Front Matter A Name to be Proud of Ready for Sea The King's Gift Why I am an Adventurer The Signal for Departure A Lad's Portion The Allotment of Land An Unexpected Delay Our Arrival at Cowes We Put to Sea The Dove Disappears A Second Tempest An Unseemly Christmas The Port of Barbadoes The Arrival of the Dove Under Sail Again The Land of America The Land Given by the King Fear of the Brown Men Where to Build the City Taking the Island A Voyage of Discovery Visiting the Indians An Unexpected Meeting Captain Fleet's Story An Indian Werowance Indian vs. English Claims Seeking a Place for the City The Bargain The Village of Yaocomico What the Indians Look Like Indian Weapons and Tools Landing the Goods Counting Our Blessings The Susquehanoughs A Land of Abundance Buying Cattle Storehouse and Fort A Visitor from Virginia A Talk with the Indians Running up the Colors Settling Down Master William Claiborne Lord Baltimore's Claims Stirring up the Indians Winning Back the Indians Busy Times Indian Women as Servants Making a Canoe A Boat of Bark Indian Money A Generous Harvest Trouble at Plymouth Strange Religious Service The Dance Begins An Odd Ceremony William Claiborne's War Settlement on Kent Island We Prepare for War The Army leaves St. Mary's In Command of the Guard A Flag of Truce Captain Fleet Repents The First Prize of War A Battle is Fought The Return of the Fleet William Claiborne's Flight The City of Saint Mary's A Cruel Murder Mystery Remains Unsolved Master George Evelin A Fatal Accident Preparing for Action Ready for a Man's Duty I Wear the Uniform My New Name On Board the Pinnance Indians in War Paint The Arrival at Kent Island The Capture of the Fort Butler and Smith Captives Back to Claiborne's Fort I am Assigned New Duties A Narrow Escape Words of Praise

Calvert of Maryland - James Otis

An Unseemly Christmas Celebration

Then came that disaster brought about entirely by those who suffered, and if, when I am older grown, there be need to put a check upon a sinful appetite, then have I only to send my mind back to that gruesome day in the year of grace, 1633.

Because we had been so favored in the voyage after the second tempest, Governor Calvert believed we should make special rejoicings on the day which marks the birth of our Saviour, and to the end that all might make merry, he gave orders for wine to be dealt out to each person, as much as he desired to drink.

We ate heartily, for the noonday meal was a veritable feast, being made up of the best from out all our stores, but it shames me to say that among us were those who drank of the wine until they were like unto beasts, yea, worse, for brutes satisfy their hunger or their thirst, and then are done, whereas these companions of ours drank until they fell upon the decks unable to move.

Then came that which seemed to me was a punishment direct from God, for thirty-one of the people in the Ark  sickened on the day after Christmas with a fever, and before the new year had come, one of the gentlemen and eleven serving men had died, and had been buried in the sea.

There is little need for me to say that we were saddened and sore at heart because of this disaster, which might well be called a judgment.

The casting of the bodies into the ocean, while the priests stood near the rail saying the prayers for the dead, was to me something so dreadful that before the second body had been dropped over, I fled into the great cabin, hiding my face in the coverings of my bed while I stopped my ears, lest I should hear even those holy words which were being spoken by the servants of God. When all was over, and I at in the cabin shivering with terror, Father White came to my side, whispering words of cheer and promise, or reminding me of the loving care of the Almighty, until the veil of sorrow and of fear was swept away.

[Illustration] from Calvert of Maryland by James Otis

Verily do I believe that that which seemed at the time so dreadful, was of a benefit to us, for surely no man could, with the remembrance of that awesome day upon him, offend as did those who had gone to their judgment.