The Complete Writings of Charles Dudley Warner Volume 3
Charles Dudley Warner

Part 3 out of 7

But we are specially his debtor for adventures on our own continent,
narrated with naivete and vigor by a pen as direct and clear-cutting
as the sword with which he shaved off the heads of the Turks, and for
one of the few romances that illumine our early history.

Captain John Smith understood his good fortune in being the recorder
of his own deeds, and he preceded Lord Beaconsfield (in "Endymion")
in his appreciation of the value of the influence of women upon the
career of a hero. In the dedication of his "General Historie" to
Frances, Duchess of Richmond, he says:

"I have deeply hazarded myself in doing and suffering, and why should
I sticke to hazard my reputation in recording? He that acteth two
parts is the more borne withall if he come short, or fayle in one of
them. Where shall we looke to finde a Julius Caesar whose
atchievments shine as cleare in his owne Commentaries, as they did in
the field? I confesse, my hand though able to wield a weapon among
the Barbarous, yet well may tremble in handling a Pen among so many
judicious; especially when I am so bold as to call so piercing and so
glorious an Eye, as your Grace, to view these poore ragged lines.
Yet my comfort is that heretofore honorable and vertuous Ladies, and
comparable but amongst themselves, have offered me rescue and
protection in my greatest dangers: even in forraine parts, I have
felt reliefe from that sex. The beauteous Lady Tragabigzanda, when I
was a slave to the Turks, did all she could to secure me. When I
overcame the Bashaw of Nalbrits in Tartaria, the charitable Lady
Callamata supplyed my necessities. In the utmost of my extremities,
that blessed Pokahontas, the great King's daughter of Virginia, oft
saved my life. When I escaped the cruelties of Pirats and most
furious stormes, a long time alone in a small Boat at Sea, and driven
ashore in France, the good Lady Chanoyes bountifully assisted me."

It is stated in his "True Travels" that John Smith was born in
Willoughby, in Lincolnshire. The year of his birth is not given, but
it was probably in 1579, as it appears by the portrait prefixed to
that work that he was aged 37 years in 1616. We are able to add also
that the rector of the Willoughby Rectory, Alford, finds in the
register an entry of the baptism of John, son of George Smith, under
date of Jan. 9, 1579. His biographers, following his account,
represent him as of ancient lineage: "His father actually descended
from the ancient Smiths of Crudley in Lancashire, his mother from the
Rickands at great Heck in Yorkshire;" but the circumstances of his
boyhood would indicate that like many other men who have made
themselves a name, his origin was humble. If it had been otherwise
he would scarcely have been bound as an apprentice, nor had so much
difficulty in his advancement. But the boy was born with a merry
disposition, and in his earliest years was impatient for adventure.
The desire to rove was doubtless increased by the nature of his
native shire, which offered every inducement to the lad of spirit to
leave it.

Lincolnshire is the most uninteresting part of all England. It is
frequently water-logged till late in the summer: invisible a part of
the year, when it emerges it is mostly a dreary flat. Willoughby is
a considerable village in this shire, situated about three miles and
a half southeastward from Alford. It stands just on the edge of the
chalk hills whose drives gently slope down to the German Ocean, and
the scenery around offers an unvarying expanse of flats. All the
villages in this part of Lincolnshire exhibit the same character.
The name ends in by, the Danish word for hamlet or small village, and
we can measure the progress of the Danish invasion of England by the
number of towns which have the terminal by, distinguished from the
Saxon thorpe, which generally ends the name of villages in Yorkshire.
The population may be said to be Danish light-haired and blue-eyed.
Such was John Smith. The sea was the natural element of his
neighbors, and John when a boy must have heard many stories of the
sea and enticing adventures told by the sturdy mariners who were
recruited from the neighborhood of Willoughby, and whose oars had
often cloven the Baltic Sea.

Willoughby boasts some antiquity. Its church is a spacious
structure, with a nave, north and south aisles, and a chancel, and a
tower at the west end. In the floor is a stone with a Latin
inscription, in black letter, round the verge, to the memory of one
Gilbert West, who died in 1404. The church is dedicated to St.
Helen. In the village the Wesleyan Methodists also have a place of
worship. According to the parliamentary returns of 1825, the parish
including the hamlet of Sloothby contained 108 houses and 514
inhabitants. All the churches in Lincolnshire indicate the existence
of a much larger population who were in the habit of attending
service than exists at present. Many of these now empty are of size
sufficient to accommodate the entire population of several villages.
Such a one is Willoughby, which unites in its church the adjacent
village of Sloothby.

The stories of the sailors and the contiguity of the salt water had
more influence on the boy's mind than the free, schools of Alford and
Louth which he attended, and when he was about thirteen he sold his
books and satchel and intended to run away to sea: but the death of
his father stayed him. Both his parents being now dead, he was left
with, he says, competent means; but his guardians regarding his
estate more than himself, gave him full liberty and no money, so that
he was forced to stay at home.

At the age of fifteen he was bound apprentice to Mr. Thomas S.
Tendall of Lynn. The articles, however, did not bind him very fast,
for as his master refused to send him to sea, John took leave of his
master and did not see him again for eight years. These details
exhibit in the boy the headstrong independence of the man.

At length he found means to attach himself to a young son of the
great soldier, Lord Willoughby, who was going into France. The
narrative is not clear, but it appears that upon reaching Orleans, in
a month or so the services of John were found to be of no value, and
he was sent back to his friends, who on his return generously gave
him ten shillings (out of his own estate) to be rid of him. He is
next heard of enjoying his liberty at Paris and making the
acquaintance of a Scotchman named David Hume, who used his purse--ten
shillings went a long ways in those days--and in return gave him
letters of commendation to prefer him to King James. But the boy had
a disinclination to go where he was sent. Reaching Rouen, and being
nearly out of money, he dropped down the river to Havre de Grace, and
began to learn to be a soldier.

Smith says not a word of the great war of the Leaguers and Henry IV.,
nor on which side he fought, nor is it probable that he cared. But
he was doubtless on the side of Henry, as Havre was at this time in
possession of that soldier. Our adventurer not only makes no
reference to the great religious war, nor to the League, nor to
Henry, but he does not tell who held Paris when he visited it.
Apparently state affairs did not interest him. His reference to a
"peace" helps us to fix the date of his first adventure in France.
Henry published the Edict of Nantes at Paris, April 13, 1598, and on
the 2d of May following, concluded the treaty of France with Philip
II. at Vervins, which closed the Spanish pretensions in France. The
Duc de Mercoeur (of whom we shall hear later as Smith's "Duke of
Mercury" in Hungary), Duke of Lorraine, was allied with the Guises in
the League, and had the design of holding Bretagne under Spanish
protection. However, fortune was against him and he submitted to
Henry in February, 1598, with no good grace. Looking about for an
opportunity to distinguish himself, he offered his services to the
Emperor Rudolph to fight the Turks, and it is said led an army of his
French followers, numbering 15,000, in 1601, to Hungary, to raise the
siege of Coniza, which was beleaguered by Ibrahim Pasha with 60,000

Chance of fighting and pay failing in France by reason of the peace,
he enrolled himself under the banner of one of the roving and
fighting captains of the time, who sold their swords in the best
market, and went over into the Low Countries, where he hacked and
hewed away at his fellow-men, all in the way of business, for three
or four years. At the end of that time he bethought himself that he
had not delivered his letters to Scotland. He embarked at Aucusan
for Leith, and seems to have been shipwrecked, and detained by
illness in the "holy isle" in Northumberland, near Barwick. On his
recovery he delivered his letters, and received kind treatment from
the Scots; but as he had no money, which was needed to make his way
as a courtier, he returned to Willoughby.

The family of Smith is so "ancient" that the historians of the county
of Lincoln do not allude to it, and only devote a brief paragraph to
the great John himself. Willoughby must have been a dull place to
him after his adventures, but he says he was glutted with company,
and retired into a woody pasture, surrounded by forests, a good ways
from any town, and there built himself a pavilion of boughs--less
substantial than the cabin of Thoreau at Walden Pond--and there he
heroically slept in his clothes, studied Machiavelli's "Art of War,"
read "Marcus Aurelius," and exercised on his horse with lance and
ring. This solitary conduct got him the name of a hermit, whose food
was thought to be more of venison than anything else, but in fact his
men kept him supplied with provisions. When John had indulged in
this ostentatious seclusion for a time, he allowed himself to be
drawn out of it by the charming discourse of a noble Italian named
Theodore Palaloga, who just then was Rider to Henry, Earl of Lincoln,
and went to stay with him at Tattershall. This was an ancient town,
with a castle, which belonged to the Earls of Lincoln, and was
situated on the River Bane, only fourteen miles from Boston, a name
that at once establishes a connection between Smith's native county
and our own country, for it is nearly as certain that St. Botolph
founded a monastery at Boston, Lincoln, in the year 654, as it is
that he founded a club afterwards in Boston, Massachusetts.

Whatever were the pleasures of Tattershall, they could not long
content the restless Smith, who soon set out again for the
Netherlands in search of adventures.

The life of Smith, as it is related by himself, reads like that of a
belligerent tramp, but it was not uncommon in his day, nor is it in
ours, whenever America produces soldiers of fortune who are ready,
for a compensation, to take up the quarrels of Egyptians or Chinese,
or go wherever there is fighting and booty. Smith could now handle
arms and ride a horse, and longed to go against the Turks, whose
anti-Christian contests filled his soul with lamentations; and
besides he was tired of seeing Christians slaughter each other. Like
most heroes, he had a vivid imagination that made him credulous, and
in the Netherlands he fell into the toils of three French gallants,
one of whom pretended to be a great lord, attended by his gentlemen,
who persuaded him to accompany them to the "Duchess of Mercury,"
whose lord was then a general of Rodolphus of Hungary, whose favor
they could command. Embarking with these arrant cheats, the vessel
reached the coast of Picardy, where his comrades contrived to take
ashore their own baggage and Smith's trunk, containing his money and
goodly apparel, leaving him on board. When the captain, who was in
the plot, was enabled to land Smith the next day, the noble lords had
disappeared with the luggage, and Smith, who had only a single piece
of gold in his pocket, was obliged to sell his cloak to pay his

Thus stripped, he roamed about Normandy in a forlorn condition,
occasionally entertained by honorable persons who had heard of his
misfortunes, and seeking always means of continuing his travels,
wandering from port to port on the chance of embarking on a man-of-
war. Once he was found in a forest near dead with grief and cold,
and rescued by a rich farmer; shortly afterwards, in a grove in
Brittany, he chanced upon one of the gallants who had robbed him, and
the two out swords and fell to cutting. Smith had the satisfaction
of wounding the rascal, and the inhabitants of a ruined tower near
by, who witnessed the combat, were quite satisfied with the event.

Our hero then sought out the Earl of Ployer, who had been brought up
in England during the French wars, by whom he was refurnished better
than ever. After this streak of luck, he roamed about France,

viewing the castles and strongholds, and at length embarked at
Marseilles on a ship for Italy. Rough weather coming on, the vessel
anchored under the lee of the little isle St. Mary, off Nice, in

The passengers on board, among whom were many pilgrims bound for
Rome, regarded Smith as a Jonah, cursed him for a Huguenot, swore
that his nation were all pirates, railed against Queen Elizabeth, and
declared that they never should have fair weather so long as he was
on board. To end the dispute, they threw him into the sea. But God
got him ashore on the little island, whose only inhabitants were
goats and a few kine. The next day a couple of trading vessels
anchored near, and he was taken off and so kindly used that he
decided to cast in his fortune with them. Smith's discourse of his
adventures so entertained the master of one of the vessels, who is
described as "this noble Britaine, his neighbor, Captaine la Roche,
of Saint Malo," that the much-tossed wanderer was accepted as a
friend. They sailed to the Gulf of Turin, to Alessandria, where they
discharged freight, then up to Scanderoon, and coasting for some time
among the Grecian islands, evidently in search of more freight, they
at length came round to Cephalonia, and lay to for some days betwixt
the isle of Corfu and the Cape of Otranto. Here it presently
appeared what sort of freight the noble Britaine, Captain la Roche,
was looking for.

An argosy of Venice hove in sight, and Captaine la Roche desired to
speak to her. The reply was so "untoward" that a man was slain,
whereupon the Britaine gave the argosy a broadside, and then his
stem, and then other broadsides. A lively fight ensued, in which the
Britaine lost fifteen men, and the argosy twenty, and then
surrendered to save herself from sinking. The noble Britaine and
John Smith then proceeded to rifle her. He says that "the Silkes,
Velvets, Cloth of Gold, and Tissue, Pyasters, Chiqueenes, and
Suitanies, which is gold and silver, they unloaded in four-and-twenty
hours was wonderful, whereof having sufficient, and tired with toils,
they cast her off with her company, with as much good merchandise as
would have freighted another Britaine, that was but two hundred
Tunnes, she four or five hundred." Smith's share of this booty was
modest. When the ship returned he was set ashore at "the Road of
Antibo in Piamon," "with five hundred chiqueenes [sequins] and a
little box God sent him worth neere as much more." He always
devoutly acknowledged his dependence upon divine Providence, and took
willingly what God sent him.



Smith being thus "refurnished," made the tour of Italy, satisfied
himself with the rarities of Rome, where he saw Pope Clement the
Eighth and many cardinals creep up the holy stairs, and with the fair
city of Naples and the kingdom's nobility; and passing through the
north he came into Styria, to the Court of Archduke Ferdinand; and,
introduced by an Englishman and an Irish Jesuit to the notice of
Baron Kisell, general of artillery, he obtained employment, and went
to Vienna with Colonel Voldo, Earl of Meldritch, with whose regiment
he was to serve.

He was now on the threshold of his long-desired campaign against the
Turks. The arrival on the scene of this young man, who was scarcely
out of his teens, was a shadow of disaster to the Turks. They had
been carrying all before them. Rudolph II., Emperor of Germany, was
a weak and irresolute character, and no match for the enterprising
Sultan, Mahomet III., who was then conducting the invasion of Europe.
The Emperor's brother, the Archduke Mathias, who was to succeed him,
and Ferdinand, Duke of Styria, also to become Emperor of Germany,
were much abler men, and maintained a good front against the Moslems
in Lower Hungary, but the Turks all the time steadily advanced. They
had long occupied Buda (Pesth), and had been in possession of the
stronghold of Alba Regalis for some sixty years. Before Smith's
advent they had captured the important city of Caniza, and just as he
reached the ground they had besieged the town of Olumpagh, with two
thousand men. But the addition to the armies of Germany, France,
Styria, and Hungary of John Smith, "this English gentleman," as he
styles himself, put a new face on the war, and proved the ruin of the
Turkish cause. The Bashaw of Buda was soon to feel the effect of
this re-enforcement.

Caniza is a town in Lower Hungary, north of the River Drave, and just
west of the Platen Sea, or Lake Balatin, as it is also called. Due
north of Caniza a few miles, on a bend of the little River Raab
(which empties into the Danube), and south of the town of Kerment,
lay Smith's town of Olumpagh, which we are able to identify on a map
of the period as Olimacum or Oberlymback. In this strong town the
Turks had shut up the garrison under command of Governor Ebersbraught
so closely that it was without intelligence or hope of succor.

In this strait, the ingenious John Smith, who was present in the
reconnoitering army in the regiment of the Earl of Meldritch, came to
the aid of Baron Kisell, the general of artillery, with a plan of
communication with the besieged garrison. Fortunately Smith had made
the acquaintance of Lord Ebersbraught at Gratza, in Styria, and had
(he says) communicated to him a system of signaling a message by the
use of torches. Smith seems to have elaborated this method of
signals, and providentially explained it to Lord Ebersbraught, as if
he had a presentiment of the latter's use of it. He divided the
alphabet into two parts, from A to L and from M to Z. Letters were
indicated and words spelled by the means of torches: "The first part,
from A to L, is signified by showing and holding one linke so oft as
there is letters from A to that letter you name; the other part, from
M to Z, is mentioned by two lights in like manner. The end of a word
is signifien by showing of three lights."

General Kisell, inflamed by this strange invention, which Smith made
plain to him, furnished him guides, who conducted him to a high
mountain, seven miles distant from the town, where he flashed his
torches and got a reply from the governor. Smith signaled that they
would charge on the east of the town in the night, and at the alarum
Ebersbraught was to sally forth. General Kisell doubted that he
should be able to relieve the town by this means, as he had only ten
thousand men; but Smith, whose fertile brain was now in full action,
and who seems to have assumed charge of the campaign, hit upon a
stratagem for the diversion and confusion of the Turks.

On the side of the town opposite the proposed point of attack lay the
plain of Hysnaburg (Eisnaburg on Ortelius's map). Smith fastened two
or three charred pieces of match to divers small lines of an hundred
fathoms in length, armed with powder. Each line was tied to a stake
at each end. After dusk these lines were set up on the plain, and
being fired at the instant the alarm was given, they seemed to the
Turks like so many rows of musketeers. While the Turks therefore
prepared to repel a great army from that side, Kisell attacked with
his ten thousand men, Ebersbraught sallied out and fell upon the
Turks in the trenches, all the enemy on that side were slain or
drowned, or put to flight. And while the Turks were busy routing
Smith's sham musketeers, the Christians threw a couple of thousand
troops into the town. Whereupon the Turks broke up the siege and
retired to Caniza. For this exploit General Kisell received great
honor at Kerment, and Smith was rewarded with the rank of captain,
and the command of two hundred and fifty horsemen. From this time
our hero must figure as Captain John Smith. The rank is not high,
but he has made the title great, just as he has made the name of John
Smith unique.

After this there were rumors of peace for these tormented countries;
but the Turks, who did not yet appreciate the nature of this force,
called John Smith, that had come into the world against them, did not
intend peace, but went on levying soldiers and launching them into
Hungary. To oppose these fresh invasions, Rudolph II., aided by the
Christian princes, organized three armies: one led by the Archduke
Mathias and his lieutenant, Duke Mercury, to defend Low Hungary; the
second led by Ferdinand, the Archduke of Styria, and the Duke of
Mantua, his lieutenant, to regain Caniza; the third by Gonzago,
Governor of High Hungary, to join with Georgio Busca, to make an
absolute conquest of Transylvania.

In pursuance of this plan, Duke Mercury, with an army of thirty
thousand, whereof nearly ten thousand were French, besieged Stowell-
Weisenberg, otherwise called Alba Regalis, a place so strong by art
and nature that it was thought impregnable.

This stronghold, situated on the northeast of the Platen Sea, was,
like Caniza and Oberlympack, one of the Turkish advanced posts, by
means of which they pushed forward their operations from Buda on the

This noble friend of Smith, the Duke of Mercury, whom Haylyn styles
Duke Mercurio, seems to have puzzled the biographers of Smith. In
fact, the name of "Mercury" has given a mythological air to Smith's
narration and aided to transfer it to the region of romance. He was,
however, as we have seen, identical with a historical character of
some importance, for the services he rendered to the Church of Rome,
and a commander of some considerable skill. He is no other than
Philip de Lorraine, Duc de Mercceur.'

[So far as I know, Dr. Edward Eggleston was the first to identify
him. There is a sketch of him in the "Biographie Universelle," and a
life with an account of his exploits in Hungary, entitled:
Histoire de Duc Mercoeur, par Bruseles de Montplain Champs, Cologne,

At the siege of Alba Regalis, the Turks gained several successes by
night sallies, and, as usual, it was not till Smith came to the front
with one of his ingenious devices that the fortune of war changed.
The Earl Meldritch, in whose regiment Smith served, having heard from
some Christians who escaped from the town at what place there were
the greatest assemblies and throngs of people in the city, caused
Captain Smith to put in practice his "fiery dragons." These
instruments of destruction are carefully described: "Having prepared
fortie or fiftie round-bellied earthen pots, and filled them with
hand Gunpowder, then covered them with Pitch, mingled with Brimstone
and Turpentine, and quartering as many Musket-bullets, that hung
together but only at the center of the division, stucke them round in
the mixture about the pots, and covered them againe with the same
mixture, over that a strong sear-cloth, then over all a goode
thicknesse of Towze-match, well tempered with oyle of Linseed,
Campheer, and powder of Brimstone, these he fitly placed in slings,
graduated so neere as they could to the places of these assemblies."

These missiles of Smith's invention were flung at midnight, when the
alarum was given, and "it was a perfect sight to see the short
flaming course of their flight in the air, but presently after their
fall, the lamentable noise of the miserable slaughtered Turkes was
most wonderful to heare."

While Smith was amusing the Turks in this manner, the Earl Rosworme
planned an attack on the opposite suburb, which was defended by a
muddy lake, supposed to be impassable. Furnishing his men with
bundles of sedge, which they threw before them as they advanced in
the dark night, the lake was made passable, the suburb surprised, and
the captured guns of the Turks were turned upon them in the city to
which they had retreated. The army of the Bashaw was cut to pieces
and he himself captured.

The Earl of Meldritch, having occupied the town, repaired the walls
and the ruins of this famous city that had been in the possession of
the Turks for some threescore years.

It is not our purpose to attempt to trace the meteoric course of
Captain Smith in all his campaigns against the Turks, only to
indicate the large part he took in these famous wars for the
possession of Eastern Europe. The siege of Alba Regalis must have
been about the year 1601--Smith never troubles himself with any
dates--and while it was undecided, Mahomet III.--this was the prompt
Sultan who made his position secure by putting to death nineteen of
his brothers upon his accession--raised sixty thousand troops for its
relief or its recovery. The Duc de Mercoeur went out to meet this
army, and encountered it in the plains of Girke. In the first
skirmishes the Earl Meldritch was very nearly cut off, although he
made "his valour shine more bright than his armour, which seemed then
painted with Turkish blood." Smith himself was sore wounded and had
his horse slain under him. The campaign, at first favorable to the
Turks, was inconclusive, and towards winter the Bashaw retired to
Buda. The Duc de Mercoeur then divided his army. The Earl of
Rosworme was sent to assist the Archduke Ferdinand, who was besieging
Caniza; the Earl of Meldritch, with six thousand men, was sent to
assist Georgio Busca against the Transylvanians; and the Duc de
Mercoeur set out for France to raise new forces. On his way he
received great honor at Vienna, and staying overnight at Nuremberg,
he was royally entertained by the Archdukes Mathias and Maximilian.
The next morning after the feast--how it chanced is not known--he was
found dead His brother-inlaw died two days afterwards, and the hearts
of both, with much sorrow, were carried into France.

We now come to the most important event in the life of Smith before
he became an adventurer in Virginia, an event which shows Smith's
readiness to put in practice the chivalry which had in the old
chronicles influenced his boyish imagination; and we approach it with
the satisfaction of knowing that it loses nothing in Smith's

It must be mentioned that Transylvania, which the Earl of Meldritch,
accompanied by Captain Smith, set out to relieve, had long been in a
disturbed condition, owing to internal dissensions, of which the
Turks took advantage. Transylvania, in fact, was a Turkish
dependence, and it gives us an idea of the far reach of the Moslem
influence in Europe, that Stephen VI., vaivode of Transylvania, was,
on the commendation of Sultan Armurath III., chosen King of Poland.

To go a little further back than the period of Smith's arrival, John
II. of Transylvania was a champion of the Turk, and an enemy of
Ferdinand and his successors. His successor, Stephen VI., surnamed
Battori, or Bathor, was made vaivode by the Turks, and afterwards, as
we have said, King of Poland. He was succeeded in 1575 by his
brother Christopher Battori, who was the first to drop the title of
vaivode and assume that of Prince of Transylvania. The son of
Christopher, Sigismund Battori, shook off the Turkish bondage,
defeated many of their armies, slew some of their pashas, and gained
the title of the Scanderbeg of the times in which he lived. Not able
to hold out, however, against so potent an adversary, he resigned his
estate to the Emperor Rudolph II., and received in exchange the
dukedoms of Oppelon and Ratibor in Silesia, with an annual pension of
fifty thousand joachims. The pension not being well paid, Sigismund
made another resignation of his principality to his cousin Andrew
Battori, who had the ill luck to be slain within the year by the
vaivode of Valentia. Thereupon Rudolph, Emperor and King of Hungary,
was acknowledged Prince of Transylvania. But the Transylvania
soldiers did not take kindly to a foreign prince, and behaved so
unsoldierly that Sigismund was called back. But he was unable to
settle himself in his dominions, and the second time he left his
country in the power of Rudolph and retired to Prague, where, in
1615, he died unlamented.

It was during this last effort of Sigismund to regain his position
that the Earl of Meldritch, accompanied by Smith, went to
Transylvania, with the intention of assisting Georgio Busca, who was
the commander of the Emperor's party. But finding Prince Sigismund
in possession of the most territory and of the hearts of the people,
the earl thought it best to assist the prince against the Turk,
rather than Busca against the prince. Especially was he inclined to
that side by the offer of free liberty of booty for his worn and
unpaid troops, of what they could get possession of from the Turks.

This last consideration no doubt persuaded the troops that Sigismund
had "so honest a cause." The earl was born in Transylvania, and the
Turks were then in possession of his father's country. In this
distracted state of the land, the frontiers had garrisons among the
mountains, some of which held for the emperor, some for the prince,
and some for the Turk. The earl asked leave of the prince to make an
attempt to regain his paternal estate. The prince, glad of such an
ally, made him camp-master of his army, and gave him leave to plunder
the Turks. Accordingly the earl began to make incursions of the
frontiers into what Smith calls the Land of Zarkam--among rocky
mountains, where were some Turks, some Tartars, but most Brandittoes,
Renegadoes, and such like, which he forced into the Plains of Regall,
where was a city of men and fortifications, strong in itself, and so
environed with mountains that it had been impregnable in all these

It must be confessed that the historians and the map-makers did not
always attach the importance that Smith did to the battles in which
he was conspicuous, and we do not find the Land of Zarkam or the city
of Regall in the contemporary chronicles or atlases. But the region
is sufficiently identified. On the River Maruch, or Morusus, was the
town of Alba Julia, or Weisenberg, the residence of the vaivode or
Prince of Transylvania. South of this capital was the town
Millenberg, and southwest of this was a very strong fortress,
commanding a narrow pass leading into Transylvania out of Hungary,
probably where the River Maruct: broke through the mountains. We
infer that it was this pass that the earl captured by a stratagem,
and carrying his army through it, began the siege of Regall in the
plain. "The earth no sooner put on her green habit," says our
knight-errant," than the earl overspread her with his troops."
Regall occupied a strong fortress on a promontory and the Christians
encamped on the plain before it.

In the conduct of this campaign, we pass at once into the age of
chivalry, about which Smith had read so much. We cannot but
recognize that this is his opportunity. His idle boyhood had been
soaked in old romances, and he had set out in his youth to do what
equally dreamy but less venturesome devourers of old chronicles were
content to read about. Everything arranged itself as Smith would
have had it. When the Christian army arrived, the Turks sallied out
and gave it a lively welcome, which cost each side about fifteen
hundred men. Meldritch had but eight thousand soldiers, but he was
re-enforced by the arrival of nine thousand more, with six-and-twenty
pieces of ordnance, under Lord Zachel Moyses, the general of the
army, who took command of the whole.

After the first skirmish the Turks remained within their fortress,
the guns of which commanded the plain, and the Christians spent a
month in intrenching themselves and mounting their guns.

The Turks, who taught Europe the art of civilized war, behaved all
this time in a courtly and chivalric manner, exchanging with the
besiegers wordy compliments until such time as the latter were ready
to begin. The Turks derided the slow progress of the works, inquired
if their ordnance was in pawn, twitted them with growing fat for want
of exercise, and expressed the fear that the Christians should depart
without making an assault.

In order to make the time pass pleasantly, and exactly in accordance
with the tales of chivalry which Smith had read, the Turkish Bashaw
in the fortress sent out his challenge: "That to delight the ladies,
who did long to see some courtlike pastime, the Lord Tubashaw did
defy any captaine that had the command of a company, who durst combat
with him for his head."

This handsome offer to swap heads was accepted; lots were cast for
the honor of meeting the lord, and, fortunately for us, the choice
fell upon an ardent fighter of twenty-three years, named Captain John
Smith. Nothing was wanting to give dignity to the spectacle. Truce
was made; the ramparts of this fortress-city in the mountains (which
we cannot find on the map) were "all beset with faire Dames and men
in Armes"; the Christians were drawn up in battle array; and upon the
theatre thus prepared the Turkish Bashaw, armed and mounted, entered
with a flourish of hautboys; on his shoulders were fixed a pair of
great wings, compacted of eagles' feathers within a ridge of silver
richly garnished with gold and precious stones; before him was a
janissary bearing his lance, and a janissary walked at each side
leading his steed.

This gorgeous being Smith did not keep long waiting. Riding into the
field with a flourish of trumpets, and only a simple page to bear his
lance, Smith favored the Bashaw with a courteous salute, took
position, charged at the signal, and before the Bashaw could say
"Jack Robinson," thrust his lance through the sight of his beaver,
face, head and all, threw him dead to the ground, alighted, unbraced
his helmet, and cut off his head. The whole affair was over so
suddenly that as a pastime for ladies it must have been
disappointing. The Turks came out and took the headless trunk, and
Smith, according to the terms of the challenge, appropriated the head
and presented it to General Moyses.

This ceremonious but still hasty procedure excited the rage of one
Grualgo, the friend of the Bashaw, who sent a particular challenge to
Smith to regain his friend's head or lose his own, together with his
horse and armor. Our hero varied the combat this time. The two
combatants shivered lances and then took to pistols; Smith received a
mark upon the "placard," but so wounded the Turk in his left arm that
he was unable to rule his horse. Smith then unhorsed him, cut off
his head, took possession of head, horse, and armor, but returned the
rich apparel and the body to his friends in the most gentlemanly

Captain Smith was perhaps too serious a knight to see the humor of
these encounters, but he does not lack humor in describing them, and
he adopted easily the witty courtesies of the code he was
illustrating. After he had gathered two heads, and the siege still
dragged, he became in turn the challenger, in phrase as courteously
and grimly facetious as was permissible, thus:

"To delude time, Smith, with so many incontradictible perswading
reasons, obtained leave that the Ladies might know he was not so much
enamored of their servants' heads, but if any Turke of their ranke
would come to the place of combat to redeem them, should have also
his, upon like conditions, if he could winne it."

This considerate invitation was accepted by a person whom Smith, with
his usual contempt for names, calls "Bonny Mulgro." It seems
difficult to immortalize such an appellation, and it is a pity that
we have not the real one of the third Turk whom Smith honored by
killing. But Bonny Mulgro, as we must call the worthiest foe that
Smith's prowess encountered, appeared upon the field. Smith
understands working up a narration, and makes this combat long and
doubtful. The challenged party, who had the choice of weapons, had
marked the destructiveness of his opponent's lance, and elected,
therefore, to fight with pistols and battle-axes. The pistols proved
harmless, and then the battle-axes came in play, whose piercing bills
made sometime the one, sometime the other, to have scarce sense to
keep their saddles. Smith received such a blow that he lost his
battle-axe, whereat the Turks on the ramparts set up a great shout.
"The Turk prosecuted his advantage to the utmost of his power; yet
the other, what by the readiness of his horse, and his judgment and
dexterity in such a business, beyond all men's expectations, by God's
assistance, not only avoided the Turke's violence, but having drawn
his Faulchion, pierced the Turke so under the Culets throrow backe
and body, that although he alighted from his horse, he stood not long
ere he lost his head, as the rest had done."

There is nothing better than this in all the tales of chivalry, and
John Smith's depreciation of his inability to equal Caesar in
describing his own exploits, in his dedicatory letter to the Duchess
of Richmond, must be taken as an excess of modesty. We are prepared
to hear that these beheadings gave such encouragement to the whole
army that six thousand soldiers, with three led horses, each preceded
by a soldier bearing a Turk's head on a lance, turned out as a guard
to Smith and conducted him to the pavilion of the general, to whom he
presented his trophies. General Moyses (occasionally Smith calls him
Moses) took him in his arms and embraced him with much respect, and
gave him a fair horse, richly furnished, a scimeter, and a belt worth
three hundred ducats. And his colonel advanced him to the position
of sergeant-major of his regiment. If any detail was wanting to
round out and reward this knightly performance in strict accord with
the old romances, it was supplied by the subsequent handsome conduct
of Prince Sigismund.

When the Christians had mounted their guns and made a couple of
breaches in the walls of Regall, General Moyses ordered an attack one
dark night "by the light that proceeded from the murdering muskets
and peace-making cannon." The enemy were thus awaited, "whilst their
slothful governor lay in a castle on top of a high mountain, and like
a valiant prince asketh what's the matter, when horrour and death
stood amazed at each other, to see who should prevail to make him
victorious." These descriptions show that Smith could handle the pen
as well as the battleaxe, and distinguish him from the more vulgar
fighters of his time. The assault succeeded, but at great cost of
life. The Turks sent a flag of truce and desired a "composition,"
but the earl, remembering the death of his father, continued to
batter the town and when he took it put all the men in arms to the
sword, and then set their heads upon stakes along the walls, the
Turks having ornamented the walls with Christian heads when they
captured the fortress. Although the town afforded much pillage, the
loss of so many troops so mixed the sour with the sweet that General
Moyses could only allay his grief by sacking three other towns,
Veratis, Solmos, and Kapronka. Taking from these a couple of
thousand prisoners, mostly women and children, Earl Moyses marched
north to Weisenberg (Alba Julia), and camped near the palace of
Prince Sigismund.

When Sigismund Battori came out to view his army he was made
acquainted with the signal services of Smith at "Olumpagh, Stowell-
Weisenberg, and Regall," and rewarded him by conferring upon him,
according to the law of--arms, a shield of arms with "three Turks'
heads." This was granted by a letter-patent, in Latin, which is
dated at "Lipswick, in Misenland, December 9, 1603" It recites that
Smith was taken captive by the Turks in Wallachia November 18, 1602;
that he escaped and rejoined his fellow-soldiers. This patent,
therefore, was not given at Alba Julia, nor until Prince Sigismund
had finally left his country, and when the Emperor was, in fact, the
Prince of Transylvania. Sigismund styles himself, by the grace of
God, Duke of Transylvania, etc. Appended to this patent, as
published in Smith's "True Travels," is a certificate by William
Segar, knight of the garter and principal king of arms of England,
that he had seen this patent and had recorded a copy of it in the
office of the Herald of Armes. This certificate is dated August 19,
1625, the year after the publication of the General Historie."

Smith says that Prince Sigismund also gave him his picture in gold,
and granted him an annual pension of three hundred ducats. This
promise of a pension was perhaps the most unsubstantial portion of
his reward, for Sigismund himself became a pensioner shortly after
the events last narrated.

The last mention of Sigismund by Smith is after his escape from
captivity in Tartaria, when this mirror of virtues had abdicated.
Smith visited him at "Lipswicke in Misenland," and the Prince "gave
him his Passe, intimating the service he had done, and the honors he
had received, with fifteen hundred ducats of gold to repair his
losses." The "Passe" was doubtless the "Patent" before introduced,
and we hear no word of the annual pension.

Affairs in Transylvania did not mend even after the capture of
Regall, and of the three Turks' heads, and the destruction of so many
villages. This fruitful and strong country was the prey of faction,
and became little better than a desert under the ravages of the
contending armies. The Emperor Rudolph at last determined to conquer
the country for himself, and sent Busca again with a large army.
Sigismund finding himself poorly supported, treated again with the
Emperor and agreed to retire to Silicia on a pension. But the Earl
Moyses, seeing no prospect of regaining his patrimony, and
determining not to be under subjection to the Germans, led his troops
against Busca, was defeated, and fled to join the Turks. Upon this
desertion the Prince delivered up all he had to Busca and retired to
Prague. Smith himself continued with the imperial party, in the
regiment of Earl Meldritch. About this time the Sultan sent one
Jeremy to be vaivode of Wallachia, whose tyranny caused the people to
rise against him, and he fled into Moldavia. Busca proclaimed Lord
Rodoll vaivode in his stead. But Jeremy assembled an army of forty
thousand Turks, Tartars, and Moldavians, and retired into Wallachia.
Smith took active part in Rodoll's campaign to recover Wallachia, and
narrates the savage war that ensued. When the armies were encamped
near each other at Raza and Argish, Rodoll cut off the heads of
parties he captured going to the Turkish camp, and threw them into
the enemy's trenches. Jeremy retorted by skinning alive the
Christian parties he captured, hung their skins upon poles, and their
carcasses and heads on stakes by them. In the first battle Rodoll
was successful and established himself in Wallachia, but Jeremy
rallied and began ravaging the country. Earl Meldritch was sent
against him, but the Turks' force was much superior, and the
Christians were caught in a trap. In order to reach Rodoll, who was
at Rottenton, Meldritch with his small army was obliged to cut his
way through the solid body of the enemy. A device of Smith's
assisted him. He covered two or three hundred trunks--probably small
branches of trees--with wild-fire. These fixed upon the heads of
lances and set on fire when the troops charged in the night, so
terrified the horses of the Turks that they fled in dismay.
Meldritch was for a moment victorious, but when within three leagues
of Rottenton he was overpowered by forty thousand Turks, and the last
desperate fight followed, in which nearly all the friends of the
Prince were slain, and Smith himself was left for dead on the field.

On this bloody field over thirty thousand lay headless, armless,
legless, all cut and mangled, who gave knowledge to the world how
dear the Turk paid for his conquest of Transylvania and Wallachia--a
conquest that might have been averted if the three Christian armies
had been joined against the "cruel devouring Turk." Among the slain
were many Englishmen, adventurers like the valiant Captain whom Smith
names, men who "left there their bodies in testimony of their minds."
And there, "Smith among the slaughtered dead bodies, and many a
gasping soule with toils and wounds lay groaning among the rest, till
being found by the Pillagers he was able to live, and perceiving by
his armor and habit, his ransome might be better than his death, they
led him prisoner with many others." The captives were taken to
Axopolis and all sold as slaves. Smith was bought by Bashaw Bogall,
who forwarded him by way of Adrianople to Constantinople, to be a
slave to his mistress. So chained by the necks in gangs of twenty
they marched to the city of Constantine, where Smith was delivered
over to the mistress of the Bashaw, the young Charatza Tragabigzanda.



Our hero never stirs without encountering a romantic adventure.
Noble ladies nearly always take pity on good-looking captains, and
Smith was far from ill-favored. The charming Charatza delighted to
talk with her slave, for she could speak Italian, and would feign
herself too sick to go to the bath, or to accompany the other women
when they went to weep over the graves, as their custom is once a
week, in order to stay at home to hear from Smith how it was that
Bogall took him prisoner, as the Bashaw had written her, and whether
Smith was a Bohemian lord conquered by the Bashaw's own hand, whose
ransom could adorn her with the glory of her lover's conquests.
Great must have been her disgust with Bogall when she heard that he
had not captured this handsome prisoner, but had bought him in the
slave-market at Axopolis. Her compassion for her slave increased,
and the hero thought he saw in her eyes a tender interest. But she
had no use for such a slave, and fearing her mother would sell him,
she sent him to her brother, the Tymor Bashaw of Nalbrits in the
country of Cambria, a province of Tartaria (wherever that may be).
If all had gone on as Smith believed the kind lady intended, he might
have been a great Bashaw and a mighty man in the Ottoman Empire, and
we might never have heard of Pocahontas. In sending him to her
brother, it was her intention, for she told him so, that he should
only sojourn in Nalbrits long enough to learn the language, and what
it was to be a Turk, till time made her master of herself. Smith
himself does not dissent from this plan to metamorphose him into a
Turk and the husband of the beautiful Charatza Tragabigzanda. He had
no doubt that he was commended to the kindest treatment by her
brother; but Tymor "diverted all this to the worst of cruelty."
Within an hour of his arrival, he was stripped naked, his head and
face shaved as smooth as his hand, a ring of iron, with a long stake
bowed like a sickle, riveted to his neck, and he was scantily clad in
goat's skin. There were many other slaves, but Smith being the last,
was treated like a dog, and made the slave of slaves.

The geographer is not able to follow Captain Smith to Nalbrits.
Perhaps Smith himself would have been puzzled to make a map of his
own career after he left Varna and passed the Black Sea and came
through the straits of Niger into the Sea Disbacca, by some called
the Lake Moetis, and then sailed some days up the River Bruapo to
Cambria, and two days more to Nalbrits, where the Tyrnor resided.

Smith wrote his travels in London nearly thirty years after, and it
is difficult to say how much is the result of his own observation and
how much he appropriated from preceding romances. The Cambrians may
have been the Cossacks, but his description of their habits and also
those of the "Crym-Tartars" belongs to the marvels of Mandeville and
other wide-eyed travelers. Smith fared very badly with the Tymor.
The Tymor and his friends ate pillaw; they esteemed "samboyses" and
"musselbits" great dainties," and yet," exclaims Smith, "but round
pies, full of all sorts of flesh they can get, chopped with variety
of herbs." Their best drink was "coffa" and sherbet, which is only
honey and water. The common victual of the others was the entrails
of horses and "ulgries" (goats?) cut up and boiled in a caldron with
"cuskus," a preparation made from grain. This was served in great
bowls set in the ground, and when the other prisoners had raked it
thoroughly with their foul fists the remainder was given to the
Christians. The same dish of entrails used to be served not many
years ago in Upper Egypt as a royal dish to entertain a distinguished

It might entertain but it would too long detain us to repeat Smith's
information, probably all secondhand, about this barbarous region.
We must confine ourselves to the fortunes of our hero. All his hope
of deliverance from thraldom was in the love of Tragabigzanda, whom
he firmly believed was ignorant of his bad usage. But she made no
sign. Providence at length opened a way for his escape. He was
employed in thrashing in a field more than a league from the Tymor's
home. The Bashaw used to come to visit his slave there, and beat,
spurn, and revile him. One day Smith, unable to control himself
under these insults, rushed upon the Tymor, and beat out his brains
with a thrashing bat--"for they had no flails," he explains--put on
the dead man's clothes, hid the body in the straw, filled a knapsack
with corn, mounted his horse and rode away into the unknown desert,
where he wandered many days before he found a way out. If we may
believe Smith this wilderness was more civilized in one respect than
some parts of our own land, for on all the crossings of the roads
were guide-boards. After traveling sixteen days on the road that
leads to Muscova, Smith reached a Muscovite garrison on the River
Don. The governor knocked off the iron from his neck and used him so
kindly that he thought himself now risen from the dead. With his
usual good fortune there was a lady to take interest in him--"the
good Lady Callamata largely supplied all his wants."

After Smith had his purse filled by Sigismund he made a thorough tour
of Europe, and passed into Spain, where being satisfied, as he says,
with Europe and Asia, and understanding that there were wars in
Barbary, this restless adventurer passed on into Morocco with several
comrades on a French man-of-war. His observations on and tales about
North Africa are so evidently taken from the books of other travelers
that they add little to our knowledge of his career. For some reason
he found no fighting going on worth his while. But good fortune
attended his return. He sailed in a man-of-war with Captain Merham.
They made a few unimportant captures, and at length fell in with two
Spanish men-of-war, which gave Smith the sort of entertainment he
most coveted. A sort of running fight, sometimes at close quarters,
and with many boardings and repulses, lasted for a couple of days and
nights, when having battered each other thoroughly and lost many men,
the pirates of both nations separated and went cruising, no doubt,
for more profitable game. Our wanderer returned to his native land,
seasoned and disciplined for the part he was to play in the New
World. As Smith had traveled all over Europe and sojourned in
Morocco, besides sailing the high seas, since he visited Prince
Sigismund in December, 1603, it was probably in the year 1605 that he
reached England. He had arrived at the manly age of twenty-six
years, and was ready to play a man's part in the wonderful drama of
discovery and adventure upon which the Britons were then engaged.



John Smith has not chosen to tell us anything of his life during the
interim--perhaps not more than a year and a half--between his return
from Morocco and his setting sail for Virginia. Nor do his
contemporaries throw any light upon this period of his life.

One would like to know whether he went down to Willoughby and had a
reckoning with his guardians; whether he found any relations or
friends of his boyhood; whether any portion of his estate remained of
that "competent means" which he says he inherited, but which does not
seem to have been available in his career. From the time when he set
out for France in his fifteenth year, with the exception of a short
sojourn in Willoughby seven or eight years after, he lived by his
wits and by the strong hand. His purse was now and then replenished
by a lucky windfall, which enabled him to extend his travels and seek
more adventures. This is the impression that his own story makes
upon the reader in a narrative that is characterized by the
boastfulness and exaggeration of the times, and not fuller of the
marvelous than most others of that period.

The London to which Smith returned was the London of Shakespeare. We
should be thankful for one glimpse of him in this interesting town.
Did he frequent the theatre? Did he perhaps see Shakespeare himself
at the Globe? Did he loaf in the coffee-houses, and spin the fine
thread of his adventures to the idlers and gallants who resorted to
them? If he dropped in at any theatre of an afternoon he was quite
likely to hear some allusion to Virginia, for the plays of the hour
were full of chaff, not always of the choicest, about the attractions
of the Virgin-land, whose gold was as plentiful as copper in England;
where the prisoners were fettered in gold, and the dripping-pans were
made of it; and where--an unheard-of thing--you might become an
alderman without having been a scavenger.

Was Smith an indulger in that new medicine for all ills, tobacco?
Alas! we know nothing of his habits or his company. He was a man of
piety according to his lights, and it is probable that he may have
had the then rising prejudice against theatres. After his return
from Virginia he and his exploits were the subject of many a stage
play and spectacle, but whether his vanity was more flattered by this
mark of notoriety than his piety was offended we do not know. There
is certainly no sort of evidence that he engaged in the common
dissipation of the town, nor gave himself up to those pleasures which
a man rescued from the hardships of captivity in Tartaria might be
expected to seek. Mr. Stith says that it was the testimony of his
fellow soldiers and adventurers that "they never knew a soldier,
before him, so free from those military vices of wine, tobacco,
debts, dice, and oathes."

But of one thing we may be certain: he was seeking adventure
according to his nature, and eager for any heroic employment; and it
goes without saying that he entered into the great excitement of the
day--adventure in America. Elizabeth was dead. James had just come
to the throne, and Raleigh, to whom Elizabeth had granted an
extensive patent of Virginia, was in the Tower. The attempts to make
any permanent lodgment in the countries of Virginia had failed. But
at the date of Smith's advent Captain Bartholomew Gosnold had
returned from a voyage undertaken in 1602 under the patronage of the
Earl of Southampton, and announced that he had discovered a direct
passage westward to the new continent, all the former voyagers having
gone by the way of the West Indies. The effect of this announcement
in London, accompanied as it was with Gosnold's report of the
fruitfulness of the coast of New England which he explored, was
something like that made upon New York by the discovery of gold in
California in 1849. The route by the West Indies, with its incidents
of disease and delay, was now replaced by the direct course opened by
Gosnold, and the London Exchange, which has always been quick to
scent any profit in trade, shared the excitement of the distinguished
soldiers and sailors who were ready to embrace any chance of
adventure that offered.

It is said that Captain Gosnold spent several years in vain, after
his return, in soliciting his friends and acquaintances to join him
in settling this fertile land he had explored; and that at length he
prevailed upon Captain John Smith, Mr. Edward Maria Wingfield, the
Rev. Mr. Robert Hunt, and others, to join him. This is the first
appearance of the name of Captain John Smith in connection with
Virginia. Probably his life in London had been as idle as
unprofitable, and his purse needed replenishing. Here was a way open
to the most honorable, exciting, and profitable employment. That its
mere profit would have attracted him we do not believe; but its
danger, uncertainty, and chance of distinction would irresistibly
appeal to him. The distinct object of the projectors was to
establish a colony in Virginia. This proved too great an undertaking
for private persons. After many vain projects the scheme was
commended to several of the nobility, gentry, and merchants, who came
into it heartily, and the memorable expedition of 1606 was organized.

The patent under which this colonization was undertaken was obtained
from King James by the solicitation of Richard Hakluyt and others.
Smith's name does not appear in it, nor does that of Gosnold nor of
Captain Newport. Richard Hakluyt, then clerk prebendary of
Westminster, had from the first taken great interest in the project.
He was chaplain of the English colony in Paris when Sir Francis Drake
was fitting out his expedition to America, and was eager to further
it. By his diligent study he became the best English geographer of
his time; he was the historiographer of the East India Company, and
the best informed man in England concerning the races, climates, and
productions of all parts of the globe. It was at Hakluyt's
suggestion that two vessels were sent out from Plymouth in 1603 to
verify Gosnold's report of his new short route. A further
verification of the feasibility of this route was made by Captain
George Weymouth, who was sent out in 1605 by the Earl of Southampton.

The letters-patent of King James, dated April 10, 1606, licensed the
planting of two colonies in the territories of America commonly
called Virginia. The corporators named in the first colony were Sir
Thos. Gates, Sir George Somers, knights, and Richard Hakluyt and
Edward Maria Wingfield, adventurers, of the city of London. They
were permitted to settle anywhere in territory between the 34th and
41st degrees of latitude.

The corporators named in the second colony were Thomas Hankam,
Raleigh Gilbert, William Parker, and George Popham, representing
Bristol, Exeter, and Plymouth, and the west counties, who were
authorized to make a settlement anywhere between the 38th and 4Sth
degrees of latitude.

The--letters commended and generously accepted this noble work of
colonization, "which may, by the Providence of Almighty God,
hereafter tend to the glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of
Christian religion to such people as yet live in darkness and
miserable ignorance of all true knowledge and worship of God, and may
in time bring the infidels and savages living in those parts to human
civility and to a settled and quiet government." The conversion of
the Indians was as prominent an object in all these early adventures,
English or Spanish, as the relief of the Christians has been in all
the Russian campaigns against the Turks in our day.

Before following the fortunes of this Virginia colony of 1606, to
which John Smith was attached, it is necessary to glance briefly at
the previous attempt to make settlements in this portion of America.

Although the English had a claim upon America, based upon the
discovery of Newfoundland and of the coast of the continent from the
38th to the 68th north parallel by Sebastian Cabot in 1497, they took
no further advantage of it than to send out a few fishing vessels,
until Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a noted and skillful seaman, took out
letters-patent for discovery, bearing date the 11th of January, 1578.
Gilbert was the half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh and thirteen years
his senior. The brothers were associated in the enterprise of 1579,
which had for its main object the possession of Newfoundland. It is
commonly said, and in this the biographical dictionaries follow one
another, that Raleigh accompanied his brother on this voyage of 1579
and went with him to Newfoundland. The fact is that Gilbert did not
reach Newfoundland on that voyage, and it is open to doubt if Raleigh
started with him. In April, 1579, when Gilbert took active steps
under the charter of 1578, diplomatic difficulties arose, growing out
of Elizabeth's policy with the Spaniards, and when Gilbert's ships
were ready to sail he was stopped by an order from the council.
Little is known of this unsuccessful attempt of Gilbert's. He did,
after many delays, put to sea, and one of his contemporaries, John
Hooker, the antiquarian, says that Raleigh was one of the assured
friends that accompanied him. But he was shortly after driven back,
probably from an encounter with the Spaniards, and returned with the
loss of a tall ship.

Raleigh had no sooner made good his footing at the court of Elizabeth
than he joined Sir Humphrey in a new adventure. But the Queen
peremptorily retained Raleigh at court, to prevent his incurring the
risks of any "dangerous sea-fights." To prevent Gilbert from
embarking on this new voyage seems to have been the device of the
council rather than the Queen, for she assured Gilbert of her good
wishes, and desired him, on his departure, to give his picture to
Raleigh for her, and she contributed to the large sums raised to meet
expenses "an anchor guarded by a lady," which the sailor was to wear
at his breast. Raleigh risked L 2,000 in the venture, and equipped a
ship which bore his name, but which had ill luck. An infectious
fever broke out among the crew, and the "Ark Raleigh" returned to
Plymouth. Sir Humphrey wrote to his brother admiral, Sir George
Peckham, indignantly of this desertion, the reason for which he did
not know, and then proceeded on his voyage with his four remaining
ships. This was on the 11th of January, 1583. The expedition was so
far successful that Gilbert took formal possession of Newfoundland
for the Queen. But a fatality attended his further explorations: the
gallant admiral went down at sea in a storm off our coast, with his
crew, heroic and full of Christian faith to the last, uttering, it is
reported, this courageous consolation to his comrades at the last
moment: "Be of good heart, my friends. We are as near to heaven by
sea as by land."

In September, 1583, a surviving ship brought news of the disaster to
Falmouth. Raleigh was not discouraged. Within six months of this
loss he had on foot another enterprise. His brother's patent had
expired. On the 25th of March, 1584, he obtained from Elizabeth a
new charter with larger powers, incorporating himself, Adrian
Gilbert, brother of Sir Humphrey, and John Davys, under the title of
"The College of the Fellowship for the Discovery of the Northwest
Passage." But Raleigh's object was colonization. Within a few days
after his charter was issued he despatched two captains, Philip
Amadas and Arthur Barlow, who in July of that year took possession of
the island of Roanoke.

The name of Sir Walter Raleigh is intimately associated with Carolina
and Virginia, and it is the popular impression that he personally
assisted in the discovery of the one and the settlement of the other.
But there is no more foundation for the belief that he ever visited
the territory of Virginia, of which he was styled governor, than that
he accompanied Sir Humphrey Gilbert to Newfoundland. An allusion by
William Strachey, in his "Historie of Travaile into Virginia,"
hastily read, may have misled some writers. He speaks of an
expedition southward, "to some parts of Chawonock and the Mangoangs,
to search them there left by Sir Walter Raleigh." But his further
sketch of the various prior expeditions shows that he meant to speak
of settlers left by Sir Ralph Lane and other agents of Raleigh in
colonization. Sir Walter Raleigh never saw any portion of the coast
of the United States.

In 1592 he planned an attack upon the Spanish possessions of Panama,
but his plans were frustrated. His only personal expedition to the
New World was that to Guana in 1595.

The expedition of Captain Amadas and Captain Barlow is described by
Captain Smith in his compilation called the "General Historie," and
by Mr. Strachey. They set sail April 27, 1584, from the Thames. On
the 2d of July they fell with the coast of Florida in shoal water,
"where they felt a most delicate sweet smell," but saw no land.
Presently land appeared, which they took to be the continent, and
coasted along to the northward a hundred and thirty miles before
finding a harbor. Entering the first opening, they landed on what
proved to be the Island of Roanoke. The landing-place was sandy and
low, but so productive of grapes or vines overrunning everything,
that the very surge of the sea sometimes overflowed them. The
tallest and reddest cedars in the world grew there, with pines,
cypresses, and other trees, and in the woods plenty of deer, conies,
and fowls in incredible abundance.

After a few days the natives came off in boats to visit them, proper
people and civil in their behavior, bringing with them the King's
brother, Granganameo (Quangimino, says Strachey). The name of the
King was Winginia, and of the country Wingandacoa. The name of this
King might have suggested that of Virginia as the title of the new
possession, but for the superior claim of the Virgin Queen.
Granganameo was a friendly savage who liked to trade. The first
thing he took a fancy was a pewter dish, and he made a hole through
it and hung it about his neck for a breastplate. The liberal
Christians sold it to him for the low price of twenty deer-skins,
worth twenty crowns, and they also let him have a copper kettle for
fifty skins. They drove a lively traffic with the savages for much
of such "truck," and the chief came on board and ate and drank
merrily with the strangers. His wife and children, short of stature
but well-formed and bashful, also paid them a visit. She wore a long
coat of leather, with a piece of leather about her loins, around her
forehead a band of white coral, and from her ears bracelets of pearls
of the bigness of great peas hung down to her middle. The other
women wore pendants of copper, as did the children, five or six in an
ear. The boats of these savages were hollowed trunks of trees.
Nothing could exceed the kindness and trustfulness the Indians
exhibited towards their visitors. They kept them supplied with game
and fruits, and when a party made an expedition inland to the
residence of Granganameo, his wife (her husband being absent) came
running to the river to welcome them; took them to her house and set
them before a great fire; took off their clothes and washed them;
removed the stockings of some and washed their feet in warm water;
set plenty of victual, venison and fish and fruits, before them, and
took pains to see all things well ordered for their comfort. "More
love they could not express to entertain us." It is noted that these
savages drank wine while the grape lasted. The visitors returned all
this kindness with suspicion.

They insisted upon retiring to their boats at night instead of
lodging in the house, and the good woman, much grieved at their
jealousy, sent down to them their half-cooked supper, pots and all,
and mats to cover them from the rain in the night, and caused several
of her men and thirty women to sit all night on the shore over
against them. "A more kind, loving people cannot be," say the

In September the expedition returned to England, taking specimens of
the wealth of the country, and some of the pearls as big as peas, and
two natives, Wanchese and Manteo. The "lord proprietary" obtained
the Queen's permission to name the new lands "Virginia," in her
honor, and he had a new seal of his arms cut, with the legend,
Propria insignia Walteri Ralegh, militis, Domini et Gubernatoris

The enticing reports brought back of the fertility of this land, and
the amiability of its pearl-decked inhabitants, determined Raleigh at
once to establish a colony there, in the hope of the ultimate
salvation of the "poor seduced infidell" who wore the pearls. A
fleet of seven vessels, with one hundred householders, and many
things necessary to begin a new state, departed from Plymouth in
April, 1585. Sir Richard Grenville had command of the expedition,
and Mr. Ralph Lane was made governor of the colony, with Philip
Amadas for his deputy. Among the distinguished men who accompanied
them were Thomas Hariot, the mathematician, and Thomas Cavendish, the
naval discoverer. The expedition encountered as many fatalities as
those that befell Sir Humphrey Gilbert; and Sir Richard was destined
also to an early and memorable death. But the new colony suffered
more from its own imprudence and want of harmony than from natural

In August, Grenville left Ralph Lane in charge of the colony and
returned to England, capturing a Spanish ship on the way. The
colonists pushed discoveries in various directions, but soon found
themselves involved in quarrels with the Indians, whose conduct was
less friendly than formerly, a change partly due to the greed of the
whites. In June, when Lane was in fear of a conspiracy which he had
discovered against the life of the colony, and it was short of
supplies, Sir Francis Drake appeared off Roanoke, returning homeward
with his fleet from the sacking of St. Domingo, Carthagena, and St.
Augustine. Lane, without waiting for succor from England, persuaded
Drake to take him and all the colony back home. Meantime Raleigh,
knowing that the colony would probably need aid, was preparing a
fleet of three well appointed ships to accompany Sir Richard
Grenville, and an "advice ship," plentifully freighted, to send in
advance to give intelligence of his coming. Great was Grenville's
chagrin, when he reached Hatorask, to find that the advice boat had
arrived, and finding no colony, had departed again for England.
However, he established fifteen men ("fifty," says the "General
Historie") on the island, provisioned for two years, and then
returned home.

[Sir Richard Grenville in 1591 was vice-admiral of a fleet, under
command of Lord Thomas Howard, at the Azores, sent against a Spanish
Plate-fleet. Six English vessels were suddenly opposed by a Spanish
convoy of 53 ships of war. Left behind his comrades, in embarking
from an island, opposed by five galleons, he maintained a terrible
fight for fifteen hours, his vessel all cut to pieces, and his men
nearly all slain. He died uttering aloud these words: "Here dies Sir
Richard Grenville, with a joyful and quiet mind, for that I have
ended my life as a true soldier ought to do, fighting for his
country, queen, religion, and honor."]

Mr. Ralph Lane's colony was splendidly fitted out, much better
furnished than the one that Newport, Wingfield, and Gosnold conducted
to the River James in 1607; but it needed a man at the head of it.
If the governor had possessed Smith's pluck, he would have held on
till the arrival of Grenville.

Lane did not distinguish himself in the conduct of this governorship,
but he nevertheless gained immortality. For he is credited with
first bringing into England that valuable medicinal weeds called
tobacco, which Sir Walter Raleigh made fashionable, not in its
capacity to drive "rheums" out of the body, but as a soother, when
burned in the bowl of a pipe and drawn through the stem in smoke, of
the melancholy spirit.

The honor of introducing tobacco at this date is so large that it has
been shared by three persons--Sir Francis Drake, who brought Mr. Lane
home; Mr. Lane, who carried the precious result of his sojourn in
America; and Sir Walter Raleigh, who commended it to the use of the
ladies of Queen Elizabeth's court.

But this was by no means its first appearance in Europe. It was
already known in Spain, in France, and in Italy, and no doubt had
begun to make its way in the Orient. In the early part of the
century the Spaniards had discovered its virtues. It is stated by
John Neander, in his " Tobaco Logia," published in Leyden in 1626,
that Tobaco took its name from a province in Yucatan, conquered by
Fernando Cortez in 1519. The name Nicotiana he derives from D.
Johanne Nicotino Nemansensi, of the council of Francis II., who first
introduced the plant into France. At the date of this volume (1626)
tobacco was in general use all over Europe and in the East. Pictures
are given of the Persian water pipes, and descriptions of the mode of
preparing it for use. There are reports and traditions of a very
ancient use of tobacco in Persia and in China, as well as in India,
but we are convinced that the substance supposed to be tobacco, and
to be referred to as such by many writers, and described as
"intoxicating," was really India hemp, or some plant very different
from the tobacco of the New World. At any rate there is evidence
that in the Turkish Empire as late as 1616 tobacco was still somewhat
a novelty, and the smoking of it was regarded as vile, and a habit
only of the low. The late Hekekian Bey, foreign minister of old
Mahomet Ali, possessed an ancient Turkish MS which related an
occurrence at Smyrna about the year 1610, namely, the punishment of
some sailors for the use of tobacco, which showed that it was a
novelty and accounted a low vice at that time. The testimony of the
trustworthy George Sandys, an English traveler into Turkey, Egypt,
and Syria in 1610 (afterwards, 1621, treasurer of the colony in
Virginia), is to the same effect as given in his "Relation,"
published in London in 1621. In his minute description of the people
and manners of Constantinople, after speaking of opium, which makes
the Turks "giddy-headed" and "turbulent dreamers," he says: "But
perhaps for the self-same cause they delight in Tobacco: which they
take through reedes that have joyned with them great heads of wood to
containe it, I doubt not but lately taught them as brought them by
the English; and were it not sometimes lookt into (for Morat Bassa
[Murad III.?] not long since commanded a pipe to be thrust through
the nose of a Turke, and to be led in derision through the Citie), no
question but it would prove a principal commodity. Nevertheless they
will take it in corners; and are so ignorant therein, that that which
in England is not saleable, doth passe here among them for most

Mr. Stith ("History of Virginia," 1746) gives Raleigh credit for the
introduction of the pipe into good society, but he cautiously says,
"We are not informed whether the queen made use of it herself: but it
is certain she gave great countenance to it as a vegetable of
singular strength and power, which might therefore prove of benefit
to mankind, and advantage to the nation." Mr. Thomas Hariot, in his
observations on the colony at Roanoke, says that the natives esteemed
their tobacco, of which plenty was found, their "chief physicke."

It should be noted, as against the claim of Lane, that Stowe in his
"Annales" (1615) says: "Tobacco was first brought and made known in
England by Sir John Hawkins, about the year 1565, but not used by
Englishmen in many years after, though at this time commonly used by
most men and many women." In a side-note to the edition of 1631 we
read: "Sir Walter Raleigh was the first that brought tobacco in use,
when all men wondered what it meant." It was first commended for its
medicinal virtues. Harrison's "Chronologie," under date of 1573,
says: "In these daies the taking in of the smoke of the Indian herbe
called 'Tabaco' by an instrument formed like a little ladell, whereby
it passeth from the mouth into the hed and stomach, is gretlie taken-
up and used in England, against Rewmes and some other diseases
ingendred in the longes and inward partes, and not without effect."
But Barnaby Rich, in "The Honestie of this Age," 1614, disagrees with
Harrison about its benefit: "They say it is good for a cold, for a
pose, for rewmes, for aches, for dropsies, and for all manner of
diseases proceeding of moyst humours; but I cannot see but that those
that do take it fastest are as much (or more) subject to all these
infirmities (yea, and to the poxe itself) as those that have nothing
at all to do with it." He learns that 7,000 shops in London live by
the trade of tobacco-selling, and calculates that there is paid for
it L 399,375 a year, "all spent in smoake." Every base groom must
have his pipe with his pot of ale; it "is vendible in every taverne,
inne, and ale-house; and as for apothecaries shops, grosers shops,
chandlers shops, they are (almost) never without company that, from
morning till night, are still taking of tobacco." Numbers of houses
and shops had no other trade to live by. The wrath of King James was
probably never cooled against tobacco, but the expression of it was
somewhat tempered when he perceived what a source of revenue it

The savages of North America gave early evidence of the possession of
imaginative minds, of rare power of invention, and of an amiable
desire to make satisfactory replies to the inquiries of their
visitors. They generally told their questioners what they wanted to
know, if they could ascertain what sort of information would please
them. If they had known the taste of the sixteenth century for the
marvelous they could not have responded more fitly to suit it. They
filled Mr. Lane and Mr. Hariot full of tales of a wonderful copper
mine on the River Maratock (Roanoke), where the metal was dipped out
of the stream in great bowls. The colonists had great hopes of this
river, which Mr: Hariot thought flowed out of the Gulf of Mexico, or
very near the South Sea. The Indians also conveyed to the mind of
this sagacious observer the notion that they had a very respectably
developed religion; that they believed in one chief god who existed
from all eternity, and who made many gods of less degree; that for
mankind a woman was first created, who by one of the gods brought
forth children; that they believed in the immortality of the soul,
and that for good works a soul will be conveyed to bliss in the
tabernacles of the gods, and for bad deeds to pokogusso, a great pit
in the furthest part of the world, where the sun sets, and where they
burn continually. The Indians knew this because two men lately dead
had revived and come back to tell them of the other world. These
stories, and many others of like kind, the Indians told of
themselves, and they further pleased Mr. Hariot by kissing his Bible
and rubbing it all over their bodies, notwithstanding he told them
there was no virtue in the material book itself, only in its
doctrines. We must do Mr. Hariot the justice to say, however, that
he had some little suspicion of the "subtiltie" of the weroances
(chiefs) and the priests.

Raleigh was not easily discouraged; he was determined to plant his
colony, and to send relief to the handful of men that Grenville had
left on Roanoke Island. In May, 1587, he sent out three ships and a
hundred and fifty householders, under command of Mr. John White, who
was appointed Governor of the colony, with twelve assistants as a
Council, who were incorporated under the name of "The Governor and
Assistants of the City of Ralegh in Virginia," with instructions to
change their settlement to Chesapeake Bay. The expedition found
there no one of the colony (whether it was fifty or fifteen the
writers disagree), nothing but the bones of one man where the
plantation had been; the houses were unhurt, but overgrown with
weeds, and the fort was defaced. Captain Stafford, with twenty men,
went to Croatan to seek the lost colonists. He heard that the fifty
had been set upon by three hundred Indians, and, after a sharp
skirmish and the loss of one man, had taken boats and gone to a small
island near Hatorask, and afterwards had departed no one knew

Mr. White sent a band to take revenge upon the Indians who were
suspected of their murder through treachery, which was guided by
Mateo, the friendly Indian, who had returned with the expedition from
England. By a mistake they attacked a friendly tribe. In August of
this year Mateo was Christianized, and baptized under the title of
Lord of Roanoke and Dassomonpeake, as a reward for his fidelity. The
same month Elinor, the daughter of the Govemor, the wife of Ananias
Dare, gave birth to a daughter, the first white child born in this
part of the continent, who was named Virginia.

Before long a dispute arose between the Governor and his Council as
to the proper person to return to England for supplies. White
himself was finally prevailed upon to go, and he departed, leaving
about a hundred settlers on one of the islands of Hatorask to form a

The Spanish invasion and the Armada distracted the attention of
Europe about this time, and the hope of plunder from Spanish vessels
was more attractive than the colonization of America. It was not
until 1590 that Raleigh was able to despatch vessels to the relief of
the Hatorask colony, and then it was too late. White did, indeed,
start out from Biddeford in April, 1588, with two vessels, but the
temptation to chase prizes was too strong for him, and he went on a
cruise of his own, and left the colony to its destruction.

In March, 1589-90, Mr. White was again sent out, with three ships,
from Plymouth, and reached the coast in August. Sailing by Croatan
they went to Hatorask, where they descried a smoke in the place they
had left the colony in 1587. Going ashore next day, they found no
man, nor sign that any had been there lately. Preparing to go to
Roanoke next day, a boat was upset and Captain Spicer and six of the
crew were drowned. This accident so discouraged the sailors that
they could hardly be persuaded to enter on the search for the colony.
At last two boats, with nineteen men, set out for Hatorask, and
landed at that part of Roanoke where the colony had been left. When
White left the colony three years before, the men had talked of going
fifty miles into the mainland, and had agreed to leave some sign of
their departure. The searchers found not a man of the colony; their
houses were taken down, and a strong palisade had been built. All
about were relics of goods that had been buried and dug up again and
scattered, and on a post was carved the name "CROATAN." This signal,
which was accompanied by no sign of distress, gave White hope that he
should find his comrades at Croatan. But one mischance or another
happening, his provisions being short, the expedition decided to run
down to the West Indies and "refresh" (chiefly with a little Spanish
plunder), and return in the spring and seek their countrymen; but
instead they sailed for England and never went to Croatan. The men
of the abandoned colonies were never again heard of. Years after, in
1602, Raleigh bought a bark and sent it, under the charge of Samuel
Mace, a mariner who had been twice to Virginia, to go in search of
the survivors of White's colony. Mace spent a month lounging about
the Hatorask coast and trading with the natives, but did not land on
Croatan, or at any place where the lost colony might be expected to
be found; but having taken on board some sassafras, which at that
time brought a good price in England, and some other barks which were
supposed to be valuable, he basely shirked the errand on which he was
hired to go, and took himself and his spicy woods home.

The "Lost Colony" of White is one of the romances of the New World.
Governor White no doubt had the feelings of a parent, but he did not
allow them to interfere with his more public duties to go in search
of Spanish prizes. If the lost colony had gone to Croatan, it was
probable that Ananias Dare and his wife, the Governor's daughter, and
the little Virginia Dare, were with them. But White, as we have
seen, had such confidence in Providence that he left his dear
relatives to its care, and made no attempt to visit Croatan.

Stith says that Raleigh sent five several times to search for the
lost, but the searchers returned with only idle reports and frivolous
allegations. Tradition, however, has been busy with the fate of
these deserted colonists. One of the unsupported conjectures is that
the colonists amalgamated with the tribe of Hatteras Indians, and
Indian tradition and the physical characteristics of the tribe are
said to confirm this idea. But the sporadic birth of children with
white skins (albinos) among black or copper-colored races that have
had no intercourse with white people, and the occurrence of light
hair and blue eyes among the native races of America and of New
Guinea, are facts so well attested that no theory of amalgamation can
be sustained by such rare physical manifestations. According to
Captain John Smith, who wrote of Captain Newport's explorations in
1608, there were no tidings of the waifs, for, says Smith, Newport
returned "without a lump of gold, a certainty of the South Sea, or
one of the lost company sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh."

In his voyage of discovery up the Chickahominy, Smith seem; to have
inquired about this lost colony of King Paspahegh, for he says, "what
he knew of the dominions he spared not to acquaint me with, as of
certaine men cloathed at a place called Ocanahonan, cloathcd like

[Among these Hatteras Indians Captain Amadas, in 1584, saw children
with chestnut-colored hair.]

We come somewhat nearer to this matter in the Historie of Travaile
into Virginia Britannia," published from the manuscript by the
Hakluyt Society in 1849, in which it is intimated that seven of these
deserted colonists were afterwards rescued. Strachey is a first-rate
authority for what he saw. He arrived in Virginia in 1610 and
remained there two years, as secretary of the colony, and was a man
of importance. His "Historie" was probably written between 1612 and
1616. In the first portion of it, which is descriptive of the
territory of Virginia, is this important passage: "At Peccarecamek
and Ochanahoen, by the relation of Machumps, the people have houses
built with stone walls, and one story above another, so taught them
by those English who escaped the slaughter of Roanoke. At what time
this our colony, under the conduct of Captain Newport, landed within
the Chesapeake Bay, where the people breed up tame turkies about
their houses, and take apes in the mountains, and where, at Ritanoe,
the Weroance Eyanaco, preserved seven of the English alive--four men,
two boys, and one young maid (who escaped [that is from Roanoke] and
fled up the river of Chanoke), to beat his copper, of which he hath
certain mines at the said Ritanoe, as also at Pamawauk are said to be
store of salt stones."

This, it will be observed, is on the testimony of Machumps. This
pleasing story is not mentioned in Captain Newport's "Discoveries "
(May, 1607). Machumps, who was the brother of Winganuske, one of the
many wives of Powhatan, had been in England. He was evidently a
lively Indian. Strachey had heard him repeat the "Indian grace," a
sort of incantation before meat, at the table of Sir Thomas Dale. If
he did not differ from his red brothers he had a powerful
imagination, and was ready to please the whites with any sort of a
marvelous tale. Newport himself does not appear to have seen any of
the "apes taken in the mountains." If this story is to be accepted
as true we have to think of Virginia Dare as growing up to be a woman
of twenty years, perhaps as other white maidens have been, Indianized
and the wife of a native. But the story rests only upon a romancing
Indian. It is possible that Strachey knew more of the matter than he
relates, for in his history he speaks again of those betrayed people,
"of whose end you shall hereafter read in this decade." But the
possessed information is lost, for it is not found in the remainder
of this "decade" of his writing, which is imperfect. Another
reference in Strachey is more obscure than the first. He is speaking
of the merciful intention of King James towards the Virginia savages,
and that he does not intend to root out the natives as the Spaniards
did in Hispaniola, but by degrees to change their barbarous nature,
and inform them of the true God and the way to Salvation, and that
his Majesty will even spare Powhatan himself. But, he says, it is
the intention to make "the common people likewise to understand, how
that his Majesty has been acquainted that the men, women, and
children of the first plantation of Roanoke were by practice of
Powhatan (he himself persuaded thereunto by his priests) miserably
slaughtered, without any offense given him either by the first
planted (who twenty and odd years had peaceably lived intermixed with
those savages, and were out of his territory) or by those who are now
come to inhabit some parts of his distant lands," etc.

Strachey of course means the second plantation and not the first,
which, according to the weight of authority, consisted of only
fifteen men and no women.

In George Percy's Discourse concerning Captain Newport's exploration
of the River James in 1607 (printed in Purchas's " Pilgrims ") is
this sentence: "At Port Cotage, in our voyage up the river, we saw a
savage boy, about the age of ten years, which had a head of hair of a
perfect yellow, and reasonably white skin, which is a miracle amongst
all savages." Mr. Neill, in his "History of the Virginia Company,"
says that this boy" was no doubt the offspring of the colonists left
at Roanoke by White, of whom four men, two boys, and one young maid
had been preserved from slaughter by an Indian Chief." Under the
circumstances, "no doubt" is a very strong expression for a historian
to use.

This belief in the sometime survival of the Roanoke colonists, and
their amalgamation with the Indians, lingered long in colonial
gossip. Lawson, in his History, published in London in 1718,
mentions a tradition among the Hatteras Indians, "that several of
their ancestors were white people and could talk from a book; the
truth of which is confirmed by gray eyes being among these Indians
and no others."

But the myth of Virginia Dare stands no chance beside that of



The way was now prepared for the advent of Captain John Smith in
Virginia. It is true that we cannot give him his own title of its
discoverer, but the plantation had been practically abandoned, all
the colonies had ended in disaster, all the governors and captains
had lacked the gift of perseverance or had been early drawn into
other adventures, wholly disposed, in the language of Captain John
White, "to seek after purchase and spoils," and but for the energy
and persistence of Captain Smith the expedition of 1606 might have
had no better fate. It needed a man of tenacious will to hold a
colony together in one spot long enough to give it root. Captain
Smith was that man, and if we find him glorying in his exploits, and
repeating upon single big Indians the personal prowess that
distinguished him in Transylvania and in the mythical Nalbrits, we
have only to transfer our sympathy from the Turks to the
Sasquesahanocks if the sense of his heroism becomes oppressive.

Upon the return of Samuel Mace, mariner, who was sent out in 1602 to
search for White's lost colony, all Raleigh's interest in the
Virginia colony had, by his attainder, escheated to the crown. But
he never gave up his faith in Virginia: neither the failure of nine
several expeditions nor twelve years imprisonment shook it. On the
eve of his fall he had written, "I shall yet live to see it an
English nation:" and he lived to see his prediction come true.

The first or Virginian colony, chartered with the Plymouth colony in
April, 1606, was at last organized by the appointment of Sir Thomas
Smith, the 'Chief of Raleigh's assignees, a wealthy London merchant,
who had been ambassador to Persia, and was then, or shortly after,
governor of the East India Company, treasurer and president of the
meetings of the council in London; and by the assignment of the
transportation of the colony to Captain Christopher Newport, a
mariner of experience in voyages to the West Indies and in plundering
the Spaniards, who had the power to appoint different captains and
mariners, and the sole charge of the voyage. No local councilors
were named for Virginia, but to Captain Newport, Captain Bartholomew
Gosnold, and Captain John Ratcliffe were delivered sealed
instructions, to be opened within twenty-four hours after their
arrival in Virginia, wherein would be found the names of the persons
designated for the Council.

This colony, which was accompanied by the prayers and hopes of
London, left the Thames December 19, 1606, in three vessels--the
Susan Constant, one hundred tons, Captain Newport, with seventy-one
persons; the God-Speed, forty tons, Captain Gosnold, with fifty-two
persons; and a pinnace of twenty tons, the Discovery, Captain
Ratcliffe, with twenty persons. The Mercure Francais, Paris, 1619,
says some of the passengers were women and children, but there is
no other mention of women. Of the persons embarked, one hundred and
five were planters, the rest crews. Among the planters were Edward
Maria Wingfield, Captain John Smith, Captain John Martin, Captain
Gabriel Archer, Captain George Kendall, Mr. Robert Hunt, preacher,
and Mr. George Percie, brother of the Earl of Northumberland,
subsequently governor for a brief period, and one of the writers from
whom Purchas compiled. Most of the planters were shipped as
gentlemen, but there were four carpenters, twelve laborers, a
blacksmith, a sailor, a barber, a bricklayer, a mason, a tailor, a
drummer, and a chirurgeon.

The composition of the colony shows a serious purpose of settlement,
since the trades were mostly represented, but there were too many
gentlemen to make it a working colony. And, indeed, the gentlemen,
like the promoters of the enterprise in London, were probably more
solicitous of discovering a passage to the South Sea, as the way to
increase riches, than of making a state. They were instructed to
explore every navigable river they might find, and to follow the main
branches, which would probably lead them in one direction to the East
Indies or South Sea, and in the other to the Northwest Passage. And
they were forcibly reminded that the way to prosper was to be of one
mind, for their own and their country's good.

This last advice did not last the expedition out of sight of land.
They sailed from Blackwell, December 19, 1606, but were kept six
weeks on the coast of England by contrary winds. A crew of saints
cabined in those little caravels and tossed about on that coast for
six weeks would scarcely keep in good humor. Besides, the position
of the captains and leaders was not yet defined. Factious quarrels
broke out immediately, and the expedition would likely have broken up
but for the wise conduct and pious exhortations of Mr. Robert Hunt,
the preacher. This faithful man was so ill and weak that it was
thought he could not recover, yet notwithstanding the stormy weather,
the factions on board, and although his home was almost in sight,
only twelve miles across the Downs, he refused to quit the ship. He
was unmoved, says Smith, either by the weather or by "the scandalous
imputations (of some few little better than atheists, of the greatest
rank amongst us)." With "the water of his patience" and "his godly
exhortations" he quenched the flames of envy and dissension.

They took the old route by the West Indies. George Percy notes that
on the 12th of February they saw a blazing star, and presently. a
storm. They watered at the Canaries, traded with savages at San
Domingo, and spent three weeks refreshing themselves among the
islands. The quarrels revived before they reached the Canaries, and
there Captain Smith was seized and put in close confinement for
thirteen weeks.

We get little light from contemporary writers on this quarrel. Smith
does not mention the arrest in his "True Relation," but in his
"General Historie," writing of the time when they had been six weeks
in Virginia, he says: "Now Captain Smith who all this time from their
departure from the Canaries was restrained as a prisoner upon the
scandalous suggestion of some of the chiefs (envying his repute) who
fancied he intended to usurp the government, murder the Council, and
make himself King, that his confedcrates were dispersed in all three
ships, and that divers of his confederates that revealed it, would
affirm it, for this he was committed a prisoner; thirteen weeks he
remained thus suspected, and by that time they should return they
pretended out of their commiserations, to refer him to the Council in
England to receive a check, rather than by particulating his designs
make him so odious to the world, as to touch his life, or utterly
overthrow his reputation. But he so much scorned their charity and
publically defied the uttermost of their cruelty, he wisely prevented
their policies, though he could not suppress their envies, yet so
well he demeaned himself in this business, as all the company did see
his innocency, and his adversaries' malice, and those suborned to
accuse him accused his accusers of subornation; many untruths were
alleged against him; but being apparently disproved, begot a general
hatred in the hearts of the company against such unjust Commanders,
that the President was adjudged to give him L 200, so that all he had
was seized upon, in part of satisfaction, which Smith presently
returned to the store for the general use of the colony."--

Neither in Newport's "Relatyon" nor in Mr. Wingfield's "Discourse" is
the arrest mentioned, nor does Strachey speak of it.

About 1629, Smith, in writing a description of the Isle of Mevis
(Nevis) in his "Travels and Adventures," says: "In this little [isle]
of Mevis, more than twenty years agone, I have remained a good time
together, to wod and water--and refresh my men." It is
characteristic of Smith's vivid imagination, in regard to his own
exploits, that he should speak of an expedition in which he had no
command, and was even a prisoner, in this style: "I remained," and
"my men." He goes on: "Such factions here we had as commonly attend
such voyages, and a pair of gallows was made, but Captaine Smith, for
whom they were intended, could not be persuaded to use them; but not
any one of the inventors but their lives by justice fell into his
power, to determine of at his pleasure, whom with much mercy he
favored, that most basely and unjustly would have betrayed him." And
it is true that Smith, although a great romancer, was often
magnanimous, as vain men are apt to be.

King James's elaborate lack of good sense had sent the expedition to
sea with the names of the Council sealed up in a box, not to be
opened till it reached its destination. Consequently there was no
recognized authority. Smith was a young man of about twenty-eight,
vain and no doubt somewhat "bumptious," and it is easy to believe
that Wingfield and the others who felt his superior force and
realized his experience, honestly suspected him of designs against
the expedition. He was the ablest man on board, and no doubt was
aware of it. That he was not only a born commander of men, but had
the interest of the colony at heart, time was to show.

The voyagers disported themselves among the luxuries of the West
Indies. At Guadaloupe they found a bath so hot that they boiled
their pork in it as well as over the fire. At the Island of Monaca
they took from the bushes with their hands near two hogsheads full of
birds in three or four hours. These, it is useless to say, were
probably not the "barnacle geese" which the nautical travelers used
to find, and picture growing upon bushes and dropping from the eggs,
when they were ripe, full-fledged into the water. The beasts were
fearless of men. Wild birds and natives had to learn the whites
before they feared them.

"In Mevis, Mona, and the Virgin Isles," says the "General Historie,"
"we spent some time, where with a lothsome beast like a crocodile,
called a gwayn [guana], tortoises, pellicans, parrots, and fishes, we
feasted daily."

Thence they made sail-in search of Virginia, but the mariners lost
their reckoning for three days and made no land; the crews were
discomfited, and Captain Ratcliffe, of the pinnace, wanted to up helm
and return to England. But a violent storm, which obliged them "to
hull all night," drove them to the port desired. On the 26th of
April they saw a bit of land none of them had ever seen before.
This, the first land they descried, they named Cape Henry, in honor
of the Prince of Wales; as the opposite cape was called Cape Charles,
for the Duke of York, afterwards Charles I. Within these capes they
found one of the most pleasant places in the world, majestic
navigable rivers, beautiful mountains, hills, and plains, and a
fruitful and delightsome land.

Mr. George Percy was ravished at the sight of the fair meadows and
goodly tall trees. As much to his taste were the large and delicate
oysters, which the natives roasted, and in which were found many
pearls. The ground was covered with fine and beautiful strawberries,
four times bigger than those in England.

Masters Wingfield, Newport, and Gosnold., with thirty men, went
ashore on Cape Henry, where they were suddenly set upon by savages,
who came creeping upon all-fours over the hills, like bears, with
their bows in their hands; Captain Archer was hurt in both hands, and
a sailor dangerously wounded in two places on his body. It was a bad

The night of their arrival they anchored at Point Comfort, now
Fortress Monroe; the box was opened and the orders read, which
constituted Edward Maria Wingfield, Bartholomew Gosnold, John Smith,
Christopher Newport, John Ratcliffe, John Martin, and George Kendall
the Council, with power to choose a President for a year. Until the
13th of May they were slowly exploring the River Powhatan, now the
James, seeking a place for the settlement. They selected a peninsula
on the north side of the river, forty miles from its mouth, where
there was good anchorage, and which could be readily fortified. This
settlement was Jamestown. The Council was then sworn in, and Mr.
Wingfield selected President. Smith being under arrest was not sworn
in of the Council, and an oration was made setting forth the reason
for his exclusion.

When they had pitched upon a site for the fort, every man set to
work, some to build the fort, others to pitch the tents, fell trees
and make clapboards to reload the ships, others to make gardens and
nets. The fort was in the form of a triangle with a half-moon at
each comer, intended to mount four or five guns.

President Wingfield appears to have taken soldierly precautions, but
Smith was not at all pleased with him from the first. He says "the
President's overweening jealousy would admit of no exercise at arms,
or fortifications but the boughs of trees cast together in the form
of a half-moon by the extraordinary pains and diligence of Captain
Kendall." He also says there was contention between Captain
Wingfield and Captain Gosnold about the site of the city.

The landing was made at Jamestown on the 14th of May, according to
Percy. Previous to that considerable explorations were made. On the
18th of April they launched a shallop, which they built the day
before, and "discovered up the bay." They discovered a river on the
south side running into the mainland, on the banks of which were good
stores of mussels and oysters, goodly trees, flowers of all colors,
and strawberries. Returning to their ships and finding the water
shallow, they rowed over to a point of land, where they found from
six to twelve fathoms of water, which put them in good comfort,
therefore they named that part of the land Cape Comfort. On the 29th
they set up a cross on Chesapeake Bay, on Cape Henry, and the next
day coasted to the Indian town of Kecoughton, now Hampton, where they
were kindly entertained. When they first came to land the savages
made a doleful noise, laying their paws to the ground and scratching
the earth with their nails. This ceremony, which was taken to be a
kind of idolatry, ended, mats were brought from the houses, whereon
the guests were seated, and given to eat bread made of maize, and
tobacco to smoke. The savages also entertained them with dancing and
singing and antic tricks and grimaces. They were naked except a
covering of skins about the loins, and many were painted in black and
red, with artificial knots of lovely colors, beautiful and pleasing
to the eye. The 4th of May they were entertained by the chief of
Paspika, who favored them with a long oration, making a foul noise
and vehement in action, the purport of which they did not catch. The
savages were full of hospitality. The next day the weroance, or
chief, of Rapahanna sent a messenger to invite them to his seat. His
majesty received them in as modest a proud fashion as if he had been
a prince of a civil government. His body was painted in crimson and
his face in blue, and he wore a chain of beads about his neck and in
his ears bracelets of pearls and a bird's claw. The 8th of May they
went up the river to the country Apomatica, where the natives
received them in hostile array, the chief, with bow and arrows in one
hand, and a pipe of tobacco in the other, offering them war or peace.

These savages were as stout and able as any heathen or Christians in
the world. Mr. Percy said they bore their years well. He saw among
the Pamunkeys a savage reported to be 160, years old, whose eyes were
sunk in his head, his teeth gone his hair all gray, and quite a big
beard, white as snow; he was a lusty savage, and could travel as fast
as anybody.

The Indians soon began to be troublesome in their visits to the
plantations, skulking about all night, hanging around the fort by
day, bringing sometimes presents of deer, but given to theft of small
articles, and showing jealousy of the occupation. They murmured,
says Percy, at our planting in their country. But worse than the
disposition of the savages was the petty quarreling in the colony

In obedience to the orders to explore for the South Sea, on the 22d
of May, Newport, Percy, Smith, Archer, and twenty others were sent in
the shallop to explore the Powhatan, or James River.

Passing by divers small habitations, and through a land abounding in
trees, flowers, and small fruits, a river full of fish, and of
sturgeon such as the world beside has none, they came on the 24th,
having passed the town of Powhatan, to the head of the river, the
Falls, where they set up the cross and proclaimed King James of

Smith says in his "General Historie" they reached Powhatan on the
26th. But Captain Newport's "Relatyon" agrees with Percy's, and
with, Smith's "True Relation." Captain Newport, says Percy,
permitted no one to visit Powhatan except himself.

Captain Newport's narration of the exploration of the James is
interesting, being the first account we have of this historic river.
At the junction of the Appomattox and the James, at a place he calls
Wynauk, the natives welcomed them with rejoicing and entertained them
with dances. The Kingdom of Wynauk was full of pearl-mussels. The
king of this tribe was at war with the King of Paspahegh. Sixteen
miles above this point, at an inlet, perhaps Turkey Point, they were
met by eight savages in a canoe, one of whom was intelligent enough
to lay out the whole course of the river, from Chesapeake Bay to its
source, with a pen and paper which they showed him how to use. These
Indians kept them company for some time, meeting them here and there
with presents of strawberries, mulberries, bread, and fish, for which
they received pins, needles, and beads. They spent one night at
Poore Cottage (the Port Cotage of Percy, where he saw the white boy),
probably now Haxall. Five miles above they went ashore near the now
famous Dutch Gap, where King Arahatic gave them a roasted deer, and
caused his women to bake cakes for them. This king gave Newport his
crown, which was of deer's hair dyed red. He was a subject of the
great King Powhatan. While they sat making merry with the savages,
feasting and taking tobacco and seeing the dances, Powhatan himself
appeared and was received with great show of honor, all rising from
their seats except King Arahatic, and shouting loudly. To Powhatan
ample presents were made of penny-knives, shears, and toys, and he
invited them to visit him at one of his seats called Powhatan, which
was within a mile of the Falls, where now stands the city of
Richmond. All along the shore the inhabitants stood in clusters,
offering food to the strangers. The habitation of Powhatan was
situated on a high hill by the water side, with a meadow at its foot
where was grown wheat, beans, tobacco, peas, pompions, flax, and

Powhatan served the whites with the best he had, and best of all with
a friendly welcome and with interesting discourse of the country.
They made a league of friendship. The next day he gave them six men
as guides to the falls above, and they left with him one man as a

On Sunday, the 24th of May, having returned to Powhatan's seat, they
made a feast for him of pork, cooked with peas, and the Captain and
King ate familiarly together; "he eat very freshly of our meats,
dranck of our beere, aquavite, and sack." Under the influence of
this sack and aquavite the King was very communicative about the
interior of the country, and promised to guide them to the mines of
iron and copper; but the wary chief seems to have thought better of
it when he got sober, and put them off with the difficulties and
dangers of the way.

On one of the islets below the Falls, Captain Newport set up a cross
with the inscription "Jacobus, Rex, 1607," and his own name beneath,
and James was proclaimed King with a great shout. Powhatan was
displeased with their importunity to go further up the river, and
departed with all the Indians, except the friendly Navirans, who had
accompanied them from Arahatic. Navirans greatly admired the cross,
but Newport hit upon an explanation of its meaning that should dispel
the suspicions of Powhatan. He told him that the two arms of the
cross signified King Powhatan and himself, the fastening of it in the
middle was their united league, and the shout was the reverence he
did to Powhatan. This explanation being made to Powhatan greatly
contented him, and he came on board and gave them the kindest
farewell when they dropped down the river. At Arahatic they found
the King had provided victuals for them, but, says Newport, "the King
told us that he was very sick and not able to sit up long with us."
The inability of the noble red man to sit up was no doubt due to too
much Christian sack and aquavite, for on "Monday he came to the water
side, and we went ashore with him again. He told us that our hot
drinks, he thought, caused him grief, but that he was well again, and
we were very welcome."

It seems, therefore, that to Captain Newport, who was a good sailor
in his day, and has left his name in Virginia in Newport News, must
be given the distinction of first planting the cross in Virginia,
with a lie, and watering it, with aquavite.

They dropped down the river to a place called Mulberry Shade, where
the King killed a deer and prepared for them another feast, at which
they had rolls and cakes made of wheat. "This the women make and are
very cleanly about it. We had parched meal, excellent good, sodd
[cooked] beans, which eat as sweet as filbert kernels, in a manner,
strawberries; and mulberries were shaken off the tree, dropping on
our heads as we sat. He made ready a land turtle, which we ate; and
showed that he was heartily rejoiced in our company." Such was the
amiable disposition of the natives before they discovered the purpose
of the whites to dispossess them of their territory. That night they
stayed at a place called "Kynd Woman's Care," where the people
offered them abundant victual and craved nothing in return.

Next day they went ashore at a place Newport calls Queen Apumatuc's
Bower. This Queen, who owed allegiance to Powhatan, had much land
under cultivation, and dwelt in state on a pretty hill. This ancient
representative of woman's rights in Virginia did honor to her sex.
She came to meet the strangers in a show as majestical as that of
Powhatan himself: "She had an usher before her, who brought her to
the matt prepared under a faire mulberry-tree; where she sat down by
herself, with a stayed countenance. She would permitt none to stand
or sitt neare her. She is a fatt, lustie, manly woman. She had much
copper about her neck, a coronet of copper upon her hed. She had
long, black haire, which hanged loose down her back to her myddle;
which only part was covered with a deare's skyn, and ells all naked.
She had her women attending her, adorned much like herself (except
they wanted the copper). Here we had our accustomed eates, tobacco,
and welcome. Our Captaine presented her with guyfts liberally,
whereupon shee cheered somewhat her countenance, and requested him to
shoote off a piece; whereat (we noted) she showed not near the like
feare as Arahatic, though he be a goodly man."

The company was received with the same hospitality by King Pamunkey,
whose land was believed to be rich in copper and pearls. The copper
was so flexible that Captain Newport bent a piece of it the thickness
of his finger as if it had been lead. The natives were unwilling to
part with it. The King had about his neck a string of pearls as big
as peas, which would have been worth three or four hundred pounds, if
the pearls had been taken from the mussels as they should have been.

Arriving on their route at Weanock, some twenty miles above the fort,
they were minded to visit Paspahegh and another chief Jamestown lay
in the territory of Paspahegh--but suspicious signs among the natives
made them apprehend trouble at the fort, and they hastened thither to
find their suspicions verified. The day before, May 26th, the colony
had been attacked by two hundred Indians (four hundred, Smith says),
who were only beaten off when they had nearly entered the fort, by
the use of the artillery. The Indians made a valiant fight for an
hour; eleven white men were wounded, of whom one died afterwards, and
a boy was killed on the pinnace. This loss was concealed from the
Indians, who for some time seem to have believed that the whites
could not be hurt. Four of the Council were hurt in this fight, and
President Wingfield, who showed himself a valiant gentleman, had a
shot through his beard. They killed eleven of the Indians, but their
comrades lugged them away on their backs and buried them in the woods
with a great noise. For several days alarms and attacks continued,
and four or five men were cruelly wounded, and one gentleman, Mr.
Eustace Cloville, died from the effects of five arrows in his body.

Upon this hostility, says Smith, the President was contented the fort
should be palisaded, and the ordnance mounted, and the men armed and
exercised. The fortification went on, but the attacks continued, and
it was unsafe for any to venture beyond the fort.

Dissatisfaction arose evidently with President Wingfield's
management. Captain Newport says: " There being among the gentlemen
and all the company a murmur and grudge against certain proceedings
and inconvenient courses [Newport] put up a petition to the Council
for reformation." The Council heeded this petition, and urged to
amity by Captain Newport, the company vowed faithful love to each
other and obedience to the superiors. On the 10th of June, Captain
Smith was sworn of the Council. In his "General Historie," not
published till 1624, he says: "Many were the mischiefs that daily
sprung from their ignorant (yet ambitious) spirits; but the good
doctrine and exhortation of our preacher Mr. Hunt, reconciled them
and caused Captain Smith to be admitted to the Council." The next
day they all partook of the holy communion.

In order to understand this quarrel, which was not by any means
appeased by this truce, and to determine Captain Smith's
responsibility for it, it is necessary to examine all the witnesses.
Smith is unrestrained in his expression of his contempt for
Wingfield. But in the diary of Wingfield we find no accusation
against Smith at this date. Wingfield says that Captain Newport
before he departed asked him how he thought himself settled in the
government, and that he replied "that no disturbance could endanger
him or the colony, but it must be wrought either by Captain Gosnold
or Mr. Archer, for the one was strong with friends and followers and
could if he would; and the other was troubled with an ambitious
spirit and would if he could."

The writer of Newport's "Relatyon" describes the Virginia savages as
a very strong and lusty race, and swift warriors. "Their skin is
tawny; not so borne, but with dyeing and painting themselves, in
which they delight greatly." That the Indians were born white was,
as we shall see hereafter, a common belief among the first settlers
in Virginia and New England. Percy notes a distinction between maids
and married women: "The maids shave close the fore part and sides of
their heads, and leave it long behind, where it is tied up and hangs
down to the hips. The married women wear their hair all of a length,


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