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CHAP. This territory King James divided into two parts: South
Virginia, extending from Cape Fear to the Potomac ; and 1606. North Virginia, from the mouth of the Hudson to New
foundland. There were now formed two companies : one known as the London Company, principally composed of “noblemen, gentlemen, and merchants," residing in London; the other the Plymouth Company, composed of
knights, gentlemen, and merchants,” living in the West of England. To the London Company James granted South Virginia, to the Plymouth Company North Virginia. The region between the Potomac and the mouth of the Hudson was to be neutral ground, on which the companies were at liberty to form settlements within fifty miles of their respective boundaries. The London Company was the first to send emigrants.
King James was enamored of what he called kingcraft. He believed that a king had a divine right to make and unmake laws at his own pleasure, and was bound by no obligation,—not even to keep his own word. In maintaining the former of these kingly rights, James sometimes found difficulty; he was more successful in exercising the latter. He took upon himself the authority and labor of framing laws for the colony about to sail. These laws are a fair specimen of his kingcraft. They did not grant a single civil privilege to the colonists, who had no vote in choosing their own magistrates; but were to be governed by two councils, both appointed by the king, -one residing in England, the other in the colony. In religious matters, differences of opinion were forbidden; all must conform to the rites of the church of England. The Indians were to be treated kindly, and if possible, converted to Christianity.
Three ships were sent with one hundred and five emigrants ; of the whole number, not twenty were agriculturists or mechanics,-there was not a family nor a woman in the company. The great majority were gentlemen, a
SETTLEMENT OF JAMESTOWN.
term then applied to those who had no regular employment, CHAP but spent their time in idleness and dissipation.
The names of those who were to form the governing 1607. council, together with their instructions, were, by order of the king, foolishlý sealed up in a box, there to remain until they were ready to form a government. Thus when dissensions arose on the voyage, there was no legal authority to restore harmony.
Captain Newport, who commanded the expedition, came first upon the coast of North Carolina, intending to visit the island of Roanoke, the scene of Raleigh's failures, but a storm suddenly arose, and fortunately drove him north into Chesapeake bay. The little fleet soon entered a large river, and explored its stream for fifty miles—then on the thirteenth of May, one thousand six hundred and May seven, the members of the colony landed, and determined to form a settlement. The river was named James, and the settlement JAMESTOWN, in honor of the king ; while the capes at the entrance of the bay, were named Charles and Henry, in honor of his sons.
In every successful enterprise, we observe the power of some one leading spirit. In this case, the man worthy the confidence of all, because of his knowledge, and natural superiority of mind, was Captain John Smith, justly styled the “Father of Virginia.” Though but thirty years of age, he had acquired much knowledge of the world. He had travelled over the western part of Europe, and in Egypt; had been a soldier in the cause of freedom in Holland ; had fought against the Turks in Hungary, where he was taken prisoner, and sent to Constantinople as a slave. He was rescued from slavery by a Turkish lady, conveyed to the Crimea, where he was ill-treated ; his proud spirit resisted, he slew his oppressor and escaped, wandered across the continent, and returned to England just as plans were maturing to colonize Virginia. He entered into the enterprise with his habitual energy. His cool courage, his
CHAP. knowledge of human nature, civilized and savage,—but
above all, his honesty and common sense, fitted him for the 1607. undertaking
The superiority of Smith excited the envy and jealousy of those who expected to be named members of the council, when the mysterious box should be opened. On false and absurd charges he was arrested and placed in confinement. The box was opened—the king had appointed him one of the council. An effort was made to exclude him, but he demanded a trial ; his accusers, unable to substantiate their charges, withdrew them, and he took his seat. Wingfield, an avaricious and unprincipled man, was chosen president of the council and governor of the colony.
When these difficulties were arranged, Newport and Smith, accompanied by some twenty men, spent three weeks in exploring the neighboring rivers and country. They visited Powhatan, the principal Indian chief in the vicinity—“a man about sixty years of age, tall, sour, and athletic.” His capital of twelve wigwams, was situated at the falls of James river, near where Richmond now stands. His tribe seems to have been fearful and suspicious of the intruding white men from the very first--impressed, it may be, with a foreboding of evil to come.
Soon after, Newport sailed for home, leaving the coloJane nists in a wretched condition. Their provisions nearly all
spoiled, and they too idle to provide against the effects of the climate---much sickness prevailed, and more than half the company died before winter. To add to their distress, it was discovered that Wingfield had been living upon their choicest stores, and that he intended to seize the remainder of their provisions, and escape to the West Indies. The council deposed him, and elected Ratcliffe president. The change was not for the better; he was not more honest than Wingfield, and mentally less fit for the station. In this emergency the control of affairs passed by tacit consent into the hands of Smith. He knew
SMITH A PRISONER.
from the first what was needed for the colony. As it was CHAP. now too late in the season to obtain food of their own raising, he had recourse to trading with the Indians for corn. 1607. Toward the close of autumn, an abundance of wild fowl furnished additional provisions. The colony thus provided Dec. for, Smith further explored the neighboring rivers and country. In one of these expeditions he ascended a branch of the James river, and leaving the boat in care of his men, took with him his Indian guide, and struck out into the forest. Finding himself pursued by the Indians, he fastened his guide to his arm as a shield against their arrows, and defended himself with great bravery, but at length sinking in a swamp, he was taken prisoner. His captors regarded him with strange wonder; his cool courage and self-possession struck them with awe. He, aware of the simplicity and inquisitiveness of the savage character, showed them his pocket compass. They wondered at the motion of the needle, and at the strange transparent cover, which secured it from their touch. Was their captive a superior being ?—was he friendly to themselves ?-how should they dispose of him ?—were questions that now perplexed them. They permitted him to send a letter to 1608. Jamestown. The fact that he could impress his thoughts upon paper, and send them far away, they regarded as strong proof of his superiority. He was led from place to place, to be gazed at by the wondering natives of the forest. For three days they performed powwows, or religious ceremonies, in order to learn from the spirit world something of his nature and intentions. Finally, he was sent to Powhatan, to be disposed of as he should decide. The Indian chief received him with a great display of savage pomp, but decided that he must die. Preparations were made, but the eventful life of Smith was not destined to be closed by the war-club of the savage. The heart of Pocahontas, a young daughter of Powhatan, a girl of ten or twelve years of age, was touched with sympathy and
CHAP. pity. She pleaded with her father for his life. She clung
tenderly to him as he bowed his head to receive the fatal 1608. stroke. Her interposition was received by the savages as
an indication of the will of heaven, and the life of Smith was spared. Her people have passed away—most of their names are forgotten, but the name of Pocahontas, and the story of her generous deed, will ever be honored and remembered.
The Indians now wished to adopt Smith into their number : they strove to induce him to join them against the English. He dissuaded them from an attack upon Jamestown, by representing to them the wonderful effects
of the “big guns." After an absence of seven weeks, he Jan
was permitted to return. He had obtained much valuable information of the country, of its inhabitants, their language and customs.
He found the colony reduced in number to forty-in want of provisions, and in anarchy and confusion, while some were making preparations to desert in the pinnace ; this he prevented at the risk of his life. The famishing colonists were partly sustained through the winter by the generous Pocahontas, who with her companions almost every day brought them baskets of corn.
In the spring, Newport returned with another company of emigrants ; like the first, “vagabond gentlemen,” idlers, and gold-hunters. These gold-hunters lighted upon some earth, glittering with yellow mica ; they thought it golden ore. Every thing else was neglected ; the entire company engaged in loading the ships with this useless earth. What a blessing to England and the colony that it was not gold !
While the people of Jamestown were thus foolishly employed, Smith explored the harbors and rivers of Chesapeake bay, and established friendly relations with the Indians along its shores. From them he learned of the Mohawks, who “ made war upon all the world.” On his