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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 maiestie to take this knowledge of her, though it bee from one so unworthy to be the reporter as my selfe, her husband's estate not being able to make her fit to attend your maiestie. The most and least I can doe is to tell you this, because none so oft hath tried it as myself, and the rather being of so great a spirit, however her stature.
“If shee should not be well 'receiued, seeing this kingdom may rightly haue a kingdom by her meanes, her present lone to vs and Christianitie might turne to such scorne and furie, as to diuert al this good to the worst of cuill; where [whereas] finding so great a queene should doe her some honor more than she can imagine, for being so kind to your seruants and subjects, would so rauish her with content, as endeare her dearest blood to effect that your maiestie and al the king's honest subjects most earnestly desire. And so I humbly kisse your gracious hands."
The final interview between the gallant and generous writer of this memorial, and the princess who was the subject of it, is an occasion too interesting to be passed over without notice. She had been told that Smith, whom she had not seen for many years, was dead, but why this information was given her does not appear. Perhaps it was to make his appearance the more gratifying. Possibly Master Rolfe, in the heat of his passion during the critical period of courtship, had deemed it advisable and justifiable to answer to this effect the anxious inquiries she would naturally make aiter Smith, especially during her confinement at Jamestown. But whatever the reason was, the shock of the first meeting had nearly overwhelmed her. She was staying at Brentford, after her visit to London, having retired thither to avoid the noise and smoke of the metropolis, which she was far from enjoying. Smith was announced, and soon after made his appearance. She saluted him-modestly, he says himself, and coolly, according to some other writers—and then turning away from him, she covered her face, and seemed to be too much discomposed for conversation.
Undoubtedly she was deeply affected with a multitude of conflicting emotions, not the least of which was a just indignation on account of the imposition which the English had practised upon her. For two or three hours she was left to her own meditations. At the end of that time, after much entreaty, she was prevailed upon to converse, and this point once gained, the politeness and kindness of her visitant, and her own sweetness of disposition, soon renewed her usual vivacity.
In the course of her remarks she called Smith her father. That appellation, as bestowed by a king's daughter, was too much for the captain's modesty, and he informed her to that effect. But she could not understand his reasoning upon the subject. “Ah!" she said, after recounting some of the ancient courtesies which had passed between them, “you did promise Powhatan that what was yours should be bis, and he the like to you. You called him father, being in his land
a stranger, and by the same reason so must. I doé you.” Smith still expressed himself unworthy of that distinction, and she went on:“Were you not afraid to come into my father's countrie, and caused fear in him and all his people but mee, and fear you I should here call you father? I tell you then I will; and you must call me childe, and then I will bee foreuer and euer your countrywoman.” She assured Smith that she had been made to believe he was dead, and that Powhatan himself had shared in that delusion. To ascertain the fact, however, to a certainty, that crafty barbarian had directed an Indian who attended her to England to make special inquiries. This was Tomocomo, one of the emperor's chief counsellors, and the husband of his daughter Matachanna, perhaps the same who had been demanded in marriage by Sir Thomas Dale in 1614.
It is the last and saddest office of history to record the death of this incomparable woman, in about the two-and-twentieth year of her age. This event took place at Gravesend, where she was preparing to embark for Virginia with her husband and the child mentioned in Smith's memorial. They were to have gone out with Captain Argall, who sailed early in 1617, and the treasurer and council of the colony had made suitable accommodations for them on board the admiral-ship. But, in the language of Smith, it pleased God to take this young lady to his mercy. He adds, that she made not more sorrow for her unexpected death, than joy to the beholders to hear and see her make so religious and godly an end. Stith also records that she died as she had long lived, a most sincere and pious Christian. The expression of a later historian is, that her death was a happy mixture of Indian fortitude and Christian submission, affecting all those who saw her by the lively and cdifying picture of piety and virtue which marked her latter moments.*
The same philosophic writer, in his general observations upon the character of Pocahontas, has justly remarked that, considering all concurrent circumstances, it is not surpassed by any in the whole range of history; and that for those qualities more especially which do honor to our nature—a humane and feeling heart, an ardor and unshaken constancy in her attachments—she stands almost without a rival. She gave evidence, indeed, of possessing in a high degree every attribute of mind and heart which should be and has been the ornament and pride of civilised woman in all countries and times. Her unwearied kindness to the English was entirely disinterested; she knew that it must be so when she encountered danger and weariness and every kind of opposition and difficulty, to bestow it seasonably on the objects of her noble benevolence. It was delicate, too, in the mode of bestowment. No favor was expected in return for it, and yet no sense of obligation was permitted to mar the pleasure which it gave. She asked nothing of Smith in recompense for whatever she had done, but the boon of being looked upon as his child. Of her character as a princess, evidence enough has already been furnished. Her dignity, her energy, hèr independence, and the dauntless courage which never deserted her for a moment, were worthy of Powhatan's daughter.
* Burk's Virginia, Vol. I.
Indeed, it has been truly said, that, well-authenticated as is the history of Pocahontas, there is ground for apprehension that posterity will be disposed to regard her story as a romance.
« It is not even improbable,” says Burk, “that considering every thing relating to herself and Smith as a mere fiction, they may vent their spleen against the historian for impairing the interest of his plot by marrying the princess of Powhatan to a Mr. Rolfe, of whom nothing had been previously said, in defiance of all the expectations raised by the foregoing parts of the fable.”
Young Rolfe, her only offspring, was left at Plymouth, England, under the care of Sir Lewis Steukley, who undertook to direct his education, his tender years making it inexpedient to remove him to Virginia. As that gentleman was soon after completely beggared and disgraced by the part which he took in the proceedings against Sir Walter Raleigh, the tuition of Rolfe passed into the hands of his uncle, Henry Rolfe, of London. He became in after years a man of eminence and fortune in Virginia, and inherited a considerable tract of land which had belonged to Powhatan. At his death he left an only daughter, who was married to Col. Robert Bolling. By him she had an only son, who was father to Col. John Bolling, (well known to many now living), and several daughters, married to Col. Richard Randolph, Col. John Fleming, Dr. William Gay, Mr. Thomas Eld. ridge, and Mr. James Murray. This genealogy is taken from Stith, and he shows with sufficient minuteness that this remnant of the imperial family of Virginia, which long survived in a single person, had branched out into a very numerous progeny, even as early as 1747. The Hon. John Randolph of Roanoke is, if we mistake not, a lineal descendant of the princess in the sixth degree.
Note.—Mr. Seba Smith has lately published a metrical romance, entitled Powbatan, wbich abounds in excellent and beautiful poetry. We will extract a part of the fourth canto, descriptive of the incident of Pocahontas saving Captain Smith from a violent death, by throwing herself. beside him and putting her arm around his head, beseeching ber father by her looks to spare him; it is a faithful and eloquent description:
Though many honored brave Sir John
And all demanded that the deed
Appear on every side.
To take the captive's eye,
That bore such pale and spirit marks