« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
PROGRESS OF THE COLONY-MASSACRE OF 1622---DISSOLUTION OF THE
State of the colony at Smith's departure,-its conduct and consequent
sufferings, - Arrival of Gates-of Lord De La Ware,--his departure: Arrival of Dule,-Martial law,-Gates Governor,-Grants of land to individuals,-New charter,-Marriage of Pocahontas,-Friendly relations with the Indians,-Subjection of Port Royal and Manhat, tan,--Cultivation of Tobacco,-Tenure of lands-Tyranny of Argall,
-Propriety of reform in the government, Yeardley Governor,-- First Golonial assembly in 1619,-Introduction of women,- Introduction of negroes by the Dutch in 1620,-Constitution brought orer by Sir Fran. cis Wyatt.—Relations with the Indians,— Massacre of the 22d of March, 1622,--its consequences --Struggles between the king and the company,-Commissioners sent to Virginia,--Firmness of the Vir ginians, - Dissolution of the company,
When Smith left the colony, it contained four hundred and ninety odd persons. The harvest was newly gathered and there was provision for ten weeks in the stores. The savages were in a good state of subjection and readily yielded at a reasonable price whatever they could spare. All things were in such a condition that prudent management might have in sured the most brilliant success, but the wildest confusion and anarchy preyailed. The new President was so ill that he could not attend to business, and twenty others endeavored to hold the reins of government. When the savages found that Smith was gone they speedily attacked and broke up the establishments at Powhatan and Nansemond, driving in the remnant of the men their butcheries left
, to subsist upon the rapidly wasting provisions of James Town Ratcliffe with a vessel and thirty men attempting to trade with Powhatan was by his carelessness cut off, and he himself with all his company perished except two, who were saved by the humanity of Pocahontas. West with a crew of thirty escaped in a ship to be come pirates.* The miserable company now left without control or authority, and composed with a few exceptions of “gentlemen, tradesmen, servingmen, libertines, and such-like, ten times more fit to spoil a common wealth, than either begin one, or but help to maintain one, now gave free rein to all their evil dispositions. Each one sought only to gratify his passions or preserve his own life, without regard to the wants or sufferings of the rest.
There was no union, no concert, no harmony. : Vice stalked abroad in her naked deformity, and her handmaids, misery and famine followed in her train. The savages attacked and slew the whites upon every occasion, and forming a systematic plan to starve the remainder, they would supply no further provisions ; after they had bought every disposable article at the fort, even to most of their arms, at such a price as they
* Smith in book 4, pa. 2, says, "sailed for England."-Bancroft 156, says on the authority of Stith"became pirates,"
chose to exact. The corn was speedily consumed, next followed the domestic animals, poultry, hogs, goats, sheep, and finally the horses; all were consumed even to their skins. The only resource was in roots, acorns, berries, and such other unwholesome stuff as could be found; nay so pinching was the hunger, that savages who had been slain and buried were disinterred to be consumed, and even some of the whites who had perished were used to preserve life by the rest. Of nearly five hundred ihat Smith left, in six months only sixty emaciated beings remained alive; and these were without the possibility of support for longer than ten days.
When Gates and Sumıners were shipwrecked on the Bermuda rocks, their good management saved the life of every individual, and large proportion of their provision and stores. On this island although uninhabited, nature was so bountiful, and presented spontaneously such a rich variety of productions suitable to the sustenance of man, that their hundred and fifty men lived in ease and abundance for nearly ten months. The disagreeable idea of remaining thus upon an island, cut off from all intercourse with the rest of the world, stimulated them to the exertion necessary to build two barks, with such rude instruments as they possessed, from the wreck of their old ship and the cedars of the island. In these they embarked for Virginia, expecting to find in the comforts and plenty of a flourishing colony ample solace for all their foil and difficulties. What then May 23.
was their astonishment when they reached James Town, after a
more prosperous voyage than they could have expected in their crazy vessels, to meet instead of the warm and joyful welcome of their coun. trymen, in the full fruition of health and plenty, only the greedy cravings of a few miserable wretches, begging for a sufficiency of food to preserve their existence. Not anticipating this melancholy situation they had only provided themselves with enough provision for their voyage, and were unable to releive the necessities of their fellow creatures, whose sufferings it was so painful to witness: It was impossible in this situation to rea main longer in the colony. All were embarked on board the vessels, James Town was abandoned, and it was with difficulty that its deparsing citizens could be prevented from setting fire to the habitations in whieh they had suffered so much misery. - All the provisions which could be raised did not amount to more than would support them for sixteen days, at the most limited allowance, yet with this they set out with the hope to reach Newfoundland, where they expected to be relieved by the British fishing vessels.
But although it had been the will of heaven to permit the colonists to receive an awful chastisement for their misconduct, yet it was not decreed by the ruler of all human affairs that the colony should be entirely aban: doned, and so much labor and suffering be useless to mankind, or so fine å country teft in its original wild and unimproved condition. Before Gates and his associates had reached the mouth of James river, they were met by Lord De La Ware with three ships, having on board a number of new settlers, an ample stock of provisions, and erery thing requisite for defence or cultivation. By persuasion and authority he prevailed upon them to June 10, 1610, houses and magazines in the same situation in which they
return 'to James Town, where they found their fort, and had been left. A society with so bad a constitution and such a weak and disordered frame required skillful and tender nursing to restore it to vigor. Lord De La Ware was fully competent to his station. He held a long
consultation to ascertain the cause of the previous difficulties, and concluded after listening to their mutual accusations, by a speech full of wholesome advice, recoinmending the course they should pursue, and assuring them that he should not hesitate to exercise his lawful authority in punishing the insubordinate, dissolute, and idle. By unwearied assiduity, by the respect due to an amiable and benificent character, by knowing how to mingle severity with indulgence, and when to assume the dignity of his office, as well as when to display the gentleness natural to his own temper, he gradually reconciled men corrupted by anarchy, to subordination and discipline, he turned the attention of the idle and profligate to industry, and taught the Indians again to reverence and diead the English name.' UnMarch 28, 1011,
der such an administration, the colony began once more
to assume a promising appearance; when, unhappily for it, a complication of diseases brought on by the climate obliged Lord De La Ware to quit the country: the government of which he committed to Mr. Percy:* The colony at this time, consisted of about two hundred men; but the departure of the governor was a disastrous event, which produced not only a despondency at James Town, but chilled the zealous warmth of the London company, and caused a decided reaction in the popular mind in England, which was exhibited in the manner in which popular feeling delights to display itself
, by exhibiting the Virginia colony as a subject of derision upon the stage.t
Before the departure of Lord De La Ware the company in England had despatched Sir Thomas Dale with supplies, and it was well he' arrived so May, 10, 1611. soon, for the company was already fast relapsing to their
former state of idleness and improvidence, and had ne glected to plant corn; which he caused to be done immediately. The company having found all their previous systems of government inefficient, granted to Sir Thomas Dale more absolute authority than had been granted to any of his predecessors, impowering him to rule by martial law; a short code of which founded on the practice of the armies in the low countries, the most rigid school at that time in Europe, they sent out with him. This system of violent and arbitrary government was recommended by Sir Francis Bacon, the most enlightened philosopher, and one of the most eminent lawyers of his age. It proves the depth of his sagacity, for it would have been absurd to apply the refined speculative theories of civil government to a set of mutinous, undisciplined, idle, ignorant creatures, shut up in a fort, surrounded by hostile nations, and dependent upon their own exertions for support. Surely in such a case a strong governinent was as necessary as in a ship at sea, and more so than in ordinary military stations, where habitual discipline preserves order, and ensures respect to the officers.
The governor who was now entrusted with this great but necessary power exercised it with prudence and moderation. By the vigor which the summary mode of military punishment gave to bis administration, he introduced into the colony more perfect order than had ever been established there, and at the same time he tempeted its rigor with so much discretion, that no alarm seems to have been given by this innovation.
In May Sir Thomas Dale wrote to England full information of the
* Robertson's Virginia, pa. 80. + Bancroft, 150.
weakness of the colony, but recommending in strong terms the importance of the place. His favorable representations were fully confirmed by Lord De La Ware and Sir Thomas Gates. The hopes of the company were resuscitated, and in August, Gates arrived at James Town with six ships, and three hundred emigrants. The colony wliich now consisted of seven hundred men, was surrendered into the hands of Gates, and Dale by his permission made a settlement with three hundred and fifty chosen men upon a neck nearly surrounded by the river, which in honor of Prince Henry, he called Henrico.
One of the greatest checks to industry which had hitherto existed in the colony was the community of property in the provisions and stores. The idle and dissipated seeing that they were to have a full share, had no stimulus to exertion, and the industrious were disheartened by seeing the larger portion of the fruits of their industry consumed by the idle members of the little society: So discouraging was this state of things to exertion, that frequently in the best times, the labor of thirty did not accomplish more than was done under a different system by three. Gaies perceived the evil and applied the remedy: He distributed a certain portion of land 19 each individual to be worked for his own benefit, still paying however a small portion of his produce to the general store to provide against contingeneies, This policy was found so advantageous that every encouragement was afforded to individual enterprize in the acquisition of wealth. But little respect was paid to the righis of the Indians, for some depredation or injury from the tribe of A pamatuck, they were dispossessed of their corn and their cabins, which considering the position commodious' were unceremoniously appropriated by the English io their own benefit.
The colony now having extended considerably, assumed a more regular March 12, 1612.
form by pursuing a more consistent system of policy; and
beginning to promise permanency, a new charter was granted by James. This confirmed and enlarged all the privileges and immunities which had been previously granted, extended the time of exemption from duties, and enlarged their territory and jurisdiction to all islands and seats within three hundred miles of the coast. This included the new. ly discovered, fertile Bermudas, which were soon after sold by the company to one hundred and twenty of its members
This new charter made some changes in the constitution of the company, by giving more power to the company itself and less to the council; it also conferred the power of raising money by lottery for the benefit of the colony, which was the first introduction of this pernicious system of taxation March 1621
into England, and which was soon after prohibited by act of
Parliament, but not until the company had raised nearly thirty thousand pounds by the privilege.
As the new system of policy had increased the independence and preserved the numbers of the colony, so had it increased its strength, and the respect of the savages. Che powerful tribe now voluntary sought British protection and became British subjects, another was brought to a close and friendly alliance by a tenderer tie than fear could afford.
Captain Argall in a voyage to the Potomac for the purpose of purchasing corn, fell in with an old chief named lapаzaws, to whom Powhatan had entrusted Pocahontas, which he disclosed to Argall, and offered to sell her to
*Holme's Ąm. An. I. 175,
him for a copper kettle. The bargain was made, and Pocahontas being enticed on board by the cunning of her guardian, was carried off without once suspecting the treachery of the old hypocrite. The authorities at Jamestown availed themselves of the possession of this lucky prize to endeavor to ex, tort from Powhatan a high ransom; but the old Emperor though he really loved his daughter, seemed to be so highly affronted at the indignity. offered him, that he preferred fighting those who had rubbed bim of his daughter to purchasing her freedom. But whilst this matter was in agitation a trea: ty of a different character was going forward between the young princess herself and Mr. Rolfe, a highly respectable young gentleman of Jamestown, who struck by her beauty, and fascinated by her manners so far superior to the rest of her race, wooed and won her affections and obtained a pro, mise of her hand. The news of this amicable adjustment of all difficulties soon reached the ears of Powhatan, and met with his cordial approbation. He sent the uncle and two brothers of Pocahontas to witness the nuptial ceremonies at Jamestown, which were solemnized with great pomp, according to the rites of the English church. From this marriage sereral of the most highly respected families in Virginia trace their descent. Happy would it have been for both races, if this amalgamation had been promoted by other instances, but this is the only case upon record. This mar: riage secured the permanent friendship of Powhatan and all under his influence; and the Chickahominies, his next neighbors, when they heard of it, sent deputies, and submitted by soleran treaty to become subjects to king James, and to submit to his governor in the colony,--to pay tribute, and furnish men to fight against whatever enemies should attack the colony: only stipulating that at home they should continue to be governed by their own laws.
No better evidence could exist of the opinion which the colony entertain1613.
ed at this time of its own stability and power, than the fact that they
sent two successive expeditions under Captain Argall to the French settlements at Port Royal, in Acadia which he effcctually succeeded in de. stroying. This was done in a time of profound peace between the two nations, and the only semblance of right is afforded in the prior discovery of the continent by Cabot, for the French settlement was beyond the limits of the Virginia charter. As Argall returned he stopped at the port of New York, and forced Hendrick Christiaens, the governor of the Dutch colony there located, to become a subject of the crown of England, and submit to the authority of its representative the governor of Virginia, and to pay tribute. When Argall was gone, the Dutchman no doubt smoked his pipe and pursued his trade as composedly as he had before, for no use was eyer made of this conquest.
We have already inentioned a partial distribution of lands by Sir Thomas Dale, for the purpose of encouraging individual industry; it may be well to explain more in detail the tenure by which lands were held by indi. viduals. At the favored Bermudas plantation, near the mouth of the Appo, mattox, either on account of the greater merit, longer service, or some favorable circumstances attending the expense of the emigration of the teñants, the lands were held by a rent of two and a half barrels of corn amualły to the general stock, and one months' service, which was not to be in time of sowing, or of harvest. Those who had been brought orer at the expense of the company, had three acres of land allotted them and two bushels of corn from the public store, and with this scanty allowance were required