Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

charten new settlements, one at the falls of James River, the

1609.

October.

1610.

other at Nansemond, near the present site of Norfolk.
These settlers conducted with great insolence, and soon
involved themselves in dispute with the neighboring In-
dians. Smith quieted matters for the moment; but the
colony soon lost his valuable services. Severely wound-
ed by the accidental explosion of his powder-bag as he
was sleeping in his boat, he was obliged to return to En-
gland, in one of the newly-arrived vessels, for surgical
aid. He left near five hundred persons in Virginia, well
supplied with arms, provisions, and goods for the Indian
traffic. Jamestown had a fort, church, store-house, and
about sixty dwelling houses, with a stock of hogs, goats,
sheep, fowls, and a few horses; but the cultivated land,
the produce of which went into the colony store, was lim-
ited to thirty or forty acres. The main resource for food
was corn purchased or extorted from the Indians, and
dealt out from the common store.
At Smith's departure, the better part of the colonists
solicited Captain Percy, one of the original settlers, of the
noble family of that name, to act as president; but he
was confined to his bed by sickness, and his authority
was not respected. The colonists gave themselves up to
riot and idleness. They wastefully consumed the store
of provisions, killed the stock, traded away their arms
with the natives, and presently suffered severely from
famine. Ratcliffe, with a numerous party, on a trading
expedition for corn, was waylaid by the Indians, and cut
off with all his company. Many stragglers, wandering
about in search of food, suffered the same fate. A com-
pany of thirty seized a small vessel belonging to the col-
ony, and sailed away to turn pirates. In the traditions
of Virginia, this period was long remembered as the
Starving Time. In six months there were only sixty

persons remaining, and those so feeble, dejected, and des- chosen

titute, that, without aid, they could not have survived for ten days longer.

1611.

At this critical moment, Newport, Gates, and Somers, May 26.

with an hundred and fifty men, arrived from Bermuda, in two small vessels built of the cedar of that island and the fragments of their stranded ship. Even shipwreck had not reconciled the jealous commissioners, who had formed two parties, and had built separate vessels. They had been fortunate in saving tools and stores; the islands abounded in turtle, the fat of which, mixed with lime, served to pay the seams, and to make their vessels water-tight; there was also a great abundance of wild hogs—a timely supply to these shipwrecked adventurers. Arriving from such a land of plenty, the new comers were horror-struck at the starving condition of the colony. They had themselves but sixteen days' provisions. It was resolved to abandon Virginia, and to sail for Newfoundland, there to seek food and a passage home from the fishermen. So great was the disgust of the disappointed colonists, that on leaving Jamestown they were hardly restrained from setting fire to the buildings. As they descend the river, a boat is seen coming up. It is Lord De la War, the governor, just arrived from England, with three ships, bringing provisions and colonists. He persuaded the fugitive settlers to return to Jamestown, where he entered ceremoniously upon his office with a speech from himself and a sermon from his chaplain. Somers sailed to the Bermudas for hogs, and died there, leaving his name to the islands. Captain Argall, who had visited the colony in a private trading ship, was sent to the Potomac to buy corn of the Indians. De la War established a post at Kiquotan, now Hampton, at the entrance of James River.

chapTER In punishment of injuries inflicted by the Indians dur

ing the late distressed state of the colony, he attacked

1611.

1612.

August.

and burned several of their villages, but was repulsed when he attempted to renew the settlement at the falls. Taken sick, he presently returned to England, leaving Percy as his deputy. The colony now consisted of two hundred men. - ... •

Sir Thomas Dale presently arrived with three ships, some cattle, and three hundred settlers, and, in De la War's absence, assumed the government. He brought with him a printed code of laws, harsh and strict, compiled by Sir Thomas Smith, the treasurer of the company, chiefly from the Dutch Articles of War. This code remained for eight years the law of the colony, additional regulations being from time to time added by proclamations of the governor.

Dale established a new plantation up the river, inclosed by a stockade, and called Henrico, after the king's eldest son. Another settlement, called New Bermuda, was established at the junction of the Appomattox with the James. The Indians who dwelt there were driven away, and a stockade from river to river inclosed a considerable extent of ground. To all the indented servants of the company, Dale assigned three acres each to cultivate on their private account, for which purpose time was allowed them equivalent to a month annually. To those at New Bermuda still more favorable terms were allowed. They were to pay a yearly rent in corn in lieu of all service—a method which seems to have been ultimately adopted with all the indented servants of the company. Dale was presently superseded by Sir Thomas Gates, who arrived from England with six ships, three hundred and fifty people, and a supply of cattle, sheep, goats, and hogs.

The heavy outlay since the new organization of the chapter: company, without any return, gave occasion to loud com- 1W. plaints on the part of the stockholders. They seem very 1612. unreasonably to have looked to the colony as an immediate source of mercantile profit. The returned emigrants had brought back many unfavorable reports; and Virginia, late the theme of such romantic hopes, fell into very bad repute. It was sneered at on the stage; even the abandonment of the enterprise was openly talked of. Something must be done to appease these discontents; and a supplementary charter was obtained, under which the control of the company's affairs was taken from the council and given to the body of the stockholders, who were to hold a great and general court once in each quarter for more important business, besides meetings weekly or oftener for smaller matters. The Bermudas were also annexed to Virginia; but these islands soon passed into the hands of a particular association, and were occupied by a separate colony. The supplementary charter also authorized the company to raise money by lotteries, now introduced into England for the first time. About £30,000, near $150,000, were subsequently raised by this means.

Captain Argall, again in Virginia with two ships on private account, in a new expedition to the Potomac to trade for corn, found Pocahontas there, of whom the colonists had seen nothing for two years. With the assistance of the chief of that district, whom he bribed with a brass kettle, he enticed the Indian girl on board his ship, and carried her to Jamestown. Powhatan demanded the release of his daughter, but the colonists refused to give her up except in exchange for some German servants who had deserted to the Indians, and the English tools and arms of which Powhatan's people

chosen had possessed themselves, by purchase as they alleged,

1612.

1613.

but, as the English said, by theft. ... The Indian chief declined these terms, and vowed revenge, but was appeased by a fortunate circumstance. John Rolfe, a young colonist of respectable condition, having won the favor of the Indian maid, was encouraged by the governor to ask her in marriage. Her father willingly consented. He did not care, indeed, to trust himself in Jamestown, but he sent two of his principal warriors as his representatives at the marriage ceremony. The young bride was baptized, and by means of this connection a good understanding was established with Powhatan. As yet there were few, if any, white women in the colony; yet Rolfe's example was not followed. Intermarriage was urged by the Indians as the only test of sincere friendship; and such a course, as a native historian of Virginia has remarked, might have prevented the subsequent Indian wars, and gradually have absorbed the native inhabitants into the growing body of white colonists. But the idea of such an intermixture was abhorrent to the English, who despised the Indians as savages, and detested them as heathen. They would receive them only as subjects. The Chickahominies, who dreaded the power of Powhatan, agreed to acknowledge the superiority of the colony, and to pay an annual tribute of corn; but Dale, who resumed the government on Gates's departure, found it necessary to use force to extort even the first payment.

Sailing to the eastward on a fishing voyage, in company with a number of other English vessels, Captain Argall broke up a little station called St. Saveur, on the island of Mount Desert, not far from Penobscot Bay, which two Jesuit missionaries from Port Royal, dissatisfied with their treatment there, had just established, by assistance of a pious lady of France. Some of the

« ПредишнаНапред »