Captain John Smith eBook

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

Captain Newport arrived with a new supply of seventy persons.  Among them were Captain Francis West, brother to Lord Delaware, Captain Peter Winne, and Captain Peter Waldo, appointed on the Council, eight Dutchmen and Poles, and Mistress Forest and Anne Burrows her maid, the first white women in the colony.

Smith did not relish the arrival of Captain Newport nor the instructions under which he returned.  He came back commanded to discover the country of Monacan (above the Falls) and to perform the ceremony of coronation on the Emperor Powhatan.

How Newport got this private commission when he had returned to England without a lump of gold, nor any certainty of the South Sea, or one of the lost company sent out by Raleigh; and why he brought a “fine peeced barge” which must be carried over unknown mountains before it reached the South Sea, he could not understand.  “As for the coronation of Powhatan and his presents of basin and ewer, bed, bedding, clothes, and such costly novelties, they had been much better well spared than so ill spent, for we had his favor and better for a plain piece of copper, till this stately kind of soliciting made him so much overvalue himself that he respected us as much as nothing at all.”  Smith evidently understood the situation much better than the promoters in England; and we can quite excuse him in his rage over the foolishness and greed of most of his companions.  There was little nonsense about Smith in action, though he need not turn his hand on any man of that age as a boaster.

To send out Poles and Dutchmen to make pitch, tar, and glass would have been well enough if the colony had been firmly established and supplied with necessaries; and they might have sent two hundred colonists instead of seventy, if they had ordered them to go to work collecting provisions of the Indians for the winter, instead of attempting this strange discovery of the South Sea, and wasting their time on a more strange coronation.  “Now was there no way,” asks Smith, “to make us miserable,” but by direction from England to perform this discovery and coronation, “to take that time, spend what victuals we had, tire and starve our men, having no means to carry victuals, ammunition, the hurt or the sick, but on their own backs?”

Smith seems to have protested against all this nonsense, but though he was governor, the Council overruled him.  Captain Newport decided to take one hundred and twenty men, fearing to go with a less number and journey to Werowocomoco to crown Powhatan.  In order to save time Smith offered to take a message to Powhatan, and induce him to come to Jamestown and receive the honor and the presents.  Accompanied by only four men he crossed by land to Werowocomoco, passed the Pamaunkee (York) River in a canoe, and sent for Powhatan, who was thirty miles off.  Meantime Pocahontas, who by his own account was a mere child, and her women entertained Smith in the following manner: 

Project Gutenberg
Captain John Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook