Captain John Smith eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 226 pages of information about Captain John Smith.
exclaims:  “Only let me truly acknowledge there are not one hundred or two of deboisht hands, dropt forth by year after year, with penury and leysure, ill provided for before they come, and worse governed when they are here, men of such distempered bodies and infected minds, whom no examples daily before their eyes, either of goodness or punishment, can deterr from their habituall impieties, or terrifie from a shameful death, that must be the carpenters and workmen in this so glorious a building.”

The chapter in the “General Historie” relating to Smith’s last days in Virginia was transferred from the narrative in the appendix to Smith’s “Map of Virginia,” Oxford, 1612, but much changed in the transfer.  In the “General Historie” Smith says very little about the nature of the charges against him.  In the original narrative signed by Richard Pots and edited by Smith, there are more details of the charges.  One omitted passage is this:  “Now all those Smith had either whipped or punished, or in any way disgraced, had free power and liberty to say or sweare anything, and from a whole armful of their examinations this was concluded.”

Another omitted passage relates to the charge, to which reference is made in the “General Historie,” that Smith proposed to marry Pocahontas: 

“Some propheticall spirit calculated he had the salvages in such subjection, he would have made himself a king by marrying Pocahuntas, Powhatan’s daughter.  It is true she was the very nonpareil of his kingdom, and at most not past thirteen or fourteen years of age.  Very oft she came to our fort with what she could get for Capt.  Smith, that ever loved and used all the country well, but her especially he ever much respected, and she so well requited it, that when her father intended to have surprised him, she by stealth in the dark night came through the wild woods and told him of it.  But her marriage could in no way have entitled him by any right to the kingdom, nor was it ever suspected he had such a thought, or more regarded her or any of them than in honest reason and discretion he might.  If he would he might have married her, or have done what he listed.  For there were none that could have hindered his determination.”

It is fair, in passing, to remark that the above allusion to the night visit of Pocahontas to Smith in this tract of 1612 helps to confirm the story, which does not appear in the previous narration of Smith’s encounter with Powhatan at Werowocomoco in the same tract, but is celebrated in the “General Historie.”  It is also hinted plainly enough that Smith might have taken the girl to wife, Indian fashion.

XIV

THE COLONY WITHOUT SMITH

It was necessary to follow for a time the fortune of the Virginia colony after the departure of Captain Smith.  Of its disasters and speedy decline there is no more doubt than there is of the opinion of Smith that these were owing to his absence.  The savages, we read in his narration, no sooner knew he was gone than they all revolted and spoiled and murdered all they encountered.

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Captain John Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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