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right -, and with minds deprefled by the ar
bitrary fyftein under which they had been
held, thanked the Company for this favour,
and begged them to reduce to a compendi
um, with his Majefty's approbation, the
laws of England fuitable for Virginia ; giv
ing this as a realon, that it was not fit for
fubjecls to be governed by any laws, but
thofe which received an authority from their

It feems to have been a general fentiment
among thefe Colonifts, not to make Virginia
the place of their permanent refidence, but
dfter having acquired a fortune, by planting
and trade, to return to England.* For this
reafon, moft of them were deftitute of fami
lies, and had no natural attachment to the
country. To remedy this material defect,
Sir Edwin Sandys the new Treafurer, propof-
ed to the Company to fend over a freight of
young women, to make wives for the plant
ers. This propofal, with feveral others made
by that eminent flatefman, was received with
univerfal applaufe ; and the fuccefs anfwered
their expectations. Ninety girls, " young
and uncorrupt," were fent over at one time ;|


* Stith, t Purcha?, v. i


(1620) and fixty more, " handfome and well
recommended" at another. (1621) Thefe
were foon blefTed with the object of their
wiflies. The price of a wife, at firft, was
one hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco j
but as the number became fcarce, the price
was increafed to one hundred and fifty
pounds, the value of which in money was
three fhiilingsper pound.* By a fubfequent
act of affembly, it was ordained, that " the
price of a wife fhould have the precedence
of all other debts, in recovery and payment,
becaufe, of all kinds of merchandife, this was
the moil defirable."t

To this falutary project of the Company,
King James was pleafed to add another,
which he fignified to the Treafurer by a let
ter ;^ commanding them to lend to Virginia,
one hundred diiTolute perfons, convicted of
crimes, who fhould be delivered to them by
the Knight Marfhal. The feafon of the
year (November) was unfavourable for tranf-
portation ; but fo peremptory was the King's
command, and fo fubmifnve the temper of
the Company, that they became bound for
the fubfiftence of thefe wretches till they


* Chalmers, 4.*. f Stith, 197. $ Stith, 167=

A K G. A L, 69

could fail, which was not till February. The
expenfe of this equipment was ^4,000.

On this tranfadion, Mr. Stith, who takes
every opportunity to expofe the weak and
arbitrary government of King James, makes
the following remarks. " Thofe who know
with how high a hand this King fometimes
carried it even with his Parliaments, will not
be furprifed to find him thus unmercifully in-
fult a private company, and load them
againft all law, with the maintenance and ex
traordinary expenfe of tranfporting fuch per-
fons as he thought proper to banifti. And I
cannot but remark, how early that cuftom
arofe of tranfporting loofe and difiblute
perfons to Virginia, as a place of punifhment
and difgrace ; wta'ch though originally de~
figned for the advancement and increafe of
the Colony, yet has certainly proved a great
hindrance to its growth. For it hath laid
one of the fineft countries in America under
the unjuft fcandal of being another Siberia,
fit only for the reception of malefactors and
the vileft of the people. So that few have
been induced willingly to tranfport them-
felves to fuch a place ; and our younger fit
ters, the Northern Colonies, have accordingly


70 A R G A L-

profited thereby. For this is one caufe that
they have outftripped us fo much in the
number of their inhabitants, and in the
goodnefs and frequency of their towns and

In the fame year (1620) the merchandife
of human flem, was further augmented, by
the introduction of negroes from Africa.*
A Dutch fhip brought twenty of them for-
fale ; and the Virginians, who had but jufl
emerged from a ftate of vaflalage themfelves,,
began to be the owners and mafters of flaves.

The principal commodity produced in.
Virginia befides corn, was tobacco ; an arti
cle of luxury much in demand in the north
of Europe. Great had been the difficulties
attending this trade, partly from the jealoufy
of the Spaniards, who cultivated it in their
American Colonies ; partly from the obfe-
quioufnefs of James to that nation ; and
partly from his own fqueamifh averfion to
tobacco, againfl the ufe of which, in his
princely wifdom, he had written a book.f


* Beverley, p. 35.

f This book is entitled " A Counterblaft to Tobacco,'*,
and is printed in a folio volume of the works of King
James. In this curious work he compares the fmoke of
tobacco to the fmoke of the bottomlefs pit ; and fays it i$
only proper to regale the devil after dinner.

A R G A L. yi

The Virginia Company themfelves were
cppofed to its cultivation, and readily admit
ted various projects for encouraging other
productions, of more immediate ufe and ben
efit to mankind. As the country naturally
yielded mulberry-trees and vines, it was
thought that filk and wine might be manu
factured to advantage. To facilitate thefe
projects, eggs of the filk-worm were procur
ed from the fouthern countries of Europe ;
books On the fubject were tranflated from
foreign languages ; perfons (killed in the
management of filk-worms arid the cultiva
tion of vines were engaged ; and, to crown all,
a royal order from King James, enclofed in a
letter from the Treafurer and Council, was
fent over to Virginia, with high expectations
of fuccefs. But no exertions nor authority
could prevail, to make the cultivation of to
bacco yield to that of filk and wine ; and
after the trade of the Colony was laid open
and the Dutch had free accefs to their ports,
the growth of tobacco received fuch encour^
agement, as to become the grand ftaple of the

At this time, the Company in England was
divided into two parties j the Earl of War

A R A L.

wick was at the head of one, and the Earl
of Southampton of the other. The former
was the leaft in number, but had the ear and
fupport of the King ; and their virulence
was directed againft Yeardley, who had inter
cepted a packet from his own Secretary, Pory,
containing the proofs of Argafs mifcondut,
which had been prepared to be ufed againft
him at his trial ; but which the Secretary had
been bribed to convey to his clofe friend the
Earl of Warwick. The Governor, being a
man of a mild and gentle temper, was fo
overcome with the oppofition and menaces
of the faction, which were publickly known
in the Colony, that his authority was weak
ened, his fpirits dejected, and his health im
paired to that degree that he became unfit
for bufmefsj and requeiled a dilmiflion from
the cares of government His commiffion
expired in November, 1621, but he continu
ed in the Colony, was a member of the
Council, and enjoyed the refpect and efteem
of the people.

During this fhort adminiftration, many
new fettlements were made on James and
York rivers, and the planters being fupplied
with wives and fervants, began to think


A R G A L,

/ w

themfelves at home, and to take pleafure in
cultivating their lands ; but they neglected
to provide for their defence, placing too
great confidence in the continuance of that
tranquillity which they had long enjoyed by
their treaty with the Indians*



W Y A T.


HEN Sir George Yeardley re-
quefted a difmiffiori from the burden of
government, the Earl of Southampton rec
ommended to the Company Sir Francis
Wyat, as his fucceflbr. He was a young
gentleman of a good family, in Ireland,*
who, on account of his education, fortune
and integrity, was every way equal to the
place, and was accordingly chofen.f

He received from the Company a fet of
inftrudlions, which were intended to be a
permanent directory for the Governor and
Council of the Colony. In thefe it was
recommended to them, to provide for the
fervice of God, according to the form and
difjipline of the Church of England ; to
adminifter juftice according to the laws of
England ; to protect the natives, and culti
vate peace with them ; to educate their
'children ; and to endeavour their civilization
and converfion ; to encourage indufcry ; to
fupprefs gaming, intemperance, and excefs
in apparel ; to give no offence to any other


* Stith, 187. f Hazard. Vol. I. 232. 1 Stith, 195.

W Y "'A*T.:- 75

prince, State, or people ; to harbour no
pirates ; to build fortifications ; to cultivate
corn, wine, and filk ; to fearch for minerals,
dyes, gums, and medicinal drugs ; and to
" draw off the people from the exceflive
planting of tobacco."

Immediately on Wyat's arrival, (October,
1621) he fent a fpecial meffage to Opitcha-
pan and Opechancanough, by Mr. George
Thorpe, a gentleman of note in the Colony,
and a great friend to the Indians, to confirm
the former treaties of peace and friendship.
They both exprefled great fatisfadtion at the
arrival of the new Governor ; and Mr.
Thorpe imagined that he could perceive an
uncommon degree of religious fenfibility in
Opechancanough. That artful chief fo far
impofed on the credulity of this good gen
tleman, as to perfuade him that he acknowl
edged his own religion to be wrong ; that
he defired to be inftructed in the Chriftian
doctrine, and that he wifhed for a more
friendly and familiar intercourfe with the
Englifh. He alfo confirmed a former prom-
ife of fending a guide to (hew them fome
mines above the falls. But all thefe pre
tences ferved only to conceal a defign which


W Y A T.

lie had long meditated, to deftroy the whole
Englifh Colony.

The peace which had fubfifted fmce the
marriage of Pocahontas had lulled the En-
glim into fecurity, and difpofed them to ex
tend their plantations along the banks of the
rivers, as far as the Potowmack,* in fitua-
tions top remote from each other. Their
Jioufes were open and free to the natives,
who became acquainted with their manner
of living, their hours of eating, of labour
and repofe, the ufe of their arms and tools,
and frequently borrowed their boats, for the
convenience of fifhing and fowling, and to
pafs the rivers. This familiarity was pleaf-
ing to the Englifh, as it indicated a fpirit of
moderation, which had been always recom-?
mended, by the Company in England, to the
planters ; and, as it afforded a favourable
fymptom of the civilization and converfion
of the natives j but by them, or their leaders,
it w r as defigned to conceal the moil fanguin-
ary intentions.

In the fpring of the next year, (1622) an
opportunity offered, to throw off the mafk of
friendfliip, and kindle their fecret enmity in
to a blaze. Among the natives who frequent-

dt T> T

Beverlev- - :

W Y A T.


Jy vifited the Engliili, was a tall, handfome,
young chief, renowned for courage and iuc-
cefs in war, and exceffively fond of finery in
drefs. His Indian name was Nematanow ;
but by the Englifh he was called, Jack of the
Feather. Coining to the ftore of one Morgan,
he there viewed feveral toys and ornaments,
which were very agreeable to the Indian
tafte ; and perfuaded Morgan to carry them
to Pamunky, where he affured him of an
advantageous traffic. Morgan commented to
go with him ; but was murdered by the way.

In a few days, Nematanow came again to
die (lore, with Morgan's cap on his head ;
and being interrogated by two flout lads,
who attended there, what was become of
their mafter, he aniwered that he was dead.
The boys feized him, and endeavoured to
carry him before a magifltat'e ; but his vio
lent refiftance, and the infolence of his lan
guage, fo provoked them, that they (hot him.
The wound proved mortal ; and when dy
ing, he earneftly requeued of the boys, that
the manner of his death might be concealed
from his countrymen, and that he might be
privately buried among the Engliih.

78 W Y A T.

As foon as this tranfaction xvas known,
Opechancanough demanded fatisfaction ; but
being anfwered that the retaliation was juft,
he formed a plan for a general mafTacre of
the Englifh, and appointed Friday, the twen-
ty-fecond day of March, for its execution ;
but he diflembled his refentment to the laft
moment. Parties of Indians were diftributed
through the Colony, to attack every planta
tion, at the fame hour of the day, when the
men mould be abroad and at work. On the
evening before, and on the morning of that
fatal day, the Indians came as ufual to the
houfes of the Englifh, bringing game and
fifh to fell, and fat down with them to break^
faft. So general was the combination, and
fo deep the plot, that about one hour before
noon, they fell on the people in the fields
and houfes ; and, with their own tools and
weapons, killed, indifcriminately, perfons of
all ages, fexes and characters ; inhumanly
mangling their dead bodies, and triumphing
over them, with all the expreffions of fran^
tic joy.

Where any refiflance was made, it was
generally fuccefsful. Several houfes were
defended, and fome few of the aflailants (lain.


Y A T.


One of Captain Smith's old foldiers, Nathan
iel Caufie, though wounded, fplit the fkull
of an Indian, and put his whole party to
flight. Several other parties were difperfed
by the firing of a fingle gun, or by the pre-
fenting of a gun, even in the hands of a

James-Town was prefcrved by the fidelity
of Chanco,* a young Indian convert, who
lived with Richard Pace, and was treated by
him as a fon. The brother of this Indian
came to lie with him, the night before the
mafTacre, and revealed to him the plot, urg
ing him to kill his mafter, as he intended to
do by his own. As foon as he was gone in
the morning, Chanco gave notice of what
was intended, to his mafter ; who, having
fecured his own houfe, gave the alarm to
his neighbours, and fent an exprefs to

Three hundred and forty-nine peoplef fell
in this general maflacre ; of which number,


* Stith, 212.

f The number flain at the feveral plantations ; from
Captain Smith's Hiilory, page 149.

I. At Captain John Berkley's plantation, feated at
the Falling Creek, fixty-fix miles from James City,
himfelf and twenty-one others, 22

Mr 2. At

; :


W Y A T.

fix were members cf the Council. None of
thefe were more lamented than Mr. George
Thorpe. This gentleman was one of the
beft friends of the Indians, and had been
earncftly concerned in the bufmefs of in-


2. At Matter Thomas Sheffield's plantation, three
miles from the Falling Creek, himfelf an d twelve
others, ~ 13

3. At Henrico Iflands, two miles from Sheffield's
plantation, . 6

4. Slain of the College people, twenty miles from
Henricoj - 17

At Charles City, and of Captain Smith's men, 5

6. At the next adjoining plantation, 8

7. At William Farrar's houfe, - 16

8. At Brickley Hundred, fifty miles from Charles
City, Matter George Thorpe and ten more, 1 1

9. At Weftover, a mile from Brickley, 2

10. At Matter John Weft's plantation, - 2

11. At Captain Nathaniel Weft's plantation, z

1 2. At Richard Owen's houfe, himfelf and fix more, 7

13. At Lieutenant Gibbs's plantation, - 12

14. At Mafter Owen Macar's houfe, himfelf and
three more, 4

15. At Martin's Hundred, feven miles from James
City, 73

1 6. At another place, 7

17. At Edward Bonit's plantation, 50

1 8. At Mafter Waters's houfe, himfelf and four more, 5

19. At Apamatuck's River, at Mafter Perce's plan
tation, five miles from the College, - 4

?.o. At Mafter Maycock's dividend, Captain Samuel
May cock and four more, - $

Y A T. h'i

ftnlcting and evangelizing them. He had
left a handfome eftate, and an honourable
employment in Englari; 1 , and was appointed
chief Manager of a plantation and. ji fe mi-
nary, defigned for the maintenance and edu
cation of young Indians, in Virginia. He
had been remarkably kind and generous to
them ; and it was by his exertion, that tile
houfe was built, in which Opechancanough
took fo much pleafure. Juft before his death,
he was warned of his danger, by one of his
fervants, who immediately made his efcape ;*


21. At Flowerda Hundred, Sir George Yeardley's
plantation, . - - 6

22. On the other fide oppofite to it, 7

23. At Matter Swinhow's houfe, himfelf and fevcn
more, - 8

24. At Mafter William Bickar's houfe, himfelf and
four more, * .

25. At Weaaock, of Sir George Yeardley's people, 21

26. At P6wel Brooke, Captain Nathaniel Powti r.nd
twelve more, - - r*

27. At Southampton Hundred, - ^

28. At Martin's Brandon Hundred,

29. At Captain Henry Spilman's houfe, 2

30. At Enfign Spence's houfe,

31. At Mafter Thomas Perfe' s Houfe, by Mulberry
Ifland, himfelf and four more, - r

The \vho-c 549



S2 W Y A T.

but Mr. Thorpe would not believe that they
intended him any harm, and thus fell a vie-
tim to their fury. His corpfe was mangled
and abufed, in a manner too fhocking to be

One effect of this maflacre was the rurtl
of the iron-works, at Falling-Creek, where
the deftruclion was fo complete, that, of
twenty-four people, only a boy and girl
efcaped by hiding themfelves.* The fuper-
intendant of this work had difcovered 2. vein
of lead ore, which he kept to himfelf ; but
made ufe of it, to fupply himfelf and hi
friends with fhot. The knowledge of this
was loll by his death for many years. It
was again found by Colonel Byrd, and agaift
loftr The place was a third time found by
John Chifweli \ and the mine is now, or has
been lately r wrought to advantage.

Another confequence of this fatal event,
was an order of the Government, to draw to-
gether the remnant of the people into a nar
row compafs. Of eighty plantations, -aH
were abandoned but fix,f which lay contigu


* Bevcrkf, 43 f PurcSias, v. 1792.

W y A T. 83

9tts, at the lower part of James River.* The
Owners or overfeers of three or four others
refufed to obey the order, and entrenched
themfelves, mounting cannon for their de~
fence. 'f

The next effect was a ferocious xvar. The
Indians were hunted like beads of prey, and
as many as could be found were deflroyed.
But as they were very expert in hiding
themfelves and efcaping the purfuit, the En-
glim refolved to difTemble with them in their
own way.f To this they were further im
pelled by the fear of famine. As feed-time
came on, both fides thought it neceffary to
relax their hoftile operations and attend to
the bufmefs of planting. Peace was then of*
fered by the Englifh, and accepted by the In-

dians ;

* The fix plantations, to which the Government or-
iered the people to retire, were :

Shirley Hundred, Fafpiha,

Flowerda Hundred, Kiquotan,

James-Town, Southampton,

f Thofe perfons who refufed to obey the order, were ;
Mr. Edward Hill, at Elizabeth City.
Mr. Samuel Jordan, at Jordan's Point.
Mr. Daniel Gookin, at Newport News.
Mrs. Pro&or, a gentlewoman of an heroic fpirit, de
fended her plantation a month, till the officers of the
Colony obliged her to abandon it.
t Keith, 139.


84 W Y A T.

dians ; but, when the corn began to grow,
the Engliih fuddenly attacked the Indians in
their fields, killed many of them, and deftroy-
ed their corn. The fummer was fuch a
feafon of confufion that a fufficiency of food
could not be obtained, and the people were
reduced to great ftraits.

The unrelenting feverity with which
this war was pro/ecirted by the Virginians
againit the Indians, tranimitted mutual abhor
rence to the pofterity of both ; and procured
to the former the name of " the long knife,"
by which they are ftill diftinguimed in the
hieroglyphic language of the natives.

Though a general permiffion of refidence
had been given by Powhatan, and his fuccef-
fors, to the Colonifts ; yet they rather affect
ed to confider the country as acquired by dif-
cpvery or conqueft ;* and both thefe ideas
were much favoured by the Englifh court, j*


* Chalmers, 3 9, .63.

f Mr. JeiTcrfon, in his Notes on Virginia, (p. 153) pb-
fcrves, " That the lands of this country v.-cre taken irom
them by conqueft is not fo general a truth as is fuppofe J. I
find in our hiftorians and records, repeated proofs of pur-
chafes, which cover a confiderable part of the lower country ;
a : id many more \vculd doubtlefs be found on further fearch.
The upper country, \ve kaov; has been acquired altogeth-

W Y A' T. 85

The civilization of the natives was a very de-
firable object ; but thofe who knew them
beft, thought that they could not be civilized
till they were firft fubdued ;* or till their
Priefts were deftroyed.f

It is certain that many pious and charitable
perfons in England were very warmly inter-
efted in their converfion. Money and books,
church plate and other furniture were liber
ally contributed. A college was in a fair
way of being founded ; to the fupport of
which, lands were appropriated and brought
into a ftate of cultivation. Some few inftan-
ces of the influence of gofpel principles on
the favage mind, particularly Pocahontas and
Chanco, gave fanguine hope of fuccefs ; and
even the maflacre did not abate the ardor of
that hope, in the minds of thofe who had in
dulged it. The experience of almoft two
centuries has not extinguimed it - 3 and, how
ever difcouraging the profpect, it is beft for
the caufe of virtue that it never mould be


fcr by purchafcs, made in the moil unexceptionable form."
A more particular account of the earlieft purchafcs, is de
finable, fpecifying the date, the extent and the comporJa-

* Smith, 147. t Stith, 233.

S3 W Y A. T,

abandoned. There may be fome fruit, which
though not fplendid nor extenfive, yet may
oorrcfpond with the genius of a religion,
which is compared, by its Author, to " leaven,
hid in the meal." The power of evangelical
truth on the human mind, muft not be con-
iidered as void of reality, beeaufe;not expofed*
tp public obfervation.

When the news of the mafiacre was carri
ed to England, the Governor and Colony-
were confidered as fubje&s of blame, by thofe
very perfons who lud always enjoined them
to treat the Indians with mildnefs, Howev^
er, (hips were difpatched with a fupply of
provifions, to which the Corporation of Lon
don as well as feveral perfons of fortune
largely contributed. The King lent them
twenty barrels of powder, and a quantity of
vnfervic cable arms from the Tower, and
prcmifedto levy four hundred foldiers, in the
feveral Counties of England, for their protec
tion ; but though frequently folicitcd by the
Company in England, and the Colony in
Virginia, he never could be induced to fulfil
this promife.

The calamities which had befallen the Col
ony, and the diflenfions which had agitated


W t A T.

Company, became fuch topics of com
plaint, and were fo reprefented to the King
and his Privy Council, that a commiffion
was iffued, under the great feal, to Sir Wil
liam Jones, Sir Nicholas Fortefcue, Sir Fran
cis Gofton, Sir Richard Sutton, Sir William.
Pitt, Sir Henry Bouchier, and Sir Henry
Spijman, or any four of them, to inquire into
all matters refpecling Virginia, from the be
ginning of its fettlement.

To enable them to carry on this inquiry,
all the books and papers of the Company
were ordered into the cuftody of the Com*
miffioners ; their Deputy-Treafurer was ar-
refted and confined ; and all letters which
fliould arrive from the Colony, were, by the
King's command, to be intercepted. This
was a very difcouraging introduction to the
bufmefs, and plainly mowed not only the ar
bitrary difpofition of the King ; but the turn
which would be given to the inquiry. Oa
the arrival of a (hip from Virginia,* her
packets were ft ized, and laid before the Privy

The tranfadions of thefe Commifli oners
were always kept concealed ; but the refult


* Stith, 298


W Y A T.

of them was made known by an order of
Council, (October, 1623) which fet forth,
" That his Majefty having taken into his
" princely confideration the diftrefled- ftate of
" Virginia, occafioned by the ill government
" of the Company, had refolved by a new
" Charter, to appoint a Governor and twelve
" AfTiftants to refide in England ; and a
" Governor with twelve Affiftants to refide

" in Virginia ; the former to be nominated
" by his Majefty in Council, the latter to be
* c nominated by the Governor, and Affiftants
" in England, and to be approved by the
" King in Council ; and that all proceedings
" mould be fubject to the royal direction."
The Company was ordered to aflemble and

Online LibraryUnknownAmerican biography: or, An historical account of those persons who have been distinguished in America, as adventurers, statesmen, philosophers, divines, warriors, authors, and other remarkable characters .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 4 of 24)