he fell upon a 
strong current which carried him out to sea, where 
he was exposed to great danger, in a small, crazy 
boat, when the storm was so violent as to strew 
the coast with wrecks. Twelve hours he passed 
in this fearful state, expecting every moment to be 
swallowed up by the waves ; till by the returning 
tide he was thrown upon a marshy island, where 
he was found by some fowlers, nearly drowned 
and totally exhausted with cold, fatigue, and hun 
ger. By pawning his boat, he found the means 
of conveyance to Rochelle, where he learned 
that the ship which had captured him, with one 
of her prizes had been driven ashore, and the 
captain and one half the crew drowned. 

On landing at Rochelle, he lodged a complaint 
with the Judge of the Admiralty, and supported 
his claims by the evidence of some of the sailors, 
who had escaped from the wreck of the French 
ship. We are not infonned what was the final 
result of this process ; but he received from the 
hands of the Jud^e a certificate of the truth of 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 191 

his statement, which he presented to the English 
ambassador at Bordeaux. Both at this place 
and Rochelle he found much sympathy, and 
received many friendly offices ; among others, he 
says, " the good lady Madam Chanoyes bounti 
fully assisted me." He returned to England, we 
are not told at what time, but probably in the lat 
ter part of the year 1615, and, proceeding to 
Plymouth, took measures to punish the ringleaders 
of the mutiny among his crew. 

While he had been detained on board the 
French pirate, in order, as he says, " to keep my 
perplexed thoughts from too much meditation of 
my miserable estate," he employed himself in 
writing a narrative of his two voyages to New 
England, and an account of the country. This 
was published in a quarto form, in June, 1616. 
It contained his map of the country, and the de 
positions of some of the men, who were on board 
his ship, when he was detained and carried off by 
the French, inserted, as he says, " lest my own 
relations of those hard events might by some con 
structors be made doubtful, envy still seeking to 
scandalize my endeavors, and seeing no power 
but death can stop the chat of ill tongues." As 
a proof of his indefatigable zeal in the promotion 
of his favorite object, he spent the whole summer 
in journeying about in the West of England, dis- 
tiibuting copies of this book (seven thousand in 



192 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

number, according to his own account,) among all 
persons of any note, and endeavoring to awaken 
an interest in the subject of settling America. 
But, he says, " all availed no more than to hew 
rocks with oyster-shells," so desponding were 
the minds of men on account of the ill-success 
which had attended so many enterprises of that 
nature. He reaped, however, an abundant har 
vest of promises, and the Plymouth company, in 
token of their respect for his services, formally 
conferred upon him the title of Admiral of New 
England. 

Captain Smith s work on New England was 
the first to recommend that country as a place of 
settlement, and to disabuse the public mind of the 
erroneous impressions which had arisen from the 
dismal accounts of the settlers, who had returned 
after the failure of Popham s expedition, and who 
had represented the whole country as a cold, 
rocky, and barren waste. It is evidently written 
in the spirit of an advocate, and not of a judge, 
and is tinged throughout with the sanguine tem 
perament of its author. Still it is never visionary 
or wild ; it is full of good sense, accurate observa 
tion, and a sagacity that sometimes almost assumes 
the shape of prophecy. No one can read it with 
out admiration of this extraordinary man, in whom 
the powers of action, reflection, and observation 
were so harmoniously blended. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 193 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Pint of Pocahontas to England. Captatn 
Smith 9 s Interview with her. Deat ofPoca* 
hontat. 

THE order of events in the life of Captain 
Smith again associates him with Pocahontas. Af 
ter his departure from Virginia she continued to be 
the firm friend of the settlers, as before. In 1610, 
when Ratcliffe and thirty men were cut off by 
Powhatan, a boy named Henry Spilman was 
saved by her means, and lived many years among 
the Potomacs. We next hear of her in 1612, 
when Captain Argall, who had gone on a trading 
voyage to the country of the Potomacs, learnt 
from Japazaws, their chief, that she was living in 
seclusion near him, having forsaken her father s 
dominions and protection. 

We are not informed of the reasons which in 
duced her to take this step. It has been conjec 
tured that her well-known affection for the Eng 
lish had given displeasure to her father, or that 
her sensibility was pained at witnessing the 
bloody wars which he waged against them, with 
out her having the power of alleviating their 
horrors. When Captain Argall heard of this, he 
perceived how advantageous to the settlers it 

iv. is 



194 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

would be to obtain possession of hei person, and 
that so valuable a prize would enable them to 
dictate their own terms to Powhatan. He pre 
vailed upon Japazaws to lend him his assistance 
in this project, by that most irresistible bribe in an 
Indian s eyes, a copper kettle ; assuring him at the 
same time that she should not be harmed, and 
that they would detain her only till they had con 
cluded a peace with her father. The next thing 
was to induce her to go on board Argall s ship, 
and the artifice by which this was brought about, 
is curious and characteristic of the Indian race. 
Japazaws ordered his wife to affect, in the pres 
ence of Pocahontas, a great desire to visit the 
English ship ; which she accordingly did, and 
acted her part so well, that when he refused to 
gratify her and threatened to beat her for her im 
portunity, she cried from apparent vexation and 
disappointment. Wearied at last by her exces 
sive entreaties, he told her that he would go with 
her if Pocahontas would consent to accompany 
them, to which proposal she with unsuspecting 
good-nature signified her assent. They were re 
ceived on board by the captain and hospitably 
entertained in the cabin, "Japazaws treading oft 
on the captain s foot, to remember he had done 
his part." When Pocahontas was informed that 
she was a prisoner, and must go to Jamestown and 
be detained till a peace could be concluded with 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 195 

her father, she wept bitterly, and the old hypo 
crite Japazaws and his wife set up a most dismal 
cry, as if this were the first intimation they had 
ever had of the plot. Pocahontas, however, soon 
recovered her composure, either from the sweet 
equanimity of her character, or because she felt 
that her reception and treatment by the English 
could not be any thing but kind and friendly. 
The old couple were sent home, happy in the 
possession of their kettle and various toys. 

As soon as Pocahontas arrived at Jamestown, a 
messenger was despatched to Powhatan informing 
him of the fact, and that she would be restored to 
him only on condition that he should give up all 
his English captives, swords, muskets, and the 
like. This was sad news to Powhatan ; but the 
demands of the English were so exorbitant, that 
he returned no answer to their proposals for the 
space of three months. He then liberated and sent 
home seven of his captives, each carrying a rusty, 
worn-out musket, with a message, that if they 
would give up his daughter, he would make satis 
faction for all the injuries he had done, present 
them with five hundred bushels of corn, and ever 
be their friend. It was not thought expedient 
to trust to his promises ; and an answer was 
accordingly returned to him, that his daughter 
snou.d be well treated, but that they should not 
restore her till he sent back all the arms which he 



196 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

had ever, by any means, obtained from them 
This displeased Powhatan so much, that they 
heard no more from him for a long time. 

In the beginning of the year 1613, Sir Thomas 
Dale, taking Pocahontas with him, marched with 
a hundred and fifty men to Werowocomoco in 
tending to compel Powhatan to ransom his daugh 
ter on the proposed terms. The chief himself did 
not appear ; but his people received the English 
with scornful bravadoes, telling them, that if they 
came to fight, they were welcome, and should be 
treated as Captain Ratcliffe and his party had 
been. These were not words to " turn away 
wrath," and the boats were immediately manned, 
and a party landed, who burned and laid waste 
every thing they could find, not without resistance 
on the part of the Indians. After this, much time 
was spent in fruitless negotiation, and in mutual 
reproaches and defiance. Two brothers of Poca 
hontas came to see her, and were very happy to 
find her well and contented. Two messengers, 
Mr. John Rolfe and Mr. Sparks, were also de 
spatched from the English to Powhatan. They 
did not see the chief himself, but were kindly treat 
ed by Opechancanough, who promised them to 
use his influence with his brother to induce him to 
comply with their wishes The English returned 
to Jamestown to attend to their agricultural labors 
without bringing matters to any definite result 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 197 

The troubles between Powhatan and the Eng 
lish were soon to be healed by the intervention 
of a certain blind god, who, if tales be true, has 
had a large share in the management of the great 
est concerns of the world. A mutual attachmen 
had long existed between Pocahontas and Mi 
John Rolfe, who is said to have been an " hon 
est gentleman and of good behavior." He had 
confided his hopes and fears to Sir Thomas Dael, 
who gave him warm encouragement ; and Pooa- 
hontas had also " told her love " to one of her 
brothers. Powhatan was duly informed of this, 
and his consent requested for their marriage, 
which he immediately and cheerfully gave, and 
sent his brother and two of his sons to be present 
at the ceremony and to act as his deputies. 

The marriage took place in the beginning of 
April, 1613, and was a most auspicious event to 
the English. It laid the foundation of a peace 
with Powhatan, which lasted as long as his life, 
and secured the friendly alliance of the Chicka- 
hominies, a brave and powerful race, who con 
sented to call themselves subjects of King James, 
to assist the colonists in war. and to pay an annual 
tribute of Indian corn. 

In the spring of 1616, Pocahontas and her hus 
band accompanied Sir Thomas Dale to England. 
She had learned to speak English during her resi 
dence in Jamestown, had been instructed in the 



198 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

doctrines of Christianity, and " was become very 
formal and civil after the English manner." They 
arrived in England on the 12th of June, 1616, 
where her name and merits had preceded her, 
and secured her the attentions and hospitalities 
of many persons of rank and influence. As soon 
as Captain Smith heard of her arrival, he address 
ed the following letter to Queen Anne, the wife 
of James the First. 

" To the most high and virtuous Princess Queen 

Anne of Great Britain. 
" Most admired Queen, 

" The love I bear my God, my king, and coun 
try, hath so oft emboldened me in the worst of ex 
treme dangers, that now honesty doth constrain 
me to presume thus far beyond myself, to pre 
sent your majesty this short discourse. If ingrati 
tude be a deadly poison to all honest virtues, I 
must be guilty of that crime, if I should omit any 
means to be thankful. So it is, that some ten years 
ago, being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by the 
power of Powhatan, their chief king, I received 
from this great savage exceeding great courtesy, 
especially from his son Nantequas, the most manli 
est, comeliest, boldest spirit, I ever saw in a savage, 
and his sister Pocahontas, the king s most dear 
and well-beloved daughter, being but a child of 
twelve or thirteen years of age, whose compas- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 199 

sionate, pitiful heart, of desperate estate, gave me 
much cause to respect her ; I being the first 
Christian this proud king and his grim attendants 
ever saw ; and thus enthralled in their barbarous 
power, I cannot say I felt the least occasion of 
want that was in the power of those my mortal 
foes to prevent, notwithstanding all their threats. 

" After some six weeks fatting amongst those 
savage courtiers, at the minute of my execution, 
she hazarded the beating out of her own brains to 
save mine ; and not only that, but so prevailed 
with her father, that I was safely conducted to 
Jamestown, where I found about eight and thirty 
miserable, poor, and sick creatures, to keep pos 
session of all those large territories of Virginia ; 
such was the weakness of this poor common 
wealth, as, had the savages not fed us, we direct 
ly had starved. 

" And this relief, most gracious queen, was 
commonly brought us by this lady, Pocahontas. 
Notwithstanding all these passages w r hen incon 
stant fortune turned our peace to war, this tender 
virgin would still not spare to dare to visit us ; and 
by her our jars have been oft appeased, and our 
wants still supplied. Were it the policy of her 
father thus to employ her, or the ordinance of 
God thus to make her his instrument, or her ex 
traordinary affection to our nation, I know not. 
But of this I am sure ; when her father, with the 



200 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

utmost of his policy and power, sought to surprise 
me, having but eighteen with me, the dark night 
could not affright her from coming through the 
irksome woods, and with watered eyes gave me 
intelligence, with her best advice to escape his 
fury ; which had he known, he had surely slain 
her. Jamestown, with her wild train, she as freely 
frequented, as her father s habitation ; and, dur 
ing the time of two or three years, she next under 
God was still the instrument to preserve this 
colony from death, famine, and utter confusion, 
which if in those times had once been dissolved, 
Virginia might have lain as it was at our first 
arrival to this day. 

" Since then, this business having been turned 
and varied by many accidents from that I left it 
at, it is most certain, after a long and troublesome 
war after my departure betwixt her father and 
our colony, all which time she was not heard 
of, about two years after she herself was taken 
prisoner ; being so detained near two years longer, 
the colony by that means was relieved, peace 
concluded, and at last rejecting her barbarous 
condition, was married to an English gentleman, 
with whom at present she is in England ; the 
first Christian ever of that nation, the first Vir 
ginian ever spake English, or had a child in mar 
riage by an Englishman, a matter surely, if my 
meaning be truly considered and well understood, 
worthy a prince s understanding. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 201 

" Thus, most gracious lady, I have related to 
your majesty, what at your best leisure our ap 
proved histories will account you at large, and 
done in the time of your Majesty s life ; and 
however this might be presented you from a more 
worthy pen, it cannot come from a more honest 
heart, as yet I never begged any thing of the 
state or any ; and it is my want of ability and 
her exceeding desert, your birth, means, and au 
thority, her birth, virtue, want, and simplicity 
doth make me thus bold, humbly to beseech your 
majesty to take this knowledge of her, though 
it be from one so unworthy to be the reporter as 
myself, her husband s estate not being able to 
make her fit to attend your majesty. The most 
and least I can do, is to tell you this, because 
none hath so oft tried it as myself; and the rather 
being of so great a spirit, however her stature. 
If she should not be well received, seeing this 
kingdom may rightly have a kingdom by her 
means, her present love to us and Christianity 
might turn to such scorn and fury, as to divert 
ail this good to the worst of evil ; where finding 
so great a queen should do her some honor more 
than she can imagine, for being so kind to your 
servants and subjects, would so ravish her with 
content, as endear her dearest blood to effect that, 
your majesty and all the king s honest subjects 
most earnestly desire. And so I humbly kiss 
your gracious hands " 



202 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHX. 

Captain Smith gives us a few details of the 
residence of Pocahontas in England, and an ac 
count of his own interview with her, which the 
reader will probably prefer to read without any 
alteration. " Being about this time preparing to 
set sail for New England," he says, " I could not 
stay to do her that service I desired and she 
well deserved ; but hearing she was at Branford 
[Brentford] with divers of my friends, I went to 
see her. After a modest salutation, without any 
word, she turned about, obscured her face, as 
not seeming well contented ; and in that humor, 
her husbaed with divers others, we all left her 
two or three hours, repenting myself to have writ 
she could speak English. But not long after, 
she began to talk, and remembered me well what 
courtesies she had done ; saying, You did prom 
ise Powhatan what was yours should be his, and 
he the like to you ; you called him father being 
in his land a stranger, and by the same reason 
so must I do you ; which though I would have 
excused, I durst not allow of that title, because 
she was a king s daughter, with a well-set coun 
tenance, she said, Were you not afraid to come 
into my father s country, and caused fear in him 
and all his people but me, and fear you here I 
should call you father ? I tell you then I will, 
and you shall call me child, and so I will be for 
ever and ever your countryman. They did tell 



CAPTAIN JOHM SMITH. 203 

us always you were dead, and I knew no other 
till I came to Plymouth ; yet Powhatan did com 
mand Uttamatomakkin to seek you and know the 
truth, because your countrymen will lie much. 

** This savage, one of Powhatan s council, be 
ing amongst them held an understanding fellow, 
the King purposely sent him, as they say, tc 
number the people here, and inform him well 
what we were and our state. Arriving at Ply 
mouth, according to his directions, he got a long 
stick, whereon by notches he did think to have 
kept the number of all the men he could see, 
but he was quickly weary of that task.* Com 
ing to London, where by chance I met him, 
having renewed our acquaintance, where many 
were desirous to hear and see his behavior, he 
told me Powhatan did bid him to find me out 
to show him our God, the king, queen, and 
prince, I sc much had told them of. Concerning 
God, I told him the best I could ; the king, I 
heard he had seen, and the rest he should see 
when he would. He denied ever to have seen 
the king, till by circumstances he was satisfied 
he had. Then he replied very sadly, You 

* When he returned to Virginia, it is stated, that 
Powhatan asked him how many people there were in 
England, and that he replied, " Count the stars in the sky, 
the leaves on the trees, and the sand upon the sea-shore, 
such is the number of people in England." Stith, p. 144 



204 AMERICAN BIOGRAPH5T. 

gave Powhatan a white dog, which Powhatan 
fed as himself, but your king gave me nothing,, 
and I am better than your white dog. 

" The small time I staid in London divers 
courtiers and others, my acquaintances, have gone 
with me to see her, that generally concluded they 
did think God had a great hand in her conver 
sion, and they have seen many English ladies 
worse favored, proportioned, and behaviored ; 
and, as since I have heard, it pleased both the 
king s and queen s majesties honorably to esteem 
her, accompanied with that honorable lady, the 
Lady Delaware, and that honorable lord, her 
husband, and divers other persons of good qual 
ities, both publicly at the masks and otherwise, 
to her great satisfaction and content, which doubt 
less she would have deserved, had she lived to 
arrive in Virginia." 

Pocahontas, or the Lady Rebecca, as she 
was now called,* was destined never to leave 
the country, which had become her own by adop 
tion, nor to gladden again the eyes of her 
aged father, whose race of life was almost 

* Perhaps it is not generally known that her true and 
original name was Matoax or Matoaka, which the Tn 
dmns carefully concealed from the English under the 
assumed one of Pocahontas, having a superstitious no 
tion, that, if they knew her real name, they would be 
able to do her some mischief. Stitk, p. J%. 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 205 

run* Early in the year 1617, as she was pre 
paring to return to Virginia, she was taken sick 
at Gravesend and died, being then about twenty- 
two years old. The firmness and resignation 
with which she met her death bore testimony 
to the sincerity of the religious principles, which 
she had long professed. 

It is difficult to speak of the character of 
Pocahontas, without falling into extravagance. 
Though our whole knowledge of her is confined 
to a few brilliant and striking incidents, yet there 
is in them so complete a consistency, that reason, 
as well as imagination, permits us to construct 
the whole character from these occasional mani 
festations She seems to have possessed every 
quality essential to the perfection of the female 
character ; the most graceful modesty, the most 
winning sensibility, strong affections, tenderness 
and delicacy of feeling, dovelike gentleness, and 
most entire disinterestedness. These beautiful 
qualities were not in her nurtured and trained by 
the influences of refined life, but were the native 
and spontaneous growth of her heart and soul. 

Her mind had not been formed and fed by 
books, or the conversation of the gifted and culti 
vated ; the nameless graces of polished life had 
not surrounded her from her birth and created 

* He died in the spring of 1618, probably between 
seventy and eighty years of age. 



206 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

that tact in manner and deportment, and becom 
ing propriety in carriage and conversation, which 
all well-bred people, however differing originally 
in refinement and delicacy of perception, seem 
to possess in about the same degree ; nor had the 
coarse forms of actual life been, to her eyes, con 
cealed by the elegant drapery which civilization 
throws over them. From her earliest years 
she had been familiar with rude ways of living, 
uncouth habits, and lawless passions. Yet she 
seems to have been, from the first, a being dis 
tinct from and unlike her people, though in the 
midst of them. She reminds one of a delicate 
wild-flower, growing up in the cleft of a rock, 
where the eye can discern no soil for its roots 
to grasp, and sustain its slender stalk. We 
behold her as she came from the hands of her 
Maker, who seems to have created her in a 
spirit of rebuke to the pride of civilization, giv 
ing to an Indian girl, reared in the depths of a 
Virginian forest, that symmetry of feminine love 
liness, which we but seldom see, with all our 
helps and appliances, and all that moral machin 
ery with which we work upon the raw material 
of character. 

But in our admiration of what is lovely and 
attractive in the character of Pocahontas, wt 
muse not overlook the higher moral qualities, 
which command respect almost to reverence 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 207 

Moral courage, dignity, and independence are 
among her most conspicuous traits. Before we 
can do justice to them we must take into con 
sideration the circumstances under which they 
were displayed. At the time when the English 
first appeared in Virginia, she was a child but 
twelve or thirteen years old. These formida 
ble strangers immediately awakened in the breasts 
of her people the strongest passions of hatred 
and fear, and Captain Smith, in particular, was 
looked upon as a being whose powers of injuring 
them were irresistible and superhuman. Whai 
could have been more natural than that this 
young girl should have had all these feeling? 
exaggerated by the creative imagination of child 
hood, that Captain Smith should have haunted 
her dreams, and that she should not have had the 
courage to look upon the man to whom her ex 
cited fancy had given an outward appearance cor- 
^esponding to his frightful attributes ? 

But the very first act of her life, as known tc 
us. puts her far above the notions and prejudices 
of her people, and stamps at once a seal of mark 
ed superiority upon her character. And from 
this elevation she never descends. Her motives 
are peculiar to herself, and take no tinge from the 
passions and opinions around her. She thinks 
and acts for herself, and does not hesitate, when 
thereto constrained, to leave her father, and trust 



208 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

for protection to that respect, which was awaken 
ed alike by her high birth and high character 
among the whole Indian race. It is certainly a 
remarkable combination which we see in her, of 
gentleness and sweetness with strength of mind, 
decision, and firm consistency of purpose, and 
would be so in any female, reared under the 
most favorable influences. 

The lot of Pocahontas may be considered a 
happy one, notwithstanding the pang which her 
affectionate nature must have felt, in being called 
so early to part from her husband and child. 
It was her good fortune to be the instrument, in 
the hand of Providence, for bringing about a 
league of peace and amity between her own 
nation and the English, a consummation most 
agreeable to her taste and feelings. The many 
favors, which she bestowed upon the colonists, 
were by them gratefully acknowledged, and ob 
tained for her a rich harvest of attentions in 
England. Her name and deeds have not been 
suffered to pass out of the minds of men, nor are 
they discerned only by the glimmering light ol 
tradition. Captain Smith seems to have repaid 
the vast debt of gratitude which he owed her, by 
the immortality which his eloquent and feeling 
pen has given her. Who has not heard the 
beautiful story of her heroism, and who, that has 
heard it, has not felt his heart throb quick with 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 209 

generous admiration ? She has become one of 
the darlings of history, and her name is as familiar 
as a household word to the numerous and power 
ful descendants of the " feeble folk," whom she 
protected and befriended. 

Her own blood flows in the veins of many 
honorable families, who trace back with pride 
their descent from this daughter of a despised 
people. She has been a powerful, though silent 
advocate in behalf of the race to which she be 
longed. Her deeds have covered a multitude of 
their sins. When disgusted with numerous reci 
tals of their cruelty and treachery, and about to 
pass an unfavorable judgment in our minds upon 
the Indian character, at the thought of Pocahon- 
tas our " rigor relents." With a softened heart 
we are ready to admit that there must have been 
fine elements in a people, from among whom such 
a being could spring.* 

*The child of Pocahontas was left behind in England 
and did not accompany his father to Virginia, his tender 
years rendering a sea-voyage dangerous and inexpe 
dient, without a mother s watchful care. He was left in 
charge of Sir Lewis Steukley, whose treacherous con 
duct to Sir Walter Raleigh has given him an infamous 
notoriety. Young Rolfe was afterwards transferred to 
the care of his uncle, Henry Rolfe, in London. He came 
to Virginia afterwards, and was a person of consequence 
and consideration there. He left an only daughter, who 
ivas married to Colonel Robert Boiling, by whom she 

iv. 14 



210 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Captain Smith s Examination by the Commis 
sioners for the Reformation of Virginia. 
His Death. His Character. 

CAPTAIN SMITH, in his account of his interview 
with Pocahontas in the early part of 1617, speaks 
of his being on the eve of sailing for New England. 
This confident expectation was probably founded 
on a promise of the Plymouth company to send 
him out, in the spring of that year, with a fleet of 
twenty ships. But this promise was never kept, 
and Captain Smith, so far as is known to us, pass 
ed the remainder of his life in England. But, 
though his body was there, his spirit was in Amer 
ica ; and he was unwearied in his endeavors to 
encourage his countrymen to settle in that country. 

had an only son. Major John Boiling, who was father to 
Colonel John Boiling and several daughters. These 
were married to Colonel Richard Randolph, Colonel 
John Fleming, Dr. William Gay, Mr. Thomas Eldridge, 
and Mr. James Murray. 

The above is taken from Stith, who adds, " that this 
remnant of the imperial family of Virginia, which long 
ran in a single person, is now increased and branched out 
into a very numerous progeny." Her descendants are nu 
merous in Virginia at this day. Among them, as is well 
known, was the late gifted and eccentric John Randolph 
of Roanoke, who was not a little proud of the distinction 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 211 

The 27th day of March, 16*22, was rendered 
memorable by the dreadful massacre of the Eng 
lish settlers at Jamestown, by the Indians under 
the direction and by the instigation of Opechan- 
canough, who had succeeded to Powhatan s pow 
er and influence over his countrymen, and who 
was compounded of treachery, cruelty, and dissim 
ulation. The design had been for a long time 
formed and matured with deliberate skill and fore 
thought. The English were entirely unsuspicious 
and defenceless, and three hundred and forty-seven 
ol them were cruelly slain. The massacre was 
conducted with unsparing and indiscriminate bar 
barity. Six of the council were among the victims. 

This disastrous event threw the whole colony 
into mourning and gave to its progress and pros 
perity a blow, from the effects of which it was 
long in recovering. The news created a great 
excitement in England, and Captain Smith, in 
particular, was deeply affected by this misfor 
tune, which happened to a colony, whose recent 
nourishing condition hj had contemplated with so 
much pride and satisfaction. He was desirous of 
going over to Virginia in person, to avenge the 
outrage. He made proposals to the company, 
that if they would allow him one hundred soldiers 
and thirty sailors, with necessary provisions and 
equipments, he would range the country and keep 
the savages under subjection and in check. 



212 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHT. 

Upon this proposal there was a division of 
opinion in the council, some being warmly in 
favor of it, while others were too avaricious and 
short-sighted to lay out present money for fhture 
and continge : good. The only answer which 
Captain Smith could obtain from them was, that 
their capital was too much exhausted to undertake 
so expensive a plan, that they thought it was the 
duty of the planters themselves to provide for their 
own defence, and that they would give him per 
mission to go on such an enterprise, provided he 
would be content with one half of the pillage for 
his share. This pitiful offer was rejected with the 
contempt which it deserved. Captain Smith says 
he would not give twenty pounds for all the pil 
lage, which could be obtained from the savages in 
twenty years. 

The calamities of the colony in Virginia and 
the dissensions of the company in England having 
been represented to King James, a commission 
was issued on the 9th of May, 1623, under the 
great seal of England to certain of the Judges and 
other persons of distinction, seven in number, 
giving authority to them, or any four of them, to 
examine the transactions of the company from its 
first establishment, report to the Privy Council all 
grievances and abuses, and suggest any plan by 
which they might be remedied, and the affairs of 
the colony be well managed in future. Seve- 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 213 

ral questions were propounded by these com 
missioners to Captain Smith, which, togethei 
with his answers, he has himself preserved 
These answers are marked by his usual good 
sense, sagacity, and perfect knowledge of the 
subject. He ascribes the misfortunes of the 
colony to the rapid succession of governors, to the 
numerous and costly offices with which they 
were burdened, and to the fact that their affairs 
in England were managed by an association far too 
numerous to be efficient, the majority of whom 
were bent upon nothing but their own gain. 

As is well known, King James, in 1624, 
dissolved the Virginia company, arrogated to 
himself their powers, and issued a special com 
mission, appointing a governor and twelve coun 
sellors, to whom the whole government of the 
colony was intrusted, and making no provision 
for a house of representatives. His death tak 
ing place soon after, King Charles immediate 
ly upon his accession to the throne, published a 
proclamation, in which he signified his entire as 
sent to the changes introduced into the admin 
istration of the colony by his father, and his 
determination to make its government depend 
entirely upon himself. He declared, that the 
whole administration should be vested in a 
council, nominated and directed by himself, and 
responsible to him alane. 



AMERICAN BlOGKAiMli. 

The death of Captain Smith occurred in 1631 
at London, in the fifty-second year of his age 
We know nothing of the circumstances which 
attended it, and we are equally ignorant of 
his domestic and personal history ; with whom 
he was related and connected, where he resid 
ed, what was the amount of his fortune, what 
were his habits, tastes, personal appearance, man 
ners, and conversation, and, in general, of those 
personal details which modest men commonly 
do not record about themselves. 

From the fact that he expended so much money 
m behalf of the great objects of his life, and par 
ticularly in the publication and distribution of 
his pamphlets, we may infer that he was inde 
pendent in his circumstances, if not wealthy. 
For his labors and sacrifices he never received 
any pecuniary recompense. In a statement ad 
dressed to his Majesty s commissioners for the 
reformation of Virginia, and written probably 
about 1624, he says, that he has spent five years 
and more than five hundred pounds, in the ser 
vice of Virginia and New England ; yet, he adds, 
4i in neither of those two countries, have I one foot 
o land, nor the very house I builded, nor the 
ground I digged with my own hands, nor ever any 
content or satisfaction at all, and though I see 
ordinarily those two countries shared before me 
by them that neither have them, nor know them 
but by my descriptions/ 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 215 

A. very superficial acquaintance with the events 
of Captain Smith s life will be sufficient to con 
vince any one that he was a man cast in an un 
common mould, and formed alike for the planning 
and conducting of great enterprises. He had that 
happy combination of qualities, which gave sym 
metry to his character, and enabled him to assume 
the most important duties and responsibilities. 
His constitutional courage was tempered with cool 
ness and self-command. The warmth and enthu 
siasm of his temperament never perverted the 
soundness of his judgment. His zeal was not a 
transient flame, quenched by the first experience 
of difficulty and danger, but a deep-seated, inde 
structible principle, which gained strength from 
opposition and vigor from defeat. 

The perseverance with which he prosecuted 
his enterprises equalled the ardor with which he 
indertook them. His energy was so great and 
overflowing, that he could not be confined to any 
Hie sphere of duty. We see him at the same 
ime performing the offices of a provident gover 
nor, a valiant soldier, and an industrious laborer, 
capable alike of commanding and executing. He 
dreaded nothing so much as repose, inactivity, and 
ease. He seemed to court the dangers, toils, and 
sufferings, which other men shrink from, or en 
counter only from a sense of duty. His resources 
increase in proportion to the extent of the demand 



216 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

made upon them. As the storm darkens around 
him his spirit grows more bright and serene, and 
that, which appals and disheartens others, only 
animates him. It was his good fortune to have a 
vigorous mind seconded by an equally vigorous 
body. He had a " soul of fire " enclosed in a 
" frame of adamant," and was thus enabled to 
endure and accomplish whatever his adventurous 
spirit impelled him to. 

If we were called upon to say what was his 
ruling and characteristic trait, we should reply, 
enthusiasm, using that word in its highest and 
best sense, as the quality which leads a man to 
devote himself to some great and good object with 
courage, constancy, and self-abandonment, and to 
exert in its advancement and behalf all the 
energies of his nature, undaunted by natural ob 
stacles, unruffled by opposition, and uninfluenced 
by the insinuations of the malicious, the open vio 
lence of enemies, and the lukewarmness of selfish 
friends. For the first thirty years of his life, we 
see him without any predominant object of inter 
est or pursuit, obeying the impulses of a fiery 
valor and a restless spirit of enterprise, " seeking 
the bubble reputation" in desperate skirmishes in 
an obscure corner of Europe, eagerly embracing 
every opportunity of exposing himself to danger 
and of winning glory, prodigal cf life and covetous 
of honor VPT in all the scene of his checkered 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 217 

career, he is animated by those high and romantic 
motives, which must extort admiration from even 
those, who look upon war as a crime and military 
renown as a worthless bawble. There is nothing 
selfish or mercenary in his conduct ; he does not 
belong to the Dugald Dalgetty school of heartless 
and ruffianly adventurers, making a trade of blood 
and anxious only for pay and " provant." He 
was a generous and highminded soldier, who 
fought for the battle and not for the spoils, and 
who gave to the cause he espoused, not only his 
sword, but his entire soul and heart. 

But, fortunately for himself and for the world, 
in his early manhood he was induced to devote 
himself to the settlement of America, an object 
attractive enough to keep his imagination per 
petually kindled, and vast enough to task all 
his powers, the prosecution of which unfolded 
in him high qualities of mind and character, that 
the iron routine of the camp could never have 
called forth, and which secured him a peaceful 
glory, far more durable and valuable than the 
laurels of a hundred victories. Henceforward 
this great interest absorbed and monopolized him. 
It supplied the place of friends, kindred, and do 
mestic ties. He embraced it and labored for it 
with a disinterestedness and a sense of duty, wor 
thy both of himself and of the cause. He never 
made it the means of securing pecuniary gain or 



218 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

worldly advancement, being content to point out 
to othei3 the way to wealth, while he remained 
poor himself. He never coveted official dignity ; 
and, when he obtained it, he made it no excuse 
for indolence or self-indulgence, and did not re 
gard it as of so delicate a texture as to render a 
dignified and lofty seclusion necessary to preserve 
it unimpaired. He was never actuated by the 
motives or spirit of a hireling. 

We have seen him in Virginia struggling against 
a host of difficulties, contending, not only with 
those natural obstacles which he might reason 
ably have expected, but with mutiny, treachery, 
and disaffection in the colony and base injustice 
and persecution at home ; yet never abandoning 
his post in disgust and despair, but, for the sake 
of the settlement, doing every thing and suffering 
every thing. And what was his conduct on his 
return ? He showed no peevish resentment and 
betrayed none of the irritation of disappointment 
He never magnified his own wrongs nor the ill- 
treatment of the company. He did not Wiite 
pamphlets to beg of the public the consolation of 
their sympathy, and to pour into the general ear 
the tale of his great merits and great neglect. His 
conduct was magnanimous, dignified, and noble. 
Strong in the confidence of innocence, he made 
no appeal and attempted no justification. He 
continued, as before, the active and zealous friend 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 219 

of the colony at Jamestown, and of all similar 
projects. 

He frequently volunteered his own personal 
services, and twice sailed to the coast of New 
England. By the writing and distribution of 
pamphlets, and by personal exertions, he diffused 
information among all classes upon the subject of 
America ; enforcing eloquently its advantages as 
a place either for trade or for permanent settle 
ment, and appealing, in its behalf, to avarice, am 
bition, enterprise, and that noble spirit of benevo 
lent self-sacrifice, which dwelt in bosoms kindred 
to his own. Never was a scheme for obtaining 
wealth or personal aggrandizement pursued by 
any individual with more fervor and singleness of 
purpose, and never was one crowned with more 
splendid success, though he himself " died before 
the sight." 

Captain Smith must have been something 
more than mortal, had he possessed so many 
brilliant and substantial good qualities without 
any tincture of alloy. The frankness of his 
character reveals to us his faults no less than his 
virtues. He was evidently a man of an impa 
tient and irritable temperament, expecting to find, 
in every department of life, the prompt and un 
hesitating character of military obedience. He 
had keen sensibility and lively feelings, and was 
apt to regard as studied neglect or intentional hos- 



220 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY. 

tillty, what was in fact only lukewarm indiffer 
ence. His conviction of the importance of dis 
cipline and subordination made him sometimes 
imperious and tyrannical. The energy and de 
cision of his character led him sometimes to adopt 
questionable means to secure a desired result. 
His high spirit and independence made him per 
haps unnecessarily rough and haughty in his 
communications to his superiors in station and 
authority. 

Nothing is more difficult, than, in our inter 
course with those above us in rank, influence, or 
consideration, to hit that exact medium of deport 
ment, which is demanded alike by self-respect and 
by respect to others, and which is equally removed 
from slavish fawning and from the unbending stiff 
ness generated by undue notions of self-importance. 
We have Captain Smith s own authority that he 
had a great many enemies. These were un 
doubtedly made by his haughty bearing, his un 
compromising freedom of speech, the warmth of 
his temper, and the impatience of his blood. 
His resentments were lively, his antipathies strong, 
and prudence had never dictated to him to refrain 
from the expression of them. 

There is one circumstance which may serve 
to palliate some of these weaknesses in Captain 
Smith. His birth was nothing more than re 
spectable in an age when the greates importance 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 221 

jvas attached to nobility. It is easy to perceive 
that this peculiarity in his fortunes may have pro 
duced in him a soreness of feeling and jealousy 
of temper ; may have made him suspicious and 
fearful, lest he should not receive from others the 
respect and consideration, which he knew were 
due to his personal merit. This inequality be 
tween one s lot and one s merits and wishes is 
a severe trial of character, and, in men of high 
spirit, is apt to beget a morbid sensitiveness and 
pride, a surly independence of manner, and a 
painful uneasiness lest their dignity should be 
ruffled by too familiar contact. To this source is 
undoubtedly to be ascribed much of that tart 
ness of expression which we find frequently in his 
writings, and of that haughtiness which we have 
every reason to suppose was characteristic of his 
deportment. 

Those who have read this biography will, I 
think, be ready to allow, that the debt of gratitude 
which we of this country owe to Captain Smith 
can hardly be exaggerated. With the excep 
tion of Sir Walter Raleigh (and perhaps Richard 
Hakluyt) no one did so much towards colonizing 
and settling the coast of North America. The 
State of Virginia is under peculiar obligations to 
him as its virtual founder ; since, without his re 
markable personal qualities and indefatigable ex 
ertions, the colony at Jamestown could never have 



222 AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY, 

taken root. In reading the history of his ad 
ministration, we are made to feel in regard tc 
him, as we do in regard to Washington, when we 
contemplate the events of the American Revolu 
tion ; that he was a being specially appointed by 
divine Providence to accomplish the work in 
trusted to him. He was exactly fitted for the 
place which he filled, and not one of his many 
remarkable gifts could have been spared without 
serious detriment. 

His claims upon the gratitude of the people ot 
New England are hardly inferior. He was the 
first to perceive the advantages held out by it as 
a place of settlement, in spite of its bitter skies 
and iron bound coast, and to correct the errone 
ous, unfavorable impressions prevalent concerning 
it. Though he himself had no direct share in 
the settlement of Plymouth, yet without doubt 
it was owing to the interest which had been 
awakened by his writings and personal exertions, 
that the ranks of the colonists were so soon 
swelled by those accessions of men of character 
and substance, which gave them encouragement 
and insured them prosperity and success. It uas 
the peculiar good fortune of Captain Smith to 
stand in so interesting a relation to the two oldest 
States in the Union, and through them to the 
northern and southern sections of the country. 
The debt of gratitude due him is national and 



CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH. 223 

American, and so should his glory be. Wher 
ever upon this continent the English language is 
spoken, his deeds should be recounted, and his 
memory hallowed. His services should not only 
be not forgotten, but should be " freshly remem 
bered." His name should not only be honored 
by the silent canvass, and the cold marble, but 
his praises should dwell living upon the lips of 
men, and should be handed down by fathers to 
their children. Poetry has imagined nothing more 
stirring and romantic than his life and adventures, 
and History, upon her ample page, has recorded 
few more honorable and spotless names. 

THE END