Captain John Smith eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Captain John Smith.

In his voyage of discovery up the Chickahominy, Smith seem; to have inquired about this lost colony of King Paspahegh, for he says, “what he knew of the dominions he spared not to acquaint me with, as of certaine men cloathed at a place called Ocanahonan, cloathcd like me.”

[Among these Hatteras Indians Captain Amadas, in 1584, saw children with chestnut-colored hair.]

We come somewhat nearer to this matter in the “Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britannia,” published from the manuscript by the Hakluyt Society in 1849, in which it is intimated that seven of these deserted colonists were afterwards rescued.  Strachey is a first-rate authority for what he saw.  He arrived in Virginia in 1610 and remained there two years, as secretary of the colony, and was a man of importance.  His “Historie” was probably written between 1612 and 1616.  In the first portion of it, which is descriptive of the territory of Virginia, is this important passage:  “At Peccarecamek and Ochanahoen, by the relation of Machumps, the people have houses built with stone walls, and one story above another, so taught them by those English who escaped the slaughter of Roanoke.  At what time this our colony, under the conduct of Captain Newport, landed within the Chesapeake Bay, where the people breed up tame turkies about their houses, and take apes in the mountains, and where, at Ritanoe, the Weroance Eyanaco, preserved seven of the English alive—­four men, two boys, and one young maid (who escaped [that is from Roanoke] and fled up the river of Chanoke), to beat his copper, of which he hath certain mines at the said Ritanoe, as also at Pamawauk are said to be store of salt stones.”

This, it will be observed, is on the testimony of Machumps.  This pleasing story is not mentioned in Captain Newport’s “Discoveries” (May, 1607).  Machumps, who was the brother of Winganuske, one of the many wives of Powhatan, had been in England.  He was evidently a lively Indian.  Strachey had heard him repeat the “Indian grace,” a sort of incantation before meat, at the table of Sir Thomas Dale.  If he did not differ from his red brothers he had a powerful imagination, and was ready to please the whites with any sort of a marvelous tale.  Newport himself does not appear to have seen any of the “apes taken in the mountains.”  If this story is to be accepted as true we have to think of Virginia Dare as growing up to be a woman of twenty years, perhaps as other white maidens have been, Indianized and the wife of a native.  But the story rests only upon a romancing Indian.  It is possible that Strachey knew more of the matter than he relates, for in his history he speaks again of those betrayed people, “of whose end you shall hereafter read in this decade.”  But the possessed information is lost, for it is not found in the remainder of this “decade” of his writing, which is imperfect.  Another reference in Strachey is more obscure than the first.  He is speaking of the merciful intention of King James

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Captain John Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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