The Story of Pocahantas
Charles Dudley Warner

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By Charles Dudley Warner

The simple story of the life of Pocahontas is sufficiently romantic
without the embellishments which have been wrought on it either by
the vanity of Captain Smith or the natural pride of the descendants
of this dusky princess who have been ennobled by the smallest rivulet
of her red blood.

That she was a child of remarkable intelligence, and that she early
showed a tender regard for the whites and rendered them willing and
unwilling service, is the concurrent evidence of all contemporary
testimony. That as a child she was well-favored, sprightly, and
prepossessing above all her copper-colored companions, we can
believe, and that as a woman her manners were attractive. If the
portrait taken of her in London--the best engraving of which is by
Simon de Passe--in 1616, when she is said to have been twenty-one
years old, does her justice, she had marked Indian features.

The first mention of her is in "The True Relation," written by
Captain Smith in Virginia in 1608. In this narrative, as our readers
have seen, she is not referred to until after Smith's return from the
captivity in which Powhatan used him "with all the kindness he could
devise." Her name first appears, toward the close of the relation,
in the following sentence:

"Powhatan understanding we detained certain salvages, sent his
daughter, a child of tenne yeares old, which not only for feature,
countenance, and proportion, much exceedeth any of the rest of his
people, but for wit and spirit the only nonpareil of his country:
this hee sent by his most trusty messenger, called Rawhunt, as much
exceeding in deformitie of person, but of a subtill wit and crafty
understanding, he with a long circumstance told mee how well Powhatan
loved and respected mee, and in that I should not doubt any way of
his kindness, he had sent his child, which he most esteemed, to see
mee, a Deere, and bread, besides for a present: desiring mee that the
Boy [Thomas Savage, the boy given by Newport to Powhatan] might come
again, which he loved exceedingly, his little Daughter he had taught
this lesson also: not taking notice at all of the Indians that had
been prisoners three daies, till that morning that she saw their
fathers and friends come quietly, and in good termes to entreate
their libertie.

"In the afternoon they [the friends of the prisoners] being gone, we
guarded them [the prisoners] as before to the church, and after
prayer, gave them to Pocahuntas the King's Daughter, in regard of her
father's kindness in sending her: after having well fed them, as all
the time of their imprisonment, we gave them their bows, arrowes, or
what else they had, and with much content, sent them packing:
Pocahuntas, also we requited with such trifles as contented her, to
tel that we had used the Paspaheyans very kindly in so releasing

The next allusion to her is in the fourth chapter of the narratives
which are appended to the "Map of Virginia," etc. This was sent
home by Smith, with a description of Virginia, in the late autumn of
1608. It was published at Oxford in 1612, from two to three years
after Smith's return to England. The appendix contains the
narratives of several of Smith's companions in Virginia, edited by
Dr. Symonds and overlooked by Smith. In one of these is a brief
reference to the above-quoted incident.

This Oxford tract, it is scarcely necessary to repeat, contains no
reference to the saving of Smith's life by Pocahontas from the clubs
of Powhatan.

The next published mention of Pocahontas, in point of time, is in
Chapter X. and the last of the appendix to the "Map of Virginia,"
and is Smith's denial, already quoted, of his intention to marry
Pocahontas. In this passage he speaks of her as "at most not past 13
or 14 years of age." If she was thirteen or fourteen in 1609, when
Smith left Virginia, she must have been more than ten when he wrote
his "True Relation," composed in the winter of 1608, which in all
probability was carried to England by Captain Nelson, who left
Jamestown June 2d.

The next contemporary authority to be consulted in regard to
Pocahontas is William Strachey, who, as we have seen, went with the
expedition of Gates and Somers, was shipwrecked on the Bermudas, and
reached Jamestown May 23 or 24, 1610, and was made Secretary and
Recorder of the colony under Lord Delaware. Of the origin and life
of Strachey, who was a person of importance in Virginia, little is
known. The better impression is that he was the William Strachey of
Saffron Walden, who was married in 1588 and was living in 1620, and
that it was his grandson of the same name who was subsequently
connected with the Virginia colony. He was, judged by his writings,
a man of considerable education, a good deal of a pedant, and shared
the credulity and fondness for embellishment of the writers of his
time. His connection with Lord Delaware, and his part in framing the
code of laws in Virginia, which may be inferred from the fact that he
first published them, show that he was a trusted and capable man.

William Strachey left behind him a manuscript entitled "The Historie
of Travaile into Virginia Britanica, &c., gathered and observed as
well by those who went first thither, as collected by William
Strachey, gent., three years thither, employed as Secretaire of
State." How long he remained in Virginia is uncertain, but it could
not have been "three years," though he may have been continued
Secretary for that period, for he was in London in 1612, in which
year he published there the laws of Virginia which had been
established by Sir Thomas Gates May 24, 1610, approved by Lord
Delaware June 10, 1610, and enlarged by Sir Thomas Dale June 22,

The "Travaile" was first published by the Hakluyt Society in 1849.
When and where it was written, and whether it was all composed at one
time, are matters much in dispute. The first book, descriptive of
Virginia and its people, is complete; the second book, a narration of
discoveries in America, is unfinished. Only the first book concerns
us. That Strachey made notes in Virginia may be assumed, but the
book was no doubt written after his return to England

[This code of laws, with its penalty of whipping and death for what
are held now to be venial offenses, gives it a high place among the
Black Codes. One clause will suffice:

"Every man and woman duly twice a day upon the first towling of the
Bell shall upon the working daies repaire unto the church, to hear
divine service upon pain of losing his or her allowance for the first
omission, for the second to be whipt, and for the third to be
condemned to the Gallies for six months. Likewise no man or woman
shall dare to violate the Sabbath by any gaming, publique or private,
abroad or at home, but duly sanctifie and observe the same, both
himselfe and his familie, by preparing themselves at home with
private prayer, that they may be the better fitted for the publique,
according to the commandments of God, and the orders of our church,
as also every man and woman shall repaire in the morning to the
divine service, and sermons preached upon the Sabbath day, and in the
afternoon to divine service, and Catechism upon paine for the first
fault to lose their provision, and allowance for the whole week
following, for the second to lose the said allowance and also to be
whipt, and for the third to suffer death."]

Was it written before or after the publication of Smith's "Map and
Description" at Oxford in 1612? The question is important, because
Smith's "Description" and Strachey's "Travaile" are page after page
literally the same. One was taken from the other. Commonly at that
time manuscripts seem to have been passed around and much read before
they were published. Purchas acknowledges that he had unpublished
manuscripts of Smith when he compiled his narrative. Did Smith see
Strachey's manuscript before he published his Oxford tract, or did
Strachey enlarge his own notes from Smith's description? It has been
usually assumed that Strachey cribbed from Smith without
acknowledgment. If it were a question to be settled by the internal
evidence of the two accounts, I should incline to think that Smith
condensed his description from Strachey, but the dates incline the
balance in Smith's favor.

Strachey in his "Travaile" refers sometimes to Smith, and always with
respect. It will be noted that Smith's "Map" was engraved and
published before the "Description" in the Oxford tract. Purchas had
it, for he says, in writing of Virginia for his "Pilgrimage" (which
was published in 1613):

"Concerning-the latter [Virginia], Capt. John Smith, partly by word
of mouth, partly by his mappe thereof in print, and more fully by a
Manuscript which he courteously communicated to mee, hath acquainted
me with that whereof himselfe with great perill and paine, had been
the discoverer." Strachey in his "Travaile" alludes to it, and pays
a tribute to Smith in the following: "Their severall habitations are
more plainly described by the annexed mappe, set forth by Capt.
Smith, of whose paines taken herein I leave to the censure of the
reader to judge. Sure I am there will not return from thence in
hast, any one who hath been more industrious, or who hath had (Capt.
Geo. Percie excepted) greater experience amongst them, however
misconstruction may traduce here at home, where is not easily seen
the mixed sufferances, both of body and mynd, which is there daylie,
and with no few hazards and hearty griefes undergon."

There are two copies of the Strachey manuscript. The one used by the
Hakluyt Society is dedicated to Sir Francis Bacon, with the title of
"Lord High Chancellor," and Bacon had not that title conferred on him
till after 1618. But the copy among the Ashmolean manuscripts at
Oxford is dedicated to Sir Allen Apsley, with the title of "Purveyor
to His Majestie's Navie Royall"; and as Sir Allen was made
"Lieutenant of the Tower" in 1616, it is believed that the manuscript
must have been written before that date, since the author would not
have omitted the more important of the two titles in his dedication.

Strachey's prefatory letter to the Council, prefixed to his "Laws"
(1612), is dated "From my lodging in the Black Friars. At your best
pleasures, either to return unto the colony, or pray for the success
of it heere." In his letter he speaks of his experience in the
Bermudas and Virginia: "The full storie of both in due time [I] shall
consecrate unto your view.... Howbit since many impediments, as yet
must detaine such my observations in the shadow of darknesse, untill
I shall be able to deliver them perfect unto your judgments," etc.

This is not, as has been assumed, a statement that the observations
were not written then, only that they were not "perfect"; in fact,
they were detained in the "shadow of darknesse" till the year 1849.
Our own inference is, from all the circumstances, that Strachey began
his manuscript in Virginia or shortly after his return, and added to
it and corrected it from time to time up to 1616.

We are now in a position to consider Strachey's allusions to
Pocahontas. The first occurs in his description of the apparel of
Indian women:

"The better sort of women cover themselves (for the most part) all
over with skin mantells, finely drest, shagged and fringed at the
skyrt, carved and coloured with some pretty work, or the proportion
of beasts, fowle, tortayses, or other such like imagry, as shall best
please or expresse the fancy of the wearer; their younger women goe
not shadowed amongst their owne companie, until they be nigh eleaven
or twelve returnes of the leafe old (for soe they accompt and bring
about the yeare, calling the fall of the leaf tagnitock); nor are
thev much ashamed thereof, and therefore would the before remembered
Pocahontas, a well featured, but wanton yong girle, Powhatan's
daughter, sometymes resorting to our fort, of the age then of eleven
or twelve yeares, get the boyes forth with her into the markett
place, and make them wheele, falling on their hands, turning up their
heeles upwards, whome she would followe and wheele so herself, naked
as she was, all the fort over; but being once twelve yeares, they put
on a kind of semecinctum lethern apron (as do our artificers or
handycrafts men) before their bellies, and are very shamefac't to be
seene bare. We have seene some use mantells made both of Turkey
feathers, and other fowle, so prettily wrought and woven with
threeds, that nothing could be discerned but the feathers, which were
exceedingly warme and very handsome."

Strachey did not see Pocahontas. She did not resort to the camp
after the departure of Smith in September, 1609, until she was
kidnapped by Governor Dale in April, 1613. He repeats what he heard
of her. The time mentioned by him of her resorting to the fort, "of
the age then of eleven or twelve yeares," must have been the time
referred to by Smith when he might have married her, namely, in
1608-9, when he calls her "not past 13 or 14 years of age." The
description of her as a "yong girle" tumbling about the fort, "naked
as she was," would seem to preclude the idea that she was married at
that time.

The use of the word "wanton" is not necessarily disparaging, for
"wanton" in that age was frequently synonymous with "playful" and
"sportive"; but it is singular that she should be spoken of as "well
featured, but wanton." Strachey, however, gives in another place
what is no doubt the real significance of the Indian name
"Pocahontas." He says:

"Both men, women, and children have their severall names; at first
according to the severall humor of their parents; and for the men
children, at first, when they are young, their mothers give them a
name, calling them by some affectionate title, or perhaps observing
their promising inclination give it accordingly; and so the great
King Powhatan called a young daughter of his, whom he loved well,
Pocahontas, which may signify a little wanton; howbeyt she was
rightly called Amonata at more ripe years."

The Indian girls married very young. The polygamous Powhatan had a
large number of wives, but of all his women, his favorites were a
dozen "for the most part very young women," the names of whom
Strachey obtained from one Kemps, an Indian a good deal about camp,
whom Smith certifies was a great villain. Strachey gives a list of
the names of twelve of them, at the head of which is Winganuske.
This list was no doubt written down by the author in Virginia, and it
is followed by a sentence, quoted below, giving also the number of
Powhatan's children. The "great darling" in this list was
Winganuske, a sister of Machumps, who, according to Smith, murdered
his comrade in the Bermudas. Strachey writes:

"He [Powhatan] was reported by the said Kemps, as also by the Indian
Machumps, who was sometyme in England, and comes to and fro amongst
us as he dares, and as Powhatan gives him leave, for it is not
otherwise safe for him, no more than it was for one Amarice, who had
his braynes knockt out for selling but a baskett of corne, and lying
in the English fort two or three days without Powhatan's leave; I say
they often reported unto us that Powhatan had then lyving twenty
sonnes and ten daughters, besyde a young one by Winganuske, Machumps
his sister, and a great darling of the King's; and besides, younge
Pocohunta, a daughter of his, using sometyme to our fort in tymes
past, nowe married to a private Captaine, called Kocoum, some two
years since."

This passage is a great puzzle. Does Strachey intend to say that
Pocahontas was married to an Iniaan named Kocoum? She might have
been during the time after Smith's departure in 1609, and her
kidnapping in 1613, when she was of marriageable age. We shall see
hereafter that Powhatan, in 1614, said he had sold another favorite
daughter of his, whom Sir Thomas Dale desired, and who was not twelve
years of age, to be wife to a great chief. The term "private
Captain" might perhaps be applied to an Indian chief. Smith, in his
"General Historie," says the Indians have "but few occasions to use
any officers more than one commander, which commonly they call
Werowance, or Caucorouse, which is Captaine." It is probably not
possible, with the best intentions, to twist Kocoum into Caucorouse,
or to suppose that Strachey intended to say that a private captain
was called in Indian a Kocoum. Werowance and Caucorouse are not
synonymous terms. Werowance means "chief," and Caucorouse means"
talker" or "orator," and is the original of our word "caucus."

Either Strachey was uninformed, or Pocahontas was married to an
Indian--a not violent presumption considering her age and the fact
that war between Powhatan and the whites for some time had cut off
intercourse between them--or Strachey referred to her marriage with
Rolfe, whom he calls by mistake Kocoum. If this is to be accepted,
then this paragraph must have been written in England in 1616, and
have referred to the marriage to Rolfe it "some two years since," in

That Pocahontas was a gentle-hearted and pleasing girl, and, through
her acquaintance with Smith, friendly to the whites, there is no
doubt; that she was not different in her habits and mode of life from
other Indian girls, before the time of her kidnapping, there is every
reason to suppose. It was the English who magnified the imperialism
of her father, and exaggerated her own station as Princess. She
certainly put on no airs of royalty when she was "cart-wheeling"
about the fort. Nor does this detract anything from the native
dignity of the mature, and converted, and partially civilized woman.

We should expect there would be the discrepancies which have been
noticed in the estimates of her age. Powhatan is not said to have
kept a private secretary to register births in his family. If
Pocahontas gave her age correctly, as it appears upon her London
portrait in 1616, aged twenty-one, she must have been eighteen years
of age when she was captured in 1613 This would make her about twelve
at the time of Smith's captivity in 1607-8. There is certainly room
for difference of opinion as to whether so precocious a woman, as her
intelligent apprehension of affairs shows her to have been, should
have remained unmarried till the age of eighteen. In marrying at
least as early as that she would have followed the custom of her
tribe. It is possible that her intercourse with the whites had
raised her above such an alliance as would be offered her at the
court of Werowocomoco.

We are without any record of the life of Pocahontas for some years.
The occasional mentions of her name in the "General Historie" are so
evidently interpolated at a late date, that they do not aid us. When
and where she took the name of Matoaka, which appears upon her London
portrait, we are not told, nor when she was called Amonata, as
Strachey says she was "at more ripe yeares." How she was occupied
from the departure of Smith to her abduction, we can only guess. To
follow her authentic history we must take up the account of Captain
Argall and of Ralph Hamor, Jr., secretary of the colony under
Governor Dale.

Captain Argall, who seems to have been as bold as he was unscrupulous
in the execution of any plan intrusted to him, arrived in Virginia in
September, 1612, and early in the spring of 1613 he was sent on an
expedition up the Patowomek to trade for corn and to effect a capture
that would bring Powhatan to terms. The Emperor, from being a
friend, had become the most implacable enemy of the English. Captain
Argall says: "I was told by certain Indians, my friends, that the
great Powhatan's daughter Pokahuntis was with the great King
Potowomek, whither I presently repaired, resolved to possess myself
of her by any stratagem that I could use, for the ransoming of so
many Englishmen as were prisoners with Powhatan, as also to get such
armes and tooles as he and other Indians had got by murther and
stealing some others of our nation, with some quantity of corn for
the colonies relief."

By the aid of Japazeus, King of Pasptancy, an old acquaintance and
friend of Argall's, and the connivance of the King of Potowomek,
Pocahontas was enticed on board Argall's ship and secured. Word was
sent to Powhatan of the capture and the terms on which his daughter
would be released; namely, the return of the white men he held in
slavery, the tools and arms he had gotten and stolen, and a great
quantity of corn. Powhatan, "much grieved," replied that if Argall
would use his daughter well, and bring the ship into his river and
release her, he would accede to all his demands. Therefore, on the
13th of April, Argall repaired to Governor Gates at Jamestown, and
delivered his prisoner, and a few days after the King sent home some
of the white captives, three pieces, one broad-axe, a long whip-saw,
and a canoe of corn. Pocahontas, however, was kept at Jamestown.

Why Pocahontas had left Werowocomoco and gone to stay with Patowomek
we can only conjecture. It is possible that Powhatan suspected her
friendliness to the whites, and was weary of her importunity, and it
may be that she wanted to escape the sight of continual fighting,
ambushes, and murders. More likely she was only making a common
friendly visit, though Hamor says she went to trade at an Indian

The story of her capture is enlarged and more minutely related by
Ralph Hamor, Jr., who was one of the colony shipwrecked on the
Bermudas in 1609, and returned to England in 1614, where he published
(London, 1615) "A True Discourse of Virginia, and the Success of the
Affairs there till the 18th of June, 1614." Hamor was the son of a
merchant tailor in London who was a member of the Virginia company.
Hamor writes:

"It chanced Powhatan's delight and darling, his daughter Pocahuntas
(whose fame has even been spread in England by the title of
Nonparella of Firginia) in her princely progresse if I may so terme
it, tooke some pleasure (in the absence of Captaine Argall) to be
among her friends at Pataomecke (as it seemeth by the relation I
had), implored thither as shopkeeper to a Fare, to exchange some of
her father's commodities for theirs, where residing some three months
or longer, it fortuned upon occasion either of promise or profit,
Captaine Argall to arrive there, whom Pocahuntas, desirous to renew
her familiaritie with the English, and delighting to see them as
unknown, fearefull perhaps to be surprised, would gladly visit as she
did, of whom no sooner had Captaine Argall intelligence, but he delt
with an old friend Iapazeus, how and by what meanes he might procure
her caption, assuring him that now or never, was the time to pleasure
him, if he intended indeede that love which he had made profession
of, that in ransome of hir he might redeeme some of our English men
and armes, now in the possession of her father, promising to use her
withall faire and gentle entreaty; Iapazeus well assured that his
brother, as he promised, would use her courteously, promised his best
endeavors and service to accomplish his desire, and thus wrought it,
making his wife an instrument (which sex have ever been most powerful
in beguiling inticements) to effect his plot which hee had thus laid,
he agreed that himself, his wife and Pocahuntas, would accompanie his
brother to the water side, whither come, his wife should faine a
great and longing desire to goe aboorde, and see the shippe, which
being there three or four times before she had never seene, and
should be earnest with her husband to permit her--he seemed angry
with her, making as he pretended so unnecessary request, especially
being without the company of women, which denial she taking unkindly,
must faine to weepe (as who knows not that women can command teares)
whereupon her husband seeming to pitty those counterfeit teares, gave
her leave to goe aboord, so that it would pleese Pocahuntas to
accompany her; now was the greatest labour to win her, guilty perhaps
of her father's wrongs, though not knowne as she supposed, to goe
with her, yet by her earnest persuasions, she assented: so forthwith
aboord they went, the best cheere that could be made was seasonably
provided, to supper they went, merry on all hands, especially
Iapazeus and his wife, who to expres their joy would ere be treading
upon Captaine Argall's foot, as who should say tis don, she is your
own. Supper ended Pocahuntas was lodged in the gunner's roome, but
Iapazeus and his wife desired to have some conference with their
brother, which was onely to acquaint him by what stratagem they had
betraied his prisoner as I have already related: after which
discourse to sleepe they went, Pocahuntas nothing mistrusting this
policy, who nevertheless being most possessed with feere, and desire
of returne, was first up, and hastened Iapazeus to be gon. Capt.
Argall having secretly well rewarded him, with a small Copper kittle,
and some other les valuable toies so highly by him esteemed, that
doubtlesse he would have betraied his own father for them, permitted
both him and his wife to returne, but told him that for divers
considerations, as for that his father had then eigh [8] of our
Englishe men, many swords, peeces, and other tooles, which he hid at
severall times by trecherous murdering our men, taken from them which
though of no use to him, he would not redeliver, he would reserve
Pocahuntas, whereat she began to be exceeding pensive, and
discontented, yet ignorant of the dealing of Japazeus who in outward
appearance was no les discontented that he should be the meanes of
her captivity, much adoe there was to pursuade her to be patient,
which with extraordinary curteous usage, by little and little was
wrought in her, and so to Jamestowne she was brought."

Smith, who condenses this account in his "General Historie,"
expresses his contempt of this Indian treachery by saying: "The old
Jew and his wife began to howle and crie as fast as Pocahuntas." It
will be noted that the account of the visit (apparently alone) of
Pocahontas and her capture is strong evidence that she was not at
this time married to "Kocoum" or anybody else.

Word was despatched to Powhatan of his daughter's duress, with a
demand made for the restitution of goods; but although this savage is
represented as dearly loving Pocahontas, his "delight and darling,"
it was, according to Hamor, three months before they heard anything
from him. His anxiety about his daughter could not have been
intense. He retained a part of his plunder, and a message was sent
to him that Pocahontas would be kept till he restored all the arms.

This answer pleased Powhatan so little that they heard nothing from
him till the following March. Then Sir Thomas Dale and Captain
Argall, with several vessels and one hundred and fifty men, went up
to Powhatan's chief seat, taking his daughter with them, offering the
Indians a chance to fight for her or to take her in peace on
surrender of the stolen goods. The Indians received this with
bravado and flights of arrows, reminding them of the fate of Captain
Ratcliffe. The whites landed, killed some Indians, burnt forty
houses, pillaged the village, and went on up the river and came to
anchor in front of Matchcot, the Emperor's chief town. Here were
assembled four hundred armed men, with bows and arrows, who dared
them to come ashore. Ashore they went, and a palaver was held. The
Indians wanted a day to consult their King, after which they would
fight, if nothing but blood would satisfy the whites.

Two of Powhatan's sons who were present expressed a desire to see
their sister, who had been taken on shore. When they had sight of
her, and saw how well she was cared for, they greatly rejoiced and
promised to persuade their father to redeem her and conclude a
lasting peace. The two brothers were taken on board ship, and Master
John Rolfe and Master Sparkes were sent to negotiate with the King.
Powhatan did not show himself, but his brother Apachamo, his
successor, promised to use his best efforts to bring about a peace,
and the expedition returned to Jamestown.

"Long before this time," Hamor relates, "a gentleman of approved
behaviour and honest carriage, Master John Rolfe, had been in love
with Pocahuntas and she with him, which thing at the instant that we
were in parlee with them, myselfe made known to Sir Thomas Dale, by a
letter from him [Rolfe] whereby he entreated his advice and
furtherance to his love, if so it seemed fit to him for the good of
the Plantation, and Pocahuntas herself acquainted her brethren
therewith." Governor Dale approved this, and consequently was
willing to retire without other conditions. "The bruite of this
pretended marriage [Hamor continues] came soon to Powhatan's
knowledge, a thing acceptable to him, as appeared by his sudden
consent thereunto, who some ten daies after sent an old uncle of
hirs, named Opachisco, to give her as his deputy in the church, and
two of his sonnes to see the mariage solemnized which was accordingly
done about the fifth of April [1614], and ever since we have had
friendly commerce and trade, not only with Powhatan himself, but also
with his subjects round about us; so as now I see no reason why the
collonie should not thrive a pace."

This marriage was justly celebrated as the means and beginning of a
firm peace which long continued, so that Pocahontas was again
entitled to the grateful remembrance of the Virginia settlers.
Already, in 1612, a plan had been mooted in Virginia of marrying the
English with the natives, and of obtaining the recognition of
Powhatan and those allied to him as members of a fifth kingdom, with
certain privileges. Cunega, the Spanish ambassador at London, on
September 22, 1612, writes: "Although some suppose the plantation to
decrease, he is credibly informed that there is a determination to
marry some of the people that go over to Virginia; forty or fifty are
already so married, and English women intermingle and are received
kindly by the natives. A zealous minister hath been wounded for
reprehending it."

Mr. John Rolfe was a man of industry, and apparently devoted to the
welfare of the colony. He probably brought with him in 1610 his
wife, who gave birth to his daughter Bermuda, born on the Somers
Islands at the time of the shipwreck. We find no notice of her
death. Hamor gives him the distinction of being the first in the
colony to try, in 1612, the planting and raising of tobacco. "No man
[he adds] hath labored to his power, by good example there and worthy
encouragement into England by his letters, than he hath done, witness
his marriage with Powhatan's daughter, one of rude education, manners
barbarous and cursed generation, meerely for the good and honor of
the plantation: and least any man should conceive that some sinister
respects allured him hereunto, I have made bold, contrary to his
knowledge, in the end of my treatise to insert the true coppie of his
letter written to Sir Thomas Dale."

The letter is a long, labored, and curious document, and comes nearer
to a theological treatise than any love-letter we have on record. It
reeks with unction. Why Rolfe did not speak to Dale, whom he saw
every day, instead of inflicting upon him this painful document, in
which the flutterings of a too susceptible widower's heart are hidden
under a great resolve of self-sacrifice, is not plain.

The letter protests in a tedious preamble that the writer is moved
entirely by the Spirit of God, and continues:

"Let therefore this my well advised protestation, which here I make
between God and my own conscience, be a sufficient witness, at the
dreadful day of judgment (when the secrets of all men's hearts shall
be opened) to condemne me herein, if my chiefest interest and purpose
be not to strive with all my power of body and mind, in the
undertaking of so weighty a matter, no way led (so far forth as man's
weakness may permit) with the unbridled desire of carnall affection;
but for the good of this plantation, for the honour of our countrie,
for the glory of God, for my owne salvation, and for the converting
to the true knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, an unbelieving
creature, namely Pokahuntas. To whom my heartie and best thoughts
are, and have a long time bin so entangled, and inthralled in so
intricate a laborinth, that I was even awearied to unwinde myself

Master Rolfe goes on to describe the mighty war in his meditations on
this subject, in which he had set before his eyes the frailty of
mankind and his proneness to evil and wicked thoughts. He is aware
of God's displeasure against the sons of Levi and Israel for marrying
strange wives, and this has caused him to look about warily and with
good circumspection "into the grounds and principall agitations which
should thus provoke me to be in love with one, whose education hath
bin rude, her manners barbarous, her generation accursed, and so
discrepant in all nurtriture from myselfe, that oftentimes with feare
and trembling, I have ended my private controversie with this: surely
these are wicked instigations, fetched by him who seeketh and
delighteth in man's distruction; and so with fervent prayers to be
ever preserved from such diabolical assaults (as I looke those to be)
I have taken some rest."

The good man was desperately in love and wanted to marry the Indian,
and consequently he got no peace; and still being tormented with her
image, whether she was absent or present, he set out to produce an
ingenious reason (to show the world) for marrying her. He continues:

"Thus when I thought I had obtained my peace and quietnesse, beholde
another, but more gracious tentation hath made breaches into my
holiest and strongest meditations; with which I have been put to a
new triall, in a straighter manner than the former; for besides the
weary passions and sufferings which I have dailey, hourely, yea and
in my sleepe indured, even awaking me to astonishment, taxing me with
remissnesse, and carelessnesse, refusing and neglecting to perform
the duteie of a good Christian, pulling me by the eare, and crying:
Why dost thou not indeavor to make her a Christian? And these have
happened to my greater wonder, even when she hath been furthest
seperated from me, which in common reason (were it not an undoubted
work of God) might breede forgetfulnesse of a far more worthie

He accurately describes the symptoms and appears to understand the
remedy, but he is after a large-sized motive:

"Besides, I say the holy Spirit of God hath often demanded of me, why
I was created? If not for transitory pleasures and worldly vanities,
but to labour in the Lord's vineyard, there to sow and plant, to
nourish and increase the fruites thereof, daily adding with the good
husband in the gospell, somewhat to the tallent, that in the ends the
fruites may be reaped, to the comfort of the labourer in this life,
and his salvation in the world to come.... Likewise, adding hereunto
her great appearance of love to me, her desire to be taught and
instructed in the knowledge of God, her capablenesse of
understanding, her aptness and willingness to receive anie good
impression, and also the spirituall, besides her owne incitements
stirring me up hereunto."

The "incitements" gave him courage, so that he exclaims: "Shall I be
of so untoward a disposition, as to refuse to lead the blind into the
right way? Shall I be so unnatural, as not to give bread to the
hungrie, or uncharitable, as not to cover the naked?"

It wasn't to be thought of, such wickedness; and so Master Rolfe
screwed up his courage to marry the glorious Princess, from whom
thousands of people were afterwards so anxious to be descended. But
he made the sacrifice for the glory of the country, the benefit of
the plantation, and the conversion of the unregenerate, and other and
lower motive he vigorously repels: "Now, if the vulgar sort, who
square all men's actions by the base rule of their own filthinesse,
shall tax or taunt mee in this my godly labour: let them know it is
not hungry appetite, to gorge myselfe with incontinency; sure (if I
would and were so sensually inclined) I might satisfy such desire,
though not without a seared conscience, yet with Christians more
pleasing to the eie, and less fearefull in the offense unlawfully
committed. Nor am I in so desperate an estate, that I regard not
what becometh of me; nor am I out of hope but one day to see my
country, nor so void of friends, nor mean in birth, but there to
obtain a mach to my great con'tent.... But shall it please God thus
to dispose of me (which I earnestly desire to fulfill my ends before
set down) I will heartily accept of it as a godly taxe appointed me,
and I will never cease (God assisting me) untill I have accomplished,
and brought to perfection so holy a worke, in which I will daily pray
God to bless me, to mine and her eternal happiness."

It is to be hoped that if sanctimonious John wrote any love-letters
to Amonata they had less cant in them than this. But it was pleasing
to Sir Thomas Dale, who was a man to appreciate the high motives of
Mr. Rolfe. In a letter which he despatched from Jamestown, June 18,
1614, to a reverend friend in London, he describes the expedition
when Pocahontas was carried up the river, and adds the information
that when she went on shore, "she would not talk to any of them,
scarcely to them of the best sort, and to them only, that if her
father had loved her, he would not value her less than old swords,
pieces, or axes; wherefore she would still dwell with the Englishmen
who loved her."

"Powhatan's daughter [the letter continues] I caused to be carefully
instructed in Christian Religion, who after she had made some good
progress therein, renounced publically her countrey idolatry, openly
confessed her Christian faith, was, as she desired, baptized, and is
since married to an English Gentleman of good understanding (as by
his letter unto me, containing the reasons for his marriage of her
you may perceive), an other knot to bind this peace the stronger.
Her father and friends gave approbation to it, and her uncle gave her
to him in the church; she lives civilly and lovingly with him, and I
trust will increase in goodness, as the knowledge of God increaseth
in her. She will goe into England with me, and were it but the
gayning of this one soule, I will think my time, toile, and present
stay well spent."

Hamor also appends to his narration a short letter, of the same date
with the above, from the minister Alexander Whittaker, the
genuineness of which is questioned. In speaking of the good deeds of
Sir Thomas Dale it says: "But that which is best, one Pocahuntas or
Matoa, the daughter of Powhatan, is married to an honest and discreet
English Gentleman--Master Rolfe, and that after she had openly
renounced her countrey Idolatry, and confessed the faith of Jesus
Christ, and was baptized, which thing Sir Thomas Dale had laboured a
long time to ground her in." If, as this proclaims, she was married
after her conversion, then Rolfe's tender conscience must have given
him another twist for wedding her, when the reason for marrying her
(her conversion) had ceased with her baptism. His marriage,
according to this, was a pure work of supererogation. It took place
about the 5th of April, 1614. It is not known who performed the

How Pocahontas passed her time in Jamestown during the period of her
detention, we are not told. Conjectures are made that she was an
inmate of the house of Sir Thomas Dale, or of that of the Rev. Mr.
Whittaker, both of whom labored zealously to enlighten her mind on
religious subjects. She must also have been learning English and
civilized ways, for it is sure that she spoke our language very well
when she went to London. Mr. John Rolfe was also laboring for her
conversion, and we may suppose that with all these ministrations,
mingled with her love of Mr. Rolfe, which that ingenious widower had
discovered, and her desire to convert him into a husband, she was not
an unwilling captive. Whatever may have been her barbarous
instincts, we have the testimony of Governor Dale that she lived
"civilly and lovingly" with her husband.



Sir Thomas Dale was on the whole the most efficient and discreet
Governor the colony had had. One element of his success was no doubt
the change in the charter of 1609. By the first charter everything
had been held in common by the company, and there had been no
division of property or allotment of land among the colonists. Under
the new regime land was held in severalty, and the spur of individual
interest began at once to improve the condition of the settlement.
The character of the colonists was also gradually improving. They
had not been of a sort to fulfill the earnest desire of the London
promoter's to spread vital piety in the New World. A zealous defense
of Virginia and Maryland, against "scandalous imputation," entitled
"Leah and Rachel; or, The Two Fruitful Sisters," by Mr. John Hammond,
London, 1656, considers the charges that Virginia "is an unhealthy
place, a nest of rogues, abandoned women, dissolut and rookery
persons; a place of intolerable labour, bad usage and hard diet"; and
admits that "at the first settling, and for many years after, it
deserved most of these aspersions, nor were they then aspersions but
truths.... There were jails supplied, youth seduced, infamous women
drilled in, the provision all brought out of England, and that
embezzled by the Trustees."

Governor Dale was a soldier; entering the army in the Netherlands as
a private he had risen to high position, and received knighthood in
1606. Shortly after he was with Sir Thomas Gates in South Holland.
The States General in 1611 granted him three years' term of absence
in Virginia. Upon his arrival he began to put in force that system
of industry and frugality he had observed in Holland. He had all the
imperiousness of a soldier, and in an altercation with Captain
Newport, occasioned by some injurious remarks the latter made about
Sir Thomas Smith, the treasurer, he pulled his beard and threatened
to hang him. Active operations for settling new plantations were at
once begun, and Dale wrote to Cecil, the Earl of Salisbury, for 2,000
good colonists to be sent out, for the three hundred that came were
"so profane, so riotous, so full of mutiny, that not many are
Christians but in name, their bodies so diseased and crazed that not
sixty of them may be employed." He served afterwards with credit in
Holland, was made commander of the East Indian fleet in 1618, had a
naval engagement with the Dutch near Bantam in 1619, and died in 1620
from the effects of the climate. He was twice married, and his
second wife, Lady Fanny, the cousin of his first wife, survived him
and received a patent for a Virginia plantation.

Governor Dale kept steadily in view the conversion of the Indians to
Christianity, and the success of John Rolfe with Matoaka inspired him
with a desire to convert another daughter of Powhatan, of whose
exquisite perfections he had heard. He therefore despatched Ralph
Hamor, with the English boy, Thomas Savage, as interpreter, on a
mission to the court of Powhatan, "upon a message unto him, which was
to deale with him, if by any means I might procure a daughter of his,
who (Pocahuntas being already in our possession) is generally
reported to be his delight and darling, and surely he esteemed her as
his owne Soule, for surer pledge of peace." This visit Hamor relates
with great naivete.

At his town of Matchcot, near the head of York River, Powhatan
himself received his visitors when they landed, with great
cordiality, expressing much pleasure at seeing again the boy who had
been presented to him by Captain Newport, and whom he had not seen
since he gave him leave to go and see his friends at Jamestown four
years before; he also inquired anxiously after Namontack, whom he had
sent to King James's land to see him and his country and report
thereon, and then led the way to his house, where he sat down on his
bedstead side. "On each hand of him was placed a comely and
personable young woman, which they called his Queenes, the howse
within round about beset with them, the outside guarded with a
hundred bowmen."

The first thing offered was a pipe of tobacco, which Powhatan "first
drank," and then passed to Hamor, who "drank" what he pleased and
then returned it. The Emperor then inquired how his brother Sir
Thomas Dale fared, "and after that of his daughter's welfare, her
marriage, his unknown son, and how they liked, lived and loved
together." Hamor replied "that his brother was very well, and his
daughter so well content that she would not change her life to return
and live with him, whereat he laughed heartily, and said he was very
glad of it."

Powhatan then desired to know the cause of his unexpected coming, and
Mr. Hamor said his message was private, to be delivered to him
without the presence of any except one of his councilors, and one of
the guides, who already knew it.

Therefore the house was cleared of all except the two Queens, who may
never sequester themselves, and Mr. Hamor began his palaver. First
there was a message of love and inviolable peace, the production of
presents of coffee, beads, combs, fish-hooks, and knives, and the
promise of a grindstone when it pleased the Emperor to send for it.
Hamor then proceeded:

"The bruite of the exquesite perfection of your youngest daughter,
being famous through all your territories, hath come to the hearing
of your brother, Sir Thomas Dale, who for this purpose hath addressed
me hither, to intreate you by that brotherly friendship you make
profession of, to permit her (with me) to returne unto him, partly
for the desire which himselfe hath, and partly for the desire her
sister hath to see her of whom, if fame hath not been prodigall, as
like enough it hath not, your brother (by your favour) would gladly
make his nearest companion, wife and bed fellow [many times he would
have interrupted my speech, which I entreated him to heare out, and
then if he pleased to returne me answer], and the reason hereof is,
because being now friendly and firmly united together, and made one
people [as he supposeth and believes] in the bond of love, he would
make a natural union between us, principally because himself hath
taken resolution to dwel in your country so long as he liveth, and
would not only therefore have the firmest assurance hee may, of
perpetuall friendship from you, but also hereby binde himselfe

Powhatan replied with dignity that he gladly accepted the salute of
love and peace, which he and his subjects would exactly maintain.
But as to the other matter he said: "My daughter, whom my brother
desireth, I sold within these three days to be wife to a great
Weroance for two bushels of Roanoke [a small kind of beads made of
oyster shells], and it is true she is already gone with him, three
days' journey from me."

Hamor persisted that this marriage need not stand in the way; "that
if he pleased herein to gratify his Brother he might, restoring the
Roanoke without the imputation of injustice, take home his daughter
again, the rather because she was not full twelve years old, and
therefore not marriageable; assuring him besides the bond of peace,
so much the firmer, he should have treble the price of his daughter
in beads, copper, hatchets, and many other things more useful for

The reply of the noble old savage to this infamous demand ought to
have brought a blush to the cheeks of those who made it. He said he
loved his daughter as dearly as his life; he had many children, but
he delighted in none so much as in her; he could not live if he did
not see her often, as he would not if she were living with the
whites, and he was determined not to put himself in their hands. He
desired no other assurance of friendship than his brother had given
him, who had already one of his daughters as a pledge, which was
sufficient while she lived; "when she dieth he shall have another
child of mine." And then he broke forth in pathetic eloquence: "I
hold it not a brotherly part of your King, to desire to bereave me of
two of my children at once; further give him to understand, that if
he had no pledge at all, he should not need to distrust any injury
from me, or any under my subjection; there have been too many of his
and my men killed, and by my occasion there shall never be more; I
which have power to perform it have said it; no not though I should
have just occasion offered, for I am now old and would gladly end my
days in peace; so as if the English offer me any injury, my country
is large enough, I will remove myself farther from you."

The old man hospitably entertained his guests for a day or two,
loaded them with presents, among which were two dressed buckskins,
white as snow, for his son and daughter, and, requesting some
articles sent him in return, bade them farewell with this message to
Governor Dale: "I hope this will give him good satisfaction, if it do
not I will go three days' journey farther from him, and never see
Englishmen more." It speaks well for the temperate habits of this
savage that after he had feasted his guests, "he caused to be fetched
a great glass of sack, some three quarts or better, which Captain
Newport had given him six or seven years since, carefully preserved
by him, not much above a pint in all this time spent, and gave each
of us in a great oyster shell some three spoonfuls."

We trust that Sir Thomas Dale gave a faithful account of all this to
his wife in England.

Sir Thomas Gates left Virginia in the spring of 1614 and never
returned. After his departure scarcity and severity developed a
mutiny, and six of the settlers were executed. Rolfe was planting
tobacco (he has the credit of being the first white planter of it),
and his wife was getting an inside view of Christian civilization.

In 1616 Sir Thomas Dale returned to England with his company and John
Rolfe and Pocahontas, and several other Indians. They reached
Plymouth early in June, and on the 20th Lord Carew made this note:
"Sir Thomas Dale returned from Virginia; he hath brought divers men
and women of thatt countrye to be educated here, and one Rolfe who
married a daughter of Pohetan (the barbarous prince) called
Pocahuntas, hath brought his wife with him into England." On the 22d
Sir John Chamberlain wrote to Sir Dudley Carlton that there were "ten
or twelve, old and young, of that country."

The Indian girls who came with Pocahontas appear to have been a great
care to the London company. In May, 1620, is a record that the
company had to pay for physic and cordials for one of them who had
been living as a servant in Cheapside, and was very weak of a
consumption. The same year two other of the maids were shipped off
to the Bermudas, after being long a charge to the company, in the
hope that they might there get husbands, "that after they were
converted and had children, they might be sent to their country and
kindred to civilize them." One of them was there married. The
attempt to educate them in England was not very successful, and a
proposal to bring over Indian boys obtained this comment from Sir
Edwin Sandys:

"Now to send for them into England, and to have them educated here,
he found upon experience of those brought by Sir Thomas Dale, might
be far from the Christian work intended." One Nanamack, a lad
brought over by Lord Delaware, lived some years in houses where "he
heard not much of religion but sins, had many times examples of
drinking, swearing and like evils, ran as he was a mere Pagan," till
he fell in with a devout family and changed his life, but died before
he was baptized. Accompanying Pocahontas was a councilor of
Powhatan, one Tomocomo, the husband of one of her sisters, of whom
Purchas says in his "Pilgrimes": "With this savage I have often
conversed with my good friend Master Doctor Goldstone where he was a
frequent geust, and where I have seen him sing and dance his
diabolical measures, and heard him discourse of his country and
religion.... Master Rolfe lent me a discourse which I have in my
Pilgrimage delivered. And his wife did not only accustom herself to
civility, but still carried herself as the daughter of a king, and
was accordingly respected, not only by the Company which allowed
provision for herself and her son, but of divers particular persons
of honor, in their hopeful zeal by her to advance Christianity. I
was present when my honorable and reverend patron, the Lord Bishop of
London, Doctor King, entertained her with festival state and pomp
beyond what I had seen in his great hospitality offered to other
ladies. At her return towards Virginia she came at Gravesend to her
end and grave, having given great demonstration of her Christian
sincerity, as the first fruits of Virginia conversion, leaving here a
goodly memory, and the hopes of her resurrection, her soul aspiring
to see and enjoy permanently in heaven what here she had joyed to
hear and believe of her blessed Saviour. Not such was Tomocomo, but
a blasphemer of what he knew not and preferring his God to ours
because he taught them (by his own so appearing) to wear their Devil-
lock at the left ear; he acquainted me with the manner of that his
appearance, and believed that their Okee or Devil had taught them
their husbandry."

Upon news of her arrival, Captain Smith, either to increase his own
importance or because Pocahontas was neglected, addressed a letter or
"little booke" to Queen Anne, the consort of King James. This letter
is found in Smith's "General Historie" ( 1624), where it is
introduced as having been sent to Queen Anne in 1616. Probably he
sent her such a letter. We find no mention of its receipt or of any
acknowledgment of it. Whether the "abstract" in the "General
Historie" is exactly like the original we have no means of knowing.
We have no more confidence in Smith's memory than we have in his
dates. The letter is as follows:

"To the most high and vertuous Princesse Queene Anne of Great


"The love I beare my God, my King and Countrie hath so oft emboldened
me in the worst of extreme dangers, that now honestie doth constraine
mee presume thus farre beyond my selfe, to present your Majestie this
short discourse: if ingratitude be a deadly poyson to all honest
vertues, I must be guiltie of that crime if I should omit any meanes
to bee thankful. So it is.

"That some ten yeeres agoe being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by
the power of Powhaten, their chiefe King, I received from this great
Salvage exceeding great courtesie, especially from his sonne
Nantaquaus, the most manliest, comeliest, boldest spirit, I ever saw
in a Salvage and his sister Pocahontas, the Kings most deare and wel-
beloved daughter, being but a childe of twelve or thirteen yeeres of
age, whose compassionate pitifull heart, of desperate estate, gave me
much cause to respect her: I being the first Christian this proud
King and his grim attendants ever saw, and thus enthralled in their
barbarous power, I cannot say I felt the least occasion of want that
was in the power of those my mortall foes to prevent notwithstanding
al their threats. After some six weeks fatting amongst those Salvage
Courtiers, at the minute of my execution, she hazarded the beating
out of her owne braines to save mine, and not onely that, but so
prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestowne,
where I found about eight and thirty miserable poore and sicke
creatures, to keepe possession of all those large territories of
Virginia, such was the weaknesse of this poore Commonwealth, as had
the Salvages not fed us, we directly had starved.

"And this reliefe, most gracious Queene, was commonly brought us by
this Lady Pocahontas, notwithstanding all these passages when
inconstant Fortune turned our Peace to warre, this tender Virgin
would still not spare to dare to visit us, and by her our jarres have
been oft appeased, and our wants still supplyed; were it the policie
of her father thus to imploy her, or the ordinance of God thus to
make her his instrument, or her extraordinarie affection to our
Nation, I know not: but of this I am sure: when her father with the
utmost of his policie and power, sought to surprize mee, having but
eighteene with mee, the dark night could not affright her from
comming through the irksome woods, and with watered eies gave me
intilligence, with her best advice to escape his furie: which had hee
known hee had surely slaine her. Jamestowne with her wild traine she
as freely frequented, as her father's habitation: and during the time
of two or three yeares, she next under God, was still the instrument
to preserve this Colonie from death, famine and utter confusion,
which if in those times had once beene dissolved, Virginia might have
laine as it was at our first arrivall to this day. Since then, this
buisinesse having been turned and varied by many accidents from that
I left it at: it is most certaine, after a long and troublesome warre
after my departure, betwixt her father and our Colonie, all which
time shee was not heard of, about two yeeres longer, the Colonie by
that meanes was releived, peace concluded, and at last rejecting her
barbarous condition, was maried to an English Gentleman, with whom at
this present she is in England; the first Christian ever of that
Nation, the first Virginian ever spake English, or had a childe in
mariage by an Englishman, a matter surely, if my meaning bee truly
considered and well understood, worthy a Princes understanding.

"Thus most gracious Lady, I have related to your Majestic, what at
your best leasure our approved Histories will account you at large,
and done in the time of your Majesties life, and however this might
bee presented you from a more worthy pen, it cannot from a more
honest heart, as yet I never begged anything of the State, or any,
and it is my want of abilitie and her exceeding desert, your birth,
meanes, and authoritie, her birth, vertue, want and simplicitie, doth
make mee thus bold, humbly to beseech your Majestic: to take this
knowledge of her though it be from one so unworthy to be the
reporter, as myselfe, her husband's estate not being able to make her
fit to attend your Majestic: the most and least I can doe, is to tell
you this, because none so oft hath tried it as myselfe: and the
rather being of so great a spirit, however her station: if she should
not be well received, seeing this Kingdome may rightly have a
Kingdome by her meanes: her present love to us and Christianitie,
might turne to such scorne and furie, as to divert all this good to
the worst of evill, when finding so great a Queene should doe her
some honour more than she can imagine, for being so kinde to your
servants and subjects, would so ravish her with content, as endeare
her dearest bloud to effect that, your Majestic and all the Kings
honest subjects most earnestly desire: and so I humbly kisse your
gracious hands."

The passage in this letter, "She hazarded the beating out of her owne
braines to save mine," is inconsistent with the preceding portion of
the paragraph which speaks of "the exceeding great courtesie" of
Powhatan; and Smith was quite capable of inserting it afterwards when
he made up his

"General Historie."

Smith represents himself at this time--the last half of 1616 and the
first three months of 1617--as preparing to attempt a third voyage to
New England (which he did not make), and too busy to do Pocahontas
the service she desired. She was staying at Branford, either from
neglect of the company or because the London smoke disagreed with
her, and there Smith went to see her. His account of his intercourse
with her, the only one we have, must be given for what it is worth.
According to this she had supposed Smith dead, and took umbrage at
his neglect of her. He writes:

"After a modest salutation, without any word, she turned about,
obscured her face, as not seeming well contented; and in that humour,
her husband with divers others, we all left her two or three hours
repenting myself to have writ she could speak English. But not long
after she began to talke, remembering me well what courtesies she had
done: saying, 'You did promise Powhatan what was yours should be his,
and he the like to you; you called him father, being in his land a
stranger, and by the same reason so must I do you:' which though I
would have excused, I durst not allow of that title, because she was
a king's daughter. With a well set countenance she said: 'Were you
not afraid to come into my father's country and cause fear in him and
all his people (but me), and fear you have I should call you father;
I tell you then I will, and you shall call me childe, and so I will
be forever and ever, your contrieman. They did tell me alwaies you
were dead, and I knew no other till I came to Plymouth, yet Powhatan
did command Uttamatomakkin to seek you, and know the truth, because
your countriemen will lie much."'

This savage was the Tomocomo spoken of above, who had been sent by
Powhatan to take a census of the people of England, and report what
they and their state were. At Plymouth he got a long stick and began
to make notches in it for the people he saw. But he was quickly
weary of that task. He told Smith that Powhatan bade him seek him
out, and get him to show him his God, and the King, Queen, and
Prince, of whom Smith had told so much. Smith put him off about
showing his God, but said he had heard that he had seen the King.
This the Indian denied, James probably not coming up to his idea of a
king, till by circumstances he was convinced he had seen him. Then
he replied very sadly: "You gave Powhatan a white dog, which Powhatan
fed as himself, but your king gave me nothing, and I am better than
your white dog."

Smith adds that he took several courtiers to see Pocahontas, and
"they did think God had a great hand in her conversion, and they have
seen many English ladies worse favoured, proportioned, and
behavioured;" and he heard that it had pleased the King and Queen
greatly to esteem her, as also Lord and Lady Delaware, and other
persons of good quality, both at the masques and otherwise.

Much has been said about the reception of Pocahontas in London, but
the contemporary notices of her are scant. The Indians were objects
of curiosity for a time in London, as odd Americans have often been
since, and the rank of Pocahontas procured her special attention.
She was presented at court. She was entertained by Dr. King, Bishop
of London. At the playing of Ben Jonson's "Christmas his Mask" at
court, January 6, 1616-17, Pocahontas and Tomocomo were both present,
and Chamberlain writes to Carleton: "The Virginian woman Pocahuntas
with her father counsellor have been with the King and graciously
used, and both she and her assistant were pleased at the Masque. She
is upon her return though sore against her will, if the wind would
about to send her away."

Mr. Neill says that "after the first weeks of her residence in
England she does not appear to be spoken of as the wife of Rolfe by
the letter writers," and the Rev. Peter Fontaine says that "when they
heard that Rolfe had married Pocahontas, it was deliberated in
council whether he had not committed high treason by so doing, that
is marrying an Indian princesse."

It was like James to think so. His interest in the colony was never
the most intelligent, and apt to be in things trivial. Lord
Southampton (Dec. 15, 1609) writes to Lord Salisbury that he had told
the King of the Virginia squirrels brought into England, which are
said to fly. The King very earnestly asked if none were provided for
him, and said he was sure Salisbury would get him one. Would not
have troubled him, "but that you know so well how he is affected to
these toys."

There has been recently found in the British Museum a print of a
portrait of Pocahontas, with a legend round it in Latin, which is
translated: "Matoaka, alias Rebecka, Daughter of Prince Powhatan,
Emperor of Virginia; converted to Christianity, married Mr. Rolff;
died on shipboard at Gravesend 1617." This is doubtless the portrait
engraved by Simon De Passe in 1616, and now inserted in the extant
copies of the London edition of the "General Historie," 1624. It is
not probable that the portrait was originally published with the
"General Historie." The portrait inserted in the edition of 1624 has
this inscription:

Round the portrait:

"Matoaka als Rebecca Filia Potentiss Princ: Pohatani Imp: Virginim."

In the oval, under the portrait:

"Aetatis suae 21 A.

"Matoaks als Rebecka daughter to the mighty Prince Powhatan
Emprour of Attanoughkomouck als virginia converted and baptized in
the Christian faith, and wife to the worth Mr. job Rolff.
i: Pass: sculp. Compton Holland excud."

Camden in his "History of Gravesend" says that everybody paid this
young lady all imaginable respect, and it was believed she would have
sufficiently acknowledged those favors, had she lived to return to
her own country, by bringing the Indians to a kinder disposition
toward the English; and that she died, "giving testimony all the
time she lay sick, of her being a very good Christian."

The Lady Rebecka, as she was called in London, died on shipboard at
Gravesend after a brief illness, said to be of only three days,
probably on the 21st of March, 1617. I have seen somewhere a
statement, which I cannot confirm, that her disease was smallpox.
St. George's Church, where she was buried, was destroyed by fire in
1727. The register of that church has this record:

"1616, May 21 Rebecca Wrothe
Wyff of Thomas Wroth gent
A Virginia lady borne, here was buried
in ye chaunncle."

Yet there is no doubt, according to a record in the Calendar of State
Papers, dated "1617, 29 March, London," that her death occurred March
21, 1617.

John Rolfe was made Secretary of Virginia when Captain Argall became
Governor, and seems to have been associated in the schemes of that
unscrupulous person and to have forfeited the good opinion of the
company. August 23, 1618, the company wrote to Argall: "We cannot
imagine why you should give us warning that Opechankano and the
natives have given the country to Mr. Rolfe's child, and that they
reserve it from all others till he comes of years except as we
suppose as some do here report it be a device of your own, to some
special purpose for yourself." It appears also by the minutes of the
company in 1621 that Lady Delaware had trouble to recover goods of
hers left in Rolfe's hands in Virginia, and desired a commission
directed to Sir Thomas Wyatt and Mr. George Sandys to examine what
goods of the late "Lord Deleware had come into Rolfe's possession and
get satisfaction of him." This George Sandys is the famous traveler
who made a journey through the Turkish Empire in 1610, and who wrote,
while living in Virginia, the first book written in the New World,
the completion of his translation of Ovid's "Metamorphosis."

John Rolfe died in Virginia in 1622, leaving a wife and children.
This is supposed to be his third wife, though there is no note of his
marriage to her nor of the death of his first. October 7, 1622, his
brother Henry Rolfe petitioned that the estate of John should be
converted to the support of his relict wife and children and to his
own indemnity for having brought up John's child by Powhatan's

This child, named Thomas Rolfe, was given after the death of
Pocahontas to the keeping of Sir Lewis Stukely of Plymouth, who fell
into evil practices, and the boy was transferred to the guardianship
of his uncle Henry Rolfe, and educated in London. When he was grown
up he returned to Virginia, and was probably there married. There is
on record his application to the Virginia authorities in 1641 for
leave to go into the Indian country and visit Cleopatra, his mother's
sister. He left an only daughter who was married, says Stith (1753),
"to Col. John Bolling; by whom she left an only son, the late Major
John Bolling, who was father to the present Col. John Bolling, and
several daughters, married to Col. Richard Randolph, Col. John
Fleming, Dr. William Gay, Mr. Thomas Eldridge, and Mr. James Murray."
Campbell in his "History of Virginia" says that the first Randolph
that came to the James River was an esteemed and industrious
mechanic, and that one of his sons, Richard, grandfather of the
celebrated John Randolph, married Jane Bolling, the great
granddaughter of Pocahontas.

In 1618 died the great Powhatan, full of years and satiated with
fighting and the savage delights of life. He had many names and
titles; his own people sometimes called him Ottaniack, sometimes
Mamauatonick, and usually in his presence Wahunsenasawk. He ruled,
by inheritance and conquest, with many chiefs under him, over a large
territory with not defined borders, lying on the James, the York, the
Rappahannock, the Potomac, and the Pawtuxet Rivers. He had several
seats, at which he alternately lived with his many wives and guard of
bowmen, the chief of which at the arrival of the English was
Werowomocomo, on the Pamunkey (York) River. His state has been
sufficiently described. He is said to have had a hundred wives, and
generally a dozen--the youngest--personally attending him. When he
had a mind to add to his harem he seems to have had the ancient
oriental custom of sending into all his dominions for the fairest
maidens to be brought from whom to select. And he gave the wives of
whom he was tired to his favorites.

Strachey makes a striking description of him as he appeared about
1610: "He is a goodly old man not yet shrincking, though well beaten
with cold and stormeye winters, in which he hath been patient of many
necessityes and attempts of his fortune to make his name and famely
great. He is supposed to be little lesse than eighty yeares old, I
dare not saye how much more; others saye he is of a tall stature and
cleane lymbes, of a sad aspect, rownd fatt visaged, with graie
haires, but plaine and thin, hanging upon his broad showlders; some
few haires upon his chin, and so on his upper lippe: he hath been a
strong and able salvadge, synowye, vigilant, ambitious, subtile to
enlarge his dominions:.... cruell he hath been, and quarellous as
well with his own wcrowanccs for trifles, and that to strike a
terrour and awe into them of his power and condicion, as also with
his neighbors in his younger days, though now delighted in security
and pleasure, and therefore stands upon reasonable conditions of
peace with all the great and absolute werowances about him, and is
likewise more quietly settled amongst his own."

It was at this advanced age that he had the twelve favorite young
wives whom Strachey names. All his people obeyed him with fear and
adoration, presenting anything he ordered at his feet, and trembling
if he frowned. His punishments were cruel; offenders were beaten to
death before him, or tied to trees and dismembered joint by joint, or
broiled to death on burning coals. Strachey wondered how such a
barbarous prince should put on such ostentation of majesty, yet he
accounted for it as belonging to the necessary divinity that doth
hedge in a king: "Such is (I believe) the impression of the divine
nature, and however these (as other heathens forsaken by the true
light) have not that porcion of the knowing blessed Christian
spiritt, yet I am perswaded there is an infused kind of divinities
and extraordinary (appointed that it shall be so by the King of
kings) to such as are his ymedyate instruments on earth."

Here is perhaps as good a place as any to say a word or two about the
appearance and habits of Powhatan's subjects, as they were observed
by Strachey and Smith. A sort of religion they had, with priests or
conjurors, and houses set apart as temples, wherein images were kept
and conjurations performed, but the ceremonies seem not worship, but
propitiations against evil, and there seems to have been no
conception of an overruling power or of an immortal life. Smith
describes a ceremony of sacrifice of children to their deity; but
this is doubtful, although Parson Whittaker, who calls the Indians
"naked slaves of the devil," also says they sacrificed sometimes
themselves and sometimes their own children. An image of their god
which he sent to England "was painted upon one side of a toadstool,
much like unto a deformed monster." And he adds: "Their priests,
whom they call Quockosoughs, are no other but such as our English
witches are." This notion I believe also pertained among the New
England colonists. There was a belief that the Indian conjurors had
some power over the elements, but not a well-regulated power, and in
time the Indians came to a belief in the better effect of the
invocations of the whites. In "Winslow's Relation," quoted by
Alexander Young in his "Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers," under
date of July, 1623, we read that on account of a great drought a fast
day was appointed. When the assembly met the sky was clear. The
exercise lasted eight or nine hours. Before they broke up, owing to
prayers the weather was overcast. Next day began a long gentle rain.
This the Indians seeing, admired the goodness of our God: "showing
the difference between their conjuration and our invocation in the
name of God for rain; theirs being mixed with such storms and
tempests, as sometimes, instead of doing them good, it layeth the
corn flat on the ground; but ours in so gentle and seasonable a
manner, as they never observed the like."

It was a common opinion of the early settlers in Virginia, as it was
of those in New England, that the Indians were born white, but that
they got a brown or tawny color by the use of red ointments, made of
earth and the juice of roots, with which they besmear themselves
either according to the custom of the country or as a defense against
the stinging of mosquitoes. The women are of the same hue as the
men, says Strachey; "howbeit, it is supposed neither of them
naturally borne so discolored; for Captain Smith (lyving sometymes
amongst them) affirmeth how they are from the womb indifferent white,
but as the men, so doe the women," "dye and disguise themselves into
this tawny cowler, esteeming it the best beauty to be nearest such a
kind of murrey as a sodden quince is of," as the Greek women colored
their faces and the ancient Britain women dyed themselves with red;
"howbeit [Strachey slyly adds] he or she that hath obtained the
perfected art in the tempering of this collour with any better kind
of earth, yearb or root preserves it not yet so secrett and precious
unto herself as doe our great ladyes their oyle of talchum, or other
painting white and red, but they frindly communicate the secret and
teach it one another."

Thomas Lechford in his "Plain Dealing; or Newes from New England,"
London, 1642, says: "They are of complexion swarthy and tawny; their
children are borne white, but they bedawbe them with oyle and colors

The men are described as tall, straight, and of comely proportions;
no beards; hair black, coarse, and thick; noses broad, flat, and full
at the end; with big lips and wide mouths', yet nothing so unsightly
as the Moors; and the women as having "handsome limbs, slender arms,
pretty hands, and when they sing they have a pleasant tange in their
voices. The men shaved their hair on the right side, the women
acting as barbers, and left the hair full length on the left side,
with a lock an ell long." A Puritan divine--"New England's
Plantation, 1630"--says of the Indians about him, "their hair is
generally black, and cut before like our gentlewomen, and one lock
longer than the rest, much like to our gentlemen, which fashion I
think came from hence into England."

Their love of ornaments is sufficiently illustrated by an extract
from Strachey, which is in substance what Smith writes:

"Their eares they boare with wyde holes, commonly two or three, and
in the same they doe hang chaines of stayned pearle braceletts, of
white bone or shreeds of copper, beaten thinne and bright, and wounde
up hollowe, and with a grate pride, certaine fowles' legges, eagles,
hawkes, turkeys, etc., with beasts clawes, bears, arrahacounes,
squirrells, etc. The clawes thrust through they let hang upon the
cheeke to the full view, and some of their men there be who will
weare in these holes a small greene and yellow-couloured live snake,
neere half a yard in length, which crawling and lapping himself about
his neck oftentymes familiarly, he suffreeth to kisse his lippes.
Others weare a dead ratt tyed by the tayle, and such like

This is the earliest use I find of our word "conundrum," and the
sense it bears here may aid in discovering its origin.

Powhatan is a very large figure in early Virginia history, and
deserves his prominence. He was an able and crafty savage, and made
a good fight against the encroachments of the whites, but he was no
match for the crafty Smith, nor the double-dealing of the Christians.
There is something pathetic about the close of his life, his sorrow
for the death of his daughter in a strange land, when he saw his
territories overrun by the invaders, from whom he only asked peace,
and the poor privilege of moving further away from them into the
wilderness if they denied him peace.

In the midst of this savagery Pocahontas blooms like a sweet, wild
rose. She was, like the Douglas, "tender and true." Wanting
apparently the cruel nature of her race generally, her heroic
qualities were all of the heart. No one of all the contemporary
writers has anything but gentle words for her. Barbarous and
untaught she was like her comrades, but of a gentle nature. Stripped
of all the fictions which Captain Smith has woven into her story, and
all the romantic suggestions which later writers have indulged in,
she appears, in the light of the few facts that industry is able to
gather concerning her, as a pleasing and unrestrained Indian girl,
probablv not different from her savage sisters in her habits, but
bright and gentle; struck with admiration at the appearance of the
white men, and easily moved to pity them, and so inclined to a
growing and lasting friendship for them; tractable and apt to learn
refinements; accepting the new religion through love for those who
taught it, and finally becoming in her maturity a well-balanced,
sensible, dignified Christian woman.

According to the long-accepted story of Pocahontas, she did something
more than interfere to save from barbarous torture and death a
stranger and a captive, who had forfeited his life by shooting those
who opposed his invasion. In all times, among the most savage tribes
and in civilized society, women have been moved to heavenly pity by
the sight of a prisoner, and risked life to save him--the impulse was
as natural to a Highland lass as to an African maid. Pocahontas went
further than efforts to make peace between the superior race and her
own. When the whites forced the Indians to contribute from their
scanty stores to the support of the invaders, and burned their
dwellings and shot them on sight if they refused, the Indian maid
sympathized with the exposed whites and warned them of stratagems
against them; captured herself by a base violation of the laws of
hospitality, she was easily reconciled to her situation, adopted the
habits of the foreigners, married one of her captors, and in peace
and in war cast in her lot with the strangers. History has not
preserved for us the Indian view of her conduct.

It was no doubt fortunate for her, though perhaps not for the colony,
that her romantic career ended by an early death, so that she always
remains in history in the bloom of youth. She did not live to be
pained by the contrast, to which her eyes were opened, between her
own and her adopted people, nor to learn what things could be done in
the Christian name she loved, nor to see her husband in a less
honorable light than she left him, nor to be involved in any way in
the frightful massacre of 1622. If she had remained in England after
the novelty was over, she might have been subject to slights and
mortifying neglect. The struggles of the fighting colony could have
brought her little but pain. Dying when she did, she rounded out one
of the prettiest romances of all history, and secured for her name
the affection of a great nation, whose empire has spared little that
belonged to her childhood and race, except the remembrance of her
friendship for those who destroyed her people.


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