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But as Governor Lane undertook to effect his purposes among the natives by force always, instead of persuasion, he met with indifferent success. The Indians had by this time become a little jealous of the colonists; and the best friend of the latter, Granganimo, died in the spring of his year, 1586. Gold was the idol of the adventurers, and to the nego .ect of every thing else they pursued this continually elusive phantom.
Their provisions were exhausted, and they had taken no measures to renew them by agriculture. Reduced to the utmost distress, they were on the point of dispersing to various quarters in search of food, when Sir Francis Drake, who had been engaged in a successful expedition against 'the Spaniards in the West Indies, appeared unexpectedly to their relief, and carried the fatigued and famishing colonists to England.
One consequence of this abortive attempt to found a colony, is of sufficient importance to make it celebrated in history. Lane and his companions had acquired from the Indians the habit of smoking tobacco, and carrying a specimen of this new luxury to England, the use of it was soon adopted by Raleigh and other young men of fashion. Fashion, and a capricious notion of its salutary influence, soon diffused a general fondness for this disagreeable weed, till the demand for it has become universal.
Raleigh still remained attached to his scheme of colonizing, and in 1587 dispatched another body of adventurers, incorporated under the title of the Borough of Raleigh in Virginia. The bay of Chesapeake was designated as the spot for the erection of a fort, and the settlement of the company. On the 16th of July, after a passage of about seventy days, the expedition made the coast of Virginia, and arriving at Hatteras, the Governor with a select party visited the island of Roanoke, to ascertain what vestiges might be found of the party left there the preceding year. The bones of a man were the sole relics of the colony. Dwelling-houses and a fort had been erected by Lane in the northern quarter of the island; but the fort was razed, and deer were feeding quietly in the houses which had been overgrown with creepers and weeds. This sight filled the adventurers with the saddest apprehensions, and they could only speculate on the probable means by which their companions had come to their death. Orders were immediately given for the erection of new, and the repair of the old cottages, and a second plantation was immediately commenced by a colony of one hundred and seventeen persons.
Before the close of the month of August, the Governor, Mr. John White, in whom, with a council of twelve, the legislative power of the colony was vested, sailed for England to procure supplies. At this time the nation was engrossed by the expected invasion of the Spanish armada, but Raleigh still contrived to send out White with two more vessels, which were unfortunately attacked by the enemy, and so shattered as to be compelled to return. It was not till 1590, that another expedition succeeded in reaching Virginia, when they found a scene of similar tragic character with that which had been before displayed. No living trace of the colo ny was to be found. The palisades were still standing about their houses, and their unconsumed stores were found hidden in the earth ; but no
voice told their story, and no certain though silent testimony was found of their fate. If they had been slain by savage incursion, every trace of blood and fire was carefully removed, and not a bleached bone was left to bear witness of the tragedy. They had perished beyond a doubt, but whether by the sea or land, by the war of the elements, or the still more cruel war of the human passions, was and remains a mystery. Thus terminated the noble efforts of the generous and accomplished Raleigh, to plant a colony in the western hemisphere. In four several expeditions he had expended forty thousand pounds, without any return; and he was without much difficulty induced to surrender the privileges of his patent to other hands. The mercantile company into whose possession this patent fell, carried on a slight traffic in a few small barks, but made no effort to make a settlement in the country. Thus, after more than a century after the discovery of North America by Cabot, not an individual English resident remained in the new world. Shipwreck and famine, savage warfare and domestic dissensions, had frustrated every effort to establish an English colony beyond the ocean, as if it were indeed the “dissocial” waste imagined by the ancients, whose waters it were impious to violate and impossible to pass.
The colonization of America awaited the energy of a new impulse, and the first permanent settlement in Virginia was made in 1606, by an expedition under the command of Christopher Newport. He entered the magnificent bay of Chesapeake, the spacious reservoir of innumerable waters, and gave the names of Henry and Charles to its southern and northern promontories. Every object which met the eyes of the adventurers as they sailed up the broad and shining bosom of the great Chesapeake, excited
their imaginations and their hopes. The banks of the bay, upon all sides, as far as sight could reach, were covered with the fresh green beauty of spring. There were large and majestic navigable rivers, and between then a variety of mountains, plains and valleys stretching far away in the distance. Bright rivulets came dashing down the hills, and fell into the bay. Innumerable birds sported and sang in the green woods upon the shore and the islands; the fish leaped from the sunny waters around them; and all nature seemed to welcome the coming of the new colony with smiles.
The adventurers were employed in seeking a place for settlement until the 13th of May, when they took possession of a peninsula, on the north side of the river Powhatan, called by the emigrants James river, about forty miles from its mouth. To make room for their projected town, they commenced clearing away the forest, which had for centuries afforded shelter and food to the natives. The members of the Council, while they. adhered to their orders in the choice of their President, on the most frivolous pretences excluded from a seat among them the individual, who was probably of all others the best fitted for the office, Captain Smith, though nominated by the same instrument from which they derived their authority. His superior talents, and the fame he had previously acquired in war, excited their envy, while possibly they induced him to assume, that a greater deference was due to his opinion than his coadjutors were willing to admit. At length, however, by the prudent exhortations of Mr. Hunt, their chaplain, the animosities which had arisen were composed, Smith was admitted into the Council, and they all turned their undivided attention to the government of the colony. In honor of their monarch, they called the town, the erection of which they now commenced, Jamestown. Thus was formed the first permanent colony of the English in America.
The vicinity of the settlement was a vast wilderness, though a luxuriant one, inhabited by a race of Indian savages, possessing both the virtues and the vices peculiar to their state. At first they treated the colonists with kindness; but misunderstandings, from various causes, ere long interrupted the peace, and annoyed the proceedings of the English. Nor was the hostility of the natives the only occasion of discomfort; the extreme heat of summer, and the intense cold of the succeeding winter, were alike fatal to the colonists. From May to September, fifty persons died, among whom was Bartholomew Gosnold, a member of the Council. The storehouse at Jamestown accidentally taking fire, the town, thatched with reeds, burned with such violence, that the fortifications, arms, apparel, bedding, and a great quantity of private goods and provision, were consumed.
These distresses naturally led them to reflect upon their situation; and having become sensible of their injustice to Smith, his personal talents and activity were, in their adversity, appealed to with thai regard and deference which, in prosperous times, are yielded only to vested authority and official station. From some unaccountable jealousy on the part of the Governor, the fort had been left in an unprotected state, but, by the advice of Smith, it was now put into a state to defend them against the attacks of the Indians. To procure provisions and explore the country, he made frequent and distant excursions into the wilderness. In one of these, he seized an Indian idol, made with skins stuffed with moss, for the redemption of which as much corn was brought him as he required. Some tribes he gained by caresses and presents, and procured from them a supply of provi sions; others he attacked with open force, and defeat
ing them on every occasion, whatever their superiority in numbers might be, compelled them to impart to him some portion of their winter stores. As the recompense of all his toils and dangers, he saw abundance and contentment re-established in the colony, and hoped that he should be able to maintain them in that happy state, until the arrival of ships from England in the spring. But in the midst of his energetic measures, while exploring the source of the river Chickahominy, he was surprised and attacked by a party of Indians. He defended himself bravely until his companions were killed, when he took to flight; but running incautiously, he sunk up to his shoulders in a swamp and was taken prisoner. The exulting savages conducted him in triumph through several towns to Werowocomoco, where Powhatan, their King, resided in state, with a strong guard of Indians around him. When the prisoner entered the apartment of the sovereign, all the people gave a shout. The queen of Appamatuck was appointed to bring him water to wash his hands; and another person brought a bunch of feathers, instead of a towel, to dry them. Having feasted him in their best manner, and exhibited some of
their Indian dances before him, they held a long consultation, at the conclusion of which, two great stones were brought before Powhatan. Smith had now reason to consider his career as drawing to a close ; by the united efforts of the attendants, he was forcibly dragged, his head laid upon one of the stones, and the mighty club upraised, a few blows from which were to terminate his existence. But a very unexpected interposition now took place. Pocahontas, the favorite daughter of Powhatan, was seized with emotions of tender pity, and ran up to her father, pathetically pleading for the life of the stranger. When all entreaties were lost on that stern and savage potentate, she hastened to Smith, snatched his head in her arms, and laid her own on his, declaring that the first blow must fall upon her. The heart even of a savage father was at last melted, and Powhatan granted to his favorite daughter the life of Smith.
During his captivity among the Indians, Smith found many opportunities of witnessing their peculiar manners and ceremonies, and has described
them, in some respects, with much minuteness. Among other things, he describes the magical performances to which they had recourse, in order to ascertain whether Smith intended them good or evil; for they were still greatly in awe of him. Early one morning, therefore, a great fire was made in a log-house, and a large mat spread on two opposite sides. They made Smith sit down upon one; and his guard, still consisting of some twenty or thirty stout Indians, then left the house.
Presently a large grim looking savage came skipping and flourishing 'n, like a wire-dancer. He was all painted over with
coal, mingled with oil
On this creature's head, to complete his attractions, was a large orna. mental bunch of snake and weasel skins, stuffed with moss, and their tails so tied together, as to meet on the crown of his head, like a tassel. The skins hung down about his face and shoulders, and a coronet of long feathers streamed round about from his tassel. This character now began his invocation. He shouted like a fiend, with all possible gestures, postures, and grimaces. He carried a tremendous ratile in his hand, moreover, to complete the concert. This being over, three more people of the same description, painted half red and half black, came rushing in like the first, and performed nearly the same kind of dance; but the eyes of the last three were painted white; and some rough strokes of paint were daubed along their jaws, as an imitation of English mustachios and whiskers. These men having skipped and howled round about Smith till he was nearly stunned with their noise, retired into the ante-chamber, probably to refresh themselves. But the ceremony was not yet over. Three more now leaped into the room, not a whit less ugly than the others, with red eyes and white mustachios, painted upon faces as black as a kettle. At last, all the dancers seated themselves on the mat opposite to Smith-three on one side of the chief performer, and three on the oth
He soon commenced a song, accompanied with the noise of rattles. The chief man then laid down five grains of wheat, and commenced an oration, straining his arms and hands with such violence, that his veins swelled. At the conclusion of this performance, they all gave a short