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

Captain Smith's Speech

Jamestown was a scene of turmoil and confusion when Captain Smith came back from his journey having on board only two baskets of corn for seed. After understanding what had been done by the idle ones during his absence, he called all the people together and said unto them, speaking earnestly, as if pleading for his very life:

"Never did I believe white men who were come together in a new world, and should stand shoulder to shoulder against all the enemies that surround them, could be so reckless and malicious. It is vain to hope for more help from Powhatan, and the time has come when I will no longer bear with you in your idleness; but punish severely if you do not set about the work which must be done, without further plotting. You cannot deny but that I have risked my life many a time in order to save yours, when, if you had been allowed to go your own way, all would have starved. Now I swear solemnly that you shall not only gather for yourselves the fruits which the earth doth yield, but for those who are sick. Every one that gathers not each day as much as I do, shall on the next day be set beyond the river, forever banished from the fort, to live or starve as God wills."

This caused the lazy ones to bestir themselves for the time, and perhaps all might have gone well with us had not the London Company sent out nine more vessels, in which were five hundred persons, to join us people in Jamestown. One of the ships, as we afterward learned, was wrecked in a hurricane; seven arrived safely, and the ninth vessel we had not heard from.

All these people had expected to find food in plenty, servants to wait upon them, and everything furnished to hand without being obliged to raise a finger in their own behalf. What was yet worse, they had among them many men who believed they were to be made officers of the government.