Page images
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

but the following, from Professor Edward Arber, the editor of the English Reprint of Smith's Works, will acquit him of this charge :

“Inasmuch as the accuracy of some of Captain Smith's statements has, in this generation, been called in question, it was but our duty to subject every one of the nearly forty thousand lines of this book to a most searching criticism; scanning every assertion of fact most keenly, and making the Text, by the insertion of a multitude of crossreferences, prove or disprove itself.

The result is perfectly satisfactory. Allowing for a popular style of expression, the Text is homogeneous; and the nine books comprising it, though written under very diverse circumstances, and at intervals over the period of twenty-two years (1608-1630), contain no material contradictions. Inasmuch, therefore, as wherever we can check Smith, we find him both modest and accurate, we are led to think him so, where no such check is possible, as at Nalbrits in the autumn of 1603, and on the Chickahominy in the winter of 1607-'8." See Life, by Simms, by Warner, and by Eggleston in “Pocahontas."


(From Generall Historie.) [This extract from his “Generall Historie" is in the words of a report by“ eight gentlemen of the Jamestown Colony.” It is corroborated by Captain Smith's letter to the Queen on the occasion of Pocahontas' visit to England after her marriage to Mr. John Rolfe. Matoaka, or Matoax, was her real name in her tribe, but it was considered unlucky to tell it to the English strangers.]

At last they brought him [Smith] 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 themselues in their greatest braveries.

Before a fire vpon 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 16 or 18 yeares;

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 every one with something; and a great chayne of white beads about their necks.

At his entrance before the King, all the people gaue 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, in stead 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 Kings dearest daughter, when no intreaty could prevaile, got his head in her armes, and laid her owne vpon his to saue him from death : whereat the Emperour was contented he should liue to make him hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper; for they thought him as well of all occupations as themselues. For the King himselfe will make his owne robes, shooes, bowes, arrowes, pots ; plant, hunt, or doe anything 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 liues in feare and dread:
And having life suspected, doth

It still suspected lead.
Two dayes after, Powhatan having disguised himselfe in
the most fearefullest manner he could, caused Captain Smith
to be brought forth to a great house in the woods, and there
vpon a mat by the fire to be left alone. Not long after from
behinde a mat that divided the house, was made the most

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »