Part 3 out of 11
"You will find him use you well," he said. "But trust him not. And
be sure he hath no chance to seize your arms. For he hath sent for
you only to cut your throats."
However in spite of this warning Smith decided to go on. So he
thanked the friendly chief for his good counsel, and assuring him
that he would love him always for it, he went on his way.
It was winter time now, and the rivers were half frozen over, the
land was covered with snow, and icy winds blew over it. Indeed the
weather was so bad that for a week Smith and his men could not go
on, but had to take refuge with some friendly Indians. Here in the
warm wigwams they were cosy and jolly. The savages treated them
kindly, and fed them well on oysters, fish, game and wild-fowl.
Christmas came and went while they were with these kindly savages,
and at length, the weather becoming a little better, they decided
to push on. After many adventures they reached the Powhatan's
village. They were very weary from their long cold journey, and
taking possession of the first houses they came to they sent a
message to the Powhatan, telling him that they had come, and asking
him to send food.
This the old chief immediately did, and soon they were dining royally
on bread, venison and turkeys. The next day, too, the Powhatan
sent them supplies of food. Then he calmly asked how long they were
going to stay, and when they would be gone.
At this Smith was greatly astonished, for had not the Powhatan sent
"I did not send for you," said the wily old savage, "and if you have
come for corn I have none to give you, still less have my people.
But," he added slyly, "if perchance you have forty swords I might
find forty baskets of corn in exchange for them."
"You did not send for me?" said Smith in astonishment. "How can
that be? For I have with me the messengers you sent to ask me to
come, and they can vouch for the truth of it. I marvel that you
can be so forgetful."
Then, seeing that he could not fool the Pale-faces the old chief
laughed merrily, pretending that he had only been joking. But
still he held to it that he would give no corn except in exchange
for guns and swords.
"Powhatan," answered Smith, "believing your promises to satisfy my
wants, and out of love to you I sent you my men for your building,
thereby neglecting mine own needs. Now by these strange demands you
think to undo us and bring us to want indeed. For you know well as
I have told you long ago of guns and swords I have none to spare.
Yet steal from you or wrong you I will not, nor yet break that
friendship which we have promised each other, unless by bad usage
you force me thereto."
When the Powhatan heard Smith speak thus firmly he pretended to give
way and promised that within two days the English should have all
the corn he and his people could spare. But he added, "My people fear
to bring you corn seeing you are all armed, for they say you come
not hither for trade, but to invade my country and take possession
of it. Therefore to free us of this fear lay aside your weapons,
for indeed here they are needless, we being all friends."
With such and many more cunning words the Powhatan sought to make
Captain Smith and his men lay aside their arms. But to all his
persuasions Smith turned a deaf ear.
"Nay," he said, "we have no thought of revenge or cruelty against
you. When your people come to us at Jamestown we receive them with
their bows and arrows. With you it must be the same. We wear our
arms even as our clothes."
So seeing that he could not gain his end, the old chief gave in.
Yet one more effort he made to soften the Englishman's heart.
"I have never honoured any chief as I have you," he said, with
a sigh, "yet you show me less kindness than any one. You call me
father, but you do just as you like."
Smith, however, would waste no more time parleying, and gave orders
for his men to fetch the corn. But while he was busy with this
the Powhatan slipped away and gathered his warriors. Then suddenly
in the midst of their business Smith and one or two others found
themselves cut off from their comrades, and surrounded by a yelling
crowd of painted savages. Instantly the Englishmen drew their
swords and, charging into the savages, put them to flight. Seeing
how easily their warriors had been routed and how strong the
Pale-faces were, the savage chiefs tried to make friends with them
again, pretending that the attack upon them was a mistake, and that
no evil against them had been intended.
The Englishmen, however, put no more trust in their words and
sternly, with loaded guns and drawn swords in hand, bade them to
talk no more, but make haste and load their boat with corn. And so
thoroughly cowed were the savages by the fierce words and looks of
the Pale-faces that they needed no second bidding. Hastily laying
down their bows and arrows they bent their backs to the work, their
one desire now being to get rid as soon as possible of these fierce
and powerful intruders.
When the work was done, however, it was too late to sail that night,
for the tide was low. So the Englishmen returned to the house in
which they lodged, to rest till morning and wait for high water.
Meanwhile the Powhatan had by no means given up his desire for
revenge, and while the Englishmen sat by their fire he plotted to
slay them all. But as he talked with his braves Pocahontas listened.
And when she heard that the great Pale-face Chief whom she loved
so dearly was to be killed, her heart was filled with grief, and
she resolved to save him. So silently she slipped out into the
dark night and, trembling lest she should be discovered, was soon
speeding through the wild lonesome forest towards the Englishmen's
hut. Reaching it in safety she burst in upon them as they sat in
the firelight waiting for the Powhatan to send their supper.
"You must not wait," she cried, "you must go at once. My father
is gathering all his force against you. He will indeed send you a
great feast, but those who bring it have orders to slay you, and
any who escape them he is ready with his braves to slay. Oh, if
you would live you must flee at once," and as she spoke the tears
ran down her cheeks.
The Englishmen were truly grateful to Pocahontas for her warning.
They thanked her warmly, and would have laden her with gifts of
beads and coloured cloth, and such things as the Indians delighted
in, but she would not take them.
"I dare not take such things," she said. "For if my father saw
me with them he would know that I had come here to warn you, and
he would kill me." So with eyes blinded with tears, and her heart
filled with dread, she slipped out of the fire-lit hut, and vanished
into the darkness of the forest as suddenly and silently as she
Left alone, the Englishmen, cocking their guns and drawing their
swords, awaited the coming of the foe. Presently eight or ten lusty
fellows arrived, each bearing a great platter of food steaming hot
and excellent to smell. They were very anxious that the Englishmen
should at once lay aside their arms and sit down to supper. But
Captain Smith would take no chances. Loaded gun in hand he stood
over the messengers and made them taste each dish to be certain
that none of them were poisoned. Having done this he sent the men
away. "And bid your master make haste," he said, "for we are ready
Then the Englishmen sat down to supper; but they had no thought of
sleep and all night long they kept watch.
Powhatan too kept watch, and every now and again he would send
messengers to find out what the Englishmen were about. But each
time they came the savages found the Englishmen on guard, so they
dared not attack. At last day dawned, and with the rising tide the
Englishmen sailed away, still to all seeming on friendly terms with
the wily Indians.
Smith had now food enough to keep the colony from starvation for
a short time at least. But his troubles were by no means over. The
Indians were still often unfriendly, and the colonists themselves
lazy and unruly. Some indeed worked well and cheerfully, but many
wandered about idly, doing nothing.
At length it came about that thirty or forty men did all the work,
the others being simply idle loiterers. Seeing this, Smith called
all the colonists together one day and told them that he would
suffer the idleness no longer. "Every one must do his share," he
said, "and he who will not work shall not eat." And so powerful
had he grown that he was obeyed. The idle were forced to work, and
soon houses were built and land cleared and tilled.
At length there seemed good hope that the colony would prosper.
But now another misfortune befell it. For it was found that rats
had got into the granaries and eaten nearly all the store of corn.
So once again expeditions set forth to visit the Indians and gather
more from them. But their supply, too, was running short; harvest
was still a long way off, and all the colonists could collect
was not enough to keep them from starvation. So seeing this Smith
divided his men into companies, sending some down the river to
fish, and others into the woods to gather roots and wild berries.
But the lazy ones liked this little. They would have bartered
away their tools and firearms to the savages for a few handfuls of
meal rather than work so hard. They indeed became so mutinous that
Smith hardly knew what to do with them. But at length he discovered
the ringleader of these "gluttonous loiterers." Him he "worthily
punished," and calling the others together, he told them very
plainly that any man among them who did not do his share should
be banished from the fort as a drone, till he mended his ways or
To the idlers Smith seemed a cruel task-master; still they obeyed
him. So the colony was held together, although in misery and hunger
and without hope for the future.
At length one day to the men on the river there came a joyful sight.
They saw a ship slowly sailing towards them. They could hardly
believe their eyes, for no ship was expected; but they greeted it
with all the more joy. It was a ship under Captain Samuel Argall,
come, it is true, not to bring supplies, but to trade. Finding,
however, that there was no hope of trade Captain Argall shared what
food he had with the famished colonists, and so for a time rescued
them from starvation. He also brought the news that more ships were
setting out from home bringing both food and men.
In June, 1609, this fleet of nine ships really did set out. But
one ship was wrecked on the way, another, the Sea Venture, was cast
ashore on the Bermudas; only seven arrived at length at Jamestown,
bringing many new colonists. Unfortunately among these new arrivals
there were few likely to make good colonists. They were indeed for
the most part wild, bad men whose friends had packed them off to
that distant land in the hope of being rid of them forever. "They
were," said one of the old colonists who wrote of them, "ten times
more fit to spoil a Commonwealth than either to begin one or but
help to maintain one."
Now with all these "unruly gallants" poured into his little commonwealth
Smith found his position of President even more difficult than
before. Still, for a time, if he could not keep them altogether in
order he at least kept them in check.
Then one day by a terrible accident his rule was brought to a sudden
end. He was returning from an expedition up the James River when,
through some carelessness, a bag of gunpowder in his boat was
exploded. Smith was not killed by it, but he was sorely hurt. In
great pain, and no longer able to think and act for others, he was
carried back to Jamestown.
Here there was no doctor of any kind, and seeing himself then only
a useless hulk, and in danger of death, Smith gave up his post,
and leaving the colony, for which during two and a half years he
had worked and thought and fought so hard, he sailed homeward.
Many of the unruly sort were glad to see him go, but his old
companions with whom he had shared so many dangers and privations
were filled with grief. "He ever hated baseness, sloth, pride and
indignity," said one of them. "He never allowed more for himself
than for his soldiers with him. Upon no danger would he send them
where he would not lead them himself. He would never see us want
what he either had or could by any means get us. He loved action
more than words, and hated falsehood and covetousness worse than
So, loved and hated, but having all unknown to himself made a name
which would live forever in the history of his land, the first
great Virginian sailed from its shores. He returned no more. Some
twenty years later he died in London, and was buried in the church
of St. Sepulchre there. Upon his tomb was carved a long epitaph
telling of his valiant deeds. But in, the great Fire of London the
tomb was destroyed, and now no tablet marks the resting-place of
the brave old pioneer.
Chapter 15 - How the Colony was Saved
After Smith left, the colony of Jamestown fell into wild disorder.
Every one wanted to go his own way. A new President named Percy had
indeed been chosen. But although an honest gentleman he was sickly
and weak, and quite unfit to rule these turbulent spirits. So twenty
or more would-be presidents soon sprang up, and in the whole colony
there was neither obedience nor discipline.
No work was done, food was recklessly wasted, and very quickly
famine stared the wretched colonists in the face. The terrible time
afterwards known as the Starving Time had begun. When their stores
were gone the settlers tried to get more in the old way from the
natives. But they, seeing the miserable plight of the Pale-faces,
became insolent in their demands, and in return for niggardly
supplies of food exacted guns and ammunition, swords and tools.
And now there was no man among the colonists who knew how to manage
the Indians as Smith had managed them. There was no man among them
who thought of the future. All they wanted was to stay for a time
the awful pangs of hunger. So they bartered away their muskets and
powder, their tools, and everything of value of which they were
possessed. But even so the food the Indians gave them in return
was not enough to keep body and soul together.
The colony became a place of horror, where pale skeleton-like
creatures roamed about eyeing each other suspiciously, ready to kill
each other for a crust or a bone. They quarreled among themselves,
and they quarreled with the natives. And the natives, now no longer
filled with awe, lay in wait for them and killed them almost without
resistance if they ventured to crawl beyond the walls of the fort.
Many more died of hunger and of disease brought on by hunger.
So less than eight months after Smith had sailed away, of the
five hundred men he had left behind him but sixty remained alive.
The colony was being wiped out, and the little town itself was
disappearing; for the starving wretches had no strength or energy
to fell trees and hew wood, and as soon as a man died his house was
pulled down by his comrades and used as firewood. Already, too,
weeds and briers overgrew the land which had been cleared for
corn. Greater misery and desolation it is hard to imagine. Yet the
unhappy beings sank into a still deeper horror. Unable to relieve
the pangs of hunger, they turned cannibal and fed upon each other.
Thus the last depths of degradation were sounded, the last horrors
of the Starving Time were reached.
Then at length one May day two ships came sailing up the James
River and anchored in the harbour. From their decks bronzed men in
patched and ragged garments looked with astonished eyes upon the
These were the men of the wrecked Sea Venture, who had been cast
ashore upon the Bermudas. Their ship had gone down, but they had
been able to save both themselves and nearly everything out of
her. Some of the best men of the expedition had sailed in the Sea
Venture. Their leaders were brave and energetic; so instead of
bemoaning their fate they had set to work with right good will,
and after ten months' labour had succeeded in building two little
ships which they named the Patience and the Deliverance. Then, having
filled them with such stores as they could muster, they set sail
joyfully to join their comrades at Jamestown. But now what horror
and astonishment was theirs! They had hoped to find a flourishing
town, surrounded by well tilled fields. Instead they saw ruins
and desolation. They had hoped to be greeted joyfully by stalwart,
prosperous Englishmen. Instead a few gaunt, hollow-cheeked spectres,
who scarce seemed men, crawled to meet them.
Lost in amazement the newcomers landed, and as they listened to
the tragic tale pity filled their hearts. They gave the starving
wretches food, and comforted them as best they could. They had no
great stores themselves, and they saw at once that with such scant
supplies as they had it would be impossible to settle at Jamestown.
Even if they could get through the summer, the autumn would bring
no relief, for the fields, where the corn for the winter's use
should already have been sprouting, lay neglected and overgrown
with weeds and briers. The houses where the newcomers might have
lodged had disappeared. The very palisading which surrounded the
settlement as a bulwark against the Indians had been pulled down
for firewood. All the tools and implements which might have been
used to rebuild the place had been bartered away to the Indians. The
Indians themselves were no longer friendly, but hostile. Whichever
way they looked only misery and failure stared them in the face.
The Captains of the Patience and Deliverance talked long together,
but even they could see no ray of hope. So with heavy hearts they
resolved once more to abandon Virginia. They were loath indeed to
come to this decision, loath indeed to own themselves defeated.
But there seemed no other course left open to them.
So one day early in June the pitiful remnant of the Jamestown
Colony went on board the two waiting ships. Sir Thomas Gates, the
brave and wise captain of the expedition, was the last to leave
the ruined town. With backward looks he left it, and ere he weighed
anchor he fired a last salute to the lost colony. Then the sails
were set, and the two little ships drifted down stream towards the
open sea, carrying the beaten settlers back to old England.
Another attempt to plant a New England beyond the seas had failed.
But next day as the little ships dropped down stream the sailors on
the lookout saw a boat being rowed towards them. Was it an Indian
canoe? Did it come in peace or war? It drew nearer. Then it was
seen that it was no Indian canoe, but an English tug boat manned
by English sailors. With a shout they hailed each other, and news
was exchanged. Wonderful news it was to which the brokenhearted
Lord Delaware, the new Governor of Virginia, had arrived. His three
good ships, well stored with food and all things necessary for the
colony, were but a little way down stream. There was no need for
the settlers to flee home to escape starvation and death.
It may be that to some this news was heavy news. It may be that
some would gladly have turned their backs forever upon the spot
where they had endured so much misery. But for the most part the
colonists were unwilling to own defeat, and they resolved at once
to return. So the ships were put about, and three days after they
had left Jamestown, as they believed forever, the colonists once
more landed there.
As Lord Delaware stepped on shore he fell upon his knees giving
thanks to God that he had come in time to save Virginia. After
that the chaplain preached a sermon, then the new Governor, with
all his company about him, read aloud the commission given to him
by King James.
This was the first royal commission ever given to a governor of
an English colony in America. In it Lord Delaware was given the
power of life and death over "all and every person and persons now
inhabiting, or which shall hereafter inhabit within the precincts
of the said colony." The colonists were in fact to be his subjects. And
having read aloud his commission, and having thus as it were shown
his authority, Lord Delaware next spoke sternly to his new subjects. He
warned them that he would no longer endure their sluggish idleness
or haughty disobedience. And if they did not amend their ways they
might look to it that the most severe punishment of the law would
come upon them. Having thus spoken his mind plainly, to cheer them
he told of the plentiful and good stores he had brought with him,
of which all those who worked well and faithfully should have a
Now a new life began for the colony. All the settlers were made
to work for some hours every day. Even the gentlemen among them,
"whose breeding never knew what a day's labour meant," had to
do their share. Soon the houses were rebuilt, the palisades stood
again in place, two forts were erected to guard against attacks
by the Indians, and at length the colony seemed to be on the fair
way to success.
Of course this did not all happen at once. The idlers were not easily
turned into diligent workers, or unruly brawlers into peaceful
citizens. Indeed it was only through most stern, and what would
seem to us now most cruel punishments, that the unruly were forced
to keep the law.
The winter after Lord Delaware came out as Governor, although not
so hard as that of the Starving Time, was yet severe, and many of
the colonists died. Lord Delaware, too, became so ill that in the
spring he sailed home to England, and after a little time Sir Thomas
Dale took his place as Deputy Governor.
Sir Thomas Dale was both a soldier and a statesman. He was full
of energy and courage. Far-seeing and dogged, he was merciless to
the evildoers, yet kindly to those who tried to do well. Under his
stern yet righteous rule the colony prospered.
At first only men settlers had come out, then one or two women
joined them, and now many more women came, so that the men, instead
of all living together, married and had homes of their own. Then,
too, at first all a man's labour went into the common stock, and
the men who worked little fared as well as those who worked a great
deal. So the lazy fellow did as little as he could. "Glad when he
could slip from his labour," says an old writer, "or slumber over
his task he cared not how."
Thus most of the work of the colony was left to the few who were
industrious and willing. Sir Thomas Dale changed that. In return
for a small yearly payment in corn he gave three acres of land to
every man who wished it, for his own use. So, suddenly, a little
community of farmers sprang up. Now that the land was really their
own, to make of it what they would, each man tilled it eagerly, and
soon such fine crops of grain were raised that the colony was no
longer in dread of starvation. The settlers, too, began to spread
and no longer kept within the palisade round Jamestown, "more
especially as Jamestown," says an old writer, "was scandalised for
an unhealthy aire." And here and there further up the river little
villages sprang up.
Since Smith had gone home the Indians had remained unfriendly, and
a constant danger to the colonists. And now as they became thus
scattered the danger from the Indians became ever greater. Old Powhatan
and his men were constantly making raids upon the Pale-faces with
whom he had once been so friendly. And in spite of the watch they
kept he often succeeded in killing them or taking them prisoner.
He had also by now quite a store of swords, guns and tools stolen
from the English. And how to subdue him, or force him to live on
friendly terms with them once more, none knew.
Pocahontas, who had been so friendly and who had more than once
saved the Pale-faces from disaster, might have helped them. But
she now never came near their settlement; indeed she seemed to have
disappeared altogether. So the English could get no aid from her.
But now it happened one day that one of the adventurers, Samuel
Argall, who was, it is written, "a good Marriner, and a very civil
gentleman," went sailing up the Appomattox in search of corn for
the settlement. He had to go warily because no one could tell how
the Indians would behave, for they would be friends or foes just
as it suited them. If they got the chance of killing the Pale-faces
and stealing their goods they would do so. But if they were not
strong enough to do that they would willingly trade for the coloured
cloths, beads and hatchets they so much wanted.
Presently Argall came to the country of one of the chiefs with
whom he had made friends. While here he was told that Pocahontas,
the great Powhatan's daughter, was living with the tribe. As soon
as he heard this Captain Argall saw at once that here was a means
of forcing the Powhatan to make peace, and he resolved at all costs
to get possession of Pocahontas. So sending for the chief he told
him he must bring Pocahontas on board his ship.
But the chief was afraid and refused to do this.
"Then we are no longer brothers and friends," said Argall.
"My father," said the chief, "be not wroth. For if I do this thing
the Powhatan will make war upon me and upon my people."
"My brother," said Argall," have no fear; if so be that the
Powhatan shall make war upon you I will join with you against him
to overthrow him utterly. I mean, moreover, no manner of hurt to
Pocahontas, but will only keep her as hostage until peace be made
between the Powhatan and the Pale-faces. If therefore you do my
bidding I will give to you the copper kettle which you desire so
Now the chief longed greatly to possess the copper kettle. So he
promised to do as Argall asked, and began to cast about for an excuse
for getting Pocahontas on board. Soon he fell upon a plan. He bade
his wife pretend that she was very anxious to see the Englishman's
ship. But when she asked to be taken on board he refused to go with
her. Again and again she asked. Again and again the chief refused.
Then the poor lady wept with disappointment and at length the chief,
pretending to be very angry, swore that he would beat her if she
did not cease her asking and her tears. But as she still begged
and wept he said he would take her if Pocahontas would go too.
To please the old woman Pocahontas went. Captain Argall received
all three very courteously, and made a great feast for them in his
cabin. The old chief, however, was so eager to get his promised
kettle that he could little enjoy the feast, but kept kicking
Captain Argall under the table as much as to say, "I have done my
part, now you do yours."
At length Captain Argall told Pocahontas that she must stay with
him until peace was made between her father and the white men. As
soon as the old chief and his wife heard that they began to howl,
and cry, and make a great noise, so as to pretend that they knew
nothing about the plot. Pocahontas too began to cry. But Argall
assured her that no harm was intended her, and that she need have
no fear. So she was soon comforted and dried her eyes.
As for the wily old Indians they were made quite happy with the
copper kettle and a few other trifles, and went merrily back to
A messenger was then sent to the Powhatan telling him that his
daughter, whom he loved so dearly, was a prisoner, and that he
could only ransom her by sending back all the Pale-faces he held
prisoner, with all their guns, swords and tools which he had stolen.
When Powhatan got this news he was both angry and sorry. For he
loved his daughter very dearly, but he loved the Englishmen's tools
and weapons almost more. He did not know what to do, so for three
months he did nothing. Then at last he sent back seven of his
prisoners, each one carrying a useless gun.
"Tell your chieftain," he said, "that all the rest of the arms of
the Pale-faces are lost, or have been stolen from me. But if the
Pale-faces will give back my daughter I will give satisfaction
for all the other things I have taken, together with five hundred
bushels of corn, and will make peace forever."
But the Englishmen were not easily deceived. They returned a message
to the chief saying, "Your daughter is well used. But we do not
believe the rest of our arms are either lost or stolen, and therefore
until you send them we will keep your daughter."
The Powhatan was so angry when he got this message that for a long
time he would have no further dealings with the Pale-faces, but
continued to vex and harass them as much as he could.
At length Sir Thomas Dale, seeking to put an end to this, took
Pocahontas, and with a hundred and fifty men sailed up the river
to the Powhatan's chief town.
As soon as the savages saw the white men they came down to the river's
bank, jeering at them and insulting them, haughtily demanding why
they had come.
"We have brought the Powhatan's daughter," replied the Englishmen.
"For we are come to receive the ransom promised, and if you do not
give it willingly we will take it by force."
But the savages were not in the least afraid at that threat. They
jeered the more.
"If so be," they cried, "that you are come to fight you are right
welcome, for we are ready for you. But we advise you, if you love
your lives, to retire with haste. Else we will serve you as we have
served others of your countrymen."
"Oh," answered the Englishmen, "we must have a better answer than
that," and driving their ship nearer to the shore they made ready
But as soon as they were within bow shot the savages let fly their
arrows. Thick and fast they fell, rattling on the deck, glancing
from the men's armour, wounding not a few. This reception made the
Englishmen angry, so without more ado they launched their boats and
made for the shore. The savages fled at their coming, and so enraged
were the colonists against them that they burned their houses, and
utterly destroyed their town. Then they sailed on up the river in
pursuit of the Redmen.
Next day they came up again with the savages. They were now not so
insolent and sent a messenger to ask why the Pale-faces had burned
"Why did you fire upon us?" asked the Englishmen, sternly.
"Brothers," replied the Redmen, "we did not fire upon you. It was
but some stray savages who did so. We intend you no hurt and are
With these and many other fair words they tried to pacify the
Pale-faces. So the Englishmen, who had no wish to fight, made peace
with them. Then the Indians sent a messenger to the Powhatan who
was a day's journey off; and the Englishmen were told they must
wait two days for his answer.
Meanwhile the Englishmen asked to see their comrades whom the
Indians had taken prisoner.
"We cannot show them to you," replied the wily Redmen, "for they have
all run away in fear lest you should hang them. But the Powhatan's
men are pursuing after them, and will doubtless bring them back."
"Then where are the swords and guns which you have stolen from us?"
demanded the Englishmen.
"These you shall have to-morrow," replied the Redmen.
But, as the Englishmen well knew, this was all idle talk and deceit,
and next day no message came from the Powhatan, neither were any
swords nor guns forthcoming. So once more the Englishmen set sail
and went still further up the river.
Here quite close to another village belonging to the Powhatan they
came upon four hundred Indians in war paint. When they saw the
Englishmen the Indians yelled and danced, and dared them to come
ashore. This the Englishmen, nothing daunted, accordingly did. The
Redmen on their side showed no fear, but walked boldly up and down
among the Englishmen, demanding to speak with their captain.
So the chiefs were brought to Sir Thomas.
"Why do you come against us thus?" they asked. "We are friends and
brothers. Let us not fight until we have sent once again to our
King to know his pleasure. Then if he sends not back the message
of peace we will fight you and defend our own as best we may."
The Englishmen knew well that by all this talk of peace the Indians
wanted but to gain time so that they might be able to carry away
and hide their stores. Still they had no desire to fight if by any
other means they might gain their end. So they promised a truce
until noon the day following. "And if we then decide to fight you,
you shall be warned of it by the sounding of our drums and trumpets,"
The truce being settled Pocahontas' two brothers came on board the
Englishmen's ships to visit their sister. And when they saw that
she was well cared for, and appeared to be quite happy they were
very glad, for they had heard that she was ill treated and most
miserable. But finding her happy they promised to persuade their
father to ransom her, and make friends again with the Pale-faces.
Seeing them thus friendly Sir Thomas suggested that Pocahontas' two
brothers should stay on board his vessel as hostages while he sent
two of his company to parley with the Powhatan. This was accordingly
done, and Master John Rolfe and Master Sparkes set off on their
mission. When, however, they reached the village where the Powhatan
was hiding they found him still in high dudgeon, and he refused to
see them, or speak with them. So they had to be content with seeing
his brother, who treated them with all courtesy and kindness and
promised to do his best to pacify the Powhatan.
It was now April, and high time for the colonists to be back
on their farms sowing their corn. So with this promise they were
fain to be content in the meantime. And having agreed upon a truce
until harvest time they set sail once more for Jamestown, taking
Pocahontas with them.
One at least among the company of Englishmen was glad that
the negotiations with the Powhatan had come to nothing, and that
Pocahontas had not been ransomed. That was Master John Rolfe. For
Pocahontas, although a savage, was beautiful and kind, and John
Rolfe had fallen madly in love with her. So he had no desire that
she should return to her own tribe, but rather that she should
return to Jamestown and marry him.
Pocahontas, too, was quite fond of John Rolfe, although she had
never forgotten her love for the great White Chief whose life she
had saved. The Englishmen, however, told her that he had gone away
never to come back any more, and that very likely he was dead.
Pocahontas was then easily persuaded to marry John Rolfe. But he
himself, although he loved her very much, had some misgivings. For
was this beautiful savage not a heathen?
That difficulty was, however, soon overcome. For Pocahontas made no
objection to becoming a Christian. So one day there was a great
gathering in the little church at Jamestown when the heathen
princess stood beside the fort, and the water of Christian baptism
was sprinkled on her dark face, and she was given the Bible name
And now when the Powhatan heard that his daughter was going to
marry one of the Pale-faces he was quite pleased. He forgot all
his anger and sulkiness, sent many of his braves to be present at
the wedding, and swore to be the friend and brother of the Pale-faces
Sir Thomas Dale was delighted. So every one was pleased, and one
morning early in April three hundred years ago all the inhabitants
of the country round, both Redman and White, gathered to see the
wedding. And from that day for eight years, as long as the Powhatan
lived, there was peace between him and his brothers, the Pale-faces.
Chapter 16 - How Pocahontas Took a Journey Over the Seas
At peace with the Indians, the colonists could till their fields
without fear of attack. And now, besides corn, they began to grow
You remember that Columbus had noticed how the natives of his "India"
smoked rolled-up dried leaves. But, no one paid much attention to
it. Then the men of Raleigh's expedition again noticed it. They
tried it themselves, found it comforting, and brought both tobacco
and the habit home with them. And soon not only the seafaring
adventurers but many a man who was never likely to see the ocean,
or adventure beyond his native town, had taken to smoking. That,
too, despite his king's disgust at it. For James thought smoking
was "a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to
the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black smoking fumes
thereof nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit
that is bottomless." He indeed wrote a little book against it,
which he called "A Counterblaste to Tobacco." But no one paid much
attention to him. The demand for tobacco became greater and greater,
and soon the Virginian farmers found that there was a sale for as
much tobacco as they could grow, and that a crop of it paid better
than anything else.
Up till now the colony had. been a constant disappointment to the
"adventurers" - that is, to the people who had given the money to
fit out the expeditions - the shareholders we would now call them.
Most of them had adventured their money, not with any idea of
founding a New England beyond the seas where men should settle down
as farmers and tillers of the soil. They had adventured it rather
for the finding of gold and pearls, jewels and spices, so that it
might be repaid quickly, and a hundredfold. But year by year passed,
and all these glittering hopes were doomed to disappointment. No
gold was found. The adventurers saw their money being swallowed
up for nought. They grew discontented and grumbled, some of them
refused to pay any more, refused to throw more away on an empty
dream. They little knew that they were helping to found a new State
which in time was to become one of the world's greatest powers.
They little knew that in days to come their money should produce
a harvest a thousand, thousandfold, and that from the broad land,
of which they had helped to settle a tiny corner, was to come wealth
such as in their wildest imaginings, they had never dreamt.
Meanwhile, anything a Virginian wanted he could buy with tobacco.
Indeed, after a time the Virginians threw themselves with such
complete enthusiasm into the growing of tobacco that they were
reproached for neglecting everything else because of it.
The English were not the only people who had set forth to find
golden wealth and broad lands beyond the seas. Both the French and
the Dutch had carried their standard across the ocean, and planted
it upon the further shores. Already, too, the struggle for possession
Captain Argall, in one of his many expeditions, sailing northward
to the Bay of Fundy, found a French colony settled there. Argall
swooped down upon them, and claiming the whole continent by right
of Cabot's discovery, he utterly destroyed the colony, burning the
houses to the ground, and carrying off the cattle.
Argall next found a Dutch colony on the Hudson River. Here he
contented himself with ordering the Governor to pull down the Dutch
flag and run up the English one. To save his colony the Dutchman
did as he was commanded. But as soon as the arrogant Englishman
was out of sight he calmly ran up his own flag once more.
Meanwhile under Sir Thomas Dale Virginia continued to prosper. Then
after five years' rule Sir Thomas went home and the colony was left
to a new ruler. With him went John Rolfe and his wife Pocahontas,
together with their little baby son.
Now began a wonderful new life for the beautiful Indian. Only a
few years before she had been a merry, little, half naked savage,
turning cart wheels all over the Jamestown fort, and larking with
the boys. Now she found herself treated as a great lady.
In those days the people in England had very little idea of the
life out in the wilds. The Powhatan, they had heard, was a king, a
sort of emperor, indeed, and they doubtless pictured him as living in
a stately palace, wearing a golden crown and velvet robes. That a
"king" should be a half-naked savage, living in a mud hut, wearing
a crown of feathers on his head, and a string of beads about
his neck, they could not imagine. As the Powhatan was a king then
his daughter was a princess, and as such must be treated with all
It is even said that John Rolfe was roundly scolded by King James
for daring to marry a princess without first asking leave.
"For," he gravely pointed out, "if the Powhatan was a king and
Pocahontas his daughter, when the Powhatan died Rolfe or his baby
son might become King of Virginia. It was not meet or right that a
commoner should thus lightly take upon himself to marry the daughter
of a brother sovereign."
Every one, then, was ready to treat Pocahontas with deference. Besides
this John Smith wrote to the Queen relating all that she had done
for the Colony of Virginia and begging her to be kind to the Indian
girl who had done so much for England. For that or some other reason
the Queen took an interest in the little dusky Princess. Pocahontas
was presented to her, and was often seen at the theatre or other
entertainment with her. The ladies of the court were made to treat
Pocahontas with great ceremony. They addressed her as "Princess"
or "Lady," remained standing before her, and walked backwards when
they left her presence; famous artists painted her portrait; poets
wrote of her, and in one of his plays Ben Johnson calls her
The Blessed Pokahontas, as the historian calls her And great King's
daughter of Virginia.
In fact she became the rage. She was the talk of the town. Even
coffee-houses and taverns were named after her,-La Belle Sauvage
(the beautiful savage). And it is interesting to remember that a
great publishing house in London takes its name from one of these
old taverns. Books go out to all the world from the sign of La
Belle Sauvage, thus forming a link between the present and that
half-forgotten American "princess" of so long ago.
In spite of all the homage and flattery poured upon her, Pocahontas
yet remained modest and simple, enchanting all who met her. And
among all the new delights of England she had the joy of seeing once
again the great White Chief she had loved and called her father in
days gone by.
Her joy was all the greater because she had believed him to be
dead. When Smith first came to see her her feelings were so deep
that at first she could not speak. She greeted him in silence,
then suddenly turning away she hid her face and wept. But after a
little she recovered herself, and began to speak of the old days,
and of how she had thought he was dead. "I knew no other," she
said, "until I came to Plymouth."
In many ways Pocahontas showed her joy at again recovering her old
friend. But when she found that Smith was not going to treat her
as an old friend, but as if she were a great lady, and call her
Princess like all the others round her, she was hurt.
"You did promise the Powhatan that what was yours should be his,
and he did promise the like to you," she said. "A stranger in his
land you called him father, and I shall do the same by you."
"Lady," replied Smith, "I dare not allow that title, for you are
a King's daughter."
But from the man who had known her in those strange, wild days in
far-off Virginia, from the man she had looked upon as a great and
powerful chief, Pocahontas would have no such nonsense. She laughed
"You were not afraid," she said defiantly, "to come into my father's
country, and cause fear in him, and in all his people save me.
And fear you here that I should call you father? I tell you then
I will. And you shall call me child. And so I will be forever and
ever your countryman."
Pocahontas took all the strangeness of her new surroundings very
simply. But some of her attendants were utterly overwhelmed with
wonder and awe at the things they saw. One man in particular, who
was accounted a very clever man among his own people, had been sent
by the Powhatan to take particular note of everything in England.
Among other things he had been charged to count the people! So
on landing at Plymouth he provided himself with a long stick and
proceeded to make a notch in it for every man he met. But he met
so many people that he could not make notches fast enough; so in
a very short time he grew weary of that and threw his stick away.
Coming to London he was more amazed than ever. Never had he seen
so great a city nor so many folk all gathered together, and among
them not one familiar face. So he welcomed Captain John Smith like
an old friend, and eagerly questioned him as to the wonders of this
strange country. More especially he asked to see God, the King and
Queen, and the Prince.
Captain Smith tried as best he could to explain to the poor heathen
about God, telling him He could not be seen. As, to the King, he
added, "you have seen him."
"No," said the Indian, "I have not seen your great King."
Then when Captain Smith explained that the little man with a jeweled
feather in his cap and sword by his side, who had one day spoken
to him was the King, the Indian was much disappointed.
"You gave Powhatan a white dog," he said, "which Powhatan fed as
himself. But your King gave me nothing."
However if the old Indian was disappointed with the manner in which
the King had received him he was much made of by others. For every
one was eager to see this wild savage. And often to please these
new friends he would sing to them and make their blood creep by
his wild dances.
Pocahontas loved England where she was so kindly treated. She took
to the new life so well that it is said she soon "became very formal
and civil after our English manner." But she who had been used to
roam the wild woods could not live in the confinement of towns,
and soon she became very ill. So she made up her mind at length,
sorely against her will, to go back to Virginia with her husband.
Captain Argall was about to return there as Deputy Governor. So
Pocahontas and her husband took passages in his boat.
But Pocahontas was never again to see her native shore. She went on
board Captain Argall's boat, the George, and indeed set sail from
London, but before she reached Gravesend she became so ill that
she had to be taken ashore, and there she died. She was buried in
the chancel of the Parish Church. Later the Church was burned down,
but it was rebuilt, and as a memorial to Pocahontas American ladies
have placed a stained glass window there, and also a pulpit made
of Virginian wood.
John Rolfe returned alone to Virginia, leaving his little son
Thomas behind him in the care of an uncle. He remained in England
until he was grown up, and then went to his native land. There he
married, and had a daughter, and became the ancestor of several
Virginian families who are to this day proud to trace their descent
from beautiful Pocahontas and her English husband.
Chapter 17 - How the Redmen Fought Against Their White Brothers
The Colony of Virginia which had prospered so greatly under Sir
Thomas Dale had fallen again on evil days. For Samuel Argall, who
now governed, proved a tyrant. Dale had been autocratic, but he had
been autocratic for the good of the colony. Argall was autocratic
for his own gains. He extorted money and tribute from the colonists
to make himself rich, and profits which should have gone to the
company went into his pocket. Again and again the colonists sent
home complaints of Argall's doings. At length these complaints became
so loud and long that the company once more sent Lord Delaware out
But on the way Lord Delaware died, and the party of settlers he was
bringing out arrived without him. On their arrival Argall at once
took possession of Lord Delaware's private papers, and much to his
disgust he found among them one telling Lord Delaware to arrest
Argall and send him back to England.
This made Argall very angry; it also made him more despotic and
cruel than ever. In consequence still more bitter complaints reached
home from the colonists.
At this time the company at home were quarrelling among themselves.
But in the end they sent out a new Governor called Sir George
Yeardley. He, too, had orders to arrest Argall and send him home.
But Argall somehow came to know of it, and he made up his mind not
to go home a prisoner. So before the new Governor could arrive he
packed up his goods, and leaving the colony to take care of itself,
sailed gaily off to England.
The Virginians now were heartily tired of despots, and thought
that it was time that they had some say in the matter of governing
themselves. At the head of the company at home there was at this
time a wise man named Sandys. He also thought that it would be best
for the colony to be self-governing.
And so on July 30th, 1619, the first General Election was held in
Virginia, and the first Parliament of Englishmen in America met.
There were by this time about two thousand people living in the
colony, and the settlements were scattered about on both sides
of the river for sixty miles or so above Jamestown. So the colony
was divided into eleven parts or constituencies, each constituency
sending two members to the little parliament. These members
were called burgesses, and the parliament was called the House of
Burgesses. But there was no special building in which the burgesses
could gather, so the meetings were held in the little wooden church
at Jamestown. And thus with such small beginnings were the first
foundations of a free and independent nation laid. And because of
the founding of this House of Burgesses 1619 stands out as the year
most to be remembered in all the early days of Virginia.
But 1619 has to be remembered for another, and this time a sad reason:
for it saw not only the beginnings of freedom, but the beginnings
Just a month after the opening of the House of Burgesses a Dutch
vessel anchored at Jamestown. The captain had been on a raiding
expedition off the coast of Africa, and he had on board a cargo of
negroes, whom he had stolen from their homes. Twenty of these he
sold to the farmers. And thus slavery was first introduced upon
the Virginian plantations.
In 1619, too, there arrived the first ship-load of women colonists.
Nearly all the settlers were men. A few indeed had brought their
wives and daughters with them, but for the most part the colony
was a community of men. Among these there were many who were young,
and as they grew rich and prosperous they wanted to marry and have
homes of their own. But there was no one for them to marry. So
at length some one at home fell upon the plan of persuading young
women to go out to Virginia to settle there, and in 1619 a ship-load
of ninety came out. As soon as they arrived they found many young
men eager to marry them, and sometimes they must have found it
difficult to make a choice. But as soon as a young man was accepted
he had to pay the Company 120 Ibs., afterwards raised to 150 Ibs.,
of tobacco as the price of his bride's passage across the seas.
Then they were free to marry as soon as they pleased.
After this from time to time women went out to the colony. Sometimes
we read of "a widow and eleven maids," or again of "fifty maids for
wives." And always there came with them a letter from the company
at home to the old men of the colony reminding them that these
young women did not come to be servants. "We pray you therefore to
be fathers to them in their business, not enforcing them to marry
against their wills, neither send them to be servants," they wrote.
And if the girls did not marry at once they were to be treated as
guests and "put to several householders that have wives till they
can be provided of husbands."
Helped in this quaint fashion and in others the colony prospered
and grew ever larger. It would have prospered even more had it
not been for the outbreak of a kind of plague, which the colonists
simply called "the sickness." It attacked chiefly the new settlers,
and was so deadly that in one year a thousand of them died. Doctors
were not very skilful in those days, and although they did their
best, all their efforts were of little use, till at length the
dread disease wore itself out.
But in spite of all difficulties the colony grew, the settlements
extended farther and farther in a long line up and down both banks
of the James from Chesapeake Bay to what is now Richmond. Had the
Indians been unfriendly, the colony could not have stretched out
in this fashion without great danger to the settlers. But for eight
years the Redmen had been at peace with their white brothers, and
the settlers had lost all fear of attack from them. The Indians,
indeed, might be seen wandering freely about the towns and farms.
They came into the houses, and even shared the meals of the farmer
and his household. Nothing, to all outward seeming, could be more
friendly than the relations between the Redmen and the settlers.
Then after eight years, old Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas,
died, and his brother became chief of the tribe. It may be that
this new chief was known not to be so friendly to the Pale-faces as
his brother had been. In any case the Governor took the precaution
of sending a messenger to him with renewed expressions of friendship.
Opekankano received the messenger kindly and sent him back to his
master. "Tell the Pale-faces," he said, "that I hold the peace so
sure that the skies shall fall sooner than it should be broken."
But at this very time he and his people were plotting utterly to
destroy the settlers. Yet they gave no hint of it. They had planned
a general massacre, yet two days before the 22nd of March, the day
fixed for it, some settlers were safely guided through the woods by
the Indians. They came as usual, quite unarmed, into the settlers'
houses, selling game, fish and furs in exchange for glass beads and
such trifles. Even on the night of the 21st of March they borrowed
the settlers' boats so that many of their tribe could get quickly
across the river. Next morning in many places the Indians were
sitting at breakfast with the settlers and their families when
suddenly, as at a given signal, they sprang up, and, seizing the
settlers own weapons, killed them all, sparing neither men, women
nor children. So sudden was the onslaught that many a man fell dead
without a cry, seeing not the hand which smote him. In the workshops,
in the fields, in the gardens, wherever they were, wherever their
daily work took them, they were thus suddenly and awfully struck
For days and weeks the Indians had watched the habits of the
settlers until they knew the daily haunts of every man. Then they
had planned one swift and deadly blow which was to wipe out the
whole colony. And so cunning was their plot, so complete and perfect
their treachery, that they might have succeeded but for the love
of one faithful Indian. This Indian, named Chanco, lived with one
of the settlers named Pace, and had become his servant. But Pace
treated him more as a son than as a servant, and the Indian had
become very devoted to him. When, then, this Indian was told that
his chief commanded him to murder his master he felt that he could
not do it. Instead, he went at once to Pace and told him of the
plot. Pace then made ready to defend himself, and sent warnings
to all the other settlers within reach. Thus a great many of the
colonists were saved from death, but three hundred and fifty were
This sudden and treacherous attack, after so many years of peace,
enraged the white men, and they followed the Redmen with a terrible
vengeance. They hunted them like wild beasts, tracking them down
with bloodhounds, driving them mercilessly from place to place,
until, their corn destroyed, their houses burned, their canoes
smashed to splinters, the Indians were fain to sue for mercy, and
peace once more was restored for more than twenty years.
Chapter 18 - How Englishmen Fought a Duel With Tyranny
At last Virginia prospered. But while it prospered the man who had
first conceived the idea of this New England beyond the seas had
fallen on evil days. Sir Walter Raleigh had been thrown into prison
by King James. There for twelve long years he languished, only to
be set free at length on condition that he should find a gold-mine
for his King. He failed to find the mine, and by his efforts only
succeeded in rousing to greater heights than before the Spanish
hatred against him. For Spain claimed the land and gold of which
Raleigh had gone in search. And now the King of Spain demanded that
he should be punished. And James, weakly yielding to his outcry,
condemned Sir Walter to death. So on 29th of October, 1618,
this great pioneer laid his head upon the block, meeting death as
gallantly as ever man died.
"I shall yet live to see it (Virginia) an English nation," he had
said, after his own fifth failure to found a colony, and his words
had come true. But long ere his death Raleigh had ceased to have
any connection with Virginia. And perhaps there was scarce a man
among those who had made their homes there who remembered that it
was Raleigh who had prepared the way, that but for Raleigh a new
Spain and not a New England might have been planted on the American
So the death of Raleigh made no difference to the fortunes of
Virginia. But the same stupidity, that same "wonderful instinct for
the wrong side of every question" which made James kill his great
subject, also made him try to stifle the infant colony. So while
in spite of sickness and massacre the colony prospered, the company
at home was passing through strenuous times. The head or treasurer
of the company was still that Sir Edwin Sandys who had been the
chief mover in giving the colony self-government. King James, who
was full of great ideas about the divine right of kings, had never
forgiven him that. He was as eager as any of his people to build
up a colonial Empire, but he desired that it should be one which
should be dependent on himself. He had no intention of allowing
colonies to set themselves up against him.
Now the time came to elect a new treasurer, and the company being
very pleased with Sandys, decided to elect him again. But when King
James heard that, he was very angry. He called the company a school
of treason and Sandys his greatest enemy. Then, flinging himself
out of the room in a terrible passion, he shouted "Choose the Devil
if you will, but not Sir Edwin Sandys."
Still in spite of the King's anger the company decided to go its
own way. They had their charter sealed with the King's seal, signed
with the King's name, which gave them the right of freely electing
their own officers, and not even the King should be allowed to
interfere with that right.
On the day of the election nearly five hundred of the "adventurers"
gathered together. Three names were put up for election, Sir
Edwin's heading the list. But just as the voting was about to begin
a messenger from the King arrived.
"It is not the King's pleasure that Sir Edward Sandys should be
chosen," he said, "so he has sent to you a list of four, one of
which you may choose."
At this, dead silence fell upon the company, every man lost in
amazement at this breach of their charter. For minutes the heavy
silence lasted. Then there arose murmurs which grew ever louder until
amid cries of anger it was proposed to turn the King's messengers
"No," said the Earl of Southampton, "let the noble gentlemen keep
their places. Let them stay and see that we do everything in a
manner which is fair and above board. For this business is of so
great concernment that it can never be too solemnly, too thoroughly
or too publicly examined."
Others agreed that this was right. So the messengers stayed. Then
there came impatient cries from every part of the hall, "The Charter!
The Charter! God save the King!"
So the charter was brought and solemnly read.
Then the secretary stood up. "I pray you, gentlemen," he said, "to
observe well the words of the charter on the point of electing a
Governor. You see it is thereby left to your own free choice. This
I take it is so very plain that we shall not need to say anything
more about it. And no doubt these gentlemen when they depart will
give his Majesty a just information of the case."
This speech was received with great noise and cheering. In the midst
of it a friend of Sir Edwin's stood up and begged for silence. And
when the noise had abated a little he said, "Sir Edwin asks me to
say that he withdraws his name for election. I therefore propose
that the King's messengers choose two names and that we choose
a third. Then let all these three names be set upon the balloting
box. And so go to the election in God's name. And let His will be
Thereupon with one voice the whole assembly cried out, "Southampton!
The King's messengers then pretended that they were quite pleased.
"The King," they said, "had no desire to infringe their rights. He
desired no more than that Sir Edwin Sandys should not be chosen."
Then they named two from the King's list, and the ballot was
immediately taken; the result being that one of the King's men had
two votes, the other but one, and the Earl of Southampton all the
When the King heard of this result he was a little anxious and
apologetic. The messengers, he said, had mistaken his intention.
He had only meant to recommend his friends, and not to forbid the
company to elect any other. But once again Englishmen had fought
a duel with tyranny, and won.
From this day, however, the King's hatred of the company became
deadly. He harassed it in every way and at last in 1624 took its
charter away, and made Virginia a Crown Colony. Henceforth in theory
at least self-government was taken away from Virginia, and to the
King alone belonged the right of appointing the Governor and Council.
But in fact the change made little difference to the colony. For
in the spring of 1625 King James died, and his son Charles I, who
succeeded him upon the throne, had so much else to trouble him that
he paid little heed to Virginia.
Chapter 19 - The Coming of the Cavaliers
With a new King on the throne life in Virginia went on much as
it had done. Governors came and went, were good or bad, strong or
weak. There were troubles with the Indians, and troubles at home
about the sale of tobacco; still the colony lived and prospered.
The early days of struggle were over.
Virginia now was no longer looked upon as a place of exile where with
luck one could make a fortune and return home to England to enjoy
it. Men now began to find Virginia a pleasant place, and look upon
it as their home. The great woods were full of game, the streams
were full of fish, so that the Englishman could shoot and angle to
his heart's content. The land was so fertile that he did not need
to work half so hard to earn a living as he had to do at home;
while the climate was far kindlier.
So the colony prospered. And it was to this prosperous colony
that in 1642 Sir William Berkeley was appointed Governor. He was
a courtly, hot-tempered, imperious gentleman, a thorough cavalier
who dressed in satin and lace and ruled like a tyrant. He did not
believe in freedom of thought, and he spent a good deal of time
persecuting the Puritans who had found refuge in Virginia.
For just about the time of Berkeley's appointment a fierce religious
war between Cavalier and Puritan was beginning in England, and
already some Puritans had fled to Virginia to escape persecution
at home. But Berkeley soon showed them that they had come to the
wrong place and bade them "depart the Colony with all convenience."
Berkeley did not believe in freedom of thought, and he disapproved
just as much of education, for that had encouraged freedom of
thought. "I thank God," he said some years later, "there are no
free schools in Virginia or printing, and I hope we shall not have
them these hundred years. For learning has brought disobedience and
heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them,
and libels against the best government. God keep us from both."
In England the quarrel between King and people grew ever fiercer
and more bitter. Virginia so far away heard the echo of it, and
there, as in England, men took sides. The men in Virginia were
ready enough to stand up to the King and speak their mind when he
threatened their liberties. But when they heard that the people in
England had taken the King prisoner and were talking of beheading
him they were horrified. To lay bands upon his person, to lead him
to the block, to take his life! That seemed to them very terrible.
And when at length the news of the King's death reached Virginia
the Virginians forgot their grievances, they became King's men.
And Berkeley, a fervent Royalist, wrote to his brother Royalists at
home asking them to come out to Virginia, there to find new homes
far from the rule of the hated "usurper" Cromwell.
Many came, fleeing from their native land "in horror and despairs
at the bloody and bitter stroke." Before the year was out at least
a thousand Cavaliers had found a home in Virginia. They were kindly,
even affectionately, received. Every house was open to them, every
hand stretched out to help.
In October the House of Burgesses met and at once declared that the
beheading of "the late most excellent and now undoubtedly sainted
King" was treason. And if any one in Virginia dared to defend "the
late traitorous proceedings against the aforesaid King of most
happy memory" they too would be found guilty of treason and worthy
of death. Worthy of death too should be any one who seemed by word
or deed to doubt the right of "his Majesty that now is" to the Colony
of Virginia. Thus Charles II, a homeless wanderer, was acknowledged
King of Virginia.
In this manner did little Virginia fling down the gauntlet to Great
Britain. It was a daring deed, and one not likely to go unheeded by
the watchful Cromwell. Yet two years and more passed. Then British
ships appeared off Jamestown. At once the Virginians made ready to
resist; cannon were mounted; the gay Cavaliers turned out in force,
sword by side, gun in hand. Then a little boat flying a white flag
was seen to put off for the shore. It was a messenger from the
It would be much better for them, he said, to yield peacefully than
to fight and be beaten. For hold out against the great strength of
Britain they could not. His words had weight with the Virginians.
Yet long and seriously they debated. Some would have held out,
but others saw only misery and destruction in such a course. So at
length they surrendered to the might of Cromwell.
The conditions were not severe. They had to submit, and take the
oath of allegiance to the British Parliament. Those who refused
were given a year's time in which to leave the colony. And as for
their love of the King? Why, they might pray for him, and drink
his health in private, and no man would hinder them. Only in public
such things would not be tolerated.
In bitterness of heart the Cavalier Governor gave up his post, sold
his house in Jamestown, and went away to live in his great country
house at Green Spring. Here amid his apple-trees and orchards he
lived in a sort of rural state, riding forth in his great coach,
and welcoming with open arms the Cavaliers who came to him for aid
and comfort in those evil times.
These Cavaliers were men and women of good family. They came from
the great houses of England, and in their new homes they continued to
lead much the same life as they had done at home. So in Virginia.
there grew up a Cavalier society, a society of men and women
accustomed to command, accustomed to be waited upon; who drove
about in gilded coaches, and dressed in silks and velvets. Thus the
plain Virginian farmer became a country squire. From these Cavalier
families were descended George Washington, James Madison and other
great men who helped to make America.
The years of the Commonwealth passed quietly in Virginia. Having
made the colonists submit, the Parliament left them to themselves,
and Virginia for the first time was absolutely self-governing.
But the great Protector died, the Restoration followed, when the
careless, pleasure-loving King, Charles II was set upon the throne.
In Virginia too there was a little Restoration. When the news was
brought the Cavaliers flung up their caps and shouted for joy.
Bonfires were lit, bells were rung and guns fired, and to the sound
of drum and trumpet Charles by the Grace of God King of England,
Scotland, France, Ireland and Virginia was proclaimed to all the
winds of heaven. A new seal was made upon which were the words
"En dat Virginia quintum" meaning "Behold Virginia gives the fifth
(dominion)." Henceforth Virginia was often called by the name of
the "Old Dominion."
Nor was that all. For with the Restoration of the Stuarts Berkeley
too was restored. The haughty Cavalier left his country manor
house and came back to rule at Jamestown once more, as Governor
and Captain General of Virginia.
During the Commonwealth there had been little change made in the
government of Virginia, except that the right of voting for the
Burgesses had been given to a much larger number of people.
That did not please Sir William Berkeley at all. He took away the
right from a good many people. When he came back to power too he
found the House of Burgesses much to his liking. So instead of having
it re-elected every year he kept the same members for fourteen years
lest the people should elect others who would not do his bidding.
This made the people discontented. But they soon had greater causes
for discontent. First there was the Navigation Law. This Law had
been passed ten years before, but had never really been put in
force in America. By this Law it was ordered that no goods should
be exported from the colonies in America except in British ships.
Further it was ordered that the colonies should not trade with any
country save England and Ireland or "some other of His Majesty's
said plantations." It was a foolish law, meant to hurt the Dutch,
and put gold into the pockets of British merchants. Instead it
drove the colonies to rebellion.
Virginia had yet another grievance. Virginia, which for eight years
had been self-governing, Virginia which had begun to feel that
she had a life of her own, a place of her own among the nations,
suddenly found herself given away like some worthless chattel to two
of the King's favourites -the Earl of Arlington and Lord Culpeper.
The careless, laughter-loving King owed much to his friends who
had rescued him from beggary, and set him upon his father's throne.
Here was an easy way of repaying two of them. If they really
desired that wild land beyond the seas, where only savages lived,
and where the weed which his pompous grandfather had disliked so much
grew, why they should have it! So he carelessly signed his royal
name and for a yearly rent of forty shillings "all that dominion of
land and water commonly called Virginia" was theirs for the space
of thirty-one years.
It was but a scratch of the pen to the King. It was everything to
the Virginians, and when news of it reached them all Virginia was
ablaze. They who had clung to the King in his evil days, they who
had been the last people belonging to England to submit to the
Commonwealth to be thus tossed to his favourites like some useless
toy, without so much as a by your leave! They would not suffer it.
And they sent a messenger to England to lay their case before the
As to Charles, he was lazily astonished to find that any one
objected to such a little trifle. And with his usual idle good nature
he promised that it should be altered. But he had no intention of
hurrying. Meanwhile out in Virginia events were hastening.
Chapter 20 - Bacon's Rebellion
For some time now the Indians had been an increasing terror to
the white men. They had grown restless and uneasy at the constantly
widening borders of the settlements. Day by day the forest
was cleared, the cornfields stretched farther and farther inland,
and the Redman saw himself driven farther and farther from his
So anger arose in the Redman's heart. He lurked in the forests
which girded the lonely farms and, watching his opportunity, crept
stealthily forth to slay and burn. Settler after settler was slain
in cold blood, or done to death with awful tortures, and his pleasant
homestead was given to the flames. Day by day the tale of horror
grew, till it seemed at length that no farm along the borders of
the colony was safe from destruction. Yet the Governor did nothing.
Helplessly the Virginians raged against his sloth and tyranny. He
was a traitor to his trust, they declared, and feared to wage war
on the Indians lest it should spoil his fur trade with them. But
that was not so. A deadlier fear than that kept Berkeley idle. He
knew how his tyranny had made the people hate him, and he feared
to arm them and lead them against the Indians, lest having subdued
these foes they should turn their arms against him.
But the men of Virginia were seething with discontent and ripe for
rebellion. All they wanted was a leader, and soon they found one.
This leader was Nathaniel Bacon, a young Englishman who had but
lately come to the colony. He was dashing and handsome, had winning
ways and a persuasive tongue. He was the very man for a popular
leader, and soon at his back he had an army of three hundred armed
settlers, "one and all at his devotion."
Bacon then sent to the Governor asking for a commission to go
against the Indians. But Berkeley put him off with one excuse after
another; until at length goaded into rebellion Bacon and his men
determined to set out, commission or no commission.
But they had not gone far when a messenger came spurring behind
them in hot haste. He came with a proclamation from the Governor
denouncing them all as rebels, and bidding them disperse at once
on pain of forfeiting their lands and goods. Some obeyed, but the
rest went on with Bacon, and only returned after having routed the
Indians. Their defeat was so severe that the battle is known as the
Battle of Bloody Run, because it was said the blood of the Indians
made red the stream which flowed near the battlefield.
The Indians for the time were cowed, and Bacon marched slowly home
with his men.
Meanwhile Berkeley had gathered horses and men and had ridden out
to crush this turbulent youth. But hearing suddenly that the people
had risen in revolt, he hastened back to Jamestown with all speed.
He saw he must do something to appease the people. So he dissolved
the House of Burgesses which for fourteen years had done his bidding,
and ordered a new election. This pacified the people somewhat. But
they actually elected the rebel Bacon as one of the members of the
Bacon was not, however, altogether to escape the consequences of
his bold deeds. As soon as he returned he was taken prisoner and
led before the Governor. The stern old Cavalier received this rebel
with cool civility.
"Mr. Bacon," he said, "have you forgot to be a gentleman?"
"No, may it please your honour," answered Bacon,
"Then," said the Governor, "I will take your parole."
So Bacon was set free until the House of Burgesses should meet.
Meantime he was given to understand that if he made open confession
of his misdeeds in having marched against the Indians without a
commission, he would be forgiven, receive his commission, and be
allowed to fight the Indians. It was not easy to make this proud
young man bend his knee. But to gain his end Bacon consented to
beg forgiveness for what he deemed no offence. The Governor meant
it to be a solemn occasion, one not lightly to be forgotten. So when
the burgesses and council were gathered the Governor stood up.
"If there be joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner
that repenteth," he said, "there is joy now, for we have a penitent
sinner come before us. Call Mr. Bacon."
The doors were thrown wide open and in marched Bacon, tall and
proud, looking grave indeed but little like a repentant sinner.
At the bar of the House he knelt on one knee, and reading from a
paper written out for him confessed his crimes, begging pardon from
God, the King, and the Governor.
When his clear young voice ceased the old Governor spoke.
"God forgive you," he said, solemnly. "I forgive you." Three times
he repeated the words and was silent.
"And all that were with him?" asked one of the council.
"Yea," said the Governor, "and all that were with him."
Thus the matter seemed ended. There was peace again and the House
could now proceed to further business.
Part of that business was to settle what was to be done about the
Indian war. Some of the people hoped that they might get help from
friendly Indians. So the Indian Queen, Pamunky, had been asked to
come to the Assembly and say what help she would give. Her tribe
was the same as that over which the Powhatan had ruled so long
ago. And although it was now but a shadow of its former self she
had still about a hundred and fifty braves at command whose help
the Englishmen were anxious to gain.
Queen Pamunky entered the Assembly with great dignity, and with
an air of majesty walked slowly up the long room. Her walk was so
graceful, her gestures so courtly, that every one looked at her
in admiration. Upon her head she wore a crown of black and white
wampum. Her robe was made of deer skin and covered her from shoulders
to feet, the, edges of it being slit into fringes six inches deep.
At her right hand walked an English interpreter, at her left her
son, a youth of twenty.
When Queen Pamunky reached the table she stood still looking at
the members coldly and gravely, and only at their urgent request
did she sit down. Beside her, as they had entered the room, stood
her son and interpreter on either hand.
When she was seated the chairman asked her how many men she would
send to help them against the enemy Indians. All those present were
quite sure that she understood English, but she would not speak
to the chairman direct, and answered him through her interpreter,
bidding him speak to her son.
The young Indian chieftain however also refused to reply. So again
the Queen was urged to say how many men she could send.
For some minutes she sat still, as if in deep thought. Then in a
shrill high voice full of passionate fervour, and trembling as if
with tears, she spoke in her own tongue, and ever and anon amid the
tragic torrent of sound the words "Tatapatamoi chepiack, Tatapatamoi
chepiack" could be heard.
Few present understood her. But one of the members did, and shook
his head sadly.
"What she says is too true, to our shame be it said," he sighed. "My
father was general in that battle of which she speaks. Tatapatamoi
was her husband, and he led a hundred men against our enemies,
and was there slain with most of his company. And from that day to
this no recompense has been given to her. Therefore she upbraids
us, and cries, 'Tatapatamoi is dead.'"
When they heard the reason for the Indian Queen's anger many were
filled with sympathy for her.
The chairman however was a crusty old fellow, and he was quite
unmoved by the poor Queen's passion of grief and anger. Never a word
did he say to comfort her distress, not a sign of sympathy did he
give. He rudely brushed aside her vehement appeal, and repeated
"What men will you give to help against the enemy Indians?"
With quivering nostrils, and flashing eyes, the Indian Queen drew
herself up scornfully, she looked at him, then turned her face
away, and sat mute.
Three times he repeated his question.
Then in a low disdainful voice, her head still turned away, she
muttered in her own language "Six."
This would never do. The lumbering old chairman argued and persuaded,
while the dusky Queen sat sullenly silent. At length she uttered
one word as scornfully as the last. "Twelve," she said. Then rising,
she walked proudly and gravely from the hall.
Thus did the blundering old fellow of a chairman, for the lack of
a few kindly words, turn away the hearts of the Indians, and lose
their help at a moment when it was sorely needed.
The new House had many other things to discuss besides the Indian
wars, and the people, who had been kept out of their rights for
so long, now made up for lost time. They passed laws with feverish
haste. They restored manhood suffrage, did away with many class
privileges, and in various ways instituted reforms. Afterwards
these laws were known as Bacon's Laws.
But meanwhile Bacon was preparing a new surprise for every one.
One morning the town was agog with news. "Bacon has fled, Bacon
has fled!" cried every one.
It was true. Bacon had grown tired of waiting for the commission
which never came. So he was off to raise the country. A few days
later he marched back again at the head of six hundred men.
At two o'clock one bright June day the sounds of drum and trumpet
were heard mingled with the tramp of feet and the clatter of horses'
hoofs; and General Bacon, as folk began to call him now, drew up
his men not an arrow's flight from the State House.
The people of Jamestown rushed to the spot. Every window and balcony
was crowded with eager excited people. Men, women and children
jostled each other on the green, as Bacon, with a file of soldiers
on either hand, marched to the State House.
The white-haired old Governor, shaking with anger, came out to
meet the insolent young rebel. With trembling fingers he tore at
the fine lace ruffles of his shirt, baring his breast.
"Here I am!" He cried. "Shoot me! 'Fore God 'tis a fair mark. Shoot
me! Shoot me!" he repeated in a frenzy.
But Bacon answered peaceably enough. "No, may it please your honour,"
he said, "we will not hurt a hair of your head, nor of any other
man's. We are come for a commission to save our lives from the
Indians which you have so often promised. And now we will have it
before we go."
But when the stern old Cavalier refused to listen to him, Bacon too
lost his temper, and laying his hand on his sword, swore he would
kill the Governor, Council, Assembly and all, rather than forego
his commission. His men, too, grew impatient and filled the air
with their shouts.
"We will have it, we will have it!" they cried, at the same time
pointing their loaded guns at the windows of the State House.
Minute by minute the uproar increased, till at length one of the
Burgesses, going to a window, waved his handkerchief ("a pacifeck
handkercher" a quaint old record calls it) and shouted, "You shall
have it, you shall have it."
So the tumult was quieted. A commission was drawn up making Bacon
Commander-in-Chief of the army against the Indians, and a letter
was written to the King praising him for what he had done against
them. But the stern old Governor was still unbending, and not till
next day was he browbeaten into signing both papers.
The young rebel had triumphed. But Berkeley was not yet done with
him, for the same ship which carried the letter of the Burgesses
to the King also carried a private letter from Berkeley in which
he gave his own account of the business. "I have for above thirty
years governed the most flourishing country the sun ever shone
over," he wrote, "but am now encompassed with rebellion like waters."
And as soon as Bacon was safely away, and at grips once more with
the Indians, the Governor again proclaimed him and his followers
to be rebels and traitors.
Bacon had well-nigh crushed the Indian foe when this news was
brought to him. He was cut to the quick by the injustice.
"I am vexed to the heart," he said, "for to think that while I am
hunting Indian wolves, tigers, and foxes which daily destroy our
harmless sheep and lambs, that I, and those with me, should be pursued
with a full cry, as a more savage and no less ravenous beast."
So now in dangerous mood he marched back to Jamestown. Things were
looking black for him, but his men were with him heart and soul.
When one of them, a Scotsman named Drummond, was warned that this
was rebellion he replied recklessly, "I am in over shoes, I will
be in over boots."
His wife was even more bold. "This is dangerous work," said some
one, "and England will have something to say to it."
Then Sarah Drummond picked up a twig, and snapping it in two, threw
it down again. "I fear the power of England no more than that broken
straw," she cried.
Bacon now issued a manifesto in reply to Berkeley's proclamation,
declaring that he and his followers could not find in their hearts
one single spot of rebellion or treason. "Let Truth be bold," he
cried, "and let all the world know the real facts of this matter."
He appealed to the King against Sir William, who had levied unjust
taxes, who had failed to protect the people against the Indians, who
had traded unjustly with them, and done much evil to his Majesty's
So far there had only been bitter words between the old Governor and
the young rebel, and Bacon had never drawn his sword save against
the Indians. Now he turned it against the Governor, and, marching
on Jamestown, burned it to the ground, and Berkeley, defeated, fled
Everywhere Bacon seemed successful, and from Jamestown he marched
northward to settle affairs there also "after his own measures."
But a grim and all-conquering captain had now taken up arms against
this victorious rebel-Captain Death, whom even the greatest soldier
must obey. And on October 1st, 1676, Bacon laid down his sword for
ever. He had been the heart and soul of the rebellion, and with
his death it collapsed swiftly and completely.
Bacon was now beyond the Governor's wrath, but he wreaked his
vengeance on those who had followed him. For long months the rebels
were hunted and hounded, and when caught they were hanged without
mercy. The first to suffer was Colonel Thomas Hansford. He was a
brave man and a gentleman, and all he asked was that he might be
shot like a soldier, and not hanged like a dog. But the wrathful
Governor would not listen to his appeal, and he was hanged. On the
scaffold he spoke to those around, praying them to remember that
he died a loyal subject of the King, and a lover of his country.
He has been called the first martyr to American liberty.
Another young Major named Cheesman was condemned to death, but died
in prison, some say by poison.
The Governor, when he was brought before him, asked fiercely: "What
reason had you for rebellion?"
But before the Major could reply his young wife stepped from the
surrounding crowd, and threw herself upon her knees before the
Governor. "It was my doing," she cried. " I persuaded him, and but
for me he would never have done it. I am guilty, not he. I pray
you therefore let me be hanged, and he be pardoned."
But the old Cavalier's heart was filled to overflowing with a
frenzy of hate. He was utterly untouched by the poor lady's brave
and sad appeal, and answered her only with bitter, insulting words.
Drummond too was taken. He was indeed "in over boots" and fearless
to the last. The Governor was overjoyed at his capture, and with
mocking ceremony swept his hat from his head, and, bowing low,
cried exultantly, "Mr. Drummond, you are very welcome. I am more
glad to see you than any man in Virginia. Mr. Drummond, you shall
be hanged in half an hour."
"What your honour pleases," calmly replied Drummond. And so he
It seemed as if the Governor's vengeance would never be satisfied.
But at length the House met, and petitioned him to spill no more
blood. "For," said one of the members, "had we let him alone he
would have hanged half the country."
News of his wild doings, too, were carried home, and reached even
the King's ears. "The old fool," cried he, "has hanged more men
in that naked country than I did for the murder of my father." So
Berkeley was recalled.
At his going the whole colony rejoiced. Guns were fired and bonfires
lit to celebrate the passing of the tyrant.
Berkeley did not live long after his downfall. He had hoped that
when he saw the King, and explained to him his cause, that he would
be again received into favour. But his hopes were vain. The King
refused to see him, and he who had given up everything, even good
name and fame, in his King's cause died broken-hearted, a few months
Chapter 21 - The Story of the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe
Bacon was driven into rebellion by evil government and tyranny.
But the rising did little good. Bacon's Laws were done away with
and Lord Culpeper, one of the two nobles to whom Charles II had
given Virginia, came out as Governor. He soon showed himself a
greedy tyrant, caring nothing for the happiness of his people, and
bent only on making money for himself.
Other governors followed him, many of them worthless, some never
taking the trouble to come to Virginia at all. They stayed at
home, accepting large sums of money, and letting other people do
the work. But they were not all worthless and careless. Some were
good, and one of the best was a Scotsman, Alexander Spotswood. He
was a lieutenant governor. That is, the Governor in name was the
Earl of Orkney, who was given the post as a reward for his great
services as a soldier. But he never crossed the Atlantic to visit
his noble province. Instead he sent others to rule for him. They
were in fact the real governors, although they were called lieutenant
Spotswood loved Virginia, and he did all he could to make the
colony prosperous. He saw that the land was rich in minerals, and
that much could be done with iron ore. So he built smelting furnaces,
and altogether was so eager over it that he was called the Tubal
Cain of Virginia. For Tubal Cain, you remember, "was an instructor
of every artificer in brass and iron."
Spotswood also planted vines, and brought over a colony of Germans
to teach the people how to grow them properly, and make wine. It
was he, too, who first explored "the West."
Virginia up till now had lain between the sea and the blue range
of mountains which cut it off from the land behind. To the English
that was a land utterly unknown. All they knew was that the French
were claiming it. But Governor Spotswood wanted to know more. So
one August he gathered a company of friends, and set forth on an
exploring expedition. With servants and Indian guides they made
a party of about fifty or so, and a jolly company they were. They
hunted by the way, and camped beneath the stars. There was no lack
of food and drink, and it was more like a prolonged picnic than an
The explorers reached the Blue Ridge, and, climbing to the top of
a pass, looked down upon the beautiful wild valley beyond, through
which wound a shining river. Spotswood called the river the Euphrates.
But fortunately the name did not stick, and it is still called by
its beautiful Indian name of Shenandoah.
Spotswood named the highest peak he saw Mount George in honour of
the King, and his companions gave the next highest peak the name
of Mount Alexander in honour of the Governor whose Christian name
was Alexander. Then they went down into the valley below, and
on the banks of the river they buried a bottle, inside which they
had put a paper declaring that the whole valley belonged to George
I, King by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, Ireland and
After that the merry party turned homewards. They climbed to the
top of the gap, took a last look at the fair valley of the unknown
West, and then went down once more into the familiar plains of
For this expedition all the horses were shod with iron, a thing
very unusual in Virginia where there were no hard or stony roads.
So as a remembrance of their pleasant time together Spotswood gave
each of his companions a gold horseshoe set with precious stones for
nails. Graven upon them were the Latin words, Sic juvat transcendere
montes which mean, "Thus it is a pleasure to cross the mountains."
Later all those who took part in the expedition were called Knights
of the Golden Horseshoe.
Up to about this time the people in Virginia had been altogether
English. Now a change came.
In France Louis XIV was persecuting the Protestants, or Huguenots,
as they were called. He ordered them all to become Catholics or
die, and he forbade them to leave the country. But thousands of
them refused to give up their religion, and in spite of the King's
commands they stole away from the country by secret ways. Many of
them found a refuge in America.
In the north of Ireland, which had been settled chiefly by Scotsmen,
the Presbyterians were being persecuted by the Church of England;
at the same time the English Parliament was hampering their trade
with unfair laws. So to escape from this double persecution many
Scotch-Irish fled to America.
In Germany too the Protestants were being persecuted by the Catholic
Princes. They too fled to America.
All these widely varying refugees found new homes in other colonies
as well as in Virginia, as we shall presently hear. In Virginia it
was chiefly to the Shenandoah Valley that they came, that valley
which Spotswood and his knights of the Golden Horseshoe had seen
and claimed for King George. The coming of these new people changed
Virginia a good deal.
After the death of King Charles the coming of the Cavaliers had
made Virginia Royalist and aristocratic, so now the coming of those
persecuted Protestants and Presbyterians tended to make it democratic.
That is, the coming of the Cavaliers increased the number of those
who believed in the government of the many by the few. The coming
of the European Protestants increased the number of those who
believed in the government of the people by the people.
So in the House of Burgesses there were scenes of excitement. But
these were no longer in Jamestown, for the capital had been removed
to Williamsburg. Jamestown, you remember, had been burned by Bacon.
Lord Culpeper however rebuilt it. But a few years later it was again
burned down by accident. It had never been a healthy spot; no one
seemed very anxious to build it again, so it was forsaken, and
Williamsburg became and remained the capital for nearly a hundred
Today all that is left of Jamestown, the first home of Englishmen
in America, is the ivy-grown ruin of the church.
PART III STORIES OF NEW ENGLAND
Chapter 22 - The Story of the Pilgrim Fathers
While the Colony of Virginia was fighting for life, and struggling
against tyranny, other colonies were taking root upon the wide
shores of America.
You will remember that in 1606 a sort of double company of adventurers
was formed in England, one branch of which - the London Company -
founded Jamestown. The other branch - the Plymouth Company - also
sent out an, expedition, and tried to found a colony at the mouth
of the Kennebec River. But it was a failure. Some of the adventurers
were so discouraged with the cold and bleak appearance of the land
that they sailed home again in the ship which had brought them
out. Only about forty-five or so stayed on. The winter was long
and cold, and they were so weary of it, so homesick and miserable,
that when in the spring a ship came out with provisions they all
sailed home again. They had nothing good to say of Virginia, as
the whole land was then called by the English. It was far too cold,
and no place for Englishmen, they said.
Still some of the adventurers of the Plymouth Company did not
give up hope of founding a colony. And nine years after this first
attempt, our old friend Captain John Smith, recovered from his wounds
received in Virginia and as vigorous as ever, sailed out to North
Virginia. In the first place be went "to take whales, and also to
make trials of a mine of gold and of copper" and in the long run
he hoped to found a colony.
It was he who changed the name from North Virginia to New England,
by which name it has ever since been known. He also named the great
river which he found there Charles River after Prince Charles,
who later became King Charles I, and all along the coast he marked
places with the names of English towns, one of which he named
But Smith did not succeed in founding a colony in New England;
and several adventurers who followed him had no better success.
The difficulties to be overcome were great, and in order to found
a colony on that inhospitable coast men of tremendous purpose and
endurance were needed. At length these men appeared.
Nowadays a man may believe what he likes either in the way of politics
or religion. He may belong to any political party he pleases, or
he may belong to none. He may write and make speeches about his
opinions. Probably no one will listen to him; certainly he will
not be imprisoned for mere opinions. It is the same with religion.
A man may go to any church he likes, or go to none. He may write
books or preach sermons, and no one will hinder him.
But in the days of King James things were very different. In those
days there was little freedom either in thought or action, in
religion or politics. As we have seen King James could not endure
the thought that his colony should be self-governing and free to
make laws for itself. Consequently he took its charter away. In
religion it was just the same. In England at the Reformation the
King had been made head of the Church. And if people did not believe
what the King and Clergy told them to believe they were sure, sooner
or later, to be punished for it.
Now in England more and more people began to think for themselves
on matters of religion. More and more people found it difficult to
believe as King and Clergy wished them to believe. Some found the
Church of England far too like the old Church of Rome. They wanted
to do away with all pomp and ceremony and have things quite simple.
They did not wish to separate from the Church; they only wanted to
make the Church clean and pure of all its errors. So they got the
name of Puritans. Others however quite despaired of making the Church
pure. They desired to leave it altogether and set up a Church of
their own. They were called Separatists, or sometimes, from the
name of a man who was one of their chief leaders, Brownists.
These Brownists did not want to have bishops and priests, and they
would not own the King as head of the Church. Instead of going
to church they used to meet together in private houses, there to
pray to God in the manner in which their own hearts told them was
right. This of course was considered treason and foul wickedness.
So on all hands the Brownists were persecuted. They were fined and
imprisoned, some were even hanged. But all this persecution was in
vain, and the number of Separatists instead of decreasing increased
as years went on.
Now at Scrooby, a tiny village in Nottinghamshire, England, and
in other villages round, both in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire,
there were a number of Separatists. Every Sunday these people would
walk long distances to some appointed place, very likely to Scrooby,
or to Babworth, where there was a grave and reverent preacher, to