Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

352

POWHATAN.-ORDERS THE DEATH OF SMITH.

[Book IV.

Eight days I will stay to receive them. Your father (meaning Newport] is to come to me, not I to him, nor yet to your fort-neither will I bite at such a bate. As for the Monacans, I can revenge my own injuries; and as for Atquanachuck, where you say your brother was slain, it is a contrary way from those parts you suppose it; but, for any salt water beyond the mountains, the relations you have had from my people are false.” Some of the Indians had made the English believe that the South Sea, now called the Pacific Ocean, was but a short distance back. To sbow Smith the absurdity of the story, he drew a map of the country, upon the ground. Smith returned as wise as he went.

A house was built for Powhatan, about this time, hy some Germans, who came over with Newport. These men, thinking that the English could not subsist in the country, wantonly betrayed all the secrets of their condition to Powhatan, which was again the source of much trouble. They even urged him to put all the English to death, agreeing to live with him, and assist him in the execution of the horrible project. Powhatan was pleased at the proposition, and thought, by their assistance, to effect what he had formerly hoped to do by engaging Smith in such an enterprise. Their first object was to kill Captain Smith ; by which act, the chief obstacle to success would be removed ; and, accordingly, they took every means in their power to effect it.

In the first place, he invited him to come and trade for corn, hoping an opportunity, in that business, would offer. That his design might not be mistrusted, Powhatan promised to load his ship with corn, if he would bring him a grindstore, 50 swords, some muskets, a cock and a hen, and a quantity of copper and beads. Smith went accordingly, but guarded, as though sure of meeting an enemy.

In their way, the English stopped at Warrasqueake, and were informed, by the sachem of that place, of Powhatan's intentions. That sachen kindly entertained them, and, when they departed, furnished them with guides. On account of extreme bad weather, they were obliged to spend near a week at Kicquotan. This obliged them to keep their Christmas among the Indians, and, according to our authorities, a merry Christmas it was ; having been

never more merry in their lives, lodged by better fires, or fed with greater plenty of good bread, oysters, fish, flesh, and wild fowl."

Having arrived at Werowocomoco, after much hardship, they sent to Powhatan for provisions, being in great want, not having taken but three or four days' supply along with them. The old chief sent them immediately a supply of bread, turkeys, and venison, and soon after made a feast for them, according to custom.

Meanwhile, Powhatan pretended he had not sent for the English; telling them he had no corn, “and his people much less," * and, therefore, intimated that he wished they would go off again. But Smith produced the messenger that he had sent, and so confronted him; Powhatan then laughed heartily, and thus it passed for a joke. He then asked for their commodities, " but he liked nothing, except guns and swords, and valued a basket of corn higher than a basket of copper; saying, he could rate his corn, but not the copper." Captain Smith then made a speech to him, in which he endeavored to work upon his feelings and sense of honor; said he had sent his men to build him a house while his own was neglected; that, because of his promising to supply him with corn, he had neglected to supply himself with provisions when he might have done it. Finally, Smith reproached him of divers negligences, deceptions, and prevarications ; but the main cause of Powhatan's refusing to trade seems to have been because the English did not bring the articles le most wanted.

When Smith had done, Powhatan answered him as follows:-“We have but little corn, but what we can spare shall be brought two days hence. As to your coming here, I have some doubt about the reason of it. I am told, by my men, that you came, not to trade, but to invade my people, and to possess my country. This makes me less ready to relieve you, and frightens my

[ocr errors]

* The reader may wonder how this could be, but it is so in thc uld history, by Stith, 86

people from bringing in their corn. And, therefore, to relieve them of tha: fear, leave your arms aboard your boats, since they are needless here, whert we are all friends, and forever Powhatans.”

In these, and other speeches of like amount, they spent the first day. “But whilst they expected the coming in of the country, they wrangled Powhatan mut of 80 bushels of corn, for a copper kettle; which the president seeing him much affect, (value,] he told him it was of much greater value ; yet, in regard of his scarcity, he would accept that quantity at present; provided he should have as much more the next year, or the Manakin country," were that condition not complied with.

This transaction will equal any thing of the kind in the history of New England, but we will leave the reader to make his own comment.

At the same time, Powhatan made another speech, in which were some very singular passages, as reported by Smith. One was, that he had seen the death of all his people three times; and that none of those three generations was then living, except himself. This was evidently only to make the English think him something more than human. The old chief then went on and said,

“I am now grown old, and must soon die ; and the succession must descend, in order, to my brothers, Opitchapan, Opekankanough, and Catataugh,* and then to my two sisters, and their two daughters. I wish their experience was equal to mine; and that your love to us might not be less than ours to you. Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food? What can you get by war? We can hide our provisions, and fly into the woods; and then you must consequently famish by wronging your friends. What is the cause of your jealousy? You see us unarmed, and willing to supply your wants, if you will come in a friendly manner, and not with swords and guns, as to invade an enemy. I am not so simple, as not to know it is better to eat good meat, lie well, and sleep quietly with my women and children; to laugh and be merry with the English ; and, being their friend, to have copper, hatchets, and whatever else I want, than to fly from all, to lie cold in the woods, feed upon acorns, roots, and such trash, and to be so hunted, that I cannot rest, eat, or sleep. In such circumstances, my men must watch, and if a twig should but break, all would cry out, 'Here comes Capt. Smith ;' and so, in this miserable manner, to end my miserable life ; and, Capt. Smith, this might be soon your fate too, through your rashness and unadvisedness. I, therefore, exhort you to peaceable councils; and, above all, I insist that the guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy and uneasiness, be removed and sent away.”

Smith interpreted this speech to mean directly contrary to what it expressed, and it rather confirmed, than lessened, his former suspicions. He, however, made a speech to Powhatan, in his turn, in which he endeavored to convince him that the English intended him no hurt; urging, that, if they had, how easily they might have effected it long before; and that, as to their perishing with want, he would have him to understand that the English had ways to supply themselves unknown to the Indians; that as to his sending away the arms, there was no reason in that, since the Indians were always allowed to bring theirs to Jamestown, and to keep them in their hands. Seeing Smith's inflexibility, and despairing of accomplishing his intended massacre, he spoke again to Smith as follows:

“ Capt. Smith, I never use any werowance so kindly as yourself; yet from you I receive the least kindness of any. Capt. Newport gave me swords, copper, clothes, or whatever else I desired, ever accepting what I offered bim; and would send away his guns when requested. No one refuses to lie at my feet, or do what I demand, but you only. Of you I can have nothing, but what you value not; and yet, you will have whatsoever you please. Capt. Newport you call father, and so you call me; but I see, in spite of us both, you will do what you will, and we must both study to humor and content you. But if you intend so friendly, as you say, send away your arms; for you see

* Catanaugh, Stith.

х

30 #

354 POWHATAN.-HIS INSTRUCTIONS TO TOMOCOMO. (Book IV. my undesigning simplicity and friendship cause me thus nakedly to forget myself.”

Smith now was out of all patience, seeing Powhatan only trifled away the time, that he might, by some means, accomplish his design. The boats of the English were kept at a distance from the shore, by reason of ice Smith, therefore, resorted to deception ; he got the Indians to break the ice, that his men might come in and take on board the corn they had bought, and, at the same time, gave orders to them to seize Powhatan ; Smith, in the mean time, was to amuse him with false promises. But Smith's talk was too full of flattery not to be seen through by the sagacious sachem; and, before it was too late, he conveyed himself, his women, children, and effects, into the woods; having succeeded in his deception better than Smith; for two or three squaws ainused him while Powhatan and the rest escaped. Unwilling, however, to renounce his purpose, Powhatan sent Smith, soon after, a valuable bracelet, as a present, by an old orator of his, who tried to excuse the conduct of his sachem; he said Powhatan ran off because he was afraid of the English arms, and said, if they could be laid aside, he would come with his people, and bring corn in abundance. At length, finding all artifices vain, Powhatan resolved to fall upon the English, in their cabins, on the following night. But here, again, Pocahontas saved the life of Smith and his attendants. She came alone, in a dismal night, through the woods, and informed Smith of her father's design. For this most signal favor, he offered her such articles as he thought would please her; but she would accept of nothing, and, with tears standing in her eyes, said if her father should see her with any thing, he would mistrust what she had done, and instant death would be her reward; and she retired by herself into the woods, as she came.

Powhalan was so exasperated at the failure of his plots, that he threatened death to his men if they did not kill Smith by some means or other. Not long after, a circumstance occurred, which gave him security the rest of his administration. One of Powhatan's men, having, by some means, got a quantity of powder, pretended that he could manage it like the English. Several came about him, to witness his exploits with the strange commodity, when, by some means, it took fire, “and blew him, with one or two more, to death." This struck such a dread into the Indians, and so amazed and frightened Powhatan, that his people came from all directions, and desired peace;* many of whom returned stolen articles that the English had never before missed. Powhatan would now send to Jamestown such of his men as haul injured the English, that they might be dealt with as they deserved. The same year, 1609, he sent them nearly half his crop of corn, knowing them to be in great want.

Captain Smith, having, by accident, been shockingly burneil by his powderbags taking fire, for want of surgical aid, was ob] to leave the country and go to England, from whenca he never returned. He published the account of the first voyages to Virginia, and his own adventures, which is almost the only authority for the early history of that country. He died in London, in 1631,4 in the 52d year of his age.

The Dutchmen of whom we have spoken, and who had been so assiduous to bring ruin upon the colony, came to a miserable end. One of them died in wretchedness, and two others had their brains beat out by oriler of Powhatan, for their deception.

After Smith had left Virginia, the Indians were made to believe that he was dead. Powhatan doubted the report, and, some time after, ordered one of his counsellors, named Uttamatomakin, 1 or Tomocomo, Ø whom he sent to England, to find out, if possible, where he was. He instructed him, also, to note the number of the people, to learn the state of the country, and, if he found Smith, io make him show him the God of the English, and the king and queen. When he arrived at Pliipouth, he took a long stick, and began to perform a part of his mission by cutting a notch for every person he should see. But

* Did not the English of New England owe their safety to Massasoit and Miantunnomol's fear of the same article ?

Josselyn, N. Eng. Rarities, 106. Or Ullamaccomack, Smith. Purchas.

he snon gave up that business. And, when he returned to his own country, his chief asked him, among other things, to give him an account of the number of the inhabitants in England. His answer to that inquiry, we hazard not much in saying, is nearly as extensively known as the golden rule of Confu cius. It was as follows: “ Count the stars in the sky, the leaves on the trees, and the sand upon the sea-shore, ---for such is the number of the people of England.

Tomocomo had married a sister of Pocahontas, and, probably, accompanied her to England.* While there, the famous antiquary, Samuel Purchas, had an interview with him, and from whom he collected many facts relating to the manners and customs of his countrymen; the result of which he afterwards published in bis Pilgrims. +

The difficulties were almost perpetual between Powhatan and the English very little time passed, while he lived, but what was full of broils and dissatisfaction, on the one part or the other. Few Indian chiefs have fallen under our notice, possessing such extraordinary characteristics as Powhatan. He died at peace with the English, in April, 1618, and was succeeded by Opitchapan, his second brother, who was known afterwards by the name Itopatin.

Our readers will be compelled to acknowledge that Captain Smith was barbarous enough towards the Indians, but we have not met with any thing quite so borrible, in the course of his proceedings, as was exhibited by his successor, Lord De La War. This gentleman, instead of taking a mean course between the practices of Sinith and Newport, went into the worst extreme. Finding Powhatan insolent, on his arrival in the country, he determined, by severity, to bring him to unconditional submission. Having, therefore, got into his hands an Indian prisoner, his lordship caused his right hand to be cut off. In this maimed and horrid condition, he sent him to Powhatan; at the same time giving the sachem to understand, that all his subjects would be served in this manner, if he refused obedience any longer; telling him, also, that all the corn in the country should be immediately destroyed, which was just then ripe. † This wretched act increased, as reasonably it should, the indignation of Powhatan, and his acts were governed accordingly.

CHAPTER II.

Reflection upon the character of Powhalan— Pocahontas- - She singularly entertains

Captain Smith-Disaster of a boat's crero-Smith's attempt to surprise Porchatan frustrated in consequence-Pocahontas sates the life of Wuffin-Betrayed into the hands of the English-Japazaws—Mr. Rolfe marries Pocuhontas-OpachiscoPocahontas disits England-Her interview with SmithDies at Gravesend--Her son—OPEKANKANOUGHMade prisoner by SmithIs set at libertyNEMATTANOW

- Murders an Englishman-Is murdered in his turnHis singular conduct at his death_Conducts the massacre of 1622— Plots the extirpation of the English-Conducts the horrid massacre of 1644-Is taken prisonerHis conduct upon the occasion, Barbarously wounded by the guard— Last speech, and magnanimity in deathReflections—NickotAWANCE-TOTOPOTOMOI Joins the English against the RechahecriansIs defeated and slain.

It is impossible to say what would have been the conduct of the great Powhatan towards the English, had he been treated by them as he ought to have been. The uncommonly amiable, virtuous, and feeling disposition of his daughter, will always be brought to mind in reading his history; and, notwithstanding, he is described by the historians as possessing a sour, morose, and savage disposition, full of treachery, deceit and cunning—and whose word was never to be depended upon--yet, on the very page that he is thus

* Ms. Oldmixon (Brit. Empire, i. 285.) says, “That when the princess Pocahontas came for England, a coucarousa, or lord of her own nation, attended her; his name was Ullamacco+ Vol. v. b. viii, chap. vi. page 955.

| Harris, Voyages, i. 226.

Kuck."

356

POCAHONTAS. SAVES THE LIFE OF A CAPTIVE.

[Book IV

represented, we shall find the same faults set him as examples by the English themselves.

The first and most memorable events in the life of Pocahontas have necessarily been detailed in the account of her father; therefore we shall, under her own name, give those which are more disconnected with his.

POCAHONTAS was born about the year 1594 or 5, and hence was no more than 12 or 13 years old when she saved the life of Captain Smith, in 1607. Every particular of that most extraordinary scene has been exhibited. The name Pocohántes or Pockohantés, says Heckewelder, means a run between two bills. It has been mentioned, that, at the suggestion of Captain Newport, Smith went with a few men to Werowocomoco, to invite Powhatan to Jamestown to receive presents, hoping thereby to influence bim to open a trade in corn with them.

When he arrived at that place, Powhatan was not at home, but was at the distance of 30 miles off. Pocahontas and her women received him, and while he waited for her father, they thus entertained him:-“In a fayre plaine field, (says Smith,) they made a fire, before which, he sitting upon a mat, suddajnly amongst the woods was heard such a hydeous poise and shrecking, that the English betooke themselves to their arms, and seized on two or three old men by them, supposing Powhatan, with all his power, was come to surprise Hiem. But presently Pocahontas came, willing him to kill her if any hurt were intended ; and the beholders, which were men, women and children, satisfied the captain there was no such matter. Then presently they were presented with this anticke ; 30 young women came naked out of the woods, onely covered behind and before with a few greene leaues, their bodies all painted, some of one color, some of another, but all differing. Their leader had a fayre payre of buck's hornes on her head, and an otter-skinne at her girdle, and another at her arme, a quiver of arrowes at her backe, a bow and arrows in her hand. The next had in her hand a sword, and another a club, another a pot-sticke, all horned alike; the rest every one with their seuerall devises. These fiends, with most hellish shouts and cryes, rushing from among the trees, cast themselves in a ring about the fire, singing and dancing with most excellent ill varietie, oft falling into their infernall passions, anıl solemnly again to sing and daunce. Having spent neare an houre in this mascarado, as they entred, in like manner they departed.” After a short time, they came and took the English to their wigwams. Here they were more tormented than before, “ with crowding, pressing, hanging about them, mest tediously crying, “Love you not me? love you not me?" When they had finished their caresses, they set before them the best victuals their country afforded, and then showed them to their lodgings.

While Captain Smith was upon an expedition into the country, with an intention of surprising Powhatan, there happened a melancholy accident at home, to a boat's crew, which had been sent out in very severe weather, by one who was impatient to have the direction of matters. In the boat were Captain Waldo, Master Scrivener, the projector of the expedition, Mr. Anthony Gosnold, brother of the well-known Bartholomew Gosnold,* and eight others. By the sinking of the boat, these all perished, and none knew what had become of them, until their bodies were found by the Indians. The very men on whom Smith depended to remain at the fort for his succor, in case he sent for them, were among the number. Therefore, to prevent the failure of this expedition, somebody must be sent to apprize Smith of the catastrophe. None volunteered for the hazardous service, but Mr. Richard Wyffin, who was obliged to undertake it alone. This was a time when Powhatan was very insolent, and urged daily the killing of Smith upon his men. Nevertheless, after many difficulties, he arrived at Werowocomoco. Here he found himself amidst preparations for war, and in still greater danger than he had yet been. But Pocahontas appeared as bis savior. Knowing the intention of the warriors to kill him, she first secreted him in the woods, and then directed those who sought him in an opposite direction from that he had gone; so, by this

Seo

* Who had miserably perished by disease and famine at Jamestown, 22 Aug., 1607 Bancroft, U. States, i. 144.

« AnteriorContinuar »