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




Fear of Famine in a Land of Plenty

However, I must set this much down as counting in our favor: when we landed in this country we had three pigs, and a cock and six hens, all of which we turned loose in the wilderness to shift for themselves, giving shelter to such as came back to us when winter was near at hand.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

Within two years we had of pigs more than sixty, in addition to many which were yet running wild in the forest. Of hens and cocks we had upward of five hundred, the greater number being kept in pens to the end that we might profit by their eggs.

I have heard Master Hunt declare more than once, that had we followed Captain Smith's advice, giving all our labor to the raising of crops, our storehouse would have been too small for the food on hand, and we might have held ourselves free from the whims of the savages, having corn to sell, rather than spending near to half our time trying to buy.

As Master Hunt said again and again when talking over the situation with Captain Smith, it seemed strange even to us who were there, that we could be looking forward to a famine, when in the sea and on the land was food in abundance to feed half the people in all this wide world.

To show how readily one might get himself a dinner, if so be his taste were not too nice, I have seen Captain Smith, when told what we had in the larder for the next meal, go to the river with only his naked sword, and there spear fish enough with the weapon to provide us with as much as could be eaten in a full day. But yet some of our gentlemen claimed that it was not good for their blood to eat this food of the sea; others declared that oysters, when partaken of regularly, were as poisonous as the sweet potatoes which we bought of the Indians.

Thus it was that day by day did we who were in the land of plenty, overrun with that which would serve as food, fear that another time of famine was nigh.