Actions and occurrents whiles they continued in the
Ravens sent for
executed ‑ Two pinnaces built.
SO SOON as we were a little settled after our landing, with all the conveniency we might, and as the place and our many wants would give us leave, we made up our longboat (as Your Ladyship hath heard) in fashion of a pinnace, fitting her with a little deck made of the hatches of our ruin'd ship, so close that no water could go in her, gave her sails and oars; and entreating with our master's mate, Henry Ravens, who was supposed a sufficient pilot, we found him easily won to make over therewith as a bark of aviso for Virginia; which being in the height of thirty‑seven degrees, five degrees from the island which we were, might be some one hundred and forty
leagues from us, or thereabouts (reckoning to every degree that lies northeast and westerly twenty‑eight English leagues); who, the twenty‑eight of August being Monday, with six sailors and our cape merchant, Thomas Whittingham, departed from us out of Gates his Bay, but to our much wonder returned again upon the Wednesday night after, having attempted to have got clear of the island from the north‑northeast to the southwest, but could not, as little water as she drew (which might not be above twenty inches), for shoals and breaches; so as he was fain to go out from Summers' Creeks and the same way we came in on the south‑southeast‑ of the islands; and from thence we (he?) made to sea the Friday after the first of September, promising if he lived and arrived safe there to return unto us the next new moon with the pinnace belonging to the colony there. According unto which, instructions were directed unto the new lieutenant governor and council from our governor here, for which the islands were appointed carefully to be watched, and fires prepared as beacons to have directed and wafted him in. But two moons were wasted upon the promontory before mentioned, and gave many a long and wished look round about the horizon from the northeast to the southwest, but in vain, discovering nothing all the while, which way soever we turned our eye, but air and sea.
You may please, excellent lady, to know the reason which moved our governor to dispatch this longboat was the care which he took for the estate of the colony in this his enforced absence. For by a long‑practiced experience, foreseeing and fearing what innovation and tumult might happily arise amongst the younger and ambitious spirits of the new companies to arrive in Virginia, now coming with him along in this same fleet, he framed his letters to the colony, and by a particular commission confirmed Captain Peter Win his lieutenant governor, with an assistance of six councilors, writing withal to divers and such gentlemen of quality and knowledge of virtue and to such lovers of goodness in this cause whom he knew, entreating them by giving examples in themselves of duty and obedience to ‑assist likewise the said lieutenant governor against such as should attempt the innovating of the person (now named by him) or form of government, which in some articles he did likewise prescribe unto them; and had fair hopes all should go well if these his letters might arrive there, until such time as either some ship there (which he fairly believed) might be moved presently to adventure for him or that it should please the right honorable the lords and the rest of His Majesty's council in England to address thither the right honorable the Lord Lawar (one of more eminency and worthiness), as the project was before his coming forth, whilest by their honorable favors a charitable consideration in like manner might be taken of our estates to redeem us from hence; for which purpose likewise our governor directed a particular letter to the council in England, and sent it to the foresaid Captain Peter Winne, his now‑to‑be‑chosen lieutenant governor, by him to be dispatched (which is the first) from thence into England.
In his absence, Sir George Summers coasted the islands, and drew the former plat of them, and‑daily fished and hunted for our whole company until the seven and twentieth of November, when then well perceiving that we were not likely to heal from Virginia, and conceiving how the pinnace which Richard Frubbusher was a‑building would not be of burthen sufficient to transport all our men from thence into Virginia, especially considering the season of the year wherein we were likely to put off, he consulted with our governor that if he might have two carpenters (for we had four, such as they were) and twenty men over with him into the main island, he would quickly frame up another little bark to second ours, for the better fitting and conveyance of our people. Our governor, with many thanks as the cause required, cherishing this so careful and religious consideration in him, and whose experience likewise was somewhat in these affairs, granted him all things suitable to his desire and to the furthering of the work; who therefore had made ready for him all such tools and instruments as our own use required not. And for him were drawn forth twenty of the ablest and stoutest of the company, and the best of our men to hew and square timber, when himself then with daily pains and labor wrought upon a small vessel which was soon ready as ours‑at which we leave him awhile busied, and return to ourselves.
In the mean space did one Frubbusher, born at Gravesend, and at his coming forth now dwelling at Lime House, a painful and wellexperienced shipwright and skillful workman, labor the building of a little pinnace, for the furtherance of which the governor dispensed with no travail of his body, nor forbare any care or study of mind, persuading as much and more an ill‑qualified parcel of people by his own performance than by authority, thereby to hold them at their work, namely to fell, carry, and saw cedar fit for the carpenter's purpose. For what was so mean whereto he would not himself set his hand, being therefore up early and down late? Yet nevertheless were they hardly drawn to it, as the tortoise to the enchantment, as the proverb is. But his own presence and hand being set to every mean labor and employed so readily to every office made our people at length more diligent and willing to be called thereunto where they should see him before they came‑in which we may observe how much example prevails above precepts, and how readier men are to be led by eyes than ears.
And sure it was happy for us, who had now run this fortune and were fallen into the bottom of this misery, that we both had our governor with us, and one so solicitous and careful, whose both example, as I said, and authority could lay shame and command upon our people. Else, I am persuaded, we had most of us finished our days there, so willing were the major part of the common sort, especially when they found such a plenty of victuals, to settle a foundation of ever inhabiting there, as well appeared by many practices of theirs, and perhaps of some c f the better sort.
Lo, what are our affections and passions if not rightly squared? How irreligious and irregular they express us!‑not perhaps so ill as we would be, but yet as we are: Some dangerous and secret discontents nourished amongst us had like to have been the parents of bloody issues and mischiefs. They began first in the seamen, who in time had fastened onto them, by false baits, many of our landmen likewise, and some of whom, for opinion of their religion, was carried an extraordinary and good respect. The angles wherewith chiefly they thus hooked in these disquieted pools were how that in Virginia nothing but wretchedness and labor must be expected, with many wants; and a churlish entreaty, there being [there] neither that fish, flesh, nor fowl which here -‑ without wasting on the one part or watching on theirs, or any threat'ning and air of authority ‑- at ease and pleasure might be enjoyed; and since both in the one and the other place they were, for the time, to lose the fruition both of their friends and country, as good and better were it for them to repose and seat them where they should have the least outward wants the while.
This thus preached and published each to other, though by such who never had been more onward towards Virginia than before this voyage a sculler could happily row him (and what hath a more adamantive power to draw unto it the consent and attraction of the idle, untoward, and wretched number of the many than liberty and fullness of sensuality?) begat such a murmur and such a discontent and disunion of hearts and hands from this labor and forwarding the means of redeeming us from hence as each one wrought with his mate how to divorce him from the same.
And first, and it was the first of September, a
conspiracy was discovered, of which six were found principals, who had promised
each unto the other not to set their hands to any travail or endeavor which might
expedite or forward this pinnace. And each of these
had severally, according to appointment, sought his opportunity to draw the
smith and one of our carpenters, Nicholas Bennit, who
made much profession of Scripture (a mutinous and dissembling impostor!), the
captain and one of the chief persuaders of others who afterwards brake from the
society of the colony and like outlaws retired into the woods to make a
settlement and habitation there on their party, with whom they purposed to
leave our quarter and possess another island by themselves. But this happily
found out, they were condemned to the same punishment which they would have
chosen but without smith or carpenter!‑and to an
island far by itself they were carried and there left. Their names were John Want‑the
chief of them, an
But soon they missed comfort, who were far removed from our store. Besides, the society of their acquaintance had wrought in some of them, if not a loathsomeness of their offense, yet a sorrow that their complement was not more full, and therefore a weariness of their being thus untimely prescribed'; insomuch as many humble petitions were sent unto our governor fraught full of their seeming sorrow and repentance and earnest vows to redeem the former trespass with example of duties in them all to the common cause and general business; upon which our governor, not easy to admit any accusation, and hard to remit an offense, but at all times sorry in the punishment of him in whom may appear either shame or contrition, was easily content to reacknowledge them again.
Yet could not this be any warning to others who more subtly began to shake the foundation of our quiet safety. And therein did one Stephen Hopkins commence the first act or overture, a fellow who had much knowledge in the Scriptures and could reason well therein, whom our minister therefore chose to be his clerk to read the psalms and chapters upon Sundays at the assembly of the congregation under him; who in January the twenty‑four [16101 brake with one Samuel Sharpe and Humfrey Reede‑who presently discovered it to the governor‑and alleged substantial arguments both civil and divine (the Scripture falsely quoted!) that it was no breach of honesty, conscience, nor religion to decline from the obedience of the governor, or refuse to go any further led by his authority, except it so pleased themselves, since the authority ceased when the wrack was committed, and with it they were all then freed from the government of any man; and for a matter of conscience it was not unknown to the meanest how much we were therein bound each one to provide for himself and his own family. For which were two apparent reasons to stay them even in this place: first, abundance by God's providence of all manner of good food; next, some hope in reasonable time, when they might grow weary of the place, to build a small bark with the skill and help of the aforesaid Nicholas Bennit, whom they insinuated to them -‑ albeit he was now absent from his quarter and working in the main island with Sir George Summers upon his pinnace‑to be of the conspiracy, that so might get clear from hence at their own pleasures; (that) when in Virginia, the first would‑be assuredly wanting, and they miglff‑well rear to be detained in that country by the authority of the commander thereof, and their whole life to serve the turns of the adventurers with their travails and labors.
This being thus laid, and by such a one who had gotten an opinion, as I before rememb'red, of religion (when it was declared by those two accusers), not knowing what further ground it had or complices, it pleased the governor to let this his factious offense to have a public affront and contestation by these two witnesses before the whole company, who at the tolling of a bell assemble[d] before a corps du guard, where the prisoner was brought forth in manacles, and both accused and suffered to make at large to every particular his answer, which was only full of sorrow and tears, pleading simplicity and denial. But he being only found at this time both the captain and the follower of this mutiny, and generally held worthy to satisfy the punishment of his offense with the sacrifice of his life, our governor passed the sentence of a martial court upon him, such as belongs to mutiny and rebellion. But so penitent he was, and made so much moan, alleging the ruin of his wife and children in this his trespass, as it wrought in the hearts of all the better sort of the company, who therefore with humble entreaties and earnest supplications went unto our governor, whom they besought, as likewise did Captain Newport and myself, and never left him until we had got his pardon.
In these dangers and devilish disquiets, whilest the Almighty God wrought for us and sent us, miraculously delivered from the calamities of the sea, all blessings upon the shore to content and bind us to gratefulness, thus enraged amongst ourselves to the destruction each of other, into what a mischief and misery had we been given up had we not had a governor with his authority to have suppressed the same? Yet was there a worse practice, faction, and conjuration afoot, deadly and bloody, in which the life of our governor with many others were threat'ned, and could not but miscarry in his fall. But such is ever the will of God, who in the execution of His judgments breaketh the firebrands upon the head of him who first kindleth them!
There were who conceived that our governor indeed neither durst nor had authority to put in execution or pass the act of justice upon anyone, how treacherous or impious soever, their own opinions so much deceiving them for the unlawfulness of any act which they would execute, daring to justify among themselves that if they should be apprehended before the performance, they should happily suffer as martyrs. They persevered therefore not only to draw unto them such a number and associates as they could work into the abandoning of our governor and to the inhabiting of this island, they had now purposed (also) to have made a surprise of the storehouse, and to have forced from thence what was therein either of meal, cloth, cables, arms, sails, oars, or what else it pleased God that we had recovered from the wrack, and was to serve our general necessity and use, either for the relief of us while we stayed here, or for the carrying of us from this place again, when our pinnace should have been furnished.
But as all giddy and lawless attempts have always something of imperfection, and that as well by the property of the action, which holdeth of disobedience and rebellion (both full of fear), as through the ignorance of the devisers themselves; so in this, besides those defects, there were some of the association who, not strong enough fortified in their own conceits, brake from the plot itself and before the time was ripe for the execution thereof discovered the whole order and every agent and actor thereof; who nevertheless were not suddenly apprehended by reason the confederates were divided and separated in place, some with‑us, and the chief with Sir George‑ ‑Summers in his island and indeed all his whole company, but good watch passed upon them, every man from thenceforth commanded to wear his weapon, without which before we freely walked from quarter to quarter and conversed among ourselves, and every man advised to stand upon his guard, his own life not being in safety whilest his next neighbor was not to be trusted.
The sentinels and nightwarders doubled, the passages of both the quarters were carefully observed, by which means nothing was further attempted until a gentleman amongst them, one Henry Paine, the thirteenth of March‑full of mischief and every hour preparing something or other, stealing swords, adzes, axes, hatchets, saws, augers, planes, mallets, etc. to make good his own bad end his watch night coming about, and being called by the captain of the same to be upon the guard, did not only give his said commander evil language but struck at him, doubled his blows, and when he was not suffered to close with him, went off the guard, scoffing at the
double diligence and attendance of the watch appointed by the governor for much purpose, as he said. Upon which the watch telling him if the governor should understand of this his insolency, it might turn him to much blame, and happily be as much as his life were worth, the said Paine replied with a settled and bitter violence, and in such unreverent terms as I should offend the modest ear too much to express it in his own phrase, but the contents were how that the
governor had no authority of that quality to justify upon anyone, how mean soever in the colony, an action of that nature, and therefore let the governor (said he) kiss, etc. Which words being with the omitted additions brought the next day unto every common and public discourse, at length they were delivered over to the governor, who examining well the fact the transgression so much the more exemplary and odious as being in a dangerous time, in a confederate, and the success of the same wish'dly listened after‑with a doubtful conceit what might be the issue of so notorious a boldness and impudency, calling the said Paine before him and the whole company, where, being soon convinced both by the witness of the commander, and many which were upon the watch with him, our governor, who had now the eyes of the whole colony fixed upon him, condemned him to be instantly hanged; and the ladder beingready, after he had made many confessions, he earnestly desired, being a gentleman, that he might be shot to death; and towards the evening he had his desire, the sun and his life setting together.
But for the other which were with Sir George, upon the Sunday following, the bark being now in good forwardness and ready to launch in short time from that place, as we supposed, to meet ours at a pond of fresh water where they were both to be moored until such time as, being fully tackled, the wind should serve fair for our putting to sea together, being the eighteenth of March, hearing of Payne's death, and fearing he had appeached them, and discovered the attempt who, poor gentleman, therein in so bad a cause was too secret and constant to his own faith engaged unto them, and as little needed as urged thereunto, though somewhat was voluntarily delivered by him‑by a mutual consent forsook their labor and Sir George Summers, and like outlaws betook them to the wild woods.
Whether mere rage and greediness after some little pearl, as it was thought, wherewith they conceived they should forever enrich themselves, and saw how to obtain the same easily in this place, or whether the desire forever to inhabit here, or what other secret else moved them thereunto, true it is they sent an audacious and formal petition to our governor, subscribed with all their names and seals, not only entreating him that they might stay here but with great art importuned him that he would perform other conditions with them, and not waive nor evade from some of his own promises, as, namely, to furnish each of them with two suits of apparel and contribute meal ratably for one whole year, so much among them as they had weekly now, which was one pound and an half a week, for such had been our proportion for nine months.
Our governor answered this their petition, writing to Sir George Summers to this effect, that true it was at their first arrival upon this island, when it was feared how our means would not extend to the making of a vessel capable and large enough to transport all our countrymen at once‑indeed out of his Christian consideration mourning for such his countrymen who, coming under his command, he foresaw that for a while he was like enough to leave here behind, compelled by tyranny of necessity‑his purpose was not yet to forsake them so as given up like savages, but to leave them all things fitting to defend them from want and wretchedness‑as much at least as lay in his power to spare from the present use and perhaps necessity of others whose fortunes should be to be transported with him‑for one whole year or more, if so long by any casualty the ships which he would send unto them might be stayed before their arrival, so many hazards accompanying the sea; but withal entreated Sir George to remember unto his company, if by any means he could learn where they were, how he had vowed unto him that if either his own means, his authority in Virginia, or love with his friends in England could dispatch for them sooner, how far it was from him to let them remain abandoned and neglected without their redemption so long; and then proceeded, requesting Sir George Summers again to signify unto them, since now our own pinnace did arise to that burthen and that it would sufficiently transport them all, beside the necessity of any other bark; and yet, that since his bark was now ready too, that those consultations, howsoever charitable and most passionate in themselves, might determine as taken away thereby, and therefore that he should now be pleased to advise them well how unanswerable this grant or consent of his should be, first, to His Majesty for so many of his subjects, next, to the adventurers, and lastly, what an imputation and infamy it might be to both their own proper reputations and honors, having each of them authority in their places to compel the adversant and irregular multitude at any time to what should be obedient and honest; which, if they should not execute, the blame would not lie upon the people (at all times wavering and insolent) but upon themselves, so weak and unworthy in their command‑and moreover entreated him by any secret practice to apprehend them, since that the obstinate and precipitate many were no more in such a condition and state to be favored than the murmuring and mutiny of such rebellious and turbulent humorists who had not conscience nor knowledge to draw in the yoke of goodness‑and in the business for which they were sent out of England, for which likewise at the expense and charge of the adventurers they were to him committed; and that the meanest in the whole fleet stood the Company in no less than twenty pounds for his own personal transportation and things necessary to accompany him; and therefore lovingly conjured Sir George, by the worthiness of his heretofore well‑maintained reputation, and by the powers of his own judgment, and by the virtue of that ancient love and friendship which had these many years been settled between them, to do his best to give this revolted company, if he could send unto them, the consideration of these particulars, and so work with them, if he might, that by fair means (the mutiny reconciled) they would at length survey their own errors, which he would be as ready upon their rend'ring and coming into pardon as he did now pity them, assuring them in general and particular that whatsoever they had sinisterly committed or practiced hitherto against the laws of duty and honesty should not in any sort be imputed against them; in which good office Sir George Summers did so nobly work and heartily labor as he brought most of them in, and indeed all but Christopher Carter and Robert Waters, who by no means would anymore come amongst Sir George's men, hearing that Sir George had commanded his men indeed (since they would not be entreated by fair means) to surprise them, if they could, by any device or force; froze which time they grew so cautelous and wary for their own ill as at our coming away we were fain to leave them behind. That Waters was a sailor who at his first landing upon the island (as after you shall hear) killed another fellow sailor of his, the body of the murthered and murtherer so dwelling, as prescribed now, together.
During our time of abode upon these islands, we had daily every Sunday two sermons preached by our minister, besides every morning and evening at the ringing of a bell we repaired all to public prayer, at what time the names of our whole company were called by bill, and such as were wanting were duly punished.
The contents for the most part of all our preacher's sermons were especially of thankfulness and unity, etc.
It pleased God also to give us opportunity to perform all the other offices and rites of our Christian profession in this island, as marriage, for the six and twentieth of November  we had one of Sir George Summers his men, his cook named Thomas Powell, who married a maidservant of one Mistress Horton, whose name was Elizabeth Persons; and upon Christmas Eve, as also once before, the first of October.
Our minister preached a godly sermon, which being ended, he celebrated a communion, at the partaking whereof our governor was and the greatest part of our company. And the eleventh of February , we had the child of one John Rofe [Rolfe] christened, a daughter, to which Captain Newport and myself were witnesses, and the aforesaid Mistress Horton, and we named it Bermuda; as also the five and twentieth of March, the wife of one Edward Eason, being delivered the week before of a boy, had him then christened, to which Captain Newport and myself and Master James Swift were godfathers, and we named it Bermudas.
Likewise we buried five of our company: Jeffery Briars, Richard Lewis, William Hitchman, and my goddaughter Bermuda Rolfe, and one untimely Edward Samuell, a sailor, being villainously killed by the foresaid Robert Waters, a sailor likewise, with a shovel, who strake him therewith under the lift of the ear, for which he was apprehended and appointed to be hanged the next day, the fact being done in the twilight. But being bound fast to a tree all night with many ropes, and a guard of five or six to attend him, his fellow sailors, watching the advantage of the sentinels sleeping, in despite and disdain that justice should be showed upon a sailor and that one of their crew should be an example to others, not taking into consideration the unmanliness of the murther nor the horror of the sin, they cut his bands and conveyed him into the woods, where they fed him nightly and closely, who afterward, by the mediation of Sir George Summers, upon many conditions had his trial respited by our governor.
We had brought our pinnace so forward by this time as the eight and twentieth of August we having laid her keel; the six and twentieth of February we now began to caulk: Old cables we had preserved unto us which afforded oakum enough; and one barrel of pitch and another of tar we likewise saved, which served our use some little way upon the bilge. We breamed her otherwise with lime made of whelk shells, and an hard white stone which we burned in a kiln, slaked with fresh water, and tempered with tortoise's oil. The thirtieth of March, being Friday, we towed her out in the morning spring tide from the wharf where she was built, buoying her with four cask in her run only, which opened into the northwest, and into which, when the breeze stood north and by west with any stiff gale, and upon the spring tides, the sea would increase with that violence (especially twice it did so) as at the first time before our governor had caused a solid causey of an hundred load of stone to be brought from the hills and neighbor rocks, and round about her ribs from stem to stem, where it made a pointed balk, and thereby brake the violence of the flow and billow‑it endangered her overthrow and ruin, being green, as it were, upon the stocks. With much difficulty, diligence, and labor, we saved her at the first, all her bases, shores, and piles, which underset her, being almost carried from her, which was the second of January, when her knees were not set to, nor one joint firm.
We launched her unrigged to carry her to a little round island lying west‑northwest, and close aboard to the backside of our island, both nearer the ponds and wells of some fresh water, as also from thence to make our way to the sea the better, the channel being there sufficient and deep enough to lead her forth when her masts, sails, and all her trim should be about her. She was forty foot by the keel and nineteen foot broad at the beam, six foot floor; her rake forward was fourteen foot; her rake aft from the top of her post, which was twelve foot long, was three foot; she was eight foot deep under her beam; between her decks she was four foot and an half, with a rising of half a foot more under her forecastle of purpose to scour the deck with small shot, if at any time we should be boarded by the enemy. She had a fall of eighteen inches aft to make her steerage and her great cabin the more large; her steerage was five foot long and six foot high, with a close‑gallery aft, with a window on each side and two right aft. The most part of her timber was cedar, which we found to be bad for shipping for that it is wondrous false inward and, besides, it is so spalt or brickle that it will make no good planks. Her beams were all oak of our ruin ship, and some planks in her bow of oak, and all the rest as is aforesaid. When she began to swim upon her launching, our governor called her the Deliverance; and she might be some eighty tons of burthen.
Before we quitted our old quarter, and dislodged to the fresh water with our pinnace, our governor set up in Sir George Summers' garden a fair mnemosynon [memorial] in figure of a cross made of some of the timber of our ruined ship, which was screwed in with strong and great trunnels to a mighty cedar, which grew in the middest of the said garden, and whose top and upper branches he caused to be lopped, that the violence of the wind and weather might have the less power over her.
In the middest of the cross, our governor fastened the picture of His Majesty in a piece of silver of twelve pence, and on each side of the cross he set an inscription graven in copper in the Latin and English to this purpose:
"In memory of our great
deliverance, both from a mighty storm and leak, we have set up this to the
honor of God. It is the spoil of an English ship of three hundred ton, called
the Sea Venture, bound with seven
ships more, from which the storm divided us, to Virginia, or Nova Britannia, in
About the last of April, Sir George Summers launched his pinnace, and brought her from his building bay in the main island into the channel where ours did ride. And she was by the keel nine and twenty foot; at the beam fifteen foot and an half; at the luff fourteen; at the transom nine; and she was eight foot deep, and drew six foot water; and he called her the Patience.