F Heritage History | Richard of Jamestown by James Otis
Contents 
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 Gold-Seekers A Worthless Cargo Condition of the Colony Tobacco 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

Richard of Jamestown - James Otis




The Effect of Captain Smith's Return

It was well for us of Jamestown that my master returned just when he did, for already had our gentlemen, believing him dead, refused longer to work, and even neglected the hunting, when game of all kinds was so plentiful. They had spent the time roaming around searching for gold, until we were once more in need of food.

The sickness had come among us again, and of all our company, which numbered an hundred when Captain Newport sailed for England, only thirty-eight remained alive.

Within four and twenty hours after Captain Smith came back, matters had so far mended that every man who could move about at will, was working for the common good, although from that time, until Captain Newport came again, we had much of suffering.

With the coming of winter Nathaniel and I were put to it to do our work in anything like a seemly manner. What with the making of candles, or of rushlights; tanning deer hides in such fashion as Captain Smith had taught us; mending his doublets of leather, as well as our own; keeping the house and ground around it fairly clean, in addition to cooking meals which might tempt the appetite of our master, we were busy from sunrise to sunset.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

Nor were we without our reward. On rare occasions Captain Smith would commend us for attending to our duties in better fashion than he had fancied lads would ever be able to do, and very often did Master Hunt whisper words of praise in our ears, saying again and again that he would there were in his house two boys like us.

This you may be sure was more of payment than we had a reasonable right to expect, for certain it is that even at our best the work was but fairly done, as it ever must be when there are houseboys instead of housewives at home.

Master Hunt had a serving man, William Rods, and he was not one well fitted to do a woman's work, for in addition to being clumsy, even at the expense of breaking now and then a wooden trencher bowl, he had no thought that cleanliness was, as the preacher often told us, next to godliness.

It was he, and such as he, that caused Captain Smith and those others of the Council who were minded to work for the common good, very much of trouble.

The rule, as laid down by my master, was that those living in a dwelling should keep cleanly the land roundabout the outside for a space of five yards, and yet again and again have I seen William Rods throw the refuse from the table just outside the door, meaning to take it away at a future time, and always forgetting so to do until reminded by some one in authority.

However, it is not for me to speak of such trifling things as these, although had you heard Captain Smith and Master Hunt in conversation, you would not have set them down as being of little importance. Those two claimed that only by strict regard to cleanliness, both of person and house, would it be possible for us, when another summer came, to ward off that sickness which had already carried away so many of our company.

After Captain Smith had brought matters to rights in the village, setting this company of men to building more houses, and that company to hewing down trees for firewood, which would be needed when the winter had come, Master Hunt made mention of a matter which I knew must have been very near his heart many a day.