Page images

living there in the shadow of death, without light or sense of their owne miserie, and that there wanted nothing but Industrie and art to adde to nature.

Upon which encouragement new supplies were made; with expedition some few hundreds of our men were left there by Captaine Newport, with al kind of provisions and directions for the ground and foundation of a Common-wealth. Their, barbarous king Powhatan entertained them lovingly, and admitted them a large countrie to inhabit, the poore Savages brought them such relief as they had; our owne people wrote letters home in praise of the countrie, and labored their friends to come thither, they began to fortifie where they saw convenient, they built a Church and many houses together, which they named James Towne, they nourished their swine, hens, and other provisions they carried out of England, which plentifully encreased: they cut downe wood for wanscot, blacke walnut tree, Spruce, Cedar and Deale, they got rich furs, dying stuffe, minerals and iron ore (which made excellent good iron) they planted orange trees, corne, and sundrie kindes of seeds, they made Sope ashes and Tar, with some Sturgeon and Caveare, and of each of these they sent us small quantities, with store of Sassafrasse, and some wine of those countrie grapes for a triall: all which being the work but of a small number, not fully settled, gave sufficient testimony what might bee effected there by settling good government, and sending more supplies of men, and meanes to plant the soile and make discoveries.

This happy proceeding caused the action to be accounted as wonne, and caused so many willing minds to adventure their monies, that there wanted not sufficient meanes, to furnish out a fleet of 9. good ships, with the better part of five hundred men to inhabit there. Sir Thomas Gates being Lieutenant generall, and Sir George Sommers Admirall of Virginea, both of them appointed by commission to reside in the countrie to goveme the Colonie, which together set saile and departed the coast of England with a faire wind the first of June 1609.

But who can withstand the counsell of God that sits in the stearne of all actions, and so directed this present fleet, that before they came neere the coast of Virginea, the ship' named the Sea Venture, being also Admiral of the fleet, wherein were shipped the two Knights before named, and Captaine Newport with an hundred andfiftie persons, was violently taken and carried with the rage of tempestuous stormes, without hope or likelihood of life at least an hundred leagues to the sowthward, till they arrived upon the desperate shore of the Hands of Bermudus, where betweene two rockes the ship split in peeces, and yet by


the miraculous hand of God and industrie of the Captaines, all the people escaped safe to land and not a man perished.

Of whose long abode and preservation in these broken deserts, and of their strange and wonderfull deliverie thence, it is already related and published by Sir Thomas Gates, and so I returne to the other eight ships, which escaping the danger of seas arived at the port, and landed their men in Virginea.

By which meanes the body of the plantation, was now augmented with such numbers of irregular persons, that it soone became as so many members without a head, who as they were bad and evill affected for the most part before they went hence; so now being landed, and wanting restraint, they displaied their condition in al kind of looseness, those chiefe and wisest guides among them (whereof there were not many) did nothing but bitterly contend who should be first to command the rest, the common sort, as is ever seene in such cases grow factious and disordered out of measure, in so much as the poore Pnrsoni letter Colonie seemed (like the Colledge of English fugiin the Quod- tives in Rome) as a hostile Campe within it selfe: liheu. in which distemper that envious man stept in, sow

ing plentifull tares in the hearts of all, which grew to such speedie confusion, that in few moneths, Ambition, sloth and idlenes had devoured the fruits of former labours, planting and sowing were cleane given over, the houses decaied, the Church fell to ruine, the store was spent, the cattell consumed, our people starved, and the poore Indians by wrongs and injuries were made our enemies, two of the ships returning home perished upon the point of Ushant, the rest of the fleet came ship after ship, laden with nothing but bad reports and letters of discouragement: and which added the more to our crosse, they brought us newes that the Admirall ship, with the two Knights and Captaine Newport were missing, severed in a mightie storme outward, and could not be heard of which we therefore yeelded as lost for many moneths together, and so that Virgine voyage (as I may tearme it) which went out smilling on her lovers with pleasant lookes, after her wearie travailes, did thus returne with a rent and disfigured face: for which how justly her friends tooke occasion of sorrow, and others to insult and scoffe, let men of reason judge. And as for those wicked Impes that put themselves a shipboord, not knowing otherwise how to live in England; or those ungratious sons that dailie vexed their fathers hearts at home, and were therefore thrust upon the voyage, which either writing thence, or being returned back to cover their own leudnes doe fill mens eares with false reports of their miserable and perilous life in Virginea, let the imputation of miserie be to their idleness, and the blood that was spilt upon their own heads that caused it.


And howsoever it is true, that upon these events many adventurers which had formerly well affected the businesse, when they saw such unexpected tragedies withdrew themselves and their monies from adventure. Notwithstanding it lessened much the preparations, yet it hindered not the resolution of that honourable Lord (appointed Lord Governour) The Lord la to goe in his owne person, who together with the Wane, rest of the adventurers assisting his setting forth, having in their wisdomes rightlie weighed, that to the desired end of all good actions in this life, the way doth lie as well, with rough and craggie steps as smooth and easie paths, did presently set on with three good ships, wherein the Lord Governour, attended with Sir Ferdinando Wainman and sundry others, set saile from the coast of England, in the beginning of Aprill 1610, and on the 9. of June arrived safely at the disfortified fort in Virginea, where his Lordship finding their desperate condition so poore and meane, and so cleere a consumption of all former emploiments, that scarsely the steps or print of twenty hundred groats disbursed, which had truly cost the Adventurers here above twentie thousand pounds.

And thus wee stood in state of Marchants that had adventured much and lost all: in which case we might now make answere with King Alexander (having given away' al to his Captaines) we had nothing left but hope, and this hope of ours we fixed much (if not too much) upon that honourable Ix)rd Governour, then landed in Virginea, who as the world and our selves knew right well to be religious and wise, of a strong bodie and valerous minde, and under his wings so confidently reposed the shield of our businesse, that God minding to make us know that our arme was yet but flesh, even in the front of his enterprize overthrew the Nobleman by laying such a heavie hand of sicknesse and diseases upon him, that unable to weld and support the state of his owne body, much lesse the affaires of the Colonic, he was forced with griefe of heart, through the anguish and dolor of his maladie, and for remedie to save his life, after eight moneths sicknesse to returne for England againe; which when the Adventurers saw that the expectance of such a preparation came to nothing, how great a dampe of coldnesse it wrought in the hearts of all, may easile be deemed.

And yet had we left one sparke of hope unquencht, for before wee knew any such thing of his Lordships weaknesse, or once imagined his returning home, we had furnisht out Sir Thomas Dale with a good supplie of three ships, men, cattell, and many provisions: all which arived safe at the Colonie the 10. of May 1611. And notwithstanding the Knight at his landing there found the Lord Governour to bee gone, whereof he wrote us home most dolefull letters, as also of the fewnesse, idlenesse and weake estate wherein hee found the Colony: yet decyphered he the country in divers of his letters with admirable praise, giving us notice of his proceeding to fortifie, to build, to plant, and that the health of our men was now recovered by setting them to labour, assuring the adventurers so long as he remained there, their


ships should never returne emptie; his words are The word* of these: But if arty thing otherwise then well betide Sir Thnmm me t-n ^js oiisinesse^ fat me commend unto your ine "commit- carefulnesse, thepursuitc anddignitie of this busitiei. nesse, then which your purses and endevours will

never open nor travell in a more acceptable and meritorious enterprize, take foure of the best kingdomes in Christendome, and put them all together, they may no way compare with this count rie either for commodities or goodnesse of soile. And this sparke (I say) so kindled in the hearts of those constant adventurers, that in the greatest disasters never fainted, which having past over so many foule and wearie steps, and seeing now so faire a way before them, bent all their wits and consultations how to second this good beginning of such a setled government. And after many meetings, when they could resolve upon no great supplie for want of meanes, the discouragement of many being such by former ill successe, yet in fine it was resolved ; through the importunate zeale and fonvardnesse of some, against the opinion of many without delay to furnish out Sir Thomas Gates with sixe shippes, three hundred men and an hundred kine, with other cattell, munition and provisions of all sorts; which notwithstanding it grew so deepe an engagement of our purses and credits, that for the present wee knew not how to discharge it, yet assuredly it hath proved (as wee hope) the most fortunate and happie steppe that ever our businesse tooke,

and hath highly approved the wisdome and resoLord Ganeraii lution of those worthy gentlemen that were the Ceciil, Sir Ro- causers 0f it; and so at this period, as with a cleare •mi some evening to a cloudie day, I will put an end to this

oihen. my first part of relating things already done and

past. The second part ensueth of the present estate of the businesse, upon which point I know that all mens eares are now most attent, for which I must be sparing to speake so much as might bee said, for surely men will not beleeve (through nature daily shew it in other courses) that in this case yet, so great a tide of flowing should suddenly ensue so great an ebbe of want, in last December Captaine Newport in the Starre, and since that five other shippes are arived heere from the Colonie, by which we know that Sir Thomas Gates with his sixe shippes, men and cattell, safelie arived at James Towne, about the fine of August last, the suddaine approach of such an unlooked for supplie, did so amaze our people, when the Fort had first described the Fleete, and gave it out for enemies, that so soone as the newes went up the river to Sir Thomas Dale, he being a warlike and resolute Captaine, prepared him instantly and all the rest for an encounter, which by how much the suddaine apprehension perplexed their minds for the present, yet so much the more exceeded their comfort, when they knew them to be friends.


When they had all things well landed, and given thankes to God, the Knights and Captaines now began to frame the Colonie to a new conformitie, whereof the Lord Governour at his being there, most carefullie had more then laide the ground before, their first and chiefest care was shewed in settling Lawes divine and morall, for the honour and service of God, for daily frequenting the Church, the house of prayer, at the tolling of the bell, for preaching, catechizing, and the religious observation of the Sabbath day, for due reverence to the Ministers of the Word, and to all superiours, for peace and love among themselves, and enforcing the idle to paines and honest labours, against blasphemie, contempt and dishonour of God, against breach of the Sabbath by gaming: and otherwise against adulterie, sacriledge and felonie; and in a word, against all wrongfull dealing amongst themselves, or injurious violence against the Indians. Good are these beginnings, wherein God is thus before, good are these lawes, and long may they stand in their due execution. But what is this (will some object) if wholesome lodging, cloathing for the backe and bodilie foode be wanting, the bellie pincht with hunger cannot heare, though your charme be otherwise never so sweet. All this was true, we have already confest it, when there was nothing but a confused troope that sought their owne consumption, tempora mutantur.

You shall know that our Colonie consisteth now of seven hundred men at least, of sundrie arts and professions, some more or lesse, they stand in health, and few sicke, at the ships comming thence, having left the fort at Cape Henry, fortified and kept by Captaine Davies, and the keeping of James towne to that noble and well deserving Gentlemen MasHe went ihi- ter George Percie. The Colonie is removed up since luThe" ^e "ver fourscore miles further beyond James Am iiiip. towne to a place of higher ground, strong and de

« PreviousContinue »