The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. — G. K. Chesterton

Richard of Jamestown - James Otis




Tobacco

Just here I am minded to set down that which the girl Pocahontas told us concerning the raising of tobacco, and it is well she spent the time needed to instruct us, for since then I have seen the people in this new world of Virginia getting more money from the tobacco plant, than they could have gained even though Captain Newport's yellow sand had been veritable gold.

You must know that the seed of tobacco is even smaller than grains of powder, and the Indians usually plant it in April. Within a month it springs up, each tiny plant having two or four leaves, and one month later it is transplanted in little hillocks, set about the same distance apart as are our hills of Indian corn.

Two or three times during the season the plants have to be hoed and weeded, while the sickly leaves, which peep out from the body of the stock, must be plucked off.

If the plant grows too fast, which is to say, if it is like to get its full size before harvest time, the tops are cut to make it more backward.

About the middle of September it is reaped, stripped of its leaves, and tied in small bunches; these are hung under a shelter so that the dew may not come to them, until they are cured the same as hay.

[Illustration] from Richard of Jamestown by James Otis

Having thus been dried, and there must be no suspicion of moisture about, else they will mold, the whole is packed into hogsheads.

I have lived to see the days go by since the girl Pocahontas showed Nathaniel and me how to cultivate the weed, until the greatest wealth which Virginia can produce comes from this same tobacco, which, Master Hunt says, not only induces filthiness in those who use it, but works grievous injury to the body.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

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