Captain John Smith (–) Admiral of New England was an English soldier, sailor, and author. He is remembered for his role in. Smith as Unreliable Narrator in The General History of Virginia While John Smith did many things for the. In chapter 1, book 3 of The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles, published in , Captain John Smith describes.
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The Names of them that were the first Planters, were these following. Labourers 12 laborers listed, including one named “Old William”.
Scott, Drum William Wilkinson, Surg. Being thus left to our fortunes, it fortuned that within ten days scarce ten amongst us could either go or well stand, such extreme weakness and sickness oppressed us.
And thereat none need marvel, if they consider the cause and reason, which was this: Whilst the ships stayed, our allowance was somewhat bettered by a daily proportion of biscuit, which the sailors would pilfer to sell, give, or exchange with us for money, sassafras, furs, or love. But when they departed, there remained neither tavern, beer house, nor place of relief but the common kettle.
Had we been as free from all sins as gluttony and drunkenness, we might have been canonized for saints. But our President would never have been admitted, for engrossing to his private [use] oatmeal, sack, oil, aquavitae, beef, eggs, or what not, but the [common] kettle.
That, indeed, he allowed equally to be distributed, and that was half a pint of wheat, and as much barley boiled with water for a man a day. And this having fried some 26 weeks in the ship’s hold contained as many worms as grains, so that we might truly call it rather so much bran than corn. Our drink was water, our lodgings castles in the air. With this lodging and diet, our extreme toil in bearing and planting Pallisadoes so strained and bruised us, and our continual labor in the extremity of the heat had so weakened us, as were cause sufficient to have made us as miserable in our native country or any other place in the world.
From May to September those that escaped lived upon sturgeon and sea crabs. Fifty in this time we buried. The rest seeing the President’s projects to escape these miseries in our pinnace by flight who all this time had neither felt want nor sickness so moved our dead spirits that we deposed him and established Ratcliffe in his place Gosnold being deadKendall deposed. Smith newly recovered [from illness], Martin and Ratcliffe was by his care preserved and relieved, and the most of the soldiers recovered with the skillful diligence of Master Thomas Wotton, our surgeon general.
But now was all our provision spent, the sturgeon gone, all helps abandoned. Each hour expecting the fury of the savages, when God, the patron of all good endeavors, in that desperate extremity so changed the hearts of the savages, that they brought such plenty of their fruits and provisions that no man wanted.
And now, where some, affirmed it was ill done of the Council to send forth men so badly provided, this incontradictable reason will show them plainly they are too ill advised to nourish such ill conceits. First, the fault of our going was our own. What could be thought fitting or necessary we had; but what we should find or want or where we should be we were all ignorant; and supposing to make our passage in two months with victual to live and the advantage of the spring to work, we were at sea five months, where we both spent our victual and lost the opportunity of the time and season to plant by the unskillful presumption of our ignorant transporters that understood not at all what they undertook.
Such actions have ever since the world’s beginning been subject to such accidents, and everything of worth is found full of difficulties; but nothing so difficult as to establish a commonwealth so far remote from men and means, and where men’s minds are so untoward as neither do well themselves nor suffer others. The new President and Martin, being little beloved, of weak judgment in dangers and less industry in peace, committed the managing of all things abroad to Captain Smith; who by his own example, good words, and fair promises set some to mow, others to bind thatch, some to build houses, others to thatch them, himself always bearing the greatest task for his own share, so that in short time he provided most of them lodgings, neglecting any for himself.
This done, seeing the savages’ superfluity begin to decrease with some of the workmen shipped himself in the shallop to search the country for trade. The want of the language, knowledge to manage his boat without sails, the want of a sufficient power knowing the multitude of the savagesapparel for his men, and other necessaries, were infinite impediments, yet no discouragement.
Being but six or seven in company, he went down the river to Kecoughtan, where at first they scorned him, as a famished man, and would in derision offer him a handful of corn, a piece of bread for their swords and muskets, and such like proportions also for their apparel.
But seeing by trade and courtesy there was nothing to be had, he made bold to try such conclusions as necessity enforced, though contrary to his commission. So marching towards their houses, they might see great heaps of corn: Sixty or seventy of them, some black, some red, some white, some parti-colored came in a square order, singing and dancing out of the woods, with their Okee which was an idol made of skins, stuffed with moss, all painted and hung with chains and copper borne before them.
And in this manner, being well armed with clubs, targets, bows and arrows, they charged the English, that so kindly received them with their muskets loaden with pistol shot, that down fell their god and divers lay on the ground.
The rest fled again to the woods and ere long sent one of the Quiyoughkasoucks to offer peace and redeem their Okee. Smith told them if only six of them would come unarmed and load his boat, he would not only be their friend, but restore them their Okee, and give them beads, copper, and hatchets besides: Thus God unboundless by his power, Made them thus kind, would us devour.
Smith, perceiving notwithstanding their late misery not any regarded but from hand to mouth the company being well recoveredcaused the pinnace to be provided with things fitting to get provision for the year following. But in the interim he made three or four journeys and discovered the people of Chickahamania.
Yet what he carefully provided the rest carelessly spent. Wingfield and Kendall living in disgrace, seeing all things at random in the absence of Smith, the company’s dislike of their President’s weakness, and their small love to Martin’s never mending sickness, strengthened themselves with the sailors and other confederates to regain their former credit and authority, or at least such means aboard the pinnace being fitted to sail as Smith had appointed for trade to alter her course and to go for England.
Smith unexpectedly returning had the plot discovered to him. Much trouble he had to prevent it, till with store of saker and musket shot he forced them to stay or sink in the river; which action cost the life of Captain Kendall.
These brawls amith so disgustful, as some will say, they were better forgotten, yet all men of good judgment will conclude it were better their baseness should be manifest to the world than the business bear the scorn and share of their excused disorders. The President and Captain Archer not long after intended also to have abandoned the country, which project also was curbed and suppressed by Smith. The Spaniard never more greedily desired gold than he [Smith] victual; nor his soldiers more to abandon the country than he to keep it.
But [he found] plenty of corn in the river benerall Chickahominy, where hundreds of savages in diverse places stood with baskets expecting his coming. And now the winter approaching, the river became so covered with swans, geese, ducks, and cranes that we daily feasted with good bread, Virginia peas, pumpkins, and putchamins [persimmons], fish, fowl, and diverse sorts of wild beasts as fat as we could eat them, so that none of our tuftaffaty [silly] humorists desired to go for England.
But our comedies never endured long without a tragedy. Some johh exceptions being smmith against Captain Smith for not discovering the head of Chickahominy River and [being] taxed by the Council to be too slow in so historid an attempt, the next voyage [in December] he proceeded so far that with much labor by cutting trees in sunder he made his passage, but when his barge could pass no farther, he left her in a broad bay out of danger of shot, commanding none should go ashore till his return.
Himself, with two English and two savages, went up higher in a canoe. But he was jihn long absent but his men went ashore, whose want of government gave both occasion and opportunity to the savages to surprise one George Cassen, whom they slew, and much failed not to have cut off the boat and all the rest. Richard Belfield, a Goldsmith. William Dawson, a refiner.
Abram Ransack, a refiner. John Lewes, a Cooper. Virgonia Keffer, a gunsmith. Robert Cotton, a tobacco pipe-maker. Richard Dole, a Blacksmith. The Accidents that happened in the Discovery of the Bay of Chesapeake.
The prodigality of the President’s state went so deepe into our small hietorie, that Smith and Scrivener tied him and his Parasites to the rules of proportion. But now Smith being to depart, the President’s authority so overswayed the discretion of Master Scrivener that our store, our time, our strength and labors were idly consumed to fulfill his fantasies.
The second of JuneSmith left the fort to perform his discovery with this company [Six gentlemen and Seven soldiers, and One doctor]. These being in an open barge near three tons burden, leaving the Phoenix at Cape Henry, they gwnerall the Bay to the eastern shore and fell with the isles called Smith’s Isles, after our captain’s name.
The first people we gennerall were two geneerall and stout savages upon Cape Charles, with long poles like javelins, headed with bone.
They boldly demanded what we virginix and what we would, but after many circumstances they seemed very kind and directed us to Accomac, the habitation of their werowance, where we were kindly entreated. This king was the comeliest, proper, civil savage we encountered. His country is a pleasant fertile clay soil, some small creeks, good harbors for small barks but not for ships.
He told us of a strange accident lately happened him, and it was: Two children being dead, some extreme passions or dreaming visions, fantasies, or affection moved their parents again to revisit their dead carcasses, whose benumbed bodies reflected to the eyes of the beholders such delightful countenances, as though they had regained their vital spirits.
This as a miracle drew many to behold them, all which being a great part of his people, not long after died and but few escaped.
They spake the language of Powhatan, wherein they made such descriptions of the Bay, isles, and rivers that often did us exceeding pleasure. Passing along the coast, [we searched] every inlet and bay fit for harbors and habitations. Seeing many isles in the midst of the Bay we bore up for them, but ere we could obtain them such an extreme gust of wind, rain, genrall, and lightning happened that with great danger we escaped the unmerciful raging of that oceanlike water.
The highest land on the main, yet it was but low, we called Keale’s Hill, and these oc isles, Russell’s Isles. The next day searching them for fresh water we could find none, the defect whereof forced us to follow the next eastern channel, which brought us to the river of Wighcocomoco [Pocomoke]. The people at first with great fury seemed to assault us, yet at last with songs and dances and much mirth became very tractable.
Transcription from Original
But searching their habitations for water, we could smoth but three barricoes [kegs] and that such puddle [water] that never till then we ever knew the want of good water. We digged and jonn in many places but before two days were expired, we would have refused two barricoes of gold for one of that puddle water of Wighcocomoco.
Being past these isles, which are many in number but all naught for habitation, falling with a high land upon the main, we found a great pond of fresh water but so exceeding hot we supposed it some bath. That place we called Point Ployer in virgniia of that most honorable House of O in Brittany that in an extreme extremity once relieved our captain.
From Wighcocomoco to this place all the coast generalo low broken isles of morap [marsh], grown a mile or two in breadth and ten or twelve in length, good to cut for hay in summer and to catch fish and fowl in winter; but the land beyond them is all covered over with wood, as is the rest of the country. Being thus refreshed, in crossing over from the main to other isles we discovered, the wind and waters so much increased with thunder, lightning, and rain that our mast and sail blew overboard and such mighty waves overracked us in that small barge that with great labor we kept her from sinking by freeing [bailing] out the water.
Two days we were enforced to inhabit these uninhabited isles, which for the extremity of gusts, thunder, rain, storms, and ill weather we called Limbo.
The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles – Wikipedia
Repairing our sail with our shirts, we set sail for the main and fell with a pretty convenient river on the east called Kuskarawaok [Nanticoke]. The people ran as amazed in troops from place to place and diverse got into the tops of trees. They were not sparing of their arrows, nor [of] the greatest passion they could express of their anger. Long they shot, we still riding at an anchor without their reach, making all the signs of friendship we could.
The next day they came unarmed with everyone a basket, dancing in a ring to draw us on shore. But seeing there was nothing in them but villainy, we discharged a volley of muskets charged with pistol shot; whereat they all lay tumbling on the ground, creeping some one way, some another into a great cluster of reeds hard by, where their companies lay in ambuscado. Towards the evening we weighed [anchor] and approaching the shore, discharging five or six shot among the reeds, we landed where there lay a many of baskets and much blood, but saw not a savage.
A smoke appearing on the other side of the river, we rowed thither, where we found two or three little houses, in each a fire. There we left some pieces of copper, beads, bells, and looking glasses, and then went into the Bay; but when it was dark we came back again. Early in the morning four savages came to us in their canoe, whom we used with such courtesy. Here doth inhabit the people Sarapinagh, Nause, Arseek, and Nantaquake, the best merchants of all other savages. They much extolled a great nation called Massawomekes, in search of whom we returned by Limbo.
This river, but only at the entrance, is very narrow, and the people of small stature as them of Wighcocomoco; the land but low, yet it may prove very commodious because it is but a ridge of land betwixt the Bay and the main ocean. Finding this eastern shore shallow broken isles, and for most part without fresh water, we passed by the straits of Limbo for the western shore. So broad is the Bay here we could scarce perceive the great high cliffs on the other side.
By them we anchored that night and called them Rickard’s Cliffs. Thirty leagues we sailed more northwards not finding any inhabitants, leaving all the eastern shore, low islands but overgrown with wood, as all the coast beyond them so far as we could see. The western shore by which we sailed we found all along well watered but very mountainous and barren, the valleys very fertile but extreme thick of small wood so well as trees and much frequented with wolves, bears, deer, and other wild beasts.