Richard of Jamestown - James Otis

The Crowning of Powhatan

Very nearly the first thing which my master did after having been made President of the Council, was to obey the orders of the London Company, by going with Captain Newport to Powhatan's village in order to crown him like a king.

This was not at all to the pleasure of the savage, who failed of understanding what my master and Captain Newport meant, when they wanted him to kneel down so they might put the crown upon his head. If all the stories which I have heard regarding the matter are true, they must have had quite a scrimmage before succeeding in getting him into what they believed was a proper position to receive the gifts of the London Company.

Our people, so Master Hunt told me, were obliged to take him by the shoulders and force him to his knees, after which they clapped the crown on his head, and threw the red robe around his shoulders in a mighty hurry lest he show fight and overcome them.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

It was some time before Captain Smith could make him understand that it was a great honor which was being done him, but when he did get it through his head, he took off his old moccasins and brought from the hut his raccoon skin coat, with orders that my master and Captain Newport send them all to King James in London, as a present from the great Powhatan of Virginia.

After this had been done, Captain Newport sailed up the James River in search of the passage to the South Sea, and my master set about putting Jamestown into proper order.


Front Matter

Who I am
Left Alone in the World
An Idle Boy
Captain Smith Comes to London
Meeting Captain Smith
Captain Smith Speaks to Me
Plans of the London Company
The Vessels of the Fleet
How I Earned my Passage
When the Fleet Set Sail
The Voyage Delayed
Nathaniel's Story
We Make Sail Again
The First Island
Captain Smith Accused
Captain Smith a Prisoner
I Attend My Master
Several Islands Visited
A Variety of Wild Game
The Tempest
The New Country Sighted
The Leader Not Known
Arrival at Chesapeake Bay
An Attack by the Savages
Reading the Company's Orders
Captain Smith on the Council
Smith Remains Aboard
Exploring the Country
People Land from the Ships
Captain Smith Proven Innocent
We Who were Left Behind
Baking Bread without Ovens
Unequal Division of Labor
Building a Home of Logs
Keeping House
Lack of Cleanliness
Cave Homes
The Golden Fever
Ducks and Oysters
Roasting Oysters
Leaning to Cook
The Sweet Potato Root
A Touch of Homesickness
Master Hunt's Preaching
Neglecting the Future
Surprised by Savages
Strengthening the Fort
Sickness and Death
Smith Gains Authority
Disagreeable Discipline
Signs of Rebellion
Second Proclamation
Building a Fortified Village
Trapping Turkeys
A Crude Kind of Chimney
Cooking a Turkey
Candles or Rushlights
The Visit of Pocahontas
Captain Kendall's Plot
Death of Captain Kendall
Captain Smith's Expedition
An Exciting Adventure
Taken Before Powhatan
Pocahontas Begs for Smith
Captain Smith's Return
A New Church
Captain Newport's Return
A Worthless Cargo
Condition of the Colony
Captain Newport's Return
Gazing at the Women
Hunt Brings Great News
Captain Newport's Instructions
The Story of Roanoke
The Crowning of Powhatan
Preparing for the Future
Stealing Company Goods
What the Thieving Led To
Fear of Famine
The Unhealthful Location
Gathering Oysters
Sturgeon for Food
Turpentine and Tar
Making Clapboards
Providing for Children
Dreams of the Future
A Plague of Rats
Treachery During Smith's Absence
Captain Smith's Speech
The New Laws
The Accident
Captain Smith's Departure
The "Starving Time"
Our Courage Gives Out
Abandoning Jamestown
Lord De la Warr's Arrival
The Young Planters