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settlement was made in Virginia. The Indians. who inhabited the adjacent country appeared friendly, and their chief Paspiha sent the Eng. lish a present of venison, and offered them as much land as they should want.
Captain Newport, accompanied by captain John Smith, who was released from confinement though not absolved from the charge of treason, ascended the river with only twenty men, as high as the falls. During this excursion they made their first visit to the seat of the emperor Powhatan. The town where this monarch of so many nations then resided, stood about two miles below where Richmond now stands, and consisted of about a dozen of houses.*
The first appearance of the natives was calculated to inspire confidence in the English; but the traits of the Indian character were not yet fully unfolded. A little farther acquaintance seemed necessary to put the English on their guard against that hostile spirit which lurked :
* The site of the town is now part of a farm belonging to Mr. William Mayo.
under the mask of friendship. An opportunity offered in the absence of Smith and Newport of estimating the faith and attachment of the natives. The colony at Jamestown was attacked by a party of Indians, who killed one and wounded seventeen of the English. This attack showed them the necessity of union among themselves, and more vigilance towards their enemies.
Hitherto they had been distracted by domestic feuds, the constant companions of popular and incongruous bodies. They were now compelled to think of their mutual defence. A fort which had been constructed since their arrival was strengthened by a palisade, and mounted with five pieces of cannon.
Captain Smith, who had strenuously demanded a trial, at length succeeded in his wishes, against the machinations of his enemies. He was acquitted of the charges against him, and consequently admitted to his seat in the council.
On the 22d of June 1607, Newport returned to England, leaving in Virginia one hundred
and four persons, with but a scanty stock of provisions. Owing to the scarcity or bad quality of their food, and no doubt in part to the climate, which now when meliorated by the cultivation of the soil is not of the most salubrious kind, about fifty of those that remained at Jamestown died within a month after the departure of Newport. The survivors lived during the summer chiefly on crabs and sturgeon.
During this time of famine and distress, the president Wingfield was charged with feasting on the provisions belonging to the colony, and other improper conduct. What might have been the degree of his guilt it is not worth our time to inquire. It is sufficient to observe, that the council dismissed him from his office, and elected John Raicliffe in his room.
The adventurous mind of Smith, which could not be restrained by the love of ease nor the fear of danger, led him into various parts of the country, and enabled him to make important discoveries. In one of these excursions he discovered the people of Chickahomony. In another he procured a quantity of
corn, as a ransom for an idol which he had taken from the Kickotan Indians. He made another voyage up the river, with a design of exploring the source of the Chickahomony. After ascending as far as possible in a boat, he proceeded in a canoe, accompanied by only two Englishmen and two Indians. The rest of his party, who were left to guard the boat, were attacked soon after his departure by the famous Opechancanough, whose treacherous and implacable hostility is indelibly recorded in the annals of our country. This wily chief, with a number of his subjects, having discovered from one of the English whom he had taken prisoner, the route of captain Smith, pursued him without delay up the river. They surprised his companions asleep, and after killing them, soon overtook Smith, whom after a long and obstinate resistance they took prisoner. During the fight he killed three of his assailants with his musket, and would have made good his retreat to the canoe, had not the loss of blood from his wounds deprived him of strength, and compelled him to surrender to an enemy who
even in the moment of victory trembled at his prowess.
They carried him prisoner to Orapaxe, a town situated on the upper part of Chickahomony swamp. On their arrival at that place they were surrounded by the women and children, whose war songs, accompanied by frantic gestures and savage ceremonies, formed a novel spectacle to captain Smith. He was afterwards confined in a log house urder a guard of about forty Indians. The capture of Smith induced the enemy to think of an attack upon Jamestown. In order the better to succeed in this attempt, they endeavoured to attach him to their interests, by offering him a large tract of land and a number of beautiful women if he would assist them in their project. However strong these motives might appear, they were not sufficient, if we may credit his own account, to draw him from the line of his duty, or shake the firm foundation of his patriotism. He so magnified the difficulties of the enterprise to their view, as to induce them to relinquish the project.