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´╗┐Title: Richard of Jamestown : a Story of the Virginia Colony
Author: Otis, James, 1848-1912
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Richard of Jamestown : a Story of the Virginia Colony" ***

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by James Otis


The purpose of this series of stories is to show the children, and even
those who have already taken up the study of history, the home life
of the colonists with whom they meet in their books. To this end every
effort has been made to avoid anything savoring of romance, and to deal
only with facts, so far as that is possible, while describing the daily
life of those people who conquered the wilderness whether for conscience
sake or for gain.

That the stories may appeal more directly to the children, they are told
from the viewpoint of a child, and purport to have been related by a
child. Should any criticism be made regarding the seeming neglect to
mention important historical facts, the answer would be that these books
are not sent out as histories--although it is believed that they will
awaken a desire to learn more of the building of the nation--and only
such incidents as would be particularly noted by a child are used.

Surely it is entertaining as well as instructive for young people to
read of the toil and privations in the homes of those who came into a
new world to build up a country for themselves, and such homely facts
are not to be found in the real histories of our land.



Yes, my name is Richard Mutton. Sounds rather queer, doesn't it? The
lads in London town used to vex me sorely by calling, "Baa, baa, black
sheep," whenever I passed them, and yet he who will may find the name
Richard Mutton written in the list of those who were sent to Virginia,
in the new world, by the London Company, on the nineteenth day of
December, in the year of Our Lord, 1606.

Whosoever may chance to read what I am here setting down, will, perhaps,
ask how it happened that a lad only ten years of age was allowed to sail
for that new world in company with such a band of adventurous men as
headed the enterprise.

Therefore it is that I must tell a certain portion of the story of my
life, for the better understanding of how I came to be in this fair,
wild, savage beset land of Virginia.

Yet I was not the only boy who sailed in the Susan Constant, as you may
see by turning to the list of names, which is under the care, even to
this day, of the London Company, for there you will find written
in clerkly hand the names Samuel Collier, Nathaniel Peacock, James
Brumfield, and Richard Mutton. Nathaniel Peacock has declared more than
once that my name comes last in the company at the very end of all,
because I was not a full grown mutton; but only large enough to be
called a sheep's tail, and therefore should be hung on behind, as is
shown by the list.

The reason of my being in this country of Virginia at so young an age,
is directly concerned with that brave soldier and wondrous adventurer,
Captain John Smith, of whom I make no doubt the people in this new
world, when the land has been covered with towns and villages, will come
to know right well, for of a truth he is a wonderful man. In the sixth
month of Grace, 1606, I Was living as best I might in that great city
of London, which is as much a wilderness of houses, as this country is
a wilderness of trees. My father was a soldier of fortune, which means
that he stood ready to do battle in behalf of whatsoever nation he
believed was in the right, or, perhaps, on the side of those people who
would pay him the most money for risking his life.

He had fought with the Dutch soldiers under command of one Captain
Miles Standish, an Englishman of renown among men of arms, and had been
killed. My mother died less than a week before the news was brought that
my father had been shot to death. Not then fully understanding how great
a disaster it is to a young lad when he loses father or mother, and how
yet more sad is his lot when he has lost both parents, I made shift to
live as best I might with a sore heart; but yet not so sore as if I had
known the full extent of the misfortune which had overtaken me.

At first it was an easy matter for me to get food at the home of
this lad, or of that, among my acquaintances, sleeping wherever night
overtook me; but, finally, when mayhap three months had gone by, my
welcome was worn threadbare, and I was told by more than one, that a
hulking lad of ten years should have more pride than to beg his way from
door to door.

It is with shame I here set down the fact, that many weeks passed before
I came to understand, in ever so slight a degree, what a milksop I must
be, thus eating the bread of idleness when I should have won the right,
by labor, to a livelihood in this world.

This last thought had just begun to take root in my heart when Nathaniel
Peacock, whose mother had been a good friend of mine during a certain
time after I was made an orphan, and I, heard that a remarkably brave
soldier was in the city of London, making ready to go into the new
world, with the intent to build there a town for the king.


This man was no other than Captain John Smith, who, although at this
time not above six and twenty years of age, had already served in the
French, in the Dutch, and in the Transylvanian armies, where he had met
and overcome many dangers.

He had been robbed and beaten and thrown into the sea because of not
believing in the religion of the men who attacked him; he had been a
slave among the Turks; he had fought, one after another, three of the
bravest in the Turkish army, and had cut off the head of each in turn.

Can it be wondered at that Nathaniel Peacock and I were filled to
overflowing with admiration for this wonderful soldier, or that we
desired above all things to see him?

We loitered about the streets of London town from daylight until night
had come again, hoping to feast our eyes upon this same John Smith, who
was to us one of the wonders of the world, because in so short a time he
had made his name as a soldier famous in all countries, and yet we saw
him not.

We had searched London town over and over for mayhap a full month, doing
nothing else save hunt for the man whose life had been so filled with
adventure, and each time we returned home, Mistress Peacock reproached
me with being an idle good for nothing, and Nathaniel but little better.

I believe it was her harsh words which caused to spring up in my heart
a desire to venture into the new world, where it was said gold could be
found in abundance, and even the smallest lad might pick up whatsoever
of wealth he desired, if so be his heart was strong enough to brave the
journey across the great ocean.

The more I thought of what could be found in that land, which was called
Virginia, the stronger grew my desire, until the time came when it was a
fixed purpose in my mind, and not until then did I breathe to Nathaniel
a word of that which had been growing within me.

He took fire straightway I spoke of what it might be possible for us
lads to do, and declared that whether his mother were willing or no, he
would brave all the dangers of that terrible journey overseas, if so be
we found an opportunity. To him it seemed a simple matter that, having
once found a ship which was to sail for the far off land, we might hide
ourselves within her, having gathered sufficient of food to keep us
alive during the journey. But how this last might be done, his plans had
not been made.

Lest I should set down too many words, and therefore bring upon myself
the charge of being one who can work with his tongue better than with
his hands, I will pass over all that which Nathaniel and I did during
the long time we roamed the streets, in the hope of coming face to face
with Captain Smith.

It is enough if I set it down at once that we finally succeeded in our
purpose, having come upon him one certain morning on Cheapside, when
there was a fight on among some apprentices, and the way so blocked
that neither he nor any other could pass through the street, until
the quarrelsome fellows were done playing upon each other's heads with
sticks and stones.

It seemed much as if fortune had at last consented to smile upon us, for
we were standing directly in front of the great man.

I know not how it chanced that I, a lad whose apparel was far from being
either cleanly or whole, should have dared to raise my voice in speech
with one who was said to have talked even with a king. Yet so I did,
coming without many words to that matter which had been growing these
many days in my mind, and mayhap it was the very suddenness of the words
that caught his fancy.

"Nathaniel Peacock and I are minded to go with you into that new world,
Captain John Smith, if so be you permit us," I said, "and there we will
serve you with honesty and industry."

There was a smile come upon his face as I spoke, and he looked down upon
Nathaniel and me, who were wedged among that throng which watched the
apprentices quarrel, until we were like to be squeezed flat, and said in
what I took to be a friendly tone:

"So, my master, you would journey into Virginia with the hope of making
yourself rich, and you not out from under your mother's apron as yet?"

"I have no mother to wear an apron, Captain Smith, nor father to say I
may go there or shall come here; but yet would serve you as keenly as
might any man, save mayhap my strength, which will increase, be not so
great as would be found in those older."

Whether this valiant soldier was pleased with my words, or if in good
truth boys were needed in the enterprise, I cannot say; but certain it
is he spoke me fairly, writing down upon a piece of paper, which he tore
from his tablets, the name of the street in which he had lodgings, and
asking, as he handed it to me, if I could read.

Now it was that I gave silent thanks, because of what had seemed to me
a hardship when my mother forced me to spend so many hours each day in
learning to use a quill, until I was able to write a clerkly hand.

It seemed to please this great soldier that I could do what few of the
lads in that day had been taught to master, and, without further ado, he
said to me boldly:

"You shall journey into Virginia with me, an' it please you, lad. What
is more, I will take upon myself the charge of outfitting you, and time
shall tell whether you have enough of manliness in you to repay me the

Then it was that Nathaniel raised his voice; but the captain gave him
no satisfaction, declaring it was the duty of a true lad to stand by his
mother, and that he would lend his aid to none who had a home, and in it
those who cared for him.

I could have talked with this brave soldier until the night had come,
and would never have wearied of asking concerning what might be found in
that new world of Virginia; but it so chanced that when the business was
thus far advanced, the apprentices were done with striving to break
each other's heads, and Captain Smith, bidding me come to his house next
morning, went his way.


Then it was that Nathaniel declared he also would go on the voyage to
Virginia, whether it pleased Captain Smith or no, and I, who should have
set my face against his running away from home, spoke no word to oppose
him, because it would please me to have him as comrade.

After this I went more than once to the house where Captain Smith
lodged, and learned very much concerning what it was proposed to do
toward building a town in the new world.

Both Nathaniel and I had believed it was the king who counted to send
all these people overseas; but I learned from my new master that a
company of London merchants was in charge of the enterprise, these
merchants believing much profit might come to them in the way of getting

The whole business was to be under the control of Captain Bartholomew
Gosnold, who, it was said, had already made one voyage to the new world,
and had brought back word that it was a goodly place in which to settle
and to build up towns. The one chosen to act as admiral of the fleet,
for there were to be three ships instead of one, as I had fancied, was
Captain Christopher Newport, a man who had no little fame as a seaman.

In due time, as the preparations for the voyage were being forwarded,
I was sent by my master into lodgings at Blackwall, just below London
town, for the fleet lay nearby, and because it was understood by those
in charge of the adventure that I was in Captain Smith's service, no
hindrance was made to my going on board the vessels.


These were three in number, as I have already said: the Constant, a ship
of near to one hundred tons in size; the Goodspeed, of forty tons, and
the Discovery, which was a pinnace of only twenty tons.

And now, lest some who read what I have set down may not be acquainted
with the words used by seamen, let me explain that the measurement of
a vessel by tons, means that she will fill so much space in the water.
Now, in measuring a vessel, a ton is reckoned as forty cubic feet of
space, therefore when I say the Susan Constant was one hundred tons
in size, it is the same as if I had set down that she would carry four
thousand cubic feet of cargo.

That he who reads may know what I mean by a pinnace, as differing from
a ship, I can best make it plain by saying that such a craft is an open
boat, wherein may be used sails or oars, and, as in the case of the
Discovery, may have a deck over a certain portion of her length. That
our pinnace was a vessel able to withstand such waves as would be met
with in the ocean, can be believed when you remember that she was one
half the size of the Goodspeed, which we counted a ship.


Captain Smith, my master, found plenty of work for me during the weeks
before the fleet sailed. He had many matters to be set down in writing,
and because of my mother's care in teaching me to use the quill, I was
able, or so it seemed to me, to be of no little aid to him in those busy
days, when it was as if he must do two or three things at the same time
in order to bring his business to an end. I learned during that time to
care very dearly for this valiant soldier, who could, when the fit was
on him, be as tender and kind as a girl, and again, when he was crossed,
as stern a man as one might find in all London town.

Because of my labors, and it pleased me greatly that I could do somewhat
toward forwarding the adventure, I had no time in which to search for
my friend, Nathaniel Peacock, although I did not cease to hope that he
would try to find me.

I had parted with him in the city, and he knew right well where I was
going; yet, so far as I could learn, he had never come to Blackwall.

I had no doubt but that I could find him in the city, and it was in my
mind, at the first opportunity, to seek him out, if for no other reason
than that we might part as comrades should, for he had been a true
friend to me when my heart was sore; but from the moment the sailors
began to put the cargo on board the Susan Constant and the Goodspeed,
I had no chance to wander around Blackwall, let alone journeying to

Then came the twentieth of December, when we were to set sail, and great
was the rejoicing among the people, who believed that we would soon
build up a city in the new world, which would be of great wealth and
advantage to those in England.

I heard it said, although I myself was not on shore to see what
was done, that in all the churches prayers were made for our safe
journeying, and there was much marching to and fro of soldiers, as if
some great merrymaking were afoot.

The shore was lined with people; booths were set up where showmen
displayed for pay many curious things, and food and sweetmeats were on
sale here and there, for so large a throng stood in need of refreshment
as well as amusement.

It was a wondrous spectacle to see all these people nearby on the shore,
knowing they had come for no other purpose than to look at us, and
I took no little pride to myself because of being numbered among the
adventurers, even vainly fancying that many wondered what part a boy
could have in such an undertaking.

Then we set sail, I watching in vain for a glimpse of Nathaniel Peacock
as the ships got under way. Finally, sadly disappointed, and with the
sickness of home already in my heart, I went into the forward part of
the ship, where was my sleeping place, thinking that very shortly we
should be tossing and tumbling on the mighty waves of the ocean.

In this I was mistaken, for the wind was contrary to our purpose, and
we lay in the Downs near six weeks, while Master Hunt, the preacher, who
had joined the company that he might labor for the good of our souls;
lay so nigh unto death in the cabin of the Susan Constant, that I
listened during all the waking hours of the night, fearing to hear the
tolling of the ship's bell, which would tell that he had gone from among
the living.

It was on the second night, after we were come to anchor in the Downs
awaiting a favorable wind, that I, having fallen asleep while wishing
Nathaniel Peacock might have been with us, was awakened by the pressure
of a cold hand upon my cheek. I was near to crying aloud with fear,
for the first thought that came was that Master Hunt had gone from this
world, and was summoning me; but before the cry could escape my lips, I
heard the whispered words: "It is me, Nate Peacock!"

It can well be guessed that I was sitting bolt upright in the narrow
bed, which sailors call a bunk, by the time this had been said, and in
the gloom of the seamen's living place I saw a head close to mine.

Not until I had passed my hands over the face could I believe it
was indeed my comrade, and it goes without saying that straightway
I insisted on knowing how he came there, when he should have been in
London town.

I cannot set the story down as Nathaniel Peacock told it to me on that
night, because his words were many; but the tale ran much like this:


When Captain John Smith had promised on Cheapside that I should be one
of the company of adventurers, because of such labor as it might be
possible for me to perform, and had refused to listen to my comrade,
Nathaniel, without acquainting me with the fact, had made up his mind
that he also would go into the new world of Virginia.

Fearing lest I would believe it my duty to tell Captain Smith of his
purpose, he kept far from me, doing whatsoever he might in London town
to earn as much as would provide him with food during a certain time.

In this he succeeded so far as then seemed necessary, and when it was
known that the fleet was nearly ready to make sail, he came to Blackwall
with all his belongings tied in his doublet.

To get on board the Susan Constant without attracting much attention
while she was being visited by so many curious people, was not a hard
task for Nathaniel Peacock, and three days before the fleet was got
under way, my comrade had hidden himself in the very foremost part of
the ship, where were stored the ropes and chains.

There he had remained until thirst, or hunger, drove him out, on this
night of which I am telling you, and he begged that I go on deck, where
were the scuttle butts, to get him a pannikin of water.

For those of you who may not know what a scuttle butt is, I will explain
that it is a large cask in which fresh water is kept on shipboard. When
Nathaniel's burning thirst had been soothed, he began to fear that I
might give information to Captain John Smith concerning him; but after
all that had been done in the way of hiding himself, and remembering his
suffering, I had not the heart so to do.

During four days more he spent all the hours of sunshine, and the
greater portion of the night, in my bed, closely covered so that the
sailors might not see him, and then came the discovery, when he was
dragged out with many a blow and harsh word to give an account of
himself. I fear it would have gone harder still with Nathaniel, if I had
not happened to be there at that very moment.

As it was, I went directly to Captain John Smith, my master, telling him
all Nathaniel's story, and asking if the lad had not shown himself made
of the proper stuff to be counted on as one of the adventurers.

Although hoping to succeed in my pleading, I was surprised when the
captain gave a quick consent to number the lad among those who were to
go into the new land of Virginia, and was even astonished when his name
was written down among others as if he had been pledged to the voyage in
due form.

But for the sickness of Master Hunt, and the fear we had lest he should
die, Nathaniel and I might have made exceeding merry while we lay at
anchor in the Downs, for food was plentiful; there was little of work to
be done, and we lads could have passed the time skylarking with such of
the sailors as were disposed to sport, except orders had been given that
no undue noise be made on deck.


It seemed to me almost as if we spent an entire lifetime within sight
of the country we were minded to leave behind us, and indeed six weeks,
with no change of scene, and while one is held to the narrow limits of a
ship, is an exceeding long time.

However, as I have heard Captain Smith say again and again, everything
comes to him who waits, and so also came that day when the winds were
favoring; when Captain Newport, the admiral of our fleet, gave the word
to make sail, and we sped softly away from England's shores, little
dreaming of that time of suffering, of sickness, and of sadness which
was before us.

To Nathaniel and me, who had never strayed far from London town, and
knew no more of the sea than might have been gained in a boatman's
wherry, the ocean was exceeding unkind, and for eight and forty hours
did we lie in that narrow bed, believing death was very near at hand.

There is no reason why I should make any attempt at describing the
sickness which was upon us, for I have since heard that it comes to
all who go out on the sea for the first time. When we recovered, it was
suddenly, like as a flower lifts up its head after a refreshing shower
that has pelted it to the ground.

I would I might set down here all which came to us during the voyage,
for it was filled with wondrous happenings; but because I would tell of
what we did in the land of Virginia, I must be sparing of words now.


It is to be remembered that our fleet left London on the twentieth day
of December, and, as I have since heard Captain Smith read from the
pages which he wrote concerning the voyage, it was on the twenty-third
of March that we were come to the island of Martinique, where for the
first time Nathaniel Peacock and I saw living savages.

When we were come to anchor, they paddled out to our ships in frail
boats called canoes, bringing many kinds of most delicious fruits,
which we bought for such trumpery things as glass beads and ornaments of

It was while we lay off this island that we saw a whale attacked and
killed by a thresher and a swordfish, which was a wondrous sight.

And now was a most wicked deed done by those who claimed to be in
command of our company, for they declared that my master had laid a plot
with some of the men in each vessel of the fleet, whereby the principal
members of the company were to be murdered, to the end that Captain
Smith might set himself up as king after we were come to the new world.

All this was untrue, as I knew full well, having aided him in such work
as a real clerk would have done, and had there been a plot, I must have
found some inkling of it in one of the many papers I read aloud to him,
or copied down on other sheets that the work of the quill might be more
pleasing to the eye.

Besides that, I had been with the captain a goodly portion of the time
while the ships were being made ready for the voyage, and if he had
harbored so much of wickedness, surely must some word of it have come to
me, who sat or stood near at hand, listening attentively whenever he had
speech with others of the company of adventurers.


When the voyage was begun, and the captain no longer had need of me, I
was sent into the forward part of the ship to live, as has already been
set down, and therefore it was I knew nothing of what was being done in
the great cabin, where the leaders of the company were quartered, until
after my master was made a prisoner. Then it was told me by the seaman
who had been called by Captain Kendall, as if it was feared my master,
being such a great soldier, might strive to harm those who miscalled him
a traitor to that which he had sworn.

It seems, so the seaman said, that Captain John Martin was the one who
made the charges against my master, on the night after we set sail from
Martinique, when all the chief men of the company were met in the great
cabin, and he declared that, when it was possible to do so, meaning
after we had come to the land of Virginia, witnesses should be brought
from the other ships to prove the wicked intent. Then it was that
Captain George Kendall declared my master must be kept a close prisoner
until the matter could be disposed of, and all the others, save Captain
Bartholomew Gosnold, agreeing, heavy irons were put upon him. He was
shut up in his sleeping place, having made no outcry nor attempt to do
any harm, save that he declared himself innocent of wrong doing.

But for Captain Gosnold and Master Hunt, the preacher, I should not
have been permitted to go in and learn if I might do anything for his
comfort. The other leaders declared that my master was a dangerous
man, who should not be allowed to have speech with any person save
themselves, lest he send some message to those who were said to be
concerned with him in the plot.


Master Hunt spoke up right manfully in behalf of Captain Smith, with the
result that I was given free entrance to that small room which had been
made his prison, save that I must at all times leave the door open, so
those who were in the great cabin could hear if I was charged with any
message to the seamen.

My eyes were filled with tears when my master told me that he had
no thought save that of benefiting those who were with him in the
adventure, and that he would not lend his countenance to any wicked

I begged him to understand that I knew right well he would do no manner
of wrong to any man, and asked the privilege of being with him all the
time, to serve him when he could not serve himself because of the irons
that fettered his legs.

And so it was that I had opportunity to do that which made my master as
true a friend as ever lad had, for in the later days when we were
come to Virginia and beset by savages more cruel than wild beasts,
he ventured his own life again and again to save mine, which was so
worthless as compared with his.

Only that I might tell how the voyage progressed, did I go on deck, or
have speech with Nathaniel Peacock, and only through me did my master
know when we were come to this island or that, together with what was to
be seen in such places.


Therefore it was that when, on the next day after he was made a
prisoner, we were come to anchor off that island which the savages
called Gaudaloupe, and Nathaniel had been permitted to go on shore in
one of the boats, I could tell my master of the wondrous waters which
were found there.

Nathaniel told me that water spouted up out of the earth so hot, that
when Captain Newport threw into it a piece of pork tied to a rope, the
meat was cooked in half an hour, even as if it had been over a roaring
hot fire.

After that we passed many islands, the names of which I could not
discover, until we came to anchor within half a musket shot from the
shore of that land which is known as Nevis. Here we lay six days, and
the chief men of the company went on shore for sport and to hunt, save
always either Captain Martin or Captain Kendall, who remained on board
to watch the poor prisoner, while he, my master, lay in his narrow bed
sweltering under the great heat.

During all this while, the seamen and our gentlemen got much profit and
sport from hunting and fishing, adding in no small degree to our store
of food. Had Captain Smith not been kept from going on shore by the
wickedness of those who were jealous because of his great fame as a
soldier, I dare venture to say our stay at this island of Nevis would
have been far more to our advantage.

From this place we went to what Master Hunt told me were the Virgin
islands, and here the men went ashore again to hunt; but my master,
speaking no harsh words against those who were wronging him, lay in the
small, stinging hot room, unable to get for himself even a cup of water,
though I took good care he should not suffer from lack of kindly care.

Then on a certain day we sailed past that land which Captain Gosnold
told me was Porto Rico, and next morning came to anchor off the island
of Mona, where the seamen were sent ashore to get fresh water, for our
supply was running low.

Captain Newport, and many of the other gentlemen, went on shore to hunt,
and so great was the heat that Master Edward Brookes fell down dead,
one of the sailors telling Nathaniel that the poor man's fat was
melted until he could no longer live; but Captain Smith, who knows more
concerning such matters than all this company rolled into one, save I
might except Master Hunt, declared that the fat of a live person does
not melt, however great the heat. It is the sun shining too fiercely on
one's head that brings about death, and thus it was that Master Brookes


Our gentlemen who had the heart to make prisoner of so honest, upright a
man as my master, did not cease their sport because of what had befallen
Master Brookes, but continued at the hunting until they had brought down
two wild boars and also an animal fashioned like unto nothing I had
ever seen before. It was something after the manner of a serpent, but
speckled on the stomach as is a toad, and Captain Smith believed the
true name of it to be Iguana, the like of which he says that he has
often seen in other countries and that its flesh makes very good eating.

If any one save Captain Smith had said this, I should have found it hard
to believe him, and as it was I was glad my belief was not put to the
test. Two days afterward we were come to an island which Master Hunt
says is known to seamen as Monica, and there it was that Nathaniel went
on shore in one of the boats, coming back at night to tell me a most
wondrous story.

He declared that the birds and their eggs were so plentiful that the
whole island was covered with them; that one could not set down his
foot, save upon eggs, or birds sitting on their nests, some of which
could hardly be driven away even with blows, and when they rose in the
air, the noise made by their wings was so great as to deafen a person.

Our seamen loaded two boats full of the eggs in three hours, and all in
the fleet feasted for several days on such as had not yet been spoiled
by the warmth of the birds' bodies.

It was on the next day that we left behind us those islands which
Captain Smith told me were the West Indies, and the seaman who stood at
the helm when I came on deck to get water for my master, said we were
steering a northerly course, which would soon bring us to the land of


On that very night, however, such a tempest of wind and of rain came
upon us that I was not the only one who believed the Susan Constant must
be crushed like an eggshell under the great mountains of water which
at times rolled completely over her, so flooding the decks that but few
could venture out to do whatsoever of work was needed to keep the ship
afloat. After this fierce tempest, when the Lord permitted that even our
pinnace should ride in safety, it was believed that we were come near
to the new world, and by day and by night the seamen stood at the rail,
throwing the lead every few minutes in order to discover if we were
venturing into shoal water.

Nathaniel and I used to stand by watching them, and wishing that we
might be allowed to throw the line, but never quite getting up our
courage to say so, knowing full well we should probably make a tangle of


As Master George Percy has set down in the writings which I have copied
for him since we came to Virginia, it was on the twenty-sixth day
of April, in the year of our Lord 1607, at about four o'clock in the
morning, when we were come within sight of that land where were to be
built homes, not only for our company of one hundred and five, counting
the boys, but for all who should come after us.

It was while the ship lay off the land, her decks crowded with our
company who fain would get the first clear view of that country in which
they were to live, if the savages permitted, that I asked my master who
among the gentlemen of the cabin was the leader in this adventure.

To my surprise, he told me that it was not yet known. The London Company
had made an election of those among the gentlemen who should form
the new government, and had written down the names, together with
instructions as to what should be done; but this writing was enclosed
in a box which was not to be opened until we had come to the end of our


There could be no doubt but that Captain Kendall and Captain Martin both
believed that when the will of the London Company was made known, it
would be found they stood in high command; but there was in my heart
a great hope that my master might have been named. Yet when I put the
matter to him in so many words, he treated the matter lightly, saying it
could hardly be, else they had not dared to treat him thus shamefully.

However, it was soon to be known, if the commands of the London Company
were obeyed, for now we had come to this new land of Virginia, and the
time was near at hand when would be opened the box containing the names
of those who were to be officers in the town we hoped soon to build.

As for myself, I was so excited it seemed impossible to remain quiet
many seconds in one place, and I fear that my duties, which consisted
only in waiting upon the prisoner, my master, were sadly neglected
because of the anxiety in my mind to know who the merchants in London
had named as rulers of the settlement about to be made in the new world.

One would have believed from Captain Smith's manner that he had no
concern whatsoever as to the result of all this wickedness and scheming,
for it was neither more nor less than such, as I looked at the matter,
on the part of Captain Kendall and Captain Martin.

Here we were in sight of the new world, at a place where we were to live
all the remainder of our lives, and he a prisoner in chains; but yet
never a word of complaint came from his lips.


When the day had fully dawned, and the fleet stood in toward the noble
bay, between two capes, which were afterward named Cape Henry and Cape
Comfort, Captain Smith directed me to go on deck, in order to keep him
informed of what might be happening.

He told me there was no question in his mind but that we were come to
the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, where it had been agreed with the London
merchants we were to go on shore.

Standing at the head of the companionway, but not venturing out on deck
lest I should be sent to some other part of the ship, and thus be unable
to give my master the information which he desired, I looked out upon
what seemed to me the most goodly land that could be found in all the
wide world.

Trees there were of size fit for masts to the king's ships; flowers
bordered the shore until there were seemingly great waves of this color,
or of that, as far as eye could reach, and set within this dazzling
array of green and gold, and of red and yellow, was a great sea, which
Captain Smith said was called the Chesapeake Bay.

We entered for some distance, mayhap three or four miles, before coming
to anchor, and then Master Wingfield, Captain Gosnold, and Captain
Newport went on shore with a party of thirty, made up of seamen and
gentlemen, and my master, who had not so much as stretched his legs
since we sailed from Martinique, was left in his narrow cabin with none
but me to care for him!

I had thought they would open the box containing the instructions from
London, before doing anything else; but Captain Smith was of the mind
that such business could wait until they had explored sufficiently to
find a place where the new town might be built.

It was a long, weary, anxious day for me. The party had left the ship in
the morning, remaining absent until nightfall, and at least four or five
times every hour did I run up from the cabin to gaze shoreward in the
hope of seeing them return, for I was most eager to have the business
pushed forward, and to know whether my master's enemies were given, by
the London Company, permission to do whatsoever they pleased.


Just after sunset, and before the darkness of night closed in, those
who had been on shore came back very hurriedly and in disorder, bringing
with them in the foremost boat, two wounded men.

"They have had a battle with some one, Master," I reported, before
yet the boats were come alongside, and for the first time that day did
Captain Smith appear to be deeply concerned. I heard him say as if to
himself, not intending that the words should reach me:

"Lack of caution in dealing with the savages is like to cost us dearly."

Half an hour later I heard all the story from Nathaniel Peacock, who had
believed himself fortunate when he was allowed to accompany the party on

According to his account, the company from the fleet roamed over much
of the land during the day, finding fair meadows and goodly trees, with
streams of fresh water here and there bespeaking fish in abundance.

Nothing was seen or heard to disturb our people until the signal had
been given for all to go on board the boats, that they might return to
the ships, and then it was that a number of naked, brown men, creeping
upon their hands and knees like animals, with bows and arrows held
between their teeth, came out suddenly from amid the foliage to the
number, as Nathaniel declared, of not less than an hundred.

While the white men stood dismayed, awaiting some order from those who
chose to call themselves leaders, the savages shot a multitude of arrows
into the midst of the company, wounding Captain Gabriel Archer in both
his hands, and dangerously hurting one of the seamen.

Captain Gosnold gave command for the firearms to be discharged,
whereupon the savages disappeared suddenly, and without delay our people
returned to the fleet.


An hour later, when those who had just come from the shore had been
refreshed with food, I noted with much of anxiety that all the gentlemen
of the company, not only such as belonged on board the Susan Constant,
but those from the Speedwell, gathered in the great cabin of our ship,
and, looking out ever so cautiously, while the door of Captain Smith's
room was ajar, I saw them gather around the big table on which, as if
it were something of greatest value, was placed a box made of some dark
colored wood.

It was Master Hunt who opened this, and, taking out a paper, he read in
a voice so loud that even my master, as he lay in his narrow bed, could
hear the names of those who were chosen by the London Company to form
the Council for the government of the new land of Virginia.

These are the names as he read them: Bartholomew Gosnold, Edward
Wingfield, Christopher Newport, John Smith, John Ratcliffe, John Martin
and George Kendall.

My heart seemingly leaped into my throat with triumph when I thus heard
the name of my master among those who were to stand as leaders of the
company, and so excited had I become that that which Master Hunt read
from the remainder of the paper failed to attract my attention.

I learned afterward, however, that among the rules governing the actions
of this Council, was one that a President should be chosen each year,
and that matters of moment were to be determined by vote of the Council,
in which the President might cast two ballots.

It was when Master Hunt ceased reading that I believed my master would
be set free without delay, for of a verity he had the same right to take
part in the deliberations as any other, since it was the will of the
London Company that he should be one of the leaders; but much to my
surprise nothing of the kind was done. Captain Kendall, seeing the door
of my master's room slightly open, arose from the table and closed
it, as if he were about to say something which should not be heard by
Captain Smith.

I would have opened the door again, but that my master bade me leave it
closed, and when an hour or more had passed, Master Hunt came in to us,
stating that it had not yet been decided by the other members of the
Council whether Captain Smith should be allowed to take part in the
affairs, as the London Company had decided, or whether he should be sent
home for judgment when the fleet returned. But meanwhile he was to have
his liberty.

Then it was that Master Hunt, talking like the true man he ever showed
himself to be, advised Captain Smith to do in all things, so far as the
other members of the Council permitted, as if nothing had gone awry,
claiming that before we had been many days in this land, those who had
brought charges against him would fail of making them good.

Had I been the one thus so grievously injured, the whole company might
have shipwrecked themselves before I would have raised a hand, all of
which goes to show that I had not learned to rule my temper.

Captain Smith, however, agreed with all Master Hunt said, and then it
was that I was sent forward once more. My master went on deck for the
first time since we had left Martinique, walking to and fro swiftly, as
if it pleased him to have command of his legs once more.

If Master Hunt and Master Wingfield had been able to bring the others
around to their way of thinking, Captain Smith would have taken his
rightful place in the Council without delay. Instead of which, however,
he remained on board the ship idle, when there was much that he could
have done better than any other, from the day on which we came in
sight of Virginia, which was the fifteenth day of April, until the
twenty-sixth day of June.

During all this time, those of the Council who were his enemies claimed
that they could prove he had laid plans to murder all the chief men,
and take his place as king; but yet they did not do so, and my master
refused to hold any parley with them, except that he claimed he was
innocent of all wrong in thought or in act.

When the others of the fleet set off to spy out the land, my master
remained aboard the ship, still being a prisoner, except so far that he
wore no fetters, and I would not have left him save he had commanded me
sharply, for at that time, so sore was his heart, that even a lad like
me could now and then say some word which might have in it somewhat of

During this time that Captain Smith was with the company and yet not
numbered as one of them, the other gentlemen explored the country,
and more than once was Nathaniel Peacock allowed to accompany them,
therefore did I hear much which otherwise would not have been told me.

And what happened during these two months when the gentlemen were much
the same as quarreling among themselves, I shall set down in as few
words as possible, to the end that I may the sooner come to that story
of our life in the new village, which some called James Fort, and others
James Town, after King James of England.


When the shallop had been taken out of the hold of the Susan Constant,
and put together by the Carpenters, our people explored the shores of
the bay and the broad streams running into it, meeting with savages here
and there, and holding some little converse with them. A few were found
to be friendly, while others appeared to think we were stealing their
land by thus coming among them.

One of the most friendly of the savages, so Nathaniel said, having shown
by making marks on the ground with his foot that he wished to tell our
people about the country, and having been given a pen and paper, drew a
map of the river with great care, putting in the islands and waterfalls
and mountains that our men would come to, and afterward he even brought
food to our people such as wheat and little sweet nuts and berries.

I myself would have been pleased to go on shore and see these strange
people, but not being able to do so save at the cost of leaving my
master, I can only repeat some of the curious things which Nathaniel
Peacock told me. It must be known that there was more than one nation,
or tribe, of savages in this new land of Virginia, and each had its king
or chief, who was called the werowance. I might set down the names of
these tribes, and yet it would be so much labor lost, because they are
more like fanciful than real words. As, for example, there were the
Paspaheghes, whose werowance was seemingly more friendly to our people
than were the others.

Again, there were the Rapahannas, who wore the legs of birds through
holes in their ears, and had all the hair on the right side of their
heads shaven closely.

It gives them much pleasure to dance, so Nathaniel said, he having seen
them jumping around more like so many wolves, rather than human beings,
for the space of half an hour, shouting and singing all the while.

All the Indians smoked an herb called tobacco, which grows abundantly
in this land, and I have Nathaniel's word for it that one savage had a
tobacco pipe nearly a yard long, with the device of a deer carved at the
great end of it big enough to dash out one's brains with.

There is very much more which might be said about these savages that
would be of interest; but I am minded now to leave such stories for
others to tell, and come to the day when Captain Newport was ready to
sail with the Susan Constant and the Goodspeed back to England, for his
share in the adventure was only to bring us over from England, after
which he had agreed to return.

The pinnace was to be left behind for the use of us who remained in the
strange land. Before this time, meaning the thirteenth day of May, the
members of the Council had decided upon the place where we were to build
our village. It was to be in the country of the Paspahegh Indians, at a
certain spot near the shore where the water runs so deep that our ships
can lie moored to the trees in six fathoms.


Then it was that all the people went on shore, some to set up the tents
of cloth which we had brought with us to serve as shelters before houses
could be built; others to lay out a fort, which it was needed should
be made as early as possible because of the savages, and yet a certain
other number being told off to stand guard against the brown men, who
had already shown that they could be most dangerous enemies.

My master went ashore, as a matter of course, with the others, I
sticking close to his side; but neither of us taking any part in the
work which had been begun, because the charges of wickedness were still
hanging over his head.

Had Captain Smith been allowed a voice in the Council, certain it is
he never would have chosen this place in which to make the town, for he
pointed out to me that the land lay so low that when the river was
at its height the dampness must be great, and, therefore, exceeding
unhealthful, while there was back of it such an extent of forest, as
made it most difficult to defend, in case the savages came against us.

Captain Smith aided me in building for ourselves a hut in front of an
overhanging rock, with the branches of trees. It was a poor shelter at
the best; but he declared it would serve us until such time as he was
given his rightful place among the people, or had been sent back a
prisoner to England.


This served us as a living place for many days, or until my master was
come into his own, as he did before the fort was finished, when, on one
certain morning, he demanded of the other members of the Council that
they put him on trial to learn whether the charges could be proven or
not, and this was done on the day before Captain Newport was to take the
ships back to England.

There is little need for me to say that Captain Kendall's stories of the
plot, in which he said my master was concerned, came to naught. There
were none to prove that he had ever spoken of such a matter, and the
result of the trial was that they gave him his rightful place at the
head of the company. Before many months were passed, all came to know
that but for him the white people in Jamestown would have come to their


It was on the fifteenth day of June when the ships sailed out of the
Chesapeake Bay, leaving on the banks of the river we called the James,
a hundred men and boys, all told, to hold their lives and their liberty
against thousands upon thousands of naked savages, who had already shown
that they desired to be enemies rather than friends. Even in the eyes
of a boy, it was an odd company to battle with the savages and the
wilderness, for the greater number were those who called themselves
gentlemen, and who believed it beneath their station to do any labor
whatsoever, therefore did it seem to me that this new town would be
burdened sorely with so many drones.

Master Hunt, the preacher, could in good truth call himself a gentleman,
and yet I myself saw him, within two hours after we were landed, nailing
a piece of timber between two trees that he might stretch a square of
sailcloth over it, thus making what served as the first church in the
country of Virginia. Yet Captain Smith has said again and again, that
the discourses of Master Hunt under that poor shelter of cloth, were, to
his mind, more like the real praising of God, than any he had ever heard
in the costly buildings of the old world.

For the better understanding of certain things which happened to us
after we had begun to build the village of Jamestown, it should be
remembered that of all the savages in the country roundabout, the most
friendly were those who lived in the same settlement with Powhatan, who
was, so Captain Smith said, the true head and king of all the Indians in


It was in this town of Powhatan's that I discovered how to bake bread
without an oven or other fire than what might be built on the open
ground, and it was well I had my eyes open at that time, otherwise
Captain Smith and I had gone supperless to bed again and again, for
there were many days when our stomachs cried painfully because of

While my master was talking with the king, Powhatan, on matters
concerning affairs at Jamestown, I saw an Indian girl, whose name I
afterward came to know was Pocahontas, making bread, and observed her
carefully. She had white meal, but whether of barley, or the wheat
called Indian corn, or Guinny wheat I could not say, and this she mixed
into a paste with hot water; making it of such thickness that it could
easily be rolled into little balls or cakes.

After the mixture had been thus shaped, she dropped the balls into a pot
of boiling water, letting them stay there until well soaked, when she
laid them on a smooth stone in front of the fire until they had hardened
and browned like unto bread that has been cooked in the oven.

But I have set myself to the task of telling how we of Jamestown lived
during that time when my master was much the same as the head of the
government, and it is not well to begin the story with bread making.


First I must explain upon what terms these people, the greater number of
whom called themselves gentlemen, and therefore claimed to be ashamed
to labor with their hands, had come together under control of those
merchants in London, who were known as the London Company.

No person in the town of James was allowed to own any land except as he
had his share of the whole. Every one was expected to work for the good
of the village, and whatsoever of crops was raised, belonged to all the
people. It was not permitted that the more industrious should plant the
land and claim that which grew under their toil.

Ours was supposed to be one big family, with each laboring to help the
others at the same time he helped himself, and the result was that
those who worked only a single hour each day, had as much of the general
stores as he who remained in the field from morning until night.

Although my master had agreed to this plan before the fleet sailed from
England, he soon came to understand that it was not the best for a new
land, where it was needed that each person should labor to the utmost of
his powers.

The London Company had provided a certain number of tents made of cloth,
which were supposed to be enough to give shelter to all the people,
and yet, because those who had charge of the matter had made a mistake,
through ignorance or for the sake of gain, there were no more than
would provide for the members of the Council, who appeared to think they
should be lodged in better fashion than those who were not in authority.

My master could well have laid claim to one of these cloth houses;
but because of the charges which had been made against him by Captain
Kendall and Captain Martin, the sting of which yet remained, he chose to
live by himself. Thus it was that he and I threw up the roof of branches
concerning which I have spoken; but it was only to shelter us until
better could be built.


While the others were hunting here and there for the gold which it had
been said could be picked up in Virginia as one gathers acorns in the
old world, Captain Smith set about making a house of logs such as would
protect him from the storms of winter as well as from the summer sun.

This he did by laying four logs on the ground in the form of a square,
and so cutting notches in the ends of each that when it was placed on
the top of another, and at right angles with it, the hewn portions would
interlock, one with the other, holding all firmly in place. On top of
these, other huge tree trunks were laid with the same notching of the
ends. It was a vast amount of labor, thus to roll up the heavy logs in
the form of a square until a pen or box had been made as high as a man's
head, and then over that was built a roof of logs fastened together with
wooden pins, or pegs, for iron nails were all too scarce and costly to
be used for such purpose.

When the house had been built thus far, the roof was formed of no more
than four or five logs on which a thatching of grass was to be laid
later, and the ends, in what might be called the "peak of the roof,"
were open to the weather. Then it was that roughly hewn planks, or logs
split into three or four strips, called puncheons, were pegged with
wooden nails on the sides, or ends, where doors or windows were to be

Then the space inside this framework was sawed out, and behold you had a
doorway, or the opening for a window, to be filled in afterward as time
and material with which to work might permit.

After this had been done, the ends under the roof were covered with yet
more logs, sawn to the proper length and pegged together, until, save
for the crevices between the timbers, the whole gave protection against
the weather.

Then came the work of thatching the roof, which was done by the branches
of trees, dried grass, or bark. My master put on first a layer of
branches from which the leaves had been stripped, and over that we laid
coarse grass to the depth of six or eight inches, binding the same down
with small saplings running from one side to the other, to the number
of ten on each slope of the roof. To me was given the task of closing up
the crevices between the logs with mud and grass mixed, and this I did
the better because Nathaniel Peacock worked with me, doing his full
share of the labor.


When we came ashore from the ships, no one claimed Nathaniel as servant,
and he, burning to be in my company, asked Captain Smith's permission
to enter his employ. My master replied that it had not been in his mind
there should be servants and lords in this new world of Virginia, where
one was supposed to be on the same footing as another; but if Nathaniel
were minded to live under the same roof with us, and would cheerfully
perform his full share of the labor, it might be as he desired.

Because our house was the first to be put up in the new village, and,
being made of logs, was by far the best shelter, even in comparison with
the tents of cloth, Nathaniel and I decided that it should be the most
homelike, if indeed that could be compassed where were no women to
keep things cleanly. I am in doubt as to whether Captain Smith, great
traveler and brave adventurer though he was, had even realized that with
only men to perform the household duties, there would be much lack of

The floor of the house was only the bare earth beaten down hard. We lads
made brooms, by tying the twigs of trees to a stick, which was not what
might be called a good makeshift, and yet with such we kept the inside
of our home far more cleanly than were some of the tents.


There were many who believed, because there were no women in our midst,
we should spare our labor in the way of keeping cleanly, and before we
had been in the new village a week, the floors of many of the dwellings
were littered with dirt of various kinds, until that which should have
been a home, looked more like a place in which swine are kept.

From the very first day we came ashore, good Master Hunt went about
urging that great effort be made to keep the houses, and the paths
around them, cleanly, saying that unless we did so, there was like to be
a sickness come among us. With some his preaching did good, but by far
the greater number, and these chiefly to be found among the self called
gentlemen, gave no heed.

It was as if these lazy ones delighted in filth. Again and again have
I seen one or another throw the scrapings of the trencher bowls just
outside the door of the tent or hut, where those who came or went
must of a necessity tread upon them, and one need not struggle hard to
realize what soon was the condition of the village.

After a heavy shower many of the paths were covered ankle deep with
filth of all kinds, and when the sun shone warm and bright, the stench
was too horrible to be described by ordinary words.


There were other kinds of homes, and quite a number of them, that were
made neither of cloth nor of logs. These were holes dug in the side of
small hillocks until a sleeping room had been made, when the front part
was covered with brush or logs, built outward from the hill to form a

During a storm these cave homes were damp, often times actually muddy,
and those who slept therein were but inviting the mortal sickness that
came all too soon among us, until it was as if the Angel of Death had
taken possession of Jamestown.

Captain Smith said everything he could to persuade these people, who
were content to live in a hole in the ground, that they were little
better than beasts of the field.

But so long as the foolish ones continued to believe this new world was
much the same as filled with gold and silver, so long they wasted their
time searching.


But for this golden fever, which attacked the gentlemen more fiercely
than it did the common people, the story of Jamestown would not
have been one of disaster brought about by willful heedlessness and

Again and again did Captain Smith urge that crops be planted, while it
was yet time, in order that there might be food at hand when the winter
came; but he had not yet been allowed to take his place in the Council,
and those who had the thirst for gold strong upon them, taunted him with
the fact that he had no right to raise his voice above the meanest of
the company. They refused to listen when he would have spoken with them
as a friend, and laughed him to scorn when he begged that they take heed
to their own lives.

I cannot understand why our people were so crazy. Even though Nathaniel
and I were but lads, with no experience of adventure such as was before
us, we could realize that unless a man plants he may not reap, and
because we had been hungry many a time in London town, we knew full well
that when the season had passed there was like to be a famine among us.

I can well understand, now that I am a man grown, why our people were
so careless regarding the future, for everywhere around us was food in
plenty. Huge flocks of wild swans circled above our heads, trumpeting
the warning that winter would come before gold could be found. Wild
geese, cleaving the air in wedge shaped line, honked harshly that the
season for gathering stores of food was passing, while at times, on a
dull morning, it was as if the waters of the bay were covered completely
with ducks of many kinds.


I have heard Captain Smith say more than once, that he had seen
flocks of ducks a full mile wide and five or six miles long, wherein
canvasbacks, mallard, widgeon, redheads, dottrel, sheldrake, and teal
swam wing to wing, actually crowding each other. When such flocks rose
in the air, the noise made by their wings was like unto the roaring of a
tempest at sea.

Then there was bed after bed of oysters, many of which were uncovered at
ebb tide, when a hungry man might stand and eat his fill of shellfish,
never one of them less than six inches long, and many twice that size.
It is little wonder that the gold crazed men refused to listen while my
master warned them that the day might come when they would be hungry to
the verge of starvation.

Now perhaps you will like to hear how we two lads, bred in London town,
with never a care as to how our food had been cooked, so that we had
enough with which to fill our stomachs, made shift to prepare meals that
could be eaten by Captain Smith, for so we did after taking counsel with
the girl Pocahontas from Powhatan's village.


In the first place, the shell fish called oysters are readily cooked, or
may be eaten raw with great satisfaction. I know not what our people of
Virginia would have done without them, and yet it was only by chance or
accident that we came to learn how nourishing they are.

A company of our gentlemen had set off to explore the country very
shortly after we came ashore from the fleet, and while going through
that portion of the forest which borders upon the bay, happened upon
four savages who were cooking something over the fire.

The Indians ran away in alarm, and, on coming up to discover what the
brown men had which was good to eat, the explorers found a large
number of oysters roasting on the coals. Through curiosity, one of our
gentlemen tasted of the fish, and, much to his surprise, found it very
agreeable to the stomach.

Before telling his companions the result of his experiment, he ate all
the oysters that had been cooked, which were more than two dozen large
ones, and then, instead of exploring the land any further on that day,
our gentlemen spent their time gathering and roasting the very agreeable

As a matter of course, the news of this discovery spread throughout the
settlement, and straightway every person was eating oysters; but they
soon tired of them, hankering after wheat of some kind.

Among those who served some of the gentlemen even as Nathaniel and I
aimed to serve Captain Smith, was James Brumfield, a lazy, shiftless lad
near to seventeen years old. Being hungry, and not inclined to build a
fire, because it would be necessary to gather fuel, he ventured to taste
of a raw oyster. Finding it pleasant to the mouth, he actually gorged
himself until sickness put an end to the gluttonous meal.

It can thus be seen that even though Nathaniel and I had never been
apprenticed to a cook, it was not difficult for us to serve our master
with oysters roasted or raw, laid on that which answered in the stead of
a table, in their own shells.


Then again the Indian girl had shown us how to boil beans, peas, Indian
corn, and pumpkins together, making a kind of porridge which is most
pleasant, and affords a welcome change from oysters; but the great
drawback is that we are not able to come at the various things needed
for the making of it, except when our gentlemen have been fortunate in
trading with the brown men, which is not often.

This Indian corn, pounded and boiled until soft, is a dish Captain Smith
eats of with an appetite, provided it is well salted, and one does not
need to be a king's cook in order to make it ready for the table. The
pounding is the hardest and most difficult portion of the task, for
the kernels are exceeding flinty, and fly off at a great distance when
struck a glancing blow.

Nathaniel and I have brought inside our house a large, flat rock, on
which we pound the corn, and one of us is kept busy picking up the
grains that fly here and there as if possessed of an evil spirit.
Newsamp is the name which the savages give to this cooking of wheat.

I have an idea that when we get a mill for grinding, it will be possible
to break the kernels easily and quickly between the millstones, without
crushing a goodly portion of them to meal.

When the Indian corn is young, that is to say, before it has grown hard,
the ears as plucked from the stalks may be roasted before the coals
with great profit, and when we would give our master something unusually
pleasing, Nathaniel and I go abroad in search of the gardens made by the
savages, where we may get, by bargaining, a supply of roasting ears.

With a trencher of porridge, and a dozen roasting ears, together with
a half score of the bread balls such as I have already written about,
Captain Smith can satisfy his hunger with great pleasure, and then it
is that he declares he has the most comfortable home in all Virginia,
thanks to his "houseboys," as he is pleased to call us.


The Indians have roots, which some of our gentlemen call sweet potatoes,
which are by no means unpleasant to the taste, the only difficulty being
that we cannot get any great quantity of them. Our master declares that
when we make a garden, this root shall be the first thing planted, and
after it has ripened, we will have some cooked every day.

Nathaniel and I have no trouble in preparing the root, for it may be
roasted in the ashes, boiled into a pudding which should be well salted,
or mixed with the meal of Indian corn and made into a kind of sweet

However, we lads have not had good success in baking this last dish,
because of the ashes which fly out of the fire when the wind blows ever
so slightly. Captain Smith declares that he would rather have the ashes
without the meal and sweet potato, if indeed he must eat any, but of
course when he speaks thus, it is only in the way of making sport.

Captain Kendall, who, because he has made two voyages to the Indies,
believes himself a wondrously wise man, says that he who eats sweet
potatoes at least once each day will not live above seven years, and
he who eats them twice every day will become blind, after which all his
teeth will drop out.

Because of this prediction, many of our gentlemen are not willing even
so much as to taste of the root, but Captain Smith says that wise men
may grow fat where fools starve, therefore he gathers up all the
sweet potatoes which the others have thrown away, for they please him
exceeding well.


There is no need for me to say that it makes both Nathaniel and me
glad to be praised by our master, because we keep the house cleanly and
strive to serve the food in such a manner as not to offend the eye; but
we would willingly dispense with such welcome words if thereby it would
be possible to see a woman messing around the place.

Strive as boys may, they cannot attend to household matters as do girls
or women, who have been brought into the world knowing how to perform
such tasks, and it is more homelike to see them around.

Nathaniel and I often picture to each other what this village of
Jamestown would be if in each camp, cave, or log hut a woman was in
command, and ever when we talk thus comes into my heart a sickness for
the old homes of England, even though after my mother died there was
none for me; but yet it would do me a world of good even to look upon a
housewife. A most friendly gentleman is Master Hunt, and even though he
is so far above me in station, I never fail of getting a kindly greeting
when I am so fortunate as to meet him. He comes often to see Captain
Smith, for the two talk long and earnestly over the matter of the
Council, and at such times it is as if he went out of his way to give me
a good word.


Therefore it is that I go to hear him preach whenever the people are
summoned to a meeting beneath the square of canvas in the wood, and more
than once I have heard from him that which has taken the sickness for
home out of my heart. Our people are not inclined to listen to him in
great numbers, however. I have never seen above twenty at one time,
the others being busy in the search for gold, or trying to decide among
themselves as to how it may best be found.

More than once have I heard Master Hunt say, while talking privately
with my master, that there would be greater hope for this village of
ours if we had more laborers and less gentlemen, for in a new land it
is only work that can win in the battle against the savages and the

Four carpenters, one blacksmith, two bricklayers, a mason, a sailor, a
barber, a tailor, and a drummer make up the list of skilled workmen,
if, indeed, one who can do nothing save drum may be called a laborer. To
these may be added twelve serving men and four boys. All the others are
gentlemen, or, as Master Hunt puts it, drones expecting to live through
the mercy of God whom they turn their backs upon.


The one thing which seemed most surprising to us lads, after Captain
Smith had called it to our notice, was that these people, who knew there
could be no question but that the winter would find them in Jamestown,
when there could be neither roasting ears, peas, beans, nor fowls of the
air to be come at, made no provision for a harvest.

Captain Smith, not being allowed to raise his voice in the Council,
could only speak as one whose words have little weight, since he was not
in authority; but he lost no opportunity of telling these gold seekers
that only those who sowed might reap, and unless seed was put into the
ground, there would be no crops to serve as food during the winter.

Even Master Wingfield, the President of the Council, refused to listen
when my master would have spoken to him as a friend. He gave more heed
to exploring the land, than to what might be our fate in the future.
He would not even allow the gentlemen to make such a fort as might
withstand an assault by the savages, seeming to think it of more
importance to know what was to be found on the banks of this river or of
that, than to guard against those brown people who daily gave token of
being unfriendly.

The serving men and laborers were employed in making clapboards that
we might have a cargo with which to fill one of Captain Newport's ships
when he returned from England, according to the plans of the London
Company. The gentlemen roamed here or there, seeking the yellow metal
which had much the same as caused a madness among them; and, save in the
case of Master Hunt and Captain Smith, none planted even the smallest


The fort, as it was called, had been built only of the branches of
trees, and might easily have been overrun by savages bent on doing us

It was while Master Wingfield, with thirty of the gentlemen, was gone to
visit Powhatan's village, and the others were hunting for gold, leaving
only my master and the preacher to look after the serving men and the
laborers, that upward of an hundred naked savages suddenly came down
upon us, counting to make an end of all who were in the town.

It was a most fearsome sight to see the brown men, their bodies painted
with many colors, carrying bows and arrows, dash out from among the
trees bent on taking our lives, and for what seemed a very long while
our people ran here and there like ants whose nest has been broken in

Captain Smith gave no heed to his own safety; but shouted for all to
take refuge in our house of logs, while Master Hunt did what he might to
aid in the defence; yet, because there had been no exercise at arms,
nor training, that each should know what was his part at such a time,
seventeen of the people were wounded, some grievously, and one boy,
James Brumfield of whom I have already spoken, was killed by an arrow
piercing his eye.


Next day, when Master Wingfield and his following came in, none the
better for having gone to Powhatan's village, all understood that it
would have been wiser had they listened to my master when he counseled
them to take exercise at arms, and straightway all the men were set
about making a fort with a palisade, which last is the name for a fence
built of logs set on end, side by side, in the ground, and rising so
high that the enemy may not climb over it. This work took all the time
of the laborers until the summer was gone, and in the meanwhile the
gentlemen made use of the stores left us by the fleet, until there
remained no more than one half pint of wheat to each man for a day's

The savages strove by day and by night to murder us, till it was no
longer safe to go in search of oysters or wildfowl, and from wheat which
had lain so long in the holds of the ships that nearly every grain in it
had a worm, did we get our only nourishment.

The labor of building the palisade was most grievous, and it was not
within the power of man to continue it while eating such food; therefore
the sickness came upon us, when it was as if all had been condemned to


The first who went out from among us, was John Asbie, on the sixth of
August. Three days later George Flowers followed him. On the tenth of
the same month William Bruster, one of the gentlemen, died of a wound
given by the savages while he was searching for gold, and two others
laid down their lives within the next eight and forty hours.

Then the deaths came rapidly, gentlemen as well as serving men or
laborers, until near eighty of our company were either in the grave, or
unable to move out of such shelters as served as houses.

A great fear came upon all, save that my master held his head as high
as ever, and went here and there with Master Hunt to do what he might
toward soothing the sick and comforting the dying.

It was on the twentieth day of August when Captain Bartholomew Gosnold,
one of the Council, died, and then Master Wingfield forgot all else save
his own safety. More than one in our village declared that he was making
ready the pinnace that he might run away from us, as if the Angel of
Death could be escaped from by flight.

It was starvation brought about by sheer neglect, together with lying
upon the bare ground and drinking of the river water, which by this time
was very muddy, that had brought us to such a pass.

Save for the king, Powhatan, and some few of the other savages in
authority, we must all have died; but when there were only five in all
our company able to stand without aid, God touched the hearts of these
Indians. They, who had lately been trying to kill us, suddenly came
to do what they might toward saving our lives after a full half of the
company were in the grave.

They brought food such as was needed to nourish us, and within a short
time the greater number of us who were left alive, could go about, but
only with difficulty. It was a time of terror, of suffering, and of
close acquaintance with death such as I cannot set down in words, for
even at this late day the thought of what we then endured chills my

When we had been restored to health and strength, and were no longer
hungry, thanks to those who had been our bitter enemies, the chief men
of the village began to realize that my master had not only given good
advice on all occasions, but stood among them bravely when the President
of the Council was making preparations to run away.


There was but little idle talk made by the members of the Council in
deciding that Master Wingfield should be deprived of his office, and
Master Ratcliffe set in his place. Captain Smith was called upon to take
his proper position in the government, and, what was more, to him they
gave the direction of all matters outside the town, which was much the
same as putting him in authority over even the President himself.

It was greatly to my pleasure that Captain Smith lost no time in
exercising the power which had been given him. Nor was he at all gentle
in dealing with those men who disdained to soil their hands by working,
yet were willing to spend one day, and every day, searching for gold,
without raising a finger toward adding to the general store, but at the
same time claiming the right to have so much of food as would not only
satisfy their hunger, but minister to their gluttony.

Nathaniel and I heard our master talking over the matter with the
preacher, on the night the Council had given him full charge of
everything save the dealings which might be had later with the London
Company, therefore it was that we knew there would be different doings
on the morrow.

Greatly did we rejoice thereat, for Jamestown had become as slovenly and
ill kempt a village as ever the sun shone upon.

Now it must be set down that these gentlemen of ours, when not searching
for gold, were wont to play at bowls in the lanes and paths, that they
might have amusement while the others were working, and woe betide the
serving man or laborer, who by accident interfered with their sports.

On this day, after the conversation with Master Hunt, all was changed.
Captain Smith began his duties as guardian and director of the village
by causing it to be proclaimed through the mouth of Nicholas Skot, our
drummer, that there would be no more playing at bowls in the streets
of Jamestown while it was necessary that very much work should be
performed, and this spoken notice also stated, that whosoever dared to
disobey the command should straightway be clapped into the stocks.


Lest there should be any question as to whether my master intended to
carry out this threat or no, William Laxon, one of the carpenters, was
forthwith set to work building stocks in front of the tent where lived
Master Ratcliffe, the new President of the Council. Nor was this the
only change disagreeable to our gentlemen, which Captain Smith brought
about. No sooner had Nicholas Skot proclaimed the order that whosoever
played at bowls should be set in the stocks, than he was commanded to
turn about and announce with all the strength of his lungs, so that
every one in the village might hear and understand, that those who would
not work should not have whatsoever to eat.

Verily this was a hard blow to the gentlemen of our company, who prided
themselves upon never having done with their hands that which was
useful. One would have thought my master had made this rule for his own
particular pleasure, for straightway those of the gentlemen who could
least hold their tempers in check, gathered in the tent which Master
Wingfield had taken for his own, and there agreed among themselves that
if Captain Smith persisted in such brutal rule, they would overturn all
the authority in the town, and end by setting the Captain himself in the
stocks which William Laxon was then making. It so chanced that Master
Hunt overheard these threats at the time they were made, and, like a
true friend and good citizen, reported the same to Captain Smith.

Whereupon my master chose a certain number from among those of the
gentlemen who had become convinced that sharp measures were necessary if
we of Jamestown would live throughout the winter, commanding that they
make careful search of every tent, cave, hut or house in the village,
taking therefrom all that was eatable, and storing it in the log house
which had been put up for the common use.

Then he appointed Kellam Throgmorton, a gentleman who was well able to
hold his own against any who might attempt to oppose him, to the office
of guardian of the food, giving strict orders that nothing whatsoever
which could be eaten, should be given to those who did not present good
proof of having done a full day's labor.

Of course the people who lay sick were excused from such order, and
Master Hunt was chosen to make up a list of those who must be fed, yet
who were not able to work by reason of illness.


Now it can well be understood that such measures as these caused no
little in the way of rebellion, and during the two hours Nicholas Skot
cried the proclamation through the streets and lanes of the village,
the gentlemen who had determined to resist Captain Smith were in a fine
state of ferment.

It was as if a company of crazy men had been suddenly let loose among
us. Not content with plotting secretly against my master, they must
needs swagger about, advising others to join them in their rebellion,
and everywhere could be heard oaths and threats, in such language as was
like to cause honest men's hair to stand on end.

For a short time Nathaniel Peacock and I actually trembled with fear,
believing the house of logs would be pulled down over our heads, for no
less than a dozen of the so called gentlemen were raging and storming
outside; but disturbing Captain Smith not one whit. He sat there,
furbishing his matchlock as if having nothing better with which to
occupy the time; but, as can well be fancied, drinking in every word of
mutiny which was uttered.

Then, as if he would saunter out for a stroll, the captain left the
house, which was much the same as inviting these disorderly ones to
attack him; but they lacked the courage, for he went to the fort without
being molested.


It seemed to me as if no more than half an hour had passed before
Nicholas Skot was making another proclamation, and this time to the
effect that whosoever, after that moment, was heard uttering profane
words, should have a can full of cold water poured down his sleeve.

On hearing this, the unruly ones laughed in derision and straightway
began to shout forth such a volley of oaths as I had never heard during
a drunken brawl in the streets of London.

It was not long, however, that they were thus allowed to shame decent
people. Down from the fort came Captain Smith, with six stout men behind
him, and in a twinkling there was as hot a fight within twenty paces of
Master Ratcliffe's tent, as could be well imagined.

And the result of it all was, much to the satisfaction of Nathaniel
and myself, that every one of these men who had amused themselves by
uttering the vilest of oaths, had a full can of the coldest water that
could be procured, poured down the sleeve of his doublet.

The method of doing it was comical, if one could forget how serious was
the situation. Two of my master's followers would pounce upon the fellow
who was making the air blue with oaths, and, throwing him to the ground,
hold him there firmly while the third raised his arm and carefully
poured the water down the sleeve.

Now you may fancy that this was not very harsh treatment; but I
afterward heard those who had been thus punished, say that they would
choose five or six stout lashes on their backs, rather than take again
such a dose as was dealt out on that day after John Smith was made
captain and commander, or whatsoever you choose to call his office, in
the village of Jamestown.


There is little need for me to say that these were not the only reforms
which my master brought about, after having waited long enough for our
lazy gentlemen to understand that unless they set their hands to labor
they could not eat from the general store.

He straightway set these idle ones to work building houses, declaring
that if the sickness which had come among us was to be checked, our
people must no longer sleep upon the ground, or in caves where the
moisture gathered all around them.

He marked out places whereon log dwellings should be placed, in such
manner that when the houses had been set up, they would form a square,
and, as I heard him tell Master Hunt, it was his intention to have all
the buildings surrounded by a palisade in which should be many gates.

Thus, when all was finished, he would have a fort-like village, wherein
the people could rest without fear of what the savages might be able to

By the time such work was well under way, and our gentlemen laboring as
honest men should, after learning that it was necessary so to do unless
they were willing to go hungry, Captain Smith set about adding to our
store of food, for it was not to be supposed that we could depend for
any length of time upon what the Indians might give us, and the winter
would be long.


The wild turkeys had appeared in the forest in great numbers, but few
had been killed by our people because of the savages, many of whom were
not to be trusted, even though the chiefs of three tribes professed to
be friendly. It was this fact which had prevented us from doing much in
the way of hunting.

Now that we were in such stress for food, and since all had turned
laborers, whether willingly or no, much in the way of provisions was
needed. Captain Smith set about taking the turkeys as he did about most
other matters, which is to say, that it was done in a thorough manner.

Instead of being forced to spend at least one charge of powder for each
fowl killed, he proposed that we trap them, and showed how it might be
done, according to his belief.

Four men were told off to do the work, and they were kept busy cutting
saplings and trimming them down until there was nothing left save poles
from fifteen to twenty feet long. Then, with these poles laid one above
the other, a square pen was made, and at the top was a thatching of
branches, so that no fowl larger than a pigeon might go through.

From one side of this trap, or turkey pen, was dug a ditch perhaps two
feet deep, and the same in width, running straightway into the thicket
where the turkeys were in the custom of roosting, for a distance of
twenty feet or more. This ditch was carried underneath the side of the
pen, where was an opening hardly more than large enough for one turkey
to pass through. Corn was scattered along the whole length of the ditch,
and thus was the trap set.

The turkeys, on finding the trail of corn, would follow hurriedly along,
like the gluttons they are, with the idea of coming upon a larger
hoard, and thus pass through into the pen. Once inside they were trapped
securely, for the wild turkey holds his head so high that he can never
see the way out through a hole which is at a level with his feet.

It was a most ingenious contrivance, and on the first morning after it
had been set at night, we had fifty plump fellows securely caged, when
it was only necessary to enter the trap by crawling through the top, and
kill them at our leisure.

It may be asked how we made shift to cook such a thing as a turkey,
other than by boiling it in a kettle, and this can be told in very few
words, for it was a simple matter after once you had become accustomed
to it.


First you must know, however, that when our houses of logs had been
built, we had nothing with which to make a chimney such as one finds in
London. We had no bricks, and although, mayhap, flat rocks might have
been found enough for two or three, there was no mortar in the whole
land of Virginia with which to fasten them together.

Therefore it was we were forced to build a chimney of logs, laying it up
on the outside much as we had the house, but plentifully besmearing it
with mud on the inside, and chinking the crevices with moss and clay.

When this had been done, a hole was cut for the smoke, directly through
the side of the house. The danger of setting the building on fire
was great; but we strove to guard against it so much as possible by
plastering a layer of mud over the wood, and by keeping careful watch
when we had a roaring fire. Oftentimes were we forced to stop in the
task of cooking, take all the vessels from the coals, and throw water
upon the blazing logs.

The chimney was a rude affair, of course, and perhaps if we had had
women among us, they would have claimed that no cooking could be done,
when all the utensils were placed directly on the burning wood, or hung
above it with chains fastened to the top of the fireplace; but when lads
like Nathaniel and me, who had never had any experience in cooking with
proper tools, set about the task, it did not seem difficult, for we were
accustomed to nothing else.


And this is how we could roast a turkey: after drawing the entrails from
the bird, we filled him full of chinquapin nuts, which grow profusely in
this land, and are, perhaps, of some relation to the chestnut. An oaken
stick, sufficiently long to reach from one side of the fireplace to the
other, and trimmed with knives until it was no larger around than the
ramrod of a matchlock, forms our spit, and this we thrust through the
body of the bird from end to end. A pile of rocks on either side of the
fireplace, at a proper distance from the burning wood, serves as rests
for the ends of the wooden spit, and when thus placed the bird will
be cooked in front of the fire, if whosoever is attending to the labor
turns the carcass from time to time, so that each portion may receive an
equal amount of heat.

I am not pretending to say that this is a skillful method of cooking;
but if you had been with us in Jamestown, and were as hungry as we often
were, a wild turkey filled with chinquapin nuts, and roasted in such
fashion, would make a very agreeable dinner.

We were put to it for a table; but yet a sort of shelf made from a plank
roughly split out of the trunk of a tree, and furnished with two legs on
either end, was not as awkward as one may fancy, for we had no chairs
on which to sit while eating; but squatted on the ground, and this low
bench served our purpose as well as a better piece of furniture would
have done.

When the captain was at home, he carved the bird with his hunting knife,
and one such fowl would fill the largest trencher bowl we had among us.

Nor could we be overly nice while eating, and since we had no napkins on
which to wipe our fingers, a plentiful supply of water was necessary to
cleanse one's hands, for these wild turkeys are overly fat in the months
of September and October, and he who holds as much of the cooked flesh
in his hand as is needed for a hearty dinner, squeezes therefrom a
considerable amount in the way of grease.

We were better off for vessels in which to put our food, than in many
other respects, for we had of trencher bowls an abundance, and the
London Company had outfitted us with ware of iron, or of brass, or of
copper, until our poor table seemed laden with an exceeding rich store.


To provide lights for ourselves, now that the evenings were grown
longer, was a much more difficult task than to cook without proper
conveniences, for it cost considerable labor. We had our choice between
the candle wood, as the pitch pine is called, or rushlights, which last
are made by stripping the outer bark from common rushes, thus leaving
the pith bare; then dipping these in tallow, or grease, and allowing
them to harden. In such manner did we get makeshifts for candles,
neither pleasing to the eye nor affording very much in the way of light;
yet they served in a certain degree to dispel the darkness when by
reason of storm we were shut in the dwellings, and made the inside of
the house very nearly cheerful in appearance.

To get the tallow or grease with which to make these rushlights, we
saved the fat of the deer, or the bear, or even a portion of the grease
from turkeys, and, having gathered sufficient for the candle making,
mixed them all in one pot for melting.

The task of gathering the candle wood was more pleasing, and yet
oftentimes had in it more of work, for it was the knots of the trees
which gave the better light, and we might readily fasten them upon an
iron skewer, or rod, which was driven into the side of the house for
such purpose.

Some of our people, who were too lazy to search for knots, split the
wood into small sticks, each about the size of a goose quill, and,
standing three or four in a vessel filled with sand, gained as much in
the way of light as might be had from one pine knot.

Of course, those who were overly particular, would find fault with the
smoke from this candle wood, and complain of the tar which oozed from
it; but one who lives in the wilderness must not expect to have all the
luxuries that can be procured in London.


We had a visitor from the village of Powhatan very soon after Captain
Smith took command of Jamestown to such an extent that the gentlemen
were forced to work and to speak without oaths, through fear of getting
too much cold water inside the sleeves of their doublets.

This visitor was the same Indian girl I had seen making bread, and quite
by chance our house was the first she looked into, which caused me
much pride, for I believed she was attracted to it because it was more
cleanly than many of the others.

We were all at home when she came, being about to partake of the noonday
meal, which was neither more nor less than a big turkey weighing more
than two score pounds, and roasted to a brownness which would cause a
hungry person's mouth to water.

Although she who had halted to look in at our door was only a girl,
Captain Smith treated her as if she were the greatest lady in the world,
himself leading her inside to his own place at the trencher board, while
she, in noways shy, began to help herself to the fattest pieces of meat,
thereby besmearing herself with grease until there was enough running
down her chin to have made no less than two rushlights, so Nathaniel
Peacock declared.

Of course, being a savage, she could not speak in our language, but
the master, who had studied diligently since coming to this world of
Virginia to learn the speech of the Indians, made shift to get from her
some little information, she being the daughter of Powhatan, the king
concerning whom I have already set down many things.

At first Captain Smith was of the belief that she had come on some
errand; but after much questioning, more by signs than words, it came
out, as we understood the matter, that the girl was in Jamestown for no
other purpose than to see what we white people were like.

Captain Smith was minded that she should be satisfied, so far as her
curiosity was concerned, for when the dinner had come to an end, and I
had given this king's daughter some dry, sweet grass on which to wipe
her hands and mouth, he conducted her around the village, allowing that
she look in upon the tents and houses at her pleasure.

She stayed with us until the sun was within an hour of setting, and then
darted off into the forest as does a startled pheasant, stopping for a
single minute when she had got among the trees, to wave her hand, as if
bidding us goodbye, or in plain mischief.


It is not possible my memory will serve me to tell of all that was done
by us in Jamestown after we were come to our senses through the efforts
of my master; but the killing of Captain Kendall is one of the many
terrible happenings in Virginia, which will never be forgotten so long
as I shall live.

After our people were relieved from the famine through the gifts from
the Indians and the coming of wild fowl, Captain Smith set about making
some plans to provide us with food during the winter, and to that end
he set off in the shallop to trade with the savages, taking with him
six men. He had a goodly store of beads and trinkets with which to make
payment for what he might be able to buy, for these brown men are overly
fond of what among English people would be little more than toys.

While he was gone, Master Wingfield and Captain Kendall were much
together, for both were in a certain way under disgrace since the plot
with which they charged my master had been shown to have been of their
own evil imaginings. They at once set about making friends with some of
the serving men, and this in itself was so strange that Nathaniel and I
kept our eyes and ears open wide to discover the cause.

It was not many days before we came to know that there was a plan on
foot, laid by these two men who should have been working for the good of
the colony instead of to further their own base ends, to seize upon our
pinnace, which lay moored to the shore, and to sail in her to England.

How that would have advantaged them I cannot even so much as guess; but
certain it was that they carried on board the pinnace a great store of
wild fowl, which had been cooked with much labor, and had filled two
casks with water, as if believing such amount would serve to save them
from thirst during the long voyage.

These wicked ones had hardly gone on board the vessel when Captain Smith
came home in the shallop, which was loaded deep with Indian corn he had
bought from the savages, and, seeing the pinnace being got under way,
had little trouble in guessing what was afoot.


If ever a man moved swiftly, and with purpose, it was our master when he
thus came to understand what Master Wingfield and Captain Kendall would
do. He was on shore before those in the pinnace could hoist the sails,
and, calling upon all who remained true to the London Company to give
him aid, had three of our small cannon, which were already loaded with
shot, aimed at the crew of mutineers.

Five men, each with a matchlock in his hand, stood ready to fire upon
those who would at the same time desert and steal from us, and Captain
Smith gave the order for Captain Kendall and Master Wingfield to come on
shore without delay.

For reply Captain Kendall discharged his firearm, hoping to kill my
master, and then those on the bank emptied their matchlocks with such
effect that Captain Kendall was killed by the first volley, causing
Master Wingfield to scuttle on shore in a twinkling lest he suffer a
like fate.

The whole bloody business was at an end in less than a quarter hour; but
the effect of it was not so soon wiped away, for from that time each man
had suspicion of his neighbor, fearing lest another attempt be made to
take from us the pinnace, which we looked upon as an ark of refuge, in
case the savages should come against us in such numbers that they could
not be resisted.


Until winter was come we had food in plenty, for one could hardly send
a charge of shot toward the river without bringing down swans, ducks,
or cranes, while from the savages we got sufficient for our daily wants,
meal made from the corn, pumpkins, peas, and beans.

But this did not cause Captain Smith to give over trying to buy from
the Indians a store of corn for the winter, and shortly after Captain
Kendall's death, he set off with nine white men and two Indian guides in
a barge, counting to go as far as the head of the Chickahominy River.

This time twenty-two long, dreary days went by without his return, and
we mourned him as dead, believing the savages had murdered him.

The discontented ones were in high glee because of thinking the man who
had forced them to do that which they should, had gone out from their
world forever, and we two lads were plunged in deepest grief, for in all
the great land of Virginia, Captain Smith was our only true friend.

Then arrived that day when he suddenly appeared before us, having
come to no harm, and as Master Hunt lifted up his hands in a prayer of
thanksgiving because the man who was so sadly needed in Jamestown had
returned, I fell on my knees, understanding for the first time in my
life how good God could be to us in that wilderness.

I would that I might describe the scene in our house that night, when
Master Hunt was come to hear what all knew would be a story of wildest
adventure, for it went without saying that my master never would have
remained so long absent from Jamestown had it been within his power to
return sooner.


We waited to hear the tale until he had refreshed himself after the long
journey, and then what Captain Smith told us was like unto this, as I
remember it:

After leaving the village, he had sailed up the river until there was no
longer water enough to float the barge, when, with two white men and
the two Indians, he embarked in a canoe, continuing the voyage for a
distance of twelve miles or more. There, in the wilderness, they made
ready to spend the night, and with one of the savage guides my master
went on shore on an island to shoot some wild fowls for supper. He had
traveled a short distance from the boat, when he heard cries of the
savages in the distance, and, looking back, saw that one of the men had
been taken prisoner, while the other was fighting for his life.

At almost the very minute when he saw this terrible thing, he was
suddenly beset by more than two hundred yelling, dancing savages, who
were sweeping down upon him as if believing he was in their power beyond
any chance. The Indian guide, who appeared to be terribly frightened,
although it might have been that he was in the plot to murder my master,
would have run away; but that Captain Smith held him fast while he fired
one of his pistols to keep the enemy in check.

Understanding that he must do battle for his life, my master first took
the precaution to bind the Indian guide to his left arm, by means of his
belt, in such fashion that the fellow would serve as a shield against
the shower of arrows the savages were sending through the air.

Protected in this manner, Captain Smith fought bravely, as he always
does, and had succeeded in killing two of the Indians with his
matchlock, when suddenly he sank knee deep into a mire. It seems that he
had been retreating toward the canoe, hoping to get on board her where
would be some chance for shelter, and was so engaged with the savages in
front of him as to give little heed to his steps.

Once he was held prisoner by the mud, the enemy quickly surrounded
him, and he could do no better than surrender. Instead of treating him
cruelly, as might have been expected, these brown men carried him from
village to village, as if exhibiting some strange animal.


When he was first made captive, the Indians found his compass, and were
stricken with wonder, because, however the instrument might be turned,
the needle always pointed in the same direction. The glass which
protected the needle caused even more amazement, and, believing him to
be a magician, they took him to Powhatan.

After many days of traveling, the savages were come with their prisoner
to Powhatan's village, where Captain Smith was held close prisoner in
one of the huts, being fairly well treated and fed in abundance, until
the king, who had been out with a hunting party, came home.

Twice while he was thus captive did Captain Smith see the girl
Pocahontas, who had visited him in Jamestown; but she gave no especial
heed to him, save as a child who was minded to be amused, until on the
day when some of the savages gave him to understand that he was to be
killed for having come into this land of theirs, and also for having
shot to death some of their tribe.

When he was led out of Powhatan's tent of skins, with his feet and hands
bound, he had no hope of being able to save his own life, for there was
no longer any chance for him to struggle against those who had him in
their power.


He was forced down on the earth, with his head upon a great rock, while
two half naked savages came forward with heavy stones bound to wooden
handles, with which to beat out his brains, and these weapons were
already raised to strike, when the girl Pocahontas ran forward, throwing
herself upon my master, as she asked that Powhatan give him to her.

Now, as we afterward came to know, it is the custom among savages, that
when one of their women begs for the life of a prisoner, to grant the
prayer, and so it was done in this case, else we had never seen my
master again.

It is also the custom, when a prisoner has thus been given to one who
begged for his life, that the captive shall always be held as slave by
her; but Pocahontas desired only to let him go back to Jamestown. Then
it was she told her father how she had been treated when visiting us,
and Powhatan, after keeping Captain Smith prisoner until he could tell
of what he had seen in other countries of the world, set him free.


It was well for us of Jamestown that my master returned just when he
did, for already had our gentlemen, believing him dead, refused longer
to work, and even neglected the hunting, when game of all kinds was so
plentiful. They had spent the time roaming around searching for gold,
until we were once more in need of food.

The sickness had come among us again, and of all our company, which
numbered an hundred when Captain Newport sailed for England, only
thirty-eight remained alive.

Within four and twenty hours after Captain Smith came back, matters had
so far mended that every man who could move about at will, was working
for the common good, although from that time, until Captain Newport came
again, we had much of suffering.

With the coming of winter Nathaniel and I were put to it to do our work
in anything like a seemly manner. What with the making of candles, or
of rushlights; tanning deer hides in such fashion as Captain Smith had
taught us; mending his doublets of leather, as well as our own; keeping
the house and ground around it fairly clean, in addition to cooking
meals which might tempt the appetite of our master, we were busy from
sunrise to sunset.

Nor were we without our reward. On rare occasions Captain Smith would
commend us for attending to our duties in better fashion than he had
fancied lads would ever be able to do, and very often did Master Hunt
whisper words of praise in our ears, saying again and again that he
would there were in his house two boys like us.

This you may be sure was more of payment than we had a reasonable right
to expect, for certain it is that even at our best the work was but
fairly done, as it ever must be when there are houseboys instead of
housewives at home.

Master Hunt had a serving man, William Rods, and he was not one well
fitted to do a woman's work, for in addition to being clumsy, even at
the expense of breaking now and then a wooden trencher bowl, he had no
thought that cleanliness was, as the preacher often told us, next to

It was he, and such as he, that caused Captain Smith and those others
of the Council who were minded to work for the common good, very much of

The rule, as laid down by my master, was that those living in a dwelling
should keep cleanly the land roundabout the outside for a space of five
yards, and yet again and again have I seen William Rods throw the refuse
from the table just outside the door, meaning to take it away at a
future time, and always forgetting so to do until reminded by some one
in authority.

However, it is not for me to speak of such trifling things as these,
although had you heard Captain Smith and Master Hunt in conversation,
you would not have set them down as being of little importance. Those
two claimed that only by strict regard to cleanliness, both of person
and house, would it be possible for us, when another summer came, to
ward off that sickness which had already carried away so many of our

After Captain Smith had brought matters to rights in the village,
setting this company of men to building more houses, and that company
to hewing down trees for firewood, which would be needed when the winter
had come, Master Hunt made mention of a matter which I knew must have
been very near his heart many a day.


During all the time we had been on shore, the only church in Jamestown
was the shelter beneath that square of canvas which he himself had put
up. When it stormed, he had called such of the people as were inclined
to worship into one or another of the houses; but now he asked that
a log building be put together, while it was yet so warm that the men
could work out of doors without suffering, and to this, much to my
pleasure, for I had an exceedingly friendly feeling toward Master Hunt,
Captain Smith agreed.

Therefore it was that when the storms of October came, Master Hunt had a
place in which to receive those whom he would lead to a better life, and
I believe that all our people, the men who were careless regarding the
future life, and those who followed the preacher's teachings, felt the
better in mind because there was at last in our village a place which
would be used for no other purpose than that of leading us into, and
helping us to remain in, the straight path.


It was at the beginning of the new year, two days after my master was
set free by the savages, that Captain Newport came back to us, this time
in the ship John and Francis, and with him were fifty men who had been
sent to join our colony.

Fortunately for us there were but few gentlemen among them, therefore
did the work of building the village go on much more rapidly, because
there were laborers in plenty.

A larger building, which was called the fort, and would indeed have been
a safe place for refuge had the savages made an attack, was but just
completed at the beginning of the third month, meaning March.

There Captain Smith had stored the supply of provisions and seed brought
in the John and Francis, and we were already saying to ourselves that by
the close of the summer we should reap a bountiful harvest.

All these plans and hopes went for naught, however, for on a certain
night--and no man can say how it happened, save him who was the careless
one--fire fastened upon the inside of the fort, having so much headway
when it was discovered, that our people could do little toward checking

The flames burst out through the roof, which was thatched with dried
grass, as were all the houses in the town, and leaped from one building
to another until it seemed as if the entire village would be destroyed.

It is true that even the palisade, which was near to forty feet distant
from the fort, was seized upon by the flames, and a goodly portion of
that which had cost us so much labor was entirely destroyed.

Out of all our houses only four remained standing when the flames had
died away. The seed which we had counted on for reaping a harvest,
the store of provisions, and a large amount of clothing and other
necessaries, were thus consumed.

Good Master Hunt lost all his books, in fact, everything he owned save
the clothes upon his back, and yet never once did I, who was with him
very much, for he came to live at our house while the village was being
rebuilt, hear him utter one word of complaint, or of sorrow.


It was while all the people, gentlemen as well as laborers, were doing
their best to repair the loss, and to put Jamestown into such shape
that we might be able to withstand an attack from the savages, if so be
they made one, that even a worse misfortune than the fire came upon us.

Some of those whom Captain Newport had lately brought to Virginia, while
roaming along the shores of the river in order to learn what this new
land was like, came upon a spot where the waters had washed the earth
away for a distance of five or six feet, leaving exposed to view a vast
amount of sand, so yellow and so heavy that straightway the foolish ones
believed they were come upon that gold which our people had been seeking
almost from the very day we first landed.

From this moment there was no talk of anything save the wealth which
would come to us and the London Company.

Even Captain Newport was persuaded that this sand was gold, and
straightway nearly every person in the village was hard at work digging
and carrying it in baskets on board the John and Francis as carefully as
if each grain counted for a guinea.

Of all the people of Jamestown, Captain Smith and Master Hunt were the
only ones who refused to believe the golden dream. They held themselves
aloof from this mad race to gather up the yellow sand, and strove
earnestly to persuade the others that it would be a simple matter to
prove by fire whether this supposed treasure were metal.

In the center of the village, where all might see him, Master Hunt set
a pannikin, in which was a pint or more of the sand, over a roaring fire
which he kept burning not less than two hours.

When he was done, the sand remained the same as before, which, so he and
my master claimed, was good proof that our people of Jamestown were, in
truth, making fools of themselves, as they had many a time before since
we came into this land of Virginia.


When we should have been striving to build up the town once more, we
spent all our time loading the ship with this worthless cargo, and
indeed I felt the better in my mind when finally Captain Newport set
sail, the John and Francis loaded deeply with sand, because of believing
that we were come to an end of hearing about treasure which lay at hand
ready for whosoever would carry it away.

In this, however, I was disappointed. Although there was no longer any
reason for our people to labor at what was called the gold mine, since
there was no ship at hand in which to put the sand, they still talked,
hour by hour, of the day when all the men in Virginia would go back to
England richer than kings.

Because of such thoughts was it well nigh impossible to force them to
labor once more. Yet Captain Smith and Master Hunt did all they could,
even going so far as to threaten bodily harm if the people did not
rebuild the storehouse, plant such seed as had been saved from the
flames, and replace those portions of the palisade which had been

It was while our people were thus working half heartedly, that Captain
Nelson arrived in the ship Phoenix, having been so long delayed on the
voyage, because of tempests and contrary winds, that his passengers and
crew had eaten nearly all the stores which the London Company sent over
for our benefit, and bringing seventy more mouths to be fed.

Save that she brought to us skilled workmen, the coming of the Phoenix
did not advantage us greatly, while there were added to our number,
seventy men, and of oatmeal, pickled beef and pork, as much as would
serve for, perhaps, three or four weeks.

Through her, however, as Master Hunt said in my hearing, came some
little good, for on seeing the yellow sand, Captain Nelson declared
without a question that it was worthless, and, being accustomed to
working in metal, speedily proved to our people who were yet suffering
with the gold fever, that there was nothing whatsoever of value in it.


That he might have something to carry back to England, and not being
minded to take on board a load of sand, Captain Nelson asked that the
Phoenix be laden with cedar logs and such clapboards as our people had
made. Therefore was it that we sent to England the first cargo of value
since having come to Virginia.

Among those who had come over in the Phoenix were workmen who understood
the making of turpentine, tar and soap ashes. There was also a pipe
maker, a gunsmith, and a number of other skilled workmen, so that had
the Council advanced the interest of the colony one half as much as my
master was doing, all would have gone well with us in Jamestown.

As it was, however, the President of the Council, so Master Hunt has
declared many times, and of a verity he would not bear false witness,
often countenanced the men in rebellion against my master's orders,
until, but for the preacher's example, we might never have put into the
earth our first seed.

Because of lack of food, and it seems strange to say so when there were
of oysters near at hand more than a thousand men could have eaten, and
fish in the rivers without number, Captain Smith set off once more in
the pinnace to trade with the Indians, as well as to explore further the
bay and the river.

Master Hunt lived in our house, while he was gone, therefore Nathaniel
and I were not idle, and though we had each had a dozen pair of hands,
we could have kept them properly employed, what with making a garden for
our own use, tending the plants, and keeping house.


Just here I am minded to set down that which the girl Pocahontas told
us concerning the raising of tobacco, and it is well she spent the time
needed to instruct us, for since then I have seen the people in this new
world of Virginia getting more money from the tobacco plant, than they
could have gained even though Captain Newport's yellow sand had been
veritable gold.

You must know that the seed of tobacco is even smaller than grains of
powder, and the Indians usually plant it in April. Within a month it
springs up, each tiny plant having two or four leaves, and one month
later it is transplanted in little hillocks, set about the same distance
apart as are our hills of Indian corn.

Two or three times during the season the plants have to be hoed and
weeded, while the sickly leaves, which peep out from the body of the
stock, must be plucked off.

If the plant grows too fast, which is to say, if it is like to get
its full size before harvest time, the tops are cut to make it more

About the middle of September it is reaped, stripped of its leaves, and
tied in small bunches; these are hung under a shelter so that the dew
may not come to them, until they are cured the same as hay.

Having thus been dried, and there must be no suspicion of moisture
about, else they will mold, the whole is packed into hogsheads.

I have lived to see the days go by since the girl Pocahontas showed
Nathaniel and me how to cultivate the weed, until the greatest wealth
which Virginia can produce comes from this same tobacco, which, Master
Hunt says, not only induces filthiness in those who use it, but works
grievous injury to the body.


When Captain Newport came back to Virginia, at about the time we were
gathering our scanty harvest, his dreams of sudden wealth, through the
digging of gold in Virginia, had burst as does a bubble when one pricks

He had not been more than four and twenty hours in England before
learning that his ship was laden only with valueless sand, and, mayhap,
if the London Company had not demanded that he return to Virginia at
once, with certain orders concerning us at Jamestown, he might have been
too much ashamed to show his face among us again.

My master had come in long since from trading with the Indians, having
had fairly good success at times, and again failing utterly to gather
food. The king Powhatan was grown so lofty in his bearing, because of
the honor some of our foolish people had shown him, that it was well
nigh impossible to pay the price he asked, even in trinkets, for so
small an amount as a single peck of corn.

However, that which Powhatan did or did not do, concerned me very little
when Captain Newport had arrived, for he brought with him such tidings
as made my heart rejoice, and caused Master Hunt to say that now indeed
would our village of Jamestown grow as it should have grown had our
leaders shown themselves of half as much spirit as had my master.

But for the greater things which followed Captain Newport's arrival in
September of the year 1608, I would have set it down as of the utmost
importance to us in Jamestown, that he brought with him the first two
women, other than the girl Pocahontas, who had ever come into our town.

These were Mistress Forest, and her maid, Anne Burras, and if the king
himself had so far done us the honor as to come, his arrival would have
caused no greater excitement.

Every man and boy in the settlement pressed forward eager even to touch
the garments of these two women as they came ashore in the ship's small
boat, and I dare venture to say that we stared at them, Nathaniel and I
among the number, even as the savages stared at us when first we landed.

It would have been more to my satisfaction had there been two maids,
instead of only one and her mistress, for it was more than likely
servants could tell Nathaniel and me many things about our care of the
house, which a great lady would not well know. Therefore, as I viewed
the matter, we could well spare fine women, so that we had maids who
would understand of what we as houseboys stood mostly in need.

However, it was not with these women, who were only two among seventy,
that had come with Captain Newport on this his third voyage, that I
was most deeply concerned, and how I learned that which pleased me so
greatly shall be set down exactly as it happened.


I had been down at the landing place, feasting my eyes upon the ship
which had so lately come from the country I might never see again, and
was trying to cheer myself by working around the house in the hope of
pleasing Captain Smith, when Master Hunt came in with a look upon his
face such as I had not seen since the sickness first came among us, and,
without thinking to be rude, I asked him if it was the arrival of the
women which pleased him so greatly.

"It is nothing of such fanciful nature, Richard Mutton," the good man
replied with a smile, "though I must confess that it is pleasing to see
women with white faces, when our eyes have beheld none save bearded men
for so long a time. What think you has been done in the Council this
day, since Captain Newport had speech with President Ratcliffe?"

Verily I could not so much as guess what might have happened, for those
worshipful gentlemen were prone at times to behave more like foolish
children, than men upon whom the fate of a new country depended, and I
said to Master Hunt much of the same purport.

"They have elected your master, Captain John Smith, President of the
Council, Richard Mutton, and now for the first time will matters in
Jamestown progress as they should."

"My master President of the Council at last!" I cried, and the good
preacher added:

"So it is, lad, as I know full well, having just come from there."

"But how did they chance suddenly to gather their wits?" I cried with a
laugh, in which Master Hunt joined.

"It was done after Captain Newport had speech with Master Ratcliffe,
and while I know nothing for a certainty, there is in my mind a strong
belief that he brought word from the London Company for such an election
to be made. At all events, it is done, and now we shall see Jamestown
increase in size, even as she would have done from the first month we
landed here had Captain John Smith been at the head of affairs."

The good preacher was so delighted with this change in the government
that he unfolded all his budget of news, forgetting for the time being,
most like, that he was not speaking to his equal, and thus it was
I learned what were Captain Newport's instructions from the London


He was ordered, if you please, not to return to England without bringing
back a lump of gold, exploring the passageway to the South Sea, or
finding some of Sir Walter Raleigh's lost colony, of which I will tell
you later.

But whether he did the one or the other, he had been commanded to crown
as a king, Powhatan, and had brought with him mock jewels and red robes
for such a purpose.

To find a lump of gold, after he had brought to England a shipload of
yellow sand!

To crown Powhatan king, when, to our sorrow, he was already showing
himself far more of a king than was pleasing or well for our town of

Forgetting I was but a lad, and had no right to put blame on the
shoulders of my leaders and betters, or even to address Master Hunt
as if I were a man grown, I cried out against the foolishness of those
people in London for whom we were striving to build up a city, saying
very much that had better been left unsaid, until the good preacher
cried with a laugh:

"We can forgive them almost anything, Dicky Mutton, since they have made
our Captain Smith the head of the government in this land of Virginia."

And now I will tell you, as Master Hunt told me, the story of this
lost colony of Roanoke, which the London Company had commanded Captain
Newport to find.

You must know that English people had lived in this land of Virginia
before we came here in 1606, and while it does not concern us of
Jamestown, except as we are interested in knowing the fate of our
countrymen, it should be set down, lest we so far forget as to say that
those of us who have built this village are the first settlers in the


Twenty-one years before we sailed from London, Sir Walter Raleigh sent
out a fleet of seven ships, carrying one hundred and seven persons, to
Virginia, and Master Ralph Lane was named as the governor. They landed
on Roanoke Island; but because the Indians threatened them, and because
just at that time when they were most frightened, Sir Francis Drake came
by with his fleet, they all went home, not daring to stay any longer.

Two years after that, which is to say nineteen years before we of
Jamestown came here, Sir Walter Raleigh sent over one hundred and
sixteen people, among whom were men, women and children, and they also
began to build a town on Roanoke Island.

John White was their governor, and very shortly after they came to
Roanoke, his daughter, Mistress Ananias Dare, had a little baby girl,
the first white child to be born in the new world, so they named her

Now these people, like ourselves, were soon sorely in need of food, and
they coaxed Governor John White to go back to England, to get what would
be needed until they could gather a harvest.

At the time he arrived at London, England was at war with the Spanish
people, and it was two years before he found a chance to get back. When
he finally arrived at Roanoke Island, there were no signs of any of his
people to be found, except that on the tree was cut the word "Croatan,"
which is the name of an Indian village on the island nearby.

That was the last ever heard of all those hundred and sixteen people.
Five different times Sir Walter Raleigh sent out men for the missing
ones; but no traces could be found, not even at Croatan, and no one
knows whether they were killed by the Indians, or wandered off into the
wilderness where they were lost forever.

You can see by the story, that the London Company had set for Captain
Newport a very great task when they commanded him to do what so many
people had failed in before him.

And now out of that story of the lost colony, as Master Hunt told
Nathaniel and me, grows another which also concerns us in this new land
of Virginia.

You will remember I have said that Master Ralph Lane was the governor of
the first company of people who went to Roanoke Island, and, afterward,
getting discouraged, returned to England. Now this Master Lane, and the
other men who were with him, learned from the Indians to smoke the weed
called tobacco, and carried quite a large amount of it home with them.

Not only Sir Walter Raleigh, who knew Master Lane very well, but many
other people in England also learned to smoke, and therefore it was that
when we of Jamestown began to raise tobacco, it found a more ready sale
in London than any other thing we could send over. Once this was known,
our people gave the greater portion of their time to cultivating the
Indian weed.


Very nearly the first thing which my master did after having been made
President of the Council, was to obey the orders of the London Company,
by going with Captain Newport to Powhatan's village in order to crown
him like a king.

This was not at all to the pleasure of the savage, who failed of
understanding what my master and Captain Newport meant, when they wanted
him to kneel down so they might put the crown upon his head. If all the
stories which I have heard regarding the matter are true, they must have
had quite a scrimmage before succeeding in getting him into what they
believed was a proper position to receive the gifts of the London

Our people, so Master Hunt told me, were obliged to take him by the
shoulders and force him to his knees, after which they clapped the crown
on his head, and threw the red robe around his shoulders in a mighty
hurry lest he show fight and overcome them.

It was some time before Captain Smith could make him understand that
it was a great honor which was being done him, but when he did get it
through his head, he took off his old moccasins and brought from the hut
his raccoon skin coat, with orders that my master and Captain Newport
send them all to King James in London, as a present from the great
Powhatan of Virginia.

After this had been done, Captain Newport sailed up the James River in
search of the passage to the South Sea, and my master set about putting
Jamestown into proper order.


Once more Captain Smith made the rule that those who would not work
should not eat, and this time, with all the Council at his back,
together with such men as Captain Newport had just brought with him, you
can well fancy his orders were obeyed.

In addition to the stocks which had been built, he had a pillory set up,
and those gentlemen who were not inclined to labor with their hands as
well as they might, were forced to stand in it to their discomfort.

The next thing which he did was to have a large, deep well dug, so that
we might have sweet water from it for drinking purposes, rather than be
forced to use that from the river, for it was to his mind that through
this muddy water did the sickness come to us.

When the winter was well begun, and Captain Newport ceased to search for
the South Sea passage, because of having come to the falls of the James
River, Captain Smith forced our people to build twenty stout houses such
as would serve to withstand an attack from the savages, and again was
the palisade stretched from one to the other, until the village stood in
the form of a square.

After the cold season had passed, some of the people were set about
shingling the church, and others were ordered to make clapboards that
we might have a cargo when Captain Newport returned. It was the duty of
some few to keep the streets and lanes of the village clear of filth,
lest we invite the sickness again, and the remainder of the company were
employed in planting Indian corn, forty acres of which were seeded down.


If I have made it appear that during all this time we lived in the most
friendly manner with the savages, then have I blundered in the setting
down of that which happened.

Although it shames one to write such things concerning those who called
themselves Englishmen, yet it must be said that the savages were no
longer in any degree friendly, and all because of what our own people
had done.

From the time when Captain Smith had declared that he who would not work
should not eat, some of our fine gentlemen who were willing to believe
that labor was the greatest crime which could be committed, began
stealing from the common store iron and copper goods of every kind
which might be come at, in order to trade with the savages for food they
themselves were too lazy to get otherwise.

They even went so far, some of those who thought it more the part of a
man to wear silks than build himself a house, as to steal matchlocks,
pistols, and weapons of any kind, standing ready to teach the savages
how to use these things, if thereby they were given so much additional
in the way of food.

As our numbers increased, by reason of the companies which were brought
over by Captain Newport and Captain Nelson, so did the thievery become
the more serious until on one day I heard Master Hunt tell my master,
that of forty axes which had been brought ashore from the Phoenix and
left outside the storehouse during the night, but eight were remaining
when morning came.


Now there was more of mischief to this than the crime of stealing, or
of indolence. The savages came to understand they could drive hard
bargains, and so increased the price of their corn that Captain Smith
set it down in his report to the London Company, that the same amount of
copper, or of beads, which had, one year before, paid for five bushels
of wheat, would, within a week after Captain Newport came in search of
the lost colony, pay for no more than one peck.

Nor was this the entire sum of the wrong done by our gentlemen who stole
rather than worked with their hands. The savages, grown bold now that
they had firearms and knew how to use them, no longer had the same fear
of white people as when Captain Smith, single handed, was able to hold
two hundred in check, and strove to kill us of Jamestown whenever they
found opportunity.

On four different times did they plot to murder my master, believing
that when he had been done to death, it would be more easy for them
to kill off all in our town; but on each occasion, so keen was his
watchfulness, he outwitted them all.

The putting of a crown on Powhatan's head, and bowing before him as if
he had been a real king, also did much mischief. It caused that brown
savage to believe we feared him, which was much the same as inviting him
to be less of a friend, until on a certain day he boldly declared that
one basket of his corn was worth more than all our copper and beads,
because he could eat his corn, while our trinkets gave a hungry man no

And thus, by the wicked and unwise acts of our own people, did we
prepare the way for another time of famine and sickness.


However, I must set this much down as counting in our favor: when we
landed in this country we had three pigs, and a cock and six hens, all
of which we turned loose in the wilderness to shift for themselves,
giving shelter to such as came back to us when winter was near at hand.

Within two years we had of pigs more than sixty, in addition to many
which were yet running wild in the forest. Of hens and cocks we had
upward of five hundred, the greater number being kept in pens to the end
that we might profit by their eggs.

I have heard Master Hunt declare more than once, that had we followed
Captain Smith's advice, giving all our labor to the raising of crops,
our storehouse would have been too small for the food on hand, and we
might have held ourselves free from the whims of the savages, having
corn to sell, rather than spending near to half our time trying to buy.

As Master Hunt said again and again when talking over the situation
with Captain Smith, it seemed strange even to us who were there, that
we could be looking forward to a famine, when in the sea and on the land
was food in abundance to feed half the people in all this wide world.

To show how readily one might get himself a dinner, if so be his taste
were not too nice, I have seen Captain Smith, when told what we had in
the larder for the next meal, go to the river with only his naked sword,
and there spear fish enough with the weapon to provide us with as much
as could be eaten in a full day. But yet some of our gentlemen claimed
that it was not good for their blood to eat this food of the sea; others
declared that oysters, when partaken of regularly, were as poisonous as
the sweet potatoes which we bought of the Indians.

Thus it was that day by day did we who were in the land of plenty,
overrun with that which would serve as food, fear that another time of
famine was nigh.


I have often spoken of the unwillingness of some of our people to labor;
but Captain Smith, who is not overly eager to find excuses for those who
are indolent, has said that there was much reason why many of our men
hugged their cabins, counting it a most arduous task to go even so far
up the river as were the oyster beds.

He believes, and Master Hunt is of the same opinion, that this town of
ours has been built on that portion of the shore where the people are
most liable to sickness. The land is low lying, almost on a level with
the river; the country roundabout is made up of swamps and bogs, and
the air which comes to us at night is filled with a fever, which causes
those upon whom it fastens, first to shake as if they were beset with
bitterest cold, and then again to burn as if likely to be reduced to
ashes. Some call it the ague, and others, the shakes; but whatsoever
it may be, there is nothing more distressing, or better calculated to
hinder a man from taking so much of exercise as is necessary for his
well being.


That Nathaniel and I may gather oysters without too great labor of
walking and carrying heavy burdens, Captain Smith has bought from the
savages a small boat made of the bark of birch trees, stretched over a
framework of splints, and sewn together with the entrails of deer. On
the seams, and wherever the water might find entrance, it is well gummed
with pitch taken from the pine tree, and withal the lightest craft that
can well be made.

Either Nathaniel or I can take this vessel, which the savages call a
canoe, on our shoulders, carrying it without difficulty, and when the
two of us are inside, resting upon our knees, for we may not sit in
it as in a ship's boat, we can send it along with paddles at a rate so
rapid as to cause one to think it moved by magic.

With this canoe Nathaniel and I may go to the oyster beds, and in half
an hour put on board as large a cargo of shellfish as she will carry,
in addition to our own weight, coming back in a short time with as much
food as would serve a dozen men for two days.

If these oysters could be kept fresh for any length of time, then would
we have a most valuable store near at hand; but, like other fish, a few
hours in the sun serves to spoil them.


Of the fish called the sturgeon, we have more than can be consumed by
all our company; but one cannot endure the flavor day after day, and
therefore is it that we use it for food only when we cannot get any

Master Hunt has shown Nathaniel and me how we may prepare it in such a
manner as to change the flavor. It must first be dried in the sun until
so hard that it can be pounded to the fineness of meal. This is then
mixed with caviare, by which I mean the eggs, or roe, of the sturgeon,
with sorrel leaves, and with other wholesome herbs. The whole is
made into small balls, or cakes, which are fried over the fire with a
plentiful amount of fat.

Such a dish serves us for either bread or meat, or for both on a pinch,
therefore if we lads are careful not to waste our time, Captain Smith
may never come without finding in the larder something that can be


To us in Jamestown the making of anything which we may send back to
England for sale, is of such great importance that we are more curious
regarding the manner in which the work is done, than would be others
who are less eager to see piled up that which will bring money to the

Therefore it was that Nathaniel and I watched eagerly the making of
turpentine, and found it not unlike the method by which the Indians gain
sugar from maple trees. A strip of bark is taken from the pine, perhaps
eight or ten inches long, and at the lower end of the wound thus made, a
deep notch is cut in the wood.

Into this the sap flows, and is scraped out as fast as the cavity is
filled. It is a labor in which all may join, and so plentiful are the
pine trees that if our people of Jamestown set about making turpentine
only, they might load four or five ships in a year.

From the making of tar much money can be earned, and it is a simple
process such as I believe I myself might compass, were it not that I
have sufficient of other work to occupy all my time.

The pine tree is cut into short pieces, even the roots being used,
for, if I mistake not, more tar may be had from the roots than from the
trunks of the tree. Our people here dig a hollow, much like unto the
shape of a funnel, on the side of a hill, or bank, fill it in with the
wood and the roots, and cover the whole closely with turf.

An iron pot is placed at the bottom of this hollow in the earth, and a
fire is built at the top of the pile. While the fuel smolders, the tar
stews out of the wood, falling into the iron pot, and from there is put
into whatsoever vessels may be most convenient in which to carry it over


There is far greater labor required in the making of clapboards, and
it is of a wearisome kind; but Captain Newport declares that clapboards
made of our Virginia cedar are far better in quality than any to be
found in England. Therefore it is Captain Smith keeps as many men as he
may, employed in this work, which is more tiring than difficult.

The trunks of the trees are cut into lengths of four feet, and trimmed
both as to branches and bark. An iron tool called a frow, which is not
unlike a butcher's cleaver, is then used to split the log into thin
strips, one edge of which is four or five times thicker than the other.

You will understand better the method by picturing to yourself the
end of a round log which has been stood upright for convenience of the
workmen. Now, if you place a frow in such a position that it will split
the thicknesses of an inch or less from the outer side, you will find
that the point of the instrument, which is at the heart of the tree,
must come in such manner as to make the splint very thin on the inner
edge. The frow is driven through the wood by a wooden mallet, to the end
that the sides of the clapboard may be fairly smooth.

Master Hunt has told me that if we were to put on board a ship the size
of the John and Francis, as many clapboards as she could swim under, the
value of the cargo would be no less than five hundred pounds, and they
would have a ready sale in London, or in other English ports.


And now before I am come to the most terrible time in the history of
our town of James, let me set down that which the London Company has
decreed, for it is of great importance to all those who, like Nathaniel
and me, came over into this land of Virginia before they were men and
women grown.

Master Hunt has written the facts out fairly, to the end that I may
understand them well, he having had the information from Captain
Newport, for it was the last decree made by the London Company before
the John and Francis sailed.

I must say, however, that the reason why this decree, or order,
whichever it may be called, has been made, was to the end that men and
women, who had large families of children, might be induced to join us
here in Jamestown, as if we had not already mouths enough to feed.

The Council of the Company has decided to allow the use of twenty-five
acres of land for each and every child that comes into Virginia, and all
who are now here, or may come to live at the expense of the Company, are
to be educated in some good trade or profession, in order that they may
be able to support themselves when they have come to the age of four and
twenty years, or have served the time of their apprenticeship, which is
to be no less than seven years.

It is further decreed that all of those children when they become of
age or marry, whichever shall happen first, are to have freely given
and made over to them fifty acres of land apiece, which same shall be
in Virginia within the limits of the English plantation. But, these
children must be placed as apprentices under honest and good masters
within the grant made to the London Company, and shall serve for seven
years, or until they come to the age of twenty-four, during which time
their masters must bring them up in some trade or business.


On hearing this, the question came into my mind as to whether Nathaniel
and I could be called apprentices, inasmuch as we were only houseboys,
according to the name Captain Smith gave us.

Master Hunt declared that being apprentices to care for the family, was
of as much service as if we were learned in the trade of making tar,
clapboards, or of building ships, and he assured me that if peradventure
he was living when we had been in this land of Virginia seven years, it
should be his duty to see to it that we were given our fifty acres of
land apiece.

Thus understanding that we might ourselves in turn one day become
planters, Nathaniel and I had much to say, one with the other,
concerning what should be done in the future. We decided that when
the time came for us to have the land set off to our own use, we would
strive that the two lots of fifty acres each be in one piece. Then would
we set about raising tobacco, as the Indian girl Pocahontas taught us,
and who can say that we might not come to be of some consequence, even
as are Captain Smith and Master Hunt, in this new world.


And now am I come to the spring of 1609, when befell us that disaster
which marked the beginning of the time of suffering, of trouble, and of
danger which was so near to wiping out the settlement of Jamestown that
the people had already started on their way to England.

The day had come when we should put into the ground our Indian corn that
a harvest might follow. The supply, which was to be used as seed, had
been stored in casks and piled up in the big house wherein were kept our

When those who had been chosen to do the planting went for the seed,
it was found to have been destroyed by rats, and not only the corn, but
many other things which were in the storehouse, had been eaten by the
same animals.

Master Hunt maintained, and Captain Smith was of the same opinion, that
when the Phoenix was unloaded, the rats came ashore from her, finding
lodging in that building which represented the vital spot of our town.

Howsoever the pests came there, certain it was we should reap no harvest
that year, unless the savages became more friendly than they had lately
shown themselves, and as to this we speedily learned.


When Captain Smith set off in the pinnace in order to buy what might
serve us as seed, he found himself threatened by all the brown men
living near about the shores of the bay, as if they had suddenly made up
a plot to kill us, and never one of them would speak him fairly. It was
while my master was away that two Dutchmen, who came over in the Phoenix
and had gone with Captain Smith in the pinnace, returned to Jamestown,
saying to Captain Winne, who was in command at the fort, that Captain
Smith had use for more weapons because of going into the country in the
hope of finding Indians who would supply him with corn.

Not doubting their story, the captain supplied them with what they
demanded, and, as was afterward learned, before leaving town that night
they stole many swords, pike heads, shot and powder, all of which these
Dutch thieves carried to Powhatan.

If these two had been the only white men who did us wrong, then might
our plight not have become so desperate; but many there were, upwards
of sixteen so Master Hunt declared, who from day to day carried away
secretly such weapons and tools, or powder and shot, as they could come
upon, thereby trusting to the word of the savages that they might live
with them in their villages always, without doing any manner of work.

Others sold kettles, hoes, or even swords and guns, that they might buy
fruit, or corn, or meat from the Indians without doing so much of labor
as was necessary in order to gather these things for themselves.


Jamestown was a scene of turmoil and confusion when Captain Smith came
back from his journey having on board only two baskets of corn for
seed. After understanding what had been done by the idle ones during his
absence, he called all the people together and said unto them, speaking
earnestly, as if pleading for his very life:

"Never did I believe white men who were come together in a new world,
and should stand shoulder to shoulder against all the enemies that
surround them, could be so reckless and malicious. It is vain to hope
for more help from Powhatan, and the time has come when I will no longer
bear with you in your idleness; but punish severely if you do not set
about the work which must be done, without further plotting. You cannot
deny but that I have risked my life many a time in order to save
yours, when, if you had been allowed to go your own way, all would
have starved. Now I swear solemnly that you shall not only gather for
yourselves the fruits which the earth doth yield, but for those who are
sick. Every one that gathers not each day as much as I do, shall on the
next day be set beyond the river, forever banished from the fort, to
live or starve as God wills."

This caused the lazy ones to bestir themselves for the time, and perhaps
all might have gone well with us had not the London Company sent out
nine more vessels, in which were five hundred persons, to join us people
in Jamestown. One of the ships, as we afterward learned, was wrecked in
a hurricane; seven arrived safely, and the ninth vessel we had not heard

All these people had expected to find food in plenty, servants to wait
upon them, and everything furnished to hand without being obliged to
raise a finger in their own behalf. What was yet worse, they had
among them many men who believed they were to be made officers of the


Now you must understand that with the coming of this fleet we of
Jamestown were told that the London Company had changed all the laws for
us in Virginia, and that Lord De la Warr, who sailed on the ship from
which nothing had been heard, was to be our governor.

From that hour did it seem as if all the men in Jamestown, save only
half a dozen, among whom were Captain Smith, Master Hunt and Master
Percy, strove their best to wreck the settlement.

Because Lord De la Warr, the new governor, had not arrived, many of the
new comers refused to obey my master, and they were so strong in numbers
that it was not possible for him to force them to his will.

Each man strove for himself, regardless of the sick, or of the women
and children. Some banded themselves together in companies, falling upon
such Indian villages as they could easily overcome, and murdered and
robbed until all the brown men of Virginia stood ready to shed the blood
of every white man who crossed their path.

Then came that which plunged Nathaniel and me into deepest grief.


Captain Smith had gone up the bay in the hope of soothing the trouble
among the savages, and, failing in this effort, was returning, having
got within four and twenty hours' journey of Jamestown, when the pinnace
was anchored for the night.

The boat's company lay down to sleep, and then came that accident, if
accident it may be called, the cause of which no man has ever been able
to explain to the satisfaction of Master Hunt or myself.

Captain Smith was asleep, with his powder bag by his side, when in some
manner it was set on fire, and the powder, exploding, tore the flesh
from his body and thighs for the space of nine or ten inches square,
even down to the bones.

In his agony, and being thus horribly aroused from sleep, hardly knowing
what he did, he plunged overboard as the quickest way to soothe the
pain. There he was like to have drowned but for Samuel White, who came
near to losing his own life in saving him.

He was brought back to the town on the day before the ships of the
fleet, which had brought so many quarrelsome people, were to sail for
England. With no surgeon to dress his wounds, what could he do but
depart in one of these ships with the poor hope of living in agony until
he arrived on the other side of the ocean.

Nathaniel and I would have gone with him, willing, because of his
friendship for us, to have served him so long as we lived. He refused to
listen to our prayers, insisting that we were lads well fitted to live
in a new land like Virginia, and that if we would but remain with Master
Hunt, working out our time of apprenticeship, which would be but five
years longer, then might we find ourselves men of importance in the
colony. He doubted not, so he said, but that we would continue, after he
had gone, as we had while he was with us.

What could we lads do other than obey, when his commands were laid upon
us, even though our hearts were so sore that it seemed as if it would no
longer be possible to live when he had departed?

Even amid his suffering, when one might well have believed that he could
give no heed to anything save his own plight, he spoke to us of what we
should do for the bettering of our own condition. He promised that as
soon as he was come to London, and able to walk around, if so be God
permitted him to live, he would seek out Nathaniel's parents to tell
them that the lad who had run away from his home was rapidly making a
man of himself in Virginia, and would one day come back to gladden their


It is not well for me to dwell upon our parting with the master whom we
had served more than two years, and who had ever been the most friendly
friend and the most manly man one could ask to meet.

Our hearts were sore, when, after having done what little we might
toward carrying him on board the ship, we came back to his house, which
he had said in the presence of witnesses should be ours, and there took
up our lives with Master Hunt.

But for that good man's prayers, on this first night we would have
abandoned ourselves entirely to grief; but he devoted his time to
soothing us, showing why we had no right to do other than continue in
the course on which we had been started by the man who was gone from us,
until it was, to my mind at least, as if I should be doing some grievous
wrong to my master, if I failed to carry on the work while he was away,
as it would have been done had I known we were to see him again within
the week.

With Captain Smith gone, perhaps to his death; with half a dozen men who
claimed the right to stand at the head of the government until Lord De
la Warr should come; and with the savages menacing us on every hand,
sore indeed was our plight.

With so many in the town, for there were now four hundred and ninety
persons, and while the savages, because of having been so sorely
wronged, were in arms against us, it was no longer possible to go abroad
for food, and as the winter came on we were put to it even in that land
of plenty, for enough to keep ourselves alive.


We came to know what starvation meant during that winter, and were I to
set down here all of the suffering, of the hunger weakness, and of the
selfishness we saw during the six months after Captain Smith sailed for
home, there would not be days enough left in my life to complete the

As I look back on it now, it seems more like some wonderful dream than
a reality, wherein men strove with women and children for food to keep
life in their own worthless bodies.

It is enough if I say that of the four hundred and ninety persons whom
Captain Smith left behind him, there were, in the month of May of the
year 1610, but fifty-eight left alive. That God should have spared
among those, Nathaniel Peacock and myself, is something which passeth
understanding, for verily there were scores of better than we whose
lives would have advantaged Jamestown more than ours ever can, who died
and were buried as best they could be by the few who had sufficient
strength remaining to dig the graves.

I set it down in all truth that, through God's mercy, our lives were
saved by Master Hunt, for he counseled us wisely as to the care we
should take of our bodies when our stomachs were crying out for food,
and it was he who showed us how we might prepare this herb or the bark
from that tree for the sustaining of life, when we had nothing else to
put into our mouths.

We had forgotten that Lord De la Warr was the new governor; we had heard
nothing of the ship in which it was said Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George
Somers had sailed. We were come to that pass where we cared neither for
governor nor nobleman. We strove only to keep within our bodies the life
which had become painful.

Then it was, when the few of us who yet lived, feared each moment lest
the savages would put an end to us, that we saw sailing up into the bay
two small ships, and I doubt if there was any among us who did not fall
upon his knees and give thanks aloud to God for the help which had come
at the very moment when it had seemed that we were past all aid.


But our time of rejoicing was short. Although these two ships were
brought by Sir Thomas Gates and Sir George Somers, having in them not
less than one hundred and fifty men, they did not have among them food
sufficient to provide for the wants of our company until another harvest
should come.

The vessel in which these new comers had sailed was, as I have said,
wrecked in a hurricane near the Bermuda Isles, where, after much labor,
they had contrived to build these two small ships.

It needed not that we, who of all our people in Jamestown remained
alive, should tell the story of what we had suffered, for that could be
read on our faces.

Neither was it required that these new comers should study long in order
to decide upon the course to be pursued, for the answer to all their
speculations could be found in the empty storehouse, and in the
numberless graves 'twixt there and the river bank.

Of provisions, they had so much as might serve for a voyage to England,
if peradventure the winds were favorable; and ere the ships had been
at anchor four and twenty hours, it was resolved that we should abandon
this town of James, which we had hoped might one day grow into a city
fair to look upon.

An attempt to build up a nation in this new land of Virginia, of which
ours was the third, had cost of money and of blood more than man could
well set down, and now, after all this brave effort on the part of such
men as Captain Smith, Master Hunt and Master Percy, it was to go for

Once more were the savages to hold undisputed possession of the land
which they claimed as their own.


Now even though Nathaniel Peacock and I had known more of suffering
and of sorrow, than of pleasure, in Jamestown, our hearts were sore at
leaving it.

It seemed to me as if we were running contrary to that which my master
would have commanded, and there were tears in my eyes, of which I was
not ashamed, when Nathaniel and I, hand in hand, followed Master Hunt
out of the house we had helped to build.

Those who had come from the shipwreck amid the Bermudas, were rejoicing
because they had failed to arrive in time to share with us the
starvation and the sickness, therefore to them this turning back upon
the enterprise was but a piece of good fortune. Yet were they silent and
sad, understanding our sorrow.

It was the eighth day of June, in the year 1610, when we set sail from
Jamestown, believing we were done with the new world forever, and yet
within less than three hours was all our grief changed to rejoicing, all
our sorrow to thankfulness.


At the mouth of the river, sailing toward us bravely as if having come
from some glorious victory, were three ships laden with men, and, as we
afterward came to know, an ample store of provisions.

It was Lord De la Warr who had come to take up his governorship, and
verily he was arrived in the very point of time, for had he been delayed
four and twenty hours, we would have been on the ocean, where was little
likelihood of seeing him.

It needs not I should say that our ships were turned back, and before
nightfall Master Hunt was sitting in Captain Smith's house, with
Nathaniel Peacock and me cooking for him such a dinner as we three had
not known these six months past.

I have finished my story of Jamestown, having set myself to tell only of
what was done there while we were with Captain John Smith.

And it is well I should bring this story to an end here, for if I make
any attempt at telling what came to Nathaniel Peacock and myself after
that, then am I like to keep on until he who has begun to read will lay
down the story because of weariness.

For the satisfaction of myself, and the better pleasing of Nathaniel
Peacock, however, I will add, concerning our two selves, that we
remained in the land of Virginia until our time of apprenticeship was
ended, and then it was, that Master Hunt did for us as Captain Smith had
promised to do.


We found ourselves, in the year 1614, the owners of an hundred acres of
land which Nathaniel and I had chosen some distance back from the river,
so that we might stand in no danger of the shaking sickness, and built
ourselves a house like unto the one we had helped make for Captain

With the coming of Lord De la Warr all things were changed. The
governing of the people was done as my old master, who never saw
Virginia again, I grieve to say, would have had it. We became a law
abiding people, save when a few hotheads stirred up trouble and got the
worst of it.

When Nathaniel Peacock and I settled down as planters on our own
account, there were eleven villages in the land of Virginia, and, living
in them, more than four thousand men, women, and children.

It was no longer a country over which the savages ruled without check,
though sad to relate, the brown men of the land shed the blood of white
men like water, ere they were driven out from among us.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Richard of Jamestown : a Story of the Virginia Colony" ***

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