The Lord La Warre's beginnings and proceedings inJames
Town ‑ Sir Thomas Gates sent into
Company's testimony of
UPON His Lordship's landing at the south gate of the palisado, which looks into the river, our governor caused his company in arms to stand in order an make a guard. It pleased him that I should bear his colors for that 'me. His Lordship landing fell upon his knees and before us all ma e a long and silent prayer to himself, and after marched up into the town, where at the gate I bowed with the colors, and let them fall at His Lordship's feet, who passed on into the chapel, where he heard a sermon by Master Bucke, our governor's preacher; and after that, caused a gentleman, one of his own followers, Master Anthony Scot, his ancient, to read his commission, which entituled him lord governor and captain general, during his life, of the colony and plantation in Virginia (Sir Thomas Gates, our governor hitherto, being now styled therein lieutenant general).
After the reading of His Lordship's commission, Sir Thomas Gates rend'red up unto His Lordship his own commission, both patents and the council seal. After which, the lord governor and captain general delivered some few words unto the company, laying many blames upon them for many vanities and their idleness, earnestly wishing that he might no more find it so, lest he should be compelled to draw the sword of justice to cut off such delinquents, which he had much rather, he protested, draw in their defense to protect them from injuries; heartening them with the knowledge of what store of provisions he had brought for them, viz., sufficient to serve four hundred men for one whole year.
The twelfth of June, being Tuesday, the lord governor and captain general did constitute and give places of office and charge to divers captains and gentlemen, and elected unto him a council, unto whom he did administer an oath mixed with the oath of allegiance and supremacy to His Majesty; which oath likewise he caused to be administ'red the next day after to every particular member of the colony‑of faith, assistance, and secrecy. The council which he elected were Sir Thomas Gates, knight, lieutenant general; Sir George Summers, knight, admiral; Captain George Percy, esquire, and in the fort captain of fifty; Sir Ferdinando Weinman, knight, master of the ordnance; Captain Christopher Newport, vice‑admiral; William Strachei, esquire, secretary and recorder.
As likewise the lord governor and captain general nominated Captain John Martin master of the battery works for steel and iron, and Captain George Webb sergeant major of the fort; and especial captains over companies were these appointed: Captain Edward Bruster, who hath the command of His Honor's own company; Captain Thomas Lawson, Captain Thomas Holecroft, Captain Samuell Argoll, Captain George Yardley, who commandeth the lieutenant general's company. Divers other officers were likewise made, as Master Ralph Hamor and Master Browne clerks of the council, and Master Daniell Tucker and Master Robert Wilde clerks of the store, etc.
The first business which the lord governor and captain general (after the settling of these officers) thought upon was to advise with his council for the obtaining of such provisions of victuals for store and quality as the country afforded. It did not appear that any kind of flesh, deer, or what else of that kind could be recovered from the Indian, or to be sought in the country by the travail or search of his people; and the old dwellers in the fort, together with the Indians not to friend, who had the last winter destroyed and killed up all the hogs, insomuch as of five or six hundred (as it is supposed) there was not one left alive; nor an hen nor chick in the fort; and our horses and mares they had eaten with the first; and the provision which the lord governor and captain general had brought, concerning any kind of flesh, was little or nothing, in respect it was not dreamt of by the adventurers in England that the swine were destroyed.
In council therefore the thirteenth of June, it pleased Sir George Summers, knight, admiral, to propose a voyage which for the better relief and good of the colony he would perform into the Bermudas, from whence he would fetch six months' provision of flesh and fish and some live hogs to store our colony again; and had a commission given unto him the fifteenth of June, 1610, who in his own Bermuda pinnace, the Patience, consorted with Captain Samuell Argoll in the Discovery, whom the lord governor and captain general made of the council before his departure, the nineteenth of June, fell with the tide from before our town and, the twenty‑two, left the bay, or Cape Henry, astern.
And likewise, because at the lord governor and captain general's first coming there was found in our own river no store of fish, after many trials the lord governor and captain general dispatched in the Virginia with instructions, the seventeenth of June, 1610, Robert Tyndall, master of the De la Warre, to fish unto, all along, and between Cape Henry and Cape Charles, within the bay; who the last of the said month returned unto us again, but as ill speeding as the former, whom our governor (now lieutenant general) had addressed thither before for the same purpose. Nor was the lord governor and captain general in the meanwhile idle at the fort, but every day and night he caused the nets to be hauled, sometimes a dozen times one after another. But it pleased not God so to bless our labors that we did at any time take one quarter so much as would give unto our people one pound at a meal apiece, by which we might have better husbanded our peas and oatmeal, notwithstanding the great store we now saw daily in our river. But let the blame of this lie where it is, both upon our nets and the unskillfulness of our men to lay them.
The sixth of July, Sir Thomas Gates, lieutenant general, coming down to Point Comfort, the north wind blowing rough he found had forced the longboat belonging to Algernoone Fort to the other shore upon Nansamund side, somewhat short of Weroscoick, which to recover again, one of the lieutenant general's men, Humfrey Blunt, in an' old canoe made over. But the wind driving him upon the strand, certain Indians watching the occasion seized the poor fellow and led him up into the woods and sacrificed him. It did not a little trouble the lieutenant governor, who since his first landing in the country, how justly soever provoked, would not by any means be wrought to a, violent proceeding against them, for all the practices of villainy with which they daily endangered our men, thinking it possible by a more tractable course to win them to a better condition. But now, being startled by this, he well perceived how little a fair and noble entreaty works upon a barbarous disposition, and therefore in some measure purposed to be revenged.
The ninth of July, he prepared his forces, and early in the morning set upon a town of theirs, some four miles from Algernoone Fort, called Kecoughtan, and had soon taken it without loss or hurt of any of his men. The governor [werowance] and his women fled (the young King Powhatan's son not being there), but left his poor baggage and treasure to the spoil of our soldiers, which was only a few baskets of old wheat and some other of peas and beans, a little tobacco, and some few women's girdles of silk of the grass silk, not without art and much neatness finely wrought, of which I have sent divers into England (being at the taking of the town), and would have sent Your Ladyship some of them, had they been a present so worthy.
We purposed to set a Frenchman here a‑work to plant vines, which grew naturally in great plenty. Some few cornfields it hath, and the corn in good forwardness, and we despair not but to be able, if our men stand in health, to make it good against the Indian.
The continual practices of the subtle King Powhata'n doth not meanly awaken all the powers and workings of virtue and knowledge in our lord governor and captain general, how to prevent not only his mischiefs but to draw him upon some better terms and acknowledgment of our forces and spirits, both able and daring to quit him in any valiant and martial course whatsoever he shall dare to run with us, which he doth yet scarcely believe. For this therefore‑since first and that so lately he hath set on his people to attempt us with private conspiracies and actual violence, into the one drawing his neighbor confederates and under‑princes, and by the other working the loss and death of divers of our men, and by such their loss seizing their arms, swords, pieces, etc., of which he hath
gathered into his store a great quantity and number, by intelligence above two hundred swords, besides axes and poleaxes, chisels, hoes to pare and cleanse their ground, with an infinite treasure of copper ‑- our lord governor and captain general sent two gentlemen with an embassy unto him, letting him to understand of his practices and outrage hitherto used toward our people, not only abroad but at our fort also; yet flattering him withal how the lord governor and captain general did not suppose that these mischiefs were contrived by him or with his knowledge, but conceived them rather to be the acts of his worst and unruly people; His Lordship therefore now complaining unto him required that he, being so great and wise a king, would give an universal order to his subjects that it might be no more so, lest the lord governor and captain general should be compelled by defending him and his to offend him, which he would be loath to do. Withal he willed the messengers to demand of him, the said Powhatan, that he would either punish or send unto His Lordship such of his people whom Powhatan knew well not long before had assaulted our men at the blockhouse and but newly killed four of them; as also to demand of Powhatan, willing him to return unto the English fort both such men as he detained of ours, and such arms as he had of theirs in his possession, and those conditions performed, he willed them to assure unto Powhatan that then their great werowance, the lord governor and captain general, would hold fair quarter and enter friendship with him as a friend to King James and his subjects. But refusing to submit to these demands, the lord governor and captain general gave in charge to the messengers so sent to signify unto Powhatan that His Lordship would by all means public and private seek to recover from him such of the English as he had, being subjects to his king and master, unto whom even Powhatan himself had formerly vowed not only friendship but homage, receiving from His Majesty therefore many gifts, and upon his knees a crown and scepter, with other ornaments, the symbols of civil state and Christian sovereignty, thereby obliging himself to offices of duty to His Majesty; unto all which Powhatan returned no other answer but that either we should depart his country or confine ourselves to James Town only, without searching further up into his land or rivers, or otherwise he would give in command to his people to kill us, and do unto us all the mischief which they at their pleasure could and we feared, withal forewarning the said messengers not to return anymore unto him unless they brought him a coach and three horses, for he had understood by the Indians which were in England how such was the state of great werowances and lords in England to ride and visit other great men.
After this, divers times and daily he sent sometimes two, sometimes three, unto our fort to understand our strength, and to observe our watch and guard, and how our people stood in health, and what numbers were arrived with this new werowance, which being soon perceived, our lord governor and captain general forewarned such his spies upon their own peril to resort no more unto our fort. Howbeit, they would daily press into our blockhouse and come up to our palisado gates, supposing the government as well now as fantastical and negligent in the former times, the whilest some quarter of a mile short of the blockhouse the greatest number of them would make assault and lie in ambush about our glass house, whither divers times indeed our men would make out either to gather strawberries or to fetch fresh water; anyone of which so straggled, if they could with conveniency they would assault and charge with their bows and arrows, in which manner they killed many of our men. Two of which being Paspaheans (who were ever our deadliest enemies) and not to be reconciled, at length being apprehended, and one of them a notable villain who had attempted upon many in our fort, the lord governor caused them to be manacled and convented before him and his council, where it was determined that he that had done so much mischief should have his right hand struck off, sending him away withal with a message to Powhatan that unless he would yet return such Englishmen as he detained, together with all such their arms, as before spoken of, that not only the other now prisoner should die, but all such of his savages as the lord governor and captain general could by any means surprise should run the same course. As likewise the lord governor and captain general would fire all his neighbor cornfields, towns, and villages, and that suddenly, if Powhatan sent not to contract with him the sooner.
What this will work with him we know not as yet, for this was but the day before our ships were now falling to Point Comfort, and so to set sail for England; which ships, riding before Weroscoick to take in their freight of cedar, clapboard, black walnut, and iron ore, took prisoners likewise the chief king of Weroscoick, called Sasenticum, with his son Kainta, and one of his chief men. And the fifteenth day of July, in the Blessing, Captain Adams brought them to Point Comfort, where at that time, as well to take his leave of the ‑Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Gates, now bound for England as to dispatch the ships, the lord governor and captain general had pitched his tent in Algernoone Fort.
The king's son, Kainta, the
lord governor and captain general hath sent now into
And thus (right noble lady) once more this famous business, as recreated and dipped anew into life and spirit, hath raised it (I hope) from infamy, and shall redeem the stains and losses under which she hath suffered since her first conception. Your Graces still accompany the least appearance of her, and vouchsafe her to be limned out with the beauty which we will beg and borrow from the fair lips. Nor fear you that she will return blushes to your cheeks for praising her, since (more than most excellent lady) like yourself (were all tongues dumb and envious} she will praise herself in her most silence. May she once be but seen, or but her shadow lively by a skillful workman set out indeed, which here (bungerly as I am) I have presumed (though defacing it) in these papers to present unto Your Ladyship.
After Sir Thomas Gates his arrival, a book called A True Declaration of Virginia was
published by the Company, out of which I have here inserted this their public
testimony of the causes of the former evils, and Sir Thomas Gates his report
upon oath of
THE GROUND OF ALL THOSE MISERIES was the permissive providence of God, who in the forementioned violent storm separated the head from the
body, all the vital powers of regiment being exiled with Sir Thomas Gates in
those infortunate yet fortunate islands. The broken
remainder of those supplies made a greater shipwrack
in the continent of
The next fountain of woes was secure negligence and
improvidence, when every man sharked for his present
booty, but was altogether careless of succeeding penury. Now I demand whether Sicilia or
An incredible example of their idleness is the report of
Sir Thomas Gates, who affirmeth that after his first
coming thither he hat'h seen some of them eat their
fish raw rather than they would go a stone's cast to fetch wood and dress it. Dei laboribus omnia vendunt, "God sells us all things for our labor," when
Adam himself might not live in
Unto idleness you many join treasons wrought by those unhallowed creatures that forsook the colony, and exposed their desolate brethren to extreme misery. You shall know that eight and twenty or thirty of the company were appointed in the ship called the Swallow to truck for corn with the Indians. And having obtained a great quantity by trading, the most seditious of them conspired together, persuaded some, and enforced others to this barbarous project: They stole away the ship, they made a league amongst themselves to be professed pirates, with dreams of mountains of gold and happy robberies. Thus, at one instant, they wronged the hopes and subverted the cares of the colony who, depending upon their return, forslowed to look out for further provision; they created the Indians our implacable enemies by some violence they had offered; they carried away the best ship, which should have been a refuge in extremities; they weakened our forces by subtraction of their arms and succors.
These are that scum of men that sailing in their piracy,
that being pinched with famine and penury after their wild roving upon the sea,
when all their lawless hopes failed, some remained with other pirates they met
upon the sea, the others resolved to return for England, [and] bound themselves
by mutual oath to agree all in one report to discredit the land, to deplore the
famine, and to protest that this their coming away proceeded from desperate
necessity! These are they that roared out the tragical
history of the man eating of his dead wife in
Now shall the scandalous reports of a viperous generation preponderate the testimonies of so worthy leaders.? Shall their venomous tongues blast the reputation of an ancient and worthy peer [Lord La Warr] who, upon the ocular certainty of future blessings, hath protested in his letters that he will sacrifice himself for his country in this service, if he may be seconded; and if the Company do give it over, he will yet lay all his fortunes upon the prosecution of the plantation?
Unto treasons you may join covetousness in the mariners, who for their private lucre partly embezzled the provisions, partly prevented our trade with the Indians, making the matches in the night, and forestalling our market in the day; whereby the Virginians were glutted with our trifles and enhanced the prices of their corn and victual, that copper, which before would have provided a bushel, would not now obtain so much as a pottle. I
Join unto these another evil: There is great store of fish in the river, especially of sturgeon, but our men provided no more of them than for present necessity, not barreling up any store against that season the sturgeon returned to the sea. And not to. dissemble their folly, they suffered fourteen nets (which was all they had) to rot and spoil which by orderly drying and mending might have been preserved. But being lost, all help of fishing perished.
The state of the colony by these accidents began to find a sensible declining; which Powhatan as a greedy vulture observing, and boiling with desire of revenge, he invited Captain Ratcliffe and about thirty others to trade for corn. And under the color of fairest friendship, he brought them within the compass of his ambush whereby they were cruelly murthered and massacred. For upon confidence of his fidelity, they went one and one into several houses, which caused their several destructions, when if but any six had remained together, they would have been a bulwark for the general preservation.
After this, Powhatan in the night cut off some of our boats; he drave away all the deer into the farther part of the country; he and his people destroyed our hogs to the number of about six hundred; he sent one of his Indians to trade with us, but laid secret ambushes in the woods, that if one or two dropped out of the fort alone, they were endangered.
Cast up the reckoning together: want of government, store of idleness, their expectations frustrated by the traito[rJs, their market spoiled by the mariners, our nets broken, the deer chased, our boats lost, our hogs killed, our trade with the Indians forbidden, some of our men fled, some murthered, and most by drinking of the brackish water of James Fort weakened and endangered, famine and sickness by all these means increased here at home the movies came in so slowly, that the Lord Laware could not be dispatched till the colony was worn and spent with difficulties. Above all, having neither ruler nor preacher, they neither feared God nor man, which provoked the wrath of the Lord of Hosts, and pulled down His judgments upon them. Discite justitiam moniti. ["Having been warned, learn justice!"]
The Council of Virginia, finding the smallness of that return which they hoped should have defrayed the charge of a new supply, ent'red into a deep consultation, and propounded amongst themselves whether it were fit to enter into a new contribution or in time to send for home the Lord La‑ware and to abandon the action. They resolved to send for Sir Thomas Gates, who being come, they adjured him to deal plainly with them, and to make a true relation of those things which were presently to be had, or hereafter to be hoped for, in Virginia.
Sir Thomas Gates, with a solemn and sacred oath, replied that all things before reported were true‑that the country yielded abundance of wood, as oak, wainscot, walnut trees, bay trees, ash, sarsafrase, liveoak green all the year, cedar and fir, which are the materials of soap‑ashes and potashes, of oils of walnuts, and bays, of pitch and tar, of clapboards, pipe‑staves, masts, and excellent boards of forty, fifty, and sixty length and three foot breath, when one fir tree is able to make the mainmast of the greatest ship in England. He avouched that there are incredible variety of sweet woods, especially of the balsamum tree which distilleth a precious gum; that there are innumerable white mulberry trees which in so warm a climate may cherish and feed millions of silkworms, and return us in a very short time as great a plenty of silk as is vented into the whole world from all the parts of Italy; that there are divers sorts of minerals, especially of iron ore lying upon the ground for ten miles circuit, of which we have made a trial at home that it maketh as good iron as any is in Europe; that a kind of hemp, or flax, and silk grass do grow there naturally, which will afford stuff for all manner of excellent cordage; that the river swarmeth with all manner of sturgeon, the land aboundeth with vines, the woods do harbor exceeding store of beavers, foxes, and squirrels, the waters do nourish a great increase of otters, all which are covered with precious furs; that there are in present discovered dyes and drugs of sundry qualities; that the oranges which have been planted did prosper in the winter, which is an infallible argument that lemons, sugar canes, almonds, rice, anise seed, and all other commodities which we have from the Straits may be supplied to us in our own country and by our own industry; that the corn yieldeth a terrible increase more than ours; and lastly that it is one of the goodliest countries under the sun, interveined with five main rivers, and promising as rich entrails as any kingdom of the earth to whom the sun is no nearer a neighbor.