Opechancanough (the King of “Pamauk”) also sent asking the release of two that were his friends; and others, apparently with confidence in the whites, came begging for the release of the prisoners. “In the afternoon they being gone, we guarded them [the prisoners] as before to the church, and after prayer gave them to Pocahuntas, the King’s daughter, in regard to her father’s kindness in sending her: after having well fed them, as all the time of their imprisonment, we gave them their bows, arrows, or what else they had, and with much content sent them packing; Pocahuntas, also, we requited with such trifles as contented her, to tell that we had used the Paspaheyans very kindly in so releasing them.”
This account would show that Pocahontas was a child of uncommon dignity and self-control for her age. In his letter to Queen Anne, written in 1616, he speaks of her as aged twelve or thirteen at the time of his captivity, several months before this visit to the fort.
The colonists still had reasons to fear ambuscades from the savages lurking about in the woods. One day a Paspahean came with a glittering mineral stone, and said he could show them great abundance of it. Smith went to look for this mine, but was led about hither and thither in the woods till he lost his patience and was convinced that the Indian was fooling him, when he gave him twenty lashes with a rope, handed him his bows and arrows, told him to shoot if he dared, and let him go. Smith had a prompt way with the Indians. He always traded “squarely” with them, kept his promises, and never hesitated to attack or punish them when they deserved it. They feared and respected him.
The colony was now in fair condition, in good health, and contented; and it was believed, though the belief was not well founded, that they would have lasting peace with the Indians. Captain Nelson’s ship, the Phoenix, was freighted with cedar wood, and was despatched for England June 8, 1608. Captain Martin, “always sickly and unserviceable, and desirous to enjoy the credit of his supposed art of finding the gold mine,” took passage. Captain Nelson probably carried Smith’s “True Relation.”
DISCOVERY OF THE CHESAPEAKE
On the same, day that Nelson sailed for England, Smith set out to explore the Chesapeake, accompanying the Phoenix as far as Cape Henry, in a barge of about three tons. With him went Dr. Walter Russell, six gentlemen, and seven soldiers. The narrative of the voyage is signed by Dr. Russell, Thomas Momford, gentleman, and Anas Todkill, soldier. Master Scrivener remained at the fort, where his presence was needed to keep in check the prodigal waste of the stores upon his parasites by President Ratcliffe.
The expedition crossed the bay at “Smith’s Isles,” named after the Captain, touched at Cape Charles, and coasted along the eastern shore. Two stout savages hailed them from Cape Charles, and directed them to Accomack, whose king proved to be the most comely and civil savage they had yet encountered.