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return, he was, for the first time, formally elected Presi- CHAP dent of the Council. Industry was now more wisely directed ; but in the autumn came another company of 1608. idle and useless emigrants. Smith, indignant that his efforts to improve the colony should thus be frustrated, wrote to the council to send him but a few husbandmen and mechanics, and “diggers up of trees' roots,” rather than a thousand such men as had been sent. The complaint was just. During two years they had not brought under cultivation more than forty acres of land, while the number of able-bodied men was more than two hundred. The energetic arm of Smith was soon felt. The first law he made and enforced was, that “He who would not work should not eat;" the second, that “Each man for six days in the week should work six hours each day." In England, about this time, an unusual interest was May,
1609. manifested in the colony ; subscriptions were made to its stock, and the charter materially changed. The council was now chosen by the stockholders of the company, instead of being appointed by the king. This council appointed the governor, but he could mile with absolute authority. Not a single privilege was yet granted the colonist : his property, his liberty, his life were at the disposal of the governor; and he the agent of a soulless corporation, whose only object was gain. The company had expended money, but the course they themselves pursued prevented their receiving a return. Instead of sending the industrious and virtuous, they sent idlers and libertines ; instead of farmers and mechanics, they sent gold-seekers and bankrupt gentlemen. Instead of offering a reward to industry they gave a premium to idleness, by making the proceeds of their labor go into a common stock.
The new charter excited so great an interest in the cause, that a fleet of nine ships was soon under way, containing more than five hundred emigrants, and, for the
CHAP. first time, domestic animals and fowls. Lord Delaware, a
nobleman of excellent character, was appointed governor for life. As he was not prepared to come with this company, he nominated Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, and Newport, to act as his commissioners until his own arrival. Seven of the vessels came safely, but the ship on which the commissioners embarked, with another, was wrecked on one of the Bermuda islands.
This company of emigrants appears to have been worse than any before. As the commissioners had failed to reach the colony, these worthies refused to submit to the authority of Smith, the acting President, contending that there was no legalized government. But these men, who “would rule all or ruin all,” found in him a determined foe to disorder and idleness; he compelled them to submit. Unfortunately, just at this time, he was injured by an accidental explosion of gunpowder, and obliged to return to England for surgical aid. He delegated his authority to George Percy, a brother of the Duke of Northumberland. And now the man who had more than once saved the colony from utter ruin, bade farewell to Virginia forever ;
from his arduous labors he derived no benefit, but exOct. perienced at the hands of the company the basest in
During the administration of Smith the Indians were held in check; he inspired them with confidence and respect. When the colonists “beat them, stole their corn, and robbed their gardens,” they complained to him, and he protected their rights. After his departure, they formed a plan to cut off the white men at a single blow; but Pocahontas, that good genius of the English, came at night, in a driving storm, to Jamestown, revealed the plot,
and saved the colony. 1610. What the Indians failed to do, vice and famine nearly
accomplished. In six months after the departure of Smith, of the four hundred and ninety colonists only sixty were
EMIGRANTS AND SUPPLIES.
living, and they would have perished in a few days had CHAP. they not obtained relief. Sir Thomas Gates, and those who were wrecked with him, found means to build a 1611. small vessel, in which, at this crisis, they reached James May river. They were astonished at the desolation. They all determined to abandon the place and sail to Newfoundland, and there distribute themselves among the fishermen. They dropped down the river with the tide, leaving the place without a regret. What was their surprise the next morning to meet Lord Delaware coming in with more emigrants and abundance of supplies. They returned with a favoring wind to Jamestown the same night.
From this tenth day of June, one thousand six hun- 1611. dred and eleven, the colony began, under more favorable circumstances, to revive. Other influences moulded their characters. They acknowledged God in all their ways, and their paths were directed by His providential care. Under the just administration of the excellent Delaware, factions were unknown; each one was disposed to do his duty. Before they commenced the labors of the day, they met in their little church to implore the blessing of heaven. The effects were soon visible in the order and comfort of the community. They cheered their friends in England : “Doubt not,” said they, “God will raise our state and build his Church in this excellent clime." In about a year, failing health compelled Lord Delaware to return to England. He left Percy, Smith's successor, as his representative. The next year Sir Thomas Gates arrived, with six Auga
1612 ships and three hundred emigrants; a majority of whom were of a better class, temperate and industrious in their habits. A measure was now introduced which produced the greatest effect on the well-being of the colony: to each man was given a portion of land, which he was to cultirate for himself. The good result of this was soon seen in the abundance of provisions. The colony became so pros
CHAP. perous that some of the neighboring tribes of Indians
wished to be “called Englishmen," and to be subjects of 1612. King James. Some of the colonists, however, manifested
neither gratitude nor justice toward the natives. A neighboring chief was won by the gift of a copper kettle to betray into the hands of Captain Argall, Pocahontas, that faithful friend of the colony. Argall had the meanness to demand of her father a ransom. For three months the indignant Powhatan did not deign to reply. Meantime Pocahontas received religious instruction : her susceptible heart was moved, she became a Christian and was baptized ; she was the first of her race “who openly renounced her country's idolatry.” John Rolfe, a pious young man, of
honest and discreet carriage,” became interested in the youthful princess; he won her affections and asked her in marriage. Powhatan was delighted. This marriage conciliated him and his tribe, and indeed gave general satisfaction, except to King James, who was greatly scandalized that any man, but one of royal blood, should presume to marry a princess. Rolfe took his wife to England, where she was much caressed. She never again saw her native land. Just as she was leaving England for Virginia she died, at the early age of twenty-two. She left one son, whose posterity count it an honor to have descended from this noble Indian girl.
Sir Thomas Dale introduced laws, by which private individuals could become proprietors of the soil. The landholders directed their attention almost exclusively to the raising of tobacco, which became so profitable an article of export, that it was used as the currency of the colony. At one time, the public squares and streets of Jamestown were planted with tobacco, and the raising of corn so
much neglected, that there was danger of a famine. 1616. After a rule of two years, Dale resigned and returned
to England, leaving George Yeardley as deputy-governor. During his administration, industry and prosperity con
HOUSE OF BURGESSES.
tinued to increase. Under the influence of a faction, CHAP. Yeardley was superseded by the tyrannical Argall, but in two years his vices and extortion, in connection with frauds Jan.,
1619. upon the company, procured his dismissal, and the people once more breathed freely under the second administration of the benevolent and popular Yeardley.
Although the colony had been in existence twelve years, it contained not more than six hundred persons, and they appeared to have no settled intention of making the country their permanent home. Efforts were still made to send emigrants, twelve hundred of whom came in one year, and every means were used to attach them to the soil. At different times the company sent over more than one hundred and fifty respectable young women, who became wives in the colony, their husbands paying the expense of their passage. This was paid in tobacco, the cost of each passage varying from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty pounds. It was deemed dishonorable not to pay a debt contracted for a wife ; and to aid the husbands, the government, in giving employment, preferred married men. Thus surrounded by the endearments of home and domestic ties, the colonists were willing to remain in the New World.
Governor Yeardley was “commissioned by the company” to grant the people the right to assist in making their own laws, for which purpose they could hold an Assembly once a year. In July, one thousand six hundred and nineteen, met the House of Burgesses, consisting of twenty-two members chosen by the people. A peculiar interest is attached to this first Legislative Assembly in the New World. The laws enacted exhibit the spirit of the people. “Forasmuche,” said the Assembly, “as man's affaires doe little prosper when God's service is neglected, we invite Mr. Bucke, the minister, to open our sessions by prayer,—that it would please God to sanctifie all our proceedinges to his owne glory and the good of this plantation.” They passed laws against vices, and in favor of