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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 226 pages of information about Captain John Smith.
towards the Virginia savages, and that he does not intend to root out the natives as the Spaniards did in Hispaniola, but by degrees to change their barbarous nature, and inform them of the true God and the way to Salvation, and that his Majesty will even spare Powhatan himself.  But, he says, it is the intention to make “the common people likewise to understand, how that his Majesty has been acquainted that the men, women, and children of the first plantation of Roanoke were by practice of Powhatan (he himself persuaded thereunto by his priests) miserably slaughtered, without any offense given him either by the first planted (who twenty and odd years had peaceably lived intermixed with those savages, and were out of his territory) or by those who are now come to inhabit some parts of his distant lands,” etc.

Strachey of course means the second plantation and not the first, which, according to the weight of authority, consisted of only fifteen men and no women.

In George Percy’s Discourse concerning Captain Newport’s exploration of the River James in 1607 (printed in Purchas’s “Pilgrims”) is this sentence:  “At Port Cotage, in our voyage up the river, we saw a savage boy, about the age of ten years, which had a head of hair of a perfect yellow, and reasonably white skin, which is a miracle amongst all savages.”  Mr. Neill, in his “History of the Virginia Company,” says that this boy “was no doubt the offspring of the colonists left at Roanoke by White, of whom four men, two boys, and one young maid had been preserved from slaughter by an Indian Chief.”  Under the circumstances, “no doubt” is a very strong expression for a historian to use.

This belief in the sometime survival of the Roanoke colonists, and their amalgamation with the Indians, lingered long in colonial gossip.  Lawson, in his History, published in London in 1718, mentions a tradition among the Hatteras Indians, “that several of their ancestors were white people and could talk from a book; the truth of which is confirmed by gray eyes being among these Indians and no others.”

But the myth of Virginia Dare stands no chance beside that of Pocahontas.

V

FIRST PLANTING OF THE COLONY

The way was now prepared for the advent of Captain John Smith in Virginia.  It is true that we cannot give him his own title of its discoverer, but the plantation had been practically abandoned, all the colonies had ended in disaster, all the governors and captains had lacked the gift of perseverance or had been early drawn into other adventures, wholly disposed, in the language of Captain John White, “to seek after purchase and spoils,” and but for the energy and persistence of Captain Smith the expedition of 1606 might have had no better fate.  It needed a man of tenacious will to hold a colony together in one spot long enough to give it root.  Captain Smith was that man, and if we find him glorying in his exploits, and repeating upon single big Indians the personal prowess that distinguished him in Transylvania and in the mythical Nalbrits, we have only to transfer our sympathy from the Turks to the Sasquesahanocks if the sense of his heroism becomes oppressive.

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