THE FAMOUS CHICKAHOMINY VOYAGE
We now enter upon the most interesting episode in the life of the gallant captain, more thrilling and not less romantic than the captivity in Turkey and the tale of the faithful love of the fair young mistress Charatza Tragabigzanda.
Although the conduct of the lovely Charatza in despatching Smith to her cruel brother in Nalbrits, where he led the life of a dog, was never explained, he never lost faith in her. His loyalty to women was equal to his admiration of them, and it was bestowed without regard to race or complexion. Nor is there any evidence that the dusky Pocahontas, who is about to appear, displaced in his heart the image of the too partial Tragabigzanda. In regard to women, as to his own exploits, seen in the light of memory, Smith possessed a creative imagination. He did not create Pocahontas, as perhaps he may have created the beautiful mistress of Bashaw Bogall, but he invested her with a romantic interest which forms a lovely halo about his own memory.
As this voyage up the Chickahominy is more fruitful in its consequences than Jason's voyage to Colchis; as it exhibits the energy, daring, invention, and various accomplishments of Captain Smith, as warrior, negotiator, poet, and narrator; as it describes Smith's first and only captivity among the Indians; and as it was during this absence of four weeks from Jamestown, if ever, that Pocahontas interposed to prevent the beating out of Smith's brains with a club, I shall insert the account of it in full, both Smith's own varying relations of it, and such contemporary notices of it as now come to light. It is necessary here to present several accounts, just as they stand, and in the order in which they were written, that the reader may see for himself how the story of Pocahontas grew to its final proportions. The real life of Pocahontas will form the subject of another chapter.
The first of these accounts is taken from "The True Relation," written by Captain John Smith, composed in Virginia, the earliest published work relating to the James River Colony. It covers a period of a little more than thirteen months, from the arrival at Cape Henry on April 26, 1607, to the return of Captain Nelson in the Phoenix, June 2, 1608. The manuscript was probably taken home by Captain Nelson, and it was published in London in 1608. Whether it was intended for publication is doubtful; but at that time all news of the venture in Virginia was eagerly sought, and a narrative of this importance would naturally speedily get into print.
In the several copies of it extant there are variations in the titlepage, which was changed while the edition was being printed. In some the name of Thomas Watson is given as the author, in others "A Gentleman of the Colony," and an apology appears signed "T. H.," for the want of knowledge or inadvertence of attributing it to any one except Captain Smith.
There is no doubt that Smith was its author. He was still in Virginia when it was printed, and the printers made sad work of parts of his manuscript. The question has been raised, in view of the entire omission of the name of Pocahontas in connection with this voyage and captivity, whether the manuscript was not cut by those who published it. The reason given for excision is that the promoters of the Virginia scheme were anxious that nothing should appear to discourage capitalists, or to deter emigrants, and that this story of the hostility and cruelty of Powhatan, only averted by the tender mercy of his daughter, would have an unfortunate effect. The answer to this is that the hostility was exhibited by the captivity and the intimation that Smith was being fatted to be eaten, and this was permitted to stand. It is wholly improbable that an incident so romantic, so appealing to the imagination, in an age when wonder-tales were eagerly welcomed, and which exhibited such tender pity in the breast of a savage maiden, and such paternal clemency in a savage chief, would have been omitted. It was calculated to lend a lively interest to the narration, and would be invaluable as an advertisement of the adventure.
[For a full bibliographical discussion of this point the reader is referred to the reprint of "The True Relation," by Charles Deane, Esq., Boston, 1864, the preface and notes to which are a masterpiece of critical analysis.]
That some portions of "The True Relation" were omitted is possible. There is internal evidence of this in the abrupt manner in which it opens, and in the absence of allusions to the discords during the voyage and on the arrival. Captain Smith was not the man to pass over such questions in silence, as his subsequent caustic letter sent home to the Governor and Council of Virginia shows. And it is probable enough that the London promoters would cut out from the "Relation" complaints and evidence of the seditions and helpless state of the colony. The narration of the captivity is consistent as it stands, and wholly inconsistent with the Pocahontas episode.
We extract from the narrative after Smith's departure from Apocant, the highest town inhabited, between thirty and forty miles up the river, and below Orapaks, one of Powhatan's seats, which also appears on his map. He writes:
"Ten miles higher I discovered with the barge; in the midway a great tree hindered my passage, which I cut in two: heere the river became narrower, 8, 9 or 10 foote at a high water, and 6 or 7 at a lowe: the stream exceeding swift, and the bottom hard channell, the ground most part a low plaine, sandy soyle, this occasioned me to suppose it might issue from some lake or some broad ford, for it could not be far to the head, but rather then I would endanger the barge, yet to have beene able to resolve this doubt, and to discharge the imputating malicious tungs, that halfe suspected I durst not for so long delaying, some of the company, as desirous as myself, we resolved to hier a canow, and returne with the barge to Apocant, there to leave the barge secure, and put ourselves upon the adventure: the country onely a vast and wilde wilderness, and but only that Towne: within three or foure mile we hired a canow, and 2 Indians to row us ye next day a fowling: having made such provision for the barge as was needfull, I left her there to ride, with expresse charge not any to go ashore til my returne. Though some wise men may condemn this too bould attempt of too much indiscretion, yet if they well consider the friendship of the Indians, in conducting me, the desolatenes of the country, the probabilitie of some lacke, and the malicious judges of my actions at home, as also to have some matters of worth to incourage our adventurers in england, might well have caused any honest minde to have done the like, as wel for his own discharge as for the publike good: having 2 Indians for my guide and 2 of our own company, I set forward, leaving 7 in the barge; having discovered 20 miles further in this desart, the river stil kept his depth and bredth, but much more combred with trees; here we went ashore (being some 12 miles higher than ye barge had bene) to refresh our selves, during the boyling of our vituals: one of the Indians I tooke with me, to see the nature of the soile, and to cross the boughts of the river, the other Indian I left with M. Robbinson and Thomas Emry, with their matches light and order to discharge a peece, for my retreat at the first sight of any Indian, but within a quarter of an houre I heard a loud cry, and a hollowing of Indians, but no warning peece, supposing them surprised, and that the Indians had betraid us, presently I seazed him and bound his arme fast to my hand in a garter, with my pistoll ready bent to be revenged on him: he advised me to fly and seemed ignorant of what was done, but as we went discoursing, I was struck with an arrow on the right thigh, but without harme: upon this occasion I espied 2 Indians drawing their bowes, which I prevented in discharging a french pistoll: by that I had charged again 3 or 4 more did the 'like, for the first fell downe and fled: at my discharge they did the like, my hinde I made my barricade, who offered not to strive, 20 or 30 arrowes were shot at me but short, 3 or 4 times I had discharged my pistoll ere the king of Pamauck called Opeckakenough with 200 men, environed me, each drawing their bowe, which done they laid them upon the ground, yet without shot, my hinde treated betwixt them and me of conditions of peace, he discovered me to be the captaine, my request was to retire to ye boate, they demanded my armes, the rest they saide were slaine, onely me they would reserve: the Indian importuned me not to shoot. In retiring being in the midst of a low quagmire, and minding them more than my steps, I stept fast into the quagmire, and also the Indian in drawing me forth: thus surprised, I resolved to trie their mercies, my armes I caste from me, till which none durst approch me: being ceazed on me, they drew me out and led me to the King, I presented him with a compasse diall, describing by my best meanes the use thereof, whereat he so amazedly admired, as he suffered me to proceed in a discourse of the roundnes of the earth, the course of the sunne, moone, starres and plannets, with kinde speeches and bread he requited me, conducting me where the canow lay and John Robinson slaine, with 20 or 30 arrowes in him. Emry I saw not, I perceived by the abundance of fires all over the woods, at each place I expected when they would execute me, yet they used me with what kindnes they could: approaching their Towne which was within 6 miles where I was taken, onely made as arbors and covered with mats, which they remove as occasion requires: all the women and children, being advertised of this accident came forth to meet, the King well guarded with 20 bow men 5 flanck and rear and each flanck before him a sword and a peece, and after him the like, then a bowman, then I on each hand a boweman, the rest in file in the reare, which reare led forth amongst the trees in a bishion, eache his bowe and a handfull of arrowes, a quiver at his back grimly painted: on eache flanck a sargeant, the one running alwaiss towards the front the other towards the reare, each a true pace and in exceeding good order, this being a good time continued, they caste themselves in a ring with a daunce, and so eache man departed to his lodging, the captain conducting me to his lodging, a quarter of Venison and some ten pound of bread I had for supper, what I left was reserved for me, and sent with me to my lodging: each morning three women presented me three great platters of fine bread, more venison than ten men could devour I had, my gowne, points and garters, my compas and a tablet they gave me again, though 8 ordinarily guarded me, I wanted not what they could devise to content me: and still our longer acquaintance increased our better affection: much they threatened to assault our forte as they were solicited by the King of Paspahegh, who shewed at our fort great signs of sorrow for this mischance: the King took great delight in understanding the manner of our ships and sayling the seas, the earth and skies and of our God: what he knew of the dominions he spared not to acquaint me with, as of certaine men cloathed at a place called Ocanahonun, cloathed like me, the course of our river, and that within 4 or 5 daies journey of the falles, was a great turning of salt water: I desired he would send a messenger to Paspahegh, with a letter I would write, by which they should understand, how kindly they used me, and that I was well, lest they should revenge my death; this he granted and sent three men, in such weather, as in reason were unpossible, by any naked to be indured: their cruell mindes towards the fort I had deverted, in describing the ordinance and the mines in the fields, as also the revenge Captain Newport would take of them at his returne, their intent, I incerted the fort, the people of Ocanahomm and the back sea, this report they after found divers Indians that confirmed: the next day after my letter, came a salvage to my lodging, with his sword to have slaine me, but being by my guard intercepted, with a bowe and arrow he offred to have effected his purpose: the cause I knew not, till the King understanding thereof came and told me of a man a dying wounded with my pistoll: he tould me also of another I had slayne, yet the most concealed they had any hurte: this was the father of him I had slayne, whose fury to prevent, the King presently conducted me to another kingdome, upon the top of the next northerly river, called Youghtanan, having feasted me, he further led me to another branch of the river called Mattapament, to two other hunting townes they led me, and to each of these Countries, a house of the great Emperor of Pewhakan, whom as yet I supposed to be at the Fals, to him I tolde him I must goe, and so returne to Paspahegh, after this foure or five dayes march we returned to Rasawrack, the first towne they brought me too, where binding the mats in bundles, they marched two dayes journey and crossed the River of Youghtanan, where it was as broad as Thames: so conducting me too a place called Menapacute in Pamunke, where ye King inhabited; the next day another King of that nation called Kekataugh, having received some kindness of me at the Fort, kindly invited me to feast at his house, the people from all places flocked to see me, each shewing to content me. By this the great King hath foure or five houses, each containing fourscore or an hundred foote in length, pleasantly seated upon an high sandy hill, from whence you may see westerly a goodly low country, the river before the which his crooked course causeth many great Marshes of exceeding good ground. An hundred houses, and many large plaines are here together inhabited, more abundance of fish and fowle, and a pleasanter seat cannot be imagined: the King with fortie bowmen to guard me, intreated me to discharge my Pistoll, which they there presented me with a mark at six score to strike therewith but to spoil the practice I broke the cocke, whereat they were much discontented though a chaunce supposed. From hence this kind King conducted me to a place called Topahanocke, a kingdome upon another river northward; the cause of this was, that the yeare before, a shippe had beene in the River of Pamunke, who having been kindly entertained by Powhatan their Emperour, they returned thence, and discovered the River of Topahanocke, where being received with like kindnesse, yet he slue the King, and tooke of his people, and they supposed I were bee, but the people reported him a great man that was Captaine, and using mee kindly, the next day we departed. This River of Topahanock, seemeth in breadth not much lesse than that we dwell upon. At the mouth of the River is a Countrey called Cuttata women, upwards is Marraugh tacum Tapohanock, Apparnatuck, and Nantaugs tacum, at Topmanahocks, the head issuing from many Mountains, the next night I lodged at a hunting town of Powhatam's, and the next day arrived at Waranacomoco upon the river of Parnauncke, where the great king is resident: by the way we passed by the top of another little river, which is betwixt the two called Payankatank. The most of this country though Desert, yet exceeding fertil, good timber, most hils and in dales, in each valley a cristall spring.
"Arriving at Weramacomoco, their Emperour, proudly lying upon a Bedstead a foote high upon tenne or twelve Mattes, richly hung with manie Chaynes of great Pearles about his necke, and covered with a great covering of Rahaughcums: At heade sat a woman, at his feete another, on each side sitting upon a Matte upon the ground were raunged his chiefe men on each side the fire, tenne in a ranke and behinde them as many yong women, each a great Chaine of white Beades over their shoulders: their heades painted in redde and with such a grave and Majeslicall countenance, as drove me into admiration to see such state in a naked Salvage, bee kindlv welcomed me with good wordes, and great Platters of sundrie victuals, asiuring mee his friendship and my libertie within foure dayes, bee much delighted in Opechan Conough's relation of what I had described to him, and oft examined me upon the same. Hee asked me the cause of our comming, I tolde him being in fight with the Spaniards our enemie, being over powred, neare put to retreat, and by extreme weather put to this shore, where landing at Chesipiack, the people shot us, but at Kequoughtan they kindly used us, wee by signes demaunded fresh water, they described us up the River was all fresh water, at Paspahegh, also they kindly used us, our Pinnasse being leake wee were inforced to stay to mend her, till Captain Newport my father came to conduct us away. He demaunded why we went further with our Boate, I tolde him, in that I would have occasion to talke of the backe Sea, that on the other side the maine, where was salt water, my father had a childe slaine, which we supposed Monocan his enemie, whose death we intended to revenge. After good deliberation, hee began to describe me the countreys beyond the Falles, with many of the rest, confirming what not only Opechancanoyes, and an Indian which had been prisoner to Pewhatan had before tolde mee, but some called it five days, some sixe, some eight, where the sayde water dashed amongst many stones and rocks, each storme which caused oft tymes the heade of the River to bee brackish: Anchanachuck he described to bee the people that had slaine my brother, whose death hee would revenge. Hee described also upon the same Sea, a mighty nation called Pocoughtronack, a fierce nation that did eate men and warred with the people of Moyaoncer, and Pataromerke, Nations upon the toppe of the heade of the Bay, under his territories, where the yeare before they had slain an hundred, he signified their crownes were shaven, long haire in the necke, tied on a knot, Swords like Pollaxes.
"Beyond them he described people with short Coates, and Sleeves to the Elbowes, that passed that way in Shippes like ours. Many Kingdomes hee described mee to the heade of the Bay, which seemed to bee a mightie River, issuing from mightie mountaines, betwixt the two seas; the people clothed at Ocamahowan. He also confirmed, and the Southerly Countries also, as the rest, that reported us to be within a day and a halfe of Mangoge, two dayes of Chawwonock, 6 from Roonock, to the South part of the backe sea: he described a countrie called Anone, where they have abundance of Brasse, and houses walled as ours. I requited his discourse, seeing what pride he had in his great and spacious Dominions, seeing that all hee knewe were under his Territories.
"In describing to him the territories of Europe which was subject to our great King whose subject I was, the innumerable multitude of his ships, I gave him to understand the noyse of Trumpets and terrible manner of fighting were under Captain Newport my father, whom I intituled the Meworames which they call King of all the waters, at his greatnesse bee admired and not a little feared; he desired mee to forsake Paspahegh, and to live with him upon his River, a countrie called Capa Howasicke; he promised to give me corne, venison, or what I wanted to feede us, Hatchets and Copper wee should make him, and none should disturbe us. This request I promised to performe: and thus having with all the kindnes hee could devise, sought to content me, he sent me home with 4 men, one that usually carried my Gonne and Knapsacke after me, two other loded with bread, and one to accompanie me."
The next extract in regard to this voyage is from President Wingfield's "Discourse of Virginia," which appears partly in the form of a diary, but was probably drawn up or at least finished shortly after Wingfield's return to London in May, 1608. He was in Jamestown when Smith returned from his captivity, and would be likely to allude to the romantic story of Pocahontas if Smith had told it on his escape. We quote:
"Decem. The 10th of December, Mr. Smyth went up the ryver of the Chechohomynies to trade for corne; he was desirous to see the heade of that river; and, when it was not passible with the shallop, he hired a cannow and an Indian to carry him up further. The river the higher grew worse and worse. Then hee went on shoare with his guide, and left Robinson and Emmery, and twoe of our Men, in the cannow; which were presently slayne by the Indians, Pamaonke's men, and hee himself taken prysoner, and, by the means of his guide, his lief was saved; and Pamaonche, haveing him prisoner, carryed him to his neybors wyroances, to see if any of them knew him for one of those which had bene, some two or three eeres before us, in a river amongst them Northward, and taken awaie some Indians from them by force. At last he brought him to the great Powaton (of whome before wee had no knowledg), who sent him home to our towne the 8th of January."
The next contemporary document to which we have occasion to refer is Smith's Letter to the Treasurer and Council of Virginia in England, written in Virginia after the arrival of Newport there in September, 1608, and probably sent home by him near the close of that year. In this there is no occasion for a reference to Powhatan or his daughter, but he says in it: "I have sent you this Mappe of the Bay and Rivers, with an annexed Relation of the Countryes and Nations that inhabit them as you may see at large." This is doubtless the "Map of Virginia," with a description of the country, published some two or three years after Smith's return to England, at Oxford, 1612. It is a description of the country and people, and contains little narrative. But with this was published, as an appendix, an account of the proceedings of the Virginia colonists from 1606 to 1612, taken out of the writings of Thomas Studley and several others who had been residents in Virginia. These several discourses were carefully edited by William Symonds, a doctor of divinity and a man of learning and repute, evidently at the request of Smith. To the end of the volume Dr. Symonds appends a note addressed to Smith, saying: "I return you the fruit of my labors, as Mr. Cranshaw requested me, which I bestowed in reading the discourses and hearing the relations of such as have walked and observed the land of Virginia with you." These narratives by Smith's companions, which he made a part of his Oxford book, and which passed under his eye and had his approval, are uniformly not only friendly to him, but eulogistic of him, and probably omit no incident known to the writers which would do him honor or add interest to him as a knight of romance. Nor does it seem probable that Smith himself would have omitted to mention the dramatic scene of the prevented execution if it had occurred to him. If there had been a reason in the minds of others in 1608 why it should not appear in the "True Relation," that reason did not exist for Smith at this time, when the discords and discouragements of the colony were fully known. And by this time the young girl Pocahontas had become well known to the colonists at Jamestown. The account of this Chickahominy voyage given in this volume, published in 1612, is signed by Thomas Studley, and is as follows:
"The next voyage he proceeded so farre that with much labour by cutting of trees in sunder he made his passage, but when his Barge could passe no farther, he left her in a broad bay out of danger of shot, commanding none should go ashore till his returne; himselfe with 2 English and two Salvages went up higher in a Canowe, but he was not long absent, but his men went ashore, whose want of government gave both occasion and opportunity to the Salvages to surprise one George Casson, and much failed not to have cut of the boat and all the rest. Smith little dreaming of that accident, being got to the marshes at the river's head, 20 miles in the desert, had his 2 men slaine (as is supposed) sleeping by the Canowe, whilst himselfe by fowling sought them victual, who finding he was beset by 200 Salvages, 2 of them he slew, stil defending himselfe with the aid of a Salvage his guid (whome bee bound to his arme and used as his buckler), till at last slipping into a bogmire they tooke him prisoner: when this news came to the fort much was their sorrow for his losse, fewe expecting what ensued. A month those Barbarians kept him prisoner, many strange triumphs and conjurations they made of him, yet he so demeaned himselfe amongst them, as he not only diverted them from surprising the Fort, but procured his own liberty, and got himselfe and his company such estimation amongst them, that those Salvages admired him as a demi-God. So returning safe to the Fort, once more staied the pinnas her flight for England, which til his returne could not set saile, so extreme was the weather and so great the frost."
The first allusion to the salvation of Captain Smith by Pocahontas occurs in a letter or "little booke" which he wrote to Queen Anne in 1616, about the time of the arrival in England of the Indian Princess, who was then called the Lady Rebecca, and was wife of John Rolfe, by whom she had a son, who accompanied them. Pocahontas had by this time become a person of some importance. Her friendship had been of substantial service to the colony. Smith had acknowledged this in his "True Relation," where he referred to her as the "nonpareil" of Virginia. He was kind-hearted and naturally magnanimous, and would take some pains to do the Indian convert a favor, even to the invention of an incident that would make her attractive. To be sure, he was vain as well as inventive, and here was an opportunity to attract the attention of his sovereign and increase his own importance by connecting his name with hers in a romantic manner. Still, we believe that the main motive that dictated this epistle was kindness to Pocahontas. The sentence that refers to her heroic act is this: "After some six weeks [he was absent only four weeks] fatting amongst those Salvage Countries, at the minute of my execution she hazarded the beating out of her own braines to save mine, and not only that, but so prevailed with her father [of whom he says, in a previous paragraph, 'I received from this great Salvage exceeding great courtesie'], that I was safely conducted to Jamestown."
This guarded allusion to the rescue stood for all known account of it, except a brief reference to it in his "New England's Trials" of 1622, until the appearance of Smith's "General Historie" in London, 1624. In the first edition of "New England's Trials," 1620, there is no reference to it. In the enlarged edition of 1622, Smith gives a new version to his capture, as resulting from "the folly of them that fled," and says: "God made Pocahontas, the King's daughter the means to deliver me."
The "General Historie" was compiled as was the custom in making up such books at the time from a great variety of sources. Such parts of it as are not written by Smith and these constitute a considerable portion of the history bear marks here and there of his touch. It begins with his description of Virginia, which appeared in the Oxford tract of 1612; following this are the several narratives by his comrades, which formed the appendix of that tract. The one that concerns us here is that already quoted, signed Thomas Studley. It is reproduced here as "written by Thomas Studley, the first Cape Merchant in Virginia, Robert Fenton, Edward Harrington, and I. S." [John Smith]. It is, however, considerably extended, and into it is interjected a detailed account of the captivity and the story of the stones, the clubs, and the saved brains.
It is worthy of special note that the "True Relation" is not incorporated in the "General Historie." This is the more remarkable because it was an original statement, written when the occurrences it describes were fresh, and is much more in detail regarding many things that happened during the period it covered than the narratives that Smith uses in the "General Historie." It was his habit to use over and over again his own publications. Was this discarded because it contradicted the Pocahontas story because that story could not be fitted into it as it could be into the Studley relation?
It should be added, also, that Purchas printed an abstract of the Oxford tract in his "Pilgrimage," in 1613, from material furnished him by Smith. The Oxford tract was also republished by Purchas in his "Pilgrimes," extended by new matter in manuscript supplied by Smith. The "Pilgrimes" did not appear till 1625, a year after the "General Historie," but was in preparation long before. The Pocahontas legend appears in the "Pilgrimes," but not in the earlier "Pilgrimage."
We have before had occasion to remark that Smith's memory had the peculiarity of growing stronger and more minute in details the further he was removed in point of time from any event he describes. The revamped narrative is worth quoting in full for other reasons. It exhibits Smith's skill as a writer and his capacity for rising into poetic moods. This is the story from the "General Historie":
"The next voyage hee proceeded so farre that with much labour by cutting of trees in sunder he made his passage, but when his Barge could pass no farther, he left her in a broad bay out of danger of shot, commanding none should goe ashore till his return: himselfe with two English and two Salvages went up higher in a Canowe, but he was not long absent, but his men went ashore, whose want of government, gave both occasion and opportunity to the Salvages to surprise one George Cassen, whom they slew, and much failed not to have cut of the boat and all the rest. Smith little dreaming of that accident, being got to the marshes at the river's head, twentie myles in the desert, had his two men slaine (as is supposed) sleeping by the Canowe, whilst himselfe by fowling sought them victuall, who finding he was beset with 200 Salvages, two of them hee slew, still defending himself with the ayd of a Salvage his guide, whom he bound to his arme with his garters, and used him as a buckler, yet he was shot in his thigh a little, and had many arrowes stucke in his cloathes but no great hurt, till at last they tooke him prisoner. When this newes came to Jamestowne, much was their sorrow for his losse, fewe expecting what ensued. Sixe or seven weekes those Barbarians kept him prisoner, many strange triumphes and conjurations they made of him, yet hee so demeaned himselfe amongst them, as he not onely diverted them from surprising the Fort, but procured his owne libertie, and got himself and his company such estimation amongst them, that those Salvages admired him more than their owne Quiyouckosucks. The manner how they used and delivered him, is as followeth.
"The Salvages having drawne from George Cassen whether Captaine Smith was gone, prosecuting that opportunity they followed him with 300 bowmen, conducted by the King of Pamaunkee, who in divisions searching the turnings of the river, found Robinson and Entry by the fireside, those they shot full of arrowes and slew. Then finding the Captaine as is said, that used the Salvage that was his guide as his shield (three of them being slaine and divers others so gauld) all the rest would not come neere him. Thinking thus to have returned to his boat, regarding them, as he marched, more then his way, slipped up to the middle in an oasie creeke and his Salvage with him, yet durst they not come to him till being neere dead with cold, he threw away his armes. Then according to their composition they drew him forth and led him to the fire, where his men were slaine. Diligently they chafed his benumbed limbs. He demanding for their Captaine, they shewed him Opechankanough, King of Pamaunkee, to whom he gave a round Ivory double compass Dyall.Much they marvailed at the playing of the Fly and Needle, which they could see so plainly, and yet not touch it, because of the glass that covered them. But when he demonstrated by that Globe-like Jewell, the roundnesse of the earth and skies, the spheare of the Sunne, Moone, and Starres, and how the Sunne did chase the night round about the world continually: the greatnesse of the Land and Sea, the diversitie of Nations, varietie of Complexions, and how we were to them Antipodes, and many other such like matters, they all stood as amazed with admiration. Notwithstanding within an houre after they tyed him to a tree, and as many as could stand about him prepared to shoot him, but the King holding up the Compass in his hand, they all laid downe their Bowes and Arrowes, and in a triumphant manner led him to Orapaks, where he was after their manner kindly feasted and well used.
"Their order in conducting him was thus: Drawing themselves all in fyle, the King in the middest had all their Peeces and Swords borne before him. Captaine Smith was led after him by three great Salvages, holding him fast by each arme: and on each side six went in fyle with their arrowes nocked. But arriving at the Towne (which was but onely thirtie or fortie hunting houses made of Mats, which they remove as they please, as we our tents) all the women and children staring to behold him, the souldiers first all in file performe the forme of a Bissom so well as could be: and on each flanke, officers as Serieants to see them keepe their orders. A good time they continued this exercise, and then cast themselves in a ring, dauncing in such severall Postures, and singing and yelling out such hellish notes and screeches: being strangely painted, every one his quiver of arrowes, and at his backe a club: on his arme a Fox or an Otters skinne, or some such matter for his vambrace: their heads and shoulders painted red, with oyle and Pocones mingled together, which Scarlet like colour made an exceeding handsome shew, his Bow in his hand, and the skinne of a Bird with her wings abroad dryed, tyed on his head, a peece of copper, a white shell, a long feather, with a small rattle growing at the tayles of their snaks tyed to it, or some such like toy. All this time Smith and the King stood in the middest guarded, as before is said, and after three dances they all departed. Smith they conducted to a long house, where thirtie or fortie tall fellowes did guard him, and ere long more bread and venison were brought him then would have served twentie men. I thinke his stomacke at that time was not very good; what he left they put in baskets and tyed over his head. About midnight they set the meat again before him, all this time not one of them would eat a bit with him, till the next morning they brought him as much more, and then did they eate all the old, and reserved the new as they had done the other, which made him think they would fat him to eat him. Yet in this desperate estate to defend him from the cold, one Maocassater brought him his gowne, in requitall of some beads and toyes Smith had given him at his first arrival in Firginia.
"Two days a man would have slaine him (but that the guard prevented it) for the death of his sonne, to whom they conducted him to recover the poore man then breathing his last. Smith told them that at James towne he had a water would doe it if they would let him fetch it, but they would not permit that: but made all the preparations they could to assault James towne, craving his advice, and for recompence he should have life, libertie, land, and women. In part of a Table booke he writ his mind to them at the Fort, what was intended, how they should follow that direction to affright the messengers, and without fayle send him such things as he writ for. And an Inventory with them. The difficultie and danger he told the Salvaves, of the Mines, great gunnes, and other Engins, exceedingly affrighted them, yet according to his request they went to James towne in as bitter weather as could be of frost and snow, and within three days returned with an answer.
"But when they came to James towne, seeing men sally out as he had told them they would, they fled: yet in the night they came again to the same place where he had told them they should receive an answer, and such things as he had promised them, which they found accordingly, and with which they returned with no small expedition, to the wonder of them all that heard it, that he could either divine or the paper could speake. Then they led him to the Youthtanunds, the Mattapanients, the Payankatanks, the Nantaughtacunds and Onawmanients, upon the rivers of Rapahanock and Patawomek, over all those rivers and backe againe by divers other severall Nations, to the King's habitation at Pamaunkee, where they entertained him with most strange and fearefull conjurations;
'As if neare led to hell,
Amongst the Devils to dwell.'
"Not long after, early in a morning, a great fire was made in a long house, and a mat spread on the one side as on the other; on the one they caused him to sit, and all the guard went out of the house, and presently came skipping in a great grim fellow, all painted over with coale mingled with oyle; and many Snakes and Wesels skins stuffed with mosse, and all their tayles tyed together, so as they met on the crowne of his head in a tassell; and round about the tassell was a Coronet of feathers, the skins hanging round about his head, backe, and shoulders, and in a manner covered his face; with a hellish voyce and a rattle in his hand. With most strange gestures and passions he began his invocation, and environed the fire with a circle of meale; which done three more such like devils came rushing in with the like antique tricks, painted halfe blacke, halfe red: but all their eyes were painted white, and some red stroakes like Mutchato's along their cheekes: round about him those fiends daunced a pretty while, and then came in three more as ugly as the rest; with red eyes and stroakes over their blacke faces, at last they all sat downe right against him; three of them on the one hand of the chiefe Priest, and three on the other. Then all with their rattles began a song, which ended, the chiefe Priest layd downe five wheat cornes: then strayning his arms and hands with such violence that he sweat, and his veynes swelled, he began a short Oration: at the conclusion they all gave a short groane; and then layd downe three graines more. After that began their song againe, and then another Oration, ever laying down so many cornes as before, til they had twice incirculed the fire; that done they tooke a bunch of little stickes prepared for that purpose, continuing still their devotion, and at the end of every song and Oration they layd downe a sticke betwixt the divisions of Corne. Til night, neither he nor they did either eate or drinke, and then they feasted merrily, and with the best provisions they could make. Three dayes they used this Ceremony: the meaning whereof they told him was to know if he intended them well or no. The circle of meale signified their Country, the circles of corne the bounds of the Sea, and the stickes his Country. They imagined the world to be flat and round, like a trencher, and they in the middest. After this they brought him a bagge of gunpowder, which they carefully preserved till the next spring, to plant as they did their corne, because they would be acquainted with the nature of that seede. Opitchapam, the King's brother, invited him to his house, where with many platters of bread, foule, and wild beasts, as did environ him, he bid him wellcome: but not any of them would eate a bit with him, but put up all the remainder in Baskets. At his returne to Opechancanoughs, all the King's women and their children flocked about him for their parts, as a due by Custome, to be merry with such fragments.
"But his waking mind in hydeous dreames did oft see wondrous shapes Of bodies strange, and huge in growth, and of stupendious makes."
"At last they brought him to Meronocomoco, where was Powhatan their Emperor. Here more than two hundred of those grim Courtiers stood wondering at him, as he had beene a monster, till Powhatan and his trayne had put themselves in their greatest braveries. Before a fire upon a seat like a bedstead, he sat covered with a great robe, made of Rarowcun skinnes and all the tayles hanging by. On either hand did sit a young wench of sixteen or eighteen years, and along on each side the house, two rowes of men, and behind them as many women, with all their heads and shoulders painted red; many of their heads bedecked with the white downe of Birds; but everyone with something: and a great chayne of white beads about their necks. At his entrance before the King, all the people gave a great shout. The Queene of Appamatuck was appointed to bring him water to wash his hands, and another brought him a bunch of feathers, instead of a Towell to dry them: having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could. A long consultation was held, but the conclusion was two great stones were brought before Powhatan; then as many as could layd hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beate out his braines. Pocahontas, the King's dearest daughter, when no entreaty could prevaile, got his head in her armes, and laid her owne upon his to save him from death: whereat the Emperour was contented he should live to make him hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper: for they thought him as well of all occupations as themselves. For the King himselfe will make his owne robes, shooes, bowes, arrowes, pots, plant, hunt, or doe any thing so well as the rest.
'They say he bore a pleasant shew,
But sure his heart was sad
For who can pleasant be, and rest,
That lives in feare and dread.
And having life suspected, doth
If still suspected lead.'
"Two days after, Powhatan having disguised himselfe in the most fearfullest manner he could, caused Capt. Smith to be brought forth to a great house in the woods and there upon a mat by the fire to be left alone. Not long after from behinde a mat that divided the house, was made the most dolefullest noyse he ever heard: then Powhatan more like a devill than a man with some two hundred more as blacke as himseffe, came unto him and told him now they were friends, and presently he should goe to James town, to send him two great gunnes, and a gryndstone, for which he would give him the country of Capahowojick, and for ever esteeme him as his sonn Nantaquoud. So to James towne with 12 guides Powhatan sent him. That night they quartered in the woods, he still expecting (as he had done all this long time of his imprisonment) every houre to be put to one death or other; for all their feasting. But almightie God (by his divine providence) had mollified the hearts of those sterne Barbarians with compassion. The next morning betimes they came to the Fort, where Smith having used the salvages with what kindnesse he could, he shewed Rawhunt, Powhatan's trusty servant, two demiculverings and a millstone to carry Powhatan; they found them somewhat too heavie; but when they did see him discharge them, being loaded with stones, among the boughs of a great tree loaded with Isickles, the yce and branches came so tumbling downe, that the poore Salvages ran away halfe dead with feare. But at last we regained some conference with them and gave them such toys: and sent to Powhatan, his women, and children such presents, and gave them in generall full content. Now in James Towne they were all in combustion, the strongest preparing once more to run away with the Pinnace; which with the hazard of his life, with Sakre falcon and musketshot, Smith forced now the third time to stay or sinke. Some no better then they should be had plotted with the President, the next day to have put him to death by the Leviticall law, for the lives of Robinson and Emry, pretending the fault was his that had led them to their ends; but he quickly tooke such order with such Lawyers, that he layed them by the heeles till he sent some of them prisoners for England. Now ever once in four or five dayes, Pocahontas with her attendants, brought him so much provision, that saved many of their lives, that els for all this had starved with hunger.
'Thus from numbe death our good God sent reliefe,
The sweete asswager of all other griefe.'
"His relation of the plenty he had scene, especially at Werawocomoco, and of the state and bountie of Powhatan (which till that time was unknowne), so revived their dead spirits (especially the love of Pocahontas) as all men's feare was abandoned."
We should like to think original, in the above, the fine passage, in which Smith, by means of a simple compass dial, demonstrated the roundness of the earth, and skies, the sphere of the sun, moon, and stars, and how the sun did chase the night round about the world continually; the greatness of the land and sea, the diversity of nations, variety of complexions, and how we were to them antipodes, so that the Indians stood amazed with admiration.
Captain Smith up to his middle in a Chickahominy swamp, discoursing on these high themes to a Pamunkey Indian, of whose language Smith was wholly ignorant, and who did not understand a word of English, is much more heroic, considering the adverse circumstances, and appeals more to the imagination, than the long-haired Iopas singing the song of Atlas, at the banquet given to AEneas, where Trojans and Tyrians drained the flowing bumpers while Dido drank long draughts of love. Did Smith, when he was in the neighborhood of Carthage pick up some such literal translations of the song of Atlas' as this:
"He sang the wandering moon, and the labors of the Sun; From whence the race of men and flocks; whence rain and lightning; Of Arcturus, the rainy Hyades, and the twin Triones; Why the winter suns hasten so much to touch themselves in the ocean, And what delay retards the slow nights."
The scene of the rescue only occupies seven lines and the reader feels that, after all, Smith has not done full justice to it. We cannot, therefore, better conclude this romantic episode than by quoting the description of it given with an elaboration of language that must be, pleasing to the shade of Smith, by John Burke in his History of Virginia:
"Two large stones were brought in, and placed at the feet of the emperor; and on them was laid the head of the prisoner; next a large club was brought in, with which Powhatan, for whom, out of respect, was reserved this honor, prepared to crush the head of his captive. The assembly looked on with sensations of awe, probably not unmixed with pity for the fate of an enemy whose bravery had commanded their admiration, and in whose misfortunes their hatred was possibly forgotten.
"The fatal club was uplifted: the breasts of the company already by anticipation felt the dreadful crash, which was to bereave the wretched victim of life: when the young and beautiful Pocahontas, the beloved daughter of the emperor, with a shriek of terror and agony threw herself on the body of Smith; Her hair was loose, and her eyes streaming with tears, while her whole manner bespoke the deep distress and agony of her bosom. She cast a beseeching look at her furious and astonished father, deprecating his wrath, and imploring his pity and the life of his prisoner, with all the eloquence of mute but impassioned sorrow.
"The remainder of this scene is honorable to Powhatan. It will remain a lasting monument, that tho' different principles of action, and the influence of custom, have given to the manners and opinions of this people an appearance neither amiable nor virtuous, they still retain the noblest property of human character, the touch of pity and the feeling of humanity.
"The club of the emperor was still uplifted; but pity had touched his bosom, and his eye was every moment losing its fierceness; he looked around to collect his fortitude, or perhaps to find an excuse for his weakness in the faces of his attendants. But every eye was suffused with the sweetly contagious softness. The generous savage no longer hesitated. The compassion of the rude state is neither ostentatious nor dilating: nor does it insult its object by the exaction of impossible conditions. Powhatan lifted his grateful and delighted daughter, and the captive, scarcely yet assured of safety, from the earth...."
"The character of this interesting woman, as it stands in the concurrent accounts of all our historians, is not, it is with confidence affirmed, surpassed by any in the whole range of history; and for those qualities more especially which do honor to our nature an humane and feeling heart, an ardor and unshaken constancy in her attachments she stands almost without a rival.
"At the first appearance of the Europeans her young heart was impressed with admiration of the persons and manners of the strangers; but it is not during their prosperity that she displays her attachment. She is not influenced by awe of their greatness, or fear of their resentment, in the assistance she affords them. It was during their severest distresses, when their most celebrated chief was a captive in their hands, and was dragged through the country as a spectacle for the sport and derision of their people, that she places herself between him and destruction.
"The spectacle of Pocahontas in an attitude of entreaty, with her hair loose, and her eyes streaming with tears, supplicating with her enraged father for the life of Captain Smith when he was about to crush the head of his prostrate victim with a club, is a situation equal to the genius of Raphael. And when the royal savage directs his ferocious glance for a moment from his victim to reprove his weeping daughter, when softened by her distress his eye loses its fierceness, and he gives his captive to her tears, the painter will discover a new occasion for exercising his talents."
The painters have availed themselves of this opportunity. In one picture Smith is represented stiffly extended on the greensward (of the woods), his head resting on a stone, appropriately clothed in a dresscoat, knee-breeches, and silk stockings; while Powhatan and the other savages stand ready for murder, in full-dress parade costume; and Pocahontas, a full-grown woman, with long, disheveled hair, in the sentimental dress and attitude of a Letitia E. Landon of the period, is about to cast herself upon the imperiled and well-dressed Captain.
Must we, then, give up the legend altogether, on account of the exaggerations that have grown up about it, our suspicion of the creative memory of Smith, and the lack of all contemporary allusion to it? It is a pity to destroy any pleasing story of the past, and especially to discharge our hard struggle for a foothold on this continent of the few elements of romance. If we can find no evidence of its truth that stands the test of fair criticism, we may at least believe that it had some slight basis on which to rest. It is not at all improbable that Pocahontas, who was at that time a precocious maid of perhaps twelve or thirteen years of age (although Smith mentions her as a child of ten years old when she came to the camp after his release), was touched with compassion for the captive, and did influence her father to treat him kindly