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




Gold Seekers

It was while all the people, gentlemen as well as laborers, were doing their, best to repair the loss, and to put Jamestown into such shape that we might be able to withstand an attack from the savages, if so be they made one, that even a worse misfortune than the fire came upon us.

Some of those whom Captain Newport had lately brought to Virginia, while roaming along the shores of the river in order to learn what this new land was like, came upon a spot where the waters had washed the earth away for a distance of five or six feet, leaving exposed to view a vast amount of sand, so yellow and so heavy that straightway the foolish ones believed they were come upon that gold which our people had been seeking almost from the very day we first landed.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

From this moment there was no talk of anything save the wealth which would come to us and the London Company.

Even Captain Newport was persuaded that this sand was gold, and straightway nearly every person in the village was hard at work digging and carrying it in baskets on board the John and Francis as carefully as if each grain counted for a guinea.

Of all the people of Jamestown, Captain Smith and Master Hunt were the only ones who refused to believe the golden dream. They held themselves aloof from this mad race to gather up the yellow sand, and strove earnestly to persuade the others that it would be a simple matter to prove by fire whether this supposed treasure were metal.

In the center of the village, where all might see him, Master Hunt set a pannikin, in which was a pint or more of the sand, over a roaring fire which he kept burning not less than two hours.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

When he was done, the sand remained the same as before, which, so he and my master claimed, was good proof that our people of Jamestown were, in truth, making fools of themselves, as they had many a time before since we came into this land of Virginia.