Richard of Jamestown - James Otis

Captain Smith's Departure

It is not well for me to dwell upon our parting with the master whom we had served more than two years, and who had ever been the most friendly friend and the most manly man one could ask to meet.

Our hearts were sore, when, after having done what little we might toward carrying him on board the ship, we came back to his house, which he had said in the presence of witnesses should be ours, and there took up our lives with Master Hunt.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

But for that good man's prayers, on this first night we would have abandoned ourselves entirely to grief; but he devoted his time to soothing us, showing why we had no right to do other than continue in the course on which we had been started by the man who was gone from us, until it was, to my mind at least, as if I should be doing some grievous wrong to my master, if I failed to carry on the work while he was away, as it would have been done had I known we were to see him again within the week.

With Captain Smith gone, perhaps to his death; with half a dozen men who claimed the right to stand at the head of the government until Lord De la Warr should come; and with the savages menacing us on every hand, sore indeed was our plight.

With so many in the town, for there were now four hundred and ninety persons, and while the savages, because of having been so sorely wronged, were in arms against us, it was no longer possible to go abroad for food, and as the winter came on we were put to it even in that land of plenty, for enough to keep ourselves alive.


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