Графични страници
PDF файл

He found the colony reduced to thirty-eight persons, chores

wholly discouraged and disheartened, and some of them

again planning an escape in the bark. For the third 1608.

time, mingling threats and entreaties, he induced them
to remain, and having procured from the Indians, with
whom he was now in great favor, abundance of provisions,
he maintained plenty in the colony till Newport arrived,
bringing supplies, and a hundred and twenty new set-
tlers. But of the two ships of which this expedition
consisted, one was driven by rough weather to the
West Indies, and thus kept back for several weeks.
This new company were much the same sort of peo-
ple who had composed the first colony, vagabond gentle-
men, unaccustomed to labor and disdainful of it, with
three or four bankrupt London jewelers, goldsmiths, and
refiners, sent out to seek for mines. In a small stream
near Jamestown they presently discovered some glitter-
ing bits of yellow mica, which they mistook for gold dust.
Every thing else was now neglected ; there was no
thought nor conversation but about digging, washing,
and refining gold. Newport, whom Smith describes as
“empty, idle, timid, and ostentatious,” proceeded up the
river to visit Powhatan, and deliver to him some presents
he had brought. His ship was thus kept waiting, the
crew trenching on the supply of provisions, diminished
also by an accidental fire, which destroyed the store-house
and most of the huts. At last Newport's ship set sail
for England, laden with fancied wealth. Wingfield and

some of his partisans went in her. Martin, one of the

counselors, returned to England in the other vessel, to claim the reward promised to the first discoverer of a mine. With much difficulty, Smith prevailed to load that vessel with cedar, which, with a quantity of skins and furs, constituted the first valuable remittance from

chapTER Virginia. Martin's place in the council was supplied



by Scrivener, who had come out in Newport's vessel.
While the colonists rebuilt their huts and tended their
corn-fields, Smith employed himself in the exploration of
Chesapeake Bay, for which purpose he made two voy-
ages, in an open boat of five tons, attended by a sur-
geon, six gentlemen, and five soldiers. He explored the
numerous rivers and inlets, especially on the west side
of the bay; entered the Susquehanna, the Patapsco, and
the Potomac, all of which he ascended to their first falls;
and, after sailing more than three thousand miles, drew
the first chart of the Chesapeake, which was transmitted
to England, and presently published, with a description
of the country. . Smith found the Susquehannas, and
other Indians at the head of the bay, already in posses-
sion of iron hatchets, obtained probably by way of Can-
ada from the French fur traders in the St. Lawrence.
These Indians lived in constant terror of the formidable
Massawomacs, no doubt the Iroquois or Five Nations,
Smith himself met with a party of that dreaded race re-
turning in canoes from a war expedition. After visiting
the Mannahoacs at the head of the Rappahannoc, and,
in a second expedition, the Nansemonds and Chesapeakes
at the south part of the bay, he returned to Jamestown
with a cargo of corn. The settlers now also gathered
the first corn of their own planting.
On his return from his second voyage of exploration
Smith became president of the council, an office held for
some time previously by Scrivener, to whom the sick and
inefficient Ratcliffe had yielded it.
Newport arrived soon after with seventy additional
people, among whom were two new counselors and two
women, the first who visited the colony. There came,
also, eight Poles and Germans, sent to teach the art of

making pitch, tar, potashes, and glass. The officers of corer the company wrote by this opportunity in an angry strain. They were much disturbed by a story, started 1608. probably by Wingfield and the other returned emigrants, that the starving and discontented colonists, who desired nothing so much as to get away, intended to seize the territory of Virginia, and to divide it among themselves. They expressed great dissatisfaction that their heavy outlays had yet produced no adequate return; and Newport brought special orders to obtain certain intelligence of a passage to the South Sea, to send home a lump of real gold, or to find some of the lost company formerly planted on the Island of Roanoke. . Unless valuable commodities were remitted sufficient to pay the expense of this voyage, amounting to £2000, about $10,000, the colonists were threatened to be left to shift for themselves, “as banished men.” - * Resolved to make the best of such materials as he had, Smith exerted his authority with vigor. The gentlemen, taught to wield the axe, and converted into dexterous woodcutters, were employed in preparing a cargo for the ship. To eat, they must work. The common store from which the colonists were fed was mainly dependent on corn purchased from the Indians with goods sent out by the company. Newport again visited Powhatan, carrying as presents a scarlet cloak and gilded crown. He wished to engage that chief to assist him in exploring the country of the Monicans above the falls of James River, and, notwithstanding Powhatan's refusal, he undertook an expedition for that purpose, from which he returned with some specimens of alleged silver ore, his men starving, sick, and dispirited. Great exertions now became necessary to secure a supply of provisions. Contributions were levied on the neighboring

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Indian villages. Smith also visited Powhatan for the
same purpose, but found him hostile and treacherous.
Again he was saved by Pocahontas, who came through
a storm at midnight to inform him of his danger.
At length Newport's vessel was dispatched with a
cargo of wainscot and clapboards, and specimens of tar,
pitch, and potashes, prepared by the Germans. Smith
wrote, in reply to the complaints of the company, that it
were better to send out thirty working men than a thou-
sand like the present colonists.
Whatever disappointment might be expressed in their
letters to Virginia, the London Company put a good
face upon matters at home. Means were taken to make
the speculation popular, and the number of adventurers
was greatly increased. Besides many noblemen, knights,
gentlemen, merchants, and wealthy tradesmen, most of
the incorporated trades of London were induced to take
shares in the stock. A new charter was also obtained,
by which the enterprise was placed upon quite a new
footing. “The Treasurer and Company of Adventurers
and Planters of the City of London, for the First Colony
in Virginia,” were made a corporation, its affairs to be
managed by a council, of which the first members were
named in the patent; but all vacancies were to be filled
by the stockholders, who were also empowered to choose
the treasurer, the chief executive officer of the company.
To this corporation was granted a territory extending
two hundred miles north from old Point Comfort, the
same distance south, and west to the Pacific. The local
council of the colony, distracted as it had been by ca-
bals and personal jealousies, the universal fate of a divi-
ded executive, was superseded by a governor, to be ap-
pointed by the company's council in England, and to
have the sole superintendence of local affairs. That same

council was also empowered to make laws for the colony, choren

conformable, however, “as near as might be,” to those

of England—a restriction inserted into all subsequent 1609.

charters, and, independently of any charter, a fundament-
al limitation on colonial legislation. To guard against
the intrusion of Romish superstitions, the Oath of Su-
premacy was to be taken by all persons arriving in the
colony. Under this new charter Lord De la War was
appointed governor, with a lieutenant governor, admiral,
vice-admiral, high marshal, and other high-titled officers,
all for life. . - -
Lord De la War's affairs detained him for some time
in England; but a fleet of nine vessels set sail at once,
with five hundred colonists on board. Newport, again
admiral, was authorized, jointly with Sir Thomas Gates
and Sir George Somers, to administer the government
till Lord De la War's arrival. Not able to agree about
precedence, these three commanders embarked in the same
vessel, and, in a violent storm which dispersed the fleet,
they were cast ashore on one of the Bermudas, The
other ships, except one which was lost, arrived safely in
James River. Most of the new comers were of the same
sort with those formerly sent out, poor gentlemen, indo-
lent, dissolute, and insubordinate, or else broken trades-
men, “fitter to breed a riot than to found a colony.”
The old system had been abrogated; but, owing to the
non-arrival of the three commissioners, there was no per-
son in the colony authorized to act under the new char-
ter. The new comers disputed the authority of Smith,
who struggled, however, to maintain his power, in which,
indeed, he was justified by the express provisions of the
new charter, which continued the old government until
the new one should be formally organized. To rid him-
self in part of these troublesome guests, he established two

« ПредишнаНапред »