Richard of Jamestown - James Otis

What the Thieving Led to

Now there was more of mischief to this than the crime of stealing, or of indolence. The savages came to understand they could drive hard bargains, and so increased the price of their corn that Captain Smith set it down in his report to the London Company, that the same amount of copper, or of beads, which had, one year before, paid for five bushels of wheat, would, within a week after Captain Newport came in search of the lost colony, pay for no more than one peck.

Nor was this the entire sum of the wrong done by our gentlemen who stole rather than worked with their hands. The savages, grown bold now that they had firearms and knew how to use them, no longer had the same fear of white people as when Captain Smith, single handed, was able to hold two hundred in check, and strove to kill us of Jamestown whenever they found opportunity.

On four different times did they plot to murder my master, believing that when he had been done to death, it would be more easy for them to kill off all in our town; but on each occasion, so keen was his watchfulness, he outwitted them all.

The putting of a crown on Powhatan's head, and bowing before him as if he had been a real king, also did much mischief. It caused that brown savage to believe we feared him, which was much the same as inviting him to be less of a friend, until on a certain day he boldly declared that one basket of his corn was worth more than all our copper and beads, because he could eat his corn, while our trinkets gave a hungry man no satisfaction.

And thus, by the wicked and unwise acts of our own people, did we prepare the way for another time of famine and sickness.


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