Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain. — Friedrich Schiller

Richard of Jamestown - James Otis




A Worthless Cargo

When we should have been striving to build up the town once more, we spent all our time loading the ship with this worthless cargo, and indeed I felt the better in my mind when finally Captain Newport set sail, the John and Francis loaded deeply with sand, because of believing that we were come to an end of hearing about treasure which lay at hand ready for whosoever would carry it away.

In this, however, I was disappointed. Although there was no longer any reason for our people to labor at what was called the gold mine, since there was no ship at hand in which to put the sand, they still talked, hour by hour, of the day when all the men in Virginia would go back to England richer than kings.

Because of such thoughts was it well nigh impossible to force them to labor once more. Yet Captain Smith and Master Hunt did all they could, even going so far as to threaten bodily harm if the people did not rebuild the storehouse, plant such seed as had been saved from the flames, and replace those portions of the palisade which had been burned.

It was while our people were thus working half heartedly, that Captain Nelson arrived in the ship Phoenix, having been so long delayed on the voyage, because of tempests and contrary winds, that his passengers and crew had eaten nearly all the stores which the London Company sent over for our benefit, and bringing seventy more mouths to be fed.

Save that she brought to us skilled workmen, the coming of the Phoenix did not advantage us greatly, while there were added to our number, seventy men, and of oatmeal, pickled beef and pork, as much as would serve for, perhaps, three or four weeks.

Through her, however, as Master Hunt said in my hearing, came some little good, for on seeing the yellow sand, Captain Nelson declared without a question that it was worthless, and, being accustomed to working in metal, speedily proved to our people who were yet suffering with the gold fever, that there was nothing whatsoever of value in it.



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